Poll: SBC Pastors "Concerned" Over Calvinism

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

30% self identify as strongly or somewhat Reformed/Calvinist.

30% self identify as strongly or somewhat Arminian/Wesleyan.

Wonder how the other 40% see themselves?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

30% self identify as strongly or somewhat Reformed/Calvinist.

30% self identify as strongly or somewhat Arminian/Wesleyan.

Wonder how the other 40% see themselves?


Smart enough to know theological identification is not limited to the myopic binary of Calvinist/Arminian?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

That's fine Alex, I was just wondering how they would identify themselves.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

WilliamD's picture

If I were in the SBC, I'd find myself in the 40% as one who does not hold to Limited Atonement, yet in agreement with total depravity and unconditional election with a sublapsarian view of God's decrees. So, the 5-pointers wouldn't want me, but the Arminians would call me a Calvinist. 

Todd Wood's picture

WilliamD, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the Gospel Coalition, and the T4G, etc. wouldn't want you.  And the Methodists, Nazarenes, and Calvary Chapel would call you a Calvinist.

But as a Baptist brother, I understand you.  Smile

Steve Newman's picture

I'd like to get your take on where the paranoia about Calvinism comes from. Is it from the historical anti-missions stand in William Carey's day where "Calvinist" ministers thought the heathen could be saved without sending missionaries, or is it more the "new Calvinism" that gets in people's craw?

 

James K's picture

Why must it be paranoia?  Why can't it be a disagreement?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

James, I think the landscape has evidenced more than disagreement. When those holding the doctrines of grace are vilified and named as heretics (by some, not all) we can safely say some are looking at Calvinists as dangerous to the body. Since this is an unfounded view, we can call it paranoia. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Steve Newman's picture

Whether you attribute it to fear, paranoia, or some other emotion, there is more here than friendly disagreement. The term "Calvinist" is definitely used as a pejorative term by many. I'd like to know more what is behind it.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Steve Newman wrote:

I'd like to get your take on where the paranoia about Calvinism comes from. Is it from the historical anti-missions stand in William Carey's day where "Calvinist" ministers thought the heathen could be saved without sending missionaries, or is it more the "new Calvinism" that gets in people's craw?

 

Your comment represents a certain predisposed bias against those disagreeing with Calvinism and Neo-Calvinism and demonstrates one of the very objections being cited in expressed concerns. You assigned questionable motives to those objecting when you do not even understand their concerns since you asked what it is to which they ate objecting.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

James, I think the landscape has evidenced more than disagreement. When those holding the doctrines of grace are vilified and named as heretics (by some, not all) we can safely say some are looking at Calvinists as dangerous to the body. Since this is an unfounded view, we can call it paranoia. 


Chip, you and Steve must be rowing together in the same boat, your over-generalization does not serve anything good. It is amusing to read how "your side" holds to doctrines of grace and the other side has the villifiers? LOL. Look, all groups have those who overstate things and are not the most effective representatives of a view. Calvinist ans Neo-Calvinists have their share of nasty demonizers this posture leads no where.

Secondly, you complain that some objections include descriptors such as dangerous, so? Are we now demanding objections only be parsed in favorable terms? Talk about predisposed bias.

I would like to see a discussion about the concerns themselves if anyone making all the fuss about these concerned SBC Pastors even knows what they are.

Lee's picture

Steve Newman wrote:

I'd like to get your take on where the paranoia about Calvinism comes from. ...

 

It's not paranoia if somebody really is out to get you!  Smile

Lee

James K's picture

Chip and Steve, would you deny that certain Calvinists want to see the SBC completely Calvinist?  I have read the opposite.  I have read Calvinists fear for the future of the SBC because it isn't Calvinist.  Maybe everyone is paranoid since your statements can be flipped against Calvinists.

Southern Seminary is no doubt kicking out more Calvinists than the others.  Southeastern has a mix.  Southwestern probably less.  The SBC will always be a mixed lot.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

pvawter's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

James, I think the landscape has evidenced more than disagreement. When those holding the doctrines of grace are vilified and named as heretics (by some, not all) we can safely say some are looking at Calvinists as dangerous to the body. Since this is an unfounded view, we can call it paranoia. 

 

Sorry, but I guess I don't understand why you cry foul when you use such inflammatory verbiage. To imply that anyone who doesn't hold to your doctrinal school of thought denies the doctrine of grace is a little over the top, don't you think? Maybe there are rabid grace-deniers out there whom I have not met, but it seems to me that questioning the 5 points does not necessitate a denial of God's grace. A different understanding or application of it, possibly, but not a denial.

Jim's picture

Just a comment ... and somewhat official from a moderator. Sharper Iron is not a "Calvinist only" place

 

Nor are we a pre-trib/premill only place

WilliamD's picture

James K wrote:

Chip and Steve, would you deny that certain Calvinists want to see the SBC completely Calvinist?  I have read the opposite.  I have read Calvinists fear for the future of the SBC because it isn't Calvinist.  Maybe everyone is paranoid since your statements can be flipped against Calvinists.

Southern Seminary is no doubt kicking out more Calvinists than the others.  Southeastern has a mix.  Southwestern probably less.  The SBC will always be a mixed lot.

 

Historically, those who leave the sovereignty of God in salvation  (let's just call it Monergism rather than Calvinism), usually their churches and denominations degenerate into liberalism and finally unbelief altogether at some point.  This is the natural degression when you hold to human self determination. As I heard Steve Lawson say once Sovereign Grace is abandoned, there is a slide to Arminianism, Palagianism, Rationalism, Modernism, Liberalism, Post-Modernism, Atheism all the way to hell. 

David R. Brumbelow's picture

A few thoughts from a Southern Baptist:
What if you are asked if you are a Calvinist or an Arminian and you don’t consider yourself either one?  That is a problem with many surveys.  Many Baptists would not consider themselves in either camp.  Kind of like asking Baptists if they could consider themselves Presbyterian or Methodist? 

Many Southern Baptists would consider themselves by such names as non-Calvinist, Traditionalist, Moderate Calvinist, Biblicist. 

Throughout its history, Southern Baptists have had both 5-point Calvinists and 1 to 4 point Calvinists (or your choice of the terms above) in its membership.  We’re all pretty well agreed on Eternal Security.  The SBC began in 1845. 

Calvinists were more prevalent in the SBC in the 1800s, non-Calvinists in the 1900s until today.  But Calvinist influence has been growing. 

Perhaps I’m biased, but it seems more have accused the non-Calvinist side of being heretics, or leaning that way, than the other way around.  Some especially like varieties of the word Pelagian.  Of course, a few on each side have used name calling.  I think most know better. 

I tire of hearing if you’re not Calvinist, you inevitably slide into liberalism.  Seems to me if you search history, all Bible believing Christian groups have a tendency to slide into liberalism.  Calvinist denominations and schools slide to liberalism, just like non-Calvinists.  Plenty of examples on both sides can be given.  Charles Finney’s revival results did not last forever; but then neither did Whitfield’s and Edwards.’ 

I believe most of the concern over Calvinism is not paranoia.  We just have a significant disagreement and both sides have a right to defend themselves and have their say. 
David R. Brumbelow

Lee's picture

Designate yourself as I do--a zero point Calvinist!

The Calvinists love you because you wear the brand.

The non-Cals think it's great that you don't fully accept any single point, so they embrace you as well.

Sometimes the middle of the road is the place to be.

Lee

James K's picture

Historically, those who leave the sovereignty of God in salvation  (let's just call it Monergism rather than Calvinism), usually their churches and denominations degenerate into liberalism and finally unbelief altogether at some point.  This is the natural degression when you hold to human self determination. As I heard Steve Lawson say once Sovereign Grace is abandoned, there is a slide to Arminianism, Palagianism, Rationalism, Modernism, Liberalism, Post-Modernism, Atheism all the way to hell.

 

William, what happens when you go the other way?  Hypercalvinists (rightly called) end up with eternal justification, no need to witness, no need to exercise faith in Jesus, etc.  That is just another form of liberalism.  It works both ways.  Look at the groups struggling with liberalism today.  Calvinism isn't the disease and it sure isn't the cure.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

pvawter wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

James, I think the landscape has evidenced more than disagreement. When those holding the doctrines of grace are vilified and named as heretics (by some, not all) we can safely say some are looking at Calvinists as dangerous to the body. Since this is an unfounded view, we can call it paranoia. 

 

Sorry, but I guess I don't understand why you cry foul when you use such inflammatory verbiage. To imply that anyone who doesn't hold to your doctrinal school of thought denies the doctrine of grace is a little over the top, don't you think? Maybe there are rabid grace-deniers out there whom I have not met, but it seems to me that questioning the 5 points does not necessitate a denial of God's grace. A different understanding or application of it, possibly, but not a denial.

Simply using accepted terminology, not denigrating anyone.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

James K wrote:
Chip and Steve, would you deny that certain Calvinists want to see the SBC completely Calvinist?  I have read the opposite.  I have read Calvinists fear for the future of the SBC because it isn't Calvinist.  Maybe everyone is paranoid since your statements can be flipped against Calvinists.

Southern Seminary is no doubt kicking out more Calvinists than the others.  Southeastern has a mix.  Southwestern probably less.  The SBC will always be a mixed lot.

James,

I think anyone who holds a doctrinal position strongly wants to see other people share the same perspective. However, I have not heard Calvinistic SBC pastors advocating the take over of the convention. The vitriol, in the SBC and in other circles, almost always comes from the other side toward Calvinism (remember Dan Sweatt - http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=56091910360). That's not to say Calvinists don't sometimes become arrogant and condescending, but the public denunciation is almost always one sided.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jim's picture

We look around at other Christians ... all have been saved the same way (faith in Christ)

 

But we don't know "why" some believe and others don't. 

 

The "how verses" explain the same way: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life"

 

The why is what we struggle with:

  • Is he smarter than another (who doesn't believe)
  • is be better (morally) than another
  • Did God look down through history and see my smartness ... my betterness
  • Or am I the same "stuff" as the others who don't believe AND
  • Is God the initiator in this relationship I have with Him? Did I find him (remember the Krew "I Found it" campaign?)

 

James K's picture

Chip, I would encourage you to read more if that is your conclusion.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Greg Long's picture

James, can you give me some examples of these SBC Calvinists (especially mainstream or prominent ones) who are pushing for the denomination to take a stronger stand on Calvinisim, say for example to change the BFM to be more Calvinistic? I'm not saying they aren't out there, I'm just not familiar with them.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

James K's picture

Greg, it was calvinism in general not limited to the SBC.  Mohler, Moore, Schreiner, York, etc) thankfully are not looking to change anything.  However, if you want SBC, then look no further than the Founders, who want the SBC to calvinist.  Just look up Tom Ascol's hack job on the traditionalist statement and the subsequent commenters on his blog.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jay's picture

WilliamD wrote:
Historically, those who leave the sovereignty of God in salvation  (let's just call it Monergism rather than Calvinism), usually their churches and denominations degenerate into liberalism and finally unbelief altogether at some point.  This is the natural degression when you hold to human self determination. As I heard Steve Lawson say once Sovereign Grace is abandoned, there is a slide to Arminianism, Palagianism, Rationalism, Modernism, Liberalism, Post-Modernism, Atheism all the way to hell.

Well, then it's a really good thing that God sent us Calvin, lest all of Christianity fall into Pelagianism, Modernism, Liberalism and the like...Come on, Will. The church of Jesus is built on Him, not a theory that's been around a couple of hundred years. You're also forgetting about all those Calvinists that veer into arrogant 'elect-centeredness' and determinism all by themselves.

If anyone here seriously thinks that Steve Lawson is going to be objective about Calvinism, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'm interested in selling.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Pastor Harold's picture

As is usually the case in most church fights; it goes back to control. Who will control the money, missionaries, seminaries, and various other entities in the SBC. Oh the horror of these falling into Calvinist hands!!!!! 

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