Skip to comments.As Baptists Prepare to Meet, Calvinism Debate Shifts to Heresy Accusation
Posted on 06/21/2012 8:24:00 AM PDT by fishtank
As Baptists Prepare to Meet, Calvinism Debate Shifts to Heresy Accusation Hundreds, including seminary presidents, have signed a statement on salvation criticized by both Reformed and Arminian theologians. Weston Gentry [ posted 6/18/2012 ] A statement by a non-Calvinist faction of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has launched infighting within the nation's largest Protestant denomination, and tensions are expected to escalate Tuesday as church leaders descend on New Orleans.
(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...
“Anyway, as long as things dont get contentious, dont avoid the debates. Were all suppose to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. God wrote about it in His Word so we can think about it and talk about it. Come, let us reason together according to the Scriptures.”
I would love to; but I don’t have ‘Spurgeon’s Lectures’ in my Bible, and that is ultimately, in my experience, what is presented as canon in these conversations.
Which goes against explicit Scriptural teaching.
That's a good observation.
Calvin's Institutes are very complicated and were written in Latin - Surgeon's crib notes are shorter, easier to read, more reductive and are the usual primer for Anglophone Calvinists.
Frankly, Calvinism is idiocy, and makes God the author of sin.
“Seriously, it expanded my horizons and comfort level tremendously when I accepted that God is sovereign in all things - especially in the area of salvation”
Finally understanding sovereignty absolutely changed my life and ultimately my family. I have that same peace and assurance you describe. Ultimately that understanding reworked my priorities and radically altered the way I approach this life, the way I parent, the way I do just about everything. Based on the promises of Scripture, I now have the confidence to be a soul winner, even a foreign missionary, because it’s not up to me, it’s all of His grace. I’m just a vessel to be used. I know if I spread the gospel His sheep will hear His voice and believe. Next to actually being saved, understanding grace is far and away the best thing that ever happened to me.
This morning I had a brief conversation with a stranger and quickly determined he too is a grace believing Southern Baptist. He smiled and said “grace changed my life” and I knew exactly what he meant.
Most baptists who don’t believe in the doctrines of grace don’t actually understand them, they are locked onto a caricature. They’ve been taught by others who don’t believe or understand grace. I particularly enjoy watching those who resisted grace with great zeal come to embrace it, which happens often. Last night at church we said a prayer of thanks after a lady described how her sister, who vigorously defended Arminian freewill for many years, has recently embraced the Doctrines of Grace and is now on fire for the Lord.
“The Bible is very clear on the plan of salvation. God offers us this gift, we can take it or not. If God forces it on us, then it is not a gift.”
The gospel is a command, not an offer.
You overestimate your natural ability and underestimate His holiness.
What’s troubling is that many Calvinists who talk about grace don’t really understand it, scripturally.
I’ve met a significant number of Calvinists whose testimony is essentially, “One day, I just realised I was part of the elect” - and that is the basis of their claim to salvation. Nothing about repentance. Nothing about calling upon the Lord.
People who believe that way are sorely deluded and still lost in their sins.
“Calvin’s Institutes are very complicated and were written in Latin - Surgeon’s crib notes are shorter, easier to read, more reductive and are the usual primer for Anglophone Calvinists.”
My experience is that Calvinists, like most Protestants, are not, in practice
as much as they are
they do tend to be
sola Spurgeon though
I’m a United Methodist (a large percentage of this forum will now discount anything I have to say)
As such, I inherit in our traditons and teachings, Wesleyan thoughts and principles.
But unlike what I experience with Calvinists, I disagree with portions of Wesley’s teachings because we don’t believe his teachings were so perfect as to render disagreement with them to be heresy (see the original article)
We believe people can have positions of conscience that vary because of their history, their tradition, their personality and their spiritual maturity that while sometimes incorrect, do not constitute heresy.
Further we believe that having those voices at the table, has the benefit of forcing us to constantly re-examine, not the foundational truths of Christianity, but the assumptions of what living those truths looks like
There are problems with this. Sometimes we embrace error, or compromise in a well meaning but flawed effort at ecumenism.
But there are strengths in it as well.
Sometimes we are forced to re-examine why we do things only to realize it’s because we’ve always done things that way. And as scripture (and perhaps even Spurgeon) says, ‘the traditions of men can make even the word of God of no effect.”
I discount every theological framework that hides behind allegations of heresy when competing or contradictory ideas are presented. If reading the new testament teaches us anything, it is that unless the 1st century church committed error, we would have significantly less scripture to point to when we dismiss another’s views as heretical.
I do not desire to be a man after the nature of John Calvin.
His life was defined by his theology, and I find his life wanting (as I’m certain he would find mine).
Does that mean he is wrong about everything? No.
But I will more willingly entertain the theology of a man who bears fruit that I find consistent with Christ’s teachings and lifestyle.
I find his understanding of the nature of God wanting and inconsistent with scripture taken in the whole.
I find his balance between grace and judgment to be heavily tilted to one side.
I find the fruit of Calvinism to be harsh and not reflective of Christ.
For these and many other reasons- among them the imbalanced teachings on the elect, I reject Calvinism.
I prefer the example of Wesley; yet I don’t follow him either.
I follow Christ, because the one truth I’ve learned over the years is this: All theology is flawed because God is bigger than theology.
How many posts till someone plays the Servetus Card???
Well said. When I was first confronted with the Doctrines of Grace, I decided to read what those believers said about their doctrine, rather than what others said about it. I had done the same in reading Catholic literature, etc. It’s only fair. As you astutely note, once I read the greats, and understood the magnitude of God making things right, of Himself and by Himself, fulfilling all that we can not do for ourselves because we really were dead in sin, it became so overwhelming, I was able to make Christ my life, not just a part of life. He is life.
Im a United Methodist (a large percentage of this forum will now discount anything I have to say)
“Which goes against explicit Scriptural teaching.”
Well, obviously, I disagree. Some pertinent parts of the Bible that teaches that men are totally depraved are:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” - Romans 3:10-11
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” - Ephesians 2:1-3
and so many more, we are described as totally dead, totally helpless, totally lost - except for God’s mercy which gives us life, give us hope, finds us, saves.
“I would love to; but I dont have Spurgeons Lectures in my Bible,”
Spurgeon is often cited; because he is really very good. Also he is a famous Baptist who was also Calvinist in his theology.
But it is entirely possible to reason about man’s depravity, God’s election of us, Christ’s atonement, the irresistability of God’s grace, and God’s preserving His people without citing Spurgeon.
And yet Christ Himself explicitly taught that men must make the choice. He doesn’t make it for us.
Both Adam and Eve ate, and both died spiritually that day otherwise God would be a liar. They were alive physically as the record attests, but they were "dead in Trespasses and Sin" just as the Apostle Paul frequently said.
From then on a "sin nature" was passed down to every human born of the line of Adam resulting in Sin and Death to the entire human race without the intervention of God.
Only one person was not born of the line of Adam - The Lord Jesus Christ "born of a virgin, born under the law" who lived a perfect life and died on the cross giving salvation to folks like you and me who believe by faith (a gift of God in the first place).
The issue here is believing that Mankind's spiritual nature is Not dead just as the Apostle Paul says.
This is not subject to reason. Implicit in the "election" is the "unelection". That is, while some are "elected" or chosen, others are ignored and left to damnation.
The key to getting out of the grip of this infernal doctrine lies precisely in this point. Instead of thinking of yourself as among the "elect", spend a day thinking about yourself as among the "unelect" and then reflect on what this says about the nature of God. Hopefully you will see an arbitrariness, an irrationality, a brutality and essentially a game of nothing more than chance as God surveys the filth which is before him and simply plucks out at random a few lucky survivors who will man the life boats, while the rest of the wretches are left to drown.
Is there a shortage of lifeboats? Is space limited in heaven? No? So what's the issue here? Mere whimsy or capriciousness on the part of God? This simply does not square with the loving Jesus of the New Testament who expressed love for all men. The Apostle says that "God is love".
Irrationality is a characteristic of pagan worship. Who knows what the gods will do? They get crazy sometimes!!
That's not Christianity. We do know what God will do with regard to our salvation.
“Implicit in the “election” is the “unelection”. “
That is true. It is implicit; not explicit. Yet it is there.
But if the Bible clearly states that God elects some of us, then it states that. We can’t reject it because we don’t like it.
I deny that God is arbitrary, irrational, brutal, or a chance gamer. At the same time I affirm that He elects his people to salvation.
It is somewhat akin to the doctrine of the trinity. Jesus is God. Jesus is man. He is not “part man” or “part God.” The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are God; yet there is one God; yet there are three Persons. I can’t deny any of that.
I can’t deny election, either. But it is wrong to say that therefore I am ascribing to God any evil characteristics. God is perfectly good.
I agree. That's why I'm neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian, but am a Biblicist instead.
The Bible is very clear on the plan of salvation. God offers us this gift, we can take it or not. If God forces it on us, then it is not a gift. Calvinism, begone!
I guess God never knocked Paul off his horse and blinded him....God must be liar. It is a gift after He chose us before the foundation of the world and changed our stoney heart. In our sinful state, there is no way an evil carnal man would ever choose Christ....The bible says God IS become my Salvation....Hello?
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