A Response to Dr. John Compton’s “What is Calvinism?” : Introduction
This blog began with a focus on providing a “response and scriptural rebuttal to the writings found at the anti-Calvinistic website BaptistFire.com” [quoted from our "About this Site" page HERE]. As most readers are aware, BaptistFire.com pulled down their entire site shortly after SBF was launched [you can still view the blank page for the BaptistFire.com site HERE], and so after finishing our series of posts addressing some of material that was on BaptistFire, SBF began addressing other, more current attacks on Calvinism.
To return briefly to our old practice of addressing arguments no longer on the Internet, I am writing today in order to respond to Dr. John Compton’s recent sermon titled, “What is Calvinism?” This sermon was preached on October 12th of this year, and was made available online [on this page] for about a week, until this past Lord’s Day, when it was removed.
Why address this sermon?
Readers may wonder why I am taking the time to respond to a sermon that is no longer on the Internet, a sermon that apparently has no more potential to shape a wide audience’s perception of Calvinism. The answer is that I believe that this sermon raised some issues that others may encounter as well- issues that were front and center on the old BaptistFire site and that are still being repeated in Baptist churches across the nation. I hope that this series will prompt readers to further reflect on these issues- for those of you who reject Calvinism, I hope that you will at least take the time to gain an accurate awareness of that which you oppose. For those of you who embrace Calvinism, I hope that you will take time to thoroughly learn what you believe and why you believe it so that you may be able to clearly and graciously articulate the doctrines of grace to others.
Clarification: not personal
In our culture, debate is a neglected form of communication. Even the presidential debates were actually less like debates and more like joint interviews in which the candidates seemed far more concerned with producing sound-bites than in attempting to weigh the merits or deficiencies of focused propositions. With the rise of moral relativism, people tend not to differentiate between statements of truth and matters of personal preference. As truth is viewed as being subjective rather than objective, people tend to over-identify a person’s truth-claims with the person himself. So that to attempt to refute a person’s statements seems like a personal attack. But I want to make clear that it is not my intention to attack Dr. Compton. I know next to nothing about Dr. Compton’s ministry at First Baptist Church Clinton, MS; the few things that I have heard second-hand have been generally positive. I am not foolishly attempting to give the impression that I, a struggling seminary student, think I am in any way better than John Compton, who has earned his doctorate and who pastors a large church. I do think that Dr. Compton made some statements in “What is Calvinism” that are contradicted by facts and in the next few posts it is my goal to examine specific facets of this sermon and to offer a response.
Outline of this series
In this short series of posts over the next few days I intend to examine Dr. Compton’s definition of Calvinism, his conclusions concerning Calvinism, and his methodology in arguing against Calvinism.