A Response to Dr. Steve Lemke’s Presentation on Irresistible Grace, Part 3. Dr. Lemke’s Final Objection to Irresistible Grace

Finally, NOBTS Provost Dr. Steve Lemke on November 17, 2008 at the John 3:16 Conference, as reported in Vision:

In addition to the all-inclusive invitations of scripture, when people in the Bible ask, “What must I do to be saved?” Lemke said they are told to repent and believe. He expressed concern that irresistible grace can lead to the denial of the necessity for conversion.

I also am concerned “that irresistible grace can lead to the denial of the necessity for conversion.” More specifically, I am concerned that some people may misunderstand the doctrines of election and irresistible grace to mean that we need not implore sinners to turn from sin and turn to Christ in faith. And other Southern Baptists who are Calvinistic in soteriology share this concern as well. This is why Founders Ministries has labored against hyper-Calvinism [ Dr. Lemke has demonstrated his ignorance of what “hyper-Calvinism” means on a couple of occasions- at the John 3:16 Conference he defined it as “someone who is more Calvinistic than you are”- but his ignorance would be overcome if he would study historical theology, particularly the “modern question” among Baptists in the 18th century and the controversy over “common grace” among Reformed churches in the 20th century], as Tom Ascol notes:

  1. In 1996, the Founders Journal published a letter I [Tom] wrote to a father whose son was caught up in real hyper-Calvinism, trying to counsel him on how to help and evangelize his son. In that same issue, an excerpt from a small book I [Tom] wrote was included under the title, “Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism: Issues Shaping Our Identity as Southern Baptists.”
  2. In 1996, Founders Ministries gave away 2000 copies of Iain Murray’s book, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism. We were ridiculed, chastised and questioned by friend and foe alike for “stirring up trouble when there is none.” We pressed on with this effort because, as students of history, we know that hyper-Calvinism is a parasite and it only emerges where true Calvinism lives. Because we saw the danger of what might attend the resurgence of true Calvinism, we sought to educate as many people as we could about the issues.
  3. We have, on this blog and elsewhere, repeatedly addressed the error of hyper-Calvinism, calling it pernicious, damnable, and unbiblical.

That the doctrines of grace (including the doctrine of irresistible grace) can lead unstable people into errors does not mean that they are not true. When preaching on grace apart from works of  law, the Apostle Paul apparently encountered people who wanted to distort his message to say that we need to sin more so that the grace in our lives can increase (see, for example, Romans 6:1). Paul did not therefore abandon his teaching on grace, but taught it more clearly. Likewise, when we find that the Bible teaches irresistble grace in passages such as the end of John 6, we do not have the option of ignoring it simply because people may attempt to use it to promote laziness or apathy.

About these ads
Explore posts in the same categories: Andrew, John 3:16 Conference

2 Comments on “A Response to Dr. Steve Lemke’s Presentation on Irresistible Grace, Part 3. Dr. Lemke’s Final Objection to Irresistible Grace”

  1. Darrin Says:

    “Paul did not therefore abandon his teaching on grace, but taught it more clearly.”

    Good point.

    “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” – Acts 20:27

  2. Brad Spencer Says:

    How much more fervent is the Gospel proclaimed – that sinners must have repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ when we understand that the power behind it is God’s sovereignty extended to man through irresistible grace? Such an understanding cancels out man’s ability and places all the power in the Holy Spirit. Relying on God as we proclaim Christ to draw the lost to Himself through His Son by the work of His Spirit gives no room for superficial professions of Christ.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: