When God draws us with His grace, does He take away our power to resist that grace?

Posted July 29, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Doctrinal Issues

This past July 10th, many Protestants- especially those involved in theological education- recognized the 500th birthday of John Calvin by reflecting on the contributions his writings have made to Christian thought. On The Albert Mohler [Radio] Program guest host Dr. Russell D. Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary led a discussion about the doctrines most often associated with Calvin in popular thinking: namely, election and predestination. Dr. Moore’s guests on the July 10th program were Dr. Mark Dever, President of 9Marks ministries Dr. Matt Pinson, President of Free Will Baptist Bible College. Dr. Moore observed that in the past couple of years discussions of “Calvinism” in Baptist circles have, to a large degree, been more amicable and less vitriolic than in times past, and he wished to model an irenic discussion of “Calvinism” by having these guests: one (Dever) a Calvinist and one (Pinson) an Arminian.

I would like to draw readers’ attention to one question from Dr. Russell D. Moore (“RDM” below) and (especially) to the answer given by Dr. Matt Pinson (MP below). In examining Dr. Pinson’s answer to Dr. Moore, it is not my intention to disrupt the irenic spirit established by Dr. Moore, but I do think that it is instructive for us who hold to a “Calvinistic” position to be able to interact with words from an actual Arminian.

RDM: “When you think about that question, ‘What makes you to differ, as a Christian, from a lost man?’  How would you answer that?”

MP: “I would follow Arminius, who was very much like Calvin in his exaltation of the sovereign grace of God, and that God must draw us with His grace because we are totally depraved; we’re completely unable to will ourselves into His favor, and our heart is desparately wicked. I think the difference is that, like Arminius, I would see that grace as being resistible. I think ‘prevenient grace,’ as it’s often called by Calvinists and Arminians, is the real big difference between how we would  see Calvinism and Arminianism. I would say that God comes to people with His grace, and yet He treats them as persons- who have an intellect, will, and emotions- and He’s dealing with them in relationship; and so, as Arminius says, He uses ‘suasion.’ He doesn’t operate on them in a cause and effect way, but in an influence and response way. So He gives them the freedom, by His grace, to resist and even to reject that grace. So you can’t do anything- you know, Arminius was fond of quoting Augustine, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing,’ and he says- let me quote here- says, ‘Christ does not say, Without Me ye can do but little, neither does He say, Without Me ye cannot do any arduous thing, nor, Without Me ye can do it with difficulty, but He says, Without Me ye can do nothing. Nor does He say, Without Me ye cannot complete any thing, but, Without Me ye can do nothing.’ So- you know- we would say, ‘Without the grace of God in Christ and the drawing power of the Holy Spirit, we can do no spiritual good- not the least spiritual good.’ But that doesn’t mean that when He draws us with His grace, that He takes away our power to resist that grace.”

[The entire radio program can be heard HERE.] Read the rest of this post »

“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 3a.

Posted July 25, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

3: The “Calvinism” of the SBTS founders

[The teaching of the doctrines of grace- commonly called "Calvinism"- was not an incidental matter to the founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. One motivating factor for why the chief seminary founder, James P. Boyce, worked so hard and sacrificed so much to establish the seminary is that he was concerned Arminianism might spread throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. In the following excerpts from Dr. Gregory A. Wills' new book Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009), Dr. Wills gives evidence demonstrating the "Calvinism" of the four founders of SBTS- James P. Boyce, John A. Broadus, William Williams, and Basil Manly Jr. After the following heading, the remainder of this post is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009).]

a. The “Calvinism” of James P. Boyce (93-94): Read the rest of this post »

“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 2

Posted July 23, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

Part 2: “Calvinism” in both Landmark and non-Landmark churches during the early days of the SBC

[In the following excerpt from Dr. Gregory A. Wills' new book Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009), historical information is given that demonstrates a broad acceptance of "Calvinism" within both Landmark and non-Landmark churches of Southern Baptist Convention previous to 1900.

In Baptist circles, the terms "Landmark Baptists" or "Landmarkers" refer to those who hold to a specific view of Baptist history: namely, that there has been an unbroken line of Baptist churches from the apostles to the present. This view usually has implications for how  Baptists are to relate to other churches or if other groups can even properly be referred to as "churches."

Baptists who reject the Landmark view of Baptist history would agree that the church during the apostolic era was baptistic in nature- in other words, all Baptists are convinced that we get our ideas about baptism and church government, etc., from the apostles- but consider the idea of an unbroken line of Baptist churches to be historically dubious as well as biblically unnecessary.

That both Landmark and non-Landmark Baptists at the beginning of the SBC held to a "Calvinistic" understanding of God's work in salvation is interesting for Southern Baptists today because many in the SBC who hold to a Landmark-influenced view of Baptist history- such as the leadership of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary- also reject "Calvinism" and would charge non-Landmark "Calvinists" with over-emphasizing the historical-theological connection between Baptists and the Puritans.

The remainder of this post is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009), pages 91-92.]: Read the rest of this post »

Timmy Brister on “Morris Chapman, Calvinism, and Saving Faith”

Posted July 22, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

On his blog, “Provocations and Pantings,” former SBF blogger Timmy Brister has recently published a 3-part series of posts responding to statements that Morris Chapman, president and CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, made concerning Calvinism and saving faith at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. (Timmy also responds to some issues in regards to Chapman’s attempts to clarify his statements since the Convention.)

Below is a compilation and brief explanation of Timmy’s posts:

Part 1: Timmy addresses some issues of hypocrisy in Chapman’s statements and the caricature Chapman makes of “Calvinism.”

Part 2: Chapman’s specific charges against “Calvinism” in the SBC are closely examined and critiqued.

Part 3: Chapman’s use of the concept of “antinomy” and a quote that he gave by Spurgeon are critiqued, and then Timmy examines a series of quotes from Baptists, historical and contemporary, regarding saving faith.

Anyone interested in the current debate in the Southern Baptist Convention concerning the doctrines of grace- commonly called “Calvinism”- would benefit from reading Timmy Brister’s posts, linked above.

“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 1

Posted July 21, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

[It is my intention to write a series of posts giving a few selected passages from Dr. Gregory A. Wills' new book  Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009). These passages, from pages 90-97 and 542-543, are focused on "Calvinism" at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as a whole.]

Part 1: “Calvinism” at SBTS and in the SBC at the founding of Southern Seminary (from pages 90-91).

The theology that [SBTS founder James P.] Boyce relied upon was Calvinism. It was the doctrine of the seminary’s Abstract of Principles and the prevailing theology of Baptists in the nineteenth-century South. A significant number rejected the doctrine of “limited atonement”,” and the rest did not make belief in it a condition of fellowship. But the churches and associations generally refused fellowship with pastors or churches that rejected other aspects of Calvinism.

President Johnny Hunt: Friend to the Reformed in the SBC?

Posted June 26, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

Speaking at the Founders Breakfast previous to this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and personal friend of SBC President Johnny Hunt, asserted that Hunt (who he recognized as previously guilty of slandering the Reformed position) has become more friendly to those with Reformed convictions and to Reformed soteriology itself in the past couple of years, largely due to Hunt reading Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. (Dr. Akin explained the fact that First Baptist Church Woodstock, which Hunt pastors, hosted the anti-Calvinist “John 3:16 Conference” in light of the fact that the Conference was hosted by FBC Woodstock member Jerry Vines, and was planned long in advance.)

One piece of evidence that may tend to support Dr. Akin’s assertion of Hunt’s greater friendliness to the Reformed soteriological position may be found in the Strange BaptistFire article, “A very ‘Calvinistic’ sermon from SBC President Johnny Hunt,” which is the fifth-most viewed post of all time from this blog. I encourage readers to view that post and to listen to the sermon linked on that post and to consider whether those with Reformed convictions may indeed be encouraged by Johnny Hunt’s leadership in the SBC.

Compilation of Posts Responding to Mark Driscoll’s Presentation of Un/Limited Atonement

Posted June 24, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Doctrinal Issues

Introduction

Why Did Jesus Die?

The Chart

The Proof-Texts

Calvin Quotes

An Unaddressed Question

“Reconciliation”

The Day of Atonement


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.