Friday, August 10, 2007

Southern Seminary Textbook Says Believer’s Baptism Not Important

What are students being taught at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

The cherished doctrine of believer’s baptism has been under intense attack recently. A few years ago, John Piper, a favorite pastor and theologian of many professors at Southern Seminary, tried to get his church to accept members who were not scripturally baptized. Piper’s position caused much discussion among Baptist bloggers and was the source of considerable embarrassment to some fans among the faculty at Southern.

Piper is not alone in diminishing the importance of scriptural baptism. Another theologian whose systematic theology textbook is required reading in many Southern classrooms also rejects believer’s baptism as a requirement for church membership. I’m speaking of none other than Dr. Wayne Grudem, a former honored guest of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of a text which Southern has force fed to hundreds of future Southern Baptist pastors.

In discussing whether evangelical churches should be divided over baptism, Grudem advocates that in order to achieve unity, “Baptist churches would have to be willing to allow into membership those who had been baptized as infants and whose conviction of conscience, after careful consideration, is that their infant baptism was valid and should not be repeated.” (Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994, page 983)

He goes on to say, “Baptist churches could be free to teach and to attempt to persuade prospective church members that they should be baptized as believers, but if some, after careful consideration, are simply not persuaded, it does not seem appropriate to make this a barrier to membership.”

Grudem’s position is in violation, not only of biblical truth, but also of Southern Seminary’s Abstract of Principles which have governed the school since its founding in 1858.

Article XV of the Abstract of Principles states,

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord's Supper.

Has Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr. decided that article XV is no longer important? If not, why would he invite Wayne Grudem as an honored guest of the seminary and allow Grudem’s text to be used in seminary classrooms? Is there not a theology text written by a Southern Baptist that could be used instead?

What do you think will happen when Southern Seminary graduates are installed as pastors of our Southern Baptist churches, especially those graduates who have been trained in Grudem’s theology and who have been taught by many of their professors that John Piper is a model for pastors? How many church splits will these Southern graduates cause before the churches finally figure out what is going on at the seminary?

Dr. Mohler, is believer’s baptism important, or not? Is believer’s baptism required for church membership, or not?

UPDATE 8/10/07: Thanks to an anonymous poster, I have learned that Grudem completely rewrote the section on baptism and church membership for the 2007 printing of the book. Has Grudem changed his mind? I'll let readers be the judge. You can read Grudem's changes here:

http://theologica.blogspot.com/2007/08/
grudems-change-of-mind-regarding.html

Even if Grudem has reversed his views, that still doesn't change the fact that (1) Southern Seminary had him prior to the change, and (2) the book was required reading in many seminary classrooms prior to the change.

28 Comments:

At Friday, August 10, 2007 11:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only reason why this has been brought to your attention is because Grudem changed his mind from the 1994 book.

That might be worth mentioning in your article.

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 12:38:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BAPTISM & SBTS

Bob to Charles:

Excellent and timely post, Charles. The Seminary is obviously under heavy influence from the Presbyterian Pedobaptists.

It seems nowadays that I frequently hear of a Baptist going into the Pedobaptist (baby baptizing) church. I had lunch recently with a Houston Baptist pastor who shocked me by informing me of two such departures by Baptist preachers -- longtime personal acquaintances of mine -- whom I would have never dreamed would become pedobaptists.

I think some of these departures are conceivably influenced by the Pedobaptist theory on the early "regeneration" of infants. Preachers who are relatively "fruitless" of converts to Christ under their preaching seem to be seduced by the pedobaptist idea of the "regeneration" of infants -- which in effect makes evangelism and soul-winning rather insignificant matters -- for as Spurgeon noted, if they are already regenerated before faith, they are already saved, so it is "ridiculous" to preach Christ to them.

Spurgeon says this "takes away a gospel for sinners and offers us a gospel for saints" (See "The Warrant of Faith," Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 9, page 532).

The Seminary was, in my younger days, "leavened" by the Pedobaptist Neo-orthodoxy imported from Europe. In my older days, it seems now to be "leavened" by the Pedobaptist "born again before faith" heterodoxy.
I don't know which is the worst.

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 3:43:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Anonymous, Hello!

You wrote, "Grudem changed his mind from the 1994 book..."

Chapter and verse, please?

Charles

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 4:11:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

You can read about Grudem's update to his book here:

http://theologica.blogspot.com/
2007/08/grudems-change-
of-mind-regarding.html

Charles

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 5:13:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GRUDEM

Charles said...
Anonymous, Hello!

You wrote, "Grudem changed his mind from the 1994 book..."

Chapter and verse, please?

Charles


Bob to Charles:

I sent you an email, Charles, which was sent to me -- containing John Piper's complaining about Grudem's revision of his book, and evidently making Piper very unhappy. In Piper's case, he seems to be a case of "misery loves company" and he has lost Grudem for company on the matter of baptism/church membership.

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 5:24:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

I got your email. Thank you.

Piper is sticking to his guns, but I wonder what his supporters among the Southern Seminary faculty are saying. I bet they keep their mouths shut, don't you?

Given what the Abstract of Principles says, Piper's supporters at Southern are not going to be able to take sides.

Charles

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 5:42:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SBTS HYBRIDS

Charles said:

Given what the Abstract of Principles says, Piper's supporters at Southern are not going to be able to take sides.

I have received the impression from the Hybrid Calvinists at SBTS that so long as one holds to the shibboleth of "born again before faith," they get a "pass" on everything else. From the Hardshell, Bradley, to the "born again before birth" Frame, the Hybrids at
Southern seem to cater to all who advocate Hybridism.

As for Grudem, can you imagine our persecuted Baptist anscestors "rolling over in their graves" to hear Grudem say baptism is not a "major" doctrine of the faith?

Both Piper and Grudem know the truth on baptism, and they appear to be what some old Baptists used to refer to as "fence-straddlers."

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 6:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i bet they keep their mouths shut, don't you"

i understand that disagreement was made with piper publicly in chapel at SBTS. Close friends can disagree and still be passionate about their positions.

charles:
what 1 or 2 systematic theologies should be used in SBC seminaries?

 
At Friday, August 10, 2007 7:20:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MOHLER

Charles said:

Has Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr. decided that article XV is no longer important?

I often go to Dr. Mohler's blog to see what he is discussing. It seems he is focusing on a variety of issues other than what is going on at the Seminary.

With the influence of Hybrid Calvinism and other elements of Presbyterianism right under his nose at the Seminary, he seems to be straining the gnats and swallowing the camel.

This reminds me of the "head-in-the-sand" approach that Duke McCall took back in the days when Neo-orthodoxy was being spouted by Seminary professors under his watch (1951-1982).

 
At Monday, August 13, 2007 2:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be noted that SBTS gives students a choice between Grudem and Erickson in Systematic classes.

Grudem is a standard Systematic text in ALL SBC seminaries.

Professors at Southern have recently released a book defending the practice of believer's baptism against the paedobaptists.

SBTS offers the finest education in the evangelical world! The authors of this blog would benefit greatly by enrolling at SBTS.

 
At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 12:38:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SOUTHERN

anonymous said;

SBTS offers the finest education in the evangelical world! The authors of this blog would benefit greatly by enrolling at SBTS.

If we were enrolled there, it is conceivable that SBTS might likewise profit from us. We would call their attention to how far they are straying from the Baptist faith toward the Hybrid Calvinism of modern non-creedal "reformed" theology.

 
At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 1:32:00 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Dr. Mohler's views on Baptism as a requirement for church membership are public. He wrote on this over a year ago at his Conventional Thinking blog

(HT: Alex Chezdiak)

 
At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 11:41:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MOHLER'S VIEWS

Paul said...
Dr. Mohler's views on Baptism as a requirement for church membership are public.

That was one of the reasons I first applauded Mohler's becoming president of the Seminary. However, he later started cuddling with Pedobaptists in "conferences," giving the appearance that his views on baptism were not all that significant and important. This embellishment of pedos seems to imply that modern "reformed" theology [i. e. Hybrid Calvinism] is more important to Mohler than Baptist ecclesiology. With Mohler, it seems that "Calvinism" covers a multitude of pedo sins.

When Spurgeon spoke out on the pedobaptist practices of the Church of England
he was excoriated by numerous pedobaptist critics.

There's not a "dime's difference" between the various pedo sects, as they all assume some form of "regeneration" for their infants, therefore they baptize them and enroll them as church members.

Spurgeon, referring to the baptism of infants, said, "I do not know an error which causes the damnation of more souls than that at the present time. . . . Sacramental efficacy and baptismal regeneration, ALL SPRING FROM THE FIRST ERROR OF INFANT BAPTISM" (New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 6, page 168).

Spurgeon makes the following sweeping critism of ALL pedos who practice baby-baptism and enroll them as church members:

>>
Some imagine that faith comes by hereditary descent, and they act upon the supposition. Hence, in certain churches, birthright membership is thought to be a proper practice, and the child of a Christian is thought to be a Christian. In some other churches, though the theory would not be stated in so many words, yet it is practically accepted, and children of pious parents are regarded as scarcely needing conversion. The text is forgotten which saith that the heirs of salvation are born, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." The typical covenant secured outward privileges to the children born after the flesh, but under the covenant of grace the blessing is secured to the spiritual and not to the natural seed. "He who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise." (Galatians 4:23). That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and nothing more: the new-born nature is not transmissible from father to son like a natural temperament or a cast of countenance. I know the answer will be that "the promise is to us and to our children," but it will be well for the objector to reply to himself by completing the quotation—"even to as many as the Lord your God shall call." The fact is, that nothing spiritual is inherited by carnal generation. Our children, even if we are far advanced in grace, will still be "shapen in iniquity." No matter how high the sainthood of the professing Christian, his child (when capable of understanding) must for himself become a personal believer in Jesus.
>> (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 18, pages 38, 39).

 
At Thursday, August 16, 2007 11:15:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NO BAPTIST AVAILABLE?

Anonymous said...
It should be noted that SBTS gives students a choice between Grudem and Erickson in Systematic classes.

Grudem is a standard Systematic text in ALL SBC seminaries.


Wayne Grudem on page 500 of his theology book:

Yet it certainly is possible for God to bring regeneration (that is, new spiritual life) to an infant even before he or she is born.

Wonder why
"Southern Bapterian Seminary" is not able to find a Baptist text for their students?

Since Zondervan
-- a historically pedobaptist-owned publishing company and one of the largest "evangelical" religious publishers -- has successfully promoted this book, is this necessarily a substantial reason why Baptists should use Grudem? Or, is it because Grudem advocates Hyrid Calvinism that SBTS uses it?

 
At Thursday, August 16, 2007 4:25:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

You asked, "Or, is it because Grudem advocates Hyrid Calvinism that SBTS uses it?"

From their employees to their invited guests, Dr. Mohler and Southern Seminary have shown Southern Baptists that they prefer the company and theology of the extreme/neo/hyper/hybrid Calvinists to that of the Southern Baptists who pay their salaries.

The "born again before faith" Calvinism promoted by Southern Seminary is so extreme that even John Calvin rejected it!

Charles

 
At Monday, August 20, 2007 2:01:00 AM, Blogger D.R. said...

Again, anonymous is correct in pointing out that Grudem's systematic theology is pretty much the standard textbook in every SBC seminary. I used it at NOBTS, where on the very first day, my professor pointed out that NO systematic theology book is perfect and that there would be several things Grudem would say that he would challenge and so should we. Despite that, and without nitpicking for only what you disagree with, it is quite an incredible book by a serious scholar - one that has done wonders (with John Piper, I might add) for the Complementarian position. As Baptist we cannot dismiss every book where there is disagreement on a few points. And no seminary textbook written by anyone that any seminary student or professor should agree with 100%. That is how one learns, by studying and critiquing the views of others.

 
At Monday, August 20, 2007 11:31:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

GRUDEM'S BOOK

D.R. said...
Again, anonymous is correct in pointing out that Grudem's systematic theology is pretty much the standard textbook in every SBC seminary.

If this is the case, then it certainly is a reflection upon the scholarship of
Southern Baptists. To think that no SB scholar has produced a work suitable for use in seminaries is an indictment within itself.

Do you find pedobaptist seminaries using texts except those by scholars of their own order?

 
At Thursday, August 23, 2007 1:57:00 AM, Blogger D.R. said...

Actually, Bob, I think using Grudem reflects well on scholarship, given that outside the world of just Baptists, he is pretty much one of the top Evangelical scholars of today. You should actually get out to an SBL or ETS convention sometime and you will see what I mean.

Oh, and yes, pedobaptists do use books that disagree with their views on baptism and they do invite Baptists into their pulpits. PCA folks have actually been some of the most ardent defenders of Southern Baptists in recent years, as the stuggle against liberalism in the 80's and 90's reached a fevored pitch. And of course, until F.A.I.T.H. came along, Evangelism Explosion (written by D. James Kennedy) was pretty much the top book used in Evangelism in SBC churches. So, there's nothing new in SBC churches and seminaries using books that disagree with them in some points of theology.

 
At Thursday, August 23, 2007 8:05:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BOOKS

d. r. said
Oh, and yes, pedobaptists do use books that disagree with their views on baptism . . .

I personally do not know any instance where a pedobaptist seminary uses a Baptist textbook for teaching theology. This phenomena of using another denomination's theology text is only found among some Baptists, to my knowledge.

 
At Sunday, August 26, 2007 12:00:00 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Well, Bob, simply because one doesn't know a fact to be true, doesn't mean it is false. Here are a couple of courses I find online that list textbooks written by Baptists.

http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:LupUjJIYzygJ:www.rts.edu/Site/Academics/Docs/Syllabi/Atlanta/2006-04-4ST502-Intro_Pastoral_Theo_Studies.pdf+reformed+theological+seminary+textbooks+grudem&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us

and

http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:LupUjJIYzygJ:www.rts.edu/Site/Academics/Docs/Syllabi/Atlanta/2006-04-4ST502-Intro_Pastoral_Theo_Studies.pdf+reformed+theological+seminary+textbooks+grudem&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us

Actually, there are several Baptist written textbooks listed throughout the catalog in the second choice (including a few titles by D.A. Carson, whose books can be found all over the Presbyterian seminaries).

Additionally, almost every single Evangelical seminary I know of uses the best commentaries on books of the Bible, despite what denomination the particular author is involved in. Surely every Romans exegetical class should include Schreiner's BECNT and every 1 Corinthians class should include Gordon Fee's work. The practice of using the best commentaries is common across all denominations.

So, Bob I dispute your claim that "This phenomena of using another denomination's theology text is only found among some Baptists, to my knowledge." Everybody seems to use other's theology books. But again, Grudem is not a Presbyterian, even if he doesn't tow the Baptist line. Now, if he starts baptizing babies or encouraging such activity in Baptist churches, then you might have a argument here. So, still SBC seminaries use Baptist theology books as a general rule. And then, as always, professors and students are free to disagree with authors. That is part of the learning process.

 
At Monday, August 27, 2007 10:36:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MAYBE I MISSED IT

d.r. said --
So, Bob I dispute your claim that "This phenomena of using another denomination's theology text is only found among some Baptists, to my knowledge."

I did not notice that you gave the title of a Baptist work that is used to teach Theology in a Pedodaptist seminary. Will you please try again?

 
At Monday, September 17, 2007 2:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob,

Daniel Akin has edited a new systematic theology that will likely be the new standard text for systematic theology in SBC seminaries: "A Theology for the Church."

Much to your dismay I'm sure, chapters are written by both non-reformed and reformed Southern Baptists.

 
At Tuesday, September 18, 2007 11:55:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

O my Akin back!

Anonymous said...
Daniel Akin has edited a new systematic theology that will likely be the new standard text for systematic theology in SBC seminaries: "A Theology for the Church."

I have neither seen nor heard of the book, but I will postpone any dismay until I have read the book and incurred any achin' pains.

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 12:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy it here: http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/eshopping_product_page/0%2C%2CM%3D201079&I%3D080542640X%2C00.html?R=780685

you may find it cheaper elsewhere, hopefully . . . $50?!

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 4:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob + Charles = jerks.

 
At Saturday, September 22, 2007 11:08:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

JERKS?

Anonymous said...
Bob + Charles = jerks.

From all the internal attributes of your comment, it seems rather a certainty that you are are a Pedobaptist, or a Flounder, or a member of some other Hybrid Calvinist affiliation. Right?

 
At Monday, September 24, 2007 1:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bobby said,

"From all the internal attributes of your comment, it seems rather a certainty that you are are a Pedobaptist, or a Flounder, or a member of some other Hybrid Calvinist affiliation. Right?"

I didn't right the previous comment, "Bob + Charles = jerks," but I must certainly ask, at least if not in jest, does that reflect your biblical hermeneutic? That all the folks that don't care for your disparaging commentary on paedobaptists, Founders, or so-called hybrid-Calvinists, must in fact be, paedobaptists, Founders, or so-called hybrid-Calvinists.

Funny, I don't any of those categories, but I do think that your blog is sinfully inflammatory and that it overstates and understates many things for the manipulative purpose of feeding your perspective.

 
At Tuesday, September 25, 2007 10:28:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

OVER AND UNDER

anonymous said:

I do think that your blog is sinfully inflammatory and that it overstates and understates many things for the manipulative purpose of feeding your perspective.

I am certain that when either Charles or I have offered critical or alternative perspectives on specific issues, we have always quoted sources and given references. Some, however, who evidently have not been previously aware of certain teachings which we have criticized have demonstrated that they were not sufficiently informed on these issues, and consequently they presumed that we had made inaccurate statements.

You yourself offer no particular instance of our either overstating or understating on any issue or specific person.

We are always willing to correct any "under" or "over" statements, if we have indeed made them.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home