Friday, November 23, 2007

"Building Bridges" Conference And Myths About Calvinism

Brother Bob Ross recently sent this article to his email list and, as usual, he hits a home run with it. I hope those attending the conference take Brother Bob's words to heart.


I recently noticed the following on Tom Ascol's Founders blog in regard to a Conference on Southern Baptists and Calvinism which is scheduled for the very near future:

Nathan Finn writes about the Building Bridges Conference coming up November 26, 2007 at Ridgecrest, NC. He will be speaking on "Southern Baptist Calvinism: Setting the Record Straight." He is also asking for examples of common myth about Calvinism that people have heard. Click over and offer him your insights as he plans to help build bridges in the SBC.
>> ><

On his own website, Nathan Finn, who is a Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, says:

The title of my address and the related essay is “Southern Baptist Calvinism: Setting the Record Straight.” I will be discussing some of the most prevalent myths about Southern Baptist Calvinists. As I finish up my preparation for the conference, I am interested in hearing from some of you. What are the most common myths you have heard bandied about in SBC circles about Calvinism?
>> ><

I accepted the "invitation" to respond to their request to mention some of the "most common myths" I have heard bandied about in SBC circles about Calvinism. I emailed the following articles to both Nathan Finn and Dr. Daniel Akin, who is President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a participant in the "Building Bridges" Conference, and I hope these issues get addressed:

Or, the Myth That "Regeneration Precedes Faith" Is Calvinism.

Or, the Myth that "Invitations" Are Unscriptural.

Or, the Myth that "Founders Ministries" Represents
the Type of "Calvinism" Held by C. H. Spurgeon

Or, the Myth that the Pedobaptist Idea of "Monergism" is True Monergism.

These myths are some of the primary ones which theologically divide Creedal Calvinists (Confessional Baptists) from the current crop of professed Calvinists who advocate a certain type of non-creedal post-17th century Pedobaptist-contrived Calvinism (Presbyterian, Reformed, the Founders, and some Reformed Baptists). This latter type of "Calvinism" has been promoted by the likes of pedobaptist W. G. T. Shedd, Louis Berkhof, R. C. Sproul, the Banner of Truth Trust, and followers such as the Founders Ministries, James White, Tom Nettles, some faculty at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a number of Bloggers, etc.

What are the chances that these myths will be discussed at this Conference?

Perhaps the most representative body of the latter type of Calvinism is the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Scott Lamb recently examined the statistics of this group of "Calvinist" churches and found that they averaged 1.5 adult baptism per church for the year 2005.

Lamb remarks:

>>A Calvinism that produces only 1.5 adult conversions per church is not something to be proud of. . . . Those who would be happy with 1.5 baptisms a year per church as long as most of the folks who professed membership give continual evidence of salvation, let us repent, for something is truly wrong. I don’t care if you are Arminian or Calvinist - that incredible lack of adult conversion is an indication that there is an incredible deficiency in the call to evangelism and outreach, otherwise known as “The Great Commission.”>> [Thoughts & Adventures, Archives, October 10, 20007, Conversion & Calvinism, Evangelism & Ethics] ><

"I believe, most firmly, in the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic, and I hold them to be very fraught with comfort to God's people; but if any man shall say that the preaching of these is the whole of the preaching of the gospel, I am at issue with him.

Brethren, you may preach those doctrines as long as you like, and yet fail to preach the gospel; and I will go further, and affirm that some who have even denied those truths, to our great grief, have nevertheless been gospel preachers for all that, and God has saved souls by their ministry.

The fact is, that while the doctrines of election, final perseverance, and so on, go to make up a complete ministry, and are invaluable in their place, yet the soul and marrow of the gospel is not there, but is to be found in the great fact that "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit," and so on.

Preach Christ, young man, if you want to win souls. Preach all the doctrines, too, for the building up of believers, but still the main business is to preach Jesus who came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost." [Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 13, Year 1867, #786, excerpts from pages 706-708].


At Friday, November 23, 2007 10:10:00 AM, Blogger Timothy said...

Clicked through on the first myth:

" the Calvinism of Spurgeon and other historic Baptists is not the Calvinism of much of what comes from Founders Ministries and James White."

The mention of James White explains much. He hasn't managed to get the Catholic faith correct yet, even though his sister is Catholic.

If folks can't get the facts about the largest and oldest form of Western Christianity correct, what chance do you think the facts about the much smaller group of Calvanism adherents will see the light of day? Good luck with that!

God bless..

At Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:35:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...


Bob to Charles:

Unless I have overlooked it, Charles, I did not see the name of R. Albert Mohler as a speaker at the recent Akin-Ascoll "Building Bridges" Conference.

This list of speakers/messages is at Lifeway's website, and Mohler is not listed.

Do you know the reason for his absence, since he was one of the announced speakers?

At Thursday, November 29, 2007 2:05:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...


Bob to Charles:

I listened to Tom Ascol of the Flounders on a Christian radio station, and he was asked by a question by a caller relating to John the Baptist and the issue of "regeneration before faith," which evidently was brought up at the "Building Bridges" conference.

Tom commented on John the Baptist, apparently to imply that this case gives a precedent for the possibility for the regeneration of babies before their birth.

If this is an accurate understanding of his comments, then it looks as if Tom has moved even closer to the "Reformed" view of pre-birth regeneration advocated by the the likes of John Frame than even we had suspected.

At Friday, November 30, 2007 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

I don't know what happened to Mohler. I bet there is a story there somewhere. Certainly, many Southern Baptists have wised up to his moving the Seminary away from the doctrinal position of the churches who pay his salary.


At Friday, November 30, 2007 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

You said, Tom commented on John the Baptist, apparently to imply that this case gives a precedent for the possibility for the regeneration of babies before their birth.

I have found that the hybrid/hyper/neo/extreme Calvinists frequently use the "John the Baptist in his mother's womb" text in their vain attempt to prove the prefaith regeneration heresy. Seems like Tom Ascol is no exception.

Certainly John Frame, who Al Mohler invited to Southern Seminary, has no qualms about it. When asked what doctrines must one believe to be saved, he responded by saying, "None. I hold the Reformed view that children in infancy, even before birth, can be regenerated and saved, presumably before they have any conscious doctrinal beliefs."

No wonder the Southern Baptist extreme/neo/hyper/hybrid Calvinists have to have a "conference" to quiet the unrest among Southern Baptists!


At Saturday, December 01, 2007 11:33:00 PM, Anonymous Mick said...

thank u bob for ur expose of the f(l)ounders cult.



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