Friday, March 07, 2008

"Calvinism" and missions


Tom Ascol of the "Founders" says: "The resurgence of Calvinism within the SBC bodes well for our churches and missional efforts."

This statement is in Tom's 3/07/2008 Founders' blog article entitled, Bill Wagner: Calvinists are "less missional."

Ascol is expressing his disagreement with Dr. Bill Wagner's comments on Calvinism in relation to missions, which are quoted by Ascol as follows:

"I have spoken to a lot of our missionaries overseas and its a very strange thing because our missionaries have said that we are beginning to get more and more people out on the field who are Calvinistic in their theology, and it is strange, but those that are Calvinistic are not nearly as desirous of winning people to Christ as they are about talking about theology. So I am little bit fearful, that if Calvinism begins to have too much influence, that we might go the way of some of the other Protestant denominations have gone and that is to deemphasize our missions.

Now, I know of a lot of tremendous missionaries who are Calvinists. But I say, by and large, Calvinists have a tendency to be less missional in their approach."

My personal observation across the years is that those who would describe their theology as "Calvinist" are not monolithic -- that is, what may be the case with one person is not necessarily the case with all others.

For example, one of my closest friends, who would call himself a "Calvinist," was an on-the-field full-time missionary who spent many fruitful years in work in a foreign country, and today, though now having his missions office in the States, he continues to serve full-time as his board's representative for its work in several nations, to which he frequently travels.

But he is not of the "Hybrid Calvinist" variety of "Calvinists." He would have nothing to do with Founders' "Calvinism." Rather, he is a Creedal Calvinist, and has not "gone to seed" on Calvinism as the dominant theme of his ministry. His "ordo salutis" gives priority to evangelism and missions, not theoretical theology which holds to the pedobaptist "born again before faith" idea.

Ascol's comment not only differs with Dr. Wagner's observation, it also seems to even conflict with what pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinist Iain Murray of the The Banner of Truth has observed for many years about "Calvinists" of the "born again before faith" variety. See the article on this blog of February 28, 2008, ARE "CALVINISTS" LACKING IN EVANGELISM?

Murray says, "The Priority which soul-winning had in Spurgeon's ministry is not commonly seen to be our priority." (Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, preface).

Murray is here referring to a specific variety of "Calvinism" -- the Banner of Truth pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism which BT has helped to spread as its "priority" and which the Founders Ministries has had as its priority since it began in 1982. How many churches, for instance, has the Founders Ministries and its Friends established in over twenty years other than those which began as a result of proselytization and splits?


At Friday, March 07, 2008 11:33:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, hello!

Of course the hybrid/ hyper/ neo/ extreme Calvinists are involved in missions, especially with the IMB!

Many SBC churches are leery of Southern Seminary graduates. The graduates from Southern are indoctrinated into the "born again before faith" heresy taught by Tom Nettles and others, and churches want no part of them.

So what's a Southern graduate to do? UPS can hire only so many Southern students and graduates (just ask Timmy Brister), so the others have to seek employment with SBC agencies such as the IMB! "John the Missionary" has posted here before that the IMB hires Southern graduates.

It's time for SBC agencies to stop hiring graduates who believe the "born again before faith" heresy which is not taught in the Baptist Faith & Message.


At Saturday, March 08, 2008 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Rick said...

It is an interesting thing to watch individuals like Ascol position themselves within the baptist community. Sure he is an "uber" (I like that term best Charles) but he is just suave enough to become a force in the SBC.

Since Mohler is out now and Cox will probably be the man after June this means that all we're going to hear from 5-pointers for the next several years is how horrible the world is and isn't it a sin that those in the mainstream are still in charge.

I think it's interesting too that Mohler dropped out after Cox's decision. I think by May Mohler's health should be back to normal. Could it be that he didn't want to risk the possibility of being defeated in Indianapolis?

At Saturday, March 08, 2008 4:56:00 PM, Anonymous Mark said...


Bill has posted a response to this comment in his blog, you can see it here:

Hopefully this clarifies his position on Calvinism and its missional fervor.


At Monday, March 10, 2008 8:25:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Mark said...

Bill has posted a response to this comment in his blog, you can see it here:

Hopefully this clarifies his position on Calvinism and its missional fervor.

I think it needs to be noted that Calvinists are not monolithic. Not all of them have been, or are, of the modern Reformed Hybrid Calvinist variety.

The modern Hybrid variety springs from the systematic theologies of men such as Shedd, Berkhof, and their disciples who advocate the "born again before faith" idea. Whitefield, Bunyan, Carey, Spurgeon, Edwards, Pierson, etc. were not Hybrids.


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