Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Was W.A. Criswell A "Founders-type" Calvinist?

In reponse to Dr. Eric Hankins' "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation," Dr. Tom Ascol at Founders Ministries is claiming that W.A. Criswell was a Calvinist. Ascol quotes from some old sermons of Dr. Criswell, including one in which he said, "I am a Calvinist."  Naturally, Tom's sycophants have taken up the cause and are blogging about Dr. Criswell.  One sycophant (name withheld to prevent from embarrassment) declared Dr. Criswell to be a "five-point Calvinist."

According to Ascol and his Founder's followers, case closed.

But was Dr. Criswell's Calvinism the same new/hybrid/hyper/Reformed/neo Calvinism that Dr. Ascol wants to use to "reform" the Southern Baptist Convention?

I hold in my hand The Criswell Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, 1979).  Yes, you read it right.  The CRISWELL Study Bible.  Criswell as in "W.A."  The notes on Romans 8:30 say,

An order of salvific events may be deduced from this passage combined with insights from other passages.  The order of events is in some cases chronological, but many of the aspects happen simultaneously, making the order primarily logical rather than chronological: (1) foreknowledge, (2) predestination, (3) calling, (4) contrition (2 Cor. 7:10), (5) repentance (Luke 13:3), (6) faith (Heb. 11:6), (7) regeneration (Titus 3:5), (8) justification, (9) reconciliation, (10) sanctification, (11) adoption, and (12) glorification.

Article Five of Dr. Hankins' statement says,
Article Five: The Regeneration of the Sinner

We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.

We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.
Concerning the order of salvation, Dr. Criswell held repentance and faith to be prior to regeneration, unlike the "regeneration before faith" Southern Baptist Founders Calvinists of today. Whatever Dr. Criswell meant by the words, "I am a Calvinist," his theology was nothing like Dr. Ascol and his Founder friends.

What about it, Tom?  Wanna come out and play?


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At Wednesday, June 06, 2012 9:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just reading this article and I must say first of all, your arrogant spirit toward Tom Ascol doesn't seem to be Christ-honoring (e.g., your closing remarks).

Second, according to the words of Criswell, which you posted, he says that many times the events listed are simultaneous, not chronological. If this is true, then the entire argument on what Criswell thought is a mute point for both sides. Conversely, if chronology does matter, then what do you do with nos. 1, 2, & 3 that come before regeneration? I don't know about you, but at my conversion experience...God came to me first in all his grace....and then I responded in repentance & faith.

Third, on to more important matters, I'm wondering why some who helped put the BF&M 2000 together are now signing this document? One being a seminary president. Very clearly in the 2000 edition it states that regeneration is "a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, 'to which the sinner responds' in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Lastly, I can honestly say that I've never met a Calvinist who didn't believe in free choice. Furthermore, one whose sole purpose was to spread "Calvinism." Thus, to both sides of the issue, Hyper-Calvinists & Hyper-Arminians, thank you. Thank you for helping thousands to gain a true sense of what Jesus faced: unjust accusations & belittlement. I know our Savior is proud at this moment...

At Wednesday, June 06, 2012 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...


Anonymous, hello! (or is that you, Tom?)

I don't know a single Reformed/new/neo/extreme/hyper/hybrid Calvinist who doesn't affirm the "born again (i.e. regeneration) before faith" heresy. I could quote them to you but the list would be so long it would crash Google's servers.

All of them say the order is LOGICAL. Criswell did not believe that. He believed a person first repented and believed, and THEN he was regenerated.

Also, the first LOGICAL item on Criswell's list is foreknowledge. Ask Dr. Ascol what he thinks of that!

Thanks for stopping by, anon.


At Wednesday, June 06, 2012 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Ever Heard Of Founders Ministries?

Anon, hello!

You said, "I've never met a Calvinist who didn't believe in free choice. Furthermore, one whose sole purpose was to spread "Calvinism."

I'm not sure how to even respond to this. Apparently, you are completely unaware of Founder's Ministries, founded by Ernest Reisinger and now fronted by Tom Ascol.

Reisinger spent significant amounts of time trying to convert other Christians to his brand of new/hybrid/hyper Calvinism while the church he "reformed" withered away.

Anyone who would deny this simply refuses to look at the facts.

Ascol is not much better. The main goal of Founders Ministries is to "reform" the churches of the SBC, i.e. convert them to the "doctrines of (dis)grace."

Open your eyes, anon! The rest of the SBC is.



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