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Monday, July 27, 2009

Battle for the Baptist Faith and Message

With the momentous resurgence of Passionate Missionary Calvinism within the Southern Baptist Convention over the last few years, I guess it was just a matter of time before those who oppose this resurgence of Calvinism within the SBC began to question the strongly Calvinistic Statement of Faith of the SBC; the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Peter Lumpkin’s, an often vocal and aggressive critic of Calvinism on the blogs has recently posted an article titled
Calvinists Critique Morris Chapman's Clarification: Part II in which he mostly criticizes Timmy Brister for his critique of Morris Chapman’s (somewhat infamous) comments to the convention this year in Louisville, KY where Chapman felt obligated to (once again) take a broad swipe at Calvinism in the SBC.

Now Peter, who is fast becoming known as an aggressive Anti-Calvinist and Anti-Alcohol “watch-dog” in the SBC, wasted no time in this article in going after Timmy Brister with both barrels blazing. Ironically, or should I say in typical fashion, in this article Peter is guilty of exhibiting toward Brister the exact attitudes he has accused Timmy of having toward Chapman. It appears that Peter is willing to allow himself the freedom to be critical of others in the SBC but would very much like to muzzle all other voices, especially those who speak out against those who abuse their positions in the SBC to advance their personal Anti-Calvinist or Anti-Alcohol agendas.

However, if Peter (who repeatedly refers to Brister as a “strict/stern/hyper Calvinist” and his Calvinism as “skewed”) wishes to engage in this tactic of “attacking” those who disagree with him, instead of debating the issues… well then he should not be shocked when others go after him in like fashion.

But more to the point of this post is something very disturbing that Peter says about the Southern Baptist statement of faith; The Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Now, Peter is notorious for (how shall I say this…) displaying “Extreme Gymnastic” skills in twisting the meaning of the English language, and playing “Fast and Loose” with his reinterpreting the meaning of words, grammar, and sentence structure as seen in his comment below.

“ And, so far as the BF&M is concerned, Timmy wants it to definitively teach regeneration precedes faith. I’ll bet that would be a new one on Adrian Rogers, Jerry Vines, and all the other non-Calvinists who worked on the revision committee.

Personally, I think the BF&M is rubbery enough to include strict Calvinists, modified Calvinists, and non-Calvinists among its supporters. For Brister, however, non-Calvinists and even modified Calvinists like Akin find no support there. It definitively teaches the theological tomfoolery that there exists an animal others have called a born-again unbeliever. ”

Here is what the Baptist Faith and Message actually says:

“ A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It 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. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.”

Peter appears to be reading this portion of the BFM2000 with blinders on, so I will put the part he appears to have a hard time reading in bold print.

"It (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"

That any man, with any degree of integrity, would attempt to tell Southern Baptist that our statement of faith does not in fact teach that regeneration precedes repentance is either a display of intellectual dishonesty, or crude arrogance… or both.

Peter’s strict/stern/hyper bias against Calvinism and all Calvinist is on full display in this article. And this salvo from the pen of Peter Lumpkin is a clear indication that the long war on Calvinism in the SBC is far from over, and in fact a new chapter in this war has just began; “The Battle for the Baptist Faith and Message”.

Grace Always,

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Have Southern Baptist invaded the UK?

Click here to find out…

Even Peter Lumpkins can smile at this news.

Grace Always,

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Passionate Missionary Calvinism – Follow up

For many in the SBC the phrase “Missionary Calvinism” is considered to be an oxymoron and dismissed offhand as pure rubbish. However, the historical fact that Calvinism can lead, and indeed has lead, many young men and women throughout history to become not only Missionaries and Church Planter, but to become “Passionate” Missionaries and Church Planters is undeniable. Yet, for many who grew up in the SBC, having been exposed from the cradle to the rhetoric of such notable SBC Anti-Calvinist as Jerry Vines, this truth seams to catch them of guard.

Still, the fact remains that not only did Calvin preach evangelism his Church in Geneva became a hub for mission activity under his leadership, as can be seen in Ray Van Neste article in the Founders Journal titled: “
John Calvin on Evangelism and Missions” and an article by “The Thirsty Theologian” (you just got to love his Blog name) titled: “Calvin the Evangelist”.

Any discussion of “Missionary Calvinism” would be incomplete with mentioning such Calvinist missionary giants such as: George Whitfield, Charles H. Spurgeon, David Brainerd, Jonathan Edwards, Adoniram Judson, Luther Rice, Lottie Moon, Andrew Fuller, and the father of modern missions; William Carey. Yet, sadly we find that the vast majority of Southern Baptist do not even know that these great missionary men and women were even Calvinist.

Turning toward the New Calvinist of today one would almost need to have their head in the sand not to know that Calvinism has caught fire among the current generation of evangelicals, including Baptist. In an article “
Even at 500, Calvin isn’t slowing down” posted on “The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life” Daniel Burke writes:

"His theology is the hottest, most explosive thing being discussed right now," said Justin Taylor, 32, a self-described Calvinist, and an editorial director at Crossway, a Christian publisher in the evangelical heartland of Wheaton, Ill. "What he taught is extraordinarily influential right now."

Young evangelicals are scooping up books by neo-Calvinist authors, packing churches and conventions led by Calvinist preachers and studying at staunchly Calvinist seminaries. They're blogging their way through Calvin's behemoth "Institutes of the Christian Religion," setting up Facebook fan clubs and opening Twitter feeds.

Many proudly bare their fidelity to Calvinism's "five points" of predestination as if they were stars on a general's chest. Earlier this year, Time magazine served notice that "The New Calvinism" is one of "10 ideas that are changing the world right now."

In other words, Calvinism has moved out of the Puritan meetinghouse and into the megachurch.

The rise of this new “Passionate Missionary Calvinism” in the SBC is perhaps best on display at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where, under the direction of her president, Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., himself a devout Calvinist, we witnessed the establishment of
The Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. If you are still not convinced that this new generation of Calvinist in the SBC are genuine in their passion for missions and evangelism I invite you to go to their website and spend some time reading some of their comments and discovering first hand their heart.

The old, stale, and warn out accusations of the Anti-Calvinist that claim Calvinism kills evangelism and missions have, by the actions of this new generation of Passionate Missionary Calvinist, been proven a lie… and with each graduating class from The Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth that head out into the world to do missions work, those in the SBC who continue say Calvinism kills evangelism and mission only succeed in destroying their own integrity and reputation.
Grace Always,