Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Johnny Hunt to be nominated for President of the SBC


According to this blog, Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, will be nominated to be president of the SBC in Greensboro, NC this summer.


The announcement, reportedly made by Jerry Vines as he was flanked by Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler and Bailey Smith, raises questions in my mind that I think are worth a thoughtful conversation.


What kind of person would make a good president of the SBC?
Most of our presidents have been pastors of local churches although we have also had men who have been denominational servants who have been elected. The position has certainly changed over the last 25 years. The architects of what has now become known as the conservative resurgence understood that the appointive powers of the president could be used to affect significant change in the SBC over 10 years of consistent leadership. This made the office a vitally important political tool in the effort to set the theological direction of the SBC. The men elected had to be tough-minded and willing to be unpopular. During my days in seminary (1980s) it was common to have professors and administrators speak disparagingly of the presidents who were elected to further the conservative agenda.


Today we are long past the "takeover agenda." So what kind of person makes a good SBC president? Personally, I still want a person of strong theological conviction to be in that role. I also would prefer someone who understands the real theological issues and practical challenges that are facing evangelicals in general and Southern Baptists in particular. The president should also be a churchman; someone who understands our Baptist ecclesiological convictions and unashamedly affirms and defends them.


Secondly, what kind of process is there--or should there be--for a person to be nominated for president? James Hefley, the conservative chronicler of the resurgence, describes the process that existed before the conservative resurgence began in 1979. He describes an "informal group of SBC leaders who worked behind the scenes" to insure that their man became president. Hefley calls these leaders "SBC Kingmakers." He writes, "These well-intentioned kingmakers politicked in informal but successful ways, to get men elected to the presidency ..." (The Truth in Crisis, 5:17). He goes on to describe how the kingmakers very carefully planned to have their man speak in high profile pre-convention meetings in order to place him in "a very strategic position for election to the SBC presidency" (Ibid, 19).


C.R. Daley, who was the longtime editor of the Western Recorder of Kentucky, admitted this kind of secret process in a famous lecture he gave on denominational ethics July 20, 1984, to a class on ministerial ethics at Southern Seminary. In that lecture, he also admitted the complicity of Baptist Press and most state Baptist papers in this king-making effort. Richard Land, current Director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Council of the SBC said this about Daley's lecture: "Well, I admire his honesty, Clearly there was a conspiracy. There was an alliance of opinion shapers and editors at the Convention who sought to promote certain people, who sought to squelch other people, and to manipulate those who ascended to leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention" (quoted in Jerry Sutton, The Baptist Reformation, 56).


I find this very interesting. Daley admits that the deck was stacked in favor of the kingmakers' anointed man in large part because of the cooperation of the "old line strongly established [state Baptist] papers" to promote this candidate to the people. Could that still happen today? In our age of the internet and rapidly deployed media, could a man not anointed by denominational kingmakers and supported by denominational public relations arms be elected president of the SBC? It is an interesting thought.


Thirdly, is it good to have more than one conservative candidate nominated for president of the SBC? Would that breed disunity? Would conservatives who suggested alternative candidates be seen as disloyal and even playing into the hands of the CBF crowd by denominational leaders? Would having two or more legitimate conservatives candidates provide an opportunity for healthy dialogue about Southern Baptist life--with all its needs and potential? I think it could.


Finally, given that the season for mentioning names as candidates for the SBC presidency is now officially open, who are some other folks that you think would make good candidates and why?


Well, those are my thoughts. I am interested in hearing yours.

372 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

Good thoughts Tom, and I agree with your questions and thoughts. I'm going to link to this over at MBB.

1:16 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Joshua said...

Somebody quick!
Launch: Dever4SBCprez06.com

or maybe his church is too small. . .
But what about Roy Hargrave??

1:38 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger deacon said...

Joshua,
I like your idea for Mark Dever.

Not to get too far off track, but is the rumors true that Hunt is extremely anti-Calvinistic? This is of course leading me to my next question...When is enough, enough?

1:46 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Joshua said...

Deacon:
It's true, "extremely anti-calvinistic" is no exaggeration... His mind is filled with mis-perceptions, straw-men caricatures, etc. . .
But, what do we expect from an SBC prez? I think that's what Tom's post was about...=)

One thing I'd like to see is less boasting about membership numbers/ baptism and more fidelity to true discipleship and a Biblical understanding of conversion. . .
With that criteria Johnny Hunt and Mr. Welch are out the door. . .
Any ideas other than Dever?

2:07 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger The Church Janitor said...

Was Johnny Hunt the guy who, during the last Pastor's conference, declared that everyone is the elect?

2:16 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Pastor Kevin said...

Dever as president? He wouldn't make a good president; there's no way he could lead us to baptize 1,000,000 souls. Don't you know he lost half of his congregation when he began his pastorate at Capital Hill?

In all seriousness, I believe Dever would make an incredible president, an individual that many pastors and congregations would benefit from his leadership because, unlike other SBC presidents, I feel that Dever's leadership would be practical in leading local churches to conform to the New-Testament Church model. Though I'm not certain that he would accept the nomination with all the politics surrounding him (no pun intended).

2:23 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Based on his church's ability to pay their bills on time, I nominate Ronnie Floyd.

Based on the direction the SBC must take over the next 10 years to bring Baptist praxis in-line with conservative orthodoxy, I nominate Mark Dever, and if he won't take it I nominate Dr. Albert Mohler.

Based on my bias toward bloggers, I also nominate Tom Ascol as a straight-spoken, right-hearted man who wants to see God glorified in His church.

Everyone else is a dark horse in my opinion.

2:26 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Tom,

You asked ! I would reccomend Roy Hargrave, Tom Ascol, and Mark Dever. Someone needs to look at the true stats of a local healthy church. You will not find it at Johnny Hunt's church. I'm a former staff member and have seen it for my own eyes. Roy Hargrave's church is a historical calvinistic SBC church. It's healthy in the areas that most of the bloggers on this site would look for. Someone needs to order these recent messages of Johnny Hunt and Herb Reavis at the most recent Real Evangelism Conference held at FBC Woodstock. You can order them at It's A New Day Ministries which supports Johnny Hunt. Hunt and Reavis blasted Calvinistic theology real bad so I'm told. Johnny Hunt was the one bragged on at Southern Seminary that students should attend his conference on the church and shepperding. Our calvinistic brothers better wake up and ask themselves why was Hunt promoted when he preaches against many of the abstract of principles ?

2:36 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Pastor Kevin said...

Scott,
You present a very good point concerning SBTS and them endorsing an individual who could not teach at this seminary, with a clear conscience, because of how his theology doesn't coincide with the Abstract of Principles. It is said that professors must sign the Abstract of Principles, as did the seminary's founding professors, in order to teach there.

And Scott, I was there Thursday night at Real Evangelism. It was, to say the least, sad.

2:49 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

Thanks for your input Tom. I would really like to see another candidate run and be elected. Johnny Hunt is a wonderful guy and has an infectious personality but his theology and preaching are weak. Mark Dever would be a wonderful choice but I am afraid that even nominating another candidate may erupt into a great controversy. The SBC is on edge right now and there are alot of misconceptions floating around. What we need to do is bid our time and wait for the 2008 convention. No one is going to beat Johnny Hunt this year, but we have a chance in 2008. But we need to get behind a candidate that all of the conservatives can get behind. Dr. Mohler would be my choice. He preaches every year at the Pastors conference at Jacksonville and that is a key. No one is going to be elected President without getting the endorsement of that conference.

3:07 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Paul said...

I would like to see us discontinue holding up strictly mega-church pastors as the standard. I think it breeds an unscriptural and unhealthy emphasis on bottom-line numbers that may not be reflective of true church health or spiritual maturity. I'm not suggesting we eliminate mega-church pastors, but after nearly 30 years at what point do we decide that a man in a church not considered "mega" may still be qualified?

3:15 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Nathan said...

While I am not sure that the SBC is ready for a truly Calvinist president, I hope that we might eventually find someone who is at least not antagonistic to the doctrines of grace. In an ideal situation, I am all over nominating Mark Dever, who unfortunately would probably never accept the nomination (or even more regrettably, be elected). In a more realistic scenario, what about a megachurch pastor who is not a harsh critic of Calvinism, like Hayes Wicker in Florida or Kevin Ezell in Louisville?

3:27 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

This is not good news. I hate to be a pessimist here, but who is it that can stand up to Hunt? His doctrine is sure off, but he is loved by everybody. I see him getting 80%+ confirmation.

Has there been enough recent progress within the SBC to put forth a man with sound theology that can stand up to Hunt? I pray so, but I don't think so. But make no mistake about it, we need to rally the troops. Hunt is not just non-reformed, he’s anti-reformed. I shudder to think of what he might start saying when he gets some power.

Dever is my man. Oh, and don’t think Hunt missed taking a shot at us bloggers at the recent ‘surreal evangelism’ conference.

SDG

3:42 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

I see a "free" election in the SBC is still "as free as the Good Ol' Boy" Network wants it to be. This needs to stop. The SBC election is about as free as the Cuban elections. The presidents are appointed and approved with a rubber stamp. There is no such thing as a free election anymore.

Why do Paige Patterson, Bailey Smith, and others have to stand behind these men when they are nominated? What kind of message does this send? Can their nominees not stand on their own merits?

Why are the nominees for SBC President always men from large SBC churches whose numbers are touted as examples to follow?

I would ask, what is the ACP for FBC Woodstock over the course of the past 4 to 5 years? If we are to follow Johnny Hunt's example, then what kind of example are we following? If his church isn't making disciples and church members, why should the SBC vote for him?

For that matter, why should any SBC messenger vote for a person nominated by the men who are supporting him? This cuts both ways? Why should any SBC messenger vote for any candidate for SBC President, no matter who they are and who endorses them?

3:49 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

I would add also:

I personally don't trust Hunt with respect to his trustee nominees. I've heard some of these anti-Calvinism rants and they almost always talk about "certain seminaries" and "certain professors," eg. SBTS and its faculty and the Calvinists at the other seminaries are in mind. I wouldn't put it past these men for them to have an agenda to replace the trustees at these seminaries with a view to "arresting the spread of Calvinism" in the SBC.

Oh, and for the record, I nominate Wade Burleson as SBC President. It'd be poetic justice...plus, he's been president of the OK State Convention. I find him eminently more qualified that Hunt could even hope to be.

3:53 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Nathan White,

You and I are former FBC Woodstock members. I was on the pastoral staff and you were a layman. So, we both saw alot. You are correct that we need to rally the troops. This is a scary thing if Johnny gets elected for president. It's time we calvinistic brothers get moving to confront this. Tom Ascol and Roy Hargrave are my first two picks. I would be thrilled if Dever was elected. Whoever runs against Johnny should right away ask for a debate. Sounds crazy but why not? Let Southern Baptist hear these men. They should debate the doctrine of Salvation, Ecclesiology and other doctrines. I will guarantee Johnny will not do it. He would not discuss the scriptures with me in private. He said " I don't care what the Baptist Faith and Message says or what historical Southern Baptist taught. I'm the Pastor of this church and what I believe is what my staff members better believe." Then I was told that a calvinist could not stay on staff so, they gave me three months. He said this to me twice and that he would not discuss this anymore. The reason why we ought to be scared so to speak is that if I was in error it's his duty as my Pastor to correct me and warn me of error. This will be your President! Whoever will run against him that has even a decent theological mind we ought to get behind him !

4:12 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Wow.

Scott, wow.

Dr. Hunt recently got placed into the "Arminian hall of Fame" over at www.calvinistgadfly.com and it was for those very comments that have been hinted at here, claiming that everyone is elect.

I would love to see Dr. Dever as the president of the Convention. Also, given what I've seen on this blog, Dr. Ascol would be another excellent nominee.

It bothers me to think that Dr. Hunt would get in there, from what I've read about his comments and from the testimony of people like Scott and Nathan.

We need to pray that God would be glorified, that His man who loves His Word and His church, and is willing to submit to that Word and those to whom he must give an account.

May God Reform and revive us and have mercy on us in our time of need.

SDG,
David Hewitt

4:31 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Gene:

Seriously, what do you think? There's nobody here but us calvinists.

4:41 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger slmayes said...

Getting back to Tom's post, the issue at hand here is not about Calvinist doctrine, but about an elitist mentality behind the political machine of the SBC. I would dearly love to see Mark Dever, Tom Ascol, or Timothy George as president. But those men are not "in the loop" of the decision makers. The average person in the pew or behind the pulpit has no voice in the convention - just the same as before the resurgence. Those in power now have become just what they set out to remove.

4:44 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Brian Hamrick said...

I would ditto most of the nominations suggested here.

Any organization that suppresses respectful disagreement is sick.

Someone else besides Hunt MUST be nominated this year. Unity has nothing to do with having uncontested elections- it has to do with attitude- with a loving spirit- we manifest toward each other, EVEN when we have disagreements. Unity has to do with each of us having the Holy Spirit and being in fellowship together- not all being in universal agreement on every issue.


The attitude of the SBC elite is that you cannot, no, you must NOT disagree with our leadership in any way. This kingmaker mentality exists, and it will only continue as long as godly men and women are silent and offer an alternative.

To have multiple persons on the election ballot for president may be termed by some as "controversial," however, I think it is better seen as "healthy."

Mark Dever even talks about losing some votes in his elders meetings and how that is a sign of health- that people can and DO express another view.

Tom, would you accept a nomination? I'm serious.

4:58 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Brian Hamrick said...

That should read:

This kingmaker mentality exists, and it will only continue as long as godly men and women are silent and do not offer an alternative.

5:00 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Tom,

I was hoping to get some of your insight on this matter. Many comments have been thrown around here concerning the Hunt nomination. Comments range from genuine dismay to seemingly fear-based reactions. I totally agree that this will not be the best situation for the SBC as a whole, and even more damaging for the local church. What do you suggest that the individual pastor and local church can do? I am not familiar with Convention politics, but is there anything that can be done for this particular election?

Maybe we can all start educational blogs that don't take an overtly Calvinist or Arminian position. We can probably catch people on both sides of the spectrum with their theological guards down long enough to educate them on the qualitites of a good SBC presidential candidate.

5:09 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger deacon said...

Hey Steve,
Long time no see. I hope your family is doing well. You are right…this stinks of Southern Democrat politics. It reminds me of when I studied Old South history in college, and we talked about how the South Carolina Governorship was passed around by three or four land-baron friends. So I go back to my original question, when is enough, enough? I can’t take two years of this guy going around the country bashing Calvinist.

"I don't care what the Baptist Faith and Message says or what historical Southern Baptist taught. I'm the Pastor of this church and what I believe is what my staff members better believe." --After fighting so hard to change the BF&M, our future leader makes a statement like this? This is unbelievable!

5:12 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

Hey Steve,
Long time no see. I hope your family is doing well. You are right…this stinks of Southern Democrat politics. It reminds me of when I studied Old South history in college, and we talked about how the South Carolina Governorship was passed around by three or four land-baron friends. So I go back to my original question, when is enough, enough? I can’t take two years of this guy going around the country bashing Calvinist.

---And we have a winner! The SBC is run just like the Old South was. Our denominational structure looks remarkably like the structure of the Confederate states, philosophically speaking.

In the 19th century moves to control the denomination this way were rebuffed. Let's take J. Graves as our foil.

After he was disciplined by FBC Nashville, RBC Howell's church, he and his followers declared themselves the one true FBC Nashville and left.

He then used his influence in the Association to overturn FBC Nashville's decision. He then used his influence in the TN Convention to get them to refuse to seat RBC Howell and his messengers.

At the time Howell was in his third term as SBC President. At the next SBC, Graves tried to get the SBC to refuse to seat FBC Nashville. The SBC refused, and seated both Graves and his church and Howell and FBC Nashville. They then elected Howell on the first ballot. They then refused to dismantle the FMB, which Graves and his followers had also demanded. Then, after all of that, Howell resigned as President in the name of Convention unity.

We need men like Howell, not men like Graves running this Convention. (That, Cent, is how I really feel). The more I read of our history and the more I observe, I too believe those who were out of power have now become their old enemies. They decry "dead orthodoxy" from their offices and pulpits, yet they excuse uncontested elections on the basis that their judgment should be trusted. They insist they are not like their old enemies because, unlike them, "we believe the Bible." Uh-huh, then why are you holding fixed elections? If we nominate Mark Dever, Wade Burleson, Roy Hargrave, Al Mohler, Tom Ascol, or another lesser known figure, (or, God forbid a, gasp, layperson (!) )will we find Paige Patterson, Bailey Smith, Johnny Hunt, Herb Reavis, Bobby Welch, or (insert name here) standing behind them? I seriously doubt it.

I think the only way to see a real shift here is to get somebody like Dr. Draper on board. Dr. Draper is for term limits for trustees, and there may be some movement to bring such an idea to the Convention floor in the near future. As much as I decry the "Good Ol'Boy" I also know not all of them get along, and some of them are as tired of these games as the rest of us. It's time to draw a line in the sand and say "You can go this far, no further."

The "war" is over; but some of us have developed a seige mentality. I'd really rather not see the SBC "Revolution" turn into the French Revolution. It's time for a Counter-Resurgence; one that holds free elections, discusses theology openly and honestly, and isn't based on the politics of control of information and the endorsements of a few men who like to pat each other on the back for their large numbers their churches generate, while they can't retain those they baptize and make church members out of them.

5:38 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Sean said...

I would love to see Roy Hargrave as president but that would be a shock to the SBC system. I think it is very healthy to have multiple candidates running who are conservative. I sense that there is a fear among some big time pastors (Jack Graham, Bailey Smith, Johnny Hunt, etc) that Calvinism is sweeping through our convention especially with the younger generation. I recommend we set forth a young pastor from a no-name church who truly is a shepherd (not a CEO) and has regenerate church membership, practices church discipline, and preaches expository messages, and is evangelistic and missional. To top things off, let Him be a 5 pointer, yet a leader in his association in baptisms and evangelism. Better yet, let's elect a guy who didn't even turn in his ACP. I'm afraid that what we truly value is numbers, egos, and megachurch structures, instead of humility, obedience, and faithfulness to bloom where God has planted us. Is there any young guy out there who fits this description? He won't get voted in, but I'm sure he will receive His reward in heaven by the Father--by the way who is the only one we are to please.

5:39 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger bulldawgy said...

The whole mess is truly sad.

5:42 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger David & Rose Ann said...

Dever as SBC president is but a dream, at least in 2006, as is Mohler. In fact, I wager this move to place Hunt in the presidency is a direct yet subtle shot at Mohler by the "texas evangelists", to coin a phrase first uttered by the iMonk. These men can do nothing but stand around and watch while true conservative envangelical, and by and large Calvinist collaboration is happening across the spectrum: Together for the Gospel, Ligonier Conf., Shepherds Conf, Mohler & MacArthur on Larry King, et al. Hunt and group see their turf being intruded upon and have no other response except to shut down the energy as they see it, the energy being the passion for the doctrines of grace as shown by so many younger and middle-aged SBC pastors, laymen, deacons, etc.

The larger, more interesting question is how will Mohler respond to Hunt's nomination and what are his true thoughts on the matter. Sadly I feel that Gene's comments are right about the ultimate goal may be the replacement of trustees at SBTS and other C-friendly outposts has begun.

Is 2006 suddenly a watershed moment or what.

5:45 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Michael Spencer said...

I'm unclear as to why anyone would hesitate to nominate a Dever or Ascol. These men would handle themselves in a way that, even in a likely trouncing, would speak volumes.

Tom's had enough hurricanes. It's time for politics.

5:47 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Calvinist Gadfly said...

Scott,

If that is true of what you said when you were on Hunt's pastoral staff (which I have no reason to doubt), that is most disturbing.

It only demonstrates that the plurality of eldership--not single eldership--is the only Biblical model for church polity.

5:52 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Docsalogy said...

I agree with the sentiment that Johnny Hunt would be an sadly unfortunate choice, not because of his theology, but because of his very immature, intolerant and polarizing comments. A true Calvinist probably would not have a chance in the current climate, but there are godly men who are wise and mature enough to accept those who do not agree with every theological point. Johnny Hunt is too divisive, and frankly, too ignorant of the Scriptures.

5:58 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

"They" already think we're trying to reform the SBC so why not get organized and nominate a candidate?

6:01 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger chad said...

Wasn't there a pastor from a smaller church nominated for president at the last convention?

I'm thinking about going to the convention for the "debate," and the IMB vote, wouldn't it be great to be able to campaign for the alternative candidate!

Perhaps we could get a luxury skybox in the Greensboro Civic Center.

7:19 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Bill0615 said...

I agree that Mark Dever, Roy Hargrave, Tom Ascol, and Wade Burleson would make great SBC Presidents. And I think this year is THE YEAR to begin to take the "conservative resurgence" to its Biblical fulfillment--the commitment that an inerrant Bible is sufficient to teach us that the church that Jesus is building is made up of regenerate members who gather under the authoritative expository preaching of the Word, practicing the ordinances as set forth in the Word, with congregations who are disciplined in both formative and corrective ways.

We need to remember that when Bobby Welch was nominated to be SBC president that a fellow who was spontaneously nominated from the floor of the convention received 30+% of the vote. There is a growing disatisfaction in the SBC, witnessed by the more than 30% who seized the opportunity to vote AGAINST Bobby Welch primarily because he was the latest person ANOINTED by the powers that be.

Mark Dever speaks in chapel at most (if not all) of the SBC seminaries. He speaks at MacArthur's Shepherds' Conference; is engaged in Together for the Gospel, and has a growing influence among young, serious-minded SBC pastors through his Center for Church Reform. In my mind, he is the PERFECT candidate for times like these. And if we can convince less than 20% more (remember, there are already 30+% who have demonstrated that they are ready and willing to vote AGAINST the next person who is ANOINTED by the SBC kingmakers) of the messengers who will attend the convention this year that Mark Dever is uniquely qualified to lead us for such a time as this, then I have no doubt that HE WILL BE ELECTED the next president of the SBC. If this were to happen, then the pump would be primed for Tom Ascol, Roy Hargrave, or Wade Burleson in 2008 to follow in his steps. I suggest that we covenant to pray together, asking the Lord to give to Mark Dever (and his church leaders) the liberty to say, "Yes," to the proposal that Mark be nominated for SBC president this June.

As far as the mega "churches" and their swelling membership roles are concerned--I suggest that we invite them to "play a game" with us. We could call it "name the members for whom you will give account to God on the day of judgment." We could let them go first, and then when they run out of steam after a few hundred names (leaving thousands of their church members unnamed), we could share the names of those people under our charge and talk about their spiritual conditions and how we have attempted to minister to them. We don't need to be intimidated by the mega "church" preachers. Rather, we need to pray for them as men who must give an account. (Heb. 13:17)
Bill A.

7:28 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger JM said...

I know not all reformed folks are cessationists, but a lot are. Mark Dever or Tom Ascol for President of the SBC...you might as well be apostolic holiness if you expect that kind of miracle.

7:33 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Repass said...

What about Buddy Gray? It is my understanding that he has reformed leanings and has also been president of the Alabama convention and (chairman?) of trustees at SBTS. He pastors a large church and (perhaps?) gets along better with the Southern fundamentalist group more than some of the others named here. Maybe there is something big I am missing, but he might be electable. Nonetheless, Wade Burleson is my first choice.

8:05 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger J.D. Rector said...

Tom, you have excellent mind-provoking thoughts! I will vote for Mark Dever if he will run. Besides... I'm already thinking about having a bunch of buttons made that proclaim... "Keep Wade!" and sell them at the convention with the proceeds going to missions of course. Sincerely secure, J.D. Rector

8:06 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

These are interesting comments and observations. My post was not intended to invite criticism of Johnny Hunt and let me discourage any more of that here.

Bill is correct in reminding us that the man who was nominated as an alternative to Bobby Welch in 2004 received significant support from the messengers, despite being an "unknown." The percentage of the vote he received was closer to 20 than 30. But still, considering that he was nominated unannounced, with no campaigning, no pre-planned bus tour and no backing from any convention leadership, his showing is pretty remarkable.

8:20 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Puritan Fan said...

Guys, did Johnny Hunt not have MacArthur at his 2005 conference? That would seem to me to be just a touch odd for someone who were seriously anti-calvinistic. However, in the last year, it seems like the anti-calvinistic "shots" have been fired more frequently from our SBC leadership.

8:23 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Jones said...

We should also consider the impact of a sizable (even if unsuccessful) vote for a solid candidate who might run against Hunt.

If, say, Mark Dever or another solid candidate were nominated and managed to take 25-30% of the vote, this would in itself send a strong message to the powers behind the scenes that significant dissatisfaction exists.

If they are truly so worried about "unity" that they would discourage a "presidential race," then it follows that a vote by a quarter of the messengers for another candidate would be heard.

At best, it might discourage an overtly anti-Reformed use of the office... (hoping against all hope)

8:43 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

I would add that there is no reason y'all should consider nominating only a Calvinist to the SBC Presidency. Just don't nominate an anti-Calvinist. We can all, I should think, work quite well with those who don't share our theological convictions in that respect.

The thing to do, if you wish to nominate a different candidate is to avoid a party spirit. "I follow Hunt! I follow Dever! I follow Burleson!" That makes you look like the Corinthian church.

I'd add also that if you, as a group, nominate a candidate with Calvinism in mind, then you get bet your sweet bippies that this will be interpreted by the anti-Calvinist faction to be an open move to "take over" the Convention, and you can probably be quite sure it will be spoken of in such a manner.

So, with that in mind, I would advise strongly that you consider those whose Calvinism may not be as strict, but who at least truly do understand the value of cooperation under a common banner and who does not seek to undermine genuine theological discussion from the bully pulpit of his church newsletter, evangelism conferences, or any other forum.

The point is to float a viable second candidate in order to send a clear message even if he loses. That message would be, of course very simply that the time for appointing presidents is over or soon coming to a close.

My personal desire is to see the Convention's leadership stop acting as if they and only they are qualified to run the Convention. The way the SBC President is "selected" is very like a College of Cardinals that gets together and floats a name for the next bishop of Rome. This has to end at some point. I find it highly contradictory that on the one hand these men support the war in Iraq in the name of bringing democracy and free elections to the people, yet they turn around and have an election that is just a little more free than the elections in some 3rd world nations.

I repeat? Why is Paige Patterson's, Jerry Vines', and Bailey Smith's endorsement of an SBC Presidential candidate necessary? What kind of message do they think this sends? Why can't we have an open, free election in which two or more candidates are nominated without their approval? It's as if we were sold a bill of goods. We were told the battle in the SBC was over, and most if not all of us here supported it, but why are the generals are acting as if we're still at war?

8:47 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger absonjourney said...

Fellas-
As one of the few non-Calvinists who is reading this, let me say I agree with your worry about Hunt, Patterson, et al and their views on dissent. I may not be a 5 pointer but I work with men and women who are. Doctrinal dofferences are only divisive if you think everyone has to agree with you. That's the real problem here- people afraid of dissent and caring more about conformity than freedom of conscience.
Ryan Abs

8:52 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger hashbrown said...

DEVER!

9:39 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger G. Alford said...

Well, I would like to say that I am surprised but I am not! They have been positioning Hunt for this position for several years… why do you think he has been speaking at every state convention and every conference in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and many other states for at least the last 5 years now and Dever, Mohler, and Ascol have not?

Gentlemen this election was over before it ever began!

But that is not why I am writing… I am writing to say that, not only am I sick of the endless parade of Mega-Church Celebrity Presidents… I am sick of this Banana-Republic SBC Government. You name me one democratic nation where all it’s people are required to travel to the Capital to vote on their next president and when they get there (traveling at their own expense) their is just one name on the ballot? I thought Baptist were supposed to be champions of democracy… what a mockery!

Has anyone stopped to ask why the thousands of small SBC Churches who give faithfully to the CP each year yet cannot afford to send someone the convention are being disenfranchised and denied the right to have their voice heard? This is not the 1800’s anymore and there is no excuse for this practice to be allowed to continue unquestioned. Why not send each cooperating church the correct number of ballots (with more than one name on them) a few weeks before the convention so they can participate in the SBC democracy… let those who wish to still vote at the convention do so, but let all Southern Baptist vote… Or are we still a segregated people… only now it is the big and prosperous churches only who have the privilege to vote and the thousand of small churches are effectively excluded.

Sorry, I am just disgusted and amazed that Southern Baptist continue to do this…

10:55 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Scripture Searcher said...

Denomational POLITICS is one
thing I do not get involved with so I will sit back and read and pray - and laugh and maybe cry.



But be assured of this fact: No person who firmly believes and boldly, courageously, publicly proclaims the great, grand
and glorious doctrines of God's holy, sovereign, saving and sustaining grace as do most (if not all) the many noble contributors to this blog ~ will ever be elected president of the SBC.


Watch and see!

10:59 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger JUSTAMOE said...

If anyone's still posting here after 40+ entries: Someone, please nominate as the next president of the SBC the education minister of a congregation truly making numbers of godly disciples of Jesus Christ following Him passionately to the ends of the earth to share the gospel. The direct leadership of associate staff members, not that of senior pastors, is positively affecting the nation (at least at my church!). Since the position is a figure-head one and 98% of SBC'ers can't distinguish Jerry Vines from Al Mohler anyway, to have a devoted minister of education won't hurt--and possibly would help plateaued/declining congregations by the thousands to refocus on their biblical purposes: getting lost people saved and saved people on-mission with God. After all, we've done what we've done and gotten what we've gotten (see "plateaued/declining" comment above)!

JUSTAMOE

11:03 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

My ballot:

Dever
Mohler
Ascol

I admit I do not know enough about Roy Hargrave.

Multiple candidates may create controversy but for those that feel the aura of an "Good Ol' boy" club needs to be done away with and see multiple candidates as a way to do this.

If this does not work maybe the SBC could accomplish two things at once and just have a baptism contest and the winner gets the nod.

11:20 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Wow again.

We're about to top 50 posts here.

Part of the problem that we have in our churches today is the fact that, although we affirm inerrancy by and large, we deny its effect, or the effect it should have. Permit me to explain.

As has been referenced here, the conservative resurgence has indeed helped us to recover the authority of Scripture -- but it appears to be in name only. That truly bothers me.

If I were to ask the avergage church member in an SBC church today (my church for example) if he or she believes that the Bible is inerrant, that would likely say yes. However, if I were to follow up with a question or two, such as "Great! How much of it have you read?" or "So how has the Bible changed your thinking lately?" I suspect that I wouldn't get the responses that would be consistent with the belief they just espoused.

If we hold to an inerrant Bible that is completely authoritative, then why are we not poring over it? Why do we not desire greatly to understand it correctly and derive all our doctrine from it, rather than holding on to traditionalism, a form of which appears to be the way we are doing things in our convention now?

We might say, "The Bible teaches a plurality of elders," but then, when many of our churches are "single staff churches" we say, "Well, that's just the way we do it here."

We might say, the requirement for preaching is that we "preach the Word" (2 Tim 4:2), but our preaching in our churches is often, at best, loosely based on the Bible, much less being expository, digging into the text and drawing out what God has said.

We claim that the Bible is the only certain for faith and practice, but we deny certain parts of it that we don't like, or find "difficult to swallow," such as the fact that Paul clearly teaches that women shouldn't have authority over men in a church context, or that election really is unconditional, or making statements, as some do, that Calvinism can't be true because of (you fill in the blank), which is rarely, if ever, followed up with Scripture.

All of that said to say this: Our convention, as much as I love it, seems to be very hypocritical in its claims about its loyalty to Scripture. I find it no accident that, when inerrancy was recovered (at least in name) that a lot more Reformed teaching ending up happening at our seminaries. Why? Reformed people are inerrantists, and you are hard pressed to find a true PRACTICING inerrantist who is NOT Reformed, because to be an Arminian and yet say that God super-imposed himself on people and caused the Bible to end up with no errors is a contradiction to their claims of absolute free will! The Bible, if the theological position is to be consistent, would be full of errors. The Reformed person, who gladly and completely affirms that God is total control over everything, even ultimately in control over human wills, has no problem in affirming an inerrant text. This belief is simply a manifestation of God's absolute sovereignty and freedom.

The convention leadership by and larger does not appear to understand this. And, instead of submitting to the teaching of the Word of God that they claim is inerrant, there appears to be a revolt against those people who hold to it most strongly, i.e. Reformers.

We see in our convention, as has been clearly stated by more people than myself in this blog, the same kind of politics that went on before the resurgence. Dr. Nettles was right when he wrote his "Ready For Reformation" book; if this is as far as we go, then the Reformation that began nearly 30 years ago in our convention will not only die, but will go backwards. Instead, we'll claim that we hold to the inerrancy of Scripture and trumpet that claim loudly, but there will be little if any fruit to it in our churches....and I fear, that it already happening in a large way.

Much prayer is required. God is still God, and He will bring glory to His Name. That fact brings me much comfort.

With that said, I close with two things:
First, to God Alone be the Glory in our Convention.
Second, I'll see you in Greensboro, God-willing.

A lowly slave of Christ,
David Hewitt

11:32 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Jones said...

I second genembridges' comment. We don't necessarily need a Calvinist candidate - we simply need one who respects us and treats us as part of the team. Someone who values theology and an open and frank discussion of the issues.

Part of the team, as opposed to being "enemies in our midst." Which is the primary reason Hunt should not be elected - his diatribes against Calvinism make him both theologically and ethically unqualified.

11:41 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Aaron said...

One name that comes to my mind is Hershael York. He recently finished a term as president of the KBC, and he was widely recognized as a leader who brought unity while maintaining strong convictions. He is well-known for his book and conferences on preaching. Furthermore, he was a good friend of Adrian Rogers. I don't say that to try to slip him into the "good ol' boy" club, but I do think his relationship with Rogers makes him a more comfortable candidate to the convention, broadly speaking, than someone like Dever (although both would be excellent presidents). He is a Calvinist, but I seriously doubt that he would be perceived as a "Reformed" candidate seeking to take over the convention. Of course, I don't know if he would be at all interested, or if such a thing would be possible, given his commitments to both Southern Seminary and his church.

12:32 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Stephen A Morse said...

After reading Hefley's volumes on the resurgence, Pressler's, and Sutton's also, I am wondering if we have really moved on. I continue to feel more and more and more distracted by this whole situation. Where are the 'good' politics in Judson's life? Spurgeon's? Paton's? Edward's? Lloyd-Jones? Pink's? As I read history and various biographies it seems as though the politics are all bad. They tend to take our eyes off of the ball. They make everything so diffused and complicated. I don't even recommend Lifeway material anymore. The state conventions seem to be big advertisements for their programs or pep rallies for their schpiel. Associations have become another tentacle by which the state convention controls the organization of the local church.
Now this conversation. What is going on?
I am proud of the SBC heritage. I stand firmly on our historic doctrines but I am losing interest in the inner-workings of the structure.
I vote for Dever.

1:09 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Tim said...

Great comments!

I think one of the big issues that you have hear in the SBC is that it does not appear that any church is actually held accountable for their doctrinal stance. While I do believe in the governing of a local assembly, if you are goign to refer to your congregation as a "Southern Baptist Church", then you ought to believe what Southern Baptists believe and when you stray from that, other assemblies should hold you accountable and even discipline those who are in error.

This is exactly why SBC has to lower itself to political action rather than doing things biblically. In their valiant fight for inerrancy, SBC ultimately took a political approach in its finality to rid the liberals by focusing on money, rather than simply continuing to hold to the truth.

In either case, no matter who is nominated or voted in, there is one sure thing, as believers in the fact that God is truly in control and He is doing ALL things after the counsel of His will, we can thus conclude that even if Johnny Hunt is elected (sounds ironical, doesn't it), that God will use that for the good of His people. To Him be glory!

7:03 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Baptistfundi said...

Why does the president always have to be some famous preacher man? Why not make a faithful Baptist janitor who consistently shares his faith president?

7:32 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Dan Paden said...

...remember that...a fellow who was spontaneously nominated from the floor of the convention received 30+% of the vote.

My own pastor mentioned this, and had an interesting thought: if and when the motion to remove Wade Burleson from the IMB trustees is brought to a vote, it wouldn't surprise him in the least, with such obvious discontent in the convention, to see that whole process lead to Wade being nominated for, and elected, President!

Nothing is inevitable as long as messengers have the vote.

7:36 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Christie said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:49 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Christie said...

I was at the Pastor's Conference, and after hearing Dr. Vines announcement and the applause and amens that followed, I have no doubt that Dr. Hunt will take the presidency by a landslide.

Yet it does concern me. I would like to see a candidate who wasn't quite so hostile towards Reformed theology and who would at least present it truthfully and not slather it with broad, misunderstood generalizations. However, that was a theme among many speakers at the Pastor's Conference and a very disturbing tone within the SBC in general.

7:51 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Because my comment is buried down here at the bottom, I doubt if anyone will get down this far, but here it goes anyway.

What kind of maturity level do we display as a denomination when straighforward debate and two candidates for President will cause us to fall to pieces? Secondly, isn't it a bit ridiculous, even hyprocritical, to avoid such 'trouble' under the guise of false unity? A debate or two candidates would not fracture our denomination, if it is that bad, it would only indicate how deeply we are divided.

So what exactly are we afraid of here? Being slandered because the mean old Calvinists broke up the Cooperative program? That mean old Calvinists wanted to talk about theology on a National level? That mean old Calvinists do not want to vote for a man who despises the Scriptural theology that we hold dear?

9:24 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Burt Harper said...

I have been in the SBC for 4 years. I must say I am ashamed to say I dont know how the process of SBC election works. Guess I have to start somewhere. I must suggest to my pastor that we start teaching this in the new members class, along with letting them know his stance on election(but that is another matter isnt it). Do all members vote? Does each church send a delegate? And if I have a vote, how could I vote on a candidate that I have only a few months to research his leadership abilities? On that note, I would have to hope that my pastor gets nominated. He would be the only one I could trust with such responsibility. His beliefs on election are much like many here at Founders. Unlike my beliefs. I would say that I am a good example of the average General Baptist. Now, how many of you Particular Babtist are willing to put aside your Calvinistic notions and nominate a General Baptist? You may have already done so. Because, I have no idea of the theologies of the men you brethren have mentioned so far.

9:27 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Burt.

For reasons that I've already mentioned, I would certainly prefer a Reformed brother to be nominated. However, like Gene, I wouldn't mind if someone were to get up there who was not "anti-Reformed" and was wanting to engage in theological discussion.

Dave

9:55 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Burt Harper said...

Then you should nominate me brother David. :). Just kidding. It would be more responsibility than I have the character for. Something I continually work on. :). However, that is one of the most important things we must consider. Never promote someone to a position of leadership higher than the position of their character. Hey, I just thought of someone else I could nominate. How about Franklin Graham?

10:05 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

I think that some of the reaction here is a little bit unfounded. The reason that men like Vines, Patterson and Smith endorse candidates is so that we will not return to the days when 3 conservative candidates would split the vote and allow a moderate candidate to win the Presidency. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the moderates and liberals have gone away. I am from Richmond, VA and believe me they are alive and well and would love the chance to make a come back. Hunt is not my first choice for President but there are many who would be a far worse choice. The fact is, he is enmourously popular and will win hands down. I was at Jacksonville and was talking to about 10 Pastors one day and they have never even heard of Mark Dever. if we want to make a difference and be heard we must be organized and we need to stop ranting and raising even more suspicion. Many Pastors in my area are scared of Calvinism simply because they do not know what it is. I am working on reforming our church but it is not an easy process. The SBC will be reformed and we will return to a Biblical view of the gospel but not through panic. Wade Burleson has become a hero on some of the blogs, but we still have not heard from the trustees. On the face i agree with Burleson, but I still have not heard the charges against him. I will wait until I have all of the information before I make a decision. To nominate him for President will do nothing but alienate and isolate us. We should look to 2008 and begin to organize now. First, we need to select a candidate that is actually electable. The only man with the national standing to do this is Al Mohler. We should get behind him. This is awefully pragmatic, I know, but brothers this is, like it or not, politics. Someone should approach him and ask him to allow his name to be thrown out there for 2008. Then we should all get behind him and begin working in our local areas to get churches to understand.

Let me also say this, if we continue to personally attack Johnny Hunt and others we will fail in this critical time. The convetion has had enough of name-calling ect. I realize that there is a good-ole-boys club, but brothers we made this club during the resurgence and we need to accept the responsibility for it. I personally know some of these men and I have no doubt about their sincerity and love for the Lord. I may disagree with their theology but that does not mean that I must dislike or distrust them.

10:10 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger pkinsc said...

Tom, it comes to my mind that Founders has put out a paper or publication, or some helpful sermon on the issue of staying within the SBC through the painful process of long-term reform versus simply leaving. Am I remembering correctly? If not, forgive me, but if there is something that we would all benefit reading or re-reading, can you point us in the right direction? Thanks

11:02 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger dan said...

"We were told the battle in the SBC was over, and most if not all of us here supported it, but why are the generals are acting as if we're still at war?"

Said Gene Bridges above.

The so called conservsative resurgence was never about the Bible, it was about power, pure and simple. In running off good Conservative Baptists, Pressler and the Texas good 'ol boys planted a tree, and you are seeing the fruit. Retaining power requires the enlistment of the "theology lite", dunk a million, megachurch pastors, so that is where your Presidents will come from. BTW, if inerrancy is so important, why did that shibboleth not make it into the 2000 BF&M?

11:05 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger hashbrown said...

The great fear of some with offering two conservative candidates is this; A third moderate candidate will then be nominated in the hopes of winning because of a split conservative vote. If such a senario emerged, ther would be a big push by all the liberal churches to come and vote for that person.

11:28 AM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Benji Ramsaur said...

I think Mohler is great, but I also think he is on such a political hotseat that to nominate him might be cruel. He already has got alot on his plate. I know he's tough and all but I don't want us to kill him.

I think Dever or Burleson would be great. Dever is obviously brilliant (which helps). But I think maybe the most important thing he could bring to the presidency is a love for the local church.

Yes, Burleson is controversial but I'm not sure we should be too concerned about upsetting the people who are against him. He may be the change agent this denomination may need.

Also, I honestly have my suspicions that some of these mega church pastors might be planning to elect their own to root out Calvinism through who they place in key positions.

I think that if the conservatives get upset because there is another conservative running against the one they want, then that is their problem. We all (including myself) need to be big boys.

Mr. Burleson and Mr. Dever. I am sure both of you are humble men, but please don't be too humble (if you know what I mean). If Southern Baptists see a need in the SBC that you also see and are looking to you for help, than I think you might should at least think about it.

1:35 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

The so called conservsative resurgence was never about the Bible, it was about power, pure and simple.

Were you at SEBTS under Randall Lolley? Do you know what kind of theology was taught there?
Did you hear Daniel Vestal say of the Bible, "it's only a book" at the 1999 Convention? I live in a town that hosts SEBTS in Exile, the pet name the former faculty of SEBTS have given to a divinity school they elected to form. About 2 years ago, one of them stood from the lecturn at a graduation ceremony and extolled the blessing it was to turn out openly gay graduates for service in the churches. Let's not forget about the Alliance of Baptists. They formed and split from the Convention not quite a decade into the resurgence. Will you seriously argue they were not or are not composed of real theological liberals?

I'd add that theological conservatives were actively excluded prior to the Conservative Resurgence. So, if the resurgence was about power, so was the activity prior to it. That was conducted by the other side of the aisle.

Perhaps in your neck of the woods it was more about power. In fact, I would say that a great deal of it was about that very thing out in states like TX. However, in NC and VA and those of us in these states, it was most certainly about theology. I was there. I had to sit through the classes. I had to endure my beliefs being made fun of by seminary faculty. I had a campus minister that went out of his way to oppose having my own pastor come to speak at our BSU because he believed in inerrancy. Most of the folks that I read saying it was about power and nothing else usually point to SWBTS under Ken Hemphill. Well, Ken comes from my home church. I know the situation, and, yes, it was bad. I also agree that, compared to SEBTS and SBTS, SWBTS always had a reputation as the most theologically conservative of the "Big 3" seminaries. But unless you were at SEBTS, you really don't know what it was like sitting in classes being told the grammatical-historical method was outdated and defunct and that higher-critical hermeneutics was the way to go or having Reformed theology sneered at in class and a whole laundry list of other such teaching.

BTW, if inerrancy is so important, why did that shibboleth not make it into the 2000 BF&M?

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

It did make it. Prior to the adoption of the revised version of Article 1, the lines: Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy and All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. ...were not there.

The last line:. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ...was affirmed by certain seminary faculty who are no longer at SEBTS and SBTS to refer to an existential "encounter" that is directly derived from neo-orthodoxy. In addition, I have multiple friends who have sat under pastors graduating from those seminaries who have had to stand denials of the truth of Scripture. One of my friends was dismissed from a church a few years ago because he believed in the Trinity and the pastor did not. The pastor won that little fight, and, yes, he really is an anti-Trinitarian. I'm sorry, but when I hear "it was about power and nothing else," all I can think is "You weren't on the receiving end of what I was at that time." When Article 1 of the new BFM was debated from the floor, I believe it was Daniel Vestal that said, "...after all, it's only a book." Why, we wonder did he find the new version of Article 1 so objectionable. If it wasn't about theology, why the big fuss over "Scripture is totally true and trustworthy" and "All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation?"

I agree a lot of good men were hurt. I happen to think Lewis Drummond wasn't treated well, and the trustees at SEBTS tried to too much too soon with him. I've seen good folks treated badly in state conventions too. I was at the meetings when they nominated Dr. Patterson, and I know that no other candidates were seriously considered. I found that to be a power grab. On the other hand, SEBTS did come to prosper under his leadership, much to the dismay of the former faculty.


I do not deny there has been a good deal of nepotism and politicking from the conservative side, but to say it was only about power is simply untrue.

The great fear of some with offering two conservative candidates is this; A third moderate candidate will then be nominated in the hopes of winning because of a split conservative vote. If such a senario emerged, ther would be a big push by all the liberal churches to come and vote for that person,

I think this is a good observation, and I'd add that many perceive the younger group as being too irenic, which is rather sad if you ask me. Maybe it's because we're tired of not having free elections. On the other hand, eventually you have to let a toddler walk or it will forever crawl. One gets the feeling the old guard does not trust the younger generation. Why?

2:04 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Repass said...

Two thoughts here:

First, I take exception to the notion that we should be concerned about a moderate being elected as a third candidate if there were two conservatives running. In fact,I wonder if the SBC president is required to win by simple majority anyway, thus forcing run-offs in three-way races? Even if not, I don't see any evidence that a mod could be elected in the current environment. It would have been a lot easier for them to elect someone back in '94 when Henry ran against Wolf. But the mods were just happy to think that Wolf might not be elected. Furthermore, a little known pastor from a rural church in NC was nominated in '04 to run against Welch. Welch still got 80% of the vote, and I suggest that the 20% voting against him were not mods so much, just folks who didn't want Welch to be elected and were weary of the Oligarchy.Like most of the posters here.

A lot of the mods have left or effectively left the convention. I think a much bigger concern than mods getting elected is the threat of mind-numbed baptist robots always electing the conservative candidate agreed on by ten or so pastors/denominational leaders.

Secondly, I understand why people are tired of always seeing mega-church pastors elected, but it is a bit ridiculous to think we should elect a seminary student or the church janitor or a seminary student who is also a skillful part-time church janitor. Certainly, mega-church is not a necessary qualification, but people want to follow distinguished leaders who have shown that they can handle many responsibilities well. We don't elect city council members as president of the U.S. Many of you probably decide whether or not you will attend a reformed conference or not based on who the leaders/speakers are, yes? Well, I am hosting a Christian conference in my living room this weekend. I will be the speaker in all sessions. I am also leading worship (acapella) and cooking the meals. I am a former missionary and first year sem student, so very well qualified. Hope you will all come.

Incidently, the sound man in my church is probably a great guy, but may not have great speaking skills, or the decorum that we would like to have in an SBC pres who visits the White House. There is one body, but many parts.

Let's expect leaders people look up to for some reason. Not necessarily the pastor of a large church. A good author or seminary prof might be great (Dever, York). Keep it realistic.

3:21 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

To say that the resurgence was not about inerrancy or to not consider the possibility of a moderate being elected is like sticking your head in the sand. I'm from Richmond, VA and I can count on one hand the churches here that hold to inerrancy. The Moderates are trying like mad to take over state conventions and if we think the war is over, we are wrong.

3:33 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Gordon Cloud said...

May a non-reformed SBC pastor speak to this issue?

I personally have no problem supporting Johnny Hunt and will in all likelihood support his nomination if I go to Greensboro.

Having said that, I think it would be very healthy for the convention if we had another candidate. The debate (if it can be done in Christian love (?)) would certainly be interesting and I feel that we would probably get a much better feel for where we are theologically.

It's not really a vote if we don't have a choice.

And now, "Heeeeeeerrrree's Johnny!"

4:41 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Repass said...

jbuchanan,

It is certainly true that inerrancy and the influence of theological liberalism should always be a concern. I realize that Virginia has two state conventions and that there is a lot of strife there. The same is true in Texas and Missouri. But I am not aware of any states with a unified (or maybe I should say "single") convention where the moderates are making headway. In North Carolina and Kentucky, where they still have a decent presence, their power seems to be eroding on an annual basis. And I don't see much evidence that many of them are showing up for annual SBC meetings. I think the 1994 SBC meeting is a good example of how it can work. I just don't believe we have to take whoever is nominated solely out of fear of moderates. There just aren't enough of them at present.

6:21 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Alex F said...

What about Danny Akin? A well liked and respected seminary president who fit in just fine with Mohler et al at SBTS for many years.

Of course, a sitting seminary president (like Akin or Mohler) probably has too much to lose by upsetting the apple cart...

Speaking of Dr. Mohler, I think he probably contributes more to reform within the SBC than we realize.... it may not be the kind of work that leads to quick changes, but it will bear fruit in years to come. He'd not risk that by making a premature dive into challenging the big boys.

6:57 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Mike Perrigoue said...

Wow, indeed. I must admit, Calvinism is new to me. I'm only a little more than a year into my introduction into the doctrines of Grace. Since then, I've been met with suspicion from friends and family. I've been warned about the danger of my thinking (as if it's "mine".) Boy, holding to Reformed doctrine sure has made me an unpopular guy.

7:30 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Alex F said...

One more thought...

The kind of man I would want to lead the convention would be someone who did not want to do it. Does that make sense?

8:34 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

While I don't think he would accept the nomination, I think Voddie Baucham would be a fine choice for president of the SBC. Here is why:

1. He is solidly Reformed, but very popular with men like Paige Patterson, thus he could serve to unity the convention rather than divide it over Calvinism.
2. He has the education to actually speak to the public (a Ph.D with additional studies at Oxford). We really need a President who can actually speak for the convention. Otherwise the media will have to continue to call Al Mohler every time they want a quote. There's a reason those bags are under Mohler's eyes.
3. He's been on the speaking circuit for over a year now, allowing a lot of people to be familiar with who he is.
4. He's not a pastor, but rather an elder in his church, giving him the time to devote to this (if he desires) and yet a perspective that extends beyond the pastorate to all church leaders.
5. He's young enough to have the energy to invigorate a denomination that needs a fire lit underneath of it.
6. His preaching combines expository, apologetic, and evangelistic elements that all pastors should strive to incorporate in their sermons.
7. Finally, he has a commanding presence that is tempored by his friendly persona.

It probably won't happen this year, but Voddie should definately be president one day. In the end, I think Hunt will take it, but it would be great to see a good candidate get about 30% of the vote in the upcoming election. The problem is finding a candidate that will actually want to accept the nomination. If Dever will take it, I think he would be the best choice.

1:31 AM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

Gentlemen:

Well...after reading your comments about Dr Johnny Hunt- I am beside myself. Completely.

At one point, Dr. Ascol asks if you could perhaps change the conversation...

You should have listened. Classic case of the second generation destroying the work of their fathers.

Knowing Dr Ascol and his reputation, I am certain he would be embarrassed by your ruminations concerning Dr. Hunt.

Have any of your grown a soul-winning church like Woodstock?
Do you send out missionaries every two weeks?

Have any of you done ANYTHING accept kill your churches with sermons expounding the Westminster Confession?

Probably not.

I would guess that, unlike William Carey, most guys who are hyper about Calvinism use it to justify your laziness.

I BEG of you- PLEASE bring another name to the floor of the SBC. I would be thrilled to watch that person go down in flames, as we enjoy another conservative who has not adopted semi-Presbyterianism. On the positive side, you can always just "punt" and say it was predestined for you to lose.

And I DOUBT if Dr Akin would like too be joined in with the others listed. He wouldn't fit anyway. He still gives invitations, and attends a church with Baptist polity, instead of an oligarchy.

Johnny Hunt is not "anti-Calvinistic." He is a soul-winner. You do the math. And just because you cannot answer the questions concerning your views of predetermined fatalism does not make his arguments "straw men."

Like Beza, this next generation will ruin what men such as Dr Ascol built. Drawing our attention to the Charleston stream of the SBC is a good thing.

I am proud to say that Johnny Hunt is a Trustee here at Liberty University, and more specifically, a trustee for the Seminary.

By the way- I too found it ironic that Johnny is going to be "elected."

Of course, just like true Baptist polity- ANYONE can be elected- all they have to do is ask-

For Amyraut:

ergun

2:18 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger deacon said...

Alex F.

I am not sure sure if I want someone to lead who does not want the responsibility themselves. Remember that E.Y. Mullins didn't want to take the position SBTS in 1899 or 1900, and to be honest, I don't think anyone else here would have minded if he hadn't. Just a thought.

2:20 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Dr. Caner:

Welcome to the discussion. You shouldn't feel timid, however, to state exactly how you feel. No need to hold back! :-)

Overlooking, for the moment, the tone of your comments and the unjustified accusations, you raise many issues that beg to be discussed further. I will limit my response to only a few.

What do you mean by "semi-Presbyterianism?" Is it the same thing that you mean by "oligarchy?" If this is a reference to elders, are you suggesting that the presence of recognized elders in a congregation violates Baptist polity?

From what I have heard him say, Johnny Hunt probably would not want to distance himself from being identified as "anti-Calvinistic." You state that this is not the case. Are you suggesting that his concern is not really Calvinism as a theology but with the lack of evangelism that he perceives goes with Calvinism?

You issue the challenge: "You do the math." Actually, I have. And it is, at best, mixed, from the vantage point of those of us who are genuinely committed to Baptist ecclesiology.

Why do you think that calling attention to the "Charleston stream" of the SBC is a good thing? What other streams do you identify as making up the SBC river?

Are you really "for Amyraut?"

I will stop with these. But let me note that the kind of taunting that anticipates being "thrilled" at watching a fellow Southern Baptist "go down in flames" in a presidential election is simply not helpful either to further theological dialogue or to the kind of unity which I believe conservatives can have in the SBC despite our differences.

Thanks for joining the conversation. I hope we can continue it.

3:25 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Tad Thompson said...

Mr. Caner

I agree with you that bashing Mr. Hunt is not appropriate to the conversation. But is it also appropriate to label those fellow baptist who are reformed in their theology in the way you have.

I am a reformed baptist, but am by no means presbyterian. Is this how you view Dr. Mohler? The man who is one of the only truly articulate voices in our convention, who can actually go on TV, give a clear and concise argument, without turning off everyone. How brilliant can it be to say that 9/11 was the fault of the homosexuals?

Guess what Mr. Caner - most of us give invitations in our churches, preach the gospel passiontely, and desire a healthy church. The last time I read Scripture, it is Christ who builds His Church, not any man. To suggest that one has to "build" a mega-church to have credibility is insane.

You guys in the power-circles of the SBC need to understand that there is a large contingency of conservative, reformed, southern baptists who are very passionate about evangelism and missions and are sick of pseudo-church growth practices. The mega-church movement has not made a dent in the demise of our culture. They are giant sheep-shuffling factories that create more false conversions than true ones, by using weak evangelistic pleas to pray a prayer to recieve your "Get out of Hell free card," dunk em in the tank, count the numbers and never see them again.

There is great power in large numbers. Mega-churcehs have a great opportunity to build the kingdom, but too many times they are building their own kingdoms. One Church in two, three, four locations with pastors live via satelitte, equipped with body guards, bullet proof suburbans, and armani suits - this must be what the New Testament writers were thinking.

Tad Thompson
Reformed, 5 point, evangelistc, and missional pastor of Harvard Avenue Baptist Church in Siloam Springs AR.

3:47 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Dr. Caner, I heard you speak at Southern the first time I visited the campus and really respected you afterwards. All you did for the first ten minutes was express how wonderful the faculty was and how honored you were to be there. After reading your comments I have lost a great deal of respect for you. Was all of that just lip service you were paying Dr. Mohler for allowing you to speak at Southern? After completely mischaracterizing and stereotyping Calvinism, it seems clear that your "respect" for Southern Seminary (and the Reformed tradition in which it resides) is not as true as you made it seem to the students to which you spoke.

While I think you have an honest point in suggesting that many have been ungracious in how they spoke about Johnny Hunt, you completely ruined your prophetic voice by not extending the same grace that you so firmly demanded for Johnny Hunt. I am dissappointed that someone who teaches theology at a major Christian college and Seminary is willing to flippantly call men like John Piper unBiblical (as you did in your letter regarding the IMB policies posted on Dr. York's site), while demonstrating a lack of understanding his (as well as all those within the Reformed camp) theology. My hope is that you will take your respect for the few Calvinists that you seem to mention in high regard (like Al Mohler and Dr. Ascol), learn from them to move past stereotypes and caracatures, and extend that respect and understanding to those that you have mischaracterized here.

3:51 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Tad Thompson said...

Mr. Caner:
I forgot to mention that I am a SBTS grad and current EDD student. Most of my profs are 5 pointers, and are not pre-trib. I guess this means we are liberal or maybe just presbyterian.

3:53 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Alex F said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:54 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

By the way Dr. Caner, your church history seems to be lacking, evidenced by the name you have chosen for your blog. Here is a link you should visit. And you don't even have to pay $350/hour for the education:

http://www.challies.com/archives/001318.php

4:01 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Alex F said...

I removed my post because I posted in anger. I was (and am), dare I say, completely beside myself.

I'll just say I agree with DR Randle.

4:04 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

Unfortunately Dr. Caner proved the point that was made above.

He was unable to join in conversation without tearing down those with whom he disagrees.

It was slightly amusing to see the condescending tone Caner took about how Hunt was talked about...only to go far beyond that in his statements. His shoes are laced with irony.

But thank you Dr. Caner for convincing me even more that it is not about having honest and open theological discussion...it is about winning (or seeing your opponent go down "in flames", as you put it...very loving response).

But good job, your comments might have won you enough points to one day become the SBC President. You have 2 tenets down: you bashed Calvinism, and you came off as arrogant and condescending....all you need now is to baptize a bunch of unconverted people and you are in like Flint.

4:38 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Dr. Caner,

I have a few questions that you might like to answer in public. Before I ask my questions there are a few facts that need to be pointed out to you. 1. It's not the Westminster but the 1689 Baptist Confession that true Southern Baptists upheld in 1845. 2. Please study the difference between Hyper and traditional Calvinism. Please read John 6, 10, 17, Eph 1,2, Romans 8, 9, 10 and I could go on. 3. As a former staff member at the mega church level( At our Soul winning churches) I could shame some of your friends in a way that really needs to come out.Do you really want to talk and compare these churches on true bibilical health? I'm ready! I have got the stats ! Should I expose some of their behavior privately ? Should I get former staff members of these churches who are not even Calvinists to come clean about the abuses of some of these men who we hold in high esteem? Our convention needs to know about these things if we are to really know what were getting since we are going to go down in flames as you put it.4. Do not attack my brothers about their concern for the glory of God in Salvation and His church !

Questions:
1. Would you and your group of leaders be willing to sit down with open Bibles and discuss theological matters and practice with us(calvinistic brothers) ?
2. Baptist history is full of ministers openly debating theological issues" Face to Face". You, Johnny, Jerry Vines, etc... Will you do this? If we are so lazy but are willing to do this " How about you guys"? Let's do this at the Convention ?
3. Really, Can you honestly say you have really studied Baptist history concerning these issues of polity and theology ? Your comments tell me there is no way you have. I'm not trying to be ugly!

One last statement/Question: You would admit that the last 60 yrs most of the SBC pulpits have been led by men who are anticalvinistic, right? If what you have been preaching is the pure gospel then why do 37% of SBC members attend on any given Lord's Day ? And that's counting children who have to go with their parents and visitors so the number really is lower. Also, how about all the rebaptisms that go on ? If the SBC is so healthy why do we have to do have all these campaigns to motivate people to share the gospel? If they are converted then why do we have to put on Dog and Pony shows to get people interested in doing this? So, the pulpits are hardly filled with Calvinistic men so, then who has been responsible for this poor health in the SBC ? Calvinists? No ! In closing, almost all your conferences such as Real Evangelism I never hear you guys take the Bible and do an exposition on how the doctrines of grace are Bibilically wrong. What you do is scream and yell and you brainwash thousands in believing that Baptists are not historically Calvinistic and we kill evangelism. Again, who are in majority of our pulpits ? As a former mega church staff member I'm tired of the lies and abuses of you guys! Lay off these great men that love the truth that blog on this site.If these men on this blog knew just half what I and others that have served in these megachurches have seen and heard they will understand why I'm so hard on you guys !

5:40 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Come on guys, Dr. Caner is just trying to get a rise out of us. Respond like Dr. Ascol - with questions that serve to point out the ridiculous nature of his tone and comments.

6:27 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Craig Lee said...

Dr. Caner

I am not sure you are the same Dr. Caner I have held in high esteme since hearing you first at Real Evangelism several years ago. I was encouraged to read your comments by another blogger on another blog. I must say they do not sound as words from an SBC leader! Even if you are attempting to agitate I don't believe that is conduct becoming a leader. It severely deteriorates your character and for that I am saddened.

You may disagree with others but to completely pass them off as hearsy and then to speak about enjoying watching another brother in Christ "go down in flames" really hurt.

There is a possibility that you responded before allowing your anger to subside. I didn't read all the comments about Pastor Hunt, however we must be careful not to allow our anger to cause us to sin.

I would never attempt to debate you, not in the same league and feel humbled at the opportunity to respond to you, however I cannot help but lose some respect for you, not because of a difference of belief, but how you handle yourself. I pray you hear this admonition and consider the honorable thing by repenting.

God bless you.

Craig Lee

6:47 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

This whole thing has turned rather ugly in a hurry. I think maybe we should all sit back and catch our breathe and be careful about what we are saying. I am surprised by Dr. Caner's response and actualy rather repulsed by it. But I do think that maybe we should be more gentle with Dr. Hunt. I may disagree with his theology but I do think that he is basically a good guy.

7:17 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Jason E. Robertson said...

OK, I am holding out for now that this Dr. Caner is an imposter. I can't imagine that someone in his position would go on record with such comments... especially on the Founder's blog. This can't be the real Dr. Caner. Tom, have you confirmed this?

By the way, I would vote for any of the Ascol preachers, Dever, Mohler or Bret Capranica, just to name a few.

7:18 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Timmy said...

I can't help but wonder what Mr. Caner is asking for when he pulls a stunt like he did in his last comment. Personally, I think if we address his inflammatory comments we will be giving him more credibility than he deserves. He did this with the IMB issue, and now he has done it again. Let us not get distracted and get tangential. Mr. Caner is not the issue . . . nor is Mr. Hunt. The future of the SBC is what this is post is about - a future much bigger than the both of them.

While anyone has the right to voice their opinions, as Tom has said, his comments were not constructive in any regards, either to this post, the denomination, or the future of the SBC. Rhetorical flourishes only stand when reality undergirds it, and when the emotions die, so will Mr. Caner's comments.

7:31 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Gentlemen:

As the lesser Caner, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my brother demonstrate through hyperbole and absurdity what this certain blog is all about. Like Luther taking Erasmus to task (quite ironic in this conversation to say the least), you have bought into my brother's sarcastic denunciation lock, stock, and barrel (I believe Luther called Erasmus a "schoolboy" for doing so). It is quite amazing that only two of you (including Dr. Ascol) even caught this stategy.

On the other hand, the others had such serious and mature responses as "I will tell on my former staff members" and the always wonderful ad hominen attack, "You don't know your history." Regardless of the fact that my brother and I have written two Baptist History books (which can stand by themselves in terms of their academic acumen), we are also in charge of editing the new Dictionary of Southern Baptists. I guess that should make a few of you necessarily nervous...

Though I wish I could respond to such stunning retort, allow me instead to give a few recommendations:

1. PLEASE keep writing in the same genre as you are. This fodder is great for my Baptist History classes. I will gladly read your personal attacks of Johnny Hunt in my class to illustrate this great blogsite.

2. PLEASE keep referring to Southern Seminary as the Calvinistic seminary. I am sure Dr. Mohler will greatly appreciate you running off the non-Calvinists who are looking at potential seminaries.

3. PLEASE continue arguing that there was only one stream of Southern Baptists at the beginning. It is also helpful to me as an historian to have those who disagree with basically every textbook in existence. It is evermore beneficial since even Dr. Mohler refers to the two steams that have flowed since the beginning of SBC life (see his comments at the 2005 convention when posed by a messenger).

In the end, one must wonder what you wish to accomplish by attempting to elect a Calvinistic SBC president. As someone who has signed both the Abstract of Principles (I taught at SEBTS for six years) and the BFM 2000 (both at SEBTS and SWBTS), here are two questions for which I would appreciate an answer:

1. How many points does one need to have to teach at these two seminaries?

2. And, if someone holds to less than those points, should they be fired?

In the end, what is most lacking in your discussion is a lack of humor. Your responses better reflect a Dr. Phil show than the enjoyable (yet hyperbolic) arguments of Dr. Luther.

Elected because I selected,

Emir Caner

10:03 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Dr. Caner I believe you made a mistake in the accusation that these commentors are weekly expounding the Westminster Confession. I myself prefer the 1689 London BAPTIST Confession. Which in my opinion is slightly more Calvinistic. I am sure most of the commentors would prefer that one as well.

10:16 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

Gentlemen:

By way of full disclosure, Dr Ascol has become a man to whom I turn. He and I shall be working together for balance, in the Founders-related articles, for the Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists.

I tell you this, not to shine his apple (he does not need or desire that), but to simply let you know the preliminaries.

To Wit: The gentlemen who blog here can NOT have it both ways.

You cannot simultaneously tear down a man who has built an amazing church, and then whine when the darts fly your way. I sense a lack of humor among many 5-pointers.

Now, to the points made:

1. Charleston vs. Sandy Creek- yes, Dr Ascol. I am decidedly and proudly Sandy Creek- where "elders" meant "preachers," and "wives of preachers." It embraced aggressive evangelism and church planting, a contemporary and rustic form of worship (for its day), and a call for decisions.

2. For those who disagree with the "two streams" view, I simply point you to Dr. Mohler's presidential address last year at the SBC. It is not too difficult to ascertain that, if as you state, my church history is lacking, then I stand in good company.

3. I am Amyraldian, in the clear purpose of stating, as Moise did, that Beza changed- substantially changed- the Calvinistic stance at Geneva. The creeping Scholastic Calvinism that made "predestination the head of all doctrine" (Synod of Dort) was certainly not the only note given in Calvin's sermons. I reference the work of Dr. Kennedy in his dissertation. He is now a professor at SWBTS.

4. Now, to turn my attention to the critics- I must say, I rather agree with many of you...

* $350 is too much to charge for a credit hour. I want to change that at LTS.

* Charged with Trail of Blood leanings? Guilty. I am personally closed communion. My wife is not. I have never taken the LS from anyone who was not my pastor, as a matter of local church discipline. I stand in the line of the Dissenters throughout history who wanted a free church- not a Roman theocracy, and certainly not a Geneva theocracy.

* Lost respect for me? Interesting- I have never- and I mean NEVER- made my anti-5-pointer stance a secret. I make a point of it, and certainly my sermons on "Piper-Calvinists," and "Wilted Tulips" are loud and clear.

* I am not a Puritan- I am a Pilgrim. John Gill would have had me flogged for being an unlicensed preacher. Killed for refusing to baptize my sons as infants.

* One blogger referenced hearing me at the Real Evangelism Conference. What in the WORLD were you doing there? Was Begg not lecturing nearby? Was Sproul out of town?

* I do not think of five-pointers as liberals. I will, however, state firmly: Five-point Calvinism is a VIRUS. It saps the evangelism of every church it infects.

* I will readily admit the excesses of my Baptist brethren brought this about. The "come on down and fill out this card and you are secure" stuff is an embarrassment. However, in a classic over-correction, you now have guys who refuse to give invitations, for fear of insulting God's sovereignty. You have others who have been fired by the elders they installed, when they surrendered their mantle.

* As for praising SBTS, I do think you are confusing the faculty of SBTS and the school itself. I doubt if Dr Mohler would be thrilled with some of the things being pushed these days among you- That would explain why he distances himself. He does NOT want to become the "Reformed SBC Seminary." He is also a personal soul winner, as we have seen. I meant what I said at SBTS, and stand by it. Many of your profs have had a profound effect on me- Jim Parker, Thom Rainer, Danny Akin.

* I do not feel that Baptists sprung from the ground in 1640. Neither did John Smyth, who copied his First London Confession from the 1580 Waterlander. Neither did his wife, who returned to her Anabaptist church after his death.

* As far as getting the unconverted down the aisle, I would rather have that than unbaptized preachers.

* To that end, I will say this publicly about Dr. Piper- at least he is intellectually consistent- Since he now allows pedobaptism into membership, he is following the direct line. THAT is the Semi-Presbyterianism. You have fun calling us "Armenian," even though none of us believe in losing salvation. Enjoy the title. I assume the "Half-Way Covenant" is not far off?

Regardless- I will not take stands based on garnering the respect of individuals. I am at Liberty- which interestingly enough, is becoming more SBC than most SBC schools I know. I have transitioned our faculty- over 80% are card-carrying Sandy Creek, street preaching, invitation-giving profs.

* I still have a long way to go- I am premillenial and pretribulational, but not dispensational. I stand with Israel proudly- and do not "replace" them. I stand in the free church tradition, not a theocracy. And finally- I am neither Armenian nor Calvinist- I am BAPTIST. A radical reformer, in the Anabaptist heritage.

The only thing Baptists have in common with the Magesterials is that we were hunted by them.

I must run- Dr Falwell wants me to comment on the sexual tendencies of the Muppets.

10:20 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

A couple of final notes:

1. Dr Ascol, I do enjoy the rhetoric and give-and-take you allow. This has been the one bright spot in a week fraught with bureaucracy and meetings.

2. To the bloggers- having read my brother's insights- it just struck me. One thing you fear, as stated by the one immediately before my comment, is actually taking place. An entire generation of professors and SBC bureaucrats who are general atonement fanatics.

3. Is this our next take over? Nah. Dr. Patterson has other matters to take his time. I do find it interesting that so many of you fatalists would jump to the defense of a Pentacostal movement. The only thing you have in common is what I call the BARNACLE PRINCIPLE- charismatics and calvinists creep into vibrant churches and attach themselves. They do not grow their own movements- they attach themselves to others.

4. I do think that we found a common ground however- we all fear the future of the SBC, after this generation rides off. One thing I do NOT want is my leadership to be a succession of "pretty boys," regardless if they do agree with my position doctrinally. I keep running into these guys who get manicures, wear $3000 suits, and "leap-frog" from one church to a bigger church. They never grow anything- they just inherit. It drives me crazy. They steal sermons, yell a bit, do no exposition, and couldn't find Haggai in their Bible with tabs. I do believe we agree on that point. It worries me to no end. For SBC presidents? I look for guys with blood and mud on their shirts-

To me, Johnny Hunt fits the bill perfectly.

10:37 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

TROLL ALERT!!!

This is not Caner.

I don't think Caner is that ignorant of history, (i.e. John Gill having him killed for not baptizing his infants?), or current events, (i.e. Bethlehem allowing paedo-baptism).

He also has trouble spelling.

It can't be Caner.

10:57 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Chuck said...

Oh, and for the record, Bethlehem Baptist does NOT allow pedobaptism. It was an issue that was raised but then later dropped before coming before the church to be voted upon. I'm not a Piper apologist, I just like to see truth spoken.

11:12 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger joethorn.net said...

The spelling, and the comment about Gill threw me too, but Piper and the elders did attempt to move Bethlehem to accept those into membership who were baptized as infants without requiring baptism by immersion.

11:16 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Boy! Brothers Caner, together on one blog For Doxoblogist: my best paid redaction critics have confirmed the authenticity of their comments; granted, some of the vocabulary used by the early Ergun have much in common with Q and have been attributed to psuedoergun by a few Canerologists, but there has been ample refutation offered by later, more respected critics, offsetting these claims. For the purpose of this blog, all quotations attributed to a Caner will be assumed authentic.

First to Emir, the self-professed, "lesser Caner:"

I fear that you have fallen prey to the very mistake that you attribute to the contributers here. You missed their aburdity and hyperbole and bought into their sarcastic denunciations hook, line and sinker. Don't feel badly, lots of people fall for that old trick.

I, for one, am delighted to know that you believe that election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life--not because of foreseen merit in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ--in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified, although I am not quite sure how that makes you "elected because you selected."

Thanks for plugging this blog with your students. I am glad I can help you with your classes!

Now, Caner the greater:

I am glad to hear you identify yourself as "proudly Sandy Creek." That means that you and I have more in common theologically than either of us probably assumed. May I now tell folks that you agree with the Sandy Creek Association's original statement of faith? I also did not know that you described yourself as an Amyrauldian.

I have never suggested that the Sandy Creek tradition did not significantly influence Southern Baptist origins. What I have objected to is the assumptions and historical misrepresentations of that tradition as somehow being anti-Calvinistic. Fortunately, many primary documents are extant and so those widely accepted--and propogated--lies can easily be debunked by anyone who wants to know the truth.

You need not fear any persecution from John Gill. He was a Baptist--perhaps the best-known Baptist of the 18th century and the predecessor of Charles Spurgeon in London. You are not the first anti-Calvinist to mischaracterize him. Given his strident publications against infant baptism, your fear of being put to death by him provides a little comic relief to this discussion. Old Dr. Voluminous himself is probably laughing in his grave.

Another note, for future reference: Piper's church does not now allow paedobaptists into membership. At the recommendation of the elders (pardon my use of that good Baptist word), they have tabled that issue for further study.

I don't see anyone jumping to the defense of the Pentecostal movement. Rather, I see them coming to the defense of integrity and honesty amongst trustees of the IMB.

I believe that freewillers of your stripe and historic Southern Baptists have much that we can agree on to work together for the spiritual health of our convention. We both are alarmed at the high rate of false conversions produced by Southern Baptist evangelism. We both are concerned with the lack of discipline in our churches. We both are concernced about the cultural captivity of the church. We both want to see the Gospel preached in power here and around the world, to the genuine conversion of innumerable sinners. We both, I presume, genuinely want revival to sweep our churches and country.

I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge the problems that we both see in to many sectors of our SBC world. Let's hold our respective convictions fearlessly and be willing to be ruthlessly biblical with each other as we seek to address them and call for renewed spiritual vitality as the Lord gives us light and power.

11:32 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

I am beginning to suspect some impropriety as well in these last comments. The actual words "Dr. Caner" used about Bethlehem were "Since [Piper] now allows pedobaptism into membership, he is following the direct line." Surely Caner knows that this proposed change was not accepted by the membership. Also, I mentioned above about $350/hr (as a joke I just tossed out a number), but the Seminary actually charges only $185/hr and besides that I have never heard a dean trying to get a school to reduce the cost of tuition (calling it "too much"). Finally, "Dr. Caner's" reply to my statements about his trip to Southern show he either wasn't there or is very forgetful about what he said, which was that Dr. Mohler had assembled possibly the finest theological faculty in the country Additionally he would know that Dr. Mohler does not try to separate himself from the Calvinism of SBTS, but rather seems intent on continuing to bring in solid 4- and 5-pointers into the theological faculty (something that was not done at SEBTS, despite the use of the Abstract at both institutions). I just am not buying it. I think someone needs to contact the Dr.'s Caner and see if they are posting. I suspect now it is not them. If it turns out to not be so, then this was a rather tasteless joke. If it is indeed them, then we ought to get more serious about devoting ourselves to prayer for our divided convention (the clash of theological framewords currently taking place in the SBC would be worse than at least I -- and most others -- could ever have imagined).

11:48 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

TO ALL:

Troll alert?? Now THAT made me laugh.

No- I assure you, it was no troll.

Emir and I have in fact been posting on this site- I do not have any way to prove this, except to say I received an e-mail at my website, from Scott Hill, asking me if it truly was me. "Scott Hill [chiefmusician87@yahoo.com]"

As for the poor spelling- guilty! Attempting to type with a fifteen-month old son in one's lap does not help either. My Mac does not have a spell-check embedded in this blog site, but I shall be more careful.

Now, as for your comments-

1. Puritans and Infant Baptism as LAW-
Henry Dunster was fired as Pres. of Harvard (lamented by Mather) after his believer's baptism. Between 1642-1649, Baptists were arrested in Salem, Mass for not baptizing their infants. Obadiah Holmes (following John Clarke as pastor in Newport) was imprisoned and whipped in Boston for preaching against infant baptism. This was not carried out by the RC. This was Puritan.

2. On the Bethlehem/John Piper issue, I refer you to the September 14, 2005 elder's resolution he posted (http://www.desiringgod.org/library/fresh_words/2005/091405.html). It speaks for itself.

3. The motion reads: "Amend the Constitution and By-Laws to make it possible for some persons to be admitted into membership who are not baptized as believers by immersion. The situation we have in mind involves those who are convinced that their being baptized as a believer would violate their biblically informed conscience, since it would be seen as a repudiation of their infant baptismal ritual or their sprinkling as a believer."

4. He further clarified his position on October 12, 2005 (http://www.desiringgod.org/library/fresh_words/2005/101205.html)

5. At the time of the vote, the motion was, in fact withdrawn. However, here are Dr. Piper's own words, from his annual report to the church:

"Baptism and Membership
As the time for a vote drew near in
December, several elders changed their minds on the issue, and the Council thought that the
differences of viewpoint on the Council were significant enough that to move forward at this time
was unwise. The motion was withdrawn at the annual strategy meeting.

This was a personal disappointment to me. None of the arguments brought forward to oppose the
original motion of the elders seemed compelling to me. I spent as much time as I could answering
them. I remain persuaded that it is a more serious mistake to exclude a regenerate person from
local church membership than to admit someone whose practice and understanding of baptism are
defective but not undermining to the gospel." http://www.bbcmpls.org/

6. Simply put: he sees infant baptism as a plausible position.

11:59 PM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

I just checked out Ergun's profile.
Hilarious link!!!

Dr. Ascol says it's really you, so I believe him. Calvinists are known for truthfulness.

12:04 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

I indeed did email Dr. Caner to see if it was really him. Unfortunately for us all it is no imposter.

SCOTT HILL

12:08 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

ONE FINAL WORD BEFORE SLEEP:

If in fact, Dr Ascol, these posts are somewhat "insider" and "tongue-in-cheek," then I believe I can sigh with relief.

On the common ground- I agree. I also despise false conversions, given for the sake of reporting numbers, bloated bureaucrasies, and plateaued churches, self-satisfied.

I would hasten to add, I weep over my generation's obsession with technique over theology. Herein is an irony:

I have been attacked by SBC'ers more than Muslims! After last years SBC Pastor's Conf, I was hit for calling Joel Osteen "Doogie Howser MDiv," and saying that some of my 40-year old brethren are "up the willow creek without a paddle."

That said, I do confess that I usually get more angry mail from 5-pointers than any other group. I endorsed Dave Hunt's book- letters. I require Geisler's Chosen But Free- more letters. You guys sure do seem to have more free time than the rest of us...

Finally- YES, as a Dean, I am asking my Trustees to lower our tuition at the Seminary. No apologies for that. I was a student in seminary for too long not to sympathize. I have too much else to do than to worry over inflated tuition.

emc

12:13 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

Dr. 'E' Caner,
You said, "I must run- Dr Falwell wants me to comment on the sexual tendencies of the Muppets."

Do you intend to say that Calvinists are questionable in our own orientation?

12:13 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

Drs. Caner,

The *original* comment was "Dr. Piper allows infant baptism."

That was, as you now acknowledge, untrue.

Dr. Piper does *not* allow infant baptism

Moreover,as you know, the situation they had in mind involves those who are convinced that their being baptized as a believer would violate their biblically informed conscience, since it would be seen as a repudiation of their infant baptismal ritual or their sprinkling as a believer. This looks to the entrance into the church as that of *regeneration* and not *baptism,* but does not apply to infants born into the church. It also would *never* have applied to any elder, ergo, it would have resulted in a 2 - tiered lay membership situation akin to that in the PCA in which this situation is reversed for credo-baptists.

How does this apply to Southern Baptist churches or other Reformed Baptist churches? Are other Reformed Baptist/Sovereign Grace Baptists churches rushing toward paedobaptism or contemplating a similar move? If so, where are they? Who are their pastors?

There is a long set of papers available from Bethehem Baptist from it that you can request that explains this. Have you ever read it?

Also, doesn't your ecclesiology affirm the absolute autonomy of the local church? From whence comes your right to complain about another autonomous church's practices, especially one that lies well outside your own denomination?

Regardless of the fact that my brother and I have written two Baptist History books

Yes, about the Presidents of the SBC and a collection of Presidential addresses. This is hardly as comprehensive or an in depth treatment of the early SBC as Tom Nettles' ongoing series nor as concentrated on the history of Southern Baptists *prior to* 1845, and, since the delegates of churches that formed the SBC held the Philadelphia Confession, virtually a copy of the LCBF2, we must wonder at some of your statements.

PLEASE continue arguing that there was only one stream of Southern Baptists at the beginning. It is also helpful to me as an historian to have those who disagree with basically every textbook in existence.

The majority of science textbooks in existence argue for philsophical naturalism and evolution, so does this mean that they are correct? I think not. Why then does this mean the Walter Shurden and Fisher Humphrey's, for example, are reliable historians?

It is evermore beneficial since even Dr. Mohler refers to the two steams that have flowed since the beginning of SBC life (see his comments at the 2005 convention when posed by a messenger)

Of course, this is not what has been argued. What has been argued is that the 2 streams are more analogous than disanalogous. Perhaps you should deal with what has been argued not what has not been argued, if, indeed you are Dr. Caner. When the Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845, each of the 293 "delegates," in Augusta, belonged to churches that embraced the Philadelphia Confession, so this is rather interesting you should say this.

As someone who has signed both the Abstract of Principles (I taught at SEBTS for six years) and the BFM 2000 (both at SEBTS and SWBTS), here are two questions for which I would appreciate an answer:

1. How many points does one need to have to teach at these two seminaries?


The issue of course, here, is how one should interpret those Articles. For example:

Election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life -- not because of foreseen merit in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ -- in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.

Below, Dr. Caner, you say, "Elected because I selected." I assume this means what it says. However, if I was to say that this means "Dr. Caner is affirming unconditional election in the same sense as the LCBF2" you would, I would assume, deny this, because this exceeds, indeed, it reverses your authorial intent.

So, if you say that you affirmed the Absract of Principles and it states the above statement from it as such, then we should ask ourselves, "What is the authorial intent behind that statement?" Who wrote the Articles, sir, and what was his authorial intent, Dr. Caner? Do you interpret them different than they and how? If so, then why are you free to do that and sign them but not exegete Scripture in the same manner.

We see in the above statement that this election is not in response to any foreseen merit and this election is causal. It reads, "in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified."

So, we should ask, Dr. Caner, given your closing comment, is this what you affirmed at the time you signed them, and if not, why did you sign the articles?

2. And, if someone holds to less than those points, should they be fired?

If somebody does not hold to the First Article of the BFM should they be a seminary professor? If they do not hold to Article V of the BFM should they be allowed to serve the SBC as an IMB missionary? After all, you support the indexing of eternal security to baptism in the IMB policies. Ergo, regardless of what the policies say, as a matter of general practice, if all we had was the BFM, would you continue to assert that we should index baptism to eternal security for our missionaries, and if not, then what about Article 1 or any other article of the BFM.

Elected because I selected,

Dr. Caner, I would like to challenge you to substantiate that this is, indeed, the biblical doctrine of election. Where does Scripture teach that election is the result of your selection? Does this not assume that which you need to prove, but, more to the point, it would contradict this:

I am Amyraldian

Did Amyralt affirm that election is a result of prior selection or that election is the beginning of a causal chain of grace?

The decree of election in Amyraldianism is placed after the decree relating to the cross. However, the application of the benefits flow to the elect. So, the the actual execution of the discriminatory decree comes at the point of the Spirit's application of rdemption not the cross. However, this is in contradistiction to the universalising order of the non-Reformed soteriologies, so we are left to wonder how you can say that you are elected because you are selected. If you were a true Amyraldian, effectual grace would still underwrite your faith and that is underwritten by the decree of election in a determinative manner, a premise denied by your earlier statement.

Also, what is the documentation that Amyralt is the one who influenced Dort toward infralapsarianism. All the confessions are infra anyway, and I have *never* seen an argument that Amyralt is responsible for this even from real Amyraldians.

Five-point Calvinism is a VIRUS. It saps the evangelism of every church it infects.

But why if you are an Amyraldian would you object, for the only rejection of Reformed soteriology comes in the order of the decrees, but Amyraldianism moves along a particularizing principle? Amyraldianism implies a chronological element or an irrational element, but affirms the determinative nature of election. It's difficult to see how this a logical objection unless you are affirming a revised Amyraldianism that is more akin to the "Amyraldianism" of Norman Geisler, in which case it is further difficult to see how accepting particular atonement is less preferable, for, under a Geislierian scheme, all, some, or even none my believe; yet with particular atonement, the atonement underwrites effectual grace and all for whom Christ atones sin are converted, so who's doctrine, conceptually saps evangelism?

The "5 Point" Calvinist puts the decree of salvation after or simultaneous with the decree of election. The Amyrdaldian insists that the decree of salvation available to all is first and independent of any election. On both views only the elect will be saved, and the atonement is never intended for everyone. It's just not limited to the elect until the election decree, which is long before the atonement itself takes place. That is Amyraldianism. Election is still unconditional and causal. Regeneration is still monergistic. The call is still internal and effectual, etc. The ordu salutis is unchanged.

So, it would seem you either have redefined "Amyraldian" or you are making an illogical connection. Given your endorsements of Norm Geisler and Dave Hunt, I am inclined to think you have an altered view of Amyraldianism that is not Amyraldianism but traditional Arminianism coupled with the doctrine of eternal security and a type 3 affirmation thereof using Bob Wilkin's criterion for the "Free Grace" camp's differentiation within itself over the reality of apostasy for believers (or not) with respect to eternal security.

I have transitioned our faculty- over 80% are card-carrying Sandy Creek, street preaching, invitation-giving profs.

Does this also mean they will found churches that hold to the Philadelphia Confession just like Sandy Creek Church?


1. Puritans and Infant Baptism as LAW-
Henry Dunster was fired as Pres. of Harvard (lamented by Mather) after his believer's baptism. Between 1642-1649, Baptists were arrested in Salem, Mass for not baptizing their infants. Obadiah Holmes (following John Clarke as pastor in Newport) was imprisoned and whipped in Boston for preaching against infant baptism. This was not carried out by the RC. This was Puritan.


But, Dr. Caner, what you *originallly* wrote was:

John Gill would have had me flogged for being an unlicensed preacher. Killed for refusing to baptize my sons as infants.

So, we must ask, why would John Gill have advocated you be killed when he preached many a sermon against the evils of infant baptism, the pillar of popery?

Who here is running to the aid of the Pentecostal movement? As has been pointed out to your *repeatedly* we take issue with indexing eternal security to baptism.

I endorsed Dave Hunt's book- letters

So you agree with his exegesis? Hmm, this explains much.

Earlier you accused us or Tom of not being able to answer questions, but isn't it *you* Dr. Caner who regularly turn down good faith offers to debate Reformed theology?

We at Triablogue would be *very* happy to run a series of articles at your convenience in which you ask questions of us about Reformed Theology. No rush, just notify us and we will be happy to engage you.

1:04 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

One last comment from the least of the Caner apostles...

Tom, do you play dodgeball in real life, or just when posed with theological questions by me? Should someone who is not a 4-5 pointer be allowed to teach at SBTS and/or SEBTS?

Also, is it true Bethlehem Baptist has revised their hymnal to fit the mold of their hyper-Calvinist pastor? I hear they now sing, "Jesus loves some of the children, some of the children in the world..."

Let the nations be glad that God is the author of evil and takes joy in people going to hell...

Truth is Immortal,

Emir

1:07 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Gene, all I have to say is "WOW!" Good stuff.

Emir, your last rant was both sad and silly. Dr. Piper is not a hypercalvinist by any stretch of the imagination (you should review Spurgeon on hypercalvinism -- though by your definition Spurgeon too would be a hypercalvinist). I have heard more generous statements made by liberals about Dr. Piper, a man whose books will surely be read well into the next century and whose ministry will be spoken about until Christ returns. God has used him to help bring a generation of college students to the realization of the glory of God.

BTW, if Calvinists are such a threat to evangelism, then how do you explain the growth of Bethlehem (or Grace Community for that matter), as well as the 100+ missionaries they support as a church?

I am both floored and saddened.

1:20 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

Also, is it true Bethlehem Baptist has revised their hymnal to fit the mold of their hyper-Calvinist pastor

Why don't you ask Dr. Piper. Isn't rather hypocritical to criticize folks here for things said about Johnny Hunt while you make such comments about John Piper?

that God is the author of sin and of evil

that men have no will of their own, and secondary causes are of no effect

that the number of the elect at any time may be known by men
that it is wrong to evangelize
that assurance of election must be sought prior to repentance and faith

that men who have once sincerely professed belief are saved regardless of what they later do
that God has chosen some races of men and has rejected others
that the children of unbelievers dying in infancy are certainly damned

that God does not command everyone to repent

that the sacraments or ordinances are not means of grace, but obstacles to salvation by faith alone.

that the true church is only invisible, and salvation is not connected with the visible church

that the Scriptures are intended to be interpreted by individuals only and not by the church.

that no government is to be obeyed which does not acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord, or that Biblical Law is its source of authority

that the grace of God does not work for the betterment of all men
that saving faith is equivalent to belief in the doctrine of predestination (e.g. denial of common grace)

that only Calvinists are Christians


--Which of these does Dr. Piper affirm, sir?

Calling a person a hyper-Calvinist is has a specific meaning in the relevant literature. What is that definition and how does Dr. Piper fit that definition?

1:22 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

A very general and simplistic definition of hyper-calvinism is, 'against missions'.
How does Piper fall into this category?

I think I can say with Brother Ascol's approval that anyone who can in good conscience affirm the Abstract of Principles can teach at Southern Baptist Seminaries.

Let the nations be glad, God will be glorified in everything that He allows to come to pass!

What if God wants to show His wrath and power by patiently enduring sinful creatures that He has prepared for destruction so that He can show the great glory of His riches to the sinful creatures He has prepared for mercy and glory?

1:26 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Gene, I came over here to post a comment and you had already taken the words right out of my fingers. Just kidding you know I am not that smart.

I would, however, love to see Dr. Caner pose some questions for Triablogue to answer.


To the lesser Caner, I would suggest just letting your brother comment. Your defense of your brother is beginning to sound like a school yard fight with the little brother shouting, "Yeah, yeah, you tell em johnny."

2:10 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Dox, quoting Romans is not fair to Dr. Caner. You shouldn't start bringing scripture into this when he hasn't.

2:12 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

Since the Drs. Caner have insisted on making negative comments about John Piper, while at the same time disaffirming negative speech about Johnny Hunt, it is altogether fitting to address their problems with the situation at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Apparently, there are two things that underlie their objections. (1) Calvinism is somehow a recipe for infant baptism, ergo the statement that Dr. Piper is "being consistent." and (2) an predilection with what appears to be a form of high church ecclesiology derivative of Landmarkism, given one of their statements about "unbaptized ministers," which, I would add, would be in direct contradiction to what John L. Dagg had to say about that particular matter.

The first is simply a category error. It conflates a *Reformed* distinctive or a distinctive of *Covenant* theology with *Presbyterian* distinctives. Simply put, there is a long literature on this material that one has to ignore in order to make such an elementary blunder. Baptists are already drawing their views on the Lord's Supper from Bullinger and Zwingli, so it's not as if even *that* is a *Baptist* distinctive. It would actually be a *Reformed* distinctive. *Covenant theology* does *not* lead to infant baptism. If the lesser Caner in particular, has problems with this, perhaps he should have an honest discussion with Greg Welty, who, if I recall serves at SWBTS. Dr. Welty's work on this particular issue is one of *the* standard papers referenced when Baptists and Presbyterians have this discussion. Otherwise, his statements come off very like some of the Muslim apologists with whom he deals who consistently insist the Trinity is Tritheistic ad infinitum and no doubt cause him frustration from time to time. I have interacted with Greg in the past, and I have found him very amenable to candid discussions.

With respect to the *second* I believe it was Dr. Dagg that reminded us that (a) there is no record of John the Baptist's baptism; (b) Paul was called to preach *prior* to baptism and (c) the discharge of the work of ministry and the preaching of the word does not devolve from *baptism* but *regeneration*. The affirmation of the former, not the latter is a recipe for allowing unregenerates into the pulpit not to mention popery, according to Dr. Dagg, so "unbaptized ministers" are to be respected as valid ministers as long as they can produce a credible profession of faith.

Now to Dr. Piper....

These are the exact changes that would have been made effective at BBC:

One looks in vain for:

(a) *Anything* affirming that infant baptism is a *valid* mode of baptism within Baptist ecclesiology of the local church.

(b) *Any* affirmation that the church would have baptized infants at any point in time or accepted the baptism of infants.

What one does find is that for *adults* coming from paedobaptist, viz *paedobaptizing ecclesial bodies* who agreed with the terms of the church covenant, they would have been allowed membership into the church. Notice the conditions under which this would have taken place.

1. The teaching and practice of baptism at Bethlehem Baptist Church is defined in Section 12 of the Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. The key
paragraph states:

We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith express their union with Christ in His death and
resurrection, by being immersed in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of belonging to the new people of God, the true
Israel, and an emblem of burial and cleansing, signifying death to the old life of unbelief, and purification from the pollution of sin.

2. Thus the official position of Bethlehem Baptist Church is that only baptism by immersion of believers will be taught and practiced by the church. Customarily,
therefore, all members of the church will have been baptized by immersion as believers.


3. However, we believe it is fitting that membership in the local church (distinct from leadership in the local church) should have prerequisites similar to the prerequisites for
membership in the universal church. In other words, we believe it is unfitting to deny membership to a person who, by faith in Christ, gives evidence of regeneration...

4. Therefore, our aim is not to elevate beliefs and practices that are non-essential to the level of prerequisites for church membership. This implies that Christians who have not been baptized by immersion as believers, but, as they believe, by some other method or before they believed, may under some circumstances be members of this church.

5. Since we believe that the New Testament teaches and demonstrates that the mode of baptism is only the immersion of a believer in water, we therefore regard all other practices of baptism as misguided, defective, and illegitimate. Yet, while not taking these differences lightly, we would not elevate them to the level of what is essential. Thus, we will welcome into membership candidates who, after a time of study, discussion, and prayer, prescribed by the Elders, retain a conviction that it would be a violation of their conscience to be baptized by immersion as believers. This conviction of conscience must be based on a plausible, intelligible, Scripturally-based argument rather than on mere adherence to a tradition or family expectations. The elders will make all such judgments in presenting candidates for membership to the congregation. All candidates for membership, even when holding firmly to views different from the official position of the elders, must demonstrate a humble and teachable disposition with respect to the church leadership, as expressed in the Church Covenant.

6. We will not admit into membership persons who refuse to practice any form of baptism at all, or who believe that their water baptism caused their regeneration. The former is a serious rejection of the Lord’s commandment, and the latter is a serious misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. Our MEMBERSHIP AFFIRMATION OF FAITH states, “We believe that [the Holy Spirit’s] work in regeneration is not the result of water baptism or any outward ritual.”

7. In the words of our CHURCH COVENANT, the members shall all be committed to “welcome, and test biblically, instruction from the Scriptures by the elders of the church which accords with the Elder Affirmation of Faith, seeking to grow toward Biblical unity in the truth.”


In a church organized after the manner of BBC, these individuals could *not* serve as elders or leaders in the church, and anybody preaching or administering the ordinances would have to pass doctrinal muster. This would mean they would have to be baptized by immersion and affirm 12.3 of that portion of the covenant. Essentially, BBC would have adopted the policy similar to the PCA's policy on church membership that allows Reformed Baptists, indeed Arminian Baptists to join as *members* but not as *deacons or elders*. In short, the membership requirement for admission to BBC would have mirrored the membership requirements for entrance into the Body of Christ universal, a doctrine, I might add, Landmarks have historically *denied*.

In order for a member to become an elder (a lay elder or vocational) they have to affirm the Elder portion of the church confession as well as the member portion. Others (deacons and lay workers) are appointed through the board of elders and its committees and those involved in any teaching would also have to affirm that same portion of their confession, since the duty of the Council of Elders at BBC is to maintain the doctrinal integrity of the church and its confession above all else.

On baptism that portion of their statement of faith is abundantly clear:

12.3 We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith express their union with Christ in His death and resurrection, by being immersed in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of belonging to the new people of God, the true Israel, and an emblem of burial and cleansing, signifying death to the old life of unbelief, and purification from the pollution of sin.

On this matter of the way BBC structures and executes its government, I can't help but notice, their Church Constitution and Bylaws reads almost exactly like the church constitution of my home church, a 5000 + member SBC church that was pastored by a very distinguished Baptist and leader in the Conservative Resurgence until his health failed and he was forced to retire, a church on which I was once on staff. So, I am left wondering exactly what the Caners' problem with the elder model is, if we used BBC's bylaws as a model, since they are nearly identical in practice, if not structure, to that of the large SBC churches some of which I have served.

Now this isn't to say that even I agree with what BBC would have done, but the documentation in my possession is extensive, and it is far from what the Drs. Caner have portrayed of Dr. Piper and his church and his position on baptism. One can't help but notice their original assertion was that it had been approved, when it had not been approved, and it is readily apparent they had to go hunting for information *after* that was pointed out to them. One wonders if they have *ever* read or examined the documentation.

As for the insinuation of a "halfway covenant" this isn't even close. In that situation, the grandchildren of those members did not have to submit to the strict positions of those churches. In this model, only the adults who fall under this very stringently caveated conditions are allowed to become members, their children are to be baptized by immersion if they present themselves as such, and these adults must submit themselves to the instruction of the church, including its teaching on baptism
They would be denied ministry in oral or ordinal settings, unless, knowing Dr. Piper, they were needed to help train others to do things like personal evangelism, for example. Yes, as much as it may shock the Caners, RB'a and SGB's practice personal evangelism as much as they do. In fact, I would argue from where I am in the nation, we do it with *greater* fervency than our counterparts.

I would further state that Drs. Caner have, in my opinion, acted hypocritically in stating that we should not make negative comments about Dr. Hunt, while they make negative comments about Dr. Piper, whom they have grossly misrepresented in this matter.

Dr. Piper and his church are still credo-baptists and would have remained so even had this policy been instantiated. One fails to see how Calvinism of the kind taught by the members of Founders Ministries, nay Dr. Piper and his church, leads to infant baptism as a matter of consistency.

At this point, perhaps we should all that the Drs. Caner for doing Reformed Theology a great service this day, for they have certainly made us look very good indeed.

If they would like to seriously engage us on the issues, rather than trolling about to see if they can get a rise out of the SBC bloggers or the other Reformed bloggers, why not actually make use of their blog space and write posts that can be addressed for all to see and evaluate rather than conducting drive by shootings and acting like schoolboys in 2 timezones snickering to each other on your cell phones while "Gettin' a rise outta them Calvinists."

4:47 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Maybe some one has already raised this, but I am curious if either Caner brother (or both at one time) would debate James White on the doctrines of grace. Two bald guys with goatees going head to head. Talk about a theological smackdown.

Fred

8:31 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Gentlemen:

As a professor who believes in the Socratic method, I merely posed questions that have yet to be answereed, outside some who have suffered from aggravated epistolary compulsion yet have not answered the question outright.

Perhaps since I am a simple schoolboy you can candidly answer me at least one question. I recently preached a sermon on Romans 9, of course dealing with the issue of sovereignty and human responsibility. When it came to that crucial passage, "Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated," I preached the following:

Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this, because that man deserves it; no reply but that can ever be true. There are some who answer, divine sovereignty; but I challenge them to look that doctrine in the face. Do you believe that God created man and arbitrarily, sovereignly—it is the same thing—created that man, with no other intention, than that of damning him? Made him, and yet, for no other reason than that of destroying him for ever? Well, if you can believe it, I pity you, that is all I can say.

To my brethren who obviously expound Scripture far better than I, was I correct in my interpretation? Did I expound the Scriptures accurately? Or is my preaching flawed and superficial? Am I preaching an incorrect doctrine? Am I preaching heresy?

Just a question...

Emir

9:23 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

I think you just ignored some of the chapter because Paul goes on to clearly state that God has created some vessels for destruction and others for mercy.

And 'sovereign' and 'arbitrary' are not synonyms. God has a purpose for all that He does. I would hardly call that 'arbitrary'.

My brother at Pastor Steve Weaver's Blog recently posted a couple of sermons from Romans chapter nine from his exposition of that book. I suggest you read them.

9:30 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Emir (the lesser Caner):

Dodgeball? I am sorry. I was assuming that your question ("Should someone who is a 5 point Calvinist be allowed to teach at those [SBTS & SWBTS] institutions?") was rhetorical--since no one that I know has ever suggested otherwise. To clear the air: In response to your question: "Of course" ("yes;" "absolutely;" "without a doubt").


Your reference to John Piper as a hyper-Calvinist is offensive and violates the 9th commandment. If you and those like you were half as useful in evangelism and missions as Piper is you would be twice as effective as you now are.

Yes, Hubmaier was correct, truth is immortal. But it suffers severely in your hands. I hope other denominational employees do not play as fast and loose with it you as you do. Those of us who pay your salary may begin to wonder if our money is being rightly invested.


On your exposition of Romans 9: I say that you are correct in stating that man (in sin) deserves to hated of God. That is what makes that verse so difficult to comprehend--not that God hated Esau, but that He loved Jacob (who, likewise deserved to be hated)! This, I would call the wonder of sovereign grace.

I take exception, however, to your equating sovereignty with arbitrariness. Do you find creation arbitrary? Atonement? The incarnation? The Return of Christ? I think you have a theological problem with understanding the nature of divine sovereignty. That may explain many things in our theological disagreements.

9:45 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Eric Thomas said...

Dumbfounded! That's the best way to describe what has happened in this thread.

Tom, I have watched as you remained virtually silent about the rantings and ravings within the framework of this thread concerning the less than Christian comments on Johnny Hunt (you gave a one-sentence discouragement). Now, you have entered the discussion with the Caner's, with even stronger exhortations.

This is your house, and I am only a guest. But I would be interested in knowing your rationale for virtual silence on the demeaning comments toward Hunt (which occupied the majority of this thread), but you felt compelled to provide several paragraphs in rebuttal to the Caner's.

Thank you.

10:15 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Daniel said...

I demand an award for reading this entire thread. No seriously - surely there is some sort of merit badge available??

11:49 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger marc said...

Man, I thought BGC had problems...

As a member of Piper's church let me just say to the Caner's, the baptism issue has been tabled for a while, but we are considering a motion to allow sacrifices to Molech in the 1st service only on Sunday mornings.

I guess what I'm saying, Caner brother's, is know what's in the BBC documents before you criticize otherwise you come off sounding exactly as you have, ignorant.

11:59 AM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Come on now Emir. You don't really believe arbitrary and sovereignty are the same. Go ahead and admit it. We will forgive you.

12:15 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Pastor Shane said...

I am grieved by the lack of charity, reason, and sound theology in the Caners' posts.

Their kind of rhetoric has nothing to do with Luther's or the Spirit of Christ--it is the flesh, plainly evident--full of self-aggrandizement and missing the critical mark with misplaced zeal.

Two shocking moments: First--that Dr. Caner from SEBTS would PRETEND (deceived, confused, or deceiving?) that he is in agreement with the BFM 2000 and the Abstract. That, that... wow... that is just unreal.

Also, I am shocked that a Seminary Dean, willing to proudly tout his academic achievements as evidence we should trust him or revere him, doesn't know the difference between "Armenian" and "Arminian"... I completely understand spelling mistakkes and tyypoes, but "Armenian"???? Reelly??? wow.

Pastor Shane Anderson--Church of the Good Shepherd SBC, Indianapolis--SEBTS grad under Patterson (thank you Dr. Keith Harper for being a wonderful Baptist History prof.)

1:13 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Alex F said...

Eric -

As you note, Tom did discourage the Johnny-bashing. But do also note that (and the Caners may also be reminded):

(a) Not everybody in the thread was commenting on Johnny Hunt

(b) Many of those who did were reacing to specific and very public remarks that Hunt has made in sermons, which indicate a theology and an attitude that were troubling. In other words, while some of the comments were too personal, many were directed towards the issues.

The Caners, in a sophomoric (though I must admit I do find some humor in it... though it did not abate after the intial blitz) attempt to get a rise out of us, went way beyond what was said about Hunt in their flamboyant rhetoric. (I bet it'll play well at some of the Pastors Conferences though...)

Tom has displayed an amazing level of patience, in my opinion, in trying to stick to the issues raised. Personally, I'm learning a lot on this thread.

1:19 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Eric:

Let me review for you (and others) in short compass the rhetoric (and my responses to it) that has you so alarmed.

Deacon said:
Not to get too far off track, but is the rumors true that Hunt is extremely anti-Calvinistic? This is of course leading me to my next question...When is enough, enough?

Scott said:
Someone needs to order these recent messages of Johnny Hunt and Herb Reavis at the most recent Real Evangelism Conference held at FBC Woodstock. You can order them at It's A New Day Ministries which supports Johnny Hunt. Hunt and Reavis blasted Calvinistic theology real bad so I'm told. Johnny Hunt was the one bragged on at Southern Seminary that students should attend his conference on the church and shepperding. Our calvinistic brothers better wake up and ask themselves why was Hunt promoted when he preaches against many of the abstract of principles ?

and this:

This is a scary thing if Johnny gets elected for president. It's time we calvinistic brothers get moving to confront this. ... Whoever runs against Johnny should right away ask for a debate. Sounds crazy but why not? Let Southern Baptist hear these men. They should debate the doctrine of Salvation, Ecclesiology and other doctrines. I will guarantee Johnny will not do it. He would not discuss the scriptures with me in private. He said " I don't care what the Baptist Faith and Message says or what historical Southern Baptist taught. I'm the Pastor of this church and what I believe is what my staff members better believe." Then I was told that a calvinist could not stay on staff so, they gave me three months. He said this to me twice and that he would not discuss this anymore. The reason why we ought to be scared so to speak is that if I was in error it's his duty as my Pastor to correct me and warn me of error. This will be your President! Whoever will run against him that has even a decent theological mind we ought to get behind him !


Pastor Kevin said:
And Scott, I was there Thursday night at Real Evangelism. It was, to say the least, sad.

Jbuchanan said:
Johnny Hunt is a wonderful guy and has an infectious personality but his theology and preaching are weak. ... No one is going to beat Johnny Hunt this year, but we have a chance in 2008.

Nathan White said:
This is not good news. I hate to be a pessimist here, but who is it that can stand up to Hunt? His doctrine is sure off, but he is loved by everybody. I see him getting 80%+ confirmation.

Has there been enough recent progress within the SBC to put forth a man with sound theology that can stand up to Hunt? I pray so, but I don't think so. But make no mistake about it, we need to rally the troops. Hunt is not just non-reformed, he’s anti-reformed. I shudder to think of what he might start saying when he gets some power.

Dever is my man. Oh, and don’t think Hunt missed taking a shot at us bloggers at the recent ‘surreal evangelism’ conference.

genebridges said:
I would ask, what is the ACP for FBC Woodstock over the course of the past 4 to 5 years? If we are to follow Johnny Hunt's example, then what kind of example are we following? If his church isn't making disciples and church members, why should the SBC vote for him?

and this:

I personally don't trust Hunt with respect to his trustee nominees. I've heard some of these anti-Calvinism rants and they almost always talk about "certain seminaries" and "certain professors," eg. SBTS and its faculty and the Calvinists at the other seminaries are in mind. I wouldn't put it past these men for them to have an agenda to replace the trustees at these seminaries with a view to "arresting the spread of Calvinism" in the SBC.

and this:
If we nominate Mark Dever, Wade Burleson, Roy Hargrave, Al Mohler, Tom Ascol, or another lesser known figure, (or, God forbid a, gasp, layperson (!) )will we find Paige Patterson, Bailey Smith, Johnny Hunt, Herb Reavis, Bobby Welch, or (insert name here) standing behind them? I seriously doubt it.

david hewitt said:
Dr. Hunt recently got placed into the "Arminian hall of Fame" over at www.calvinistgadfly.com and it was for those very comments that have been hinted at here, claiming that everyone is elect.

I would love to see Dr. Dever as the president of the Convention. Also, given what I've seen on this blog, Dr. Ascol would be another excellent nominee.

It bothers me to think that Dr. Hunt would get in there, from what I've read about his comments and from the testimony of people like Scott and Nathan.

Sean said:
I sense that there is a fear among some big time pastors (Jack Graham, Bailey Smith, Johnny Hunt, etc) that Calvinism is sweeping through our convention especially with the younger generation.

sparrowhawk said:
In fact, I wager this move to place Hunt in the presidency is a direct yet subtle shot at Mohler by the "texas evangelists", to coin a phrase first uttered by the iMonk.

calvinist gadfly said:
If that is true of what you said when you were on Hunt's pastoral staff (which I have no reason to doubt), that is most disturbing.

docaslogy said:
I agree with the sentiment that Johnny Hunt would be an sadly unfortunate choice, not because of his theology, but because of his very immature, intolerant and polarizing comments.

It was at this point--after these comments--that I said:
These are interesting comments and observations. My post was not intended to invite criticism of Johnny Hunt and let me discourage any more of that here.


Now, compare those comments to ones that follow:

Ergun Caner said:
Well...after reading your comments about Dr Johnny Hunt- I am beside myself. Completely.

At one point, Dr. Ascol asks if you could perhaps change the conversation...

You should have listened. Classic case of the second generation destroying the work of their fathers.
...
Have any of your grown a soul-winning church like Woodstock?
Do you send out missionaries every two weeks?

Have any of you done ANYTHING accept kill your churches with sermons expounding the Westminster Confession?

Probably not.

I would guess that, unlike William Carey, most guys who are hyper about Calvinism use it to justify your laziness.

I BEG of you- PLEASE bring another name to the floor of the SBC. I would be thrilled to watch that person go down in flames, as we enjoy another conservative who has not adopted semi-Presbyterianism. On the positive side, you can always just "punt" and say it was predestined for you to lose.

And I DOUBT if Dr Akin would like too be joined in with the others listed. He wouldn't fit anyway. He still gives invitations, and attends a church with Baptist polity, instead of an oligarchy.

Johnny Hunt is not "anti-Calvinistic." He is a soul-winner. You do the math. And just because you cannot answer the questions concerning your views of predetermined fatalism does not make his arguments "straw men."

and:

* I do not think of five-pointers as liberals. I will, however, state firmly: Five-point Calvinism is a VIRUS. It saps the evangelism of every church it infects.

and:

I do find it interesting that so many of you fatalists would jump to the defense of a Pentacostal movement. The only thing you have in common is what I call the BARNACLE PRINCIPLE- charismatics and calvinists creep into vibrant churches and attach themselves. They do not grow their own movements- they attach themselves to others.

Emir Caner said:
In the end, what is most lacking in your discussion is a lack of humor. Your responses better reflect a Dr. Phil show than the enjoyable (yet hyperbolic) arguments of Dr. Luther.

and:
Also, is it true Bethlehem Baptist has revised their hymnal to fit the mold of their hyper-Calvinist pastor? I hear they now sing, "Jesus loves some of the children, some of the children in the world..."

Let the nations be glad that God is the author of evil and takes joy in people going to hell...

If you cannot tell the difference between the tone and content of the slams against Hunt and the slams against historic Southern Baptists and their theology, then there is not much that I can say to you that will make you understand my responses. pgzm

2:01 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Gentlemen:

Tom, thank you for responding so quickly to my blog. Some of your statements have been quite helpful, as can be seen in your point about us being undeserving in the matter of salvation as per Romans 9.

With that said, you must be made aware of one point: the quote from my sermon was a direct quote I used from Charles Spurgeon! You can find this quote in his sermon, "Jacob and Esau" (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0239.htm).

Perhaps it would be fitting then that you write a letter to the ghost of Spurgeon which would include a statement something like the following:

Dear Dr. Spurgeon:

I take exception, however, to your equating sovereignty with arbitrariness. Do you find creation arbitrary? Atonement? The incarnation? The Return of Christ? I think you have a theological problem with understanding the nature of divine sovereignty. That may explain many things in our theological disagreements.

I guess Dr. Spurgeon was wrong as well when he labeled with pity the hyper-Calvinists as supralapsarian.

Also, let me reiterate my question. It was not whether a 5-pointer could teach at the two seminaries, which would be a rhetorical question. My question is how many Calvinistic points does a prospective faculty need to have in your opinion in order to be hired? A simple number will suffice.

Attempting to keep at least nine of the commandments...

Emir

2:43 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Randy Williams said...

"I am Amyraldian, in the clear purpose of stating, as Moise did, that Beza changed"

Are you sure you know what Amyrault believed? I hear the term Amyraldian thrown around too loosely nowadays. If you are then you agree with Dort on 4 out of 5 or some may say 4.5 points out of 5. I have no major problems with Amyraldians in the Richard Baxter, J.C. Ryle or Moises Amyrault mode (Though I am a 5 point infra) it's just that term is used so loosely.

The Fundy School I attended had a text book by Thiessan (Amyrault) but banned it because they said it taught Hyper Calvinism. Now that is funny in a sad way.

2:53 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Emir:

Did Southwestern Seminary bestow a posthumus doctorate on Charles Spurgeon? Or maybe I was asleep during that particular lecture in my Baptist History class. Be that as it may, were I to write Mr. Spurgeon, I would do so as follows:

Mr. Spurgeon:

I am so appreciative of your life and ministry and feel slightly awkward about making any suggestion to you regarding your preaching since I am not worthy to tie your shoes as a preacher (to say nothing of the fact that you have been dead over 100 years!). But at the suggestion of my Arminian friend, Dr. Emil Caner, I venture forth.

In your sermon on Jacob and Esau, it would have been more helpful for 21st century readers if you had not equated "arbitrary" with God's sovereignty. For, although in the 19th century the word was widely recognized as meaning "subject to personal preference or depending on will or discretion," in our day it has come to mean "to be determined by chance or whim; capricious." Consequently, some unscrupulous Arminian teachers now quote you to make it sound as if you believe that God's sovereignty in election is nothing more than capriciousness.

Of course, you and I both know that were their hearers to read even that whole sermon, better still hundreds of your sermons or your chapter in your Autobiography on "Defense of Calvinism," that the duplicity of these teachers would be exposed beyond doubt. Fortunately, all of your published works are available for any honest inquirer who would like to know what you really believe on these subjects.

Your brother,
Tom Ascol


Regarding the Abstract. If you are an honest theologian, to sign it you would have to agree with 4 of the so-called 5 points of Calvnism. If, however, you are out of the oldline Southern Baptist moderate camp in your approach to confessions of faith, I suppose you could be a 3 pointer and sign it.

Emir:

On a slightly different subject, but one which has been brought up here, do you share your brother's antipathy toward much that goes on today in modern evangelical life in the name of evangelism and church growth? What I am asking is this, do you see any problem with the inflated statistics that are often touted as signs of evangelistic success and some of all-to-common methods that are employed to secure them?

I am looking for common ground here because I think--I hope--that despite our obvious differences we can agree on some of the problems that are staring us in the face as evangelical Southern Baptists.

3:38 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger pkinsc said...

Dear Dr. E Caner,

Well done on the "gotcha!", the quoting of Spurgeon in the sermon.

But did you also give to the congregation, in order to fully familiarize them with Spurgeon and his thoughts, the end of the paragraph immediately preceeding the one you quoted?

There Spurgeon states "And rest assured, the only reason why any of us can hope to be saved is this, the sovereign grace of God. There is no reason why I should be saved, or why you should be saved, but God's own merciful heart, and God's own omnipotent will. Now that is the doctrine; it is taught not only in this passage, but in multitudes of other passages of God's Word. Dear friends, receive it, hold fast by it, and never let it go."

There, in the very same sermon, and throughout the whole of it, Spurgeon defends sovereign electing grace not based on any foreseen good works, but in spite of all the fallen and sinful works of a man.

As you admiringly quote Spurgeon, I believe you ought to heed his words near the end of the very same sermon from which you quoted.

"He saves man by grace, and if men perish they perish justly by their own fault. "How," says some one, "do you reconcile these two doctrines?" My dear brethren, I never reconcile two friends, never. These two doctrines are friends with one another; for they are both in God's Word, and I shall not attempt to reconcile them. If you show me that they are enemies, then I will reconcile them."

Respectfully, Your Brother

3:43 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger G. Alford said...

Gentleman,

When dealing with the likes of Dr. Caner, you are dealing with a man who actually brags openly in this blog (rubs it in your face) that he has endorsed Dave Hunt's book “What Love is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God”.

Did Dr. Caner mention this just to upset all the Calvinist on this blog or is Dr. Caner actually endorsing the Open Theism of Dave Hunt?

And how does the leadership of the SBC feel about the Dean of Liberty University (not just a professor but the Dean!) openly attacking the historic faith of our founding father? If this is not considered sowing the seed of division then I do not know what would be. How upset do you think everyone would be if Mohler took such a divisive position against the Arminian’s within the convention… I think they would blow a fuse!

In any case, it is clear that both the Caner’s hate Calvinism with a passion! And the fact that someone has been nominated as the next SBC President who has of lately come out of the closet with his own anti-Calvinist comments has given these men the courage to crawl out from hiding at Liberty University and declare their own hatred for the faith of the founding fathers of the SBC Convention.

But, let not your heart be troubled, as I have a feeling that they will soon enough go crawling back into hiding as soon as it becomes more widely known that Open Theism is being injected into the teaching at Liberty University by these men. (If indeed it is?) Most Southern Baptist (including Johnny Hunt) have mixed feeling about Calvinism, in fact most would agree with 3 or 4 points, but they have no such mixed feeling about Open Theism, most are sure that God knows what both Dr. Caner’s will have for breakfast tomorrow even before they choose it (of their own free will of course).

3:46 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Eric Thomas said...

Tom, again, I appreciate that this is your house, and I respect the fact that in this house the doctrines of grace are preeminent. My concern is not with your engagement with the Caner brothers. They are quite aware of what they are doing, as I am sure you are aware of what you are doing.

My concern is the whipping, ad hominem, and discourteous comments that ran for the majority of 70 posts about a fellow believer who was not attending this party. Certainly, Johnny Hunt does not have affinity for the doctrines of grace, but does that fact alone give permission for his treatment here?

Your are the moderator of this house, and I respect your position on this, although I do not agree. BTW, I'm not trying to be flippant with you.

Thank you again.

Eric

3:55 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger G. Alford said...

Eric,

If you are going to question Tom about allowing some of the comments posted here... Then I assume you have emailed both the Caners about their comments, and phoned Johnny Hunt about his comments at the recent evangelism conference?

4:04 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

My concern is the whipping, ad hominem, and discourteous comments

Eric, personally I believe your words above are a great description of a typical Hunt sermon. There's no cheap shots in my making this statement. You believe some have treated Hunt unfairly in this post, and I believe that Hunt has continually treated fellow Calvinists (as well as the word of God) unfairly as well.

SDG

4:17 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger SJ Camp said...

Tom:

You are a gracious pastor and longsuffering in this thread.

Wasn't the initial discussion here to be about Johnny Hunt running for president of the SBC; the qualties of those we would like to see occupy that office; and what other candidates would we recommend?

Wasn't that it?

I would heartily recommend Mark Dever. He is a faithful pastor, a true servant of the Lord, thoroughly biblical, a theologian in the reformed Baptist tradition, he is not for sale, doesn't play politics with spiritual things, and is deeply committed to the local church and training others in ministry. What a great combination he would bring for this needed office in the SBC.

Johnny seems like a fine man as well. I do not agree with his theology, but he is above reproach in his character and has been a faithful pastor. Hunt is politically aligned within the SBC--and unfortunately that carries much weight. But I would much prefer a man like Mark Dever who brings so much more to the table.

As to the Caner brothers, my only advice would be: "do not answer a fool according to their folly..." It is beneath you, this blog and the dignity of all Reformed Baptists to give any merit to their skewed, unbiblical and historically inaccurate arguments. It is a black hole brother--run from it.

Keep on my friend...
I so appreciate all you are doing for the kingdom.

Yours for the Master's use,
Steve Camp
2 Cor. 4:5-7

PS - Gene, great posts here. Steve Hayes owes you greatly for bringing theological precision and biblical dignity to the Triablogue.

5:08 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Eric:

Do you really see no difference in the level or kind of rhetoric that I reposted earlier? I take issue with your math when you say that the majority of the first 70 comments were guilty of "whipping, ad hominem, and discourteous comments." That simply isn't so.

I give people some leeway in their comments here. I have deleted some at times, but by and large I assume that everyone who visits is willing to engage and be engaged forthrightly. That is no justification for sin, and I have called some--on both sides of various debates--to repent.

Granted, the final decision about what is allowed is somewhat *arbitrary.* I do the best that I can within the parameters that I have set.

You are welcome here anytime.

5:09 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Tom,

I thought you might enjoy the quib about "Dr." Spurgeon. I figure since we call everyone "Dr." nowadays in Christian circles, it was befitting of the one who deserves it most.

I think my point has been made here. I do appreciate your honest answer to the Abstract, though it is quite obvious that the context of Spurgeon's sermon was a knock against those who believed God elected people to hell. Would you not agree?

BTW - it is also true that I give the students nearly the whole sermon to read in class. To state as some have that I do not understand the issues or treat Calvinism/Calvinists unfairly is quite the inaccurate charge. You can see how I write of Calvinists in my book The Sacred Trust.

Finally, do not ever assume that I am an Arminian (or as one has said, an Open Theist). It is as easy as ABC - you are either an Arminian, a Baptist, or a Calvinist. I have never doubted the sovereignty of God, the omniscience of God, or the human responsibility of man. I voted against Pinnock et all at ETS and believe the view is nothing less than heresy.

I know we are first and foremost Christians, but I have one more question for you to answer. If backed in a corner, would you prefer to be called a Baptist or a Calvinist?

With that said, I do believe that we have a great deal of common ground which includes the following:

1. We are to preach the very Word of God by exposition. As Dr. Criswell reminded us, the sorriest preaching is topical preaching.

2. Southern Baptists are to remain distinctively baptistic. It is not acceptable to open the door to membership without believer's baptism. Period. It is acceptable, and indeed helpful, to have both Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC.

3. Churches today lack of purity, discipline, and discipleship. Though many can be blamed, it is clear that preachers must assume the majority of the blame. In general, we are raising up pastors in our denomination that are seeker sensitive, programmatic, postmodern, emergent, and weak. We need men of God to stand up and preach the Word faithfully, and guard the church from wolves. Furthermore, the reason why only 37% of church members ever darken the door of the church on a given Sunday is the lack of church discipline. We no longer to call men and women to surrender, only to "accept."

To come full circle, Johnny Hunt also agrees with us on these points -- and you need to state that clearly to the naysayers on this blog or you are complicit with those who have trashed Johnny.

You were the first to pose the question, now answer it clearly and concisely. As with Dr. Thomas, you better believe there are many who are reading this blog.

Among the whosoever will...

Emir

5:32 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

One last thing:

I guess Danny Akin and Al Mohler are in the moderate camp according to your answer on the Abstract. They both believe that the Abstract can be faithfully and honestly signed by those who are 3-pointers and have hired numerous professors at Southern believing this to be the case.

If you don't believe me, you can listen to Dr. Akin's 31-minute sermon, "The Danger of Loving a Theological System More than the Savior," on his website. Ironically, it was preached at Southern's chapel to balance the hyper-Calvinism (his term) occurring on the campus. The link is http://www.sebts.edu/president/resources/viewResource.cfm?ResourceID=63&CategoryID=194.

BTW - if you do believe that it is dishonest for someone to sign the Abstract who is less than a 4-pointer, is not Dr. Akin (who hired more than 50 professors at SBTS) even more guilty since it was his responsibility in the process.

If you truly stand firm on this issue, I am sure you will let him know.

Emir

5:52 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

To the Founders gentlemen:
(Dr Ascol excepted)

I do realize that we are just guests on your site.
I also realize that, for many of you, joking and jostling about the "Doctrines of Grace" is considered blasphemous.
However, I believe I may have just seen the "end of the line," so to speak- To wit:

1. As you can probably guess, men such as myself and my brother hold no man, or no system, as sacrosanct. EVERYTHING is fair game. Even our own Baptist leaders, or history, or Nashville for that matter. We bow to no movements- not even Sandy Creek. Where they were painfully wrong- we say so. When some SBC guy is hawking "Peter and Paul Loincloths," we call them on it. See, that is how we were trained by such men as Dr Hunt, Patterson and Falwell.

2. They are "man enough" to take the hits and smile. Many times, they see some truth in the criticism. We do the same, as our students often tear us apart, if they catch us in a theological or ecclesiastical quagmire. Fair Game!

3. Herein lies the problem- you guys hold the men pictured on the Founders Site with an almost breathless awe- as if they were Apostles. Give me a break! We ALL claim Spurgeon as our own- because there were times when he was inconsistent. Especially when there is an antinomy, such as sovereignty and free volition.

4. Just admit it- my brother hammered you with your own stick. Spurgeon loathed five-pointers, and then moments later, would claim to be supra...Inconsistent, but human.

5. What seems to be most upsetting to most SBCers about you is the ARROGANCE with which you discuss these things- few of you can carry on a simple conversation without citing Calvin or Piper. You seem to think that anyone who is not at least a four-pointer should not be teaching at an SBC school or seminary. You seem to think that any history that includes the radical reformation, or Hubmaier, in it is "intellectually" wrong...

6. You can NOT rewrite history. Now, you can claim that doctrinally, your personal heritage draws more from the reformed (French-Swiss) movement of Geneva- that is fine. But you can NOT pull that off for Southern Baptists. Neither can I claim we have always been "deacon-led." If ANY of you would have thought this through, here is a PERFECT way to attack my position-

* I am against elder-led churches (true).
* I am for pastoral authority (true).
* I believe in every member-every-vote (true).
* So then, if deacons VOTE in their meetings, what is the difference between that and elders???

Answer- NOTHING. It is our glaring shortcoming! At least you guys are honest enough to say or believe that you think some members are too immature to vote! We play games like deacon-motions, age-limits, etc., and allthewhile cry foul of elders!

7. Make sense?

8. If you guys are going to have the effect you want to have, you are going to HAVE to develop thicker skin. The SBC will NEVER accept a movement based on "intellectual superiority," or "arrogance."

9. To explain- in the 1970s, charismatics would come to SBC churches, come down the aisle at the invitations, and pray for the pastors to "recieve the Holy Ghost." We fought them off, and one method was simply showing that they were arrogant- "you are not sanctified unless you speak in tongues," etc.

10. You are guilty of the same. THAT is why were found the defense of the charismatics so historically ironic. BOTH movements never grew a single SBC church. Calvinism has NEVER grown a church. You get transfers, and grow numerically sometimes, but it always peters out, because the people you GET were the people we wanted to get rid of! The "deeper life" boys who just wanted sit around all day and talk, instead of knocking on doors.

11. You will ALWAYS be perceived as anti-evangelism and anti-missions, even though William Carey was a thorough-going Calvinist, because the second-generation followers always go further than their fathers. You end up being the man who OBJECTED to Carey's sermon, instead of Carey himself.

12. Finally, you come off as a "boys club." EVERY Calvinist thinks he and his family are inside, looking out. I have never had ONE Calvinist honestly look at his children and say, "God may not love you." WHY? If you believe it for the guy next door, why not your son or daughter? You do NOT believe in the "Doctrines of Grace;" you believe in the "Doctrines of Grace to You- Damnation to Everyone else." And somehow, God gets the glory.

In the end- we will NOT go away, and neither will you! That is what makes this discussion good. We have hurdles to leap, and so do you- You guys are mules- you make much noise, but cannot reproduce.

Like the last ad hominem?

Why not? No one answered a single question Emir posited. You just called him names.

Enjoy

6:08 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

I did not realize Calvnism was such a cancer to churches.

Maybe someone didn't let me on that secret. I'm glad that Prophet Caner(s) were here to enlighten my eyes.

Of course, greed is a cancer to churches too. But it doesn't sound as good at a Pastor's Conference full of overpaid, greedy megachurch pastors (excuse me, preachers, since we know the days of pastoring have long since passed for them).

This whole SBC presidency thing is pathetic.
You're only going to be Pres if you are a megachurch pastor. Of course in SBC world that is measured by "people down the aisle" or "baptisms", regardless of their spiritual state.

Now, I am sure Hunt is a good man. But there are more qualified people out there. Of course, that doesn't really matter in the SBC anymore.
Nope, we want the big names and the big buildings.
I'd love to see some TV host pose Hunt a theological question as the representative of the SBC on air....$10 says he just starts in, "hey, I'm just a ol' boy saved out of the pool hall..."

Sad state we are in, isn't it?

I don't care if a Calvinist is the Pres...there are other issues that matter to me as well....but I just don't think Hunt is the best we have to offer, and I sure don't think the current system is the right way to go about it.

6:18 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

Dr. Caner,

The hypocrisy of your post is simply stunning.

You claim that one group claims intellectual superiority, yet you do the same thing to the people here as if they were morons for believing what they believe. As of they invented this last week.

You don't know the evangelistic fervor of a single person here, nor do we know yours. To make accusations is ignorant and jumping to conclusions.

Plus, you say that Calvinists will always be perceived as anti-evangelistic. Well, maybe so if you and others like you make off-base comments and poison the well. But, I would venture to guess that you don't know the evangelistic habits of most people.
Of course what you mean by evangelism is a lot different than what we mean. I am unmoved by the large numbers of people "converted" by men like Herb Reavis, because I knwo the tactics he's used and I've seen first hand the results of his so called evangelism in the years falling the conversions.
If you mean that Calvinists are anti-baptize anyone that raises their hand, then yes. But I would hope you would be too. But evidently not.

The mention of a "boys club" makes me laugh out loud. Are you kidding me? You spent the last 2 days attacking the people here in defense of a REAL "boys club". Do you not see the boys club that exists in the SBC? Unless you are in with those guys and parrot back their inane comments, you're out. Unless you have a massive church, you're out.
Oh, and unless you have a massive church...you're probably anti-evangelism.

Give me a break. That one statement was so ridiculous.

Sad....you judge success by what you can read in the giving reports from the churches.

You tear down faithful ministers of the gospel because you don't like their theology. Wait, because you don't like what you (mis)understand their theology to be. Congratulations. I am sure that is the example that we want set for future ministers.

Keep the sound bytes coming, though. You're funny, even if you are wrong and unhelpful.

-JG

BTW, your brothers question was answered...but nice try.

6:34 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger pkinsc said...

Brothers and sisters:

My friends will tell you that I never weary of a healthy and helpful dialogue. (The nickname "Bulldog" is unfortunately deserved) But I'm afraid weariness is approaching. Healthy and helpful were left in the dust a long time ago.

Perhaps we have read things that have raised our ire, which made us think or say things unkind and impatient about another. Worse, maybe we have written things that caused the anger and hurt of others. Lord please forgive me if I am guilty. And anyone whom I have unknowingly, but inexcusably, wronged, I pray you will extend your forgiveness as well.

Perhaps it would be best if we let this thread die, and spare ourselves and each other any further wranglings. There will be no "winners" in this thread, and so perhaps it should stop. (even as I write yet another, but hopefully LAST entry)

I am mindful of what I read in devotions this morning: "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourslf.' But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5:14-15

7:00 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Ergun,

Thanks so much for at least talking back and forth with us Christians who embrace fully what Jesus taught concerning salvation. Remember Calvinism is just a nickname for the true gospel. Will you at least go out agreeing with us Calvinist that there is alot of shady evangelism going on in the SBC for the sake of numbers. For example would you agree that offering teenagers the chance to receive Tv's, DVD's, Car, and money if they will come to a student crusade is a very shady thing. Would you at least admit this is not a Bibilical model for evangelism in the scripture ? Would you at least agree that this is not honoring to Christ as a evangelistic method ? At least as Bill O'Reilly says on The Factor " You got guts" coming on The Calvinistic Factor. Please respond to the questions.

7:30 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Theology is extremely critical in the church today. The discussions about Calvinism are also important to have, but how important are they? Is is more important to read this blog everyday and argue back and forth about "The Five Points" or should we just leave the non-essentials out of the discussion and focus the majority of time planting more churches in the world, praying for church planters, and maybe even blogging about church planting, therfore growing the kingdom of God, not the church, the kingdom. Plant churches, reach people, calvinist, SBC president, or not.

7:32 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Dr. Caner you would have to admit that the vast majority of SBC churches are not Calvinistic, but would fall more under what you described as a card carrying Sandy Creek, street preaching, invitation givers. However, you would also have to admit that the vast majority of churches in the SBC have less than 200 in attendance on any given Sunday and many of these same churches are dying off. So if you are going to accuse the Calvinist of killing their churches I would like an explanation of why the Sandy Creek invitation givers seem to be doing the same.

7:42 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Brian Hamrick said...

Ergun said:

"Calvinism has NEVER grown a church."

Surely you are familiar with what God is doing at Capitol Hill Baptist Church through the ministry of Mark Dever?

That's only one example.

And not only has CHBC grown tremendously numerically, but the spiritual maturity of their congregatants is incredibly refreshing to anyone who has spent time visiting there.

8:30 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

Scott said:Dr. Caner you would have to admit that the vast majority of SBC churches are not Calvinistic, but would fall more under what you described as a card carrying Sandy Creek, street preaching, invitation givers. However, you would also have to admit that the vast majority of churches in the SBC have less than 200 in attendance on any given Sunday and many of these same churches are dying off. So if you are going to accuse the Calvinist of killing their churches I would like an explanation of why the Sandy Creek invitation givers seem to be doing the same.

Scott, he will not answer that question because he has to admit that it isn't Calvinism that kills anything.

He is just a walking soundbyte...note the irony and hypocrisy of his comments and take them for what they're worth (not more than insight into how off-base and narrow-minded our "leadership" is.)

9:03 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger dan said...

The Caners are just relatively recent additions to the Pressler/Patterson political machine. In order to continue to rule, they have to ruin good, Conservative Baptists who can think for themselves. Too bad it has taken you recruits so long to see that by golly, those really were leopards leading you into the purges. Their spots will never change.

9:17 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Randy Williams said...

Dr. Caner closed one of his posts with,

Elected because I selected,


Yet at the same times claims to be Amyrault. That is like a Baptist who claims he is Baptist but believes in infant Baptism.

Amyraldism is often called low Calvinism and Moses Amyraut would certaintly view "Elected because I selected" as a form of Arminianism.

I would suggest Dr. Caner you study up on Amyraldism at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amyraldism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Amyraut

9:56 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

yErgun, I think much of what you said in your ranting post doesn't deserve an answer. But I do want to address two of your points:

"11. You are guilty of the same. THAT is why were found the defense of the charismatics so historically ironic. BOTH movements never grew a single SBC church. Calvinism has NEVER grown a church. You get transfers, and grow numerically sometimes, but it always peters out, because the people you GET were the people we wanted to get rid of! The "deeper life" boys who just wanted sit around all day and talk, instead of knocking on doors."

1. You are right that Calvinism never has grown a church. But neither has Arminianism or any other theological position. God grows churches through prayer and His will. Luke makes this clear in Acts 2 when he says,

"So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."

No evangelistic preaching really brings the Gospel to fruition in the lives of men, it is actually the Holy Spirit who convicts, regenerates, and saves. However, to say that Calvinist churches don't grow, that God does not add to their numbers, then I would simply say that is completely unsubstantiated (and would additionally ask you to prove your point -- which you know can't be done). The church I was a part of in New Orleans baptized 8 people in less than 6 months (I was only there for less than a year) while I was there (this in a church of less than 40 in attendance on any given Sunday), all of which came from Catholic backgrounds and heard the Gospel for the first time at our church. Someone has already mentioned Capital Hill, but also Bethlehem Baptist (your current whipping boy church) has grown incredibly in the last 5 years, not to mention the hundreds to thousands of men and women their missionaries they support bring to Christ every year. Additionally, the entirety of the Evangelical Free Church (a large portion of which is made up of Calvinists), of whom Grace Community Church (John MacArthur) is a part, grew by 53% as a denomination from 1990 to 2000, the PCA grew 43% (as opposed to the SBC, which grew only 5% during that same time). Do you really think all of that growth was due to the reasons you listed (you might want to suggest it, but can you really back any of it up with cold hard facts -- you haven't done this so far)? So really, you did not prove your point, you just make an accusation that you couldn't really back up.


Another point I want to address:
"12. Finally, you come off as a "boys club." EVERY Calvinist thinks he and his family are inside, looking out. I have never had ONE Calvinist honestly look at his children and say, "God may not love you." WHY? If you believe it for the guy next door, why not your son or daughter? You do NOT believe in the "Doctrines of Grace;" you believe in the "Doctrines of Grace to You- Damnation to Everyone else." And somehow, God gets the glory."

This is another unsubstantiated point and overgeneralization (by the way, I am just going to skip over the "God doesn't love you statement" -- it is just too ridiculous to address here). Since you think Calvinists cannot help but quote Piper, I will not disappoint you, but if you are not familiar with case of his son, Abraham, then maybe you should look this one up. He mentioned numerous times in several sermons in the 1990's and early 2000's that his son was not a Christian and that he was continually praying for him, but he had resolved to deal with the fact that God may not have indeed chosen him for salvation. A friend, whose father met Piper, had a son (my friend's brother) who was in the same situation. My friend and his dad responded in the exact same way as did Dr. Piper over their beloved family member. Additionally, I would say that something Calvinsts deal with constantly is the concern over their own family members' salvations (as another example, VanTil's mother constantly exhorted her son to pray that God would choose him for salvation). So on this point, you speak very much in ignorance.

Which brings me to my final point. I think much of what you have written is done so in ignorance. You have little facts other than your own personal experiences and maybe some lousy statistical data that this blog previously showed was weak at best. I think what you should do is actually come visit churches who conform to the doctrines of grace. Go visit Bethlehem Baptist, speak to Dr. Piper, Dr. MacArthur, Dr. Packer, and the thousands of Calvinists that have shaped evangelicalism and continue to do so.

10:14 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Caner Brothers,

Since you guys are about getting to the truth I have a game I would like you to play. It's called " Ask your buddies about how they reward staff members of their megachurches to produce baptisms and SS growth". If they will be honest you will hear some of them say " Well 10yrs ago we implemented a business principle called "KRA's" which stands for Key Result Areas. At one of these megachurches where I served each staff member were given five that they were supposed to reach. Example: 1. Personally lead 100 people to Christ ( 50%) 2. Sunday School had to grow 12% ( 20%) 3. Make 300 evangelistic visits ( 10%) 4. Baptize 700 people ( 10%) 5. Average 200 people at Outreach night( 10%). So, to receive a raise at the end of the year you had better hit the goals or be fired or not get a raise or if you did real well on the 50% you would be at least rewarded. Rewards such as $ 800 Suits, $ 200 pair of dress shoes, Nice dinners, trips etc... . Of course the church knew all about it ! I saw men that were kicked to the curb because results were up to man not God. There are two guilty parties here : The man who took them( Me) and the ones that did these things. Majority of the men who read this don't know these things happened and may even not believe it. These are your churches and leaders that you hold in high regard. If you think I'm bluffing then " Call my hand"! Where is the fear of God ! God sure brought me to my knees in great repentance of my sinful taking. This is why some may wonder this is why this guy is so hard on you guys.Let me be real clear that there are great men of God pastoring megachurches. However, alot of this has gone on and still does. I'm not impressed with large churches that run 25% of their membership no matter the size. It's sad that alot of SBC members look up to alot of your crowd but if they could just meet some of the guys that run in the Founders circle. I have and I hear them talking about Jesus not what great things they have and where they have been " Just Jesus and His Church". Don't let some of these men hurt you as they have others.

11:17 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Phillip M. Way said...

quote: Five-point Calvinism is a VIRUS. It saps the evangelism of every church it infects.

Butch (also known as Dr. Caner the Greater),

Let me humbly ask a few simple questions. All the rest of the debate aside:

Do you really believe what you stated in this quote?

If the answer is yes, how do you explain the ministry of Charles Spurgeon, who was a 5-point Calvinist? Surely no one can honestly accuse him of not being evangelistic, even though he did not give altar calls. I don't think we can find as good an example of evangelistic preaching since his time, though Dr. Criswell and a few others do run a commendable second in history.

Anybody who claims to be a 5-point Calvinist and is not more evangelistic than any other church in town does not really believe the doctrines of grace. Because what you believe works it way out in how you live. And I have never found a greater motivation for evangelism that those 5 points.

We sow the seed of the Word EVERYWHERE knowing that God gives the increase and His Word never returns void.

Your Criswell College classmate from the class of '93, a five point calvinist with a degree in evangelism -

Phillip Way

11:53 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

Gentlemen:

Though late, I respond:

1. Yes, I absolutely believe Calvinism (5 points) is a virus. this is not a sound bite- it is a simple point, not YET refuted.

2. Spurgeon despised the 5-pointer/reprobation position, as my brother so aptly hammered you on point, by citing Spurgeon's own words.

3. Out of the top 100 baptizing churches, how many were five-pointers? NOTICE, I did not say "growing." Churches such as the ones you cited truly do grow. Mostly by transfer of members. Lazy members. When I required soul winning by my leadership in my last church, they resigned and transferred. Now THAT is a Church Discipline doctrine I can embrace. Greatest thing that ever happened to us.

4. As Dr Rainer points out, Dr. Piper's church has grown amazingly in attendance, and yet baptized only 30-40 a year. Proves the point.

5. Philip, I absolutely believe that Hyper-Calvinism has killed every Baptist church it has infected. They chalk it up (or "Gottschalk it up") to "growing deeper." They are not deeper; they are lazy.

6. On the gentleman who said I would not answer a question, I repeat- not ONE of you has answered our questions. NOT ONE. We can go on all day- for instance, "What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?" Anyone? How can I resist what is irresistible, and how can I resist something that wasn't supposed to be offered to me in the first place?

7. Oh, and I ABSOLUTELY admit that the VAST majority of our churches are both plateaued, and Sandy Creek. Laziness is not an exclusive to your side of the equation. As I have consistently done, I must readily admit when our side fails as well- we have guys giving away cars, tricking people into "decisions," and relying on methods over the Holy Spirit. We have men transferring to new churches when their sermon file runs out, and prima donnas who get escorted around in limos. No argument from either Emir or I when you bring that up. THAT is why we became Deans. We want to change the culture of stars over servants, and a reliance on Saddleback over exposition.

8. The answer is NOT, however, to adopt semi-Presbyterianism, with elders, no invitations, and no evangelism. You guys follow Drs. Piper and Sproul like our guys follow anything Dr. Hybels says, hook, line and sinker. Equally as wrong.

9. As for the offer to debate, I would be happy to debate- a Baptist. Why should I debate Dr. White? Especially since Dr. Geisler so aptly decimated him in the second edition of CHOSEN? If you would like a copy, take my class THEO 202. I require it. Perhaps we can even debate after Emir's new book from B&H on Baptist History comes out. I am sure it will help balance out Dr. Nettles textbook. I shall require Emir's book as well.

So, for a guy who speaks in sound bites, I surely must have written 10 pages of text through all of this. Just because you are stumped for an answer does not mean that my questions were invalid, or in the case of one, "not worthy of answering." Just say you don't know, and move on.

Finally- Emir signed off with "Elect because I Selected." He does that to balance the antimony. I sign off with the motto of our Anabaptist forefather, Balthasar Hubmaier-

Truth is Immortal

1:18 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

One final note to SCOTT: You said: "Remember Calvinism is just a nickname for the true gospel."

NO. Calvinism (5 point) is a Scholastic Theological system. We will NOT let you bogart the term "Gospel." Especially since the five-point system of Beza (don't blame Calvin) is not "good news." It is only good news to those who happen to be in the club.

1:26 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Phillip M. Way said...

Oh, I agree with you that hyper-calvinism kills the gospel and evangelism. It is a great danger to the church.

I guess where I am puzzled is that I never knew 5 point calvinism and hyper-calvinism were the same things. Spurgeon was a 5 pointer and criticized the "high" calvinists who were hyper.

~pw

2:16 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

outErgun,
here is your original quote:
"You are guilty of the same. THAT is why were found the defense of the charismatics so historically ironic. BOTH movements never grew a single SBC church. Calvinism has NEVER grown a church. You get transfers, and grow numerically sometimes, but it always peters out, because the people you GET were the people we wanted to get rid of! The "deeper life" boys who just wanted sit around all day and talk, instead of knocking on doors."

Here is what you said in your last post,
"Out of the top 100 baptizing churches, how many were five-pointers? NOTICE, I did not say "growing." Churches such as the ones you cited truly do grow. Mostly by transfer of members. Lazy members."

First you say "Calvinism has NEVER grown a church" then when you are proved wrong, you deny you said it and then say they mostly grow through transfer. And accuse them of being lazy. So when you say, "Proves the Point" it actually doesn't because your original point is that "Calvinism has NEVER grown a church. You get transfers, and grow numerically sometimes, but it always peters out." Twenty-six years of steady growth says otherwise We could also talk about some PCA churches like 10th Presbyterian in Philly, Second Pres in Memphis, TN, First Pres in Jackson, MS, and Coral Ridge in Ft. Lauderdale. So no, you haven't proven your point. Just more ignorance of the facts.

But let's look at another church just for emphasis, pastored by a Calvinist.
Mars Hill in Seattle -- 9 years from a handful of people to over 4000, almost exclusively through conversions.

Also, you said,
"On the gentleman who said I would not answer a question, I repeat- not ONE of you has answered our questions. NOT ONE."

Emir's questions:

1. How many points does one need to have to teach at these two seminaries?
2. And, if someone holds to less than those points, should they be fired?

Dr. Ascol answered both questions.

Emir's ridiculous question:
Also, is it true Bethlehem Baptist has revised their hymnal to fit the mold of their hyper-Calvinist pastor?

Obviously this is not worthy of an answer, but it's "NO!"

Emir's questions about his sermon:
"To my brethren who obviously expound Scripture far better than I, was I correct in my interpretation? Did I expound the Scriptures accurately? Or is my preaching flawed and superficial? Am I preaching an incorrect doctrine? Am I preaching heresy?"

Dr. Ascol's answer:
"On your exposition of Romans 9: I say that you are correct in stating that man (in sin) deserves to hated of God. That is what makes that verse so difficult to comprehend--not that God hated Esau, but that He loved Jacob (who, likewise deserved to be hated)! This, I would call the wonder of sovereign grace.

I take exception, however, to your equating sovereignty with arbitrariness. Do you find creation arbitrary? Atonement? The incarnation? The Return of Christ? I think you have a theological problem with understanding the nature of divine sovereignty. That may explain many things in our theological disagreements."

The thing Emir did here was quote Spurgeon out of context and without giving his explanation of how he understood this doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Still the questions were answered adequately.

Emir's rephrased original question:
"My question is how many Calvinistic points does a prospective faculty need to have in your opinion in order to be hired?"

Dr. Ascol answered that one too.

Emir's follow-up question:
"If backed in a corner, would you prefer to be called a Baptist or a Calvinist?"

You might have an argument here, so let me answer it: A Calvinist. This is because I think that being Baptist is contained within being a Calvinst. I would rather be associated with solid conservative doctrine that be confused with the CBF. At least people know where I stand on Scripture, the atonement, the deity of Christ, etc. On a personal note, before my father became a Calvinist in his late 60's, what he knew of Calvinism was that it affirmed the fundamentals of the faith. He respected that in light of all the liberalism he saw in other Baptist churches.

So, there it is Ergun, proof that you are wrong about NEVER being answered. Now, can you be man enough to admit that?

2:54 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

I have tried to find a quote from Spurgeon where he said he was against 5 point Calvinism. Can anyone tell me where the quote is. I have read Emir's comments, but I must be missing the actual quote.

3:36 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Wright said...

What remains so stunning to me as I read the thread (and every other example of of the "debate") is the similarity of methodology in the Calvinism "debate" by both parties.

However, as much as both agree regarding tactics they are equally blind to the similarities.

For example:
Unhelpful Labeling
Calvinist: Armininan
Non-Calvinist: Semi-Presbyterian

Vitrolic Hyperbole
Calvinist: "Remember Calvinism is just a nickname for the true gospel."
Non-Calvinist: "Five Point Calvinism is a VIRUS."

Faulty Evangelism
Calvinist: You don't care about legitimate conversions, only numbers.
Non-Calvinist: You don't care about evangelism, period.

Faulty Icon(s) (the names are taken from the thread but others could be substituted)
Calvinist: Johnny Hunt is anti-calvinist. Watch out. Look to a Godly man like John Piper, can't imagine any one having a problem with him.
Non-Calvinist: John Piper is a hyper Calvinist. Watch out. Look to a Godly man like Johnny Hunt, can't imagine anyone having a problem with him.

Misrepresentation
Calvinist: Dang it, we are not fatalistic, deterministic, or unevangelistic. Stop saying that. However, if you aren't a Calvinist you are an Arminian.
Non-Calvinist: Dang it, we are not Arminians. Stop saying that. However, Calvinists are fatalistic, deterministic, and unevangelistic.

Cheap Potshots in Public Places
Calvinist: I'm going to put Johnny Hunt in the Arminian Hall of Fame
Non-Calvinist: Well, I just hope no one gets saved that’s not supposed to.

And you know what? Both sides justify their methods with
(A) They did it first.
(B) They did it worse.

All the while they are pulling from the same bag of tricks and launching the same weapons from opposite corners of the ring at fellow believers.

It isn't a solution but a lot of this could change if we saw the issue from this perspective. Add to it that the debate over Calvinism isn't simple>, easily reducible, or without room for disagreement between truly Orthodox (and well thought out for that matter) positons.

3:55 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Pastor Shane said...

One of the Caner's said:
"You guys follow Drs. Piper and Sproul like our guys follow anything Dr. Hybels says, hook, line and sinker. Equally as wrong."

This looks like a projection of the Fundamentalist obsession with superheroes on the Reformed--if we follow men, let us be damned with the rest; I would argue that it is nothing less than the call of Christ in the Word to his sheep that is causing the growth of Calvinistic and purtian theology among many in Baptist circles.

Now that beeing said, where "reformation" is in vogue there are some who are being innoculated to the doctrines of grace by a minimal exposure to them without their spiritual realities. Granting that, don't misunderstand the reason why many of us are Reformed Baptists. I was saved by Jesus Christ out of the kind of religion you are promoting. Were there many there who were Christians? Sure. But, there was so much of what the natural man can do: decisionalism, strange legalisms, a form of religion without power, a lack of the fruits of grace.

8:25 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Ergun,

I appreciate you being honest that you know that some of the churches you run with have given things away to build numbers and practice shady evengelism. Since you are looked up to in your circles would you speak to this openly ? Like maybe Real Evangelism Conference. Since Bailey uses the word" Real" then this conference would be the perfect place to address this issue in front of the people.

Since you have admitted that this has happened how would you feel about nominating a President that has allowed this to happen in his church during a student crusade? Not only allowed this to happen but walked around in the worship center passing out money to kids while the staff evangelist was speaking on the platform. The draw to the crusade was that you could win a car, money giveaways, and other items. Also, would you call these men out that allow the staff evangelist that say during the "Alter Call' " Hey guys you see these girls coming down the aisle, if you are going to have anything to do with them then you need to respond as well". My wife and I were sicken and along with another staff member when we heard this. Would you speek to this? Are these the type of churches we need to look up to ? The average person that attends the Real Evangelism conference has no clue that their heros allow these things to happen in the Lord's church. You also mentioned Limo's! Yes, this has taken place and I have seen it first hand. Like the church paying for Limo's to pick up the speakers you guys run with. Not just one but we had to deliver this Pastor's praise team that traveled with him as well in one. What's wrong with regular cars or maybe the church van? Since you are a dean of a school would you lead the way in this in speaking about this publicly at your conferences? So, the calvinist are a danger to our convention ? How about the guys you run with using the Power Team? We had the Power Team at a church where I served. We baptized over 300 from that event. Where was the SS growth or worship growth that we should have had ? We had so much confidence in their decisions we had shorts and t-shirts waiting for them to be baptized right away. Don't use the Acts 8 passage on me to say the we are to baptize right away.We are if we can have the gospel preached. I thought it was the baptism of disciples alone? Why did our church have to baptize them in horse troughs? Why didn't we schedule a time to meet with these new converts to make sure they understood ?

You wonder why many doubt what's going on with your circle ? Fire engine baptistry in one of our churches. Please start preaching against these things. Let me caution you if you do, you will confront some of the people you align with! Whats so sad is what a man will allow.

8:51 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger RBJames said...

http://www.firstnorfolk.org

When the Caner brothers speak of evangelism they have in their back pockets stuff like “the Power Team” or “Team Impact”. These things are clear signs of a denomination on the down-grade.

The new so-called conservative SBC convention in Virginia is really not conservative at all. For instance you have a conservative flagship church doing evangelism by “Team Impact”.

Take a look at the church website:

http://www.firstnorfolk.org

This kind of ridiculous model of evangelism is growing in the SBC churches.

God help us!

RBJames

8:59 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

Guys, you’re just falling into their trap. Their comments are meant to shock and to offend, and it's obvious that they couldn't back anything up in a debate. What kind of ignorance does it take to say that Geisler took down James White in CBF 2? No honest student of the Word could make such a ridiculous statement. But seeing that they’ve already recommended Dave Hunt’s book as well, it’s obvious these men have already made up their minds (based on emotions, tradition, and a low view of sin) and would never be persuaded by the scriptures. They’re just trying to agitate with their words –don’t give in. Let them alone.

But think about it. These men are shrewd, real shrewd. Anybody who is familiar with Hunt and FBCW knows how many kids he ships off to Liberty. It’s all about $ don’t you see? These men are reasonably intelligent; they know that backing Hunt pays the bills. They know the hand that feeds them.

Let them alone, they cannot stop the tide from rising.

9:54 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

Beza did not come up with the five points! The Synod of Dort did in order to combat what they saw as a dangerous perversion of the Gospel.
That perversion of the Gospel was set forth by James (Jacobus) Arminius, and after months of deliberation on Arminius' five points, they came up with five points of their own to combat Arminius' views.
Interesting note, Arminius would have probably called himself 'Amyrauldian' if the term had been invented, as it more closely captures his view.
It was his students after his death who became what we know today as 'Arminians'.
Moral of the story...I don't know, but Dr. Caner seemed to think that Beza alone came up with the acronym TULIP even though he didn't know English.
That's what happens when you ignore Church history in order to study the Anabaptists exclusively.

9:58 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Emir writes: "...You better believe there are many who are reading this blog."

Good, that means more will become interested in this whole subject and actually examine the facts behind the rhetoric.

10:04 AM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

Scott, et. al:

SICKENED: One post noted being sickened by pushy and manipulative invitations. AGREED.

SICKENED: Another poster noted the lack of discipleship in our churches. AGREED. This is spiritual child abuse. Leaving them at the altar without any spiritual food or direction. I DESPISE THIS.

SICKENED: Another noted the politics pressed within the church. AGREED.

SICKENED: Another poster lamented that only "mega" church pastors are nominated. AGREED.

We do have points of agreement. I hate this stuff (political) every bit as you do. I WANT a guy to be nominated from some tiny country church. I get ill when I see manipulation in altar calls. I am heartsick that students come to our schools WORSHIPPING Jesus, but they can barely SPELL Jesus.

Thus, I agree.

However, the answer is NOT to stop giving altar calls, it is to do them correctly. The answer is not to stop doing evangelism by going door to door, but rather to do it correctly. The classic case of over-correction will be every bit as dangerous as the disease it attempts to cure.

And to Philip: Do I see as synonymous 5-point Calvinism (supralapsarian) and "Hyper-Calvinism?"

OF COURSE I DO.

The simple questions to be answered, which define "hyperCalvinism:"

1. Do ANY babies die and go to hell? Spurgeon resolved this in sermon 411.

2. Is ANYONE predestined for hellfire?

3. Did God hate Esau from his CREATION, or his sin?

And the sheer lack of churches listed (a few excepting) certainly answers my question about baptising Calvinist churches in the SBC.

Citing PCA churches does NOT answer the question, or fit this blog site. If you are going to complain about being called semi-Presbyterians, you do not help your cause by citing them!

12:29 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Gentlemen:

Thank you for being honest with questions I raise. A few more questions from this little schoolboy trying to gain knowledge from scholars:

1. Will others agree or disagree with the statement from "d.r." that you would, if backed in a corner, rather be called a Calvinist than a Baptist. In particular, Phillip, your answer would be quite helpful as we are fellow Criswell grads.

2. Do those on the blog agree with the statement made by one blogger that to be Baptist is to be a Calvinist? If so, am I not a true Baptist since I am not a Calvinist? More importantly, are Baptist churches which do not hold to the Reformed tenets true Baptist churches?

3. Do those on the blog agree with "rbjames" that the SBCV is not conservative since it had "Team Impact" and likewise, that FBC Norfolk is not conservative because it has had the Power Team?

4. Finally, do you agree or disagree with Drs. Mohler and Akin that the Abstract of Principles is a document purposefully written so that a 3-point Calvinist can sign this honestly and faithfully? (see my previous blog for Dr. Akin's sermon which explicitly states such within the first few minutes).

Simple yes or no answers will suffice.

Emir

1:23 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

One final note:

I stand with Johnny not because the church is a mega-church, but because it is a New Testament church. He is truly a shepherd of the flock who smells like his sheep, and yes, I would gladly go into battle with such a godly man who has stood for the gospel for so many years. From his stance for the Scripture to his expository sermons, from his heart for missions to his Barnabas ministry, this man has emulated a true shepherd's heart for more than three decades. And for some to denegrate him for a few perceived flaws or a few comments that went against your Calvinist grain is far more than childish, it is ungodly.

Emir

1:30 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Emir,

"Flaws"! Just blow by it like it's no big deal. So, Johnny has the right and along with Herb to keep blasting Calvinistic theology in their pulpits and at the conferences and we are just to sit back and say "Whatever you say". First, we are Christians but as Spurgeon put it " I would purpose that the subject of ministry in this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; But if I am asked what is my creed, I reply- It is Jesus Christ". You keep trying to seperate Baptists from Calvinism and historically it won't stand. Just answer one question for us: In 1845 in Augusta, Ga the SBC was formed so, what confession did the 293 delegates embrace? Look it up and do the research. Have the Southern Baptist Calvinists turned their back on the scriptures and forefathers or has your group? Read Dr. Nettles book again and again and again if you need to.

1:57 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Phillip M. Way said...

I, with Spurgeon, am a Calvinistic Baptist Christian. But above all, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I boast only in the cross.

As for this:
And to Philip: Do I see as synonymous 5-point Calvinism (supralapsarian) and "Hyper-Calvinism?"

OF COURSE I DO.


This is too simple a view of Calvinism. There are infralapsarian Calvinists who deny double predestination. Beside that, it is unfair to history and our ancestors in the faith for us to fall into the thinking that being supralapsarian automatically equals being hyper-calvinistic! This just isn't the case. There is more to hyperC than your view of the decrees of God.

Now I will say that all hyperC's are supralapsarian, but I know many supra's that are not hyperC's.
(just like all southern baptists are baptists but not all baptists are southern baptists! - get it?) Being one does not automatically mean you are the other.

I will stand with you and fight HyperCalvinism wherever we find it, but let's not see it where it isn't.

Check out these definitions please from Phil Johnson's website:

A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism
Infra vs. Supra

They will help put us all on the same page.

And let me add one personal note as a pastor - why can't we discuss these things without the rhetoric, vitriol, and venom? We should be speaking the truth in love. Love does not behave rudely.

I think each side sees itself as Jesus and the other side as the Pharisees, but fellas, we are members of the same body. If we cannot communicate truth without the hyperbole and theatrics then maybe we need to set personality and self aside and strive to communicate about these things with a motive of LOVE and a desire to DISCIPLE one another.

This is not a game. It is not a war. And if we are engaging in the debate and not at the same time bearing the fruit of the spirit then we need to be quiet.

~pastorway

2:00 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger RBJames said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:01 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger RBJames said...

Fellow Caner Brothers,

What points of Calvinism do you believe are biblical?

Thanks,
RBJames

2:05 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Eric Thomas said...

Concerning First Norfolk, here the gospel is presented in the manner of Peter's sermon at Pentecost, at Solomon's Portico, Paul before Areopagus. We proclaim Jesus Christ, pre-existent God, the fulfillment of OT Scripture, born of a virgin, killed on the cross as payment price for sin, resurrected on the third day, exalted at the right hand of God, coming again. We proclaim the irreparably shattered nature of man in sin, without merit or opportunity to move toward God, destined for hell in all its horror.

Yet, God sovereignly moves His Spirit to convict the hearts of individuals, and when they ask "what must we do?," we declare with Peter, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:39, NKJV). And with many other words we exhort them to "be saved from this crooked generation."

Of course some might sadly lament the 3,000 people baptized on that day. "Too many," some might mournfully declare. "Bloated baptisms," others might claim. Some also may demean Paul's sermon at Areopagus, utilizing such a thing as an altar to an unknown god to present the eternal reality and truth of the Living God who can be known through Jesus Christ alone.

But the Scripture itself informs our model of evangelism. We trust God's sovereignty in all things, including using men called by God to present the gospel in a clear, biblical way, even though they break bats and bend bars. We trust the sovereignty of God to save the lost, and that He has called us to present the gospel.

Do we counsel those who cry out, "What must we do to be saved?" YES! Do we baptize those we have examined and counseled who demonstrate the marks of repentance as best we can determine? YES! Why? Because we trust the sovereignty of God in all things! Oh, that He might choose to move in our community as He did on that special day of Pentecost!

Certainly, you might not agree with me. Yet, I seek to follow Paul's counsel: "preach Christ crucified" (1 Cor 2:1-2), "not as pleasing men, but God who tests the hearts" (1 Thess 2:4).

BTW, I would concur that inflated membership rolls are an issue. I concur that the lack of expositional preaching is an issue. I concur that evangelism that includes "partial gospel" is no evangelism. But I do not concur that big numbers are bad (nor do I suggest that small numbers are bad). I do not seek the most effective form of ministry, but the most faithful form of ministry. And I am still learning.

And thank you for the opportunity to share this with you.

2:18 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

Gentlemen:

In response to your question:

Along with President Danny Akin and President Al Mohler, I believe the Abstract allows three-pointers to teach at any SBC institution.

I do not believe that limited atonement and irresistible grace are biblical.

I even take issue, as a Geisler-type Thomist, with any description of Total Depravity that erases the imago Dei, and I believe that repentance preceeds salvation. No one is dragged kicking and screaming against their will into the Kingdom.

Thus, using the Scholastic Protestant definition, I am a fighting one-pointers.

Thankfully, I am not a protestant.
I am a Baptist, Free-Church dissenter.

ergun

4:34 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Bennett said...

Just a question about a passing statement that was made about a thousand comments ago that probably belongs somewhere else.

What is the problem with being a "emergent" or "postmodern" church? Are non-emergent (demergent? dependent?) and modern churches the one true church? What I mean is, are these terms negative because these are bad characteristics for a church to have or because many of the churches that are labeled in such a way are off course? Maybe I should have just asked, "is it wrong to be emergent?"

I ask because I think my church is emergent but not (purposely at least) seeker sensitive and not "programmatic". As for postmodern, the term is so diversely used it seems useless.

I'm just trying to figure some things out. I realise this is not the best place for learning, but now you know that I was wondering.

4:49 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

One final note to Doxoblogist:

OK, I will give you- perhaps Arminius would have called himself Amyraldian.

Of course, there is no way, after the Synod of Dort, that Calvin would ever have identified his doctrines with Calvinism. Were he alive then, I am sure he would have objected to Beza's co-opting of the movement.

Thus endeth the speculative history cycle you started.

One would know this if one would study all of church history, not just the writiings of the French-Swiss theonomists.

Now that I have vented, Emir, I assume the silence to our questions certainly speak volumes.

ergun

4:52 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger T said...

Dear Fellows,

I only write this to join my Caner brothers in defending a man who is like a second father to me, Johnny Hunt. Is it really worthwhile to post nearly 200 comments slandering and seeking to bring reproach upon a brother in Christ? If you disagree with his theology, fine. But the manner that characterises your assertions is no less than ungodly, venomous hatred.

It absolutely behoves me to see men talk about how important 'theology' is to them, and then to see these same men leave it as an abstraction, without touching on the way in which they go about disagreements or conflicts. That you all feel such 'horror' and 'fear' at the thought of Johnny Hunt becoming President of the SBC is a testimony to the short-sightedness of those who would separate theology from incarnational Christ-likeness. I would far rather see as President a man of humility like Johnny Hunt than any of the men you have put forward as rivals.

At least two men on this blog whom I know very well (one I know by personal contact and the other by acquaintance), have rightly mentioned their personal knowledge and experience of Johnny Hunt's life and ministry. Both, however, have proven to have a short memory. For one of you, I will not go into any details publicly, but it saddens me to see how you have distorted what 'really' happened with your situation at FBCW, in order to make a point to all of your buddies on this blog. To the other, how quickly you forget the man who helped you in a time of your own rebellion before God.

In closing, let me just say that I am a SBTS graduate. I was there and breathed in all of the 'pure theology' from the place that is the supposed utopian playground of Calvinistic thought. I even worked for the President. Yet it was two men who walked in true grace and humility, Daniel Block and Peter Gentry, who became my mentors. Is it an irony that neither of them were professed Calvinists? Is it ironic that the men who showed me how to know and love God were not apart of the Calvinist super-hero team? I am not of the persuasion that Calvinism is evil, or that Calvinism is the 'Great Satan' of the SBC. In fact, I like much of Calvinistic theology's emphasis on the sovereignty of God and His absolute rule over the Universe. But, I despair at the attitude that characterises many Calvinists, and I despair at the slanderous accusations that would be heaped upon a brother who has only, even if you judge wrongly, attempted to address a theological imbalance. If anything, can you all not appreciate the way in which this brother wishes to introduce so many persons to Jesus? If his theology be 'weak', as some of you have said, can you not at least bear with this brother in love?

This entire blog has been about the 'tragedy' and 'sadness' of Johnny Hunt's theology. Is it not more sad that so much effort has been spent in the cantankerous vilification of a man who is your brother and, like you, one of the seed of Abraham?

5:21 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

Wow.

I didn't realize Geisler destroyed White in his book.

His book was SO bad, I could barely get through it without laughing at the misrepresentations and faulty exegesis.

But, hey, you are also a guy who said Hunt does "expository" sermons. So maybe your definitions are a bit different than mine.

You also understand Romans 9 to teach that God hated Esau from his sin...which is quite troublesome exegetically. But I'm sure you can twist it somehow into your preconceived notion that election isn't real.

BTW, shouldn't someone who supposedly "smells like the sheep" actually be involved in the lives of the sheep? Not sure how a megachurch pastor unwilling to discuss the Bible with his staff is involved with every member of his church. Does he know more than 100 people at his church? Does he know what is going on in 10 people's lives? Is he knocking on doors in the neighborhood?
Maybe he is, but something tells me it is highly unlikely.

Sorry, but I'll take the servant of God who has faithfully served God in a small church for 30 years and knows what real ministry is like...who knows how to exegete a text, not how to alliterate a text...over some talking head with a big church and big name.

But that's just me....evidently, our "godly leadership" would rather see the first man "go down in flames".

Ah....to return to the days of humble leadership.

You would think that if "winning souls" was really most important to people they'd be in the churches and preaching against sin, rather than preaching against their brothers at pastor's conferences and at colleges.

- JG

BTW, I think your questions have been answered several times, Caners....repeatedly saying they have not been answered does not make it so.

5:40 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Phillip M. Way said...

Let's expose the root shall we.

It's called misrepresentation.

Not necessarily willful misrepresenatation, but it is misrepresentation nonetheless.

It sounds like this (from both sides):

What you say I believe is not what I believe even if you do not believe what I am saying about what I believe. There. I said it. Do you believe it?

I do not know one Calvinist who would say that anyone was dragged kicking and screaming into heaven. That is not what the doctrine of Irresistable Grace says. So here we have yet another misrepresentation. If you do not believe in Irresistable Grace you might want to be sure it is Irresistable Grace that you are not believing!

Perhaps we all need a little more education. After all, "a man can have 32 degrees and still be a frozen stiff." (- Leonard Ravenhill).

Further, beyond the content and back to the tone of the debate - Why do we ask questions and not get answers on either side?

First, because we are not talking about the same thing. It is that simple. Really. Whoever defines the terms win the argument and right now we are using two different sets of definitions. One cannot engage in a fruitful or meaningful debate without being able to state the other side's position with clarity!

Second, because who wants to answer a question that is asked about something I do not even believe?? It is like arguing about words to the ruin of hearers, and nothing is any more clear than when we started. It fact, the only thing getting more and more clear is that a lot of people like to talk but have not a clue how to listen.

Maybe our seminaries need to start teaching debate. That and running hearing checks like they used to do in elementary school!

~pastorway

5:42 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Uncialman said...

Greetings Dr. Caner!

Back in October of 2005, I had sent an invitation for you to debate Dr. James White in Orlando, FL in November of 2006. Sadly, it appears that either your firewall, e-mail server or secretary must have either deleted the message as I did not receive a reply. The text of the message was as follows:

Greetings Caner!

I would like to inquire as to the possibility of
having you participate in a formal, moderated,
academic debate on November 3rd, 2006 at the Safety Harbor Resort and
Spa in Safety Harbor (Tampa) Florida.
The proposed thesis of the debate would be "Does God
Unconditionally Elect Some Unto Salvation?" The debate
opponent would be Dr. James R. White, adjunct professor of
apologetics at Golden Gate Baptist Theological
Seminary and founder of Alpha and Omega Ministries.


I have annually sponsored formal theological debates that have
included Dr. White over the past 5 years. In descending order, our
past
debates were:

*2005 "Is the Jesus of the New Testament Historically
Accurate" with Dr. James White and Dr. John Dominic
Crossan
*2004 "Does Trinitarian Baptism Make One a Member of
the New Covenant" with Dr. James White and Rev.
Douglas Wilson
*2003 "Is Jesus God or a god?" with Dr. James White
and Gregory Stafford
*2002 "Does God Know the Future?" with Dr. James White
and Dr. John Sanders
*2001 "Is Personal Knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ the Only Path of Salvation?" with Dr. James
White and Dr. John Sanders
*2000 "Is the Papacy Infallible?" with Dr. James White
and Robert Sungenis


The proposed format of the debate would be:

30 Minute opening statements
Break
25 Minute rebuttals
Break
20 Minute Affirmative Cross Examination
20 Minute Negative Cross Examination
20 Minute Affirmative Cross Examination
20 Minute Negative Cross Examination
Break
20 Minute Closing Statements
30 Minutes of Audience Questions

If you agree to participate, you will be given 50% of
the house take for the evening. As our attendance last
year in Seattle was approximately 800, this should be
a substantial sum. Round-trip air-fare for you and your wife, hotel and
meals while at the Safety Harbor Resort will be gratis.

Please let me know if you are able to participate in
this event.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Michael O'Fallon
President
Sovereign Cruises LLC
www.sovereigncruises.org
mike@sovereigncruises.org
877-SOV-CRUISE

********************************

I hadn't received any replies back from some of the debate invitations that I sent out (Including Graham, Hunt, etc), so we changed course and invited the Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong which has already been confirmed. As this is the case for 2006, I would like to re-submit my invitation for you to debate Dr. White with the same thesis and stipulations. The debate will would be held in either San Diego, NYC (which is why I am in NYC currently - doing site visits), or Ft. Lauderdale. Feel free to utilize the e-mail provided in the text of the message to contact me at you leisure. I will be mostly out of contact Sunday through Tuesday and will return to Florida on Wednesday.

Thank you in advance for being willing to formally debate these issues. I look forward to serving your needs in the future.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Michael O'Fallon
President
Sovereign Cruises LLC
www.sovereigncruises.org
mike@sovereigncruises.org
877-SOV-CRUISE ext. 3

5:54 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

I'd love to see that debate.

But, I doubt it'll ever happen. I guess we'll see what Dr.Caner has to say.

5:59 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger G. Alford said...

Eric Thomas said,

Concerning First Norfolk, here the gospel is presented in the manner of Peter's sermon at Pentecost, at Solomon's Portico, Paul before Areopagus…

We proclaim the irreparably shattered nature of man in sin, without merit or opportunity to move toward God, destined for hell in all its horror.

Yet, God sovereignly moves His Spirit to convict the hearts of individuals, and when they ask "what must we do?," we declare with Peter, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:39, NKJV). And with many other words we exhort them to "be saved from this crooked generation."


Brother Eric, I do not wish to alarm you but this is EXACTLY what I believe and preach… and for doing so I was attacked as a Calvinist by my local association. At that time I did not even know what a Calvinist was and so began my education… and having it so very clearly made known to me that I was unwelcome in our local association because I preached Exactly what you described above (I never mentioned Calvin, Election, Predestination, Total Depravity, or any of the 5 points of Calvinism, I gave invitations, and held revivals) I was forced to find Baptist that believed and preached the Word of God as I did and the only place I found such men was among the Founders Movement.

Thanks for letting us all know a little more about you. And NO (do not follow the Caners who spew out lies and misrepresentations of what their Calvinistic brothers believe all to casually for men who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord) there is not a single Calvinist on this blog who would lament the 3000 true converts who were baptized on that day… not a single one of us.

Blessings,

6:17 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Woohoo! This is one hot potato here! Dr. Caner the Greater reminds me of that Star Trek alternate universe guy with Dr. White being his opposite. And Dr. Caner the Lesser...I don't know who he's like.

Anyway, I am so happy that we've finally gotten all of this out in the open. Deep down, I have the knee-jerk "Fightin' Fundamentalist" lodged in my heart, and if I'm going to get into a rucous, it's going to be over theology.

So, if we could clear the ad hominem, inneundo, and actually debate something with regards to soteriology, I would love! I would even make posters at ringside. Dr. Caner should debate Dr. White. Why not? If Dr. Geisler has already smoked him, it would be fun to see that happen again, right?

Some of my favorites from this was the accussation that Dr. Gill would have "killed us" for not baptizing our babies! HA! That was a zinger. I also liked the quip that people are "watching us". That, I believe, is my personal favorite. Since I have no aspirations outside of pastoring the local church, I will respond with the (in?)famous, "Whoop-de-doo." Actually, there are so many good one-liners in here I hardly know what to do with myself. I think that this sort of thing is supposed to sadden me or something, but it actually excites me. FINALLY, somebody is talking theology. Let's get it on!!

6:46 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger G. Alford said...

Brother Tm law,

I once thought very highly of Johnny Hunt… (and no I have not attacked him on this post or else where and I do not intend to, and I probably would have supported him for President) But Johnny Hunt has publicly attacked me each and every time he has attacked and misrepresented the doctrines I hold as precious, as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what the Holy Scriptures teach.

WHEN YOU ATTACK A MANS FAITH YOU ATTACK THE MAN… in all humility and honestly brother perhaps you should share this with Brother Johnny? He is the one man that can put an end to all this by simply coming out and saying “I am not a Calvinist but there will always be plenty of room in the SBC for my Calvinist friends.”

Why is he attacking fellow Baptist at this time and why is he turning men who once thought highly of him into personal enemies? What is the point of all these attacks on Calvinism by some of the Mega-Church Pastors within the Convention lately? Someone who is not a Calvinist and who knows some of these men personally needs to ask these questions? Can you ask them for me?

P.S. Have you read the hate filled ranker of the comments posted by our Landmark brothers the Caners?

6:55 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger RBJames said...

FIRST BAPTIST OF NORFOLK, VA

Eric,

Concerning the activities of First Baptist Church of Norfolk using men that break bats and bend bars to share the gospel.

Please read:

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats – by Charles H Spurgeon
http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?87

Ashamed of the Gospel (When the Church Becomes Like the World) by John MacArthur.
http://www.challies.com/archives/001611.php

Spurgeon and the Down-Grace Controversy
http://www.spurgeon.org/downgrd.htm


Eric stop the entertainment man-centered “trick or treat” evangelism at First Baptist Church of Norfolk and preach the gospel. You can SAY that you’re conservative and orthodox all day long, but your practice proves otherwise.

http://www.firstnorfolk.org

6:56 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

"I know we are first and foremost Christians, but I have one more question for you to answer. If backed in a corner, would you prefer to be called a Baptist or a Calvinist?"

I'd rather say that I'm both, but even before that, I'd say I'm a follower and slave of Jesus Christ. Neither term (Baptist or Calvinist/Reformed)in and of itself gives the complete picture, since some Reformed people are paedobaptists and to be Baptist means that you believe in credo-baptism (just at the root of the term).

In any case, I guess I didn't really answer the question -- I just refuse to choose between the two terms. :)

To the Glory of God Alone,
Dave Hewitt

6:58 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Also, I would have to agree (I think it was Philip Way) with the statement that we are not together on our definitions, and that misrepresentation is happening on both sides, and much of it (if not all of it) unintentionally.

For the issue about hyper-Calvinism, I would have to agree that a TULIP theologian is not a hyper-calvinist, but rather a true Calvinist. A couple of articles here at Founders can be helpful, here and here. I would submit the definition supplied in the second link as what a hyper-calvinist is against the thought that it is someone who believes in TULIP -- and I think it is more consistent historically; correct me if I'm wrong.

A quote from the first of those links I think helps the matter a lot that we have here, especially in the realm of evangelism (emphasis mine):

"We do not deny or de-emphasize human responsibility in salvation. We affirm the absolute responsibility of man and insist that it be held as fervently as the absolute sovereignty of God. We do not deny or de-emphasize evangelism. Though we do challenge the legitimacy of much that parades under the banner of evangelism today, we strongly affirm the necessity to be zealous, bold, and compassionate in evangelistic efforts. Let it be clearly said that we are not Hyper-Calvinists. We strongly believe in the duty of all men to repent and believe the gospel, and we renounce Hyper-Calvinism as deadly, pernicious error."

That came out of the Founders Journal. I know that Dr. Ascol is a "5-point" Calvinist, holding to TULIP. I do the same, and many others do as well --- yet we believe very strongly in the need for the sharing of the Gospel. I, for one, as a Reformed Baptist, have gone door to door many a time, and will most likely do it again in the near future. I also affirm that hyper-Calvinism is a serious error, deadly and pernicious.

How can this be? I used to ask that same question before I was a Calvinist. I would love very much to answer that question if someone were but to ask, and share how God showed me His Word, and yes, some of the mystery that remains -- that God would be glorified!

For the Glory of Jesus,
David Hewitt

7:40 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Alex F said...

This debate could certainly rage on forever and few people will change their minds. Sometimes I wonder if we just have to get the last word; just have to one-up the other side. (Ironic, I suppose, that here I am writing...)

I think the Caners have raised some good issues. I think many of us who claim a Reformed faith can easily become arrogant in the truth. In fact, when I was first wrestling with these issues, one of the greatest roadblocks for me was some of the guys I knew and heard who wore their Calvinism on their sleeves - we called them Calvinazis.

It was a breakthrough for me came when I realized that these doctrines ought to produce utmost humility! (I can remember exactly where I was when this thought struck me). So, no matter the disposition of those who disagree, we are wrong when we become prideful. And I say WE because I can do it too.

In thinking about this blog, I was reminded of James' admonition to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

I am certainly not the most able theologian in the room, but I'll take a shot at Emir's questions:

1. I'd probably rather be called a Baptist than a Calvinist, but I hope my identity never need be wrapped up in either term.

2. I believe one can be a Baptist and not a Calvinist, just as one can be a Calvinist and a Baptist.

3. I wouldn't call that church "unconservative" just unwise.

4. To my discredit, I'm not as familiar with the Abstract so I must plead ignorance. I would hesitate to disagree with Mohler and Akin if that is, in fact, their position.

One guy's opinion. For what its worth...

7:45 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Eric Thomas said...

RB James, if you want to tackle Scripture (not Spurgeon) with me, email me. My last word to you on this blog is thank you.

8:09 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

Come on Dr. Caner!!! Which of the five points set forth by Dort would Calvin have opposed?
Anyone who has read the Institutes cover to cover would certainly be able to attest to Calvin's affirmation of the basic concepts behind each of those doctrines!

As far as the reading of history, I was merely noting that a variety of sources are preferable to one (that is questionable at best) for the proper understanding of historical context.

I think Gene Bridges (my hero) has eaten lunch as far as history goes.

I leave you all with a quote from Spurgeon since he is being appealed to by both sides:

"It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic, of no honorable character, might rise and call me brother. But taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God's own church."
Sermon on Election, II Thess. 2:13,14
Hmmm...

8:15 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Jeremy Weaver said...

Has eaten your lunch...

8:16 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Eric Thomas said...

Sorry, alford, I meant to include you in my last (final) post. I am not an expert on theology, but I am not a novice either. I know quite clearly what I wrote and why, so I am unalarmed. My goal is to be radically biblical in preaching, teaching, writing, and ministry, so sometimes it may sound reformed and sometimes not. Thanks for listening!

8:20 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger G. Alford said...

Eric,

Thanks for the response brother, and I am sure you are a far more accomplished theologian than you give yourself credit for... You sound like a man who honestly preaches the Scriptures and lets the chips fall where they may. I wish all Baptist on both sides of the argument would simply do this…

I hope nothing I have said has offended you... If so please forgive me! All I was trying to say was that there are some places where a man who preaches the honest meaning of the text will get attacked for doing so. I hope it never, never happens to you... God Bless!

P.S. Despite what some would have you believe about Reformed Baptist... like Spurgeon I also plead for lost souls to come to Christ.

9:06 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Dr. Caner, our 5 point Calvinistic church plant staff has baptized almost 60 people in the 5 years since we planted the church. We have begun hand delivering bibles to every home in our community all 32,000 of them over the next 4 years. This Saturday we will knock on 2300 doors and hand them a copy of the Word of God (in the ESV). of the 60 people we have baptized all but 6 or 7 who have moved out of town attend regularly. We organized from a mission to a church in our 2nd year of existance and just purchased land and are in the process of building a building in one of the highest real estate markets in the country. We have been and will continue to preach and teach the "Doctrines of Grace" in 5 points. We will continue to preach the Gospel of Christ not the feel good gospel of man.

Your accusation of Calvinist killing there churches is false. I do know some Calvinist who have killed their churches, but it was a man that did it not his theology. You have yet to answer my question as to why the average SBC Card carrying Sandy Creek, street preaching, alter call giving churches are declining as fast as any Calvinistic church in the SBC.

1:12 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Jason E. Robertson said...

The unpardonable sin is to ultimately reject the work of God and even to call it the work of Satan.

All men in Hell have committed unpardoned sins. The atonement did not atone for their sins, or they have been called, given the gift of faith, repented and been forgiven.

The Pharasees were condemned already (Biblical phraseology). They practically sealed their ultimate doom that day in front of Jesus.

All men resist the gospel and are condemned in their depravity. It is only by the grace of God that a made "is made alive" (Paul's words) and that is by the drawing of the Father (Jesus' words). All men reject God, and some are drawn by special irresistable grace. And no one who has ever been drawn by the Father has regretted it!

So I would warn Dr. Caner to be careful of calling the effectual work of God's grace a VIRUS that kills churches. That is approaching blasphemy.

1:31 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Jeff said...

Good discussion elsewhere:

http://www.joethorn.net/2006/02/18/the-real-problem/
http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-caner-contention-i
http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-caner-contention-ii

4:17 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger J. Gray said...

scott "fide-o" -

Praise God for what he's done at your church!
We are seeing growth at our church, that also teaches the doctrines of grace unashamedly. I recently began a college aged Bible study in a town where there is zero college ministry, and we have seen God already do a mighty work as he has tripled this ministry (numerically)in a matter of weeks, and it's still growing. (This is not even to mention the amount of spiritual depth that is occurring as well.) People from other churches? Nope. College students from our church and many unchurched people. Several of which have expressed desire for salvation.

Now, do I teach "calvinism"? No, I will never mention the term. No need to do so. But we are studying through Ephesians...so they see the issues first hand. I will teach election as it comes up unashamedly. I will teach the issues around it unashamedle as well (man's sinfulness and inability, etc.)

Their response to the issues? A desire for evangelism. Several have said that understanding this issue has energized them for evangelism...and that is my testimony as well.

Does a belief in election kill evangelism? NO!
Laziness does, and that is true of churches on both sides of the aisle.
I'd be willing to bet that there are more churches dying that are NOT Calvinistic on percentage, than that ARE Calvinistic.
Sadly, Dr. Caner is unable to see that it is a laziness issue, not a Calvinism issue. It's easier to write off a group than to actually investigate things.

I praise God for churches and ministers who are faithful to the Word of God AND are fervent in their evangelism.

-JG

5:13 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Gentlemen:

At 1:23 pm I posted a question that has yet to be answered by Dr. Ascol or anyone on the blog. Being a busy man, I am sure Dr. Ascol was preaching this weekend and thus I will reiterate the question:

Do you agree or disagree with Drs. Mohler and Akin that the Abstract of Principles is a document purposefully written so that a 3-point Calvinist can sign this honestly and faithfully? (see my previous blog for Dr. Akin's sermon which explicitly states such within the first few minutes).

I would appreciate an open response to this answer. To be fair, I will also answer a few questions from Founders bloggers:

1. Dox. asked which of the 5 points of Calvinism would Calvin himself reject. Dr. Kevin Kennedy (SWBTS), as well as Cumberland Presbyterians, argue that Calvin would reject limited atonement. I have perused his dissertation and find his assessment quite coherent.

2. Tom Ascol: Calling Dr. Piper a Hyper-Calvinist. A Hyper-Calvinist is one who goes beyond Calvin. Period. So the question is simple: did Calvin believe in supralapsarianism? If not, Piper is a hyper-Calvinist. Thus, do those on this blog believe Calvin was a supralapsarian or not?

That's enough for one blog. I will leave you with a comment to challenge you. Let me know if this is offensive or not:

Virtually every revival of true Calvinism since the Puritan era has been hijacked, crippled, or ultimately killed by hyper-Calvinist influences.

Am I wrong or not?

Emir

10:11 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Emir,

Please provide a link or the exact quote with a reference to the document, sermon, or conference where Mohler and/or Akin said that the "Abstract of Principles is a document PURPOSEFULLY written so that a 3-point Calvinist can sign this honestly and faithfully" (emphasis mine). I have a hard time seeing as the document was written by James P. Boyce and not by either man that they would be able to speak to its intent in this regard. I think you need to provide some sense of proof that these men actually stated it the way they did before the question can be answered.

Also, you said, "A Hyper-Calvinist is one who goes beyond Calvin. Period." Can you provide historical support to evidence this is any more than your own views. I have never seen any work on Hyper-calvinism that suggest such. If it is only your assessment, why should you get to redefine a term in 2006, having a generally fixed definition since at least the mid-1800's? Additionally, while you are convinced by Dr. Kennedy's assessment, there are actually a number of more widely respected scholars (specifically Roger Nicole) on Calvin that have published to the contrary. Thus if your definition of hyper-calvinism is based upon disputed views of Calvin, how can you so confidently label one in such a derrogatory way (I assume that you believe that your view of hyper-calvinistic theology leads to traditional hyper-calvinistic practice, i.e., no presentation of the Gospel)? Finally, have you actually read "Let the Nations Be Glad!" or any other Piper book for that matter? If so, which ones? Also, have you ever discussed these issues with Dr. Piper, or confronted him with your assessment that he is a hyper-Calvinist?

Your final comment:
"Virtually every revival of true Calvinism since the Puritan era has been hijacked, crippled, or ultimately killed by hyper-Calvinist influences."

Did Spurgeon say this as well?

Remember you expect us to answer all of your questions, please do so to all of mine.

11:20 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Dr. Emir Caner:

You are correct that pastoral duties have more than occupied my time the last several days.

I cannot possibly answer your question about whether or not I agree with Drs. Mohler and Akin on the Abstract without knowing You will understand if I do not simply take your word for what they said. The link to Akin's sermon does not work for me. I cannot get his sermon to play or download. Perhaps it is because I use a Mac.

In the meantime, while I try to get access to that sermon and since you have asked so many questions, allow me to return the favor.

1. Would you agree that a pastor who offers to give away hundred dollar bills to get people to attend an evangelistic crusade is dishonoring Christ and the Gospel by doing so?

2. Would you agree that giving a car as a door prize to entice people to attend a preaching service is dishonoring to Christ and the Gospel?

3. Is a church that does not practice discipline a New Testament church?

4. Is a church that has less than 80% of its members regularly attending corporate worship once a week a spiritually healthy church?

5. Is a church that has less than 50% of its members regularly attending corporate worship once a week a church worth holding up as a model for other churches?

6. Of what is the "Abstract of Principles" an abstract?

I look forward to reading your answers.

11:22 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Nope, Spurgeon didn't write it, Phil Johnson did. However, I would agree because I agree with his definition of hyper-Calvinism, which is,

1. is a system of theology framed to exalt the honour and glory of God and does so by acutely minimizing the moral and spiritual responsibility of sinners . . . It emphasizes irresistible grace to such an extent that there appears to be no real need to evangelize; furthermore, Christ may be offered only to the elect. . . .
2. It is that school of supralapsarian 'five-point' Calvinism [n.b.—a school of supralapsarianism, not supralapsarianism in general] which so stresses the sovereignty of God by over-emphasizing the secret over the revealed will of God and eternity over time, that it minimizes the responsibility of sinners, notably with respect to the denial of the use of the word "offer" in relation to the preaching of the gospel; thus it undermines the universal duty of sinners to believe savingly in the Lord Jesus with the assurance that Christ actually died for them; and it encourages introspection in the search to know whether or not one is elect. [Peter Toon, "Hyper-Calvinism," New Dictionary of Theology (Leicester: IVP, 1988), 324.]

[from a Primer on Hyper-Calvinism by Phil Johnson accessed from http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm].

Which begs the question, on what basis would you disagree with Toon? Can you appeal to any other reputable source other than yourself and your brother on this definition of hyper-Calvinism?

WOW, well you have a lot to answer. It might be a long night.

11:31 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

To Dr. Ergun Caner from Dr. James White [Dr. White read Dr. Caner's comments and try to post the following response. When he was unable to do so, he emailed me and asked if I would post this for him.]:

I am currently traveling and ministering in Scotland and England, but desired to comment quickly regarding recent statements posted here.

I was simply amazed to read Dr. Ergun Caner's comments on this blog regarding the repeated debate challenges that have been made to him. I know of at least three different times Dr. Caner has been invited to debate against me on this topic, and he has declined every single one. I have attempted to dialogue with him on the subject, but he has always ended the conversation without answering any of the questions put to him.

If Dr. Caner believes Norman Geisler's 13-page appendix "decimates" the entirety of _The Potter's Freedom_, I would dearly like to ask him 1) have you read _The Potter's Freedom_? 2) Have you read my in-depth refutation, including documentation of consistent incredible errors on Geisler's part throughout his appendix (3/4 of the page references to TPF are not even correct), or listened to the three plus hours of verbal refutation likewise offered of Geisler's work, to which no response has ever been offered? The written material is found here:

http://aomin.org/CBFRep2.html

3) If Dr. Geisler's response is so compelling, why has he declined every single challenge to debate as well? And finally, if Dr. Caner is so confident that my position is so easily dealt with, would it not be a great boon for what he views to be the biblical viewpoint to have a DVD recording of him setting someone like myself straight?

In a matter of weeks I will be debating Shabir Ally at Biola. I am sure Dr. Caner knows who Shabir Ally is. Later in the year I will be debating John Shelby Spong. Last year I debated John Dominic Crossan. I have proven, over the course of nearly sixty public debates, that we approach the issue of debate seriously. I would like to ask a simple question of Dr. Caner: have you watched or listened to a single debate I have ever done? The one perhaps against Hamza Abdul Malik wherein I defended the deity of Christ? Any of my debates against Roman Catholic apologists? Mormons? If not, upon what basis, may I ask, do you consistently decline challenges to debate from me? And will you finally, now, accept my challenge to arrange a debate--a full and open debate, based upon the text of the Bible as the sole infallible rule of faith, regarding whether God saves perfectly in Christ alone freely, or whether Christ tries to save but is dependent upon the free will of the creature to fulfill the Father's will for Him? I look forward to hearing from you.

James White

11:35 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Baptist Historian said...

I have just finished reading the entire thread and I think we have been distracted by a number of less relevant questions. As I see it, the question is whether or not Calvinistic Baptists can be or should be Southern Baptists. Based on what they say, it appears that Johnny Hunt and the Brothers Caner don't believe so.

As I read the posts regarding the Hunt nomination it seemed clear to me that the concern was NOT that he is not a Calvinist, but that he is stridently opposed to those who embrace Calvinistic theology. The gist of the Caner contributions to the discussion is similar--they clearly see Calvinism as heretical and harmful and therefore something that should be purged from the Southern Baptist Convention. This despite the fact that the elder Caner (as I recall) not only acknowledged the role of the Charleston stream as he put, but said he welcomed the growing appreciation that that stream has made on Southern Baptist life. How can you say that on one hand and then turn around and call those currently in that stream barnacles and mules and whatnot?

If you want to act as a Baptist and a Christian I suggest that you follow those you claim as mentors: Patterson, Akin, Criswell, and also George, Dockery, and Mohler. They are clearly not of one mind on the matter of election, but they treat one another with Christian charity and as brothers. Is this not the message Mohler and Patterson intend to display at the SBC Pastor's Conference when they discuss this very issue? It is clear that Baptist leaders have always acknowledged, in one degree or another, both God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. Is it surprising then that some will be alarmed when some respected Southern Baptists leaders, such as Hunt and the Caners, state that they want to overturn Baptist history and make it so that only those who focus exclusively on man's responsibility will be welcomed in the convention?

It is clear that they disagree with Calvinism and that is their right. But they are aiming their guns at Calvinists who unashamedly preach the gospel and call for repentance and send out missionaries and contribute funds to the Cooperative Program for the sending out of missionaries. If the Caners ever find a single Southern Baptist Calvinist who is not evangelistic then I will gladly join them in denouncing that individual, but I am confident that I will never have to do that. And until they can clearly and conclusively demonstrate that Calvinists in the convention (again, giving to the CP no less!) are not evangelistic, then I fear that they are not treating their fellow brothers in Christ as they are commanded to in the Scriptures

12:43 AM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

I followed the link to Dr. Akin's sermon and about 20 minutes or so into he says that the Abstract requires 3 points (total depravity, unconditional election, and perseverance of the saints) and allows for both effectual calling and definite atonement. He goes on to say that he believes that the document was purposefully drafted for such a reason.


To answer Emir's question:
He does not offer any reasoning for such a claim and doesn't indicate whether Dr. Mohler feels the same way, though he suggests that Mohler does at least hold that 3-pointers can legitimately sign the Abstract by noting that either he or Dr. Mohler (and at times both) hired each and every faculty member of which some are 3-pointers, some 4 and some 5. While I am not sure how exactly one can reject effectual calling, I recognize that I am not a trustee of Southern or Southeastern, nor an administrator and I can't make that call.

However, a few observations need to be made.
1. Dr. Akin was not only speaking directly and exclusively to seminary students, but I believe he was speaking to Boyce College students, many of whom would be more prone to the immaturity he describes in his sermon.
2. Thus, I believe it is safe to conclude that neither man is concerned about faculty members being hyper-Calvinists, and
3. Certainly their definition of hyper-Calvinism would not be in agreement with your definition since at least Dr. Akin seems to use the term in a derogatory sense.
4. Thus, leading any sensible person to assume he wouldn't hire a hyper-Calvinist to be on the faculty of Southern.
5. Thus the idea presented earlier that Mohler is distancing himself from "what is going on at Southern" doesn't seem to be a legitimate statement.

Also, it seems at times that you have assumed that all Calvinists have to walk lock-step with each other. However, just because I disagree with Mohler, or Phil Johnson, or even Spurgeon (not that I do or don't in any case) suggests nothing more than we have differing opinions, just as those who are non-Reformed might disagree on various topics ranging from dispensationalism to cessasionalism to who should be President of the SBC.

In any case, I think you should explain why any of these questions matters to your thinking. Why for instance does it matter if we agree with Akin or Mohler, and why does it matter if we, backed into a corner, would accept the label of Baptist or Calvinist more readily (which I answered but wonder if it was only a ploy in order to indict me - and others - as being more concerned with spreading Calvinism than the Gospel or with limited atonement than baptism by immersion)?

Whoops, sorry another question. Man they are piling up.

12:54 AM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger Emir Caner said...

Tom,

You wanted the exact quote from Dr. Akin because you could not get, perhaps because you use a Mac.

Here it is:

If you have read our Abstract carefully you will understand that it does require 3 of the 5 classic points of Calvinism. It does require Total Depravity. It does require Unconditional Election. It does require Perseverance of the Saints. It does allow for effectual calling. It does allow for particular redemption. But it does not require those latter two points. And I believe the document was PURPOSEFULLY drafted in that way. And every single person that has been hired on this faculty President Mohler and I knew exactly where they were in their understanding of these issues.

Also, after he finishes with the last sentence, and goes on to his next point.

I look forward to hearing from you and will respond to you questions later, after hearing from you.

Emir

10:28 AM, February 20, 2006  

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