Dear Dr. Ascol:
Thanks for your excellent response ("Calvinism, Evangelism and Founders Ministries," Issue #45) to the erroneous assertions, representations, and caricatures made by some brethren concerning the teaching and tendencies of the doctrines of grace. I am sure you had the difficult decision of choosing what to leave out from the mountain of evidence in favor both of our SBC Calvinistic roots and of the fact that Calvinism is no drag on evangelism and missions. I know we all grow weary having to re-plow the same old ground, but after decades of doctrinal drift away from truth, I suppose we need not be surprised. When the ground isn't tended we should not but expect the weeds to take over. May God give us each grace to be faithful in our generation.
When I first had these truths "burned into my heart as with a hot iron," to quote Bunyan, I didn't know for sure of another soul who believed them. God convinced me from my reading of Ephesians 2:1-10 while I was in college. I was called a hyper-Calvinist and I had never even heard the term. Today young men and women in numbers I never imagined are espousing the grand old truth for which I am most grateful.
Let me especially thank you and Josh White for your research of and information on the Sandy Creek Association. This has been most helpful. This is an area I had not studied much in the past, but your work has helped me to answer questions I had about the "two tributary" theory of our SBC origins. I pastor a church established in 1861 and their original confession of faith then was the New Hampshire Confession. From what I have gathered in my limited research I have found that Southern Baptist Churches established before 1900 had Calvinistic confessions of faith.
I suppose the specters of Pelagius, Erasmus, and Arminius will always haunt us in some form or another. But we are not children to be afraid of phantoms. The light of God's truth will scatter the darkness and give us courage and cheer to press on.
Thank you and the faithful men with you who keep fighting the good fight.
Yours in Christ,
D.C., Grove Hill, AL
In the providence and grace of God, greeting! It is my hope and prayer that this communication finds all to be well with and for you and your co-workers in the ministry in which God has placed you--and that you are all daily provided by God with peace of heart and mind, strength, encouragement, and confidence, in union with Christ Jesus, our Redeemer and Lord.
While reading through a recent issue (Mar/Apr) of "Modern Reformation," I noticed (inside front cover) an "advertisement" with regard to Founders Ministries. Having read, in that "advertisement", a brief description of the ministry of which you are a representative, I thought to write to you with regard to the following:
In my present facility assignment, there is little available with regard to Reformed/Reformation theological and doctrinal perspective. Most of the material is quite "basic" ("milk" rather than "meat")--and much of it is reflective of the Hagin/Copeland type teaching (a theological and doctrinal perspective with which--for the most part--I am not in agreement; and which I find to be, in greater part, fairly distasteful). So it is that, to the extent I am able, I turn to the writings of Luther, Calvin, some Puritan writings, and others of years past that reflect what I consider to be a more reliable perspective with regard to theology and doctrine. However, such material as I've been able to obtain--thus far--has come my way rather slowly; and so I am ever on the "lookout" to acquire further material conducing to greater edification (not only for myself; but also with a view toward sharing it with others who may derive benefit from it). So it is that I now contact Founders Ministries, in hope that I may obtain your assistance.
I do not, incidentally, mean to place unacceptable burden upon you or Founders Ministries, in this request for assistance. I also do not mean for this request to reflect any (or be construed as) presumptuousness on my part. Any assistance you may choose to render will be greatly appreciated by me.
If you are able (and have the resources to do so), I request that you please send to me a back issue or two of the Founders Journal--and, if you can do so, please also send any articles that express a more thorough (in depth) treatment of: the sovereignty of God, and/or the depravity of mankind (dealing with the doctrines of original and indwelling sin), and/or the believer's sanctification (positional and progressive [no "Finneyite" or "Wesleyan" teachings please]). With regard to such central doctrines of the faith--any articles sent (apart from those in the Founders Journal) must be sent in 8 l/2 x 11 "printout" form (loose pages; unbound), or Xerox copy (8 1/2 x 11 unbound pages). The reason for this is that I already have my allowable book limit--and so I am not permitted to receive or possess any other books at this time. If you can provide me with such material as I've requested, it will certainly prove useful (and, I'm sure, beneficial). Any writings of authors from the Reformation period, Puritan writings, or those of the 1700s and 1800s (or even 1900s; prior to 1950) are acceptable.
I shall close this out. I thank you now for any assistance you provide with regard to this request. May God daily bless you and yours.
Cordially, In God's Providence and Grace,
R. W. D., Cañon City, CO
I want to thank you so much for sending me a copy of the Founders Journal. Reading it has been a great blessing to my soul. Oh, how good it is to read solid biblical truths. I'm looking forward to my next copy and will be telling my friends about you. May the Lord richly bless your ministry for our glorious sovereign God.
With my love in Christ,
R. B., Portland, OR
"a poor sinner saved by grace"
Dear Dr. Ascol:
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I received my copy of the Founders Journal [FJ 45] yesterday. As usual, I set everything else aside in order to read through it. I think that the journals get better with each issue, and this one was superb! Dr. Ascol, your article was simply outstanding. You addressed a number of issues within SBC life, and I hope and pray that some of the Fundamentalist leadership is paying attention.
As you know, I am currently working on a Ph.D. at Southwestern Seminary in the area of evangelism. I am planning on writing my dissertation on "An Historical Overview of the Impact of 'The Doctrines of Grace' Upon the Great Commission (from the Time of Calvin to the Present)." There is no doubt that I will utilize your article. There were even a couple of names that you mentioned that of which I was unaware (Robert Hall, William Mitchell, Ezra Courtney, Spencer Cone and Malcolm McGregor), and so I will be able to do even more research with those individuals in mind.
I commend your courage and your tact in writing this article. I know that you have not done it for your own sake, or even the sake of Founders Ministries, but for the sake of Christ and His truth. Thank you for your encouragement and your example.
By His Grace Alone,
J.G., Cleburne, TX