You all can say what you want about our Calvinistic brothers but they get behind the work of their scholars and the efforts of those seeking to promote TULIP doctrine. It’s not just lip service for those who hold to this popular 5-point systematic. Consider what Les Lampier, with the Reformed Pubcast, just raised on KickStarter for a new documentary promoting Calvinism. His goal was 35K but to this date they have raised over 82K.
I would like for us to counter these types of efforts with just as high quality material as they are producing, not to “defeat Calvinism,” but simply to educate others as to viable biblical alternatives. I sincerely want more people to understand both Calvinism and Traditionalism for what they actually believe, so each individual can make an informed, unbiased choice about which Soteriological system they will adopt and promote in their own congregations. That will not happen without funding.
If you are anything like me you tend to change the dial when someone starts asking for donations. In fact, some people have already clicked off this post after realizing the topic. I hope you, however, will hear me out.
I understand why support raising turns most of us off. There is only so much each of us can support. We have our local churches, charities, outreach efforts and benevolence events. Laura and I support three different ministry organizations every month and that does not include the dozens of individual requests for mission trips, school fundraisers and the local PTA type efforts.
This is one of the reasons I really hesitated to start support raising for this effort. To be honest, I felt bad for asking people to give to help me do something I love to do. After a few difficult conversations with my wife, who also happens to be our bookkeeper, I realized the hosting fees, equipment, travel costs and advertising needed to expand this effort couldn’t be done alone. Well, it could, but my kids would have to walk everywhere and my wife would have to homeschool all four of them for college. A sacrifice I was willing to make, but I cannot seem to get everyone else on board 😉
Several months ago a few listeners suggested Patreon as a way to gather a team of monthly supporters and that suggestion has literally saved this ministry. More than that, through the support of monthly givers this ministry has been able to expand far beyond what I ever imagined. With well over 25,000 unique podcast downloads a month and twice that many views on the web site, we are starting to make a significant doctrinal impact among pastors and ministry leaders around the globe.
I realize now that maybe I should expect more. Maybe I should challenge our listeners to really get behind this effort and make a bigger impact. When I see what other ministries are able to accomplish with their supporters I am challenged to dream and expect greater things in the future.
To be frank, as I write this I am growing concerned with the perception some may have about “self-promotion” and comments antagonists have made about me ring through my ears, “Leighton, you are just trying to make a name for yourself…etc.”
I pray and ask God daily to search my prideful heart and if that ever becomes my driving motivation in this effort, I sincerely pray (with you all as my witnesses) that this ministry shuts down immediately!
I hope those of you who listen regularly know that I do not consider myself as some kind of “know it all” intellect with all the answers. If anything I am a gatherer and dispenser of information. I like reading and researching and then explaining what I’ve learned in simple, easy to understand ways.
I’m not much of a scholar myself. I want to be scholarly, but I am realistic about my limitations. My goal here has been highlighting the real scholars who are too often overlooked in mainstream Christian circles. Sure, occasionally I’ll have a unique thought to contribute, but for the most part I am attempting to shed light on the works of much more intelligent scholars who are representing the original intent of the Biblical authors (as I interpret them). I pray I am faithful in that effort and invite you to hold me accountable as we work to accomplish more as a team than we could ever do alone.
And I am not asking you all to just support the work of Soteriology 101 but the work of Connect 316 and all the scholars associated with this effort. Buy their books and help us spread the truth of God’s sincere love for every man, woman, boy and girl.
You can sign on as a monthly giver or make a one time donation by CLICKING HERE.
6 thoughts on “Join Us!”
First, I want to thank you for your ministry, podcasts and teachings on this subject. I am not a Calvinist but a traditional SBC missionary and pastor. Over the past several years I have increasingly had to address soteriological issues, especially with young adults. I have learned to appreciate some of the doctrinal emphases of my Calvinist brothers, but must reject other parts of this theology on Biblical grounds. I do have a question for you though. You have said more than once something like “salvation is all God.” Yet you also seem to agree that a free will response on the part of humans (not compatibilism) is necessary as a part of God’s requirement for someone to be saved. On the surface it seems inaccurate to say that a person’s salvation is 100% God, but that salvation will never occur unless the person freely responds to God’s gracious gift and accepts it. So at least with respect to the process by which someone is saved, a human action (acceptance) is necessary. If we leave out human free will in this process of salvation, then we are back to some form of irresistible grace and Calvinism are we not? Since God’s grace is resistible, human free will does necessarily come into play in the process of salvation. Certainly we do not earn our salvation, nor merit it in any way, but we do have a role to play (believe and receive). Perhaps it would be better to say that God’s plan and free offer of salvation to everyone is 100% God. But no one is actually saved without repentance and faith both of which include some measure of human action. Of course, our response is not 100% human either, God is always at work and through the Holy Spirit is drawing us, but neither is our response 100% God. “Human action” is necessary for justification according to James 2:21-24. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (NASB). Blessings and I look forward to your reply.
Thanks for your comment and welcome.
I just mean to draw a distinction between salvation and one humbly admitting they need saving. It’s the same distinction as confession and forgiveness. Or trust falling and being caught. Sure one will never experience being caught unless they fall, but you can’t conflate the two and call them one name and then pretend one person controls it.
Proclaiming that “salvation is all of God” is distinct from saying “repentance/ faith is man’s responsibility.” Because faith and repentance doesn’t merit or earn salvation. God isn’t obligated to save the humble and repentant. Just as they don’t have to catch you in the trust fall. God catches us because He is good and gracious not because He is bound by some law or obligation.
Welcome Andy! How you described it all was great! Calvinists like to say we think we “cause” our salvation, and they like to label us as “synergists”. They have a thing for technical terms as if just saying them proves their position and disproves ours. 😉
In God we live and move and have our being. As you pointed out so well, salvation is fully His plan. He is even the one who creates each human will in the womb with relative freedom, though harmed by Adam’s sin (Rom 5:12) and committed by God to disobedience (Rom 11:32), that will does not begin to seek truth about salvation unless and until God takes the initiative and present it with gracious enlightenment.
But praise His name that He does that with all!
However, there is truth that we in one very small sense “cause” our salvation. But what might help is to recognize that logically our active personal choice of will to accept God’s salvation is neither a necessary cause or a sufficient cause… It is just a conditional cause.
It is not necessary, for only Christ’s sacrifice was necessary. It is not a sufficient cause, because without Christ’s sacrifice it means nothing. And I believe salvation is given to those who die before their conscience is mature enough for their will to personally sin against God’s law. But for all us mature sinners, ☺, God has established as a conditional “cause” of our salvation that we humble ourselves, repent and trust Him to monergistically save us! Leighton’s description is perfect. Our surrender, falling into His arms, is not really a true cause, but it is a condition that must be met.
Count us in, Leighton, even if you are a Cowboy fan.
As you have heard, Julie and I have had to face the disquieting assertions of Calvinism in it’s real life application and are happy to kick in some monthly support. We really appreciate what you are doing and expect that you are sowing some necessary seeds of doubt among many who call themselves Calvinists (and even among those who really are). As one who was young and Reformed before it was cool to be such, I am now old enough to see the ill effects of the 5 inferences on some of my closest friends. One old Calvinist buddy, who struggles mightily with assurance, largely because he believes in the exaggerated definitions of “dead in sin” and “regeneration” (and still believes that some people are born reprobate, with no hope of salvation) is seeing a counselor in Florida who says he has had to help dozens of “sovereign grace” pastors.
Your gracious spirit and patience is commendable but don’t over do it; it can work against your cause. If Calvinism doesn’t need to be defeated then we don’t need to spend so much time and money trying to refute its errors. Yes, there are some wonderful, godly, and brilliant teachers who hold to the doctrines of irresistible salvation and damnation (and some have very good and effective ministries that are even worth our financial support) BUT they would be much better if they stopped teaching the confusing and heretical errors within their system.
Calvinism is derogatory to the righteous character of the Biblical God. It has Him eternally condemning people for sins which they did not commit, could not prevent, and could not even confess properly.
Calvinism is a form of fatalism and we should call it such. Granted, it is not the mythical kind or the astrological kind but it is a christianized form of fatalism, as the eternal destiny of every human soul would have been irresistibly fixed before we were born; and this alleged decree would have been based on nothing we would ever do or believe. Proof? Ask any Calvinist what we could do, in their system, to prevent our predestined eternal destiny. (Answer: NOTHING. Therefore we can and should call it a form of fatalism.)
As you and Adam have pointed out, Calvinism insists that everyone is born guilty even though we know that Jacob and Esau had not done anything evil before they were born. If Calvinists are wrong about this then their whole system hits the iceberg and sinks.
If there was a text, which taught that Jesus only died for the elect and did not die for unbelievers then Calvinists would be rallying around it like desperate bees on a lone flower. They would have 3 books out on that text in every generation. There is no such text.
I wouldn’t want you to be ugly or disrespectful, of course, but Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and Tyson didn’t win their titles by pulling punches and hitting nice.
Anyway, I’m too long already. Thanks for all the work you have put into these issues.
Doug (& Julie) Sayers
You’ve been at this long enough that your videos are really starting to Drive the point home. You manage to expose and identify the real issues and the implications of theology.
Your recent video on total inability was excellent.
I ordered your book on Amazon and I just got notification that it has arrived today.
Keep up the good work!
I admire your humility Leighton! 🙂
You wrote in this post:
‘I pray and ask God daily to search my prideful heart and if that ever becomes my driving motivation in this effort, I sincerely pray (with you all as my witnesses) that this ministry shuts down immediately!’