Is JD Greear a Calvinist?

written by Leighton Flowers and Eric Kemp

As we approach the 2018 SBC Annual Meeting, the political lines are being drawn. Recently, JD Greear was nominated to be the next SBC President. I can imagine that as the members of the Convention consider their options, foremost on their mind is that person’s theological alignment. Today, the most hotly contested theology is the realm of soteriology (doctrine of salvation), especially since the rise of Calvinism’s popularity over the last two decades among the “young, restless and reformed” within the SBC.

In 2009 a Time.com article proclaimed, “Calvinism is back…”. The article goes on to claim that its rise is due, in large part, to the personalities at the forefront of the movement.

…with the pioneering new-Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle’s pugnacious Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention. The Calvinist-flavored ESV Study Bible sold out its first printing, and Reformed blogs like Between Two Worlds are among cyber-Christendom’s hottest links.

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Greear in a panel discussion with other leading Calvinists: Mark Driscoll (left), John Piper & Ed Stetzer

While Driscoll’s pugnacity was his undoing, Calvinism grew unabated. Calvinist internet behemoths like The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, GotQuestions, Stand to Reason, Christian Research, Apologetics Ministries (CARM) and Ligonier ministries dominate Google search options for questions about theology proper and apologetics, not just soteriology. When it comes to the battle for internet supremacy in Christendom, there is Calvinism and then there is everything else.

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This supremacy extends to the seminaries funded by the SBC. Albert Mohler, one of the leading figures of the New Calvinism, is President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship SBC seminary. Just after tweeting a promotion of Tabletalk, produced by Ligonier Ministries (an exclusively Calvinistic source began by the late RC Sproul Sr.), Dr Mohler gave his own hearty endorsement of JD Greear as the next SBC President.

In a recent article put out by The Gospel Coalition, a list of the top 125 most influential leaders in the “gospel-centered movement” was released. What was meant by the phrase “gospel-centered movement?”  The author Jared Wilson explains,

“I tried to think keenly about all the folks whose voices have given shape to this still-developing movement, sometimes called ‘young restless and Reformed’ (YRR), ‘neo-Reformed,’ ‘gospel-centered,’ etc.”

 

JD Greear made the #52 spot on Wilson’s list of the top most influential in the rise of the “young restless and Reformed.”

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Tom Ascol is executive director of the Founder’s Ministry, which unashamedly seeks to establish Calvinism as the core theological tenant of the SBC. From the Founder’s “About” page:

Founders Ministries is committed to encouraging the recovery of the gospel and the biblical reformation of local churches. We believe that the biblical faith is inherently doctrinal, and we are therefore confessional in our convictions. We recognize the time-tested Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as a faithful summary of important biblical teachings and the abstract of that confession known as the Abstract of Principles.

Much in the same way The Gospel Coalition implies “Gospel-Centeredness” requires an adherence to Calvinism, The Founders Ministry is asserting that without Calvinism the gospel needs “recovery.” Does Greear secretly support this “recovery of the Gospel” agenda? After all, the first point of his stated reasons for running is “the gospel above all.” One has to wonder if he means “the gospel” as defined by The Gospel Coalition and The Founders in the sources quoted above? What do you think?

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Greear’s one of many appearances on TGC with other leading Calvinists

Despite Greear’s Calvinistic associations, endorsements and even his own clear soteriological sermons on hotly contested passages such as Ephesians 1 and Romans 9, there are many who still insist he is not really a Calvinist, or at least he is not the type to promote one soteriological view over the other.

Really? How do we know that?

Stealth Calvinism?

In the same way Calvinistic pastors often “go stealth” while being interviewed by a search committee so as to avoid detection, could it be that a presidential nominee may not be all that forthright about his own beliefs or agenda regarding this highly controversial issue?  If you were a Calvinist with political aspirations within a convention that overwhelmingly rejects Calvinistic soteriology would you downplay and distance yourself from those beliefs so as to be a more likeable candidate? More importantly, would Greear?

So, is JD Greear really a Calvinist or not?

The notoriously staunch 5-point Calvinistic blog, Pulpit and Pen, headed up by controversial and contentious Podcaster JD Hall, certainly affirms him as a fellow Calvinist, writing:

“Greear holds to a more solid, Calvinist position on salvation. He authored a book titled Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How To Know You Are Saved, in which he states he struggled for many years with the assurance of salvation and repeated the “Sinner’s Prayer” many times during his life. He now rejects the concept of “asking Jesus into your heart,” and holds to a biblical doctrine of salvation. He has also spent a considerable amount of time defending the historical truth of Scripture.” […]

Greear is also a part of the New Calvinist Acts 29 network, currently under Matt Chandler’s leadership. Acts 29 is a network of (supposedly) independent churches whose primary purpose is to plant more churches. Their website states that they are characterized by “Theological Clarity, Cultural Engagement, and Missional Innovation.” Sounds okay, right?

But…

Acts 29 was founded by the befallen pastor, Mark Driscoll. The network is comprised of churches that promote charismania, have a low tolerance threshold for discernment, and a general taste for popularity.” <link>

What does being apart of the Acts 29 network entail? As previously pointed out on the Soteriology 101 YouTube channel (starting at the 2:45 mark), according to the Acts 29 website one must affirm Calvinistic doctrine to be a part of this group. Here are screenshots from the Acts 29 website:

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To be a part of the Acts 29 network JD Greear must affirm confessional Calvinism, despite how he may have tried to distance himself from the unpopular TULIP doctrines for political purposes. Once elected, will he work behind the scenes to fulfill The Founders’ mission to install a Calvinistic confession? Will he appoint committee members who will nominate new Seminary Presidents and other entity heads that are supportive of “the gospel recovery” agenda. If so, those appointees will certainly increase the influence of the so-called “gospel-centered” (i.e. Calvinistic) movement. Is this what the pastors and laity in the SBC want?

Given that The Founders Ministry has actually encouraged fellow Calvinistic pastors to avoid full disclosure while interviewing so as to gain leadership positions (see here),  how can we know for certain that is not a strategy being employed to gain the national positions of leadership within the SBC? How else can you explain the blatant imbalance of Calvinistic leaders within a convention which overwhelmingly rejects Calvinistic soteriology?

Democracy is Good

pollThe growth of Calvinism in the SBC is fine if that is what the Convention actually wants, after all, it is governed as a democracy. If the majority of the Convention knowingly supports The Gospel Coalition and The Founder’s mission to adopt Calvinism as standard SBC theology; then that is the will of the Convention. So be it.

However, the democratic system of the SBC is warped if the members are not fully informed as to who they are voting for or what their goals for the Convention will be.

The President has the most influence over the direction of the SBC in his ability to make committee appointments. Here are some of the President’s powers:

The president appoints the Credentials Committee (Bylaw 8B), tellers (Bylaw 10D), the Committee on Committees (Bylaw 19), and the Committee on Resolutions (Bylaw 20). He is also a member of the Committee on Order of Business (Bylaw 21) and an ex officio member of the boards of the Executive Committee, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, and GuideStone Financial Resources (SBC Constitution, Article V).

If the majority of SBC church-goers do not hold to Calvinism (as the polls indicate), then it is their right to fully know that the presumptive front runner for the Presidency believes and teaches Calvinistic soteriology.  If a majority within the SBC trust a Calvinist to make appointments that will impact the future of the SBC’s theological education and leadership; fine, but they should go into that vote with their eyes wide open.

126 thoughts on “Is JD Greear a Calvinist?

  1. Aren’t denominational politics fun! 😉 If I were a voting member, I would push for a statement by each nominee for the office of President to pledge that they will only appoint a proportional representation of leaders from both the reformed and non-reformed groups of SBC as reflected in the Lifeway Research Poll. That would be fun to see how the nominees respond to that suggestion and to hear the debate that would follow.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Leighton,
    Thanks for bringing this our attention.

    I have often said on this blog that it really does not change much in attitude or action if a person claims to be in the Calvinist Club.

    I am sure that So Baptists are concerned….. but I mean the overall behavior / message/ preaching are not affected. They are still live and act like what they do makes a difference. They still preach like God loves everyone and Christ died for everyone.

    As I have quoted Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life” in many places….he teaches people that what they do (waste or not waste) makes a difference.

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    1. FOH, I would grant that this is true for many; but I have heard too many first and second hand reports of individuals whose faith, family and spiritual maturity have floundered upon the rocks of hopelessness and despair that litter the beachhead of Calvinistic Determinism to believe the issue is of no importance.

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      1. This is true. I unknowingly attended a Calvinist church for 2 years. I did not even know what Calvinism was. I knew something was off in the sermons and attitudes toward sin. But they appeared very missional. When the pastor gave a beautiful sermon of what it means to be a christian, I fully expected an altar call to follow. Instead, he said if there is anyone here who is not a follower of God, and this sounds good to you, do nothing about it because you cant …wait and see if God brings you to life. He might be doing it now. I felt stunned. I thought, arent we supposed to persuade men or to invite them any way to come? I heard the word reformed being used so I began to investigate what this meant. I studied this for 2 years. Glad I came across Leighton Flowers.

        Liked by 6 people

      2. Sorry to hear of this experience Hope.

        To set the record straight….. I was not defending Calvinism (stopped doing that when I dropped it)!

        I misspoke if I said it doesnt make a difference in how people act—it does!!!

        What I mean is that no one lives completely like a Calvinist-determinist would. We all live like our personal choices make a difference (remember my example of telling our kids to eat less junk food and do their homework?). We all make choices and those choices impact others and ourselves. No one lives like the future is robotically set or they would not do like Piper and tell them to “watch less TV” and “don’t waste your life” (as if one could waste it if it was what God had immutably planned/ decreed, right!?).

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      3. Good testimony Hope!

        My first close-up encounter with a Calvinist pastor – was with a congregation of about 50-100 people whose pastor was retiring.
        Two men rose up within the congregation – each one claiming himself the legitimate parent of the baby (i.e. the congregation).
        They ended up cutting the baby in half.

        One fellow obtained his ordination by mail – by becoming affiliated with a Calvinist organization.
        But he didn’t dare tell his tiny congregation he was leading them into Calvinism for fear any would leave.

        They were like idealistic children looking up to him – trusting him – no idea he wasn’t being honest with them.
        I remember one of these “spell bound” brothers in this congregation – telling me how his pastor boasted they were the only church for miles that understood how to read the bible. This man pumped his tiny congregation up with religious pride.
        They had no discernment whatsoever.

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    2. “the overall behavior / message/ preaching are not affected. They are still live and act like what they do makes a difference. They still preach like God loves everyone and Christ died for everyone.”

      With all due respect..this isn’t entirely true. Dr. Flowers has addressed this..and has received numerous letters from people who’s Christian walk was negatively affected by this doctrine. Some even walked away from their faith after having learned the logical implications of Calvinism. See here..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62sKs7HXocM&t=1702s. This doctrine is a hinderance to sharing the Gospel. The misunderstanding of scripture leads to deception and desertion in many cases. We must stand up for the Truth and support Dr. Flowers in his efforts to do so.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Linda,
        Thanks. I think if you look at my comments you will see that I am a supporter of this blog. I have actually financially supported the blog and urge others to do so.

        My point—-to be clear—- is that it would be a most frustrating life to really live like a Calvinist. I know… I did. I have testified in these pages that I ruined a pre-marriage relationship with a woman by insisting that we did not know if Christ died for her father or not. Terrible.

        It is one of the most destructive parts of Calvinism. My point is that it gets old very quickly telling people “You are a sinner and Christ may have died for you—-but I dont know. I am telling you to repent —and you can’t if you have not been granted that….and you will if you have.”

        Dr White, very aggressive Calvinist, tells people….do not tell them that God loves them (since you dont know)….just tell them the “biblical message” “repent!”

        I do not see where this helps him in any way. Since it is a fool’s errand to tell a person to repent that cannot. This is no different than telling them that God loves them (when you are almost sure that He doesnt). (((But for them it deflects away from a non-loving God….and tries to reflect on the sinfulness of unrepentant man. It does not accomplish what they want, but they think it does and it helps them sleep.)))

        Once again my point is : YES it is possible to try to live like a Calvinist (and that leads only to double-speak, frustration, and crushed relationships)…. but NO, people (fortunately) do not manage to completely live that way. The reason is that we know deep down that what we do matters and we are not deterministically-decreed-controlled robots. We make decisions (God-allowed, not God-decreed) …and they matter.

        I hope this helps. If not, please feel free to read any of the other hundreds of comments I have made in support of this site and against deterministic-fatalistic-Calvinism.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Excellent wake up call. As much as some find it hard to acknowledge, Calvinism has for decades sought to gain ground in the SBC (and other denominations) almost solely by stealth, via leaders who do not fully and clearly make known their soteriological beliefs until they and their minions are fully in positions of power and influence.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes – thanks for catching that Truthseeker

        Don’t take chances – Calvinists cannot be trusted for honesty – based upon empirical evidence.
        Calvinism is a quagmire of double-speak – word jugglery – and the promotion and defense of a elitism.

        Thanks Truthseeker!!

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    1. Btw, I will even suggest that, for many, many pastors it goes beyond being honest. They are genuinely brainwashed and caught in the web of Calvinism, and wind up nearly schizophrenic as they attempt to align what they have been taught with something that they can truly defend and offer to people they genuinely care about. In searching for a new church, I have witnessed so many obviously conflicted young men that it breaks my heart, as they attempt to defend the indefensible without being inconsistent or contradictory, and they just end up sounding confused and illogical.

      But as for the leaders who are deliberately obscuring what they believe, your statement is pretty accurate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I agree.
        Calvinism requires dishonesty and double-think.
        Without them – it would go the way of the dinosaurs – and Calvinists intuitively know it.

        There will always be products on the market that cannot survive without the efficacy of false-advertising.
        Calvinism is one of them.
        So it raises up Pied Pipers – men who can sell ice to Eskimos – and creates followings after them.

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  4. I am really confused by all this and very concerned. I continue to hear that certain pastors such as J. D. Greear, Matt Chandler, Chip Ingram, and Francis Chan are Calvinist. I have listened to all of them several times and at no time have I concluded that they believe that only the elect are saved. What I have heard is that salvation is by faith through Christ and is a gift of God by his grace and mercy. They also discuss the process of sanctification. I have in years past been under a pastor who talked about Lordship salvation. He would say salvation through faith and it is a gift of God’s grace, but then in talking about Lordship you were left feeling as if everything wasn’t totally lined up and surrendered then you weren’t saved. Jesus is Lord, but because we still have a sin nature we will never be 100% surrendered on every thing, every day of our lives. I would appreciate some input. There is one thing I do know for certain and that God is not the source of confusion. I know that I have accepted Christ as my Savior, by scripture I know that I am saved, and I know that the Holy Spirit bears witness within my heart. All this discussion sometimes seems like splitting hairs or semantics and it is not helpful to the body of Christ. However, I do know that correct interpretation of God’s word is important.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lil,
      Have a look around at Leighton’s other posts and the comments. Comments are sometimes hard to follow since they are not always chronological.

      Of course you would hear that they persons are Calvinists. They theologize like Calvinist but preach like Arminians. They would agree that salvation is by the grace of God and is a gift. But they say that faith is given by God and is a gift too. Can’t have it if He doesnt give it….Have to use it if He does. (that’s the U and the I of TULIP)

      So all of the cases where the Bible lists a person by name and mentions his or her faith….he/ she had nothing to do with it. It was a gift that they had to accept and had to act on.

      All of this sounds silly, I know….but it is the natural end of what Calvinism believes. It is one thing to say you are a Calvinist (I did for years) and that gets you in the club and “honors God the most” but it is quite something else to live like it (and they dont).

      I hope this helps. Many of us here are ex-Calvinists. A couple that comment here are still Calvinists and 70% of the time they post like it…..the other 30% they rock back into non-Calvinism.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In regard to Francis Chan, this is some info I found before in trying to understand where he is coming from. Francis Chan is a graduate of Master’s College and Seminary, both founded by and presided over by John MacArthur. Chan also established a school himself called Eternity Bible College, having the goal of making Bible education affordable. The school’s statement has strong Calvinist (TULIP) doctrines subtly interwoven. His book Crazy Love advocates a teaching called Lordship Salvation. Francis Chan’s variation has been labeled extreme, primarily because Crazy Love dwells heavily on condemnation to a severe level that has not even been witnessed in the writings of other Lordship Salvation proponents, e.g., John MacArthur, John Piper, and J. I. Packer. It appears that in Chan’s thinking, only a tiny minority of professing Christians will be counted worthy to make it to heaven. Crazy Love muddies the distinction between justification and sanctification, melding them together while distorting the simple message of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus. The Lordship camp says that it’s not good enough to become saved by trusting Christ for salvation; one must also promise a lifetime of commitment to Christ, then follow through with that commitment or else be in danger of not making it to heaven one day. In Crazy Love, Chan tells of many people from his congregation asking him questions like, “If I divorce my wife can I still go to heaven?” “Do I have to be baptized to be saved?” “If I commit suicide, can I still go to heaven?” (86). It seems that Chan’s application of Lordship Salvation teaching to his own church has created such questioning doubts among his people. Chan tells people that 100% devotion to Christ is required to be a Christian:

        My conclusion? Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd (85).

        Chan makes it clear that he believes perseverance (TULIP’s P) in obedience is required to make it to heaven:

        Jesus said, ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command’ (John 14:15). And our question quickly becomes even more unthinkable: Can I go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus? I don’t see anywhere in Scripture how the answer to that question could be yes (86).

        According to Chan, heaven is only for those who persevere in committed discipleship:

        Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into all the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded? You’ll notice that He didn’t add, “But hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians—you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything” [emphasis Chan’s] (p. 87).

        Chan amalgamates the gospel message of salvation by faith in Christ alone with issues of discipleship and commitment, which creates a complicated mess, placing unreasonable demands upon the unsaved.

        Online magazine Today’s Christian explains the genesis of Chan’s radical beliefs:

        In 2002, a trip to Uganda changed Chan forever. There he saw real poverty, and it became personal. Little girls the age of his daughters rooted through dumpsters for food. Chan began to ask himself, What does it look like to love my neighbor as myself?

        His answer was to move his family of four out of their 2,000-square-foot house into one half that size so they could give more to missions. “I couldn’t reconcile how I could live in such a nice house while others were starving,” Chan says. But while he was beginning to respond to God’s difficult calls in his personal life, Chan wasn’t sure he could do whatever God demanded of him as the leader of his church. So in May 2006, he announced his plans to resign as Cornerstone’s pastor. He wasn’t sure he’d ever return.

        Francis Chan returned to Cornerstone on October 8, 2006, preaching a sermon entitled, Lukewarm and Loving It (available on YouTube). In it, he expressed that he had experienced doubts of his own salvation when he left the church.18 Much of Crazy Love appears to emanate from that sermon. The sermon is an excoriating condemnation of Chan’s congregation and of evangelical Christianity today. Combining his interpretations of the rich, young ruler in Luke 18 with the spitting out of the lukewarm Laodicean church of Revelation 3 (more on this later) he says, “We are so weird. We are so filthy, filthy, filthy rich. And yet, most of you think you’re not.”19 Continuing, “It’s not gonna be easy; it’s not gonna be probable; but, by the power of God, some of you could go to heaven. I have this haunting fear that some of you here at Cornerstone Church, possibly many, many of you are going to hell. It keeps me up at night.”20 Cornerstone’s reaction a week later: Chan preached a follow-up sermon Slavery Can Be Fun (also available on YouTube).21 In it he said, “People keep asking our pastors, ‘What should I do?’ You know, I had people say, ‘It was like you stuck a dagger in my gut’ and I was like ‘aw you’re absolutely right’; that is, the more I heard it, I said, Wow, this is so cool. This is exactly the way the church is supposed to respond.”22 Chan shares more responses, “‘I will do anything!’ People are just going, ‘Whatever, whatever, whatever!’”23 It is pretty sad to see Christians living in such bondage and insecurity!

        In chapter 5, he states: “As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are ‘lukewarm’ are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven” (84).

        The above info came from book reviews than can be found on faithalonedot org.
        Also, George Bryson, the author of The Dark Side of Calvinism wrote this article examining Francis Chan:
        http://www.calvarychapeltheology.com/Articles/francis_cha

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thank you so much for the time you took to answer me. I am getting a lot of responses, and I have to say all they have done for me is confirm that what I believe is correct. I said previously that I sat under Lordship Salvation preaching for several years, and it just about drove me crazy. You take someone with perfectionism tendencies and put them in that and they become an emotional mess. According to what they believe about themselves they will never be perfect enough. I had heard things about Crazy Love and I backed away. I know people who read the book and just based on what they said I decided that it was not sound. It sounds like salvation based on works to me. I hate to tell Mr. Chan but what he is basically saying is that every single minute, every single day you have to be in total surrender to Christ’s Lordship. I don’t think anyone that claims that is being honest with themselves. The Bible is clear that believers will struggle with the flesh, and there are many occasions that disciples addressed the church and addressed sin that was among them. I would much rather a Christian say to me that they really had to fight being nasty to someone when they were cut off in traffic than someone that pretends that nothing ever makes them wrongfully angry. Thanks again.

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    2. Thanks for the comment Lil Carpenter.

      It is truly one of the most confusing things when preachers preach in a way that seems to contradict their stated theology. Matt Chandler, for instance, preaches like a free will Arminian. I agree with every sermon I have heard him give. Yet he also affirms confessional Calvinism and that is very confusing.

      These theological discussions can quite easily get into the weeds and seem like splitting hairs. Personally, I try to stick with the two topics that I think are most crucial; the holiness of God and the authority of Scripture over a system of theology. There is a balancing act between blessed assurance, which I believe we can have, and making our election sure through our production of good works (2 Peter 1:10). One of the problems I see on Calvinism, is that one can never be sure they are saved. That is because, on Calvinism, the choice to save is solely on God. In this life, a Christian cannot be sure whether or not God has made this decision on their behalf. However, under the view of libertarian free will, a Christian can be sure they made the decision to repent and love Jesus, even if they can also point to areas of rebellion that still linger.

      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What Eric say about Chandler I have said about Piper and his book Dont Waste Your Life.

        I have quoted free-will Arminian-esque quotes from that book at length in these comments.

        Confessionally they theologize like Calvinist (they feel it honors God the most), but they preach like Wesley himself!

        One real problem with that is that most of them (some try to break the habit) still says “God loves you” and “Christ died for you,” to people….. when of course, according to their philosophy that cant really know that…..and in fact are likely wrong, since so few are actually saved. So they break themselves of the (terrible!) habit of telling people “Christ died for you” (cuz 98% of the time according to them it is likely that He didn’t!).

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      2. Thanks so much for your comments. I have been a Christian for a long time, but it has just been in the last few years that I have really had joy. I battled clinical depression for a long, long time, but that has been helped tremendously with meds and therapy. I think the drugs have stopped me from depending on feelings so much. Much of my joy has come because I have truly trusted the Holy Spirit to explain the scriptures to me. Also, my perception of God the Father was skewed because of my relationship with my earthly father. He was a great father in many ways, but lacking somewhat on the nurturing side. Also, I was not discipled very much. I think the works discussion is best understood by we do works because of our loving and intimate relationship with God through Christ.We want to please and glorify Him. Works then come from I want to and not have to or should perspective.

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    3. Lil wrote:

      “I have listened to all of them several times and at no time have I concluded that they believe that only the elect are saved. What I have heard is that salvation is by faith through Christ and is a gift of God by his grace and mercy.”

      Lil, it is this tendency of many Calvinists to not be completely upfront about what they really mean that concerns many of the former Calvinists who comment here. When a Calvinist says that salvation is by faith in Christ, and it is a gift of God by his grace and mercy, they conveniently omit a few important caveats demanded by their theology. Under Calvinism, faith is not the response of man believing trustingly in God’s promised salvation though Jesus. Rather, Calvinism asserts that God determined before men were ever created who would be saved, and determined to ‘give’ them faith, as in irresistibly compelling them to believe, although they would prefer to not word it like that. They most definitely believe that only the elect will be given faith – and cannot resist the receipt of this ‘gift’ – and only those given this unsought for ‘gift’ of faith are made able to believe, because they were chosen as one of the elect long ago.

      The fact is, most believers refuse to believe in the reprehensible concept of God choosing only a select few and condemning all others to hell with no hope of salvation, so modern Calvinists choose to obscure this untidy fact as best they can by euphemistic wording and being less than totally frank about what they mean by many words or phrases. Most of us here have had long and multiple experiences with Calvinist teachers who use the language of scripture with which most believers are comfortable with, but do not acknowledge that they have a somewhat different, secretive meaning when they recite verses that non-Calvinist take for granted as meaning something else.

      It is confusing, and that is why we attempt to warn of less than upfront teaching and point out the logical necessities of Calvinism, so that people are not confused or misled.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you for your comments. Very helpful. Sometimes I wonder if the “elect” or “chosen” concept is more of a pride issue. I believe in John 3:16 which says “and whosoever believes in him will have eternal life”.

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      2. Actually from my perspective Lil, there is a historical evolution to Calvin’s doctrine of the “elect”.
        Calvin was almost obsessively reliant up the writings of Augustine.
        Augustine, as all historical scholars know synchronized Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism into the Catholic doctrine of his day.

        The teaching a special “elect” or “select” status of believers was integral to the Gnostic doctrines of Augustine’s day.

        The Gnostics may enunciate that men are born into different “fields”. Some are borne into the “field” of salvation, while others into a “field” of corruption, and therefore utterly lost from birth. We see this concept paralleled within the Calvinist terminology of two “domains” of providence.

        Catholicism has historically been massively syncretistic doctrinally and Augustine is noted as being the premier conduit for synchronizing NeoPlatonism into Christianity.

        English historian, Theodore Maynard, in The story of American Catholicism writes: “It has often be charged… that Catholicism has been overlaid with many pagan incrustations. Catholicism is ready to accept that charge – and to make it her boast. The great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized.”

        Traces of the assimilation of paganism are visible everywhere at Catholic sites. Catholics adoringly touch statues of Pan, Jupiter and the goddess Isis with child, being told they are David, Peter, and Mary with Jesus.

        Sparks Notes:
        -quote:
        “Augustine’s lasting influence lies largely in his success in combining the Neoplatonic worldview with the Christian one. In Augustine’s hybrid system, the idea that all creation is good in as much as it exists, means that all creation, no matter how nasty or ugly, has its existence only in God.”

        The Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism of Augustine’s days both conceived the concept of moral-dualism – where good and evil are co-equal in status. The doctrine of “yin-yang” is in fact a derivative of this. That’s why we see “yin-yang” (i.e, good-evil dualism) within Calvinism.

        Every tree brings forth fruit after its kind.

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      3. thanks. We just got finished with a Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer, Breathe, and in it we discussed Gnosticism. I can see how this all ties together.

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      4. Yes – understood. Here is Calvinist Jonathon Edwards enunciating the Gnostic concept of the divine status of sin and evil

        -quote
        “The shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without THEM [sin and evil]……; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.”

        And also – here is the same exact enunciation on a new-age web-site called : “Unconventional Spirituality”
        The article here is titled “No Yin without Yang”

        -quote:
        Good relies upon evil in order to be good. And evil relies upon good in order to be evil. One cannot be without the other.”

        https://unconventionalspirituality.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/no-yin-without-yang/

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  5. The SBC presidency has been used in the past to reorient the entire SBC toward a theological stance (Biblically conservative). So we know this is not only possible, but has happened. And we have SBC Seminaries today that require their professors to sign a Calvinistic document instead of the Baptist Faith and Message. Would a Calvinist President tend to appoint more that representative number of Calvinistic leaders and board members? Yes, probably so. It has been much more than a trend already.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Brother Andy, As a non-Calvinist, baptistic fundamental evangelical, I can rejoice that the conservatives regained control of the SBC decades ago… but it is somewhat disappointing that Calvinism snuck in under the guise of Conservatism back then. A “conservative” hermeneutic using normal rules of grammar and context will never yield dogmatic Calvinism from Scriptures, especially for the false points of limited atonement, irresistible grace, and eternal immutable individual election.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. It amazes me how easy it is for Leighton to plant an idea in your heads that he has as one said no “empirical” evidence to prove. You take it and begin to theorize on how the evil Calvinist will corrupt the convention and split it. You say that they will undermine all the seminaries and require them to adhere to their confessions. All the while you never stop to think that God is in control and He will effect the outcome that pleases Him. If you do the math, from the survey posted there is only 3% difference in the survey. I see a campaign to smear a mans reputation and to plant a seed in the minds of those that follow this to vote for their approved candidate.

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      1. “You take it and begin to theorize on how the evil Calvinist will corrupt the convention and split it.”

        The Founder’s Ministries stated goal is to implant the London Baptist Confession as standard SBC doctrine. This will split the Convention.

        ” You say that they will undermine all the seminaries and require them to adhere to their confessions.”

        Mohler has already done this. This is demonstrably true.

        “All the while you never stop to think that God is in control and He will effect the outcome that pleases Him.”

        It’s weird that you’re lamenting the outcome of Dr. Flower’s article because didn’t God control that and Dr. Flowers only wrote this article because it pleased God for Dr. Flowers to do?

        “I see a campaign to smear a mans reputation and to plant a seed in the minds of those that follow this to vote for their approved candidate.”

        I guess asking if someone is a Calvinist is a smear on a man’s reputation. You said it, not me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Eric,
        Thanks. I was just preparing to write to “ACG” and say ….. “so what, Leigthon’s actions are not God in control?”

        You said it better…..

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  6. Can I ask a question that you guys just chew on? I have read places where the traditionalist camp persecutes calvinists because they don’t value evangelism. Then you run into good calvinists like Greear, Piper, Chandler, Mohler, and you praise them for preaching evangelistically and preaching the gospel. So since you can’t then attack their evangelistic stance you turn it into them being inconsistent with their stated theology? Does this not seem like grasping at straws to you guys? Have you even considered that evangelism and gospel preaching is VERY consistent with proper reformed theology? I’m not talking about the “hyper-nutso don’t share Christ” type. I mean proper confessional reformed theology. If you would maybe close your mouths long enough to listen to your brothers, you would discover that they aren’t much different than you and funny enough, based on the language in the BFM there is room for traditionalists and reformed brothers and sisters to coexist without arguing at every turn. I don’t know how long Flowers and Kamp spent writing and researching for this article, but I can think of a few ways to have better used their time. I wonder how many muslims they could have engaged with the gospel in the hours they spent on this. Just some food for thought.

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    1. Chad:
      You said this…..I wonder how many muslims they could have engaged with the gospel in the hours they spent on this. Just some food for thought.

      If you are a determinist then that is a moot point, right?

      Like

    2. Hi Chad. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. But I have found that the premise of divine determinism certainly does effect evangelism and persistent prayer, for the only motive that can be mustered by a determinist in evangelism is obedience. There can not be a compassionate desire for every soul to be saved since they believe (for certain) that God does not have that kind of compassionate desire for everyone. They cannot look at every non-believer in the eyes with confident compassion and say – “God loved you so much He paid for your sins and desires that you be saved.”

      Once fulfilling your obligation of preaching the gospel, if one should respond negatively to what you believe was truly God speaking the truth of Christ through you, then it is easy to give up the effort in their life, concluding they must not be one of the elect, for if they had heard, they would have responded. And motivation to keep praying for them begins to wane as an evaluation of their so-called reprobate status cements into your thinking each time they reject the gospel again.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Dr. Flowers and Eric Kemp,

    As you have cited Jared Wilson, I thought might be interested in a few quotes of his and regarding him:

    “The warp speed sanctification of gospel wakefulness…The experience of gospel wakefulness is often confused for new birth because it usually entails so many of the visions and emotions…What I experienced was not new birth but a Spiritual quantum leap in my sanctification…”-Jared Wilson

    “This is gospel wakefulness…the wording owes a lot to things I’ve read by the likes of Jonathan Edwards” – Jared Wilson

    “By writing this forward [Jared Wilson’s], I’m saying I’ll get in line for that awakening. I hope you’ll join me there. We will not be alone. A gospel renaissance is renewing many in our time. We see streams of new blessing flowing together – The Gospel Coalition…Acts 29 Network…and many others. They are all centered in gospel rediscovery. God is wonderfully at work, creating new spiritual conditions for tomorrow. I wonder if he plans to take us all the way into a revival of historic magnitude.” – “When God Comes to a Church” Author and Acts 29 Pastor, Ray Ortlund

    “You cannot ‘behold!’ it if you aren’t looking. As my friend Ray Ortlund has been known to say, ‘Stare at the glory of God until you see it.’” Jared Wilson

    In addition, the gospel of all the Scriptures has a cosmic scope that posits God’s glory itself as the sum of the good news. In this wide-angle view of the gospel, the good news is that the peace that was broken at the fall will be restored in everything from God’s reconciliation with sinners to his establishing of the new heavens and the new earth. A cosmic gospel means the restoration of all things. – Jared Wilson

    “The warp speed sanctification of gospel wakefulness…The experience of gospel wakefulness is often confused for new birth because it usually entails so many of the visions and emotions…What I experienced was not new birth but a Spiritual quantum leap in my sanctification…”-Jared Wilson

    “This is gospel wakefulness…the wording owes a lot to things I’ve read by the likes of Jonathan Edwards…and heard in the sermons of some like John Piper and Tim Keller.” – Jared Wilson

    What is this fascination with Jonathan Edwards for the New Calvinists? Perhaps this will explain a little:

    “In the 1700s, Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards invested Calvinism with a rapturous near mysticism.” -“Calvinism is the Gospel”

    “From my childhood up, my mind had been full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, in choosing whom he would to eternal life, and rejecting whom he pleased; leaving them eternally to perish, and be everlastingly tormented in hell. It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me. But I remember the time very well, when I seemed to be convinced, and fully satisfied, as to this sovereignty of God, and his justice in thus eternally disposing of men, according to his sovereign pleasure…I walked abroad alone, in a solitary place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation… After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively…The appearance of everything was altered… there seemed to be, as it were, a calm sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost everything. God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind… While thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to sing, or chant for my mediations… The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellency great enough to SWALLOW UP ALL THOUGHT AND CONCEPTION … which continued as near as I can judge, ABOUT AN HOUR…I have many times had a sense of the glory of the third person in the Trinity, in his office of Sanctifier; in his holy operations, communicating divine light and life to the soul.” –Jonathon Edwards

    Your thought?

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    1. Wow. Edwards sounds like the two lady missionaries of a certain cultish sect who came to my door one day. They knew everything their founder and his additional “scriptures” taught were true because they had meditated long until there was a “burning in the bosom” to validate it. Once one hardens the heart and God’s loving character, leaving the clear teaching of Scripture, it becomes easier to embrace a lie about Him.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I see a few of the language and concepts in those Calvinist writings – parallel the language and concepts of Plotinus who re-shaped the doctrines of Plato into a religious form of mysticism. Plotinus’ called his deity the “ONE”. The disciple was to contemplate the “ONE” and come to a higher revelation of the “ONE” with the promise of returning to the “ONE”. This required a practice of contemplation.

      One would expect Plotinus to say “You cannot ‘behold!’ it if you aren’t looking” or ‘Stare at the glory of the “ONE” until you see it.’”

      In Plotinus’ cosmology – all things including good and evil have their source in the “ONE” and therefore good and evil are equally beautiful.

      Joshua Packwood – Plotinus and the One: A Mystical Union
      -quote:
      Plotinus also alludes to the possibility of the soul achieving a mystical union with the One.

      If Plotinus had a ministry today it would not be called “Desiring God’ – it would be called “Desiring the “ONE”.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. And this is their favorite ‘homeboy’. As long as thinking about God condemning countless millions irrevocably to eternal suffering makes the sky bluer for Jonathan Edwards while he strolls through the pasture, then it must be fine. This is supposed to pass for ‘right thinking’ about God? Maybe he should get his head out of the clouds and read his bible – the one which declares unambiguously how much God loves mankind and desires that all turn from wickedness so that none need perish. The rest of the cabal needs to throw out their wicked Institutes and go back to the bible as well.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Now we have the incomparable Piper to tell us how grand it was for God to predestine most people for hell:

        “The minor evangelical adjustments to the world’s way of making people happy on the way to hell are not radical enough for me.”

        – John Piper

        It is obvious that Piper prefers that people be properly miserable as they face the unavoidable ‘hell’ he believes his ‘God’ designed them to suffer. Like Edwards, he wants to invoke the cruel, angry ‘God’ whose right it is to dangle helpless men over the eternal flames for his own amusement. Heaven forbid the poor unchosen masses steal any of the ‘glory’ of being one of ‘God’s’ elect, like him. They cannot look to a happy, glorious future as he so confidently does, because ‘God’ predestined them to suffer forever – because some believe this makes him look ‘glorious’. So let’s make sure they are all miserably aware of what God has in store for them. It appears tha Piper believes in a different gospel than the one that declares ‘Good news of a great joy, which will come to all the people’. He thinks it all about him and his cronies.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. TS00,

        Yes there is something very wrong when the Calvinists rub the noses of the “unrepentant” in it. A certain kind of shaming people for not repenting on the one hand, while on the other hand writing whole books stating over and over that is it God who does not grant them repentance.

        The worst part is not that it is so visibly schizophrenic but that they insist this idea comes from a God “who is love.” Not just “a loving God” … a God who IS love.

        And even harder to understand is that we are commanded to love our enemies as ourselves with the above as our example. Truly unbelievable!!!

        That God commands and enables us to love our enemies while on the other hand purposely creating 98% of humanity with the intention of denying repentance to them “for His glory” should be hard to understand by anyone.

        No doubt I will now receive disparaging comments about being a universalist because I allegedly say that love requires God to make all come in. Not what I am saying.

        Certainly it is not difficult to see that love would at least allow all to come in. But the Calvinist “God is love” does not make them come in (universalist), and does not allow them to come in (free-will traditionalist), rather that “God is love” creates 98% with the before-time intention of denying repentance to them.

        The Bible does not support such a definition of love.

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      3. Calvinism deliberately clouds the fact that there are more than two possibilities for interpreting God’s revelation to offer salvation to mankind, stubbornly pretending that only two options exist, both asserting Divine Determinism. In all three cases, God alone is capable of providing the necessary atonement and grace, with no part being attributable to man or his efforts; so in that respect, salvation is most definitely divinely determined and provided.

        Calvinism (Determinism): Some chosen for salvation, the rest chosen for hell – Irresistibly determined by God
        Universalism: All chosen for salvation, and irresistibly – Irresistibly determined by God
        Biblical Gospel: All are offered salvation, only those who ‘believe’ and ‘receive’ it are saved – Individually accepted or rejected

        Calvinism presents a hideous, monstrous God who most definitely does not meet his own standards of love and justice. Universalism seems to be weak on justice, allowing no arena for non-compelled repentance and submission to God. The Biblical Gospel alone presents a God of unimpeachable love and justice, who genuinely offers atonement, grace and eternal bliss to all who will believe in and come to the light of God’s love manifested in and through Jesus’ life, teaching and sacrifice. The true Gospel teaches of sin, atonement, faith, repentance and grace – as recorded throughout the entirety of scripture. Calvinism, unfortunately distorts and perverts the entire salvation message, leading to an arbitrary, limited ‘salvation’ of the chosen few – exactly what Paul so vehemently condemned the determinists of his day for asserting, thereby limiting God’s love and grace to ‘the chosen race’ of Israel.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I find it interesting that John Piper details how he doesn’t have any assurance his biological sons are elected for heaven or hell.
        But he doesn’t enunciate that question concerning his own eternal destiny – even though that fact is only known to Calvin’s god.
        How nice for him. 😀

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  8. Wow! What a smear campaign! We are talking about pastors right, like I didn’t stumble into a political thread did I? Brothers! Satan is winning the battle (not the war, Jesus Wins!) when we are divided like this. If you want to know about J.D. Greear go read his books or listen to his sermons. Listening to another man’s interpretation is all we are doing with this article. Let’s trust God and not opinion pieces written to divide .

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    1. Let’s trust God and not opinion pieces written to divide

      Well that would exclude all Calvinist written pieces! 😀
      Its not difficult to agree with that – but of-course we won’t find Calvinists following that rule now will we.
      Suddenly we’ve become “brothers” and not heretics.

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  9. Sorry for typo; should read: “Universalism: All chosen for salvation, which is irresistibly granted – Irresistibly determined by God”

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  10. I just wrote this morning about God’s love and allow or denying repentance. A couple hours later in my inbox was a great blog post by Roger Olson on the very thing. He mentions Piper’s inconsistencies of “God allows” vs “God designs” (which is easy to find in Piper’s material). Have a look here…..

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2018/02/conversations-calvinists-rarely-productive/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=BRSS&utm_campaign=Evangelical&utm_content=259

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    1. Wonderful FOH!!!

      Piper’s argument 1: “They deserve hell”
      This is designed as an exculpatory argument – by presenting a deceptive mask.
      The clear obfuscation of the fact that in Calvinism all person’s are destined by design for a given end before they are born.
      The argument presents the lie that the person did something apart from Calvin’s god – which results in them deserving some destiny.
      In Calvinism a persons fate is determined by **NOTHING** having to do with the person’s attributes – good or bad.
      At the foundation of the world, millennia before they were born, they couldn’t possibly have anything to do with determining their destiny.
      Calvin’s god -quote “solely within himself according to his good pleasure” determines the fate of every man.

      Conclusion:
      This argument seeks to hide the “DARK-SIDE” of Calvinism by hiding Calvin’s god’s as playing the one and only determinative role of one’s destiny behind a mask of contradiction – and serves as a good example of Calvinist double-talk.

      Piper’s argument 2: Calvin’s god’s attributes of wrath must be manifest because “good and evil” must manifest equally.
      This doctrine has its source in Christian Gnosticism/NeoPlatonism cosmology – in which good and evil stand as co-equal contrary yet complementary forces. This is an excellent example of the principle of “yin/yang” found in Calvinism.

      This is why we perennially see the strategy of false-advertising language in Calvinist apologetics.
      In Calvinism “God allows” functions as a mask – painted on the dark face of “God designs”

      Its no wonder Dr. Olson would resolve his conversations with Calvinists are rarely productive.
      He hasn’t been raised on the cool aid of Calvin’s double-think.

      Great post FOH!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So True! Brd & FOH.

        Irenaeus (born around 125AD) wrote “Refutation of Heresies” (a defense of orthodox Christianity against its Gnostic rivals). Respected Historian James E Keifer after studying Irenaeus’ work writes- “Gnostics claimed to be Christians, but Christians with a difference. They said that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn for the real truth. They remind me very much of the Rosicrucians. When I mention this, I often get blank stares, but not many years ago many popular science magazines carried their advertisements, with assertions that Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Plato, Archimedes, and so on had all been members of a secret society called the Rosicrucians, and owed their achievements largely to this fact. Was there any evidence of this aside from the traditions of the group itself? Of course not! They were a secret society. Why were they secret? “Because our wisdom would be misunderstood by the common man, and so must be reserved for the tiny handful of mankind in every generation who are spiritually advanced enough to appreciate it.” James E Keifer
        I am not endorsing all the writings or beliefs of Irenaeus or James E Keifer, but it does give us an understanding and summary of Gnostic teaching and thought that infiltrated the church within the first two centuries, and the similarity to Calvinism in my opinion is striking.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Damon! This was a wonderful post!

        From lectures I heard years ago on the practices of the ancient art of Egyptian priest-craft, I believe we might see the embryo of secret societies. A group of people who are above the general milieu of the ignorant masses. A derivative of this Egyptian priest-craft are the ancient Magi who, following the practice of the Egyptian priests, charted the stars. Years ago I remember hearing that archeologists have discovered Egyptian statues of different deities having a hinged lower jaw – and a hole through which a wooden rod can move up from below the statue to move the jaw – and a sound portal drilled up through the statue allowing a person below the statue to speak, through it much like a megaphone. The priests were able to trick the superstitious masses into believing the god was speaking to them through its statue. I believe it is quite possible this is where the author of the “wizard of oz” got his idea.

        Yes, I agree with you – we humans can be tempted into a sense of elitism. I think it very legitimate to question whether Calvin internally perceived himself as being given a special “Gnosis” that allowed him to scoff at anyone who disagreed with him. And I think viewing Calvinist behavior – often revealing indicators of religious elitism – in that vein also has legitimacy.

        I’m reviewing the book “Understanding the Whole Bible” by Jonathan Welton – who writes about how prevalent Gnostic and Pagan religious beliefs influenced the church – especially prior to the creation of the Christian bible.

        He writes:
        • The New Testament was not canonized until nearly AD 400; meaning the early Christians for several centuries only had access to the Old Testament.

        • The Bible was not translated into the common languages until the late 1300s; prior to that. Scripture was only written and read in Latin, meaning most people did not understand it or have access to it.

        • The Bible existed only in, handwritten copies and was, therefore, very rare until the 1500s, when the Gutenberg Press was Invented, enabling the printing and distributing of Bibles in multiple languages.

        • In the 1500s, Martin Luther also brought back the basic understanding of salvation by grace through faith to the Church, Prior to that, in large part, it had been lost for hundreds of years.

        Great post – thanks Damon! :-]

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      3. br.d, Damon, TS00 and maybe others,

        I myself do not give any credence to conspiracy theories that there is some kind of hidden, concerted, conspiracy going on.

        If you look at the average 20-something bearded, YRR in cage-phase Calvinism you see a zealous youth on fire about his new find (ever met someone who just learned how to speak in tongues!!??). Anyway they are trying to honor God and think they have just learned the truth that can change the world (ironically it can’t change anything in a deterministic world…but not my point here!)

        As for the idea of a cabal controlling all this and working a conspiracy…. nah. That’s going nowhere boys.

        It’s just sincere guys like Piper, Sproul, MacArthur —-who I remind you do NOT agree on many other points—- navel-gazing and misinterpreting a few verses that the whole error is scaffolded on. The whole thing is built on 40-50 verses and presuppositions.

        They —–and all reformers—- come to the table with presupposition (1) what sovereign has to mean (2) what omniscience has to mean (3) what God must be like (4) what “elect” “chosen” “predestined” must mean.

        If you start with their presuppositions and sprinkle in 40-50 hair-raising (reformed-sounding) verses that must be seen their way, you can easily get what they get. That allows you to convince yourself to ignore the other 99.6% of the Bible that says “I want all men” “whosoever” “Why did you not…?” “If you will do this…. I will do this…” “Jerusalem Jerusalem ….. I would have … but you would not” “When I am lifted up, I will call all men…” “sin is crouching at your door and you must dominate over it” “my son was dead and came to me (Luke 15)” etc —and on and on.

        Clearly both sides of the argument interpret their “problem” verses through the lens of their preference.

        I did that….. but then decided that the tenor and weight of the Scripture is by far on the free-will side and explaining 40-50 verses is a lot easier and more biblical than trying to ignore the other 99.6% of the Bible.

        I believe we will not find answers in looking for Egyptian conspiracy theories but rather simply reading the Bible.

        Should we point out that Mary-worshiping, saint-praying Augustine was part of the founding of reformed philosophy and Calvinism? Sure! Should we show that Calvinism is just a neo-Platonic philosophy? Sure.

        But a human conspiracy —-that those who are in it are aware of—- not so much.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Sorry if I inferred some kind of conspiracy in my last post or others.
        I don’t believe that is the case with Calvinism.

        However if one researches socialization experiments such as the Solomon Asch experiment, the Milgram experiment, and the Stanford prison experiment, one understands how we humans can be influenced. I watched a video where survivors of the David Koresh group – now many years after the fact still insist he was a prophet of God. Steven Hassan – expert on Sun Myung Moon and other groups is constantly asked are there certain profiles or people-types who join these groups. He says they come from all walks of life and some have doctorates and PHDs. So its not just simple minded people or people of low IQ who make up the statistical sample of believers in various religious groups. Socialization practices do influence people – and there is such a thing as group-think.

        I think people get drawn into Calvinism many times, the same way anyone would be drawn into a religious social group. It provides a sense of belonging and family etc. However I believe Calvinism, sociologically, differs from other protestant belief systems in the emphasis it places on doctrine. There is a sense of sacredness placed upon Calvin’s doctrines that you don’t see in other groups. I believe also, there is a model of a social hierarchy of respected persons in Calvinism that one doesn’t see in other groups. Those persons who have been standard bearers for Calvin’s doctrines and who have drawn disciples after themselves – like Jonathon Edwards. These persons are heroes within Calvinism – in much the same way that Calvin and Augustine are held up in a form of hero worship.

        So Calvinism, from my perspective at this point in time, is primarily a phenomenon of socialization influences.
        Those who leave it seem to enunciate having a sense of “breaking free” from it.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Br.d. writes:

        “Sorry if I inferred some kind of conspiracy in my last post or others.
        I don’t believe that is the case with Calvinism.”

        Personally, I would allow for both. 🙂 There is most certainly a ‘conspiracy’ of Satan to mislead, confuse and deceive people, particularly believers. Scripture is replete with references to such deception. Having looked into ‘conspiracy’ a few years back, I was left acknowledging that I would most likely never be able to know for sure if or by whom conspiracies may or may not be perpetrated. It doesn’t much matter to me at this point – I believe that sincerely deceived people are just as or even more ‘dangerous’ than wolves in sheep’s clothing, as they are motivated by a genuine belief in the deceptions they defend. What I would suggest is that those who so loudly scoff at all things conspiracy have probably not deeply researched the many acknowledged conspiracies that have been uncovered throughout history which, obviously, suggests there are most likely others that have not been revealed.

        Who is to say if such as Calvin or Augustine were deliberate deceivers pushing known lies or merely dreadfully deceived? Certainly it is possible, however unlikely one considers it to be, as is so with any christian teacher or leader exposed of great sin and hypocrisy. The best deceivers are those who can best deceive, as obvious as that sounds. I am unwilling to insist that all ‘conspiracies’ are tinfoil-hat absurdities – unless posited by government officials. 🙂 It seems to me that yesterday’s ‘heretics’ are often today’s ‘conspiracy theorists’, those who doubt the motives of many in power and insist upon the right of the individual to think, investigate and believe as his conscience – and/or Holy Spirit – leads him.

        Must we allow public scorn to frighten us from acknowledging that Satan is very real, very clever and uses talented and clever men to do his dirty work? The true agenda, motivation and deeds of those in power – religious as well as political – can frequently be far different from what is stated and perceived as reality.

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    2. I agree FOH & Brd, I don’t think that Calvinism is an organised club where the members are fully aware of their intentions so to speak. I do however believe they have been hoodwinked by Calvin’s “secret counsel” decree. Calvin mentions the “secret counsel” many times in his writings, in which I think all the contradiction, double speak, and confusion comes from. I don’t believe there is a “secret counsel” of God in regards to salvation at all or “two truths” as they like to put it.
      What amazes me is that the phrase “secret counsel” is only mentioned once in the whole bible – Psalm 64:2 “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity”
      And yet this is one of Calvins favourite catch phrases all throughout his writings.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Damon
        Great.
        I think we are agreed that far too much credibility has been given to Calvin (and the confessions, creeds, and catechisms for that matter), who gives far too much credibility to Augustine, who was influenced far too much by Greek philosophy.
        It has been too easy for them to devise man-made ideas about God and then blame them on the “secret counsel”. We are agreed on that for sure.
        As you may know from seeing other comments of mine on other pages, I have been an overseas missionary for over 30 years announcing the gospel in some of the most simple and remote places. I say simple because the gospel is very simple and people who have never had the background can understand it upon hearing it.

        The Creator God made a way for Redemption through his Son who is God incarnate and all you have to do is believe that and act in faith. That’s pretty simple. There’s nothing very hidden about that.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Very astute observation – those with nothing to hide do not operate under ‘secret’ councils, but openly declare their characters, agendas and works. The wicked, the workers of iniquity, are those who operate with secret councils. God has revealed openly who he is, what he desires, what he offers and what he requires in response.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. To be clear, a council is a group of people….. and they may have had secrets ones of those too!

        but the “secret counsel” referred to here is that mysterious element of God and His own counsel —– calling it secret and blaming all kinds of things on it. On it (His own counsel) not them (a secret council).

        Liked by 2 people

      4. What’s the possibility Calvin’s so called “secret counsel” is all about hiding behind a mask of un-falsifiability.

        When one has *REAL* facts that support one’s doctrine, one should have no problem defending that doctrine with those facts.
        However when one has *NO REAL* facts that support one’s doctrine, one can easily resort to moral platitudes.
        Or one can defend doctrines with grandiose claims that are entirely unfalsifiable.

        How does one disprove something that is defended by the -quote “secret counsel of god”?
        Its a secret! No man can know the “secrets” of god so no man can prove it false.

        The obvious question is – if something is in fact god’s “secret” then how in god’s name does Calvin know about it?

        Liked by 2 people

      5. br.d. writes: “What’s the possibility Calvin’s so called “secret counsel” is all about hiding behind a mask of un-falsifiability.”

        Exactly. All of Calvinism’s false claims rest upon the secret counsel of God, and secret decrees never proclaimed in scripture. Funny, most Calvinists would scoff at such claims by others they view as ‘cults’ but never seem to realize what they themselves are in the midst of. That’s how cults work. I recall the story of one family who left our former church along with a founding elder and many others who were former ‘besties’ with the pastor, and the story of them shouting at the him as he left their home ‘You are part of a cult!’ I was shocked and appalled . . . at the time.

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      6. Good post!
        Calvinism does exhibit a high degree of group-think. :-]
        Their minds have been “re-formed” into Calvin’s double-think.

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  11. I am a former Calvinist. The problem I ran into was that most Calvinist are not consistent. When I started in my Calvinist journey I read A.W. Pink. I quickly found that most who professed Calvinism would tell me I didn’t understand it when I was simply repeating what Pink had to say on the subject. One day I began to study why people were against Calvinism and found out that I was wrong to have followed such a doctrine. I have watched many of Dr. Flowers videos and while I can appreciate his kindness towards Calvinists, I struggle with wondering how someone can be a true Christian and make the claims about God in regards to things like reprobation that Calvinists do. Is Calvinism not another gospel? I know Calvinism and my interaction with many Calvinist almost caused me to not want to have anything to do with God at all. It really shook my foundations. Thankfully, I did not allow them to drive me to that point. Calvinism is a dangerous thing. Too many are trying to be Calvinist light as to not reveal the dark side of Calvinism. Calvinism needs to be exposed. I am thankful that Dr. Flowers is willing to step up and address the errors of Calvinism boldly and unashamedly.

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    1. THERUGGEDHISTORIAN, I believe that many who comment here share your perspective. It is my opinion that many, if not most, who have been drawn into Calvinism have been seduced by high-sounding claims, without deeply examining the ramifications of the doctrines. It sounds so holy and humble to seek only to exalt God and his ‘Sovereignty’ – until that dark night when you realize this means that God deliberately, without offer of redemption, damns countless millions to hell – just for his ‘good pleasure’. When you truly face the God of Calvinism, it is usually only loyalty to the club and well-practiced submission to authority that keeps you from racing back to the arms of the loving, merciful God of scripture who desires that all turn from wickedness and live.

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  12. That’s so true Brd. I’ve found that whenever a Calvinist is backed into the corner of their contradiction they always pull out their trump card, which is just Calvins “secret counsel” which doesn’t even exist in the bible, and as you’ve pointed out cannot even be known being a “secret”. It is in fact nothing but a smoke screen of contradiction with no basis at all but a philosophy imposed on certain texts of the bible. In other words they have to believe the “secret decree” to make the verses say what they want them to say.

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  13. That’s the crazy claim of Calvinism – God’s second truth to salvation is a “secret counsel”. To them the reavealed second truth to salvation is that – it is secret! Doesn’t make sense at all.

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  14. Sorry ‘revealed’ I meant to say. It’s hard to make a case that the revealed secret is……..that it is a secret.
    Ok I’m done, my heads starting to spin.😩

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  15. I have always wondered why calvinists chose to hide their theology, as this makes them Deceivers, Why “Think Like A Calvinist and Preach Like An Armenian” thinking we don’t know the truth. Also wondered about their arrogant and disrespectful ways towards Christ believers. But above all I wondered Why they refuse to gather as calvinists or with a denomination that believes in John Calvin instead of Christ Our Lord. Is it because they are here to deceive our youth with false teachings, and therefore destroy the Baptist Church? I do wonder!

    These I Leave For You… Jeremiah 37: 9 …Matthew 24: 5 …John 4: 3 … Selah!

    In Christ.

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    1. Thanks for your post Jorge!

      Consider a Pope many years ago who stated “The myth of Christ has profited us well”

      This statement highlights the fact that throughout the history of man, post-Christ, there have been men who have simply co-opted the things of Christ and used them as the building blocks to create an earthly power-base for their own empowerment.

      Theologies can be seen this way as well.

      Calvin can be easily seen as an earthly pope – raised up on an earthly conceptual thrown.
      Considering the vast quantity of men who have followed this pattern throughout history – the fruits we observe with Calvinism can be understood as the recognizable byproducts of an earthly power-base.

      Its just a matter of recognizing the patterns.

      Blessings!

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      1. Welcome rj. You may have dropped in at a low point in conversation. But many passages of God’s Word have been and are being discussed in these comments sections. You are invited to help bring the conversation to a more profitable condition.

        However, just like in a drug rehab one cannot help but mention often the addiction by which people are affected… in this theological “drug rehab” it is hard not to mention the producer’s and distributors’ names of the drug Calvinism from time to time. 😉

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  16. Calvinist I know speak only of Jesus Christ. You all are the ones who seem to be stuck on John Calvin. By your logic that makes you Calvinist. If JD Greear makes much of Jesus, this Baptist pastor will vote for him. I’m sadden by this thread. Let’s stop with the witch hunt and start showing the community around our churches what we are for. Let’s make Jesus look glorious.

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    1. Rj… I have no dog in the fight for SB leadership since I’m not SB. But there is ample evidence in history of those with power of appointment, whether Sunday Schools or Seminaries, will pick those who like riding the same theological hobby horses they do.

      The determinism of Calvinism is dangerous to the thinking of future people who will be trained for ministry. It weakens the biblical motivations needed in prayer and evangelism, and promotes a distant God of diminished mercy and capricious wrath.

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  17. All one need do here at SOT101 is read through the threads posted by Calvin’s disciples.
    You can read 100 posts sequentially.
    Not only will you not see posts that speak only of Christ – you won’t see any at all. :-]

    The irony here is, If one wants to read about *REAL* witch-hunts, beheadings, tongues ran through with hot irons, and burning people alive – all one need do is read The Minutes Book of the Geneva City Council, 1541-1559 (translated by Stefan Zweig)

    This was the official record kept by the Geneva City counsel of punishments for crimes as judged by Calvin himself.

    Calvin was superstitious – believed Geneva’s pestilence of 1545 was caused by witchcraft – hand picked 20 men and women to be burned alive. And that’s only one excerpt out of many – from the record.

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    1. I’m 41 years old so I wasn’t around during the 1500’s so I can’t speak of what went on then. Slavery was also a problem then as well. Was that John Calvin’s fault as well? The post from Calvinist on here are in defense of eronious thinking so of course they are going to speak of Calvin. As I said in my previous post. My Calvinistic friends ONLY speak of Jesus Christ. Just a final warning for you brother. Jesus Christ’s great commission wasn’t to speak out against Calvinism.

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      1. Rj… perhaps you need to consider the last part of the Great Commission. Matthew 28:20 NKJV — “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

        In His last sermons Jesus exposed the false teachings of the Pharisees and warned of false teachers to come in the future. He commanded to beware of them and not to be like them.

        You demonstrated a loyalty to excuse the actions of Calvin though you believe he was filled with God’s Spirit enough to write what I’m guessing you think is an excellent theology. It was his errant theology that made him so unmerciful to other professing Christians.

        Perhaps you think some of us as unmerciful towards Calvinism and Calvinists… but we are not calling them damned… not unless they claim the tenets of Calvinism as the gospel that must be believed to be identified as being saved.

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      2. Thanks but that warning – like the previous posts did – simply backfire back on yourself. :-]

        Jesus spoke out against whitewashed sepulchres, wide phylacteries, and the deeds of the Nicolaitans which he says he hates.
        Paul spoke out against super-apostles and judaizers
        John spoke out against Diotrephes
        I speak out against co-opting the things of Christ for the sake of earthly powerbases and operating in semantic dishonesty.
        You might consider reviewing the logic of your recent posts and my gentlemanly responses – and learn by my good example. :-]

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      3. Thanks for the “gentlemanly” advice and “humble example.” I’ll take my backfiring logic and go focus on more fruitful endeavors. By the way God resist the proud and gives grace to the humble. Don’t think so highly of yourself, it comes across as tired and sad.

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      4. It always makes me laugh when Calvinists speak of humility. Believing that they just happen to be the lucky chosen few, undeservedly given by God the magic ‘cure’ for his dreadful curse upon sinless (unborn) humanity, they ‘humbly’ condemn and judge the poor, pitiful hellfire fodder who God created, destined and irresistibly brings to eternal suffering, just because he can. One can easily see where Calvin got his ideas about how to deal with the unregenerate masses. Of course, with such grand humility, one who turned Romanism’s Convent culture into a Protestant concentration camp might have been expected to acknowledge he did not have the omniscient power to make dreadful life or death judgments against the men, women and even children he had murdered. Ah, the glorious freedom of the child of God, redeemed from the slavery of sin into the totalitarian ‘Church’ of Calvin.

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      5. It reminds me of patterns of behavior I’ve read about concerning Muslim migration into Europe.
        At first, while they were in tiny numbers and recipients of benevolence, there was a strategic appeal to “peace” and “unity”.
        Not one European stabbing, beheading, bombing etc.
        But in proportion to the populations rapid expansion – were the increasing demands for preeminence, power, and violence.
        Interesting how we can observe such things as patterns of behavior.

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      6. Funny how there is consistency to the backfiring effect!
        But that doesn’t have to be the case – and ἀγάπη would hope for better.
        Again you might consider reviewing your own posts for the very issues you raise. :-]

        To be kind….not all people operate with mature logic and reasoning in discourse.
        But we can be self-retrospective and honest with ourselves to see when we aren’t.

        He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. :-]

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  18. I just have to ask when deception for any reason became acceptable for a minister. If God is Truth how can so many minister’s claim to serve a Good of truth while denying truth to a search committee. How is it Godly to take money from a church under false pretenses. I think the world calls that fraud but these decieving men somehow justify it as serving God.

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    1. Jim, it seems to me that this path began with the Westminster Confession, as it set forth the illogical and impossible claim that God is deterministically responsible for ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ a la Calvin, yet men are responsible for their own choices, a la scripture. It was a recipe for deception from the start. Today’s Calvinistic seminarians are just using slightly different tactics, and are finally being called out for ‘sneaking’ Calvinism into unsuspecting churches.

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      1. I might have mentioned recently lunching with a distant relative, a newly Reformed seminarian, who expressed his eagerness to be called to a ‘non-Reformed’ church so he can ‘fix it’. I have no idea what is being ‘taught’ in these Reformed Seminaries, or how it is being ‘sold’, but it is beyond doubt that young Calvinists are being taught how to quietly infiltrate non-Calvinist churches and ‘bring them around’ subtly. This is dishonest, unscriptural and has led to the devastation and destruction of many formerly vibrant churches.

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      2. This is dishonest, unscriptural and has led to the devastation and destruction of many formerly vibrant churches.

        br.d
        Absolutely correct!!
        Where does Jesus instruct us to enter in through a window – rather than entering in through the front gate?
        These pastors are not seeking the Lord’s work – they are working to devour widows houses (i.e., church assets).
        They are in fact functioning as thieves while calling it ministry.
        It makes perfect sense – when one understands how dishonest Calvinism generally is intellectually.

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      3. I might add that even those who admit to their Reformed Theology have been taught to mask it, with the illogical ‘Compatibilism’, by which they seek to persuade the unwary that Calvinism merely ‘adds a little understanding’ to what they already know to be true, rather than teaching a decidedly different gospel. That’s how I was taken in, and felt deceived and manipulated when I discovered Calvinism not only ‘doesn’t work’ in real life, but that Compatibilism is merely inconsistent double-talk.

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      4. TS00
        Another thing to add is that many, many, many young bucks get onto the YRR wave with the great intention to honor God, give Him glory.

        If you were to say to them early on “do you know that this means ___________________ (fill in that blank with outrageous determinism concepts)?” They will answer… “of course I do not believe that!”

        But one article after another on monergism.com and one pressure email after another from accusing friends “You are ‘man-centered’… you are a universalist…” and slowly they turn into determinists.

        Now….. here’s the key:

        They really, really, really dont wanna be determinists, laying all sin at the feet of God. And they really started out their faith in Christ as simple traditionalists (or Arminians) (Like MacArthur did!) …….. thus……. ready…………… wait for it……………. they cry “Compatible!”

        They INVENT the idea that God can ordain/ will/ plan/ desire/ decree all the sin in the world but man actually does it and is responsible for it.

        This is of course found no where in the Bible, but they NEEEEEEED it, to sleep at night.

        They wanna be in the YRR wave crowd, and adhere to the “doctrines of Grace” and not be “a lousy universalist,” but they know that really that makes God the origin of sin….. so they just say, “No He is not…I’m a compatibalist.”

        Voila! With the wave of a wand…. A equals A and A does not equal A.

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      5. FOH, Again, my own experience bears this out.

        Upon moving from a major metropolitan area to a rural area, many years back, my family struggled to find a church in which we felt we could be comfortable long term. With much trepidation, as I had studied and rejected Calvinism years earlier, we visited a Reformed church plant out of sheer desperation. We liked the serious atmosphere, emphasis on biblical teaching and the use of traditional hymns – in effect, everything but the theology!

        However, to my deep regret, we allowed ourselves to be persuaded that this church’s brand of Calvinism was different – it stressed that God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility coexisted in some inexpressible, heavenly sort of logic that no man could understand. That’s right, we discovered ‘Compatibilism’! You didn’t question it – you merely accepted it.

        Only in hindsight can I say that we were snookered; perhaps in the same way the pastor had been. And I accept my share of the blame. I mean, who doesn’t want to have their cake and eat it too?

        And so, pushing aside all doubts, we jumped in with both feet, helped to establish and build the church, served in leadership from the start, raised our children to serve there and brought many similarly seeking friends into this church community. All, like us, were attracted to the trappings, while being originally uncomfortable with the doctrine. But most of what was taught there could have been just as easily taught in any Arminian church; only later did I see that the familiar words of the gospel were being subtly given new definitions, without the pastor openly acknowledging it. In fact, unless you understood what the TULIP actually asserted (which I thought I did) you would have few serious questions arise. When such a question arose, the pastor deftly brushed it off as ‘mystery’ and quickly changed the subject.

        After many years, and increasingly being able to deny that many wounded people had left the church worse off than they entered, was I finally forced to examine the red flags I had been ‘overlooking’ in gracious ‘forbearance’. I was stunned to discover just how many there were. My spouse, less of an independent thinker and unflinchingly loyal, did not approve of my re-examination of what we had together embraced. It nearly destroyed our marriage. It was only when all of our children acknowledged that they had long wished to ‘escape’ that church and its ‘unhealthy’ environment – in spite of the fact that it was the only church most of them could remember – that my spouse very reluctantly agreed to leave. Growing up, going to college, finding new friends made it easier for the kids. For us, it was very traumatic to lose our community of friends, whom we had served and loved for over a decade. We have still not fully recovered.

        I share this merely to show that I have seen this thing from all three sides: outside, inside and back outside, which I would suggest is entirely different from the original ‘outside’. I still love the people with whom we shared much of our lives, and am thankful that all but one or two have also ‘escaped’ this ultimately soul-destroying theology. That is why I share here, in hopes of assisting others who may be going through similar situations. I do not deny that I in fact learned some important things during that time of my life. And, as a result of all of the turmoil, I have benefited from being forced to reevaluate everything I believe, and to dig ever deeper into scripture. Most of all, I have regained the guiding, personal relationship I nearly lost with my gracious, merciful, loving God, for which I am deeply, eternally grateful.

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      6. TS00
        Sorry this may be a bit long.

        I became a Calvinist. While reading/studying the Bible (and unbecoming one) I also went overseas to begin 30 years of being a missionary. while there I thought the issues was “over”. I had no idea of the YRR wave hitting America till I saw it reach the shores of the country where I was serving.

        My kids went to a camp and came home with a translated-from-English book.

        I have since gone on line and found the English text. Below is the preface of the book “Not By Sight” written by Jon Bloom (forward John Piper) of Desiring God.

        His short message illustrates the point that whereas they may theologize about Total Depravity….they preach like man can hear God’s voice and exercise faith.

        In the WHOLE book it never talks about God limiting salvation (you only talk about that when you theologize—-not in books that retell 35 Bible stories about human faith!!). All 35 of his Bible stories are about how people need to exercise faith.

        The entire lesson and theme of the book is that every person needs to, and can, exercise faith.

        —————- (Bloom’s opening pages) ————

        A WORD TO THE READER

        WHAT DOES JESUS REALLY want from you? So much needs to be said. But boiled down to one sentence it’s this: “Believe in God; believe also in me” ( John 14:1). That’s why when the apostle John wrote his gospel, he used some form of the word “believe” eighty-five times in twenty-one chapters. What he remembered Jesus emphasizing in his teaching and preaching was believing.
        .
        Whether or not you believe in Jesus is the most important issue of your life because “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” ( John 3:36).

        You see, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb.11:6). But believing in Jesus is very difficult. It’s difficult because “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and he works with all his might to blind “the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2Cor. 4:4). And he is constantly trying to lead believers astray (Matt.24:24).

        Because of this, it is crucial that followers of Jesus learn to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7). In other words, we must learn to trust God’s promises more than we trust our perceptions. This theme is woven through the Bible from beginning to end. The purpose of this little book is to imaginatively reflect on the real experiences of real people in the Bible in order to help you grasp and live what it means to “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Its goal is to help you believe in Jesus while living in a very confusing and painful world.Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” ( John 6:29). My prayer is that God will use this book to encourage you in the most important work you will ever do in your life.

        ————— (end of author’s note)———-

        Notice that the book has not yet started and he is preaching like an Arminian!!

        Believe, 85 times in John!!! Sounds like it’s possible!

        “Whoever believes and obeys the son” (notice not once here —nor anywhere in the book— does he say “’Whoever’ actually means ‘all kinds of people.’”

        Without faith it is impossible to please God —–and Bloom even says we must seek Him —–sounds good! sounds possible!!!

        But believing is difficult……oh here it comes……the staunch Calvinist is gonna say it is difficult (impossible) unless God gives you faith!

        NO!!!!! He says it is difficult (not impossible) because of Satan!

        Satan has to blind the minds of unbelievers or else they would see! He is not giving any (ANY!) credit to God for revealing or giving faith. It is all about you vs Satan.

        Then he adds that Satan is constantly trying to lead believers astray! This guy is no Calvinist! Calvinist believers cant be led astray!!

        Then…it is crucial that we walk by faith. It sounds so personal, so doable. So human. Well, so man-centered.

        We must “learn” to trust God’s promises. He doesn’t give that faith to us?

        The goal of the book is to help us believe in Jesus. We need help from men? I thought we got that faith given to us??

        The most important work we will ever do is to believe in Jesus. Work?

        Wow! No wonder this publishing house in my country decided to translate this book—He sounds like an Arminian Nazarene!

        This kind of Theologize-like-an-Anabaptist-drowning-Calvinist, but preach like Wesley illustrates to me that IT MAKES NO REAL DIFFERENCE to be a Calvinist. A equals A, and A does not equal A. They can say any Arminian sounding thing they want as log as they pull out their Calvinist badge when “inquisitioned” for it.

        Bloom shows his inconsistent theology, and he hasn’t even started his book on faith stories yet!

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      7. FOH, I understand your take, and fully believe that there are many who call themselves ‘Calvinist’ or ‘Reformed’ who do not truly adhere to the essential doctrines that their theology, unbeknownst to them, demands.

        On the other hand, there are some, the Piper, Sproul, et al, who know exactly what consistent Calvinism asserts, and seek desperately to keep it a secret. Why? Because the minute most believers hear what their doctrines truly, by necessity, entail, is the minute they would hightail it out the door. Few, if any, believers will really buy that stuff.

        The problem is that you and I cannot judge people’s hearts and motives. I have no way of knowing, nor do you, what the motives of Mr. Bloom were in writing his book. Was he doing his best to deal with the problem (as many young pastors I have heard are) over how – as you so often point out – Calvinism just cannot be lived out? Was he misled, or seeking to mislead, concerning what consistent Calvinism asserts, that is, that believing is impossible for any person, requiring an unsought, undeserved and humanly unattainable infusion of God-sent ‘faith’? For, unless confused or misled, he must by necessity be seeking to mislead when – as you point out – he teaches the kind of self-chosen, self-directed steps that are utterly impossible under Calvinism.

        My issue is that, whatever the motivation, apart from so-called Hyper-Calvinists who clearly state their ugly theology with all of its monstrous cruelty and injustice, few Calvinists proclaim and live consistent Calvinism. Which leads to the confusion, deception and frequently shipwreck of many naive believers who get caught in their web of Compatibilism. Even if the teacher is himself deceived, he nonetheless proceeds, unavoidably, to deceive others. People who, quite without knowing how it happened, find themselves believing in a God who does not love all men. Or in the hopelessness of their own struggle with sin, since it was all ordained and predetermined to be their lot by the decree of God. And on and on go the errors that weigh down and sometimes destroy the faith and lives of people who once believed the true gospel. THAT, in my opinion, is the problem, and I believe that God is opening people’s eyes, because he wishes to rescue us from the net of the deceiver.

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      8. TS00
        I feel your pain.

        ES Williams and other “real Calvinists” take Piper to the woodshed for his sloppy (weak) Calvinism (even though he is clear on his site that all sin and disaster comes from God!).

        Likely it is because he makes so many Arminian-sounding statements also.

        I have filled these pages with quotes from his site and books (especially “Dont Waste Your Life!”).

        His wayward-come-home son wrote 12 ways to minister to your wayward children (found in many places). Included are statements like this…

        “The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead with them, eat with them, or take an interest in their interests is so that their eyes will be opened to Jesus Christ.”

        Once again (for the zillioneth time) we see hard-core Calvinists staying that our praying, welcoming, pleading, eating with, and showing interest—– will help some open their eyes. Notice how is says passive “eyes will be opened”? Of course they would claim that only God could do that….but no explanation how our “pleading with them” fits in.

        You cannot imagine a pastor on the staff of Piper’s church sitting with crying parents in his office.

        “We did all these things pastor: prayed, pleaded with, welcomed…..etc…..to our son for 12 years. Now he is dead of (AIDS, overdose, car accident, etc) and did not come to Christ. He just never wanted to repent.”

        “Oh no dear parents, it’s not that! God did not want him. Christ did not die for him…. but good job praying and pleading!”

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      9. FOH, Actually, I WOULD expect a Calvinist pastor to say just that. Honesty demands that he tell the truth.

        It is the fact that few are honest enough to admit to the chilling reality of what they are proclaiming as ‘truth’ that makes me despise most Calvinist teachers as deceptive cowards. If you are going to embrace such a monstrous theology, then you had better be prepared to see it through to its grossest end. Defend your monstrous god who dreams up evil events like child abuse, rape and genocide. Hey, who are you to argue with God? Admit that you don’t give a damn about the millions that God created to be damned. Who are you to ague with God? (You see, I only become ‘angry’ when people are lying, deceiving cowards who deliberately drag the innocent into the ditch along with them.)

        Otherwise, if he is not willing to publicly acknowledge what his doctrines assert, he should publicly recant and join those who worship the gracious, merciful and loving God of scripture.

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      10. Where do I Begin!

        It has been a very painful eight months since I discovered the Infiltrated Calvinistic Strength in our church.
        The more I learned about it the more it hurts and more questions arrived.

        This past Sunday was my last day attending Sunday School, and with that, much closer to depart the First Baptist Church.

        Their aggressive, arrogant, and demeaning behavior made me wonder if what I am feeling is what David felt when he found out that Goliath had offended our G-d.

        In fact I researched how to become part of a Messianic Church and found that because of calvinism Christians are not allowed to join many of them.

        Here with I want to shared my finding through prayer: First, a divided house cannot stand, they are divided, some are two points, three points, others five points or even hyper. They can’t even agree among them selves.

        Second, They hide their theology, teach and grow in secrecy disregarding the consequences, pretty much like Termites. They claim to be brothers in Christ and expect you to act like it but, if you don’t they will come at you a will destroy you a soon as they can. They preach like an Armenian with a calvinistic heart! Deceivers at best!

        My conclusion; They believe that G-d created Elected humans for heaven and the rest for hell! Therefore G-d the Father sent His Son Jesus the Christ to the cross only because of the such elected! No Free will!

        Ok! … So What Happen with my All Loving G-d?

        I spoke with two male Ex Followers of John Calvin and one female. All three had the same Common Denominator. They felt empty inside or went from feeling peace and fullness to emptiness. When they added Christ to their lives they were able to reconcile. An Amazing Finding!

        as of today I can’t get over Psalm 1: I just have not find a way to. I prayed and prayed but, could not find a way that allows me to stand or sit and pray with or among the deceivers.

        Demolish, alone, in lots of akin is where I am at now.

        Pray for me and for all the young minds out there being deceived by the followers of John Calvin.

        No Church to go too but, I am Keeping my Faith.

        Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

        Jorge

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      11. JN

        Thanks for sharing. There will be many for you to sympathize with as time goes on.

        Fix your eyes on Jesus (It doesnt say anyone is gonna do that for you).

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      12. Jorge, I am terribly sorry. There are no words. The best I can offer is that, alone as we feel, we are not alone in this. Because God is truly good, truly loving and truly desires that none perish – or even live lives of quiet desperation – I believe that he is rescuing his children, one by one, from this insidious, evil trap. And despite those who scoff at such things, the internet has revealed that countless individuals, families and churches have experienced the same sort of destructive, church-dividing Calvinist infiltration or Calvinist deception that you and I experienced.

        I realize those are strong words, but no stronger than what many Calvinists freely toss about concerning papist, liberals or evangelicals, all who they self-righteously perceive as inferior in knowledge, understanding or perhaps just reprobate.

        In my opinion, these are the sorts of deceptions of which Jesus and his apostles warned us long ago. This is nothing new. At least we are not – yet – being burned alive or fed to lions. However, Satan is not just sitting on his haunches – he is prowling endlessly, seeking whom he may devour – and his favorite feast just happens to be children of God.

        Like you, I am not sure that I will ever find a church home. This possibility is not as frightening as it once was, but it does leave me, at this point, much more alone than I perceive God intends us to be. As startling as the idea is to many who have been carefully brainwashed to view ‘The Church’ as synonymous with ‘the body of Christ’, I no longer conflate the two. Loving and serving God is not the same as ‘doing church’. It is that myth that has sucked so many of us into remaining within an institution we no longer recognize or trust to serve, protect and build the faith of the body of Christ.

        Why can Calvinists freely discuss how ‘The Church’ was corrupted centuries ago, requiring Protestants to separate from it, yet it be so preposterous that many of us feel the exact same way today? Look around. See the sexual and other spiritual abuse scandals rocking the church, the latest one involving that great innovator that brought us the modern ‘seeker-friendly’ church – Bill Hybels – and one cannot help but wonder if Satan has not completely taken her over. See the many Calvinist churches in which pastors and elders ‘forbid’ wives to leave abusive husbands without their consent, or ‘forbid’ members to ‘leave’ without undergoing their ‘corrective’ discipline, i.e. indoctrination program. Not that I doubt for a moment that there are many sincere children of God within The Church’s fold – but many, like us, are sadly, wounded, turning away and wondering what our options are now.

        Let me say, in all sincerity, that I will pray for you, along with the growing number of us who, one by one, two by two, are following God’s leading to exit corrupt, authoritarian institutions that are destroying people’s faith and lives. I don’t suppose I will ever fully give up hope of finding a church that still functions as the body of Christ, but it is currently a very dim hope.

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      13. Great post!

        The first sign for me – when I first became alerted to Calvinism – was when a brother I worked with – would come into work on Monday morning all puffed up with spiritual pride – which I eventually realized he was getting from Sunday’s sermon.

        When he started telling me that all of Christianity interpreted the bible wrong and his pastor was showing them how to interpret verses correctly – that was the big-red-flag.

        His pastor could have been David Koresh as far as I was concerned.

        I eventually discovered his pastor was teaching them Calvinism while refusing to divulge that to them.
        My first introduction to Calvinist dishonesty.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Excellent post Jim!

      This reminds me of Jesus’ words to the disciples “the day will come when they will kill you thinking in doing so they serve God”.
      I think this informs us that people will manufacture all sorts of justifications for doing what is clearly wrong.

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  19. Excited to think JD May be our next SBC president. The average person in our denomination does not read/study the Word enough to have s fully developed soteriolgy of their own. If they did they would lean Reformed. I thank God for what is happening in our denomination and begin my list of men to thank with Dr. Mohler.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Meg. There has actually been survey’s done on the soteriological leanings of SBC pastors and lay people.

      https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/research-sbc-pastors-polled-on-calvinism-affect-on-convention

      “Seventy-eight percent of pastors responded they personally are not five-point Calvinists, while 16 percent agreed (8 percent somewhat and 8 percent strongly) with the statement “I am a five-point Calvinist.” This compares to 32 percent of pastors who agreed with the statement in last year’s survey of Protestant pastors.

      The majority is reflected in every age bracket, although SBC pastors age 55-64 (77 percent) and 65 and older (77 percent) are more likely to “strongly disagree” with the statement than pastors age 18-44 (60 percent) and 45-54 (66 percent). Pastors age 18-44 (18 percent) and 45-54 (10 percent) are more likely to strongly agree with the statement than pastors age 55-64 (3 percent) and 65 and over (1 percent).

      The survey also showed SBC pastors of churches with less than 50 in attendance are most likely to select “Don’t know” (14 percent) and the least likely to strongly disagree (62 percent) with the statement “I am a five-point Calvinist.”

      LifeWay Research asked a similar question in a 2006 SBC survey, which revealed 85 percent did not consider themselves five-point Calvinists and 10 percent affirmed that they were five-point Calvinists.”

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    2. Meg
      If you are anything like me you did not find reformed theology by reading the word!

      I read other books that taught me how to piece together the 40-50 main texts that prop up reformed theology. After 20 years of reading the word (and not begin reformed) I spent a short time reading reformed books and (and being harangued by my YRR friend) and I became reformed.

      It was when I systematically started reading through the Bible each year and saw the thousands and thousands of verses that do not teach reformed ideas that I came out of Calvinism. Never felt so free!

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      1. Hi Fromoverhere,
        Well, I came to Reformed Theology the other way – from the Word. I fought it for years and even broke up with a guy based on this very topic! Back in the early ’80s we read Sproul, Packer, Schaeffer, etc. There was no way I was going that way. But as I read and read the entire Bible through over and over, I had no other choice then to be in that camp – the Reformed camp but also a continuationist on things of the Holy Spirit as this new movement of SBCers tend to be. We just did David Platt’s latest Secret Church #18 (Yes, Platt is another SBCer who is not ashamed of being called Reformed) and as Platt said, “To fully understand the good news, we need to grasp just how bad the bad news is (total depravity).” This is the kind of truth I was led too. Also, there is a great panel discussion from a 9Marks at Southeastern from a few years ago about why the men on the stage (all SBCers) are now Reformed in their theological leanings. Danny Akin summed it up by saying, “When I began to teach in an expository way, I had no other choice than to become Reformed.” I don’t know – the new Reformed guys, mostly in the SBC, are not arrogant either. I have never met a more humble servant of God than Trevin Wax. From there I could name Matt Smethurst, Matt Carter, Danny Akin, David Platt, Andy Davis (1st Baptist Durham) and none are arrogant. It is sad that this movement has that “tag” but the men I knew in the ’80s who were the Reformed types, did seem to lean toward arrogance (with the exception of JI Packer whom I met briefly at a conference). Thank you Fromoverhere for discussing this. I love it.

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      2. Hi Meg! Welcome to this site! We love interacting with reasonable Calvinists! 😉 (Is that an oxymoron… hahaha?) No seriously… we especially love to discuss specific Scriptures. One of the things I find wrong with reformed theology is its use of Scriptures (actually misuse) to prove its theological definitions for God and salvation that are based on philosophical determinism which clear Scriptures contradict.

        For example… let’s start early – Gen 6:6 ESV – 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Do you believe that the Lord truly “regretted that he had made man on the earth”? Do you believe that the Lord can experience “grief in his heart”? Reformed commentators say that is impossible for God in their view. But where did they get that view from? Not the Scripture.

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      3. Brian and Meg:

        We can also talk about the thousands of verses (not just a few key verses) where God clearly defines conditions:

        Draw near to God….

        Resist the devil….

        Seek first the kingdom….

        “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? ” Genesis 4:7

        “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then ….” Exodus 19:5

        “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, ….” Deuteronomy 6:25

        “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today……..” Deuteronomy 11:13-15

        “If you make the Most High your dwelling…..” Psalm 91:9-10

        “…..If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land…” Isaiah 1:18-19

        “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:18 ((Notice that this one not only shows His regret, but indicates it could have gone a different way. Man determined the outcome, by God’s own mouth.))

        Jesus said: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

        Jesus said: “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (not ice here we can have more faith…and it is not Christ who is gonna make it happen)

        Jesus said: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” John 8:31

        Jesus said: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

        Jesus said: “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. if you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15:6-7 (notice this one says we can be “in Him” and then later discarded because we did not remain (in the house—see Passover).

        Jesus said: “You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14

        “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:2 (notice we are saved if we hold firmly….otherwise it is some kind of in-vain faith).

        There are thousands like this. What do they tell us?

        When I was a Calvinist I approached thousand and thousands of verses and said “they cant meant that because we KNOW better.”

        Determinism is not a way of life.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Meg, “But as I read and read the entire Bible through over and over, I had no other choice then to be in that camp – the Reformed camp..”

        Yup, you literally had no choice!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Eric,

        I dont know if Meg will get your humor since most newly-minted Calvinists do not know that determinism comes with the program.

        Many new churches are putting Dordt, Westminster, and other confessions on their sites as their “doctrinal stance” without really realizing what they say.

        Determinism-Calvinism says that every dust particle has been determined since before time. This is literally the same as Qadr (fate) in Islam. In sha-allah.

        They will post it on their web sites (as exhalted confessions) but they dont believe it.

        They live like Calvinism is not true. They live like the rest of us.

        We “draw near to God and He will draw near to us.”

        We “resist the devil and he will flee.”

        We still do all the thousands of verses that are conditional in the Bible with the deep understanding (and biblical reassurance) that what we do makes a difference.

        We help our kids with their homework, or discipline them cuz that will help them “turn out better.” More time invested with them—- the more it helps them.

        How can any of that be true if it has all already been determined as we see in the Reformed confessions? It can’t.

        We regularly say (even Calvinists) “I have to spend more time with my dad and share the gospel with him.” Really? Why? More time is better? You can change a pre-set outcome? (((The typical Calvinist response here is that “we are commanded to” but that does not work since they all still understand that more time is better—- the command does not say how much time/ effort. Even Piper’s books on missions constantly talk about strategies, remarkable effort, passion, caring….all “as if” our effort makes a difference.)))

        But when dad does not accept the gospel and slips away a Calvinist might (and does!) say “We told him and told him, and he just refused to believe.”

        That certainly makes it “man-centered” (which is a no-no for Calvinists). Calvinists are as “man-centered” as anyone since they say “We told him and told him” (putting the effort to tell on man) and “he just refused” (putting the choice to accept or refuse in man’s hands).

        I have never heard a Calvinist own it and just say, “Well dad is gone and didn’t accept Christ, so God did not choose him. He must have greater glory in creating dad for torturous hell. Praise God!”

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      6. Meg:
        Here is an idea.

        Read through the Bible in a year. I use oneyearbible. Try not to bring any preconceived ideas to the text (yes, that’s hard).

        Every day ask yourself what God is trying to say to his creation (meaning He could easily, clearly say “I have predetermined all things”) .

        I found myself right away confronted with a perfect Adam choosing to sin (which confronted my ‘dead men dont make choices’ idea). Why did a perfect creature choose to sin? Must be the way God gave him a choice.

        Then his son Cain (who my Calvinism said is now too-dead-to-choose) is told directly by God “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
        Genesis 4:7

        Right away in the Word we see that God is saying that “dead” Cain could and should choose what is right. He could have! God says it! God is even telling him to do it!

        Then I began to read the Bible and let it speak to me, without telling the Bible how God must be (cuz I know better!).

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      7. It’s eery how similar our processes out of Calvinism were. I started out to log every verse that either suggested or contradicted Calvinism. I was so overwhelmed by the contradictions in Genesis alone that I was pretty convinced my discomfort with Calvinism was well grounded. As you like to say, apart from the few dozen verses that can be yanked out of context to appear pro-Calvinist, the vast majority of scripture utterly disproves it. I was truly astonished how little support for Calvinist theology I could find in the bible. It just doesn’t hold up under the narratives.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you everyone. I love Deut 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord, ….” Ironically, this is one of JD Greear’s often quoted verses too. I like what all of you have said and yes, know those Scriptures, but it goes back to the overarching themes of Scripture and exactly what God says in Deut. 29:29. I am most concerned with my denomination (I have only been SBC for 9 years and my husband and I became SBC when we saw this “new crop” of men arise led by Dr. Al) and its stance. You may not like it, but the 3 most growing seminaries in the SBC are Southern, Southeastern, and Midwestern. Guess what they all have in common? Also, please notice I do not use the word Calvinist but refer to myself as “reformed.” Please do not throw the baby out with the bath water. The most recent conference from “my camp” is the T4G 2018. Whether Reformed or not, many of the messages and panels are great and Biblical. Hey, I had to put up with non-expository teaching (topical preaching) for most of my life. You can spend some time listening to these men. I attend an SBC church that is not run by a lead pastor who is reformed. Now out of 5 pastors, some are, but not all. Though our lead is not reformed, he went to the T4G 2018 and loved it. Also, we joke but are a bit serious too, that if you wanted to disciple someone well, just take them through all 18 of David Platt’s Secret Churches. Every topic one needs to know is covered in those. Robby Gallty is another one who is coming up with great discipleship materials that are Biblicaly based. I know it is hard for non-Reformed SBC men and women to hear, but little by little this will be the face of the new SBC. Just watch a few of the recent Baptist 21 discussions. Almost every man up there is a reformed believer/leader of the SBC. Again, thanks guys and please watch these Secret Churches.

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    1. Well Meg… since you don’t want to discuss specific Scriptures and think reformed theology is helping churches grow… maybe you’re just confusing good evangelism and discipleship with reformed theology.

      For all the original reformers were sacramentalists in their theology and practiced infant baptism which tends to deaden evangelism. But reformed Baptists tend to play footsie with baby baptizers as if it’s not such as important issue … since they all agree together the TULIP.

      But there is no getting around the fact that determinism in reformed theology promotes the lesser motivation of duty for evangelism, a lesser confidence in the effectiveness of prayer, and a clear rejection of the clarity of Scripture in historical narrative where God’s nature is declared intimately interacting with mankind.

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      1. Brian, did you check out the line-up for Baptist 21 Panel in June? If you listen to these guys from 2 years ago on the Baptist 21 Panel, all were reformed but Steve Gaines. They threw out the question about evangelism and reformed theology. If you have not watched it, it is great. Interestingly, they end it all with Matt Chandler’s thoughts on all of this. The men in the SBC, those who run it, are not stupid. They ended that panel with Chandler for a reason. Also, JD Greear’s church is one of the biggest church planting churches in the SBC if not the biggest. You have to do evangelism to plant churches. At this point, I think I need to end my part of all of this but I will say, I am excited for where my denomination is and where it seems like it will continue to go.

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      2. I’m sorry, it was the Baptist21 in 2017. baptist21.com/panel-discussions/2017/b21-panel-video-sbc-2017-phoenix/
        As Jay prays, “Spirit come……we ask that your kingdom will advance….” Anyway, it is a great 1 hour and then some. The one from 2016 is great too and they are all mostly made up of reformed believers who are diligent in evangelism, discipleship and missions.

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