"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

We've More In Common With Boyce Than Falwell

Yesterday I read Les Puryear and Tom Ascol on their thoughts about Dr. Jerry Falwell's statement during last Friday's chapel message at Liberty University. Falwell declared about his school's theology:

"We are not into particular love or limited atonement. As a matter of fact we consider it heresy."

I appreciate the ministry of Dr. Falwell. I appreciate Liberty University and the pastors who have graduated from that school, many of whom are now serving within the Southern Baptist Convention. I am glad Dr. Falwell has chosen to unite with the Southern Baptist Convention and welcome him as part of our fold. However . . .

I have long been concerned that a group of independent, fundamental Baptists are attempting to remake the Southern Baptist Convention into the mold they perceive is best. One of the ways fundamentalists accomplish their goal is to label anything 'heresy' that is in disagreement with their views. This 'heresy' labeling is attached to even disagreements on secondary and tertiary doctrines, like that of 'the extent of the atonement.'

I believe that if and when the Southern Baptist Convention ever rolls over and acquiesces by agreeing with pronouncements of 'heresy' like that of Dr. Falwell regarding 'limited atonement,' we are finished as a cooperating convention.

When I was eighteen years old I was handed "The Abstract of Systematic Theology" by James Petigru Boyce as a graduation gift. I have now read the book at least five times from cover to cover and make it a personal policy to give a copy to graduates as well. We also have used it as a textbook and study guide for our men's Tuesday morning discipleship class.

James Petigru Boyce was the principle founder of Southern Seminary. He was born January 11, 1827 in Charleston, South Carolina to Mr. and Mrs. Ker Boyce. His father was considered the wealthiest man in South Carolina and Charleston was the most cultured American city in the early 19th Century. J.P. Boyce had the privilege of the finest education available at Charleston College, Brown University (R.I.) and Princeton Seminary (N.J.)

It was while a student at Charleston that Boyce was converted. Dr. Francis Wayland, President of Brown University discipled Boyce during his years at Brown, and the great theologians and teachers Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge mentored him at Princeton. After graduation in 1851, Boyce was ordained and accepted the call to First Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina. He served faithfully until 1855, when he was made professor of Systematic Theology at Furman College. It was at Furman, in 1856, that he gave his famous address 'Three Changes in Theological Institutions' which became the founding structure of Southern Seminary in 1859.

The address set forth three principles on which a seminary would meet the needs of the educated and uneducated man. John Broadus summarized the principles in his book "Memoirs of James P. Boyce" as these:

(1). A Baptist theological school ought not merely to receive college graduates, but men with a less general education, even men having only what is called common English education, offering to every man such opportunities of theological study as he is prepared for and desires.

(2). Besides covering, for those who are prepared, as wide a range of theological study as could be found elsewhere, such an institution ought to offer further and special courses so that the ablest and most aspiring students might make extra-ordinary attainments, preparing them for instruction and original authoriship, helping to make our country less dependent upon foreign scholarship.

(3). There should be prepared an "Abstract of Priciples", or careful statement of theological belief, which every professor in such an institution must sign when inaugurated, so as to guard against the rise of erroneous and injurious instruction in such a seat of sacred learning"

The Abstract of Principles, written by Boyce's friend Basil Manley (notice Boyce's two best friends are John Broadus and Basil Manly -- it's where we get the name Broadman Press), still serves as the doctrinal standard of Southern Seminary and Southeastern Seminary today, preceding the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message by more than half a century.

The Abstract of Principles is Calvinistic. It declares regeneration precedes saving faith. It unequivocally declares the sovereign election of sinners for salvation by God's free grasce. It also emphasizes substitutionary atonement.

John Broadus, fellow founder of Southern Seminary, declared this about his friend James P. Boyce:

"It was a great privilege to be directed by such a teacher in studying that exalted system of Pauline truth which is technically called Calvinism, which compels an earnest student to profound thinking, and when pursued with a combination of systematic thought and fervent experience, makes him at home among the most inspiring and enobling views of God and the universe He made."

Boyce held to the view that the atonement was 'sufficient for all, but efficient for the elect.' I hold to the belief that the atonement is both sufficient and efficient for the elect alone, the same view held by Dr. John Gill and Southern Baptist systematic theologian John L. Dagg, but my appreciation for the writing and ministry of James Boyce is unequivocal.

My point in this post is simply this:

I would never dream of calling an opposing view of the extent of the atonement 'heresy' or cease from cooperating in missions and evangelism from those who don't see atonement the way I do.

It is incumbent upon us as a convention to avoid 'heresy' pronouncements if we are going to continue to grow in our cooperation and missions ministry. I am trusting that the majority of Southern Baptists will see our heritage as a convention in the vein of J.P. Boyce. We welcome Jerry Falwell and those who believe as he does, but we will not let them get by with heresy pronouncements unchallenged.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

125 comments:

Jack Maddox said...

HOLY GROSS THEOLOGICAL OVERSIMPLIFICATION BATMAN!...with that statement Dr. Falwell just labeled a major segment of the evangelical church as heretics. I myself have not quite got my arms around particular redemption, I lean more to the stance of Boyce...which is I understand it somewhere between a modified view of PR and absolute PR, however, I certainly understand the premise and have no great difficulty with those who hold to it. In fact, if one does not at least grasp the concept of an atonement that is limited at least in its application, then the only recourse is universalism.

Bad Boy Jerry!!!!!

jrm

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wade. Falwell has done this before (the heretic label) and he apparently refuses to study the issue. Howeverm it will be difficult for him to grow in his theology now with Ergun yelling in his ear constantly. ("God didn't choose Esau because of what Esau did!!!" :) )

I agree about the labeling. Heretics!? Absurd! If I were into labeling so harshly, I could easily label those who view Christ's "attempted" atonement as a blind shot in the dark to save as many as those who would "will" to be saved as heretics...but I digress. All the while, this line of theology must admit, is that God is terribly disappointed as most will perish. It would be fair to say under this theology that Christ failed. He certainly has and will fail more than succeed. Simply put, this is unbelievable theology with my God.

Amazing Grace indeed!

SL1M

jasonk said...

I served with a pastor several years ago who taught me the meaning behind what you are writing about today. I had a book by John MacArthur in my office, and he said, "John MacArthur? He's a HYPER Calvinist." I learned that day what a hypercalvinist is: anyone who is MORE Calvinist than someone else.

Since joining the UMC two years ago, I find that mostly I miss the doctrines of grace. Although I consider myself a "Calminian," because I can appreciate both sides of the issue, I tend to lean hard on the sovereignty of our eternal God, rather than the flimsy whims of men like me.

Dr. Falwell should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to say whether Dr. Falwell says these things because he knows the majority of liberty-ites agree with him or if he says it because he fears he is losing students and feels the need to combat it.

At one time I revered Liberty and regretted I had been unable to go to school there. I'm now grateful I did not go there, as I'm one who grew up in SBC life but is now at a non-SBC reformed church due in part to the occasional hostility towards the doctrines of grace that I was increasingloy encountering from the pulpit of key SBC churches in my area.

But I am also am aware of many SBC ministry friends who are doing some kind of graduate work at Liberty after having completed seminary degrees at other SBC schools. Although I am a Calvinist who does not think all Arminians are ignorant or ungodly, given the unfortunate and ill-informed comments over the years from Dr. Caner and Dr. Falwell, I would sure be hesitant to go to Liberty for advanced degrees in theology. I have to wonder what kind of education these programs are providing.

There does seem to be a coalition between Liberty and some key SBC old school leadership.

B.L. said...

"I have long been concerned that a group of independent, fundamental Baptists in the are attempting to remake the Southern Baptist Convention into the mold they perceive is best."

Hey Wade,
Is it not true that the above statement is very similar in content (except flipped around) when stated by Patterson and other SBC Ultra Conservatives when aimed at you, or Cole, or anyone else who doesn't see eye to eye with them? The only difference would be thus: instead of long being concerned that a group of 'independent, fundamentals' were threatening the SBC Identity, as you say, its a group of 'moderate, blogging under-currents' who are attempting to threaten SBC Identity, as they say, right?

So, if two groups are 'arguing,' for lack of a better term, the same stance, just opposite positions, both feeling they are convicted of God to stand this way, how then will anyone ever get anywhere?

Here at SWBTS, chapel speakers dog the 'blog-world' left and right and its obvious who their speaking of, I think. But in the 'blog-world,' their 'errors' are being discussed all the time...so, how do we as Christians, not Baptists, (I've still yet to figure out why people care so much about 'man-made' conventions: SBC, UMC, CoC, DOC, whatever) how do we as Christians handle the future of God's Church, while the rest of mankind looks in and only sees 'arguing'?

Bryan

G. Alford said...

Wade,

You are a far more gracious writer than I am…

With the “attitude” of Ergun Caner, and the open hostility and contempt for the Historic Doctrines of the Southern Baptist Convention expressed by Ergun in the past and now Falwell I “Strongly” question the wisdom of the SBC uniting with these Hyper-Fundamentalist…

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)

It is one thing to disagree with your brother… it is quite another to express “contempt” for what your brother believes and to actually go as far as to say he is a Heretic!

Personally I would have to a very hard time recommending Liberty graduates (who must set through this anti-Calvinism indoctrination at Liberty) to any Southern Baptist Church…

Grace to all,

Bro. Robin said...

Wade

I can appreciate your sediments. Personally, I don't fear being kicked out of the SBC. I am a four pointer not embracing limited atonement. We have a five pointer in the man of Albert Mohler. A godly Christian man who is also a statesman. For me to see men like you, Albert Mohler, or me kicked out because of our belief in the doctrines of grace is unthinkable. Men with our beliefs are rooted in the history of the SBC.

Might I add one more comment. The term heresy has been used by others who are sympathetic to your views. Without calling names, my view on dispensationalism has been called heresy. I am in the blessed position of having the reformed camp reject me for my dispensationalism and dispensationalists reject me for my calvinism minus limited atonement.

So, it is my hope that you will point to all that you find who misuse this term "heresy," from the mega personality of Jerry Falwell to the small church pastor who has a blog.

God Bless

Bob Cleveland said...

First things first:

ATONEMENT:

1 : (obsolete) : RECONCILIATION
2 : the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
3 : reparation for an offense or injury : SATISFACTION
4 (Christian Science) : the exemplifying of human oneness with God .

If you're not saved, you haven't been reconciled with God. Thus it sounds like salvation to me. Is, therefore, Rev. Falwell advocating Universalism?

Second, we only see the tip of the iceberg anyway. How can we pronounce what is not? All we can really do is to observe what God hasn't told us, and that in no way limits God.

As usual, there's a huge difference between what the Baptists say the Calvinists say, and what the Calvinists actually do say.

Anonymous said...

Wade....At the heart of the matter is Liberty..should Bro. Jerry be able to say what He feels at his school?
Liberty is not a SBC school you know. Yes, Bro. Jerry is in the SBC because of Thomas Road Baptist ... but is Liberty? When did LBU become the Holy site of wisdom for SBC LIFE??? Fact...long ago Liberty took out the name Baptist and went NON-Denom... But even if not.. doesn't Dr. Falwell still has the right to express his views at his own University? You have a blogg to share your thoughts...he has a newspaper, Radio show, TV ministry, website, podcast, "I'm sure i'm missing something?" Oh,a University!!! Charles H. Spurgeon wrote..on being Baptist "Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost
every sect, yet there has never existed a government holding Baptist principles in which persecuted others;I believe, any body of Baptist ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man."
How do you think Spurgeon would feel about some SBCer's today??? What about your BLOGG??? Let Jerry say what he wants...it up to the others to listen or not!

Bob Cleveland said...

Oh yes ... Robin: I think you meant "sentiments". Sediments are something that's settled, and limited atonement sure isn't That..

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous,

You miss the point of my post. I affirm Dr. Falwell's right to voice his opinion -- I would encourage Dr. Falwell to refrain from labeling those with whom he disagrees on secondary and tertiary doctrinal matters 'heretics.' I disagree with him, but don't believe him to be a heretic.

Debbie said...

My concern lies in the fact that future pastors and SB leaders are being taught this from Liberty and not just Liberty but other churches as well. I believe it was written several months ago that Calvinists would be the next ones to take a hit. What next I wonder?

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Falwell but I do understand why he would resist the idea of limited atonement. The idea of limited atonement leads to conclusions that I simply cannot accept.

It suggests that God has created some for whom there is no hope of salvation. Therefore, he has created some to spend eternity in torment (Hell). Therefore God delights in the suffering of humanity.

When I look into the eyes of my two year old granddaughter, I cannot accept the notion that maybe God has created her for eternal torment.

When I shared my ideas with a Calvinist friend he simply replied, "That is just the way it is".

If anyone has a better answer than that I would certainly be interested in hearing it.

If "that's just the way it is" then heresy is too kind a word.

Debbie said...

anon: As far as I am aware Dr. Falwell is still part of the SBC. I have heard no different, therefore I believe he is accountable for his words. As for Wade's blog, I don't see where Spurgeon would have a problem with it. Have you read some of Charles Spurgeon's writings? He went up against those who opposed him or Calvinism rather strongly. He was kind while not mincing words.

Bro. Robin said...

Bob

I have no idea of what you are talking about in reference of your comment to me.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Period. Your characterization that He delights in sending sinners to hell is false.

Also, God is not responsible for mankind in general, and any man specifically, NOT obeying God. The judgment and condemnation of God toward sinners is just and holy.

Salvation from judgement is of God's free grace for the praise of the glory of God's mercy, but since salvation is undeserved and unmerited, there can be no claim upon it by sinful man. If God bestows salvation - it is according to His good pleasure and not our arrogant demands.

Benji Ramsaur said...

“…nearly all Baptist churches, when they are received into the fellowship of the denomination, adopt one of THE STANDARD BAPTIST CONFESSIONS (emphasis mine), as the Philadelphia Confession, the Charleston Confession, or the New Hampshire Confession…”

From: The Biblical Recorder
Title of Article: Creeds and Declarations in Baptist Churches
Date: August 11, 1886
Source: Central Baptist

It’s one thing for someone to call limited atonement heresy who is outside of our denomination. However, when someone calls it heresy within the denomination when two out of the three “standard” Baptist confessions in our denominational heritage contain an affirmation of the doctrine of limited atonement, then this seems disrespectful to me.

Am I missing something?

Benji Ramsaur

Bennett said...

Really, I think you are overreacting. "Heresy" has evolved into a word that is a term of endearment. You know bad means good etc. "Heresy" is the new "Amen!" To call you a heretic is to proclaim that you are a great prophet speaking the absolute, yet difficult to stomach, truth.

Bro. Robin said...

Wade

You wrote:

"I would encourage Dr. Falwell to refrain from labeling those with whom he disagrees on secondary and tertiary doctrinal matters 'heretics."

You corrected me when I accused you of calling those who disagreed with you "spooky fundamentalists." Your response was that you were talking about "spooky fundamentalism" and rejecting that philosophy. Therefore, you did not call anyone a spooky fundamentalist.

From what I have read from Tom Aschol's blog, Falwell claimed that Limited Atonement was a heresy. He did not call the proponents of this doctrine heretics. At least that is not what Aschol reported.

If this is the case, and using your standard of reasoning, we should not claim that Falwell called those who embrace this doctrine heretics.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You said, "Also, God is not responsible for mankind in general, and any man specifically, NOT obeying God. The judgment and condemnation of God toward sinners is just and holy."

May I interpret that to mean that you believe the decision for salvation rests with the individual? Can anyone be saved or are there some for whom there is no hope of salvation?

I am not trying to be argumentative. I simply want to better understand the Calvinist viewpoint.

WTJeff said...

Wade,

In our state, this is a critical time. Changes are occurring that will either bring the majority of churches in this state back to the SBC or could drive a wedge between the larger state convention and 70% of her churches. Rhetoric like Dr. Falwell's only heightens fears that fundamentalist look to control and require conformity rather than cooperate. As long as these fears exist, people will continue to do battle and the cause of Christ will suffer. Texas baptists and Southern baptist will be the losers. God will fulfill His purposes and glorify His name. I just hope we won't be too busy fighting to participate.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Any man, who chooses to come to Christ in simple faith of what He has accomplished at Calvary as Savior, and has it within him to follow after Christ in a walk of faith and obedience, WILL be saved.

The question is simple: What sinner has that desire within him?

No one.

But, 'In the day of His power, His people shall be made willing.'

As the Abstract of Principles at Southern eloquently articulates in Article 8:

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, Anonymous, I don't believe you are a heretic if you don't believe in the doctrines of grace. My fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord is around the person of Christ -- not fine points of doctrine, and I don't care if nobody else in the world ever believes in particular atonement -- as long as they believe in Christ.

Bob Cleveland said...

Robin: Your prior comment to Wade said:

"I can appreciate your sediments. Personally, I don't fear being kicked out of the SBC."

I just thought the word was funny, in that Baptist seldom agree with what they think the Calvinists say about limited atonement.

If you meant "sediments", then it's I who don't get it.

God bless.

Wade Burleson said...

Bro. Robin,

If something is heresy, and one believes in it, is the believer not, by definition, a heretic?

G. Alford said...

Bro. Robin,

"Spooky fundamentalism" = Heresy

Therefore:

“Spooky fundamentalist” = Heretic

My logic seams pretty clear to me… am I missing something in this argument?

Grace to all,

Wade Burleson said...

G. Alford,

As you know, I have intentionally refrained from identifying spooky fundamentalism as heresy.

I don't believe it is.

The philosophy of spooky fundamentalism (adding to the Word of God) scares me, but those who adhere to it are brothers, and I would adamantly resist calling them heretics.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade: If you look up the words in the dictionary, the definitions correlate nicely. So an heretic is, indeed, one who holds a view on particular dogma which differs from the majority view (which is heresy).

G. Alford said...

Wade,

"Spooky fundamentalism" = Heresy

Therefore:

“Spooky fundamentalist” = Heretic

Was my attempt at “hyperbole” for Robin… My apology to all my “Spooky fundamentalist” Brothers out there :-)

Grace to all,

Bro. Robin said...

Wade

I did not say that you equated spooky fundamentalism with heresy. In your previous comments to me you said that you were talking about spooky fundamentalism as a philosophy and you were not calling anyone a spooky fundamentalist.

Falwell may as well think those who hold to l/a are heretics. But his statement as reported is that he called that particular belief a heresy.

If someone says or acts in accordance to spooky fundamentalism (according to how you define it), is the person not, by definition, a spooky fundamentalist?

Using your logic, if you or anyone can claim that Falwell is calling anyone a heretic, then I should be able to say that you are calling people spooky fundamentalists who act in accordance with your understanding of Spooky Fundamentalism.

Bro. Robin said...

Bob

Thanks for the correction. I was pressed for time to get to a meeting and had people in my office when I typed that. Please excuse my Arkansas education. :-D

Wade Burleson said...

If someone says or acts in accordance to spooky fundamentalism (according to how you define it), is the person not, by definition, a spooky fundamentalist?

Absolutely.

I don't purport to know who holds to spooky fundamentalism, but if one held to the philosophy I outlined as spooky fundamentalism, and is unashamed to admit it, then I would call them a spooky fundamentalist.

:)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you said: "I am not a fan of Falwell but I do understand why he would resist the idea of limited atonement..."

While I would love to have an exchange with you about this subject, you really make Wade's point in the attitude of your statement. Falsewell is not just "resisting the idea". In fact, it is acceptable to me for him to say that he doesn't understand the issue...or he doesn't have the same interpretation of scripture as Mohler, Piper, Spurgeon, me :), and Burleson :).

What's not acceptable is for him to label those of us who have the correct interpretation...er, uh, I mean different interpretation than him as a heretic. Can you see the problem? In this case, it's not about the difference...it's what he thinks about the other persons and their view.

SL1M

Wade Burleson said...

My point to you was simply that I was not identifying particular people or specific persons in my post on spooky fundamentalism.

And of course, neither is Dr. Falwell, but I freely admit that I hold to limited atonement, along with Spurgeon, Boyce, Dagg, Gill, and a host of other Baptists.

Does that make me a heretic?

:)

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster who said

"There does seem to be a coalition between Liberty and some key old school leadership."

I have always wondered why Liberty University, a non-SBC seminary, receives a a Cooperative-Program funded "National Church Planting Missionary." According to the news release shown at this link, (copy and paste into your broweser)
http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=13208&NewsID=145
the North American Mission Board is funding a church planting missionary. This is confirmed on the NAMB website, listing this position in among the six seminary Nehemiah Directors.

Why?

Bro. Robin said...

Wade,

No, you are not a heretic.

You wrote:

"if one held to the philosophy I outlined as spooky fundamentalism, and is unashamed to admit it, then I would call them a spooky fundamentalist. "


From what I have read and seen, I can't find anyone who admits to being or believing the things you describe as a SF. Therefore, logic would conclude that there are no spooky fundamentalists or people who practice or believe they are what you defined as Spooky Fundamentalism.

Bro. Robin said...

I am sorry. I was a little fuzzy in that last comment.

If someone has to believe in the SF philosophy you pointed out, then I don't see anyone being a SF and therefore the philosophical point you are making is non-existent in the SBC

Matt Knight said...

Friends,

As a Liberty grad, and now student at an SBC seminary, perhaps I can provide some insights into this situation. First, as almost all of us are aware, this is not the first time (nor will it be the last) that Dr. Falwell has made controversial, confrontational, and polarizing statements. With that being said, I disagree with him, and I believe you’ll find that many, if not most of the theology students at his university and seminary also disagree with assigning the “heretical” label to doctrines of limited atonement and particular love. Having been at Liberty, I can confidently say that there are a great many five-point Calvinists there, and a number of Calvinistic professors.
Secondly, it is distressing to see commentors writing off anyone from Liberty because of Dr. Falwell. I would hope that we would be given the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to speak for ourselves as to our individual beliefs.
g. alford and others, I hope that you will be willing to judge those that you may or may not recommend based on the content of their character and their beliefs without prejudging them based upon any dislike for Dr. Falwell or Dr. Caner.

I, like many others who have and do attend Liberty, recognize that Baptist doctrine is inherently Calvinistic and accept that fact. We must all at some point try to reconcile the dual realities of God’s sovereignty and man’s will. I believe that Dr. Falwell has clearly staked out his personal position there. For him, limited atonement is tantamount to saying that “Christ died for some.” He finds this unacceptable, and on that point I agree with him.

He was wrong in the statement as quoted – he should not have said that these doctrines were heresy. I have known him to say things that were even more controversial however. He will have to give an account for saying those things one day, and we will have to give account for what we say (or blog). Let this be a lesson to us, to choose our words, lest we should have to eat them.

Bro. Robin said...

Wade

Thanks for the discussion, I was taking a break for my preparation next week and thought I would have a little fun with this. Whether my logic adds up I will leave it to the Lord.

I appreciate your challenging yet kind spirit you have shown to me.

See you next week.

Bro. Robin said...

Matt

Thanks for your comments. Right now I am eating "sediments." :-D

Les Puryear said...

Matt,

I appreciate your comments as a graduate of Liberty University. As a pastor, when I look for staff, I do not reject or accept anyone based on which school he or she attended. I am searching for someone who loves Jesus with all their heart and has a desire to see sinners saved and Christians mature.

Unfortunately, as the "face" of Liberty University, both Jerry Falwell and Ergun Caner are not very good advertisements for the university with their extremist views. I still see Falwell as an independent Baptist in philosophy and theology.

As a result of his statements, right or wrong, Liberty University is going to be seen as a closer cousin to Bob Jones University than any SBC university or seminary.

Personally, I would not recommend Liberty University as a viable choice for any of my members.

Regards,

Les

Anonymous said...

Dear SL1M,

Yes, I do see your point. We have degraded from discussing theology to name calling. It is sort of like 25 years ago when some SBC Pastors began calling some of us "liberals".

Then, as now, I find comfort in the words of my Mother. "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names cannot hurt me."

Your "Freudian slips" are duly noted. Ultimately, none of us understand God perfectly. Thus even our best theology is flawed. That's why being forgiven is so much more important than being right.

I pray that God has a sense of humor.

bryan riley said...

vIf we realized how much more God desires relationship than rightness, we'd all be so much more all right. :)

I wonder if we would all "discuss" theological issues so much if we, before commenting, did a study of Romans 14 (leading to verse 19), Ephesians 4 (verse 3, 29, and a host of others), Hebrews 12 (verse 1, 2, 3, 11-14) and 2 Peter 3 (verse 14) before beginning. Sigh. Let's make every effort!

Kevin Bussey said...

I agree with Matt. You can't write off an entire University. Every Liberty grad I have met has been top notch.

I also believe Jerry Falwell has been used by God to make a difference in the world. But it is time for Jerry and Pat Robertson to retire. They are losing touch with reality.

I'm not a 5 pointer because of the Limited Atonement issue but I don't call someone who does a heretic. My father is a 5 pointer as is most of the staff of Campus Crusade which he is on staff. They are some of the most evangelistic people in the world. In fact my father led 23 people to Christ last week.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, once again...

You said..."We have degraded from discussing theology to name calling. It is sort of like 25 years ago when some SBC Pastors began calling some of us 'liberals'."

I'm not calling you a liberal or any other name, (Falsewell notwithstanding, as I think Jerry's history and Matt's comments above proves that this is one shoe that fits...albeit snuggly :)). Anyway, I am simply pointing out that what you said is not an accurate reflection of what Jerry said. I surely wish he would have said what you said...that he "resisted the idea". I don't think we would have this post or this discussion. He didn't say that. He said much worse, and I think you know he did.

And then you said this..."Then, as now, I find comfort in the words of my Mother. 'Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names cannot hurt me.'"

I don't want to insult you here, but my attempts at levity are no match for this childish remark. Good grief Charlie Brown!

And you said this..."Your 'Freudian slips' are duly noted. Ultimately, none of us understand God perfectly. Thus even our best theology is flawed. That's why being forgiven is so much more important than being right."

I couldn't agree more.

And finally you said..."I pray that God has a sense of humor."

You clearly haven't heard me preach.

Anon, my offer to discuss the issue with you still stands...just not here. Perhaps email? I love to sharpen and be sharpened.

Below are a few verses from Romans 9 (one of the chapters that many pastors skip over) to get you started, if desired.

No harm intended in any of my comments to you. Take care and God bless.

SL1M

18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"

20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?

21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

Anonymous said...

Talk about "Freudian slips"!!! Well, that's not accurate, but it sounds good. I meant "I couldn't DISAGREE more" about this comment you made..."That's why being forgiven is so much more important than being right."

I'll spare you the long answer for now. Let's discuss further if you want to know why. Although, I must say, it doesn't have to be an either / or. I think some (or all) here will know what I mean.

Take care.

SL1M

Baptist Theologue said...

I'm a three-pointer, affirming TUP and denying LI. Edgar Young Mullins affirmed the same three points as does Paige Patterson. I believe, however, that a belief in limited atonement is not heretical. Some of my best friends are five-point Calvinists, and I believe that they are grounded very well in the faith. We should be careful how we use the word "heresy." It's been directed at me a few times, and it really stings (unnecessarily).

Anonymous said...

If anything will get the "heresy" barb tossed about, it will be Calvinism, I suppose! I dunno 'nuf 'bout it to say, of course....

Steve Austin

G. Alford said...

SL1M,

You said: [Falsewell is not just "resisting the idea". In fact, it is acceptable to me for him to say that he doesn't understand the issue...]

Now that “Freudian slip” cracked me up!


Matt Knight,

Sorry for being so honest… but the reality is that those student who choose to attend Liberty and set under the instruction of Caner and Falwell do so for a reason, and will have an extra burden of proof that they are not of the same ilk as Caner and Falwell as far as I am concerned.

Anonymous said...

I wonder...

Have any of you who are making negative remarks about the quality of education at LBU/LBTS ever been on the Campus? Have anyone of you ever talked with seminary professors there...how about students?

I have(I have sat under several) and I can assure you that you cannot pigeon hole students or professors in any theological category..other that believers in Christ who believe in an inerrant Bible.

Sure Falwell and Caner may be the face of the institution..but they are not the spirit of the institution.

Case in point

The emergent church.

In a recent "Falwell confidental" email he spoke of the theological dangers of the movement.

Yet several individuals in my doctoral classes at LBTS were on the cutting edge of the emergent movement

Elmers Towns Book..."Perimeters of Light" was one of our textbooks in that course.

We discussed and even participated in a Emerging church style worship service before class one day...imagine that!

Falwell will always be a polarizing figure...especially when he is wrong and even when he is right.

His theology is imprecise and flawed as some points. Then again so in mine...and so is each of yours.

Falwell's is not a theologian. He is an organizational and networking genius.

I remember the my first doctoral class I took at LBTS (My decision to go there was based on finances and proximity). I was afraid of indoctrination and cookie cutter theology...I was wrong. The class was amazing. My OT professor had a great appreciation for various perspectives(Such as Covenant Theology). Many Presbyterians(some who are Korean) get their degrees from LBU.

When public figures make public comments they open themselves up to criticism...that is OK. So debate and criticize to your hearts content

But to say the institution Dr. Falwell has founded is sub- standard...based his theological positions...is unfair

Though woman do not teach theology...they teach men in all other subjects

Falwell or his wife have never said that birth control is akin to abortion and not in God's will for a couple.

I will not pass judgement on the health of a seminary based on who is president... however

I would send my children to LBU before I would send them to the colleges at SWBTS or SEBTS.

Rodney Sprayberry

Anonymous said...

I would also recomend the seminary to anyone with half a brain... (I have used LBS/LBTS interchangeably)

You can be brainwashed anywhere..

But if you don't mind thinking and don't mind controversy..you'll do just fine a LBTS

Rodney Sprayberry

Rhology said...

Perhaps Dr Falwell will get into some heavy-duty evangelistic/apologetic discussions w/ Eastern O-dox or Roman Catholics who will (almost robotically and certainly methodically) play the Protestants-aren't-unified card over and over and over again. Perhaps then he'll taste again how delicious the love of the brethren, *all* the brethren, can be. As I have, thank you, Jesus.

WTJeff said...

Rodney,

I'll take your word for it that LBU/LBTS are not places of indoctrination or necessarily reflect the beliefs of Jerry Falwell. However, just as G. Alford has said, graduates of these institutions will carry an extra burden of proof due to comments that Falwell and Caner are prone to make. I was saved in an independent/fundamentalist baptist church in the midst of the conservative resurgence. I know all too well how Falwell was seen as almost the pope of these churches. It wasn't until Thomas Road sought inclusion into the SBC that several like minded congregations followed suit. Dr. Falwell has a great deal of influence among these congregations. I was present at a service at a large church here when Dr. Falwell called the National Organization of Women the "National Organization of Witches". I don't agree with NOW's agenda anymore than he does, but I think we all agree this type of rhetoric shouldn't resound from our pulpits.
While comments disparaging LBU are unfortunate, until Dr. Falwell more carefully considers the words he speaks, they will continue -- and we will waste more time defending places like LBU rather than reaching the lost.

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

Anonymous said...

rhology

Are RC and O-dox included in your notion of "*all*" brothers, or is this a Protestant only club?

DP

edh said...

Wade,

I was wondering how far we should extend an allowance for diverse beliefs. What about churches/pastors who believe in ordaining women as pastors? Would you also be glad that those churches/pastors are serving with the SBC and welcome them into our fold? Should we show appreciation for the schools that teach that it is permissible to ordain women as pastors?

It seems to me that if we can extend some room on the nature of atonement, we could extend some room on ordaining women as pastors. Shouldn't we be looking to cooperate in missions with those churches/pastors?

Some may respond that these issues are different because the issue of women pastors is clearly settled in Scripture. Of course, Dr. Falwell beleives the issue of un/limited atonement is clearly settled in Scripture.

I don't think we should call people heretics based on their beliefs relative to "Calvinism." My church isn't about to ordain women as deacons or pastors. But, I don't want to call people heretics if they do ordain women. I also don't want to miss the opportunity of taking the gospel to the nations with these followers of Jesus even if they disagree with me on secondary issues.

Wade Burleson said...

Edh,

To call people who ordain women 'heretics' is just as silly as calling people who believe in limited atonment 'heretics.'

You may not agree with them, but the word heretic should not label people who disagree on issues that are not fundamental to the faith.

selahV said...

Bro. Wade: you wrote to anon: "If God bestows salvation - it is according to His good pleasure and not our arrogant demands."
I didn't think she was being arrogant, did you? I may have misunderstood what you meant, but I was waiting for your answer to her and I have my own grandchildren which I am looking at and wondering does God create children such as my little darlings and "purpose" things such as what happened to Joseph upon them and to Judas? Judas had no choice in being what he was, correct? Joseph's brothers weren't evil because God purposed them to do what they did, right? So even though our grandchildren appear to be little angels today, the Calvinist (as I am trying to understand their position) holds that some of them will indeed be purposed to destruction because they are not elect, no?

I see the entire world as condemned but we all have the opportunity to ask Jesus into our hearts, don't we? And God knows who we are going to be that respond, no?

Do I misunderstand election, too?

thank you...selahV

selahV said...

Wade: you wrote: "But, 'In the day of His power, His people shall be made willing.'"

Is that a scripture reference? selahV

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

Point taken. But, I served in Virginia from 1999-2006 in a Southern Baptist church.I was at the SBCV meeting where Falwell requested to be affliated with the conservative Baptist convention. He may have influence in independent circles and he may have influence with the older SBC conservatives in VA who fought such a hard battle over theology in that state. But not with the under 40 crowd and not nearly as much as he used to have.

In the state of VA, Liberty has a sterling reputation...in nursing, teaching, law, counseling, business, and ministry...somehow people there have separated Falwell from the school. Why can't others do the same?

Besides Liberty has done what few schools have been able to do... train young men and women in many professions who are passionate about their faith, concerned about the lost, and living those out conviction not only in the church...but in the market place.

WTJeff said...

Rodney,

Your comments reflect exactly why Dr. Falwell has to dial back the rhetoric. He doesn't have near the influence he once did and his words only cause problems for those who graduated and/or are attending LBU/LTBS. Any time he or Dr. Caner make inflammatory statements it will reflect negatively on the institutions they represent. That may not be fair, but as the great philosopher Bill Parcels likes to say, "It is what it is." As far as separating perceptions of LBU from Falwell, as long as he's the primary face of the university, that's just not going to happen. Which, again, is unfair to LBU.

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

You guys are a hoot. Dr. Falwell makes a passing comment, then, abracadabra. Instant controversy! :^)

I first read about this at Dr. Ascol's site and then Les Puryear's. If you don't mind, I'll leave the footprint here I left there:

"Speaking for myself alone, I have not defended the use of "heresy" for anyone and have openly stated that the term is, for the most part, a dead term in my vocabulary. I assure you I've used it here more than several years' worth elsewhere.

I was defending various nuances of the term--stronger to weaker--from denying the Trinity to "heresy" in methods. For example, John Leith writes: "The message is in a real sense the medium, and the worst heresy in preaching is for the medium to become the message." (Quoted by Timothy George, FJ, Winter, 1997).

Thus, to argue that "heresy" flat out must mean "danmable teachings" is, from my view, simply wrong. It seems we may be looking for a fight.

What's funny is, while Dr. Ascol was the first to criticize Dr. Falwell for this horrid accusation, take careful note of what Mr. Ernest Reisinger, the Father of Founders Ministries, wrote concerning the Dispensational theological system of Liberty School:

"Let me say at the outset that this dispensational system of theology is diametrically opposed to covenant theology. It opposes all historic Reformed Theology, such as that which is taught in the Westminster Confession, the Old Baptist Confession of 1689, and the Heidelberg Catechism.

Dispensationalism would have been declared heresy by the Synod of Dort as was her husband, Arminianism. Arminianism, Dispensationalism and Antinomianism all live in the same theological house (and it is not a Reformed house!). I say, without fear of contradiction, Dispensationalism is nothing less than a frontal attack on Covenant and Reformed Theology."

It seems that if apologies are in order, let's begin with Founders :^)

I trust you possess a good night's sleep. With that, I am...

Peter"

RefBapRob said...

A video for Dr Falwell and the Caner Brothers,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO5XCbupnHA

For David Mills at Two Rivers Baptist too!
"the stench of Calvinism"

SDG
Robert I Masters

Debbie said...

Let's see Peter this is the third blog I have read almost the same comments on as you have made here. I thought Les and Tom Ascol did a good job of answering you. Do you expect any different answer here? :)

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Debbie,

Why, Debbie, I did not think you read my comments. Beside, when one has a winning hand, why ask for cards?, I always say.

With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie said...

I read your comments only because I care Peter. :) Just remember as the great theologian Kenny Rogers says "you've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. " :)

Anonymous said...

Falwell is notorious for opinions and teachings which fall far outside what is considered reasonable by his professional peers.

Here is an extreme example: Young-Earth creationism, which postulates an age of Earth measured in thousands (rather than billions) of years is the official position of Liberty University.

How many other accredited educational institutions even have an official position about the age of the earth?

E. Gibbon

Anonymous said...

Rodney, my pastor,
Sorry for joining the party so late…had to work today.

It’s interesting you said, “I was at the SBCV meeting where Falwell requested to be affiliated with the conservative Baptist convention.”

Sorry I don’t know, but does SBCV mean ‘Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia’? Also who is the “conservative Baptist convention”?

I heard that Falwell and his church contributed $10,000 in joining the SBC. Is that correct?
I also heard within a year the SBC had given a large sum of money to build a church that he would control. Is that correct?

I also heard when asked why he changed his theology to join the SBC, his reply was: “I haven’t changed; the SBC has come around to my way of thinking.” Is that correct, and if so, do you think he was correct in saying it?

You state: “I would send my children to LBU before I would send them to the colleges at SWBTS or SEBTS.”

I take it you are NOT referring to SWBTS or SEBTS; but to the colleges. Right? Is that because you consider them as you said, “I was afraid of indoctrination and cookie cutter theology”?

You state: “I would also recommend the seminary to anyone with half a brain…(I have used LBS/LBTS interchangeably)”

“half a brain”? Are you saying the school is made for half-wits? Watch it, or they’ll be calling you Falwell the second. HA People don’t know that you and I for years have chewed on each other with smiles on our faces.

BTW, ‘the emergent church’—Wade had a post on that some time back. Does anyone remember when? I forgot what it meant.
Rex Ray

bryan riley said...

Have you ever noticed how God calls us His beloved? Whatsoever is lovely... think on these things...

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

Read Debbie's comment. I'll answer your original questions and let other answer your copy and paste questions.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Selah,

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power" (Psalm 110:3)

Karen in OK said...

I don't think Rev. Falwell should have said it.
However, I have seen many examples online of Calvinists and/or emergent Christians calling dispensationalism heresy or at least bordering on heresy.

Lots of times I have seen Calvinists say that Calvinism "is" the Gospel and that truly holding to classic Arminianism denies or comes very close to denying the Gospel.

So Bro. Wade, even though you personally as a Calvinist consider that as a secondary or tertiary doctrine, many Calvinists do not.

I hope that everyone will reflect on the effectiveness of the heresy label. Rev. Falwell is not alone in his use of the label.

volfan007 said...

while i dont agree with dr. falwell using the word heresy to define five pointers....as you all know, i dont agree with five points, and think it's an extreme of theology.

but, i see the founders crowd and other five pointers getting so mad at dr. falwell, when i have heard the same language, and even more harsh than that, used by five pointers when describing anyone who's not a five pointer. i have heard it often. in fact, that's why i got such a bad taste in my mouth about five pointers to begin with. i grew tired, and upset, from hearing the founders crowd and other five pointers putting down non-five pointers. and, the language they used was just as harsh as calling someone a heretic. in fact, i have heard not just a few five pointers say that anyone who is not a five pointer is preaching a works salvation, and they are probably not saved. so, me..and others who are not five pointers...have been told often by extreme calvinists that we are preaching a false gospel...a works salvation. is that not heresy? would you say that we have been called heretics by this crowd?

so, before we go off on falwell and johnny hunt and some others...who i dont completely agree with btw....then, maybe the founders crowd and other five pointers need to take a long, hard look at themselves first.

david

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

Josh 24:15...choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served who were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Can the chosen choose not to choose? Why does Joshua give them the choice to choose?

country baptist preacher said...

BroGod takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Period. Your characterization that He delights in sending sinners to hell is false.

Also, God is not responsible for mankind in general, and any man specifically, NOT obeying God. The judgment and condemnation of God toward sinners is just and holy.

Salvation from judgement is of God's free grace for the praise of the glory of God's mercy, but since salvation is undeserved and unmerited, there can be no claim upon it by sinful man. If God bestows salvation - it is according to His good pleasure and not our arrogant demands.ther Wade said, "

I say,
AMEN AND AMEN!!!!!!!!!!

cbp

country baptist preacher said...

The post glitched when I posted it. It shoud say; "Brother Wade said ...........

country baptist preacher said...

The post glitched when I posted it. It shoud say; "Brother Wade said ...........

K. Michael Crowder said...

I'm a three-pointer, affirming TUP and denying LI. Edgar Young Mullins affirmed the same three points as does Paige Patterson.

Recoil to thine den ye heretic! I am but a 1 3/4 point Calvinist.....that is to say a tP Calvinist (little "t"). But then to many on here I will imediately be deemed a heretic for thinking that "dead in trespasses and sin" does not accually mean "totally depraved," but be that as it may. I might also be considered a heretic for shooting off at the mouth a bit too frequently. We really need to get over the word heretic. If Adrian rogers were alive, he would logically have to conclude that Albert Mohler is a heretic. In Roger's booklet "Predestined to Hell? Absolutely NOT!", the premise of salvific predestination is refuted, ABSOLUTELY! Which is to say that the antithesis is ABSOLUTELY unbiblical, or heretical. Not that Mohler needs to be burned at the stake, which is the incorrect, modern connotation of the word heretic.

So my solution? Lighten up on the connotation of the word heretic. Allow for free speech in the debate of theology.

Tinky-Winky is gay....and Calvinists are heretics! :)


Lighten up! -kmichael

**This is neither an endorsement of Jerry Falwell nor an affirmation of his sometimes off color emphatic statements.**

Deacon Dave said...

And while we all sit around the computer discussing each others' beliefs, people all around us are going to hell because the Gospel of Jesus Christ (crucified, buried and resurrected) is not being shared with them.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Young-Earth creationism, which postulates an age of Earth measured in thousands (rather than billions) of years is the official position of Liberty University.

Amen! Praise God that His divinely appointed men will stand up for the truth of the Bible.

To paraphrase a quote from Ken Ham, "To believe in million of years is to ignore the Bible and the God of the Bible. If millions years.....then the God of the Bible does not exist."

Evolution AND Theistic Evolution are heresy born of secular humanism and satan himself.

-kmichael

Anonymous said...

Rex,

There are two state conventions in Virginia. The BGAV and the SBCV. The SBCV is the one that began in the 90s in response to the more liberal BGAV.

You and I have had this conversation before. Texas does not know what a liberal is. Those who began the SBCV did not want to start a new convention. They did not leave the BGAV. The BGAV left them. For example, when you could not get a "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday" on the state convention calender because might offend some pro-choice folks in the BGAV...something was wrong.

Here at New Zion we give a % of undesignated fund to CP. If my memory serves me correctly, Thomas Road gives a set amount not a percentage. If 10,000 was the number it is a small portion of TRBC budget. Many larger churches in the convention do something similar. They may give a large amount annually (comparatively speaking) but those amounts are generally small % of budget.

I do remember this, the amount he gave was a lively topic of discussion.

I believe I was on the SBCV executive board when the state convention decided to give money to LU. I cannot remember the context but I am pretty sure it was in the form of scholarships for SBCV students.

Remember...LU is technically a ministry of TRBC. (or visa versa) So if money was given to LU...it may appear that it was given to TRBC.

However, I am waiting for explanation from the SBVC office in Richmond where I still have friends and contacts

My comments about cookie cutter theology are not meant to disparage the colleges at SWBTS or SEBTS. It is simply to make the point that similar charges of indoctrination have been leveled at those schools as well. Frankly I find these charges counterproductive. Most students are not sponges. Especially the postmodern crowd. You can go anywhere and get educated or indoctrinated. It depends upon, in most cases, the student.

I been on LUs campus. I heard and seen the diversity that is there. It is a quality education. LU/LBTS may not have everything right...but the schools work hard at integrating learning/Biblical values/ and the market place.

My understanding of the colleges at SEBTS or SWBTS is that they are undergaduate versions of the seminary. I could be wrong..But if I am not...LU/LBTS are worlds apart from that idea.

Rodney Sprayberry

Anonymous said...

BTW

Franklin Graham's son
Benny Hinn's daughter
Tony Evan's son

Have all attended LU...now that is diversity in the marketplace of ideas!!! :)

The "gay tinky winky" comment did not originate with Falwell...he was quoting someone else :)

Rodney Sprayberry

John Fariss said...

Dear K. Michael,

If you will check around, you will find that not all conservative evangelicals endorse the "young earth" theory. And you really need to understand that while your opinion and a dollar or so will buy you a cup of coffee at Hardee's, it does not make your statements, notions, interpretations, and prognostications into God's ultimate truth.

K. Michael Crowder said...

If you will check around, you will find that not all conservative evangelicals endorse the "young earth" theory. And you really need to understand that while your opinion and a dollar or so will buy you a cup of coffee at Hardee's, it does not make your statements, notions, interpretations, and prognostications into God's ultimate truth.

Dear John,

If you will check around, not all conservative, evangelicals will be in heaven (according to an old Billy Graham quote, 75% infact will not be). Point is, I was not trying to reflect the opinion of conservative evangelicals. I was trying to reflect the opinion of the Bible.

-kmichael

Debbie said...

Which specific passage were you trying to reflect exactly Mr. Chowder?

John Moeller said...

My 2 cents worth,

Whether God’s all knowing ability causes him to know the people who, by “free will”, will accept or reject Him .vs. God knows who will accept Him because He chose them; seems to all lead to the same point. God knows, we don’t.

Which ever way you believe, someone still needs to go out and evangelize.

Having all these “great” statements from tele-sensationalized-pastors doesn’t get us any closer to the goal. Al Sharpton, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson all suffer from foot in mouth. CNN loves to spin the public up with this junk and loves to show Christians as ignorant hillbillies.

Again, Wade is right, fighting, calling names and excluding Christians because of small theological differences is tearing the SBC apart.

John

Lee said...

In the Christian vocabulary, the term "heresy" is one of the most over-used terms. When someone uses it, they are usually saying that the way they see the scripture is the only way to see it, and any disagreement, or discussion, isn't necessary.

I think the term might have a whole lot more impact, and meaning, if it were correctly applied and not just used to dismiss a view that someone doesn't want to accept.

Debbie said...

My honest apologies. That should be Mr. Crowder. I hate typos.

John Fariss said...

K. Michael,

Glad to hear you acknowledge that you were only "trying" to reflect the opinion of the Bible. In my opinion, you failed--although semanticly, I have a hard time characterizing what the Bible says as "opinion." But if you chose to do so--well, that's between you and God. I don't call it heretical, but rather a matter, I suppose, of opinion. And are you trying to say that one must agree on every single doctrine, or every interpretation, in order to be saved? I ask because I could very well infer that from your comment, but inferences do not always equal intent, much less truth. And if you are saying that: would you mind showing me where the Bible says it? Bottom line: if someone says, "I believe the Bible means (or teaches) so-and-so, because #1, #2, #3, etc," I respect that. I may not agree, but I respect it. But when someone makes absolute statements and prognostications disagreeing about things which people whom I have no reason not to believe are informed, spirit-filled Christians, to me, it sets that person up as a final arbitor, an inerrant & infalliable judge. And as I read my Bible, that role is reserved for Christ Jesus, and neither of us.

volfan007 said...

i believe that the bible clearly teaches a young earth, and that God created the world and all that's in it, in six, literal days. to believe otherwise is to cave into modern day science which is filled with ungodly people who have a very strong bias to thier theories of evolution. also, science changes about every five to ten years....so, why should we bow down to science instead of believing the bible? why are we afraid of looking dumb to the world when we have such a clear and everlasting book called the bible? which God wrote?

i had rather believe the bible and creation over the theories(guesses) of man anyday. and, i really dont care how degrees he might have after his name.

david

John Fariss said...

David,

Your comment underscores my point: I respect your opinion for the very reason that you characterize it as your opinion--considered, deliberated, weighed, and with evidence cited. I may disagree; but we can disagree without being disagreeable, and still respect each other's opinion.

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

I liked your funny. Cute. Now, if you don't mind, you are welcome to answer both my original question & c/p version. They are the same.

Perhaps no challenge is issued more often from this blog, Wade, than the call for consistency. Do you not sense a blatant inconsistency in our Founders brothers calling for kinder, gentler, language in dealing with other evangelicals and at the same time implying other evangelicals are heretics?

With that, I am...

Peter

K. Michael Crowder said...

John,

You are obviously trying to be divisive. David did not cite evidence for his view. He simply stated his view and gave a few reasons why. And in the context of debate, his arguments, though valid, are weak. You are doing nothing more than building an ad populum consensus against me because my view was, admittedly circular. But biblical truth (i.e. the opinion of the Bible) is always circular. " I am that I am."

Btw, I debated removing the word "trying" from my last post but decided not to as it it could have (and did) provide a red herring to which someone might try and shoot. Lastly, your hasty attack of my use of the word "opinion" was way overdone. My opinion and your opinion can be characterized by our individual interpretations and exegetical style. I believe I am right and opinions to the contrary are wrong. If you do not hold your opinion in the same regard then maybe some additional research would due you good.

My ministry will always presuppose that I, Kevin, "know whom I have believed"--not "I think I know..."

Now of course the possibility exists that I could be wrong, but until sufficient evidence can be produced to the contrary, my view will remain the same.

I submit Genesis chapter 1 and 2 as my evidence.


Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

-kmichael

bryan riley said...

To all God's beloved, I am amazed that a post about bringing us together yields such a divisive group of comments.

Alycelee said...

I just signed up for the Founders Breakfast at the convention in San Antonio 6:30 am Tuesday.
Voddie Baucham is speaking there.
I'm assuming Jerry Falwell and some of you won't be there?
I at least hope to see some of you there :)

John Fariss said...

K. Michael,

Your "evidence" is the same that I would submit, plus Psalm 90, especially verse 4. It is not that one of us believes the evidence and the other does not, but rather that we have difference presuppositions (which I believe you said yourself) and consequently interpret the evidence differently. I was honestly glad to see that David and I found something to agree upon. (By the way, I have been out of college "Intro to Philosophy" way too long to remember exactly what an "ad populum consensus" means.) Incidentially: I too know whom I have believed, but that is not really the issue. When two persons, both of whom claim a saving relationship with Christ, disagree on some interpretation, is it necessarily a matter of faith in Christ verses a lack of faith? Or can it be an honest difference of opinion within the faith? I believe the latter. That is what I get from (and one of the things I like about) many of Wade's blogs, that there is room not only in the Christian community but even within the Baptist family to disagree on secondary issues. I am trying to be precise rather than divisive. But the way you presented your comments struck me as rather rigid, authoritarian, perhaps even you believed yourself to have the final say-so. If you do not see yourself that way, my appologies, but that is what your comments communicated to me. It is my perception that it is very difficult to have genuine dialogue with someone who thinks they have all the answers. Of course, like virtually everyone, I think my opinions are correct; but my point, I suppose, is that I have been around long enough to know that they are simply my opinion, which means (1) they can be wrong, and (2) two persons can disagree without being disagreeable. What say we bury the hatchet, and not in each other's head? Can there be there some basis for dialogue between us?

Kevin Bussey said...

Bryan,

I agree. I could care less. It is not a doctrine worth fighting over. I am a pan-Calvinst--It will all "pan" out in the end.

The biggest argument I saw at SWBTS was in Church History with Doyle Young. Obviously he was used to this every year because we talked about Calvin and Arminius and he sat down and watched the class go at each other.

selahV said...

Dear Bro. Wade, thanks for referencing that scripture for me. I realize this is a very long comment stream, and some comments can get lost, but just above the tiny one you answered for me, is a long one I posted that you didn't answer. I'm going to copy and paste it again so you don't have to scroll through the sea of others to find it. Would you be so kind as to answer the questions?

If you think they are stupid or off topic, I'll forget about it and won't bother coming back and reading through the stream to see if the questions are of worth. It was just follow up stuff from comments you and one of the anon's had. thanks. selahV:

Bro. Wade: you wrote to anon: "If God bestows salvation - it is according to His good pleasure and not our arrogant demands."
I didn't think she was being arrogant, did you? I may have misunderstood what you meant, but I was waiting for your answer to her and I have my own grandchildren which I am looking at and wondering does God create children such as my little darlings and "purpose" things such as what happened to Joseph upon them and to Judas? Judas had no choice in being what he was, correct? Joseph's brothers weren't evil because God purposed them to do what they did, right? So even though our grandchildren appear to be little angels today, the Calvinist (as I am trying to understand their position) holds that some of them will indeed be purposed to destruction because they are not elect, no?

I see the entire world as condemned but we all have the opportunity to ask Jesus into our hearts, don't we? And God knows who we are going to be that respond, no?

Do I misunderstand election, too?

Anonymous said...

K. Michael,

Your point clearly shows your method of reasoning, i.e., you have read the Bible and from its verses you conclude that the age of the earth is measured in thousands rather than billions of years.

If the age of the earth was a theological issue, as it was for thousands of years before the methods of modern science were discovered, your opinion would be credible. But you were born 100 years too late!

To measure the age of the earth today, an educated person must take into account radiometric dating techniques. I won’t bore you with the details, but those techniques, applied to a variety of rocks, both from space, the moon, and here on earth, consistently conclude that the age of our solar system (including the earth) is about 4.5 billion years old.

I am sorry, but the Bible does not, and cannot, trump radiometric dating techniques.

This is not a new debate. Refresh your recollecton of the life of Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642)

E. Gibbon

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Psalm 110:3) has been quoted as Scripture to support theology.

When Jesus asked the Pharisees who was the Messiah the son of, they replied the son of David. “He asked them, ‘How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord?” (Matthew 22: 43)
Jesus was referring to David saying: “The Lord declared to my Lord.” (Psalm 110:1)

Yes, I know David said more, but I’ll come to that later.

Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” Jesus told him “flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.”
Five verses later, Peter says, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You!” Jesus told him, “Get behind Me Satan!” Peter went from the star pupil inspired by God to a dunce cap.

In Psalm 110:1 David was the star pupil inspired by the Holy Spirit, but the rest of the chapter pictures Jesus as setting up a great kingdom on earth that all the Jews believed would happened.

So I can’t get excited about those verses supporting theology.

We can all heed Christ warning of becoming: “Beware of these experts in religion…” (Luke 20:46 Living)

I agree with Kevin…I am about a pan everything.
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...

Selah,

When I used the phrase you asked about I was speaking generically.

selahV said...

Bro. Wade: Generically as in a or c? : 1 a : relating to or characteristic of a whole group or class : GENERAL b : being or having a nonproprietary name c : having no particularly distinctive quality or application.
SelahV

Michael said...

I was a liberty student and we are well aware of Falwell's tendency to stick his foot in his mouth. So we seasoned liberty-ites learn to take what he says with a grain of salt and if we care that much, go research it.

besides the majority of students at liberty are not interested in systematic theology.(all students not just religion students)


as an aside, even though caner's the flaming armenian he is, I got an almost completely objective theological survey citing the pros and cons of each opposing theory including this current arguement. much more objective than I would expect from many of you.

another thing I suggest separating falwell and caner from the actual education received at libery.

another thing I suggest you who did this get your stinking foot out of your mouth and repent of your idiotic words.

(I'm sure I'll hear something about this)

Michael

Katya said...

Wade,
As an IMB trustee, you may or may not be aware that Liberty University now offers IMB MKs a full scholarship. Say what you will about Falwell or Liberty, but I certainly appreciate their generousity! Oklahoma Baptist Univ. doesn't help MKs nearly as much. Maybe you could use your influence there...

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I'm very interested in hearing a full response to Selah's question. It is a real, non-name calling, deeply real question that merits a serious response.

Charmona

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Charmona and Selahv,
“Look! I have been standing at the door and I am CONSTANTLY knocking. If ANYONE hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 Living Bible)

Case closed.

Tj said...

Dear Anonymous, Selah, Charmona and others,

As this thread comes to a close it appears that the question that was asked repeadedly will not be answered. The question was, "Has God created some for whom there is no hope of salvation?"(A simple yes or no question.)

Since no one seems to want to answer,I will give you the stock Calvinist answer with which I vehemently disagree. They say, "We should not be concerned that God has not chosen to save all of us rather, we should be in awe that God has chosen to save any of us.

It seems to me that Calvinists do believe that there are some for whom there is no hope of salvation. Following this logic we must conclude that since God cares only for the elect, then the elect only love and care for each other. If that is true, then there is a large number of people alive today for whom God does not love, God's elect do not love and for them there is no hope. How depressing!

The God I love,serve and worship is a God who loves every one of us, young and old. He has provided a way of salvation for everyone.

The best explanation of the doctrine of election was one that I heard as a child by an old pastor with only a high school education. He said, "God is for you. Satan is against you. Which ever way you vote decides the election.

Anonymous said...

Selah - Because this is a free world and no one knows who I am :), I will offer a reply for you (and Charmona), regarding your questions. This is long and controversial at times, but no one will read it except you as this thread is over. I think that might be a good thing. :) Please understand this will require further study on your part if you are sincerely interested.

I can only suspect that Wade may not be answering because many folks (including him) have been around and around this issue with you and you are either just refusing to believe the doctrines of grace (which is okay, by the way) or refusing to study them further (which is NOT okay if you truly want to understand them. In fact, it is necessary.) Without trying to be blunt, I suspect you haven't studied this at great length as evidenced by your relatively elementary questions (frankly). Sorry about that. Not only that, there is a vast array and easily accessible answers available to these questions in many places. Why is study so necessary? Because our traditions are overwhelming and can certainly cloud our view of scripture. Just a few short years ago I was "smothering" in that cloud. I don't mean any harm in my comments, I am simply saying that I was "just like you" (theologically speaking) not so long ago. And I just knew I was right because it was what I had been taught by someone else and not because I studied it myself.

Anyway, let's give it a go. You asked, "...I have my own grandchildren which I am looking at and wondering does God create children such as my little darlings and 'purpose' things such as what happened to Joseph upon them and to Judas? Judas had no choice in being what he was, correct? Joseph's brothers weren't evil because God purposed them to do what they did, right? So even though our grandchildren appear to be little angels today, the Calvinist (as I am trying to understand their position) holds that some of them will indeed be purposed to destruction because they are not elect, no?"

First note is that you are adding what is known as the providence of God into the mix here a little, but let's proceed anyway. The "emotional card" that you are playing here will block your way. I guarantee it. It's akin to the emotionalism regarding those who say all babies who die in infancy go to heaven. While I personally believe that to be true, I can't back it up with scripture. I simply know that God will do the right thing...every time and forevermore. These little ones certainly aren't guaranteed heaven because of something they did...unless it's crying all night and vomiting on my new $800 suit. :) I'm taking a risk here so be forgiving, but let me make one more point just to spur your thinking along these lines we are discussing. Please forgive the crudeness and reprehensible thought that lies herein, but if all babies who die in infancy are guaranteed heaven just because we feel sorry for them and we think this surely has to be the case, couldn't it be argued that we are selfish idiots for not killing our babies? Why would we work to raise them and try our best to guarantee them maybe 90 years of life here on earth, but it costs them eternally because they weren't in the right place at the right time to hear the clarion call for salvation? I understand that may be offensive as it grades on me a little also. However, this reality made me thankful that scripture clearly states God chooses His elect according to the good pleasure of His will and before the foundation of the world.

Now, back to the story. You must admit that Judas and Joe's brothers were also someone's "precious little darlings" at one time as well. No more precious and no less darling than your own, but surely their parents would not have been thrilled if they could have known their "precious little darlings" would one day be the some of the greatest betrayers the world would ever know.

Regarding that issue and your last statement above, I offer the following:

Romans 9, starting at verse 14: "What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?' But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? 'Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—"

While verse 22 is important here, we must remember that we are all "betrayers" apart from the grace and mercy of Christ. You or my little ones don't deserve heaven because they are "precious" or because of when they die. But because of their relationship to Adam, they are at enmity with God, can not please Him, are not good, do not seek after God, and are deserving of hell...just like the rest of us without the saving grace and mercy of God. That's a tough statement to make and to hear because it pierces our senses, but I think that it's biblical.

I think you agree as you state, "I see the entire world as condemned but we all have the opportunity to ask Jesus into our hearts, don't we?" However, asking Jesus into our hearts is not in the bible and certainly not listed as a requirement for salvation...but I do know what you mean in the traditional sense. So what is required? Repentance is required. A repentant and changed heart will be exhibited in the fruit bore out in that life. Believe it or not, a person can be saved in the quietness of their home by themselves...without a soft song playing in the background...or without every head bowed and every eye closed...and even without saying a prayer asking Christ to come into their heart.

Furthermore, for clarity, people don't go to hell because they haven't heard the gospel or because they heard the gospel but missed an opportunity to "ask Jesus into their heart". People go to hell because of their sin. That is a painfully short answer but you can take it from there and study, if desired.

You also said, "And God knows who we are going to be that respond, no?" So back to Romans 9, at verse 11: "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”

Wouldn't God looking down this "corridor of time" you refer to and seeing fallen, dead sinners reach out and choose Him be a good thing? Of course it would be. It would be the best thing they could ever do! This act which would be done in the flesh (i.e. before regeneration) would be the ultimate pleasing act toward God, and we know that we can do nothing in the flesh that is pleasing to God.

Also, under this scenario, for me it is hard to not give at least a little credit (glory) to the actor (who is spiritually dead, by the way). Sincerely...even just a little bit. How can you not? Furthermore, why shouldn't we. He made the move. He made the right choice. This also should drive you to think, why doesn't everyone make this "good" decision? Have you ever wondered why you are saved and yet some of your friends or family members are not? You might say it's because you see your need for God more than they do? If so, then why do you see your need...and yet they don't? Are you smarter than them? If you say yes, I must ask again, how or why are you more intelligent? Did you have a better set of parents that showed you this importance well enough for you to grasp and they didn't? If so, your parents should get a little of that credit (glory) as well. I would also argue that the youngster who had poor parents (simply for sake of this example) would not deserve hell. It's not his fault he had poor parents. Perhaps it's the fault as his youth director later in his life because he didn't present the gospel clearly enough for him?

You see where this leads. It simply has to be all of God because it is all of God. All glory and praise to Him ALONE for not giving me what I deserve. (I was a precious little darling at one time also.) :)

I am thinking way to fast for my typing ability. Please be gentle if I have mistyped or am not clear here. It's not exhaustive. In fact, I tried to keep this very simple and elementary. Not because you are stupid. You are not. I have read many of your comments. I simply want to prompt thinking and provide a line of study for you. Perhaps there is a nugget in there that will prompt a deeper level of study if you desire it. If not, no worries. I relish in the grace of God as I know you do and I am always looking for more ways to thank Him for giving me what I don't deserve and could never earn.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Sealh, tj has given a typical traditional response to a couple of the issues in the reply above. This would have been my reply also a few years ago. Read all these replies and then study earnestly the scripture and you will grow in your understanding. That is a good thing.

If I could offer a few things to view as my fingers are cramping. :)

The Amazing Grace DVD is very, very good at explaing many things regarding this as well as addressing views as expressed by tj and even Rex Ray. Google it you will find it. You can also find it, and many interesting 5 to 10 minute snippets at www.godtube.com. Go to the search at that site and type "reformation" or go to www.crosstv.com.

RR - You are way to intelligent for me so please be nice. However, I would submit that your verse (taken out of context unfortunately) is directed toward the church as verse 14 says before it. Gnosticism and other heresies that were creeping in the church was being addressed here. Oddly enough, this is one of the issues discussed in the Amazing Grace DVD. If you can get this DVD, you will enjoy it either way. It is very well made and will offer a greater understanding, even if you reject the conclusions.

tj - Briefly put, my God is not a lonely old man sitting in heaven hoping that people will choose Him...consequently being grossly disappointed as most will not. He is the awesome, sovereign of the universe with a real plan of salvation...not just a theory left for man to make it effective.

Take care all of you.

Anonymous said...

Here you go RR. Take care friend.

Rev 14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Tj said...

Dear anonymous,

In light of your response to me;

(Briefly put, my God is not a lonely old man sitting in heaven hoping that people will choose Him...consequently being grossly disappointed as most will not. He is the awesome, sovereign of the universe with a real plan of salvation...not just a theory left for man to make it effective.)

....how do you explain the lament of Jesus as recorded in Matt. 23: 37?
It appears that Christ (God, if you believe in the Trinity), was very disappointed over the decision of Jerusalem (Israel) to reject Him.

Anonymous said...

Hi tj. Well of course I believe in the Trinity or I wouldn't be a Christian...right? :)

You said "....how do you explain the lament of Jesus as recorded in Matt. 23: 37? It appears that Christ (God, if you believe in the Trinity), was very disappointed over the decision of Jerusalem (Israel) to reject Him."

Good question. Let's look at it and check the "appearance" you mention. Matthew 23:37 reads, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

This is also recorded in Luke 13:34 and reads, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"

First, we must ask, what is meant by “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem?” If you take this verse out of the context of Matthew 23 or Luke 13 (this is a typical problem and we must remember that context in king), it looks as though Christ is addressing every person in Jerusalem. However, the context does not show this. “Jerusalem” is said that it did, ‘kill the prophets and stone those who are sent.’ Who are these that have done this?

Jesus begins with his own explanation, “The teachers of the law [scribes] and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” (Matt. 23:2). Then in verse 13 and following, Christ begins with the “woes” of the leaders of Jerusalem and ends with, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matt. 23:33).

Therefore, when left in context, the passage clearly reveals that “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” refers to the leaders of Jerusalem.

Note that Jesus states he desires to have gathered the “children”, not the “Jerusalem”. It is not God’s elect resisting, rather it is the "seed of the serpent" (the leaders of Jerusalem) waging war with God’s servants (the elect) whom Christ is gathering.

This “Jerusalem” was preventing the children from being gathered at this time. It is these unregenerates that are resisting the proclamation of the Gospel. In fact, it is in their nature to do so (John 12:40; Romans 9:18; 11:7; Acts 7:51).

How were they preventing it? By killing the prophets and stoning them, topped off when they crucify the very Son of God!

In this passage, Jesus is wrapping up his final rebuke of judgment against the leaders (seed of the serpent) who opposed him (the seed of the woman). They were trying to keep the children of Jerusalem (chicks) from coming to salvation. But, as Matthew 23:38 states, their house will be left to them “desolate.” In other words, as much as the leaders of Jerusalem desire to prevent the elect of Israel from be gathered to Christ, he will gather them despite their resistance.

I hope this helps and remember that context is king!

Blessings to you.

volfan007 said...

anon,

what you are saying sounds like mumbo jumbo. i say this respectfully. it sounds like gobbly gook.

i have dealt with five point calvinists often, and they always resort to deep philosophical thinking to try to explain away verses that do not hold to thier five points.

let me ask you something, if Jesus were referring to only the leaders of jerusalem...as you say....which i dont agree with btw....but, if it was just the leaders, are you saying that the leaders can thwart the sincere desire of God? Jesus He would have gathered the people under His wings....salvation and protection and blessing. but, they would not! not, God would not....not Jesus would not....but, they(the people, or as you want to believe, the leaders of jerusalem only) would not! thus, Jesus wanted to save the people and be thier God, but the leaders thwarted the desire of God according to you.

so, whats the diff? if it means people, then they chose to not do something that the Lord wanted them to do. if this verse is talking about the leaders only, then the leaders chose and kept the Lord from doing something that He earnestly wanted to do.

your five pointism falls flat on this passage....so flat that it's unbelievable imho.

david (volfan007) :)

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
To anonymous who wants me to be nice,
You submit that I have quoted Christ out of context…that he was only talking to the leaders of the church in Laodicea.

Reminds me of the ‘self righteous’ that always told the preacher, “You sure let THEM have it today.”

1. Are you saying today, Christians are never “lukewarm”? (verse 16) [How many would come to some church meetings if there wasn’t a meal involved? How many come to prayer meeting or visitation? How many show up for ‘church work day’ or trash pick up day?]
2. How many “don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched”? (verse 17)
3. How many need “white garments, clean and pure” to replace dirty laundry? (verse 18)
4. How many need “to get medicine from me to heal your eyes” from trash on TV and the internet? (verse 18)
5. “Turn from your indifference…” (verse 19) [Last Sunday night, we had a missionary speak to our church, but only the ‘old’ people heard because the youth were not there.]
6. “…become enthusiastic about the things of God.” (verse19)
7. “…I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, …” (verse 20)

I believe what Christ said, is very much in context today.

I hope that was nice.

Anonymous said...

Hello David. I must admit it was difficult to understand your comment. For some reason it was hard to reason it out. I am not speaking theologically here. Anyway, forgive me as I try to help.

You said, "what you are saying sounds like mumbo jumbo. i say this respectfully. it sounds like gobbly gook. i have dealt with five point calvinists often, and they always resort to deep philosophical thinking to try to explain away verses that do not hold to thier five points."

Wrong guy here David. I have no college and no seminary. I simply became burdened about having right theology after reading AW Pinks “The Sovereignty of God” and I started reading and studying like a mad man. I realized that most of my beliefs (I was fully Arminian, i.e. synergistic) were not from a thorough exegesis of scripture, but they were traditional thinking lines of thought passed on by well meaning people. I think what is lacking here is that you are accustomed to just a cursory reading of God's Word. I did this to for over 30 years. Leaving issues in context has been a HUGE factor in molding my theology away from one just like yours only a few years ago. I sincerely thought as you do now.

This even goes for non-reformed doctrine. David, have you ever heard someone say in a small group bible study setting something like this…”The bible says that ‘We know that where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, I am there with them.’”? That sounds good, but theological it’s silly. I know you must agree that if I go to a bible study and no one else shows up and I fall on my knees and pray and read and worship that He is there with me…even though I am only 1. This is a passage that people like to say because it sounds good, but in the context of Mathew 18, this is dealing with church discipline matters. You see?

I also must admit that I was “easy minded”. What I mean is that if a pastor said something like “when the bible says ‘all’, it means ‘all’!”…or perhaps he would say “I looked it up in the dictionary and ‘any’ means ‘any’!”, then I would believe this. It made since to me and I wasn’t about to investigate something that seemed so clear. However, after reading and studying, I found this very easy to refute. Even today we use universal terms ALL the time and don’t really mean it. (I just did it in the previous sentence by the way). Furthermore, study has revealed that the use of universal language was done even more in the Greek. That is why CONTEXT IS KING! You must read things in context and use scripture to interpret scripture. It’s not about being a deep thinker or being philosophical…it’s about getting it right in the context and not allowing tradition to rule the day.

You said, "let me ask you something, if Jesus were referring to only the leaders of jerusalem...as you say....which i dont agree with btw....but, if it was just the leaders, are you saying that the leaders can thwart the sincere desire of God?"

This is a little confusing as this is exactly what I am trying to refute. Man (the leaders, the Israelites, the Gentiles, any man) cannot thwart the plans of God. It actually seems to me that you are the one saying that man can thwart the sincere desire of God. Especially if you interpret 2 Peter 3:9 the way I think you do. (i.e. God is not willing that any should perish...but most do perish...so even though God was willing for one thing, something else happens.) Do I misunderstand you here? Maybe we agree that God's purposes will be accomplished over man's will?

You said, "Jesus He would have gathered the people under His wings....salvation and protection and blessing. but, they would not! not, God would not....not Jesus would not....but, they(the people, or as you want to believe, the leaders of jerusalem only) would not! thus, Jesus wanted to save the people and be thier God, but the leaders thwarted the desire of God according to you."

Again, this is exactly what I am not saying. It seems to me this is your view. This is why I said I had trouble understanding your comment. Please note again that they (the leaders) were trying to keep the children of Jerusalem (chicks) from coming to salvation. But, as Matthew 23:38 states, their house will be left to them “desolate.” In other words, as much as the leaders of Jerusalem desire to prevent the elect of Israel from being gathered to Christ, he will gather them despite their resistance. The leaders were not willing to let the people have unimpeded access to Christ. They wanted to put up barriers and build hedges around the law, and have them jump through hoops…so to speak. Jesus is saying, I am He...here I am...I am right in front of you…I have come...and you (leaders) are not willing to acknowledge that.

You said, "so, whats the diff? if it means people, then they chose to not do something that the Lord wanted them to do. if this verse is talking about the leaders only, then the leaders chose and kept the Lord from doing something that He earnestly wanted to do."

No, that's not right. As I type this, I am beginning to wonder if you even read my comment. Did you just realize that I am reformed and go straight to the comments to say how "unbelievable", "mumbo jumboish", and "gobbledee gookish" it is? You certainly didn't read my comment without prejudice or with clear headedness as you are saying the same thing I am trying to make clear. I am afraid that neither you nor I will be edified by that kind of attitude. Please, if you want to either be solidified in your current theology or prompted to study reformed theology deeper by my comments, this can't be the case. I would ask that if that is your feeling to just not reply any further. I am not interested in banging my head against a wall of tradition you have built up around you. I did that for over 30 years. I replied originally because it seemed like Selah and Charmona were asking sincere questions and were open to weighing sincere answers against their own thoughts.

Now, as to what you said above, I say again that they (the leaders) were trying to keep the children of Jerusalem (chicks) from coming to salvation. But, as Matthew 23:38 states, their house will be left to them “desolate.” In other words, as much as the leaders of Jerusalem desire to prevent the elect of Israel from being gathered to Christ, he will gather them despite their resistance.

Below is a link to a 9 minute video relaying the importance of keeping context as king. It is simply one small example from scripture, but worthwhile.

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=90bc77c1fed3c94885c8

Anonymous said...

Hello Rex,

Well, I am a little disappointed in your reply in that I remind you of someone self righteous. I expected a better exchange. While that was bothersome, please take my word for it...I am not, although I have to guard against it daily.

You said, "You submit that I have quoted Christ out of context…that he was only talking to the leaders of the church in Laodicea."

Are you saying that He wasn't talking to the church in Laodicea? Who does scripture say He was talking to in verse 14?

You said...

"1. Are you saying today, Christians are never “lukewarm”? (verse 16) [How many would come to some church meetings if there wasn’t a meal involved? How many come to prayer meeting or visitation? How many show up for ‘church work day’ or trash pick up day?]
2. How many “don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched”? (verse 17)
3. How many need “white garments, clean and pure” to replace dirty laundry? (verse 18)
4. How many need “to get medicine from me to heal your eyes” from trash on TV and the internet? (verse 18)
5. “Turn from your indifference…” (verse 19) [Last Sunday night, we had a missionary speak to our church, but only the ‘old’ people heard because the youth were not there.]
6. “…become enthusiastic about the things of God.” (verse19)

Many are many or all of these things. Taken a step further, I would even wonder about the legitimacy of their conversion. But how does this relate to who Christ was speaking to in Rev 3? It doesn't change who Christ was speaking to in the text (the church at Laodicea) just because you think some or all of these applies to many "christians" past, present, and future.

You said, "7. “…I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, …” (verse 20)"

Again, Revelation 3:20 is part of a letter written to the Christian church in Laodicea. There is no indication that the people who are to open the door is a metaphor for receiving Christ in salvation. Opening the door does not appear to be a metaphor for salvation, but for obedience. Those who open the door are those who hear the warning of this letter and repent of their sin. The implication from the context of the verse is that these people are already saved. We can't read into scripture what we want it to say even though you and I have both heard this tradition our entire lives doesn't make it sound theology. I even used to say it..."Jesus is knocking at your heart's door...just open it and let Him in."

selahV said...

Anonymous: thanks for your attention to the question I had for Wade. I appreciate all the time you took to answer the question at hand for him. Your answer didn't surprise me. And given my "elementary questions", I won't bore you with any others to Wade on this thread. Not that it bothers me that the thread is closed. I'm not asking to get anyone else's opinion. I kinda like to know what the person who states something means by what they state, not what someone else thinks about that which someone states.

That's what I REALLY like about Volfan. He says exactly what he thinks and doesn't let anyone put words into his mouth.

For anyone's information who cares to know: I do study. I study the Bible.

All others who've come to my aid to beg my elementary questions be answered: thanks. You're very kind to care. I am use to being ignored. It happens when questions are elementary and people have better things to do than answer elementary questions with college answers.

No wonder so many people have failing grades. We have college professors trying to teach abc's to 2nd graders.

Gobbly gook is funny, Volfan. Really funny. :^) ho ho. selahV

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Hello Anonymous,
Sorry, I did not mean you reminded me of someone that was “self-righteous”, but of one that did not believed the preacher’s message applied to him.
In your case, you believe that Revelations 3:20 does not apply to us. You said you used to believe that and “even used to say it…”Jesus is knocking at your heart’s door…just open it and let Him in.”

I take it you are a preacher and practice as Strider said on his blog… “Wear humility like a cloak and meekness like a warm blanket on a cold day.” (I come up short on that…too much like Volfan I guess.)

With a smile, I will REALLY take Scripture out of context and say to you, “Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly…” (Revelation 3:3)

BTW, I look upon verse 3 as the Christian majority changing into Catholicism by obeying rules and baptizing babies for salvation before they were named Catholic in 313 AD.

To answer your question---yes, Jesus was talking to the church of Laodicea, but could that not apply to us just as the Great Commission?

How can you say Laodicea only applies to the past and NOT the present and future? If we cannot heed the advice Jesus gave to Laodicea, why should we follow the commands He gave his disciples?

BTW, did anyone ever accept Jesus when you asked them to open the door and let Him in?
If so, why argue with success? Or have you apologized for tricking them with ‘wrong’ Scripture? OK, I’m not being nice—I only know He knocked on my ‘door’ with one word…“LOST” until I finally asked him to save me. If that was ‘opening the door’, I don’t know but it has worked for 65 years and I believe it will last through eternity.

Shelah,
You used to say, “Hee—hee.” Now you say, “Ho—ho.” Have you turned into Santa Clause? And the post isn’t over till the FAT Lady sings. Enjoy your comments and questions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks all. No problem, we'll shut it down. I agree.

Let me apologize to you, Selah, since you used the word "elementary" many times in your reply, I am assuming that offended you. I didn't mean it that way. I simply meant that if you studied the theology you would not have these "elementary" questions because you would already know the reformed response. Even if you concluded you disagreed with the theology, you still wouldn't have these types of questions.

Search it, google it, go to web sites with any information about Piper, Spurgeon, Sproul, Mohler, Boice, Bunyan, MacArthur, Schaffer, Grudem, Calvin, Nicole, Edwards, Newton and these will all lead to many others who answer all types of questions about this.

If you have studied the issues, I am still left wondering why you ask Wade about it...or anyone else. Either you agree with the conclusions or you don't...if you have studied it.

I suspect that Wade knew this which is why he didn't answer you.

Also, your acknowledgment that Volfan's "goobledee gookness" was "funny" is an indicator also that you have a disdain for the theology without even studying it.

Volfan has not studied it, I am certain. I am also quite certain he has not had "conversations" with many "five pointers" about it. He may have did all the talking and told them they were full of "goobledee gookness" for not holding onto their traditions, but he certainly didn't have a "conversation" about it.

Furthermore, I would never say something like that about someone else's theology...especially without studying it first, and then I still wouldn't say that. I would give clear and concise evidence from scripture why I think their interpretation is not correct. Volfan doesn't do that because he doesn't study it. Funny? Perhaps for you and Volfan. However, in appropriate company with a comment like that, the silence is deafening.

I would advise to simply forget the theology altogether...don't dwell on it. Of course, this would also mean forget asking any more questions about it.

Rex - Thanks for the brief exchange. A blog is a difficult place to crush traditional thinking for sure, but it was somewhat "fun".

I will leave our exchange with this. The question was not could the verse apply today. It can and does. Christ wants to come in and be the head of the church and we as a church need to make sure He is the head of it. These Christians were trying to keep Him out of His righful "headship", if you will. The question was regarding "who" he is talking to. Is He talking to each individual person who ever lived or will live?...or was He speaking to the Christians (Church). That was answered already.

Why don't I believe ans say all things as I once did? At first I sucked on milk, now I chew on meat.

Please know that even though nothing came of this (seemingly), I did enjoy our exchange and appreciated being a small part of it.

Take care.

volfan007 said...

anon,

first of all, you can let your theology be dictated by deep, philosophical thinking without formal training. i never said that you went to a college or seminary.

secondly, i have studied five point calvinism....very much. i studied under dr. tom nettles and dr. jimmy millikin at mid america seminary in memphis. also, i had three of four people at mid america who tried to convert me to five pointism, and i almost went that way. the Holy Spirit used the Word of God to keep me from that extreme.

anon, may the Lord bless you.

david

ps. selah, see what you've done? you've done gone and got me into trouble again! :)

Anonymous said...

Okay, whatever.

Take care.

selahV said...

VOLFAN: I'm sorry. You're just so much fun to read. And for the record, "hee hee" is my mischievious giggle. "HO HO" is my "I-can't-believe-you-just-said-that giggle. LOL is my belly laughter giggle. And hee hee, her her is my gender inclusive giggle.

ANON: please don't be offended because I take your comments to me as condescending to my ignorance of "reformed theology". If I told you that your questions and answers were pious and pretentious, would you feel I was looking at you as someone without sincerity? Who just wanted to berate an unreformed person?

I have been reading all those folks you and thirty other people have sent me to for suggested reading. And I do understand what I understand them to mean. But I cannot say I understand them to mean what you understand them to mean. Obviously, I'm not alone in this dilemma as I've seen some learned preachers preach on the subject and then beaten to a pulp for having dared to give an analogy to explain Calvinism.

And, since there are multiple views on all the nuances of Calvinism, I'd dare say from all the differences between hyper, extreme, and normal (whatever that is) Calvinists, then I'm not the only one with questions. And if all the Calvinists have everything all neatly decided and packaged in one clearly defined set of articles, then why must Calvinist preachers teach the doctrines of grace? I'd say it is so reformed brothers and sisters could know how to answer the questions of unreformed people like me--or maybe how NOT to answer people like me.

But when I ask a question of someone (like Wade, Dr. Tom Ascol, or other Calvinist, Mormon, Arminian, Jew or Catholic) who states something that I'm not quite certain of how HE or SHE means it, I seek clarification from THEM. I certainly wouldn't want to assume that what they are saying is something they aren't saying. (Not all Calvinist think the same things you know)

And perhaps one, like myself, should stop asking questions. But I will tell you this my brother/sister, Anon. If someone asks me a question about my faith, you better believe I'm going to try my darndest to answer in the most expedient, succinct and sincere way I can. I am not going to give them more questions, I'm not going to ignore them, and I AM going to pray my words do not offend but lend understanding, clarify and glorify the Lord as best I am capable of doing. If you think anything different of me and my questioning, then you are sadly mistaken. You can ask many many Calvinists with whom I dialog with and see if this is not true. You can ask the Mormon I am dialoging with. You can ask the lost people I dialog with. Most will assure you that I am only trying to understand them (INDIVIDUALLY). If Calvinism were so simple, then my 5 year-old granddaughter could understand it. If Calvinism were so simple then my 9 year-old-granddaughter could comprehend it. If Calvinism were so simple then maybe more folks would know the Lord Jesus and be regenerated. But it is not simple. According to you, ANON, one must "Search it, google it, go to web sites with any information about Piper, Spurgeon, Sproul, Mohler, Boice, Bunyan, MacArthur, Schaffer, Grudem, Calvin, Nicole, Edwards, Newton and these will all lead to many others who answer all types of questions about this."

So I think you are saying, one can be saved by knowing Jesus and having received faith through God to do so. But in order to understand how you are saved, or were saved or can be saved or will be saved, one must read all of the above. And don't ask any questions because otherwise they are elementary. Hmmmmmn. Okay, fair enough. From now on, I won't ask any questions of anyone Anonymous. However, until Wade sees fit to ban me from his site, if I have a question, I shall ask it. And if he chooses to ignore it, I give him every allowance to do so, after all, it is his blogsite. He doesn't visit mine. So it doesn't much matter what I ask over there.

But since we're on the subject and the "fat lady hasn't sung", I would suggest you get a website, too. You, anon, seem quite forthcoming with answers. And you could be a valuable resource for reformed thinking. That is if you felt it was okay to answer questions no matter how simple or elementary they might seem.

May I offer my best rendition of "I SURRENDER ALL" at this point? All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give, I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live, I surrender aaaalllll, I surrender allllll. All to Jesus IIIIIII surrender, I surrender all. selahV

Anonymous said...

Okay. Whatever.

Take care.

selahV said...

ANONYMOUS: And Happy Trails to you, too! selahV

Anonymous said...

Okay, great. You too.

Take care.

Rick in Thailand said...

I love Wade’s site and position on most things, but was surprised and disappointed to see that you took the Calvinist route.
"Heresy" in Webster's is "adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma". If Jerry Falwell's "heresy" comment is based upon that definition, I can see how he would refer to strong Calvinism as "heresy". That is NOT to suggest that those adhering to the Calvinist position, like Bro. Wade, are "lost" or "damned to hell" (Maybe Jerry's not saying that either.). I do believe Calvinists are still the minority on this position, at least among most Southern Baptists. IF Calvinists are in the majority, call me in the "minority", hence, guilty of heresy according to Webster!!

But I am continually surprised, and disappointed, to see more Southern Baptist leaders moving into the Calvinist mode.

I know there have been some like Boyce from long ago who have held that position but that doesn't make it "right". There are always a lot of those in academia who are wrong, like many intellectuals on the far left. Praise God He does not restrict the revelation of His truth to the well-educated.

I personally believe that the majority of Southern Baptists accept on faith that somehow, though God is sovereign and "knows" how people will decide, this doesn't mean He decides for them. He allows everyone the free will to decide for one's self. It's an unexplainable mystery of God and maybe that's why some insist on deriving a formula that they can undestand, i.e., the "Clavinists".


So, stand with Boyce or other famous, intellectuals who offer such a response when faced with the mystery of the sovereignty of God and freewill of man if you want to. I'll continue to base my position on the preponderence of the spirit and word of Scripture that says that God offers salvation to ALL/each individual has free will to make decisions on salvation/everyone is therefore accountable for their decision to accept or reject Christ and God's "offer" of salvation. (For instance, Jesus mourned over the "young rich ruler's" DECISION not to follow Him. Why would He do that if He had already decided that this man was not included among the saved?)

Also, if God has already decided which of these Thai people where I live are going to hell, what in the world am I doing here trying to convince them that they need Christ??? Maybe a lot of Calvinists stay home because they figure, "What's the use in going??" Actually, we don't find too many Calvinists on the mission field!
Rick Kuter
IMB Missionary-Thailand