When are people in the Southern Baptist Convention going to stand up and say enough is enough? The Southern Baptist Convention is now moving toward a time when everyone must look the same, talk the same, act the same, believe the same on the non-essentials of the faith, or else you will be removed as "not one of us." Today it is private prayer language vs. cessationists and the proper administrator of baptism vs. biblical baptism. Tomorrow it might be Calvinism vs Arminianism or dispensationalism vs. preterism. Where will it end?
The nature of independent, fundamentalist Baptists - Baptists who claim their true Landmark heritage through the ana-baptists of Europe and not the particular Baptists of England - is to separate from everyone who is not the "pure" bride of Christ. These separatists desire no cooperation, demand conformity, and are cock sure that every word they breathe is the mind of God. After a ten year personal slumber, I woke up three years ago and saw that this separatist, Landmark spirit is controlling our Convention and agency boards. I knew that if somebody didn't speak out against the narrowing of the definition of what it means to be a Southern Baptist, then those who "control" the SBC would wind up excluding, removing, and disfellowshipping anyone who didn't look like them. I spoke out for those who believe in the continuation of the gifts, but were removed from our mission field. I have spoken out on behalf of women who taught at our seminaries and were fired for being women. I have spoken out against the extraordinary efforts to turn the SBC into one giant Fundamentalist Baptist church.
This week I pointed out that the architect of the Southern Baptist Convention is now going after Calvinists. Dr. Paige Patterson has expressed his intentions to administrators and professors at SWBTS to not have anyone on faculty at Southwestern who holds to five-point Calvinism. This is not conjecture; it is fact. It is also consistent with his actions of removing anyone who doesn't believe like he. People like Sheri Klouda, who saw nothing wrong with a woman teaching a man Hebrew. People like trustee Dwight McKissic, who believe his gift of a private prayer language is from the Holy Spirit. People like certain professors who believed in the continuation of the gifts. Now Dr. Patterson has turned his eye of disunion to five-point Calvinists.
Ironically, the defenders of this purge in the Southern Baptist Convention, those who are closed-communion, Landmark, separatist Baptists, like Patterson himself, defend Dr. Patterson to the nth degree. Their ideologies line up with his. Unfortunately, the Calvinists are waking up at the time they are the ones in the cross hairs. At some point, the Calvinists who didn't believe me will come back and say, "You were right." I, however, am uninterested in being proved right. I am only interested in people removing their blindfolds and seeing what is happening in our beloved Convention.
I have no problem with Landmark, independent, closed-communion, separatist, fundamentalist Baptists participating in the Southern Baptist Convention. Their anti-women, anti-charismatic, anti-Calvinist, anti-cooperation, and "anti-everthing they are not," does sometimes give me a head ache. But, I do not want them gone.
I want them to stop removing Southern Baptists from ministry and service who aren't like them.
Patterson's Intentions Clear and Consistent
In a taped conversation with Paige Patterson last night, a young pastor who idolizes Dr. Patterson and holds to the same ideology to that of his mentor, asked Dr. Patterson about the "rumors" that he desired to remove the Calvinists from the faculty at Southwestern. The questions and answers, courtesy of the transcript provided by New BBC Forum, are as follows . . .
Interviewer: "I've been asked recently about a rumor that these economic challenges have been used as an excuse uh... to weed out certain professors at Southwestern who hold to a soteriological viewpoint with which you disagree. Is there any truth to that rumor?"
Paige Patterson: "Ummm... eh you... you know... eh uh... I certainly hope not. Uhhh... eh uh... eh... I've lived my entire life... of life in a goldfish bowl... and... as boldly as I know how to do it. Uhhh... we're not certain at all that we're going to have to eliminate any professor. We have been working very, very hard to... ummm... to cut everything else in the world so we don't have to cut professors and... uh... we don't know yet what we're gonna have to do, but we... we're hopeful that we don't have to cut any professors. If we do... ummm... I will not use a... uhhh... screen... uh... to do that with. Ummm... if if if... every decision that I make regarding faculty would be made with a view to assisting the school to be the best school it possibly can be. Ummm... we have every conceivable soteriological view on the campus... uhhh... in terms of five points of Calvinism. We have one-pointers, two-pointers, three-pointers, four-pointers, and five-pointers. Uhhh... I will say this. Uhhh... Southwestern will not build a school in the future around anybody who could not look anybody in the world in the eyes and say, "Christ died for your sins." If there is a problem there, then I believe there's a problem that Southern Baptists would not want to fund.
Paige Patterson: "And so uhhh... uhhh... that would be the case, but I wouldn't be hidin' behind a screen of economic matters... if I had to deal with that".
Paige Patterson: "And uhhh... uh... God willing... ummm... if He's gracious to us... God's people continue to give... maybe we won't have to lay off anybody else."
Interviewer: "That's what we're prayin' for. Yes."
The Confirmation that Calvinists are Targeted Is in the Tape
Other than the interesting fact the interviewer expresses agreement on three separate occasions in his little "interview," it strikes me that Dr. Patterson doesn't deny his agenda, but rather confirms it.
Listen to his words: Southwestern will not build a school in the future around anybody who could not look anybody in the world in the eyes and say, "Christ died for your sins."
Uh, Dr. Patterson, that is precisely what a five-point Calvinist will not do. A Calvinist will not tell just "anybody" that "Christ died for your sins." He will, however, look anybody in the eye and say, "Christ died for sinners. Do you know yourself to be a sinner and in need of a Savior? If so, Christ died for you."
Again, a five point Calvinist will never look just "anybody" in the eye and say "Christ died for you." He will not say that to the man who loves his adultery and scoffs at repentance. He will not say that to a woman who loves herself and will not bow to the Lordship of Christ. He will not say that to Adolph Hitler as Hitler takes Jews to the gas galleys. He will not say that to the sinner who has no sense of his sin. He will not say "Christ died for you" because he doesn't know if Christ did or not.
That's five point Calvinism.
The Calvinist believes that those for whom Christ died evidence Christ's death for them by their faith in the Son and their repentance of sins. God delivers, completely and eternally, only the sinners for whom He gave His Son. This is what Calvinism teaches. As Charles Spurgeon, the great Calvinist preacher of over 150 years ago, so eloquently declared about the elect and the reason God passes over them in judgment:
God will, God must, pass over us, because He spared not our glorious Substitute
The Calvinist is not a universalist. He believes that some sinners will be judged and condemned for their sins. These are those sinners for whom Christ did not die. It is the essence of five-point Calvinism, and these are the people Patterson wishes to purge from Southwestern. If Southern Baptists cannot see that the purging in the Southern Baptist Convention continues, and that anyone who doesn't agree with a particular ecclesiological, soteriological, pneumatological and eschatological ideology of those currently in charge and their vocal sychophants, then we are in a very dangerous place as a cooperating convention of autonomous churches.
There are a few Southern Baptists who do get it. Their blindfolds have been removed. Hopefully, more will follow.
In His Grace,