Every now and then I write something that I later regret. Last July 3, 2012 I sat at the breakfast table and wrote a post entitled Early London Baptists and the SBC: A Comparison. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the post, and stand by the content, but it was the last paragraph where I erred. I wrote: "There's room in the SBC for Baptists who flirt with pelagianism and flout humanism. However, let it not be said they are either historic or traditional in their soteriological and theological views. They are neither." You may ask, 'What's wrong with it?' The best answer to your question is given by Dr. Roger Olson, professor of theology at Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas. He called me out in an article he posted on his own blog. I would encourage you to read Dr. Olson's article and follow his logic. He is correct, and he is absolutely right in calling me out. Below is my response. I have eaten my share of humble pie in the past, and I have rightfully received a big dose tonight. Hopefully I can go on a diet soon! :)
Your post is excellent. With your writing and teaching schedule there is no expectation on my part for you to respond to my comment. I feel compelled to affirm my agreement with you on one major point of what you have written above, and gently disagree with another major point.
First, I agree with your assessment of my poor grammar and even worse spirit in the last sentence of my post. After reading my words again, and more importantly, through your eyes, I wholeheartedly see (and agree) with your assessment of my writing. My post in question was written at the breakfast table in about an hour and fifteen minutes. My silly use of 'flout' was neither caught nor corrected to the appropriate word 'flaunt.' But more importantly, the spirit conveyed by the last sentence in my post was not only completely inappropriate, it was morally wrong. What bothers me most is that I didn't see what I was conveying at the time, but that God had to use you to point it out to me. I repent. I cannot promise I will not make a similar mistake in the future, but I can express my desire to be more on guard against such a poor choice of words, words that do convey a hostile spirit of attack upon my fellow believers. Thank you for rightly exposing it, calling me out, and allowing me here to express my regret and repentance. While this is not the first time I have been guilty of such writing, by God's grace the instances of it will diminish. Thanks for being willing to listen to the Spirit in calling me out.
Second, I do disagree with your assessment (and Glen Stassen's) that the 1644 London Confession was influenced by Menno Simons. I live in Mennonite territory in Northwest Oklahoma, and I understand the kinship of Mennonites with Baptists on the issue of ecclesiology, and if the London Confession's focus was on ecclesiology, I might be in agreement with Stassen's viewpoint. However, the point of my post was to reveal the differences in soteriology between the London Baptists and the European Anabaptists. The 1644 London Confession is predominately theological and focuses more on soteriology than ecclesiology (at least in my opinion). Without doubt, Menno Simons and the Mennonites influenced Baptists in London on the separation of church and state, but the writers of the 1644 London Confession were influenced by people other than Menno Simons. James Renihan says it better than I could when he writes: "This First London Confession of 1644, published prior to the Westminster Confession of Faith, was heavily dependent on older, well-known documents. Probably the best and most detailed Confession available to them was the True Confession of 1596, a document that had been issued by men of stature like the famous commentator on the books of Moses, Henry Ainsworth. About 50% of their Confession was taken directly from this older document. In addition, they relied very heavily on a book called The Marrow of Theology, written by a very famous and important puritan, William Ames. They brought together this material from the sources available to them, for one specific purpose: to prove that they had a great deal in common with the churches and ministers around them. Yes they had some differences, but they were only minor and not central. They were not wild-eyed fanatics intent on overthrowing society as it was known. To the contrary, they were reformed Christians, seeking to advance the principles on which the reformation had been built to their logical conclusion."
Regardless of our disagreement, I wish to once again thank you for your post. It was needed.