Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Johnny Hunt to be nominated for President of the SBC

According to this blog, Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, will be nominated to be president of the SBC in Greensboro, NC this summer.

The announcement, reportedly made by Jerry Vines as he was flanked by Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler and Bailey Smith, raises questions in my mind that I think are worth a thoughtful conversation.

What kind of person would make a good president of the SBC?
Most of our presidents have been pastors of local churches although we have also had men who have been denominational servants who have been elected. The position has certainly changed over the last 25 years. The architects of what has now become known as the conservative resurgence understood that the appointive powers of the president could be used to affect significant change in the SBC over 10 years of consistent leadership. This made the office a vitally important political tool in the effort to set the theological direction of the SBC. The men elected had to be tough-minded and willing to be unpopular. During my days in seminary (1980s) it was common to have professors and administrators speak disparagingly of the presidents who were elected to further the conservative agenda.

Today we are long past the "takeover agenda." So what kind of person makes a good SBC president? Personally, I still want a person of strong theological conviction to be in that role. I also would prefer someone who understands the real theological issues and practical challenges that are facing evangelicals in general and Southern Baptists in particular. The president should also be a churchman; someone who understands our Baptist ecclesiological convictions and unashamedly affirms and defends them.

Secondly, what kind of process is there--or should there be--for a person to be nominated for president? James Hefley, the conservative chronicler of the resurgence, describes the process that existed before the conservative resurgence began in 1979. He describes an "informal group of SBC leaders who worked behind the scenes" to insure that their man became president. Hefley calls these leaders "SBC Kingmakers." He writes, "These well-intentioned kingmakers politicked in informal but successful ways, to get men elected to the presidency ..." (The Truth in Crisis, 5:17). He goes on to describe how the kingmakers very carefully planned to have their man speak in high profile pre-convention meetings in order to place him in "a very strategic position for election to the SBC presidency" (Ibid, 19).

C.R. Daley, who was the longtime editor of the Western Recorder of Kentucky, admitted this kind of secret process in a famous lecture he gave on denominational ethics July 20, 1984, to a class on ministerial ethics at Southern Seminary. In that lecture, he also admitted the complicity of Baptist Press and most state Baptist papers in this king-making effort. Richard Land, current Director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Council of the SBC said this about Daley's lecture: "Well, I admire his honesty, Clearly there was a conspiracy. There was an alliance of opinion shapers and editors at the Convention who sought to promote certain people, who sought to squelch other people, and to manipulate those who ascended to leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention" (quoted in Jerry Sutton, The Baptist Reformation, 56).

I find this very interesting. Daley admits that the deck was stacked in favor of the kingmakers' anointed man in large part because of the cooperation of the "old line strongly established [state Baptist] papers" to promote this candidate to the people. Could that still happen today? In our age of the internet and rapidly deployed media, could a man not anointed by denominational kingmakers and supported by denominational public relations arms be elected president of the SBC? It is an interesting thought.

Thirdly, is it good to have more than one conservative candidate nominated for president of the SBC? Would that breed disunity? Would conservatives who suggested alternative candidates be seen as disloyal and even playing into the hands of the CBF crowd by denominational leaders? Would having two or more legitimate conservatives candidates provide an opportunity for healthy dialogue about Southern Baptist life--with all its needs and potential? I think it could.

Finally, given that the season for mentioning names as candidates for the SBC presidency is now officially open, who are some other folks that you think would make good candidates and why?

Well, those are my thoughts. I am interested in hearing yours.


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Tom said...


Thanks for the quote. I do not believe with Dr. Akin that the Abstract was written PURPOSEFULLY to allow wiggle room on effectual calling. Perhaps there is information that he has regarding Basil Manly, Jr. or his process of writing the Abstract that I do not have. I am open to being instructed on authorial intent, but I find it dubious to ignore such intent.

Now, I have answered your questions. When will you answer mine?

G. Alford said...

Dr. Caner,

I hate to pile the question on, but as other here have noted, you and your brother have ask a few so I will do the same.

1.) Why are you so concerned about what is going on at Southern Seminary? Don’t you have your own Seminary to run? And what about your fellow Seminary Deans (Albert Mohler in particular who has actually said that Calvinism is the Gospel) are you saying they are Heretics and should be driven from their Universities and put out of the Convention?
2.) Now About Liberty University – Can a 5 point Calvinist teach at Liberty or are they banned? What about a 3 or 4 pointer? And what points are acceptable and what points are unacceptable? Please make this clear for all of us.
3.) How about young Calvinistic students? Are they also banned form attending Liberty?
4.) And along the lines of the IMB missionary policy what kind of Baptist churches can send students to Liberty? If the church has Elders can they send students to Liberty? What if the Church affirms all 5 points or even 4 points of Calvinism can they send students to liberty? Heaven forbid, what if the student was Baptized in a Presbyterian Church then transferred to a Baptist church can they attend Liberty? These students could one day end up the Pastor of one of your Landmark Baptist churches and it would be horrible if these churches were misled into thinking they were good Landmark Baptist because they graduated form Liberty when their Baptism was not correct or even worse they were Calvinist.

Perhaps you need to ask Brother Jerry before you dare an answer to any of these questions… please take your time. After all as you or your brother said in a previous post “A lot of people are watching” and I know you don’t want to say anything in public like this that will damage the reputation of Liberty University and perhaps cause a large number of the SBC Pastors and Churches to make it a point to warn their members not to send students to Liberty. So I will understand if it takes you a little time to answer.

Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

To our OLD LIGHT Brethren:

Well- at least things are getting interesting...

1. DR. WHITE VS. DR GEISLER: Interesting that Dr. White believes he corrected Dr. Geisler's Chosen But Free...virtually every person I know who has read the 2nd edition of CHOSEN, even reformed-minded, believe Dr. Geisler thoroughly won...

2. DEBATE DR. WHITE: Explain to me again- WHY debate a non-Southern Baptist again? I thought Founders was an SBC site? Perhaps I was mistaken.

3. DEBATE AT RTS: Huh? My goodness. In fact, I would love to debate a Southern Baptist...on the campus of a Southern Baptist school. Liberty University comes to mind. Imagine a debate with 9000 kids in attendance. However, debating at a Presbyterian, or Semi-Presbyterian school might be dangerous. Knowing historically how Calvin himself treated Anabaptists, I don't know if I would feel safe. I would feel like Huss, attending Constance in 1415.

4. LU FAILING CALVINISTS? No, my friend. We even have a few 5-pointers on faculty, though I certainly do not have them at the Seminary. This is not because I will not hire them, and neither is it because we keep out Calvinistic students. The problem is, when they know that we REQUIRE personal soul winning, they usually transfer.

5. GIVEAWAYS- Dr. Ascol, I would modify the question you posed to my brother. Would I agree with giving a "car" away to get people to come down the aisle, or to the person who "wins the most souls?" ABSOLUTELY NOT! I agree whole-heartedly, this is not only an abomination, but an embarrassment to the Body of Christ. Do I feel the same about getting people into church? NO. Not unless you add to that list, such as selling tickets, or advertizing some singer like Scott Camp. ANYTHING we do to entice must either be acceptable or not acceptable, it cannot just be a matter of degrees. Do I do those things? Of course not. Do all churches make posters, advertising/enticing people to attend? Of course they do. I have two Ligoniers posters from Dr. Sproul to prove it.

6. CHURCH DISCIPLINE: Dr. Ascol, here, you and I agree completely. I have NEVER found the "non-resident membership" rolls in the Bible either! I cannot stand this type of numbers-obsession. I believe Church Discipline MUST be brought back. For instance, I had a deacon who, holding to a more reformed doctrine than I, would come and teach his SS class at our church, but attend services elsewhere. We disciplined him- off the rolls, and no longer teaching.

7. BLASPHEMY: One gentleman, in NOT answering my question, actually said my question was close to blasphemy. Fascinating! I would add that only ascribing the work of Christ to your select few friends and family seems to be trambling the blood of Christ underfoot as well.

I simply ask again- To a 5-pointer Bezian, WHAT is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? What is the one unforgivable sin? How do I resist the irresistible, and how can I resist something that shouldn't have been offered to me in the first place?

8. PERSONAL ATTACKS: This I find the most laughable. We read blog after blog and page after page of personal attacks on Drs. Hunt, Patterson, Falwell, etc. Attacks on churches. YET when someone DARES to question any of your heroes, the cry rises, "Brethren, this is in the wrong spirit..." Get used to it. Apologetics and polemics demand a balance, and just because we do not sit idly by while you mock men of God we respect, you cannot cry foul. We (Sandy Creeker SBC) do not hold all your men sacrosanct. It is clear you hold the same position toward us.

Evidentially, not Presuppositionally:


Sojourner said...

Dr. Caner the Greater,

Being the creepy, barnacle-like, virus carrying Christian that I am, I find it interesting that you only wish to debate a Southern Baptist. I thought it was only we Calvinistas who sought to infiltrate the SBC and "win" people over to our nefarious theology. Evidentally, Dr. White's debates with Muslims and others outside of the Southern Baptist life is an unworthy waste of time.

Like it or not, I have been duped as a Southern Baptist by men like James White and John Piper and RC Sproul on certain issues. I suspect that there are others who have been duped by their logic and rational handling of the Scriptures. A debate with Dr. White by one such as yourself might be beneficial to the convention as a whole and help to save those who are following the Pied Piper of Minnesota's Metropolis. For mercy's sake, help us.

I also agree with you that you should find a more neutral location than some Presby seminary. I believe that this may be the indication that Dr. White is in cohoots with paedo-baptists, and like John Gill of old, they may pounce on you and burn you for refusing baptism to your children.

Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

To Brother Olford:

I liked your post! Good content- great questions.

1. WHY INTERESTED IN SBTS: Let me explain Baptist polity. The seminaries are owned by the churches. Churches send messengers, who nominate the Committee on Committees, who nominate the Trustees, who dictate to the seminaries. Thus, I am always concerned about our institutions.

One final note of interest, however- I WAS A TRUSTEE at Southern Seminary.

2. GOOD QUESTION THOUGH- Because you bring up a salient point. Last year, the Exec Committee got every seminary to sign off on "sole ownership," which was a legal method of bypassing the aforementioned Baptist polity. This action- by conservatives no less- was purported to protect our institutions from a liberal slide, such as has taken place at Baylor, etc. The problem is, you cannot do the right thing the wrong way! The reason NOBTS fought this (rightly in my mind) was because it placed the Executive Committee OVER the Seminaries. This was a VIOLATION of Free Church doctrine.

3. LIBERTY AND LANDMARKERS: Another very salient point. It shows you know history. It is absolutely true, Liberty has a strong independent Baptist history- some KJV-only guys, Trail of Blood guys, etc. A few years ago, when we united with the SBCV, we became Southern Baptist, but without a sole voice on our Trustee board. That means, the state convention (SBCV) does not appoint our Trsutees- they have trustees ON the Board, nominated by the SBCV, but they do not have a sole voice through the state convention, and thus the state churches. However, as Baylor, Mercer, etc. have proven, here we stand in majority ground. MANY of the "Southern Baptist" state schools are also NOT in direct linkage. If that means we are not SBC, in your mind, then fine. However, be consistent- that means those schools are ALSO NOT SBC.


Dr. Olford, this was funny to me as well. It did not take any time for me to respond, though. You are absolutely RIGHT, I would not want to say anything to embarrass him! However, this is not because he is my Chancellor- he knew he was getting a lightening rod when he called me. It is not because it might cause any 5-pointers to stop sending their kids here. Virtually all of you are tied to Boyce genetically. No, I am accountable to Dr. Falwell because he is also my PASTOR, and I hold to the Baptist doctrine of Pastoral Authority.


Emir Caner said...


Though I did not know my brother was going to respond to your comments that were pointed at me, his spirit bears witness with my spirit.

Nonetheless, allow me to add a few comments to your questions. First, I agree with my brother that enticing a group to church through "advertisements" or "giveaways" does not violate the glory of God. Would you think that free pizza for youth night does so? What about giving away a free rifle for a Sportsmen's Banquet? Or perhaps giving away a free book if they will come to church?

Second, like Hubmaier, I wholeheartedly agree with you -- as my Baptist History students can attest over the last seven years -- that a church without church discipline does not meet the standards of the New Testament. Perhaps it is on this point that you and I need to speak further in order to help our convention churches gain a healthier balance. In fact, I recommend to my students to do church discipline in much the same manner as John MacArthur. I especially appreciate his connection of discipline with the Lord's Supper.

Third, like Dr. Patterson stated clearly when he was president of the SBC, I do not agree with non-resident members and mock such a thing in my classes. We need to purge our rolls in order to regain the purity of the churches!

Fourth, the Abstract of Principles is based partly on the Second London Confession. But if they wanted a full agreement with the document, why not merely accept its parameters within the seminary like many Reformed Baptist churches have done?

Now, I know you will have follow-up questions for me. So allow me to ask one (after a brief comment):

Some of asked why I am pressing on this issue, so allow me to answer. If you believe that the Abstract is fully in sync with the Second London Confession, then those who sign it with integrity must be fully Reformed. Thus, my question (in two parts):

1. Since there are those who have signed it at both institutions who are not 4-5 point Calvinists, have they signed the confession falsely and without integrity (assuming they read it through carefully)?

2. Since we (rightly) argue that those who cannot sign the BFM 2000 shouldn't teach at our seminaries, do you believe likewise, in accordance with your view, that those who are not 4-5 pointers should not teach at SEBTS and SBTS. And further, those who are teaching at the two institutions presently should be fired or asked to resign?


ajlin said...

When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. Thus Shimei said when he cursed, "Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are {taken} in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!" Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head." But the king said, "What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, 'Curse David,' then who shall say, 'Why have you done so?'" Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him. Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day." (II Sam. 16:5-12 NASB)

I am a member of a Founders-affiliated SBC church (Grace Heritage Church) in Auburn, Alabama. Along with many of you, I have been offended at the mischaraterizations and unsubstantiated charges offered by the Drs. Caner in this comment thread. I would like to encourage everyone here, however, not to give a place to anger or bitterness against these obstinate individuals, but to recognize that the Lord uses people such as these to teach us humility, and so our primary response should be one of patient self-examination so that the blessings of God may come out of the cursings of men. In particular, I would like to emphasize that the American church as a whole is truly given to slothfulness, especially in matters of prayer and evangelism. We who hold to Reformation theology are under special scrutiny for any defecit in these areas, as we have been charged with under-emphasis on human responsibility. Let us not seek to justify ourselves through arguments with hard-hearted people who have no desire to be corrected, but rather through godly lives in which we regularly dedicate ourselves to prayer and diligently seek to make opportunities for Gospel proclamation.

Your brother in Christ,

centuri0n said...

Well. Nice to see we had a blog here and a business meeting broke out ...

Tom said...

I appreciate Caner the Greater responding to some of the questions posed here. Perhaps your brother will take his cue from you and do the same.

It really surprises me to find you defending the practice of giving away a car to entice people to come to church! Before today no one could have persuaded me that you would ever defend that kind of practice.

I do not understand how you can equate putting up a poster advertising a special meeting or speaker with giving away an automobile as a door prize. Do you really equate the following "invitations" to church? --

1. "Come to Tenth Baptist Church and hear Dr. Ergun Caner speak!"

2. "Come to Tenth Baptist Church and get a chance to win a free car or one of the many hundred dollar bills that will be given away!"

This is not a Calvinism issue. I do not know of any of my non-Calvinist friends who would equate or who would, like you, defend the latter. I suppose this simply further highlights our differences.

I am glad to hear you speak plainly about church discipline. I have suspected that you, with your deep appreciation for the Anabaptists, felt as strongly about this as I do, but I fear that some of the readers here may not have known that about you. Do you think that a church that does not practice discipline is a true New Testament church?

Brian Hamrick said...

(slightly off-topic)

Hey Tom, ever thought about creating a Founders Forum where these things can be discussed more openly and freely?

I suggest keeping the blog and adding this feature to allow more conversation.

D.R. said...


Since you didn't answer my questions, let me repost them for you. I will assume that you just forgot rather than you were intentionally trying to avoid them as has been suggested of us at times. Here they are in outline form (the first three are basically the same question):

1. You said, "A Hyper-Calvinist is one who goes beyond Calvin. Period." Can you provide historical or scholarly support to evidence this is any more than your own views?

2. I have never seen any work on Hyper-calvinism that suggest it is defined as going beyond Calvin. If it is only your assessment, why should you get to redefine a term in 2006, having a generally fixed definition since at least the mid-1800's?

3. After posting the definition from Peter Toon that Phil Johnson quoted, I asked the following questions: Which begs the question, on what basis would you disagree with Toon? Can you appeal to any other reputable source other than yourself and your brother on this definition of hyper-Calvinism?

3. Additionally, while you are convinced by Dr. Kennedy's assessment, there are actually a number of more widely respected scholars (specifically Roger Nicole) on Calvin that have published to the contrary. Thus if your definition of hyper-calvinism is based upon disputed views of Calvin, how can you so confidently label one in such a derrogatory way (I assume that you believe that your view of hyper-calvinistic theology leads to traditional hyper-calvinistic practice, i.e., no presentation of the Gospel)?

4. Also, have you actually read "Let the Nations Be Glad!" or any other Piper book for that matter? If so, which ones?

5. Finally, have you ever discussed these issues with Dr. Piper, or confronted him with your assessment that he is a hyper-Calvinist?

Emir, in fairness since you and your brother have "required" us to answer all of your questions, then I believe you should answer all of ours. So please do so. Thanks for your time.

And to Ergun, would you debate a professor at a Southern Baptist Seminary (is that SBC enough for you)? Possibly at a neutral location? Say another SBC seminary?

Tim Batchelor said...

Caner Brothers,

I have enjoyed reading your provocative thoughts and responses on the board over the past days. Your use of hyperbole while entertaining apparently has been missed by many soberminded Calvinists. You well know that preacher Johnny needs no one to defend him as he is man enough to stand on his own but it has certainly given you opportunity to engage all in a lively discussion.

That said, The attacks of preacher Johnny & other well know evangelists (and perhaps yourselves) against "Calvinists" remind me of the nearsighted Don Quixhote fighting the windmill. It makes it appear to others that they are looking for a fight with anything that moves.

Since their attacks rarely tell us which aspects of Calvinism are "straight from the pit of hell" (as I heard one evangelist preach) we are left wondering which points we may hold to and not be the target of such attacks. When they do get specific, their generalizations and mischaracterizations of "Calvinists" lead us all to think that if we knew someone like that we'd want to burn them at the stake too. Therein lies the offense many have toward such men you hold in high regard.


Thanks for allowing the give and take on your blog.

The greatest Calvinist who ever lived wrote, "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." Col 1:28-29

It's hard to wiggle out from under that isn't it.

I deeply appreciate the tension that both sides of such debate creates because it pulls all of us (no matter what our soteriological system) toward a practice that is in keeping with Scripture and which exalts the Son and glorifies the Heavenly Father.

Tim Batchelor

Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

Dr. Ascol:

Having read the recent posts, and knowing Emir, I can speak for both of us, on this issue:

1. TRUE New Testament Churches, in our view, MUST practice church discipline to maintain fidelity to the text and model.

2. We both hold that Church discipline is tied to the Lord's Supper in the local church.

3. As we believe church discipline is a local church issue, we believe it MUST be followed in those confines- meaning that churches that do NOt practice it, endanger themselves moreso than those who do carry it out. It is, in our minds, in fact an evangelistic tool, since it protects the reputation of the Lord's church in their context.

4. We also believe church discipline must be enacted on those who violate Scripture - issues that usually rise to the top include teaching heresy. I personally also include gossippers, sowing discord among the brethren, and not following pastoral authority.

5. We both also believe that a lack of faithfulness to the Lord's work is guilty as well. Not attending, not tithing, etc. Non-resident membership does NOT exist! It is wrong.

6. However, here is where it gets "gummed up." I would quickly add that those subject to church discipline would also include those who attempt to "lord over" the body. This includes deacons who vote for the people, or elders who do the same. This includes pastors as well. The model of pastoral authority is the servant shepherd.

Ergun Mehmet Caner said...

To Tim:

Please do not equate the Apostle Paul with Calvin. Please- how DID the Church ever SURVIVE without the apostolic work of the Geneva reformer?

And before you say "Augustine," please specify- do you mean the early Augustine, or the later, pedobaptist, Rome-as-the-mother-of-salvation Augustine?

Whosoever will-


Emir Caner said...


I posted my reply at 12:59 with specific answers, as well as a follow-up question.

If you do not believe these responses were adequate, please send again and I would gladly respond. Also, please answer my follow-up question in the process.

Thank you.


Tom said...

Dr. Emir:

Thanks for your response, but would you mind going ahead and answering the questions as posed? A simple yes or no will suffice, if you feel that you can represent your views that briefly and not misspeak.

I restate the questions here for your convenience. Also, to let you know that I have no trick up my sleeve, I will answer them myself, for what it is worth.

1. Would you agree that a pastor who offers to give away hundred dollar bills to get people to attend an evangelistic crusade is dishonoring Christ and the Gospel by doing so?

TA: Yes.

2. Would you agree that giving a car as a door prize to entice people to attend a preaching service is dishonoring to Christ and the Gospel?

TA: Yes.

3. Is a church that does not practice discipline a New Testament church?

TA: No.

4. Is a church that has less than 80% of its members regularly attending corporate worship once a week a spiritually healthy church?

TA: No.

5. Is a church that has less than 50% of its members regularly attending corporate worship once a week a church worth holding up as a model for other churches?

TA: No.

6. Of what is the "Abstract of Principles" an abstract?

TA: The Second London Confession.

I would love to talk further with you about the whole matter of discipline in our churches. This is not, as you no doubt know far better than I, a Calvinist vs. Arminian or Anabaptist vs. Protestant or Reformed vs. nonreformed issue. Somehow, we must get this off the back burner and into a place of prominent discussion in our day. I would be honored to work with you in any way that might be helpful to encourage that. Thanks for teaching your students about church discipline. May others follow your example in doing so.

I do not think that one must be a thorough-going, 1689 Confession person to sign the Abstract. I do not see how anyone who rejects effectual calling can wholeheartedly agree with article 8 on regeneration, which says,

"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."

I suppose one could have a carefully nuanced view (along the lines of BH Carroll) and not fully embrace effectual calling and yet still sign it. But, when the question arises about what that article actually teaches, honesty seems to dictate looking at the meaning of the one who authored it--or commissioned it. When the views of Manly and are Boyce are considered, much light is shed on such questions.

That being said, I would never advocate a conscientious 3 pointer who nevertheless stated his views of calling and regeneration in terms of article 8 be removed from a teaching post which he gained by signing the Abstract of Principles.

I do believe that confessional integrity requires that those who accept the responsibility to teach at one of our institutions be willing to accept conscientiously the doctrinal formulary of that institution.

Do you think that a person who does not wholeheartedly embrace unconditional election should not be allowed to teach at Southern or Southeastern Seminary?

Tom said...


For some reason, I missed your latest post before posting my last one (I hope that makes sense!). At any rate, as I asked, I would like you to respond more specifically. I addressed your followup questions, as well.

Tom said...

From Dr. White to Dr. Ergun Caner:

Dear Dr. Caner:

Today I logged on to your website, erguncaner.com, and noted the very professional appearance of the site. It likewise has a large graphic with the phrases, "without fear, without fail, without flinching." In light of your consistent avoidance of direct challenges from credible individuals such as myself to debate, and I would hope, correct your misapprehensions and misrepresentations of Reformed theology, I found the graphic somewhat ironic. It does seem that on the issue of your erroneous statements on "Calvinism," you have, and continue to, both flinch, and fail.

You are aware, sir, that you have been approached a number of times to debate this issue. I doubt highly, sir, that you have been challenged to debate by anyone with more documented debate experience; I likewise doubt you have been challenged by someone who has taught at a Southern Baptist Seminary since 1995, either. I doubt you have been challenged by someone who has written as many books on the subject, and defended the topic in debate, as often as I have. If I am incorrect, I ask you to correct me.

Dr. Caner, I am asking you directly if you have 1) ever read any of my books; 2) ever read The Potter's Freedom; 3) ever read any of my other books relevant to Calvinism, including my recent debate book with Dave Hunt; 4) ever listened to any debates I have ever done. Could you answer these questions? They seem to go directly to the credibility of one who would claim, as you have claimed, that Dr. Geisler's appendix, which has been thoroughly debunked on an embarrassing level, is in fact worthy of being given any level of credibility. Also, if you are going to claim that the appendix, which is so poor it cannot even cite my book correctly 3/4s of the time, and even accuses me of misrepresentation when I was the one who caught the original typographical error in Geisler's book, reported it to Bethany House so it could be fixed (a fact Geisler missed), should you not take the time to at least read my fully documented response which is, I believe, longer than Geisler's appendix? One that has never even been mentioned by Geisler, let alone refuted? Surely you do not use this kind of approach when approaching the likes of Badawi or Ally, do you?

You wrote:

1. DR. WHITE VS. DR GEISLER: Interesting that Dr. White believes he corrected Dr. Geisler's Chosen But Free...virtually every person I know who has read the 2nd edition of CHOSEN, even reformed-minded, believe Dr. Geisler thoroughly won...

Could you direct me, sir, to any Reformed minded person, just one, who actually read Geisler's appendix, read my book, read my response, and came to such a conclusion? Just one, sir? I've never met one, personally, so I would like to do so. I'm sure you could do so, or you would never say such a thing in public.

You likewise said:

2. DEBATE DR. WHITE: Explain to me again- WHY debate a non-Southern Baptist again? I thought Founders was an SBC site? Perhaps I was mistaken.

I was originally ordained and licensed in a Southern Baptist Church; graduate of a Southern Baptist College; and have been teaching for a dozen years in a Southern Baptist seminary. Further, as a Reformed Baptist, exactly what distinctive of "Baptist" do you think is necessary to be able to debate this issue properly? I have debated Presbyterians on the topic of paedobaptism, and will be doing so again in just a matter of months (Bill Shishko of the OPC). I hold to, and defend, Baptist distinctives. I am sorry, but for someone who promotes himself as you do as fearless, making an issue of this seems quite out of line, don't you think?

Dr. Caner, either you do not understand Calvinism, or you are misrepresenting it. Out of Christian charity I will say you do not understand it. I believe God's people would be very blessed by a thorough, biblically based debate on the doctrines of grace. I would gladly do so at Liberty University, or any location of your request, before all of your students. You need to remember, Dr. Caner, that I am willing to debate Shabir Ally in Toronto in front of his own audience; I have mentioned my desire to debate him in Birmingham, UK, before the Islamic Student's Association. I do not make these challenges lightly---and I can promise you a very challenging debate, if you will simply realize that you need to stand up and defend your claims in public debate. If you will look at www.aomin.org/James.html, you will be able to see that I have a long history of meaningful, scholarly, respectful debates on a wide variety of issues. Truly, outside of scheduling issues, there should be no reason why you would continue to take the public stands that you do without facing me in public and Christian debate on this issue. I look forward to hearing from you, especially in response to my questions asked above.


Tim Batchelor said...


Could you not sense that my reference was an attempt inject humor on a blog that needs to lighten up a little.


Emir Caner said...


Please know that I am not dodging your questions, but must find time to answer them as well. I also did not want to complicate the blog until the string of questions with Tom had taken place.


P.T. said...

I nominate my mentor, and former NOBTS preaching prof, Dr. Shaddix. He is now the Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver. He is committed to exposition, and biblical doctrine. While not an outspoken Calvinist, he is reformed in his understanding of salvation. He recently published The Passion Driven Sermon in which he thanks Piper in the beginning for his influence. His other text, Power in the Pulpit, was co-written by Jerry Vines. This may help his cause.

D.R. said...


I didn't think you were dodging, as I pointed out and I put them in outline order so they would be easier to see and respond to. I realize you are a busy guy. I am too, but thankfully I was off work today. So take your time so that you can provide some thorough answers and hopefully clear things up a bit for all of us.

Stephen A Morse said...

I cannot believe that I have made it through all of the posts (so far). I wonder if the Centuri0n will make me a T-shirt: Someone read all of these comments and all I got was the T-shirt or somethng like that!
Dr Caner (I lost track of who was the lesser and/or the greater and so I am speaking to the one who spoke in Nashville last Summer at the convention). You and Voddie were, for me, the most worthwhile sermons that I heard (I heard them all). After your 20 minute standup routine (I needed the humor, thank you) I appreciated your appeal for Southern Baptists to remember our heritage. The very fact that you have been personally involved with the Convention for so many years speaks volumes for your commitment to the Gospel of Christ in our convention. Thank you sir.
After hearing your sermon at the convention I do understand that your style is to be - would sarcastic be the appropriate term? I think most of the individuals here are the same way (although some of the posts tend to 'feel' otherwise). All that being the same, are we (Calvinists) wrong for being concerned with the original issue pointed out by Dr. Ascol - that Pastor Hunt is so anti-calvinistic? Are we wrong for being concerned that there doesn't seem to any give and take coming from the other side (look, I know that there isn't much from our side either so give me the benefit of the doubt and try to answer the question in the spirit it is bieng asked)?
What, according to you and your brother (my brother will be reading this soon and so I want to be inclusive), are essentials for fellowship? Are these tenets of Calvinism or Remonstration divisive enough to keep us from cooperating in missions and ministry?
Thanks for your time.

No Name said...

As one who is not a scholar and has been reading this blog, many questions come to my mind for both sides of this discussion. A debate would be helpful and I for one would love to see it happen between Dr Ergun Caner and Dr. James White. I could care less about the SBC tag, as long as you guys debate from the scriptures more than from history and logic it could be a real learning experience.

Hey, you guys even look alike with your shaved heads. One of you might have to wear a hat to help us in the audience know who is who. What do you say do we have a debate?

Sojourner said...

Dr. Caner the Greater,

You asked for a simple reason for you to debate a non-SBCer like Dr. James White. I shall endeavor here to convince you of at least one.

Think of our Anabaptist forefathers. Hubmaier et al. Did they ever shirk a debate based on denominations? Not with the Lord's honor at stake they did not! Why, our brethren would debate any Romanist, paedo-baptist, or any taker on any subject at any place, or so history would seem to teach us. Even when there were evil Presbyterians/Catholics waiting in the wings to flay them alive and drown them with permanent baptism in the local river for their troubles! And sir, this Barnacle has offered to debate you in your own house, before your very own students! Think of the opportunity you have to scrape the hull of your flagship of this viral, barnacle infestation once and for all!

If Dr. Geisler can reduce Dr. White's efforts to rubble in a mere 13 pages, imagine the damage you could do to particular redemptionist in a formal debate. I submit that your Free Church forefathers would wish for you to crush underfoot any error that would dishonor the Lord. The gauntlet is down, sir? Will you not pick it up for the Lord's sake? Alas, I fear that if you do not people will begin to get the mistaken opinion that you lack the intestinal fortitude to take up the challenge. Or worse, that you are merely blowing hot air.

I hope that you are not too put off by my obvious baiting and peanut gallery antics. I can't help myself; it is a certain sign of my immaturity. That, and I have read too much Luther for my own good. If you look up the stats for the church I pastor in Plaquemine, LA, you will find that we barely baptized ten souls last year anyway. I can safely be ignored, but I at least have the luxury of speaking.

The Thistle speaking to the Cedars of Lebanon,

Brad Williams
Pastor, FBC Plaquemine

Tim Batchelor said...


You asked the question, “Please- how DID the Church ever SURVIVE without the apostolic work of the Geneva reformer?”

I had no intention of delving into the question, but it is indeed a glorious question though perhaps asked tongue in cheek.

It is a wonder of grace that the church survived all those centuries before Calvin and Luther (I might add). Indeed church history tells shows that from the middle of the first century the church as a whole drifted further and further from New Testament orthodoxy (though perhaps an orthodox remnant remained). Indeed the body (the church) would not have survived at all if its Head were not still alive and on the throne. The church survives only because the Head is far greater than the body. For all the body’s weaknesses, deformities, liabilities and inadequacies the Head is all sufficient and is able to make it stand to accomplish His glorious purpose. Inadequate as they were God used Calvin, Luther, and may I add, Zwingli and the Anabaptists and a multutide of others only because of His wisdom and grace. I tremble at how little I understand of my glorious King and His unsearchable ways and even more so at my inadequate practice of what He has so clearly revealed. I am also deeply humbled that He might choose use a plain vessel inadequate as I may be as He has chosen a multutude of others throughout the centuries. And so my answer is that Christ Himself has always and will continue to preserve His church through His divine wisdom and power using weak and inadequate vessels according to His glorious purpose.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25


centuri0n said...

OK -- since my joke went over like a led zeppelin (sic), let me say this instead:

I have this blog called DebateBlog, and I'd be willing to have an exchange of up to 10 questions with anyone who thinks that Calvinism is a false view of the Gospel, and as such is or will hurt the SBC.

You can e-mail me at carm.centuri0n@yahoo.com if you are interested in such an exchange, given the rules outlined at that blog. For the record, the rules are pretty open-ended and govern the scope of the exchange.

Thanks for thinking about it.

Pastor Kevin said...

Getting back to your original question, "What kind of candidate would make a good president?" I believe, though there are many elements that need be considered when nominating a president for the convention, I believe there is one element often overlooked.

With much talk centered on NAMB and the IMB and the Cooperative Program, I believe that any candidate that is to be president of the convention, his church, whether layman or pastor, needs to meet the standard of what is known as a cooperating church. I might be wrong, but I think the "standard" of giving to the Cooperative Program from SBC churches is *roughly* 10%. Should an individual be president if his church doesn't meet the standard of giving? That is an honest question.

Uncialman said...

Greetings again Dr. Caner:

I apologize for my lack of communication in the development of this thread: I am currently aboard a cruise ship and the signal is "iffy."

Let me again extend an invitation for you to debate Dr. White in 2007. I would be more than happy to stage the debate between yourself and Dr. White at a large hotel ballroom (Completely neutral territory) in Florida, NYC, or San Diego prior to his cruise in 2007. Another idea would be to actually hold the debate aboard ship during Dr. White's cruise in 2007. Either way, I want to be as flexible as possible to accomplish this endeavor.

Please feel free to contact me directly at mike@sovereigncruises.org . All transmissions will be respectively confidential.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Michael O'Fallon
Sovereign Cruises LLC
877-SOV-CRUISE ext. 3

centuri0n said...


Dude: you're unstoppable. You're like ... like ... you're like a giant cruise ship that cannot be stopped.

centuri0n said...

Pastor Kev:

I'm am 100% sure that many SBC churhes do not give 10% to the SBC. It may be true that many of them are "starters" and can't quite meet their own bills, but that is neither here nor there.

However, it seems interesting to me that cooperation would have the practical meaning "pays enough money". It seems to me that cooperation means things like "willing to share local ministry burden when the opportunity arises." I'd be interested to see what you have to say about that before I said any more.

Uncialman said...


We can do a "Brothers That Blog" cruise. :o) With Phil Johnson, Campi, Dr. White, Burk Parsons, Deo, and skyman aboard this year, CenturiOn would be wonderful addition!!

Sadly, Brother Ascol will not be joining us. :o( He's got plans in Alaska. :o)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Michael O'Fallon
Sovereign Cruises LLC
877-SOV-CRUISE ext. 3

GeneMBridges said...

It's rather interesting that *all* the questions being put to Calvinists in this thread are being answered quite thoroughly. For all the historical arguments, the biblical, of course are the ones that matter most. I couldn't help but notice this one rather far up in the thread.

Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this, because that man deserves it; no reply but that can ever be true. There are some who answer, divine sovereignty; but I challenge them to look that doctrine in the face. Do you believe that God created man and arbitrarily, sovereignly—it is the same thing—created that man, with no other intention, than that of damning him? Made him, and yet, for no other reason than that of destroying him for ever? Well, if you can believe it, I pity you, that is all I can say.

Well, in that very chapter from which you preached, we are told this was so that God's calling and election might stand. The very next parallel there is between Moses, who received mercy, and Pharaoh who received none.

Your objection however, is facile. Calvinism has an answer: for the display of His mercy and justice. However, the lack of critical thinking here is rather astounding is it not..for this objection applies to the free will position with equal if not more force, for, in your view God creates men whom He knows ahead of time will not choose to believe or will never have any chance at all to believe, *and* He says He loves them redemptively and is doing all He can for their salvation.

As to the objection this is arbitrary, this too is applicable to your theology, not ours. I should think what has no purpose is arbitrary.

There is a sense in which mercy is arbitrary in a way that justice is not, for mercy, by definition, is undeserved, and not, therefore, obligatory. Reformed theology does not teach there is no selection criterion at all. It is merely hidden and undisclosed. We do not tell God He is arbitrary for what not disclosing His reasons. Is a storm that God causes “arbitrary?”

To say that it is arbitrary in the above sense is not to say that it's unjust or unfair, for inequality of treatment is only unjust when it denies a party his just claims to something. But, by definition, no one has a just claim on the "mercy" of God. All are condemned as sinners and deserve death. (cf. Romans 3).

If the purpose of reprobation is to manifest the mercy of God (Romans 9), then how is that arbitrary? By attacking the doctrine of reprobation, your objection has just supplied a reason for reprobation. Ergo, it is an irrational objection.

Something would only be arbitrary if it had no rationale, no overarching aim. What is arbitrary has no reason or criterion and therefore no purpose. Scripture declares in Ephesians 1 that we have been predestined according to the kind intention of God’s will, and Romans 8 says that part of the reason has to do with God’s intention that Christ be the firstborn of many brethren and that part of this purpose extends to us being conformed to Christ’s image. Therefore, election/predestination is in no way “arbitrary” because it is not random or purposeless.

Just because God has not revealed something to us, that is not a reason to reject truth or criticize it. If that was so, we would lose many of the doctrines of our faith, up to and including, but not limited to, the simultaneous divinity and humanity of Christ, the atonement at Calvary, the virgin birth, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, creation from nothing, and the Trinity, and all accounts of all miracles! We do not edit God, based on the limits of what is mysterious, even within the confines of Scripture, for He simply does not explain everything to us! We are, however, responsible to study and understand God’s Word properly for what He has revealed to us. This includes the sovereign righteousness and freedom of God in all matters, including individual salvation.

On the contrary, it is under your view, not ours, that damnation is arbitrary. The Calvinist says that God creates the damned as a means of manifesting his attribute of justice. By contrast, you can't give any reason for why God would make men knowing they would sin and fall under condemnation and never believe and be saved.

Moreover, since God is not actively foreknowing and predestinating people, in the Arminian system, we see real impersonal determinism working itself out by way of real fatalism. Thus the free will position that seeks to preserve man’s freedom of choice is, in reality, impersonal and fixed, thus being both deterministic and fatalistic. The only way to make it less fixed is the way of Open Theism, which denies the omniscience and omnipotence of God! The Calvinist position is personal, and God is active in the lives of people who make real choices with real moral boundaries. Calvinism is thus inherently personal for both God and man! Moreover, Calvinism denies libertarian free will. Fatalism has historically affirmed libertarian free will. So, what we have in your system is an infallibly foreknown election based on foreseen faith, and men come to it by way of contra-causal freedom. Ergo, this is real fatalism. John Frame once said in regard to the difference between Determinism & Fatalism: Determinism means that all events are rendered unavoidable by the causes, which include our choices. Fatalism says all events will happen, regardless of our choices.

We agree with Arminians that real, impersonal determinism and fatalism are repugnant to God and man and perversion of the gospel. We thank them for pointing this out. Why then, we ask, do they believe that very thing themselves? If you object to determinism, then how can you logically maintain that Scripture is inerrant and that the prophetic information within it did indeed (and will indeed) infallibly come to pass?

The logic that asserts the contra-causal freedom and rejects effectual calling saying it would make men "robots" would, if it was remotely consistent, either deny inerrancy or assert that Scripture could not have been inspired and resulted in an inerrant document without men being "robots."

Your objection also confounds responsibility and blame. You're simply trotting out the old "men are damned by God's decree" objection. It's really quite unsophisticated, and I'm surprised a man of your caliber would invoke it. Responsibility is a necessary, but insufficient condition for blame. The decrees are necessary, but insufficient conditions of justificaition and condemnation.

People are condemned on account of their sins, and for this reason, they are lost, and for this reason, they are, apart from Christ, sent to hell.

First, election renders a thing certain. However, election alone is insufficient to render a person justified. Reprobation as preterition (passing over) of a sinner is a necessary, but alone an insufficient condition to result in condemnation. Faith in Christ is both necessary and sufficient to guarantee justification. Sin is both necessary and sufficient to guarantee condemnation. All men are sinners, and all men without exception are unable to believe in Christ and repent of their sins. This inability is moral, not natural. They “can’t” because they “won’t.” Apart from grace, this is their natural condition. Therefore, men are lost because they are sinners, not because they are not elected. Not all sinners are elected, but then, apart from election, no man would desire to not be a sinner. The entire objection ultimately tries to center itself on the notion that it is wrong for God to “violate” men’s free wills. Since Calvinism maintains that men’s “free will” decision apart from effectual grace and uncondiitional election is, in fact, to be lost, why is the Arminian objecting? It is precisely this inability in men that renders unconditional election and effectual grace necessary. It is this that renders salvation merciful. In your view, however, it is a type of remunerative justice, for all men believe for different reasons and election is grounded in their foreseen faith and fixed in certainty.

Mercy and justice are separate categories in ethics. To be merciful something must be undeserved. To be “just” either a standard of justice must be satisfied or something must be deserved. Mercy can satisfy justice if somebody else takes the penalty for a wrong act so that the Judge can extend mercy to somebody else. The Arminian, by grounding election in foreseen faith ultimately makes God unjust, because all people believe for different reasons. In fact, it is the same kind of favoritism that James condemns, because this faith arises as an intrinsic foreseen characteristic in those persons. This is not true equality. Calvinists believe the ground, or anchor, the reason for electing (choosing) (by the way, “elect” is another Bible word, thus election is a doctrine taught in Scripture) some and allowing others to continue in sin is found only in God and is not done with respect to either foreseen faith or foreseen wickedness. (Eph. 1, Romans 9). This is truly "just" because people are all in the hands of a God who alone is perfectly just and loving and does nothing arbitrarily and will always do the right thing.

The charges that God is unloving, unjust, and unmerciful all apply to the free will position.

Unloving: Where does Scripture ever say God loves all men without exception the exact same way, e.g. redemptively? If the Arminian objects that God is unloving for predestining some to salvation while passing over others in their sin, he must also explain why God creates those He know will not accept Christ anyway and then says He loves them redemptively. Thus, this charge applies to the free will position with equal force. The Calvinist says God only loves His children redemptively, and all others are passed over and left in their sins. There is nothing unloving about this, since God is under no compulsion to love anybody redemptively if they only deserve condemnation for their sins. In reality, Scripture teaches that God loves all men extensively by common grace, the covenant community (Israel in the OT, the Church in the NT) corporately, and the elect in the covenant community, uniquely as individuals (the OT community was mixed w/unbelievers and believers, the NT community excludes unbelievers) are loved by special grace, viz. election and by adoption.

Unjust: Justice is satisfied for believers at the cross and unbelievers in hell. No principle of justice is violated. Also, since God owes nothing to any person, then He is not unjust by regenerating some but not others. Unequal treatment is only unjust when it denies a party his just claims to something, but no one has a just claim on the "mercy" of God. Thus no principle of justice is violated. However, if Jesus dies for all men extensively, under an Arminian theory of the will, God is either exacting double jeopardy on men’s sins by punishing them in hell for something for which Christ has paid and satisfied God’s wrath or by lying to men and telling them that all their sins have been taken by Christ, and then secretly exempting unbelief. That is unjust.

Also, if God says He loves all men redemptively without exception but then some perish apart from ever having heard the gospel, God is seen to be unjust for not offering them the gospel. Also, if election is based upon who God knows ahead of time will believe in Christ and who will reject Christ, then what He has done is looked into history and made a decision based upon a person’s acts. Why does one person believe and not another? Were they were more spiritual, smarter, more afraid? Whatever, the reason, God has based His decision on something intrinsic in men, and, since all men are different and believe for different reasons, then God has played favorites based on the intrinsic or extrinsic characteristics and acts of men. This is exactly the kind of favoritism that James denounces in his epistle as being unjust. Thus, it is the free will position that portrays God as playing favorites and acting unjustly toward men.

Unmerciful. Actually, this objection is directly attributable the free will view. Mercy and justice are distinct ethical categories. Mercy is about what you do not deserve. Justice is about obligation, e.g. what you deserve. If regeneration is a response to faith, then this is the beginning of salvation by merit, which is in the category of justice, because God has responded to your free will choice and given you the fruit of your labor. This is in the category of justice, not mercy. If regeneration is monergistic and precedes faith, then God has acted unilaterally to save a person and convert them, a person, remember, who deserves only damnation in hell, he does not deserve this. This is, therefore, an act of pure mercy. It is the free will argument that makes God unjust, unloving, and unmerciful, not the predestinarian argument.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Centuri0n has a debate blog, but O'Fallon has a cruise ship.
That's got to be a hard choice!

You said that Calvin would embrace all of the five points set forth by Dort except for Limited Atonement?
Do you realize how ridiculously inconsistent saying that is? Even for Dr. Kevin Kennedy!
Just for clarification Emir, you're saying;
1. Calvin believed that men were totally depraved and that they could not come to Christ unless they had been regenerated first.
2. Calvin believed that God chose beforehand those that He would save not based on any foreseen faith or good in themselves.
3. Calvin believed that everyone that God effectually calls come to faith.
4. Calvin believed that all of those who were chosen and called also would continue in faith until death.
5. Calvin believed that Christ died for everyone.

Don't you see the inconsistency there? The inconsistency of saying that God selected a certain number of people for salvation and then sent His Son to die in the same way for all of the rest too? Was Calvin capable of this kind of inconsistency? Either he believed all five points or none.

I have found in my reading of the Institutes that Calvin never once says that Christ's death was for everyone. He uses the following pronouns in describing the efficacy of Christ's death: 'we', 'us', and 'our'. In this way he limits the atonement to believers only, and if he is consistent (considering that these sections follow prior sections that discuss election), then he limits it to the elect.

Since you guys aren't Calvin fans anyway, I think you should turn him back over to the Calvinists.

Dennis Wiles said...

I have been following the controversy surrounding Wade Burleson in recent days. Through various links, I found my way to your blog.

I want to offer a bit of perspective on your opening remarks in today's blog about the kind of person who should be President of the SBC.

I studied Church History at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I earned a Ph.D under the leadership of Dr. William Estep. My dissertation topic focused on the resurgence of fundamentalism in the SBC during the years of 1979-1990.

Based on my research, I would take issue with both Hefley's perspective and Richard Land's response that you mention in your blog. Prior to 1979, presidential elections in the SBC are almost incomparable to those since then. Multiple candidates of various perspectives from within the SBC were nominated in the years prior to 1979. That explains why men like W.A. Criswell, Jaroy Weber and K. Owen White all were elected during the time when there was a supposed "conspiracy" to elect the leadership of the SBC.

The truth is -- the only tightly-knit group that has ever held that kind of power in the history of the SBC won its first victory in 1979 and has won each one since. That is why you don't ever see multiple candidates from across the wide spectrum of SBC life nominated anymore.

Hefley's contention cannot stand the scrutiny of historical research. It is a personal opinion that is ill-founded and simply untrue.

If the current group in power taps Johnny Hunt - then he will be the next President. Case closed.

God bless,

Dennis R. Wiles

GeneMBridges said...

In order to assert that definite atonement is out of synch with Calvin, one must address what Calvin said about actual remission of sins, salvation for the elect alone, and the intention of the atonement (e.g for whom did Calvin teach that Christ died?) Calvin teaches very clearly that the death of Christ actually remitted sin, that such remission was for the elect, and that Christ intended to die for the elect.

What, pray tell, are the carefully reasoned objections to A. N. S. Lane, W. Stanford Reid, Paul Helm, Curt Daniel, and Roger Nicole who have responded at length?

Even if you could peg Calvin as a real Amyraldian, you still must consider that the atonement *still* is not intended for everyone on such a scheme, for the particularizing principle is executed before, not after, creation itself, for Christ is "the lamb slain from *before the foundation of the world.*

euroclydon said...

"Hefley's contention cannot stand the scrutiny of historical research. It is a personal opinion that is ill-founded and simply untrue.

If the current group in power taps Johnny Hunt - then he will be the next President. Case closed."

And that my friend, as Paul Harvey would say, "is the rest of the story." And a wonderful story it will be!

Scott Hill said...

Since we are playing the "why don't you answer my question" game. I am still waiting on a response to this one.

Either CANER brother you would have to admit that the vast majority of SBC churches are not Calvinistic, but would fall more under what you described as a card carrying Sandy Creek, street preaching, invitation givers. However, you would also have to admit that the vast majority of churches in the SBC have less than 200 many less than 100 in attendance on any given Sunday and many of these same churches are dying off and having to pair with other churches just to keep the doors open. These same churches have less than half their membership in attendance. I believe the official SBC stat is 40%. So if you are going to accuse the Calvinist of killing their churches I would like an explanation of why the Sandy Creek invitation givers seem to be doing the same or worse. I beleive the founder's churches to better than 40%.

This is the THIRD time this question has been posted.

At this point I will take an answer from any of the Caner's or even someone else on this blog who agrees with the Caner's.

Tom said...

Dr. Emir:

At 11:22 PM last night (Feb. 19, 2006), I explained that I could not answer your question without getting an exact quote and I asked you 6 specific questions.

At 10:28 AM you gave me the exact quote I needed said that you would respond after getting your questions answered by me.

At 11:20 AM I answered your question.

At 12:59 PM you added some comments to your brother's responses to my questions and asked me two more questions.

At 2:24 PM you offered to address my questions more adequately and asked me to answer your follow-up questions that you asked previously at 12:59 PM.

At 2:28 PM I asked you to address my questions more specifically--as you offered to do 4 minutes before--and I answered your follow-up questions.

At 2:45 PM you told D.R. that you were not dodging his questions but had to find time to answer them and that you did not want to "complicate the blog until the string of questions with Tom had taken place."

I don't know if you meant the string of questions that you asked me, or the string (6) of questions that I asked you. Regardless, I would appreciate answers to my questions as soon as you have opportunity to provide them.


Jeremy Weaver said...

Looks like somebody's got some 'splainin' to do.

Timmy said...

I am beginning to think that the reason why the Caners' are saying that "the Founder boys" are not answering their questions is because we are not giving them the answers they are looking for. They are playing the tactic, "You have not YET answered any of our questions" as an equivocation to "You are not giving us the answer we want to hear."

Tom, along those lines, it makes sense why they won't answer your questions. It also makes sense why Ergun won't debate James White. They want to control the conversation by intimidation, rhetoric, delay, and bait-n-switch tactics. The only thing that have yet to due is speak the truth - which unforunately doesn't seem like is going to happen.

Anyone who looks at what Tom, Gene, D.R. and Scott have said (among others) will see that an honest, forthright answer is being given. The only explanation left to be shared is silence.

centuri0n said...

Mike: where's the cruise this year? Maybe I can talk my wife into going and I can tag along. We love Darlene and Phil, and skyman might actually treat me like a pet (not quite human -- I can't hope for the world) by the time it was over.

BTW, for the readers who don't know, I think O'Fallon is the most responsible and respectable cruise planner for Christian events in the industry. If you miss the AOMin cruise, you're missing much.

Emir Caner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emir Caner said...


Here are my responses to your questions. Enjoy the surprises.

Q1: No

Q2: No

Q3: No

Q4: No

Q5: Yes

Q6: A modification of the Second London Confession. Again, if it were just a repeat, why not merely take it as is.

Now to my question. Do you not find it ironic that you have not answered my question with a simple yes or no, but with lengthy explanation. How about returning the favor instead of speaking to nuances. Allow me to repeat for clarity as well:

1. Is the Abstact a 4-5 point document?

2. If so, then are not those who are less than 4-pointers less than honest in signing it?

3. If so, should they be allowed to teach at SBTS or SEBTS.


Alex F said...

Its time to put this thing to bed. This is a debate that will never end. The Caners will huff and puff and try to blow the thing down, and then half a dozen people will try to respond. Gene may even write a book. Then everybody will claim that nobody is answering their questions. Then someone will answer a question and the Caners will be indignant that the question was answered thus. Nobody wants to let the other guys have the last word.

We're like a bunch of third graders saying, "Yeah well my dad is tougher than your dad." "Oh yeah, well my brother could kick your brother's butt." "Oh yeah, well you're dumb." "Oh yeah..." And Tom, the adult, will try to calm everyone down. But then someone will say something about somebody's mama... yada yada yada. What's the point?

Round and round and round.....

Emir Caner said...

A few notes of lighter comments from this blog:

1. Stephen Morse - great choice of a picture that made me laugh. Absolutely perfect for this blog.

2. Sovereign Cruises - here is proof that the Calvinists have beat us in the area of cruises. Perhaps if Arminians wish to begin a cruise line they can call it Free Willy Cruises. Of course, that probably won't happen because the passengers would be allowed to change their minds on all issues without any consequences.

Good night gentlemen.


Jason Lee said...

Amen Alex!

But I think we all would still like to hear the latest answer on a Caner debate with James White.

Emir Caner said...


While you consider Kennedy's dissertation to be "ridiculously inconsistent," it had enough credibility to get passed the Ph.D. committee at Southern Seminary with high marks. Were they inconsistent as well?

Instead of a knee-jerk reaction that makes you look unthoughtful, pick it up and read it. Then you can critically analyze it for yourself.


Jeff Wright said...

Let me just tell you, Gene Bridges can bring the text. I'm wondering what his word-per-minute mark is?


To All Reading This Thread - Help

Note: This is a related issue but off-topic enough that I thought it best to provide a seperate place to discuss answers.

In the discussion of Calvinism/Non-Calvinism I see lots of references to Hyper Calvinism.

Can someone please give me examples of Hyper-Calvin(ism)(ist)? Names, books, websites - any of that would be extremely helpful. Contemporary examples specifically needed (not for attack but study.)

Since it is off-topic, you can provide any help on this issue here.

Thanks in advance.

Scott Hill said...

To the Caner brothers. I withdraw my question. Apparently, it is to difficult to answer. I don't blame you, because I wouldn't answer it either if I were in your shoes since the answer will negate anything you have said against Calvinism since you started commenting on this blog.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Knee-jerk reaction?
I took a full day thinking about my response. I don't think it was knee-jerk at all.
You gave a knee-jerk response when you said that Calvin would have rejected limited atonement. And then instead of providing any argument for your position, referred me to the Cumberland Presbyterians and a dissertation by Kevin Kennedy.
I gave you first hand knowledge of the issue and you call it a knee-jerk reaction.

(This comment is a knee-jerk reaction if you were wondering:-))

Stephen A Morse said...

Emir caner, thanks for at least reading my comment... well I guess there you haven't read it, maybe the reason we haven't heard your answers yet is because you are just here to look at the cool pictures. That's fine... except purgatorio does a much better job at photo communication and I would like an answer. Here it is again:

All that being the same, are we (Calvinists) wrong for being concerned with the original issue pointed out by Dr. Ascol - that Pastor Hunt is so anti-calvinistic? Are we wrong for being concerned that there doesn't seem to any give and take coming from the other side (look, I know that there isn't much from our side either so give me the benefit of the doubt and try to answer the question in the spirit it is bieng asked)?
What, according to you and your brother (my brother will be reading this soon and so I want to be inclusive), are essentials for fellowship? Are these tenets of Calvinism or Remonstration divisive enough to keep us from cooperating in missions and ministry?
Thanks for your time.

G. Alford said...
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G. Alford said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
G. Alford said...


Here is more than enough on Hyper-Calvinism to keep you busy for years... O and let it be known that a Full 5-Point Calvinist is NOT a Hyper-Calvinist… Not even close!

Anyway enjoy the reading 

Scott Hill said...

Dr. Caner I noticed before that you said some Calvinist would resign or not take positions when the were told you required personal soul winning. How do you hold your professors accountable or rather if it is a requirement how do you know for sure that they are doing what is required?

No Name said...

Again, for those like me who are less than a Phd. scholar I would truly like to see a debate on these issues. It would be great to see Ergun Caner and James White in a civil debate. That way we can hear both sides.

No offense to the cruise guys but I cannot afford a cruise ticket for my wife and myself nor the baby sitters for 3 kids for full week. I would love to see such a debate somewhere a little cheaper to attend. Also I could attend such a debate and not spend so much time trying to read this thread!

J. Gray said...

There are 3 things I don't get in this whole thing (maybe the Caners can explain):

#1 - Why is it a heinous sin to analyze the issue of the SBC presidency as if the people who do so are not loyal or anti-SBC?

#2 - Why is it ok for Johnny Hunt or Herb Reavis or whoever to be allowed to make hurtful, hateful, divisive statements (I left off ignorant and misrepresentative) about Calvinists and/or Calvinism...but to even discuss if you want to vote for someone is met with cries of divisiveness and hate?
(Double standard?)

#3 - If we can all agree that many of the founders of the SBC were Calvinists...then why is now being labeled "a virus" by people?
Can't we still work together for the purpose of missions and education despite these differences?
Why must one group be called "a virus"? And isn't that the most divisive thing we've seen?

Tom said...


Just for the record, I don't *think* I originally pointed out Johnny Hunt's anti-Calvinism. Other's did that, though, as I said, from what I have heard and read I don't think Pastor Hunt would feel in any way misrepresented by such a description.


You are correct that your responses are surprising. Maybe I am just too simpleminded to understand them, but if it is not too much trouble, I would like to hear your reasoning behind what appears to be contradictory views.

You agree that a church that does not practice discipline is NOT a New Testament church. And you agree that a church that has less than 80% of its members regularly attending corporate worship once a week is NOT a spiritually healthy church. Yet, you believe that a church that has less than 50% of its members regularly attending corporate worship once a week IS a church worth holding up as a model for other churches.

This seems to me that you are saying that a church that is not healthy and which does not practice discipline, making it therefore something other than a New Testament church is nevertheless worthy of being a model for other churchess. Perhaps I am missing something, or maybe I have misread your answers. If so, please help me to see where. If not, please help me to understand your reasoning behind these surprising answers.

When I posed these questions to you I said, " A simple yes or no will suffice, if you feel that you can represent your views that briefly and not misspeak." I did not demand a yes or no answer, but offered that as a time-saving alternative. If you feel that you need to elaborate in order to dispel misunderstanding, by all means do so. I have answered your questions and do not feel that I can do with more clarity than what I have already written. So I see no irony whatsoever in my responses.

Also, I must disagree with your statement that the "ABSTRACT of Principles" is "a modification" of the SLC. Manly did not attempt to modify that fuller confession but merely to provide an "abstract" of it. His work got its name not by accident. No amount of historical revisionism can erase that fact.

Also, perhaps you overlooked this question: do you think that a person who does not wholeheartedly embrace unconditional election should not be allowed to teach at Southern or Southeastern Seminary?

Ergun Mehmet Caner said...


In what I am assuming is my final post to this blog, I can quickly answer the final questions I read. I do actually have a job to which I must commit, my time invested here notwithstanding:

1. It is not disloyal to offer someone that was not brought by Dr. Patterson as a nominee. If that were our position, we would violate the very soul autonomy we preach in the SBC! In fact, the case could be made that if it were the case that we only vote for those who are presented by Dr. Patterson, we would be acting as if he were...an elder. One who "votes for us as the mature believer." WOW. That would be ironic, wouldn't it?

2. The point is that Dr. Johnny Hunt is a WORTHY man to be president. IF in fact (as you say) so many SBC leaders have been Calvinists (I do not grant that, by the way, except for PH Mell) then wouldn't this period of time actually BE equal time for the Sandy Creek?

3. We do nt all speak with one voice. I was against the ending of resolutions from the floor (i see that as against our Baptist polity). I am also against "sole ownership" by the Executive Committee. I also belive we should know the salary of EVERY SBC leader in denominational work. THAT is Baptist.

Finally, I do appreciate Dr. Ascol's spirit in all this. I was certain Emir and I would be banned from the blog. Even though we vigorously disagree on virtually every soteriological, anthropological and ecclesiastical doctrine (eternal security excepted), we are similar in that we both love a spirited discourse.

Finally- many of you spoke admirably about missions and evangelism efforts in your churches. I stand with you in that. Now, do understand that others within your community may have a problem with your work- Those who have abandoned invitations, or find door-to-door evangelism crass. Still, I am with you.

Please note that I am willing to accept any pointed barb that hits us as well. Emir and I willingly and happily agree with your views on church discipline, horrible manipulation, manicured metro boys in the pulpits, stolen sermons, wannabe Willow Creeks and Saddlebacks, and historical myopia.

I pray you are willing to examine your own heroes with as much balance. I long for the day that some pastor in the middle of nowhere gets nominated and elected, because that is our backbone.

Until that day, I shall continue to do as I do.

Predestined to Believe in General Atonement:


Jeremy Weaver said...

I miss Ergun already!

SJ Camp said...
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SJ Camp said...

1. R.C. Sproul said at John MacArthur's Shepherds Conference two years ago that the hardest letter in TULIP is not the "L" - but the "T". I fully agree. The phrase, "I was elected because I selected" is not a statement that reveals a skewed view of the atonement, but first and foremost a skewed view of the depravity of man; and ultimately, the doctrine of hamartiology.

Here is what Spurgeon (the last great Puritan) says about depravity and man's inability to "choose" Christ of his own volition (cp, Eph. 2:1-3; Roms. 3:10-18).:

"Permit me to show you wherein this inability of man really does lie. It lies deep in his nature. Through the fall, and through our own sin, the nature of man has become so debased, and depraved, and corrupt, that it is impossible for him to come to Christ without the assistance of God the Holy Spirit. Now, in trying to exhibit how the nature of man thus renders him unable to come to Christ, you must allow me just to take this figure. You see a sheep; how willingly it feeds upon the herbage! You never knew a sheep sigh after carrion; it could not live on lion's food. Now bring me a wolf; and you ask me whether a wolf cannot eat grass, whether it cannot be just as docile and as domesticated as the sheep. I answer, no; because its nature is contrary thereunto. You say, "Well, it has ears and legs; can it not hear the shepherd's voice, and follow him whithersoever he leadeth it?" I answer, certainly; there is no physical cause why it cannot do so, but its nature forbids, and therefore I say it cannot do so. Can it not be tamed? cannot its ferocity be removed? Probably it may so far be subdued that it may become apparently tame; but there will always be a marked distinction between it and the sheep, because there is a distinction in nature. Now, the reason why man cannot come to Christ, is not because he cannot come, so far as his body or his mere power of mind is concerned, but because his nature is so corrupt that he has neither the will nor the power to come to Christ unless drawn by the Spirit. But let me give you a better illustration. You see a mother with her babe in her arms. You put a knife into her hand, and tell her to stab that babe to the heart. She replies, and very truthfully, "I cannot." Now, so far as her bodily power is concerned, she can, if she pleases; there is the knife, and there is the child. The child cannot resist, and she has quite sufficient strength in her hand immediately to stab it to its heart. But she is quite correct when she says she cannot do it. As a mere act of the mind, it is quite possible she might think of such a thing as killing the child, and yet she says she cannot think of such a thing; and she does not say falsely, for her nature as a mother forbids her doing a thing from which her soul revolts. Simply because she is that child's parent she feels she cannot kill it. It is even so with a sinner. Coming to Christ is so obnoxious to human nature that, although, so far as physical and mental forces are concerned, (and these have but a very narrow sphere in salvation) men could come if they would: it is strictly correct to say that they cannot and will not unless the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them."

2. If Dr. Caner actually has the "ecclesiasticals" to show up and debate Dr. James White, it would be reminiscent of Cheney (White) debating Edwards (Caner). It would be the principal 'explaining it' to the student (or in this case, the Dean of students). I'll even agree to write a song to commemorate the event and agree to donate all the proceeds to buying some theological books to be included in the library at "Liberty Seminary" dedicated to recovering reformed historical biblical theology. The first volume would be Calvin's Institutes along with Dr. Francis Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology. But they would have to find other shelf space for the works of Charles Finney, Beth Moore, Hal Lindsey, Andy Stanley, and the Left Behind series in order to make room for these new additions.

3. The AOMIn/AudienceONE cruise will be fantastic. Where else could you see White, Johnson, King, Centurion? and yours truly have at it on theological issues facing us in our day? If the Caners would agree to come on board, we could really have some very edifying and lively late night discussions. I would personally like to extend an "invitation" for them to join us.

Grace and peace,
Steve Camp

PS - I think Johnny Hunt would be a good SBC President; but Mark Dever would be excellent. In the end all of things one thing is certain, it doesn't really matter.

SJ Camp said...

Total depravity is the extensive ruin of man's nature. This does not mean that people are as a bad as they can be, but rather, that the effects of the Fall have completely ruined the total being of man.

Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

This depravity begins at conception. We are not sinners because we sin, rather, we sin because we are sinners. Psalm 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

1. Fallen man cannot do or work any good:
Matthew 7:17-18, "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

Romans 8:7-8, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

2. Fallen man cannot comprehend or apprehend the good:
Ephesians 4:18, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"

2 Cor. 3:12-18, "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

John 8:43, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word."

1 Cor. 1:18, 21, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God...For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

1 Cor. 2:14; "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

3. Man cannot have any desire towards the good:
Matthew 7:18, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

John 8:43, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word."

John 15:5, "...for without me ye can do nothing."

John 6:64-65, "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."

Ephesians 2:1,5, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

Puritan quotes and sayings on Total Depravity:
"Original sin is a habitual deviation of the whole nature of man, or a turning aside from the law of God." -William Ames

"Sin is desire, word, deed, contrary to the Law of God...As the sin of Adam was most heinous, so it could not but draw after itself the most dire effects both in himself and in his posterity." -Francis Turretin

"Not only the worst of my sins but the best of my duties speak me a child of Adam." -William Beveridge

"Sin has degraded man and made him a beast. It is true, he has the shape of a man, but alas! he is degenerated into a bestial and beastly nature. It is would be better to be a beast than to be like a beast, living and dying like one. It would be better to be Balaam's ass than such an ass as Balaam himself was...But to set this degeneration and degradation of man by sin before you more clearly and fully, I shall deal with it under three headings: a) Sin has made man like a beast, b) like the worst of beasts, c) worse than the beasts." -Ralph Venning

"The best duties of unbelievers are but white lies." -John Owen

"Man is debased enough to bow down to beasts and even worship them." -Pascal


jbuchanan said...

I want to publicly apologize to Dr. Johhny Hunt and others who read my statement that his "theology and preaching were weak." After seeing this on line and seeing that Dr. Ascol used it as one of the inflamatory remarks I deeply regret posting this. I thought that given the context of this blog that it would be understood the my remarks concerned his position on the doctrines of grace. I sincerely apologize to Dr. Hunt and will send him a personal note asking for his forgiveness. I also want to say that I believe that Dr. Hunt will be the next President of the SBC and that I do not oppose his election

Having reread the initial question that was asked let me share some of the things that I would look for in a candidate for President of the SBC.

1.) I want someone who is committed to the Baptist Faith and Message. Now I realize that on this site most are partial to the London 1689 confession, but I think that the BF&M is adequate and is broad enought to allow all of us to live under the same tent. Therefore, I believe that every candidate for the President of the SBC should be committed to our confession of faith and only appoint those who hold the same position.

2.) The candidate must be committed to missions. I would like to see someone challenge the SBC to double our giving and number of missioaries within the next five years.

3.) The candidate must be committed to expositional preaching. I agree in principal that there is nothing wrong with a lay person being president. But in this vital hour, Southern Baptists must rededicate themselves to the expositonal preaching of the word. We need a President who will model this and who will encourage our younger Pastors to pursue true Biblical preaching.

3.) The candidate must be committed to cooperative program. Our convention is the best missionary sending force in the world because of our method of funding. The coopertative program is being neglected and we need a President who will remind us of its importance.

4.) The candidate must draw us together around the things that we agree on: missions, BF&M.

Lastly, let me say that somehow Eric Thomas and the First Baptist Church of Norfolk have gotten thrown in here. I want to go on record in saying that I have heard Eric Thomas preach on several occassions and each time he has been a model of expository preaching. I do not know where he stands on the doctrines of grace, but I do not agree at all that FBC Norfolk is somehow not a true conservative church.

Joshua said...

The humility with which you've presented yourself is honorable. It certainly demonstrates the type of attitude which should be displayed not only on this blog, but anytime this issue is discussed and debated.
However, how can you equate brick - breakin` "evangelism" with conservativism & an expository ministry?


Baptist Theology said...

Dear Bloggers:

Due to a heavy teaching and administrative load, I do not normally read blogs. Although I have not had opportunity to read every word in this entire string in detail, I have read enough to want to note a few things on my first and perhaps last blog comment.

Please allow some personal insights from a theologian and a churchman who is familiar with four of the participants or subjects of this blog string.

First, Dr. Kevin Kennedy is an accomplished scholar with whom I am proud to serve. His book, Union with Christ and the Extent of the Atonement in Calvin (Peter Lang, 2002), should be read with an open mind by anybody interested, whether personally or merely academically, in Calvin and "Calvinism". He will challenge your preconceptions by his own careful reading of Calvin's commentaries, and of the secondary literature on Calvin's view of limited atonement. It would be a mistake to bypass Kevin Kennedy's work.

Second, Dr. Emir Caner is a widely-published scholar who is much appreciated for his speaking ability and his keen theological mind. Our college at Southwestern is experiencing incredible growth under his foundational leadership. I count it a privilege to have him as a friend, fellow church member, and colleague.

Third, Johnny Hunt is very concerned for evangelism. This is why he garners great support from most Baptists. He has a deep concern for the lost to be converted to our Lord Jesus Christ. This concern is what will draw many of us to his leadership. Johnny also has a passion for his fellow ministers. Although I am just an obscure professor, it has been amazing that every time I have met Johnny, he has been concerned for me, personally and by name, and most importantly, for my ministry. If given the opportunity, he would make a great president of the SBC.

Fourth, Paige Patterson has always struck me as a man upon whom God's hand lays with power. Is he perfect? No, and neither are any of us. Is he a preacher of the Word who will not move from the Word? Yes. That is why God has used him mightily. Due to his fidelity to the Word, I pray Patterson's influence (whether real or perceived) will be maintained and indeed increase in the SBC.

Thank you for your time. May God bless you as you share His Word with a lost person, today....

In Christ,
Malcolm Yarnell

jbuchanan said...

Thank you for your kind words. I assume that "brick-breaking" evangelism refers to the Impact Team. I do not know anything about their ministry and have never heard of them until today. I am simply saying that the times that I have hear Eric Thomas preach that he has been throughouly Biblical and in fact expository. I will not cast dispersions simply because of his use a particular evangelist or ministry. I know that FBC holds to the Baptist Faith and Message and that their Eric preaches the Bible. You or I may not use the Impact Team or even think that it is appropriate but I will not cast a shadow on this great church because they do.

Charles said...

James White wants to debate the Caners? On what basis? The fact he has those unaccredited degrees? How much does it cost now to buy a doctor’s degree, James?

Bob Ross, the publisher of Spurgeon's sermons, called out White a long time ago. White's "failure to emphasize and delineate the confessional view of Calvinism on effectual calling or regeneration makes Dave Hunt look like a veritable Aristotle."


Ross has proved that White's doctrine is at odds with historic Calvinist confessions. James ran like a scalded dog when Bob called him out. Why anyone would promote White is beyond me.


Charles said...

Excuse me. The link in my post above should be


Micah said...

"A Hyper-Calvinist is one who goes beyond Calvin..."

Uh... no...

Why redefine words in such a way? Why not attempt to honestly debate the issues Biblically?

Micah said...

Charles, please provide documentation that Dr. White's degrees are "fake", or repent of spreading falsehood.

Charles said...
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Charles said...
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Tom said...

Dr. Ergun Caner:

Thanks for what might be you parting words on this blog. Of course, I hope you will feel free to comment again, anytime. I have yet to ban anyone from this blog, though I suppose that it could happen.

We agree on many things. I would like to see those common concerns become a common cause that all who agree could join in calling our beloved SBC into purer, healthier streams.

Charles said...
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Emir Caner said...

Tom et all:

As this blog comes to a close, allow me to make a few comments.

First, we all agree to the importance of the Abstract on formative Southern Baptist life. If the SBC forefathers created an explicitly Reformed document, then it demonstrates their hopes of future professors at Southern Seminary, the flagship of our six seminaries.

But if, as Drs. Mohler and Akin point out, the document was purposefully created to give strong leaway for those who do not hold to limited atonement and irresistible grace, then it begs the question why. Perhaps it was because they knew there was many Southern Baptists then that were not near being 5-pointers.

It also has ramifications for the present situation. Those who sign the Abstract must do so with the utmost of integrity or they shouldn't sign it at all. To be sure, I, along with a host of other conservative non-Calvinists, would not have signed the statement if we did not believe it allowed us to do so.

With that said, I do appreciate the emphasis given by Tom (and others) for a pure church. As I teach in class, what makes Baptists distinctive is not merely believer's baptism, but a believer's church. This is not possible without the implementation of church discipline, expository preaching, and intense discipleship. We should add as well the importance that once again needs to be placed on the Lord's Supper.

Finally, I learned a lesson years ago from a wise professor who reminded me, "There is no such thing as a stained-glass saint." Thus, the measure of a man is not found within one single action, or even a few. For a pastor, it is found within the parameters of 1 Timothy 3. It is for that reason that I fully stand behind Johnny Hunt.

Truth is Immortal,


P.S. Joel Osteen for president! Just kidding.

David B. Hewitt said...

Hello, Charles!

I went ahead and did that search you recommended...and I am not really sure why there is a problem with Dr. White's education. The fact that he received his degrees from an unaccredited school most certainly does NOT mean that he didn't work hard for them, nor does it mean that they are fake.

Just because something isn't universally recognized (such as a degree from an accredited institution) does NOT mean that it is not valid.

I submit this link as a helpful tool in this discussion.

Now, when I did GOOGLE your suggested phrase I *did* find some sites that have less than complimentary things to say about Dr. White. Not surprisingly, these sites are biased against him anyway, with many of them being sites run by the mormon church (LDS).

Dave Hewitt

hashbrown said...

I did it! I made it to the end of the comments! I feel like credits should roll and fireworks should be burstin on my screen.

I just want the last word.

I'm waiting to see if there will be a "Battle of the Baldies" between White and Caner.

Lstudent1971 said...

So um...what is this huge debate about? 5 points? church history? or some guy named Hunt?

A guest to this site and *Clueless* to church history, i found this a very intresting and yet sometimes... a humorous read.

Was it Ghandi who said:
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."??

But anyway...maybe this discourse has a purpose that I am ignorant to even thought it plays into the steroetypical view of american christians who bicker against each other all the day.

Eternally His,
- a student seeking His Word, not man's

Rabbi said...

I gotta say, I'm confused. I thought this was a blog about Dr. Hunt's nomination for SBC President and who else might be a good choice. But most of it seems to be about Calvinism, doctrine, church history, and lots of other stuff I'm not schooled enough to speak on (by the way, my username is just my nickname; I consider myself a follower of Christ). I do have some thoughts though:

1. Most people here need to LIGHTEN UP. Oi, you'd think they believed that humor was sinful. I consider sarcasm to be a spiritual gift! :0P

2. Despite not being nearly as smart as any of you ( I am only a junior at *gasp* Liberty University), I have some notions about predestination, limited atonement and such, which I guess can be summed up in this: if people are predestined for Heaven or destruction, why evangelize or pray for them? Isn't it God's problem? Like I said, I don't have a doctorate, so no need to flame me.

3. Finally, You've all stated that you're busy guys. Me too. And while this has been an interesting read and there are some topics on here that really do need to be addressed, the time we've spent reading and posting probably could've been spent on something more worthwhile. Believe me, I am NOT rebuking anybody. You're all older, wiser, and more knowledgeable than I could ever hope to be. I just know that I've been convicted before about killing so much time in front of a computer, regardless of what I was doing.

That's all I guess. I'm just trying to live the way Christ wants me to, like the rest of you (I hope). Thanks for reading.

To borrow from someone whom I consider a great professor and godly man:

Predestined to believe in general atonement,

Charles said...

To David Hewitt, Hello!

Academic degrees are accredited for a reason. Why do you think every Southern Baptist seminary goes through a painful accreditation process every few years? Getting a degree from an unaccredited school, or degree mill, may mean you did some work or it may mean you did none. Everyone that looks at your degree only has your school's word on how much work you did to get your degree. Having a degree from an accredited school means a third party has checked the school out and is convinced it meets certain standards. If you believe in Total Depravity you'd know why that was important.

You'll have to ask James White why he bought those unaccredited degrees. No matter how much he huffs and puffs, it means he is not in the same league academically as the Caners.

Tom: I am not sure why you are deleting and censoring my responses. What am I doing wrong?

AOMin said...
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AOMin said...

Charles, why don't we put this all in context so that people can see where you are really coming from. :-)


This information has been on the aomin.org website for nearly 10 years. I am still amazed that folks like Charles never feel the need to interact with what is said there.

Nathan White said...

I now see why James White does not allow comments on his blog. And I now commend him for doing so -it would only give guys like Charles a platform to spread their lunacy.


David B. Hewitt said...

Indeed, one can see why Dr. White doesn't allow comments on his blog. :)

I stand by my earlier comments, charles. Yes, I suppose it could be true for someone to attend a school that is not accredited and then get a degree that ended up being bogus. However, given Dr. White's reputation, his obvious intelligence and scholarship (including his books), one can easily come to the conclusion that he did some genuine work in his academic pursuits.

I have a masters degree from a Southern Baptist School, and I've met many people with doctorates from accredited institutions. Dr. White's scholarship and knowledge certainly far exceed that of my of, and also meets or exceeds the others that I have known.

It would seem then, Charles, that you are taking what is a possibility (an unaccredited school giving out bogus degrees) and making it a guaranteed reality. Can it happen? Of course it can. Does is ALWAYS happen? The answer must be no, and I am convinced that the answer is no as it relates to Dr. James White.

AOMIN -- thanks for posting that link! I do hope it can be useful to Charles, and I think I'll have a look at it myself to get the whole of the story. :)

For the Glory of Jesus,
David Hewitt

Walton said...

This is quite possibly the longest thread that I have ever seen on a blog. I'm half-way through reading it and honestly can't believe some of what I have read.

More in a moment...

Charles said...

AOMin, Hello!

The link I was referring to is called, "Bill Alnor's Questions for Apologist Author James White Concerning his "Doctoral Degrees" and is found at


Has James answered these questions? I think before he thinks about debating the Caners he should at least answer the questions so we can all know about his academic credentials. Otherwise why would I or anyone else give him a hearing?

James was called out by Bob Ross, the publisher of Spurgeon's sermons, and the result was the "great" debater" turned and ran. Read Bob's account at the link below.


AOMin said...

I think that the link that I provided explains this matter quite thoroughly.

God Bless,


Walton said...

I read this thread after being directed here by a friend that has participated in the dialogue. Let me first respond to the topics (which have varied greatly) mentioned above:

1. Would Johnny Hunt make a good President for the SBC? In my opinion, absolutely not. Hunt has been a polarizing figure between those that hold to the doctrines of grace and synergists. Hunt’s sermons have detracted, not positively moved forward, from the debate concerning a reformed, exegetical understanding of soteriology and the eisegetical, emotional and potentially damaging affects of holding to the “chosen but free” position (Which I believe to be unattainable from the text of Scripture).
2. I am absolutely astonished at the lack of ability on the part of Drs. Caner to apologetically and Biblically defend their molinist positions. It really didn’t help matters that Ermund introduced himself on the blog by posting the following:

“Have any of you done ANYTHING accept kill your churches with sermons expounding the Westminster Confession?

Probably not.”

“I BEG of you- PLEASE bring another name to the floor of the SBC. I would be thrilled to watch that person go down in flames, as we enjoy another conservative who has not adopted semi-Presbyterianism. On the positive side, you can always just "punt" and say it was predestined for you to lose.”

Walton replies:

1. I can’t think of any Founders Churches or Reformed Baptist Churches that would expound the Westminster Confession of Faith. We would of course use the 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession as a great principle of sound hermeneutic principles, but we generally believe in expository teaching.
2. Dr. Caner accuses those that hold to conservative, Calvinistic soteriological convictions as being close to “semi-Presbyterian”. We, of course, reject paedobaptism for the same reasons that we reject the semi-arminianism that you cling to: the position is not found in the text of scripture.

Craner then continues:

“I am Amyraldian, in the clear purpose of stating, as Moise did, that Beza changed- substantially changed- the Calvinistic stance at Geneva. The creeping Scholastic Calvinism that made "predestination the head of all doctrine" (Synod of Dort) was certainly not the only note given in Calvin's sermons. I reference the work of Dr. Kennedy in his dissertation. He is now a professor at SWBTS.”

Walton replies:

No, you are not an Amyraldian by any stretch of the imagination. You would probably be better defined as a molinist. Even your own comments, “creeping Scholastic Calvinism that made "predestination the head of all doctrine", betray your knowledge of Moise Amyrualt, who strongly believed in the doctrine of predestination. Caner further demonstrates his lack of knowledge in regards to church history when he stated the amazing (I still can’t believe that he posted this):

“I am not a Puritan- I am a Pilgrim. John Gill would have had me flogged for being an unlicensed preacher. Killed for refusing to baptize my sons as infants.”

Walton replies:

This comment should automatically remove him from consideration as being dean of any theological institution anywhere in the world. Perhaps Dr. Caner should read Infant Baptism: A Part and Pillar of Popery by Dr. John Gill. As Dr. Gill is one of the most widely known Baptists in recent church history, Dr. Caner’s comment seems to be pulled straight out of pure ignorance. Funny, I can’t seem to find the sentence where Dr. Caner states that he was wrong for making this statement…

Ergun Caner states:

“I endorsed Dave Hunt's book- letters. I require Geisler's Chosen But Free- more letters.”

Walton replies:

Each of the two books that Caner cites were filled with eisegetical errors, faulty scholarship, and syllogistic argumentation (Which seems to be the Caner’s way of communicating their opinions as well). EVEN MEN WHO ARE NOT CALVINISTS have denounced Hunt’s “What Love is This” as well. What is worse is that Ergun Caners mode of argumentation when challenged to debate Dr. White is that “Geisler and Hunt have already refuted him” which, for any observer is a complete untruth. Both Geisler and Hunt have run from the opportunity to debate face to face with Dr. White and it appears that this will be the case with Dr. Caner as well.

Ergun Caner, after all of his claims of Dr. White’s inability to defend Calvinism, after his eluding to the possibility of debate, after being invited to debate the issue with Dr. White on neutral ground --- goes completely silent. Dead silent.

Lets look afresh at what Ergun Caner said many posts ago:

“As for the offer to debate, I would be happy to debate- a Baptist. Why should I debate Dr. White? Especially since Dr. Geisler so aptly decimated him in the second edition of CHOSEN? If you would like a copy, take my class THEO 202. I require it. Perhaps we can even debate after Emir's new book from B&H on Baptist History comes out. I am sure it will help balance out Dr. Nettles textbook. I shall require Emir's book as well.”
Walton replies:

This statement by Ergun Caner was immediately followed by a kind and generous offer by Uncialman to stage a debate with Drs White and Caner.

Ergun Caner’s response?:


Walton replies:

Dr. White then provides refutation of some of the claims of Ergun Caner and states that he is more than willing to debate.

Ergun Caner’s response?:

1. DR. WHITE VS. DR GEISLER: Interesting that Dr. White believes he corrected Dr. Geisler's Chosen But Free...virtually every person I know who has read the 2nd edition of CHOSEN, even reformed-minded, believe Dr. Geisler thoroughly won...

2. DEBATE DR. WHITE: Explain to me again- WHY debate a non-Southern Baptist again? I thought Founders was an SBC site? Perhaps I was mistaken.

3. DEBATE AT RTS: Huh? My goodness. In fact, I would love to debate a Southern Baptist...on the campus of a Southern Baptist school. Liberty University comes to mind. Imagine a debate with 9000 kids in attendance. However, debating at a Presbyterian, or Semi-Presbyterian school might be dangerous. Knowing historically how Calvin himself treated Anabaptists, I don't know if I would feel safe. I would feel like Huss, attending Constance in 1415.

Walton replies:

In other words, says neither “yes” or “no” in his answer to the offer to theological debate. I would suggest that Dr. Caner take down the claims of being “fearless” and might want to remove the self-appointed “pit bull” tag.

So, Dr. Caner is more than happy to debate Muslims, Atheists, Hindus etc. but will not debate Dr. James White, an professor at a SBC seminary, because he is a reformed Baptist???? I pray that Tom Ascol will never take down this thread so all of us can link Ergun Caner’s response to a serious debate challenge the next time he runs off at the mouth against those that believe in reformed soteriology.

Uncialman then again re-issues a kind and generous invitation for Ergun Caner and James White to debate.

Ergun Caner’s response?:


In all sincere interest, I would really like to know if Uncialman ever received a reply from Ergun Caner personally? Is Caner just doing his best to dodge a face to face debate with cross examination?

The thread then starts to lose luster as a charles begins to post on the thread about some ridiculous claims about Dr. White. Charles: did Dr. White win his debates against Dr. Schaffs, Dr. Sanders, Dr. Crossan, Fr. Stravinskas ThD, Fr. Pacwa ThD etc. ? Yes, he did so convincingly each and ever time. You see Charles, as Dr. Ergun Caner just demonstrated, it’s not what degree you paid for, it’s what you know and your ability to defend your positions when challenged.

Enough for now,


Walton said...

Charles (Bob):

Please stop your incessant self-promotion and attacks on Dr. White. From what I read, Dr. White is not debating Bob Ross because Bob Ross has proven himself to be a self-promoting goof-ball not really worthy of being taken seriously. Kinda reminds me of a taxi-cab driver I had once that had invented something called "Loveology". Such things are not really worth responding to - like Bob Ross.

Where does Bob Ross get his information on Dr. White? A wacky-Mormon source. How interesting. So, I guess Charles would prefer to recognize the education credentials, argumentation, and theology of Mormons running around with Doctorates in theology instead of Scriptural, reasoned principles from someone whose Doctoral thesis is there for everyone to see (The Forgotten Trinity)?

Take your little war someplace else Charles.

Micah said...

Hi Rabbi, you asked: "...if people are predestined for Heaven or destruction, why evangelize or pray for them? Isn't it God's problem?"
The Bible expresses the idea that God uses means to accomplish His predetermined will. Romans 10 states that "...faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." This means that God uses the preaching of the word of Christ to open the ears and enable the hearing of the dead slaves to sin, unlike what God did to Israel when He gave them "...ears that would not hear,down to this very day."

Thus, as Romans 10 again tells us: 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

We are commanded, as instruments of God's grace, to preach the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. God therefore has predestined that fallible human preaching would be means by which He graciously calls people to salvation through faith.


kletois said...

Charles, what is your academic credentials, why should the readers of these comments give you a hearing?

jbuchanan said...

We preach the gospel because that is what Matthew 28:19-20 tells us to do. God ordains the means as well as the ends.

Dave said...

Rabbi didn't ask why preach, he asked why preach if God already chose who's going to Heaven and Hell. If God had already decided that, there would be no point in evangelism. Somebody's being selective about what part of the question they answer...hmmm...typical Calvinist response. But I guess us Christians should be used to that by now.

No Name said...

Charles (or Bob),

The argument for refusing to debate James White from a standpoint that his degree is somehow inferior to others is a smoke screen at best. If James White had only purchased a degree without any work, which I cannot see that this is the case, then you may have a good point. But he did not, has done the work, and therefore I cannot see that you have a point.

If Dr. White is so inferior due to a lack of a doctorate from a state accredited school then Dr. Caner or yourself should debate him. Gee, I see it as an opportunity for you and Dr. Caner to prove your point, win hands down, case closed. But my skeptical side comes in the refusal to debate. It gives the appearance, not saying this is the case, that you are not willing to discuss the real issues.

From my standpoint, as a non scholar, I really could care less what degrees one has but instead care about one's ability to expound the scriptures clearly and in a proper manner.

I even seem to remember some so called uneducated men named Peter and John who were accused of being uneducated also. Acts 4:13

Charles, Dr. White appears to be very educated and therefore those looking to debate should have nothing to fear. I look forward to the announcement of a future debate.

Tom said...

As the comments approach 300 in number let me step in for what I anticipate is one final time.

First, a few words about my approach to blogging. I made the decision to allow comments when I first began this blog last summer. Initially, I allowed anonymous comments--which means that a person did not even have to have a blogspot identity. I was challenged on that decision by a couple of friends and after several vile anonymous comments were posted, I changed the policy. That concerned some who, out of fear of being found out that they comment on my blog, thought that they could no longer give their comments here without making a full disclosure of their identity (as I was told, "big brother really is watching!") . However, as "Charles" has repeatedly proven, such is not the case.

My attitude as the owner and moderator of this blog is to allow wide range in the comments. Dr. Ergun Caner acknowledged that on his way out of this thread. He and his brother expected to be banned. Banned they were not, despite some amazingly inflammatory rhetoric. In fact, the Caner brothers may have walked away with the gold and silver medals in that category, although Charles would have won hands down had he not been disqualified so often by going completely over the top. Even so, some of his crass comments about James White have been allowed to stand.

I have been contacted by one man who was ignominiously described here by one of his critics. He has chastised me for "publishing" such a comment and warned me that doing so is no way to "win friends and influence people." Well, I didn't publish it, I merely let it stand, despite my personal disapproval and disagreement of it.

Now, in the spirit of Dr. Yarnell, let me go on record saying that I am grateful to be able to count James White among my friends. Some of the attacks that Charles and others have made on him here are scurrilous. James does not need me to defend him, nor have I found him to be the kind of man who rushes to defend himself. His published works and public ministry speak for his convictions, abilities and willingness to engage issues in a fair and rigorous way. The attack on the source of his degrees is something that I find laughable. It strkes me as a ploy by those who are unwilling or unable to engage him on theological issues. I know PhDs from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world whom I would not allow to teach a Sunday School class in our church.

It is easy to stand in the shadows and launch anonymous accusations on a man, as "Charles" has repeatedly proven. But, given the principles by which I am moderating this blog, I will allow even that to happen, as long as the accusations do not move from being merely crass to being vile. I am the one responsible for deciding where that line is. I am open to suggestions about it, but ultimately, on this question, the buck stops here.

WillLang said...

Conservative Calvinist?

Dr. Ergun Caner. At the beginning of this long blog the question was asked "is there room for two conservative candidates?" In light your understanding can a person be a Calvinist and also be conservative? During the conservative resurgence we emphasized Biblical theology. If you don't consider Calvinism to be Biblical....then can a Calvinist really be a true conservative candidate?

Will Langford

Charles said...
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Charles said...
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Tom said...


When you decide to drop your anonymity and let the readers here know who you are, I may allow more of your crass comments to stay up. Until then, please save both your time and mine.

David B. Hewitt said...

Ah, another "dave"! This one though apparently doesn't share my theological convictions. :) In any case, greetings and God's blessings to you sir.

You said:
"Rabbi didn't ask why preach, he asked why preach if God already chose who's going to Heaven and Hell. If God had already decided that, there would be no point in evangelism. Somebody's being selective about what part of the question they answer...hmmm...typical Calvinist response. But I guess us Christians should be used to that by now."

First of all, you are certainly generalizing with your last statement. I am most certainly a Christian, as are all of the Reformed brethren on this blog. :)

Secondly, I guess I just don't understand. JBuchanan answered the question for the need to evangelize. We do it because it is God's means that He has ordained for the salvation of all who will receive Him. No one will be saved apart from the preaching and subsequent hearing of the Gospel. Paul makes this clear at a couple of points:

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.(17) For in it God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

The argument that you've presented isn't a biblical one; I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just stating a fact. The Bible makes it clear that the Gospel is necessary for salvation; therefore, it must be declared! To say "everyone elect will be saved anyway so what is the point" creates something a contradiction. Everyone who is elect will indeed be saved, but it will always be through the proclamation of the Gospel.

Far from defeating evangelism and missions, doctrines like election open the door for encouragement in it! There is no need for gimicks or persuasive speech (see 1 Cor 2:1-5). All we need is the Gospel, and, knowing that there are elect people out there, we know for a fact that some people will respond to the Gospel! God will work through it; He has promised He will. That is strong encouragement and motivation to go forward!

Since becoming Reformed, my confidence in evangelism has increased. It has become more natural for me, and I have done it a lot more often than I did beforehand. I thank God for it.

I hope this helps!

From one Dave to another for the Glory of God,
David Hewitt

Charles said...

Hello, Tom!

When you decide to drop your anonymity and let the readers here know who you are

You mean like Jeff, Rabbi, Walton, Docsalogy, and

When I clicked on their names, I could not find out who they are. Is this a double standard, Tom? It's acceptable for Calvinists but not for your critics?

Why the interest in me but no one else? Do you have reprisals in mind for me, Tom? Hopefully not A la John Calvin. I would like to know, please.

David B. Hewitt said...


I would like to ask you a question if I may:

Why are you on this blog? What is your motivation for coming here and what do you hope to achieve?


BJ said...

Charles, why is it important that Dr. White's degree's be accepted by certain commities in order for him to be qualified to debate "greater Caner?" Paul refuted Jews publically in Acts and it would be an argument from silence to assume they attended "The Academy." Geisler did not seem to mind, nor did John Crossean last summer. This reminds me of the time Atheist Dr. Micheal Martin first agreed than later backed out (cowardly) to debate Dr. Greg Bahnsen over God's existence because Martin did not want it to be recorded! I always thought that if a an atheist was so convinced of his/her position it would be great for it to be recorded to help spread the cause of atheism. Obviously Martin wasn't so convinced. He finally decided to take Bahnsen and Van Til to task after Bahnsen's untimely death in 1995. I suspect that your diversionary tactic about White and his degree's is an inappropriate ad hominem to distract the thread as to whether or not Caner should debate White. The fact is he should. Caner is an apologist, and White is an apologist. What good is being an apologist(we are all called to be if we are Christians) if you do not defend your view or presuppositions? Do you witness to unbelievers and whenever asked to defend your view, assuming that you are in fact a Christian, ask the unbeliever for his resume or academic credentials before you refute or answer his objection to the hope that is in you? I was enrolled in a secular university until recently when I dropped out because of the Deconstructionism being advocated by professors and hidden by others to protect their jobs. I personally think academia is a joke unless we are talking about Christian Education, Science, Philosophy, etc.. What say ye?

He is Risen.

Charles said...
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Charles said...
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Charles said...
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Dave said...

Yes Preaching is needed for evangelism. Yes it is Biblical to preach. I don't know how you got what you got out of what I said. It would make no sense to preach the Gospel if God had already chosen where everybody was going. As far as I am concerned, Calvinists are not Christians because they teach/believe in unbiblical things(as I stated earlier, that God chose to send certain people to hell).

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Dave.

What I'm saying is that it is consisent to believe in Election and Reprobation and also to do evangelism. The reason is that the Bible teaches all three of those things.

Romans 9 makes it clear that God chose some and didn't choose others. I guess I am just confused when you make the statement that Calvinists aren't Christians. I've been a Christian for over 13 years, Reformed for about the last 2--3 years, and am thankful to God for growing me in the understanding of His Word!

Dave Hewitt

Dave said...

I stated my point. Show me anywhere in the Bible that God chose which people are going to Heaven and Hell. This is an unBiblical concept. It is clearly stated that any predestination is based on God's foreknowledge(Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren).

G. Alford said...

Brother Dave,

What does the word “foreknew” in Romans 8:29 denote?

Dave, I think you are reading a meaning into the text that is not actually expressed by the text itself.

The “Foreknowledge” of God does NOT in this text (or any where in Scripture) refer to God fore-knowing that certain individuals would one day choose him therefore based upon this knowledge of a future decision on the part of man God goes ahead and elects them to salvation. NO!

This (if it were true) would completely destroy any meaning or purpose for election.
Election (which is found throughout the Scriptures) would be needless and in fact make God look quite silly… like a person who goes around saying “Me too” to every good idea that someone else comes up with. Is the doctrine of Election nothing more than God going around saying “Me too” and trying to claim the glory for the salvation of man all for himself, when in fact the salvation of any particular person was not His choice at all?

Dave, if this is the case then Romans 8:29 should read:

“For those whom He (knew would one day choose to accept Jesus) He also (rewarded) to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Of course this makes mans salvation one of merit and not of Grace…

Dave, I am not trying to win an argument with you… actually I once believed that this was the correct meaning of this verse, but after much study I reluctantly (screaming and kicking actually) came to realize that I was simply reading into the text what I wanted it to say. Here is a link to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology on the meaning of Foreknowledge (and no one that I know of is accusing Baker Publishing of being Reformed). Link Here

Blessing my Brother,

G. Alford said...


Sorry the link does not fully work… once you get to the page it pulls up click on Dictionaries, then select Baker’s Evangelical dictionary of Biblical Theology, type in the word “Foreknowledge” and click Lookup.

Some web-sites are just too complex for their own good…


David B. Hewitt said...

Hey Dave.

Romans 8:29 is a wonderful verse! However, look at the object of the word "foreknew." The object is "those" as in "those He predestined." The object is not actions but people. The word used here in Greek is the same word used in the Greek Old Testament in Genesis 4:1 when it talks about Adam "knowing" his wife. This knowing is not some forseeing who would believe and then choosing them on the basis of that -- then the object would be their actions and not the people! No, this knowing, as is evident by the word usage I just mentioned (among other things I'll omit for brevity's sake) is an intimate knowing of people, and is the same as electing.

You asked for one verse -- Romans 8:29 is that verse! There are a few others of course, several, but I'll limit it to two of the more common passages in Paul's writings. Remember, we must get all our theology from the Whole Counsel of God, not from verses isolated from their contexts - context rules interpretation!

Ephesians 1:4 for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love (5) He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, (6) to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

AS you can see here, God chose people from before the foundation of the world to be in Christ. He adopted people for Himself out of His favor and will -- not because of anything we would do on our own. He did it for the praise of His glorious grace. It was for the glory of God that He chose to save anyone! I have an extended exegesis of this passage available at my blog here.

Romans 9:15 For He tells Moses: I will show mercy to whom I show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. (16) So then it does not depend on human will or effort, but on God who shows mercy. (17) For the Scripture tells Pharaoh: For this reason I raised you up: so that I may display My power in you, and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (18) So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.

As you can see, this text is pretty clear that God has mercy on whom He will and that He hardens the rest. How that hardening works is a bit tricky to explain, but the point remains. God has mercy on whom He wills, and those on whom He displays His wrath were ultimately created for that purpose. Like Pharoah, they were raised up so God's power can and will be displayed in justice and judgment.

Notice also that God's choosing of people doesn't depend on anything in man. It does NOT depend on human will or effort, but on GOD Who shows mercy, says the Scriptures.

I hope this helps, and that God is glorified in it!

Dave Hewitt

BJ said...

eDave said:
As far as I am concerned, Calvinists are not Christians because they teach/believe in unbiblical things(as I stated earlier, that God chose to send certain people to hell).

This is very disturbing to me for a couple of reasons.
1) Is Dave saying that because the Bible does not say "x" and a Christian believes "x", than they are not Christians? Of course the Bible teaches "Double Predestination" as has been shown to Dave, but if I use Dave's line of reasoning could I conclude that because the Bible doesnt teach anything about open heart surgery, and I have a heart attack and require triple by-pass surgery, then I must not be a Christian because the Bible doesnt teach open heart surgery? I hope not.

2) This is what is called in logic, the fallacy of refuting a position with a nannie-nannie boo-boo argument. It is usually committed when the individual asserts a falsehood without siting a reputable source and then ignores all well formulated arguments returned as a response! another example might be:

As far as I am concerned, all Arminians are going to hell for believing that Jesus came and died to make Salvation possible for people to chose, but if no one exercises their free-will and picks to be on God's side, it would mean Jesus died for nothing and makes Him out to be the biggest failure in human history. Now pretend that I ignore all responses that come my way.

One more than I'll siop.
As far as I am concerned, all Arminian's are going to hell because they are told to pray for the lost, but given their worldview prayer as well as evangelism is destroyed. How can you pray to God for the lost of say your family and believe in Arminian free will? Dear God, please change my families heart so they will be able to chose you. In this simple prayer we see the Arminian praying for God to violate the family members free will in order to believe. And we Calvinist are called non Christians? My friend you could not even open your mouth to pray to God for the lost unless Calvins Theology, I mean Paul's Theology were true. THE COMMAND TO PRAY IS MEANINGLESS GIVEN ARMINIAN PRESUPPOSITIONS!

Nikki Daniel said...
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Dave said...

It's so awesome that you assume I'm Arminian just because I'm not stupid enough to be a Calvinist. Look, I can't help it if I actually know what the Bible says. There is NOTHING ANYWHERE in the Bible that says God created some people with the intention of sending them to Hell. NONE of you have presented me with anything Biblical to support Theodore Beza's beliefs. Look, read what I said, then think of an actual, Biblical response, instead of assuming I'm Arminian and attacking my character(Dave, I know you're still being nice, which in my experience is rare from Calvinists, so thank you). That's like saying I'm a Republican just because I'm not a Democrat. Beza had no idea what he was talking about, but Arminius had some issues too. I don't believe in Calvinism or Arminianism, I believe what the Bible actually says.

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Dave.

Truth is, I don't know who Theodore Beza is. :) I also really don't care about what Calvin said (I've never read his Institutes). I, like you, want to believe what the Bible says!

The Doctrines of Grace, or Reformed theology are sometimes called "Calvinism" but the truth is, that is really just a nickname. Calvin's name is put on it really because (I think, someone stop me if I'm wrong) he was probably the greatest theologian coming out of the Reformation as far as biblical exegesis was concerned.

It it was George Whitefield who said, "I embrace the Calvinistic scheme, not because of Calvin, but Jesus Christ has taught it to me."

That is my position as well. If we are going to be faithful to the whole of the teaching of Scripture, then we must accept what is commonly called "Reformed Theology."

Thanks for the comment about my being nice; I do indeed try. My desire is the glory of God, so I'll credit Him with that. :)

I am curious about something though. you said:

"There is NOTHING ANYWHERE in the Bible that says God created some people with the intention of sending them to Hell."

I'm not talking about Beza either; as I said, I'm ignorant of who the man is. However, I did present you with some Scriptures from Romans 8, 9, and Ephesians 1. I also offered a short interpretation of them and a link over to my website with further exegesis.

Was my exegesis in error? If it was, how so? Please provide the proper interpretation of the passage if you would. I'm sure you'll agree that we can argue back and forth and not get anywhere -- UNLESS we submit to what the Bible teaches. So, let's use it!

Dave Hewitt

PS -- Two more things. The Arminian label, much like the Calvinist label, is more a nickname for doctrines associated with Arminius. Arminius's followers produced 5 points that were addressed at Dordt (Conditional Election, Partial Depravity, Universal Atonement, Resistable Grace, Apostasy of Believers). When someone in this thread or others who are Reformed refer to someone as an Arminian, what they usually if not always mean is that said person holds to one or more of those doctrines, that's all.

PPS -- The issue of God creating some people just to send them to Hell can almost be a loaded statement. Though in and of itself it isn't necessarily false, it can often exclude the fact that it is OUR SIN that condemns us to Hell, and what God did is withhold saving grace from those who were not elect, creating the latter to display His justice and wrath for His glory (just like He created the elect to display His grace and mercy). Anyway, all for now. Hope to hear from you again!

David B. Hewitt said...

Thanks, Nikki.

I can use all the prayer I can get. It is truly heartbreaking when there is disunity, and especially when it involves not following God's instruction in some way.

Psalm 119:136 My eyes pour out streams of tears because people do not follow Your instruction.

I've wept over this more than once for sure. My desire is that God would be glorified. Surely He is glorified when His Word is proclaimed and taught, but He is also glorified if we teach it in the proper way, the way of gentleness.

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,
2 Timothy 2:25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth.

The context is probably referring to how Timothy should deal with people associated with the church who are not really Christians. However, if we are to be gentle to people who are not truly members of Christ, how much more should we extend such gentleness and patience to our brothers and sisters in Christ? I would argue that it should be more!

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.

The people in the church get preferential treatment, period. We do good to all, but especially to the household of faith. Surely Paul (who wrote both of these books) would want us (including Timothy) to be gentle to the true Christians when there was disagreement, and even gentle to the point of leading up to church discipline should it be necessary.

By and large, it was God working through the gently, patient teaching of my Missions professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that caused me to change my mind related to the Doctrines of Grace. God granted me a change of mind (literal rendering of the word for "repentance") and I began to understand more of His sovereign, unstoppable grace. My professor's name is Dr. Ron Rogers, a 5-point Calvinist, and one of the most passionate men for missions and evangelism that I've ever met. In fact, I believe he is right now back in Brazil with the IMB doing missions work again.

My purpose is to glorify God in these discussions and not to win an argument; this is not about me, and I have no business trying to make myself look good -- it is to make our Almighty GOD look good! To be sure, at times I get a little frustrated, and when that comes out and I fail to "speak the truth in love" and address the issue gently and patiently, please forgive me, all you who read this post!

May God always receive the glory.

David Hewitt

Adam Cummings said...

I hate for this to sound like some sort of ad-hominem, but, Dr. Caner, I visited your site. I have emailed you and hope either you or your staff receive it.

Yet, aside from what I wrote to you (asking you to debate James White), I must admit that I was less than impressed with your site. "Without Fear", "The Intellectual Pitbull" of the evangelical world, etcetera and ad-nasuem. Every link I clicked included something about you, along with a multiplicity of pictures with--of course--you on them. Granted, it is YOUR site, but, still, you condemn everyone in this blog for being lazy (since you apparently and falsely equate Calvinism with laziness or fatalism); yet, your whole site is all about you. It is slightly ironic. I pray that you will humble yourself, take up debate with James White, and show everyone in this blog that you can do more than just quote book references, rude comments, and click a little "submit" button. Are you firmly convinced in your own mind that Calvinism is false? That begs the question: why are you so afraid of James White (I suppose that this fear, considering that Norman Geisler and Dave Hunt have both expressed it by refusing debate with Dr. White, is quite understandable)? I myself doubt that the whole Liberty debate team (would you believe I was actually looking at going to Liberty at one point?) could take on James White, since, of course, Romans 9 is on his side (or, rather, he is on the side of Romans 9). You can come in to some blog and vent, but can you hold your own at a public debate? It seems not. May God guide you into His truth.

Jeff said...
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G. Alford said...
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Burt Harper said...


If you do not understand why Dr. Caner does not debate Dr. White you need to look at his website again. Dr. Caner has explained that Dr. White's arguments have been successfully refuted by Geisler and Hunt. I totally agree with him on this point. I have read Debating Calvinism and Chosen but Free 2nd Edition. I have yet to read Potters Freedom, What Love is This, or John Pipers' stuff. However, if the Lord tarries I will read them also. From what I have read so far, Dr. Caner would be wasting his time trying to help Dr. White over come his traditions, Confessions, and Creeds. So, why should he waste his time. Something from Piper, or Potters freedom may change my mind. However, in almost every argument that I have been presented in efforts to prove the 5 points has been theologically lacking in truth so far. I have gotten to the point where it becomes irritating when someone reads scripture to me that is taken totally out of context to try to prove Reformed theology. It saddens me. I weep in prayer at times because of the heaviness of my heart on this matter of erroneous scripture interpretation. However, I do keep an open mind. It would be much easier for me socially if I were in agreement with my pastoral staff. The peer pressure to change my theology to Reformed is tremendous. I face it every Sunday Morning in my Sunday School Class. We have been studying the 5 points for 6 months now. Brother, I love you in the Lord. I pray that I have not offended you because I truly dont want to do that.

I just ask you this. Pray and ask God to guide you in His Word.Every time you try to defend one of the five points, stick to that point. Do not let yourself or anyone else distract you from the point at hand. They will try with what about this or what about that. Save the others for later. Stick to the current point until you have answered whether it is right or wrong. Stick with the Bible verse in context you are studying to prove or disprove the point at hand. Study the whole passage not just one or two verses. If you feel you need to reference an author for further help, find an author with a different outlook on the passage and study what he says also. However, don't go referencing other men unless you have truly prayed and studied. As a Christian you have the Holy Spriit of God to guide you in study of scripture. We both know the Holy Spirit is more intellectually and doctrinally sound than any man. Do not go elsewhere in the Word unless the current passage does not have a clear conclusion on the point. Be willing to let God change your mind no matter the cost. Do not let pride and social status get in your way.

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Burt!

Sound advice. Scripture out of context doesn't help anything (unless a particular verse summarizes the context, which is rare). I've seen a lot of proof-texting, and it is not just limited to those of more an Arminian slant to be sure, though I must admit it often is more from that side (that I have experienced).

I am curious -- you mentioned some of the problems trying to "prove the five points" out of context. If people are prooftexting, then there is a problem no matter WHAT they are trying to prove -- I am curious though on this: What have you come across so far that is something taken out of context? In some sense, I'd like to address it, and who knows, I might agree with you at times that something indeed was taken out of context and ought to be interpreted differently. However, I stand by the discussion of John 3:16 a while back on this blog partly because of textual context, and also because of cultural/historical context. :)

Burt, I do enjoy your posts, truly I do. I hope to have a chance to interact with you over this, and whatever happens, may it be for the Glory of God!

David B. Hewitt

Burt Harper said...


RE: Rom. 8:29. Foreknew (proegnw)-to know beforehand. Proper use of the meaning of the word simply says that knew us beforehand. He predestined that those of us He knew before hand would be predestined to what follows in the verse. Augustine says: "There can be no predestination without foreknowledge; but there can be foreknowledge without predestination." So who does He foreknow? Those who will love God. What did He predestinate? Not that they should love God or believe; nor that some should be saved and others damned; but that those who he saw beforehand would love God, should be conformed to the image of his Son. The only thing predestinated, or foreordained, is that those who love God as revealed in Christ shall become Christlike in life and eternity. This is the only decree in the passage. The object of this foreknowledge is those. It does not prove, or disprove your Calvinistic inclinations.

RE: Ephesians 1:4-6. Chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, does not affirm that God chose some and rejected others, but that before creation God chose to have a people for himself, the believers in Christ, a people confined to no one earthly race. God chose us that we might be holy.
Again, it does not prove or disprove your Calvinistic inclinations. Having predestinated us. Foreordained that we should be adopted as his children. The whole line of presentation is general instead of particular. God foreordained a church which would be composed pwople adopted as his children. According to the pleasure of his will. This act of predestination was due to God's sovereign will. To the praise of the glory of his grace. That his grace in adopting us as children may exemplify his praise and glory. In the beloved. In Christ.

RE: Romans 9:15. I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy. This is in Exod. 33:19, and answers Moses's request for a high privilege. The Lord grants teh request, not because Moses merits it, but of grace, because He "will be gracious to whom he willeth, and will have mercy where he will." The passage, as applied by Paul, asserts that God favors nations in accordance with his pleasure. God exercises free choice.

I don't believe these verses prove, or disprove your Calvinistic inclinations. I simply believe if you want try prove your theology of Limited Atonement you will have to go elsewhere. I am not going to claim that I know everything there is to know about the Bible. There may be a passage of scripture that teaches your theology on Limited Atonement. However, I have yet to see it. If I am wrong I am open to embracing your theology. However, as a Christian, I must have exegetical proof of your theology before I can believe it.

2 K's are Better Than 1 said...

After having read all of these posts I feel I am now eligible for an honorary degree from both Liberty and RTS - after all, we want it to be fair. Does that mean I can both be a drinker/smoker and works judgemental at the same time? wooo hooo

oh, and since the question came round on more than one occasion regarding how many of Johnny Hunt's members he knows by name - I am one a member of FBC Woodstock and last year, my pastor dropped me a real, non-form written note for my birthday to tell me that I was loved and appreciated. Maybe I'm number 101...

GeorgiaDownPour said...

Johnny Hunt's success has come because every message I've ever heard him deliver was centered on the foundation of the Word of God. Salvation only through the Cross of Jesus Christ. If more ministers took his approach to ministry, they would have more successful ministries. If one chooses Calvinist views that says only the elect of God can be saved, and define that elect as a certain group destined to be saved, he will encounter many problems. Its an easy out for an unsucessful soul-winning campaign. Johnny Hunt has won more to Christ and the proof is in the pudding. Bruce, Woodstock Georgia. By the way I'm not a Baptist, but a Pentecostal, so my views are based on observance of living here and watching his ministry over the years.

Adam Cummings said...

Burt, perhaps you should go to White's website (www.aomin.org) and check out his response to Norman Geisler's revised "Chosen but Free"... Geisler proved himself either completely ignorant or completely dishonest in that second edition. Frankly,he should have left the book as it was. I love you as a brother, too, Burt; but, it does not sound like you possess as open of a mind as you claim. I have a problem when people explain away John 6, Ephesians 1, Romans 8-9 and like passages based on their presuppositions. The passages are very clear; please, Burt, do keep an open mind as you say you are trying to do. I am young, and I too must avoid arrogance and keep an open mind, but don't think that your false and human presuppositions prove my own interpretations of the passages previously mentioned to be lacking.

As for your idea of discussing one point without the other, I would not recommend such an idea at all. Sure, I'm all for discussing Calvinism point by point (TULIP), as it helps facilitate conversation and dialogue. However, I do not recommend some sort of "systematic study" that ignores the other concepts as unrelated. That's like asking someone to help a previously blind man understand what the color white is without showing him what the color black is. That's just an analogy, but, point being, everyone wants James White to discuss one point in isolation so that they can use their own Arminian presuppositions against him. That is, if I may be frank, a ridiculous request.

I know exactly why Caner won't debate White, and I addressed that in my email to him (thanks for the source, though). If that is "why" he won't debate him, why does he debate anyone? Haven't others addressed the exact issues that he does in his debates with Muslims and the like? Yet, he is not afraid to debate them? Frankly, Burt, it seems Dr. Caner can convince a few college students but can't pick on anyone his own size. I don't know; maybe he knows he will lose?

God bless, Burt...

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Burt!

Thanks for writing back. I am glad you did to be sure, because it underscores some important issues with the texts you cited.

First, as far as Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 are concerned, I don't think anyone was saying that they referred to limited atonment/particular redemption. However, they do in fact argue for unconditional election, that is, that there is nothing in man that would cause God to choose him, and that God did so out of His favor and sovereign good pleasure alone. Ephesians 1 and Romans 9 do seem to indicate that quite clearly.

Not only that, but the argument that Romans 9 is talking about nations and corporate election rather than individuals and individual election doesn't quite fit the entire context or the objections Paul has to deal with in his argument. First of all, look at Romans 9:6 -->

Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

Israel of course is a nation, but wait -- Paul is saying that not all who are descended from Israel are really Israel! In other words, there are some who are Israel, some individuals who, though not descended from physical Israel (the nation) are, nonetheless spiritual Israel. Since we are not talking about the physical nation in this case, individuals must be the context for the remainder of the passage that Paul has written.

Another point to consider is Paul's would-be objector near the end of the chapter:

Romans 9:19 You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"
Romans 9:20 But who are you--anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

Why on earth did Paul expect to get this kind of a response? Would this response had been warranted had he only been talking about nations and not individuals?

Doesn't this sound a lot like the responses Reformed people get nowadays when people object to Unconditional Election? "Well, if that's the case, then why does God blame us at all, and what's the point, since destinies are fixed" or some variation of that?

A better man than myself once stated that if our view of election doesn't get the same response out of people as Paul's did then we should reexamine our understanding of election.

Lastly, about Romans 8:29 -- you are right in saying that the object is people and that God knew people and not actions! The reason I brought this verse up originally is that those of more an Arminian slant tend to use this verse to justify their belief that God forsees faith in people and that is why He chooses them. The fact that people are in view and that this is a personal knowing of people and not facts debunks that erroneous interpretation.

Now about the issue of limited atonement in this passage. I'll agree that it is not stated explicitly, but it is there implicitly in the following verse because of what has been called "the golden chain of redemption."

Romans 8:30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

We will remember from verse 29 that those He foreknew were the ones predestined. Now, we have those SAME PEOPLE going into the rest of these categories! Those He predestined He called. This call is often referred to as "effectual calling" rather than the general call of the Gospel. Why is this? Because these same people also get justified and glorified. It is a certain thing. Clearly not all of the people who hear the Gospel will be justified and glorified, so this must be a different kind of calling for the context demands that it is. That being the case, there indeed is a limited number of people here that Paul is referring to.

As I said, it's not explicit, but you can see how it relates a little. :)

By far, in my opinion, the strongest verses that speak to Particular Redemption are found in John chapter 10. Give it a good read and pay special attention to what Jesus is saying about His sheep, who they are, and what He does for them and not others.

Sorry if there are typos in this post -- I had to run and didn't have time to proofread it!

May God receive glory here today!

David Hewitt

Burt Harper said...

Brother Adam,

I must be just as ignorant or dishonest as Geisler because it stook me a month to read the book because I studied it page by page to make sure it was Biblical. Took 2 months for me to read Debating Calvinism because I wanted to study it, not just read it. If you dont think I am open minded to God, think whatever you want to. If I have presupposed anything, then tell me what you think I have presupposed. Also, you are right in a sense about what I had said on studying point by point. Because, I guess you could have more than one point in a passage. How about this. Would you agree that we should study the scriptures passage by passage? Help me out here. As far as to the reason Caner wont debate White, you may be right. Caner may be scared? White debates very well. He could probably win the debate no matter what side he takes. I just think it is respectful to take someone for their word unless they have been proved a liar. You may have a different standard. You definitely seem to have a monopoly on knowing why Dr. Caner does things. But I like that about you Adam. That is a good quality to take a firm stand on what you believe. God can use that.

Thank you my Brother,

Burt Harper said...

Brother Dave,

Thank you for your response. Your taking some of your precious time to study this with me is much appreciated.
I agree with you that Romans 9:6 teaches that some of the people of Israel are saved and some are unsaved. The promise is not to seed according to the flesh, but to spiritual seed is one of Paul's main points in the chapter. As the God can choose a race, he can reject a race. The rejection of Israel according to the flesh and acceptance of Gentiles according to the spirit was foretold. To understand the message in this chapter, we must keep in mind Paul's direction for this letter. In the beginning of this letter (Rom. 1:16, 17) Paul has shown that the gospel was God's power of salvation . . . "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." The Jews had rejected Christ from a national perspective, so God had rejected them in the same fashion. Resulting in the destruction of their nation. The Jews tried to fall back on the promises made to Abraham. Had God broken his promises? If Christ was the true Messiah, and the Jewish nation rejected, many held that the promise was made void. To answer this objection Paul writes (1) the promise was not to all the fleshly seed of Abraham, but to the seed according to the promise; and (2) that God, in his sovereignty, has the right to choose a race or to pass it by at his will. Individuals make up the group that is spiritual Israel. I believe the context is this group of spiritual Israel. In my opinion, the subject of individual and personal election is not in the mind of the apostle, but of the election of the Jews to be the chosen people, their rejection afterwards, and the choice of the Gentiles. Isaac, Esau and Jacob are the representatives of nations. As you probably know, the Bible names nations in this manner many times. From what I have read, I do not find that Esau actually served Jacob. There is another side of that equation. Did Edom serve Isreal? Yes, according to 2 Samuel 8:14 "And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David's servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went."

Romans 9:19 You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"
Romans 9:20 But who are you--anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

Why on earth did Paul expect to get this kind of a response?

Because individuals would either be reading his letter or hearing his letter read. Unless I am misunderstanding you, I don't think that you can say that anytime a question is written as speaking to an individual, that the context of the scripture must be understood to have only an individual application. Do I need to provide examples that you might agree with?

Doesn't this sound a lot like the responses Reformed people get nowadays when people object to Unconditional Election? "Well, if that's the case, then why does God blame us at all, and what's the point, since destinies are fixed" or some variation of that?

I agree with you. I have heard people object to my Sunday School teacher in the same manner. This is what I have said to them. If your argument has a scriptural basis, then you need to provide it with your argument. If we argue with our own reasoning, we are no better than the atheist, agnostic, humanist, etc.

And you are right. You would be reasoning that this passage teaches unconditional election, not limited atonement.

This is how I understand Romans 8:30. Those he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. And I believe you understand it the same way, except I understand the application to be to a group called "children of God" in verse 16. Now, I do not believe that to understand that this is a group does not nullify unconditional election theology. However, I do not believe it supports it either. I believe we can understand the meaning of this word call a little better if we look at its use elsewhere in Romans.

Kalevw or kaleo.
1.to call
a.to call aloud, utter in a loud voice
b.to invite
2.to call i.e. to name, by name
a.to give a name to
1.to receive the name of, receive as a name
2.to give some name to one, call his name
b.to be called i.e. to bear a name or title (among men)
c.to salute one by name
Usage in Ro 4:17(I am unsure), 9:7(as in naming), 9:11(as in giving a title), 9:24 (invited), 9:25 (as in naming), 9:26 (as in naming).
Now, if this calling in 8:30 were to mean an "effectual calling", arent there better words that the Holy Spirit could have given Paul to insert before called(Kalevw)? Such as ejnerghvß or ejneovß. Translated effectual in the KJV. So if it were to mean effectual calling, it would say effectual calling. And used klhtovß(appointed in some places). I believe that the correct translation is that He has named us as in verse "my people" (9:25) and "children of the living God" (9:26). I do not interpret it as invited as I have seen many do. I think we both agree that invited would not fit well.

We can study John 10 when you feel we are through with Romans 8 and 9. If you would be so gracious.

Thank you my brother,


Adam Cummings said...


Sorry, I have to head off and do homework (I'm sure you understand). I'm glad you took my point about discussing TULIP well, as I truly think that too many Arminians make that ridiculous request. Passage by passage is a good idea, but there will still be concepts in one passage that may not be in another and that help form a proper view concerning whatever subject is under discussion. That said, passage by passage is a much better idea, as long as concepts from other Scripture (which relate to the passage under inspection) are also brought in and allowed.

Concerning Scripture and effectual calling, I have one interesting word usage (which you may already know of; if you don't, even should you not agree, Burt, I think you'll find it interesting in the least). Consider John 6.44:

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me [elkuse auton]". The lexical form of "elkuse" is "elkuo". Ironically, this word (in John 6:44; "draws") is used in Acts 16:19 and 21:30 to speak of people (namely Paul) being "dragged" (e.g. Acts 21:30, "they dragged him out of the temple..."). God's drags His elect from darkness to light. It is the most loving thing He can do. Burt, one would be hardpressed to find where in Scripture one willingly turns from His sin to Jesus Christ without the direct hand of God upon him. In Israel's case, this is seen in Ezekiel 16:6. It is the same with us. Most Arminians theoretically affirm that God's hand is upon those who turn to Him; yet, they practically deny this, since they also affirm that His word will return to Him void and unaccomplished (see Isa. 55:11). Just an interesting thought...

Thanks, Burt.

deacon said...

If you are going to take the pragmatic view and look at numbers alone; maybe we aught to look at the Muslims, Moonies, or Mormons and see how they do "evangelism." They seem to have a lot of numbers. I think we aught to really look at the Mormons, they seem to feeding off of the SBC more than the Pentecostals.

Burt Harper said...

Brother Adam,

Thank you for your response. When studying the grammatical use and meaning of words in scripture I have a preference in how to interpret them when I need to to outside the passage. It is my personal preference to see how the particular writer(in this case John) used the word in other passages. You may be right, but let us look elsewhere in John. Looking at my Strongs' I see that John used the word 4 other times. John 12:32(draw), 18:10(drew but definitely in a physical sense), 21:6(draw or drag), and 21:11(drew or dragged). It definitely could be used either way. However, I see the one other time it is used concering God and man is 12:32. It is definitely draw there. Also, if John meant drag in an irresistable way, I think the Holy Spirit would have used suvrw(suro). Which would unquestionably be to drag someone against their will.

I say that no one "willingly turns from His sin to Jesus Christ without the direct hand of God upon him." You and I are definitely in agreement on that point brother.

Now, I havent known very many Arminians, but I don't believe that any of them that I have met "affirm that His word will return to Him void and unaccomplished". I believe that you and I are both in agreement with, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaih 55:11. I had to paste it. It is such a wonderful verse isn't it brother.

Thank you my brother,


David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Burt --

I'll have a biblical answer for Romans here after bit, perhaps later on today -- however, I think we should probably move the conversation before Dr. Tom posts a few more times and this post is no longer on his page. I'm thinking about making a spot over on my blog for a Romans 9 discussion -- would that be ok with you?

David Hewitt

Burt Harper said...

Sure Dave. I guess it is like the second coming. Inevitable isnt it? Just let me know where to go. On the Web that is. Dont get any bad thoughts from that comment.:)


David B. Hewitt said...


Of course. :) I appreciate your humor and enjoy our dialogue. I'll be working on a post about it on my blog pretty soon. It's getting to be more extensive the more I study, so please be patient. I have a link for it in my profile.


The Wanderer said...

RE: Johnny Hunt versus reformed baptists...

Isn't Bob Reccord a member of First Woodstock? I know he once taught a large class there, and I think---but don't know for sure---that he is a Reformed Baptist.

Also, not long ago John Haggaii preached there on a Sunday night, and if I'm not mistaken, he's Presbyterian and thus reformed (not to be confused with John Hagee, the big guy teaching prosperity and dual covenant theology on tv).

Just wonder why an anti-calvinist would have these guys around, and give them a platform to boot. Or are these guys not reformed or calvinistic?

I would agree he is not calvinistic, but arminian with the excpetion of the "P" in perseverance.

Craig Sowder said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Craig Sowder said...

To Dr. Ergun Caner,

I tried to read through this without getting angry, but that didn't happen. It seems that some things never change. I am not surprised that you have joined the staff of Liberty University since I left. Your comments here aptly demonstrate why I hate to tell people that I graduated from Liberty University. Why would I want people to know I graduated from a school where the this type of nonsense is tolerated? You can talk a big talk, but I suggest you take Dr. White's challenge to debate and put your money where your mouth is.

To my Calvinistic Baptist brethren whom I love and respect, keep fighting the good fight.

--Craig Sowder (A Calvinistic, predestinarian, baby-baptizing, postmillennial, Van Tillian, presuppositional, Presbyterian 2003 graduate of Liberty University)


kryddal said...

WOW- I cannot believe what I am reading! If you do not have the same viewpoint as Pastor Johnny, that is one thing. But, to say that his sermons and his preaching are "weak"--come on! I hope he doesn't become the president of the SBC because I feel that his time and talents are best used at FBCW. He is a dynamic pastor who loves the Lord. If you are a Calvinist, then you were at the wrong church to begin with. There are churches out there to better serve you than FBCW. But, if you are looking for a WONDERFUL Southern Baptist preacher, look no farther than FBCW. We LOVE our pastor!

Donald said...

I believe that there could not be a batter choise than Johnny Hunt. For any of you to question him, out of all people is beyond me. I have met and talke with Dr. Hunt on several occasions and none of the people you all have mentioned could do half the job Dr. Hunt could. He will be elected president and you will learn to like it. He is a great man of God and should not be questioned!

Castusfumus said...

Just 25 more verses of Just As I Am and all these Hyper-Calvinists will rush down the aisles, sign the card and worship Rick Warren!!!

Forgiven Sinner said...

Ergun said "You get transfers, and grow numerically sometimes, but it always peters out, because the people you GET were the people we wanted to get rid of!"

For some odd reason this keeps coming to mind

Matthew 18:12-13

12"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.

Sorry, but I thought pastors DIDNT want to GET RID of poeple!

Maybe Rick Warren or Osteen....wait....maybe we could make Kenneth Copeland a Baptist and he could be Mr.Canier's President!

I'll vote for Dever, Mohler, or hey...what about MacArthur!!!

Tony K. said...

What a jacked up comment thread! For the record - I love you guys.

SP_Barringer said...

Posted by Dr. Caner a long time ago:

"4. LU FAILING CALVINISTS? No, my friend. We even have a few 5-pointers on faculty, though I certainly do not have them at the Seminary. This is not because I will not hire them, and neither is it because we keep out Calvinistic students. The problem is, when they know that we REQUIRE personal soul winning, they usually transfer."

Sir, this is untrue. As a student at LU and a Calvinist, I am surprised by your ignorance (of Calvinism and of your own students). If there was any reason for me to transfer from this great school, it would be for your distinctively un-Christlike comments on this forum, and in your email exchange with Dr. White.

Soli Deo Gloria

Stan Barringer

pastorgary said...

This entire blog has been a real shame, almost without exception. From the Caner brothers to all you Calvinists, I have never seen more judgmental sarcasm in all of my life. You all should be ashamed. I'm an emerging, postmodern, missional, 5-point teaching SBC church planter in Ohio. I agree and disagree with just about everybody here. Good grief what a mess. You Calvinists are right about the good old boy, CEO's of mega churches, The Caners are right about your own arrogance.

Is it any wonder that emerging pastors under 40 couldn't care less about your conventions and confrences? You're all political hacks jockying for position in the organization, all these posts prove that.

I thought I was in agreement with the Calvinists concerns about the good old boy network in our convention. I thought I respected the Caner brothers. Wow. The way you Calvinists attack is outrageous. The Caners calling Calvinism a cancer is outrageous.

Who cares anymore?

pastor Gary

SP_Barringer said...

Pastor Gary:

The stinking hypocracy of your post leaves me literally feeling sick. Take your accusations in the first paragraph and see if YOU stand up to them. Well, I guess like the rest of the "political hacks", I'll retire from this thread and leave it to the younger, "postmodern" professionals.

Soli Deo Gloria

Stan Barringer

pastorgary said...


what hypocrisy? Your post doesn't even make sense.

Are you a modern professional? Or are you a postmodern amature? Or are you a modern amature?

Thank you for your kind words. I know that I'm postmodern in many ways but I never thought of myself as a professional. Wow, I guess being funded by NAMB does mean something after all. Thanks,


SP_Barringer said...


Your posts have both exemplified the "judgmental sarcasm" you so poignantly condemned from the start. That's hypocracy. Name-calling (such as the designation "you're all political hacks") would also fall under that category. Derisive word games (as in your last post) also fail to live up to your own standard of how we should all be posting. How could you fail to see or understand this?

Many have been posting since the start to try to improve the discussion. Dr. Ascol in particular has made many comments about the childish ranting and personal attacks. Unlike your posts, Dr. Ascol's were respectful and edifying. What a concept.

Of course we are all grateful for someone like you to come point out where all hundred of us went wrong. Thank you, but this forum already has a moderator.

Soli Deo Gloria

Stan Barringer

pastorgary said...


calling people political hacks is not name calling if it is true! As I've read comment after comment that is the basic conclusion that is demanded. It is pathetic on all ends, everybody is acting outrageous including you.

So what are you? Are you modern professional, a post modern amature or a modern amature?

Also, since you are pointing out where I've went wrong, should I assume that you are the moderator?


SP_Barringer said...


If I called you an "ass", and it was true, it would still be wrong of me and sinful. Your pragmatic ethics aren't going to hold up to Scripture, though they might sound nice in a Postmodernism discussion.

More word games? I'm not going to respond to that.

You should assume that YOU are the one making sweeping generalizations about the behavior of those who post (the prerogative of the moderator). I am engaging fallacious comments one-on-one (last time I checked-- well within the bounds of personal dialogue).

Soli Deo Gloria

Stan Barringer

SP_Barringer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pastorgary said...

Hey Stan,

I never called anybody an "ass" or anything so immature. If one is a political hack (someone who does the dirty work, the 'hacking' so their leaders don't have to) then confronting them about it is not wrong. Jesus called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" MT 12:34 "hypocrites" and "whitewashed tombs" MT 23:27, children of the devil, JN 8:44 and "son(s) of hell" MT 23:15. Was Jesus sinning by painting with such a broad brush? That depends doesn't it...it depends on if it was true. GOTCHA!

What word games are you referring to? You said that you should leave these things to postmodern professionals like me. I want to know then what you are, are you a postmodern amature, a modern professional or a modern amature? There are only so many choices here Stan.

Was calling me a postmodern professional supposed to insult me? Where you trying to insult me Stan?

Also, what are pragmatic ethics? Do you just make up inflamatory catch phrases and then slap people with them, regardless if it fits, so long as it sounds tough? Where in the world would you get the idea that I practice pragmatic ethics? You don't even know me sir, and seeing that I am an ordained elder in the church of the living God I would recomend to you, a student, that you be careful what bombs you throw. I can point to countless reasons why I rebuked the majority of these posts as being political hacks...you can't point to one single instance of me practicing or promoting pragmatic ethics (whatever that is).

I'm glad that you have identified yourself as a student because you still have much to learn Stan. I'm probably not the first person to lovingly say that to you, am I?


Forgiven Sinner said...

pastorgary said to Stan ,"I'm glad that you have identified yourself as a student because you still have much to learn Stan. I'm probably not the first person to lovingly say that to you, am I?"

Not to be critical, I took a peek at your website.... and being "a pastor" at 28 years old doesn't place you any higher on the righteous scale than a student....unless you are refering to a "SELF righteous scale". Reading your BIO, did you finish school? Unless you know all there is to know about God and the Bible, you yourself are learning and growing everyday just as we are.

...just something to think about.

pastorgary said...

Forgiven Sinner,

what do you mean, by placing "a pastor" in qoutation marks? I'm an ordained minister of the gospel in the Church of the living God and I have a TON to learn. I have not been to seminary but have the knowledge and experience to equal or surpass that the value of that piece of paper.

Where in the world do you get any notion of a "righteous scale" or that I feel like I'm higher on such a scale than anybody else? I'm constantly amazed at how people project things on others when I did not even hint at anything about self righteousness in any of my postings. Stan, in his postings, has shown that he is yet a novice, a student and has alot to learn still. That doesn't make him less righteous than me or not called to preach. It means that he is still learning.

I am 28 and I have tons to learn, where do you get the idea that I don't understand that? I will, however, take Pauls advice to Timothy "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you."

...just something to think about

Nathan White said...

Wow, I check back a month later and there's still comments coming in!

But wow, the emerging, post-modern guy sure makes me light-headed and sick of my stomach, but above all else I was freaked out by donald:

" [Johnny] He is a great man of God and should not be questioned!"

I have been there before. I have seen first-hand those who refuse to let scripture rule over their pastor. I never thought it would come out is such a blatant way though, even though it is obvious to all that this is the dominant view.

But that's about the most frightening thing I have heard on this blog as of yet. Should not be questioned?...I just can't get over that one.


Forgiven Sinner said...

pastorgary you made the comment " I am an ordained elder in the church of the living God I would recomend to you, a student,.... ",... that in itself, whether accidently or not, makes it "SOUND" like an attitude of being better than the individual your addressing...since you are refering to yourself as an elder and to Stan as a student....You may not have been meant it that way, but that's the way it appears to come accross.

But, if that's not the way it was meant....then let's just drop it.
If it's not benefitting the Kingdom, then it's a waste of both my time and yours.

BTW, you said "I'm an emerging, postmodern, missional, 5-point teaching SBC church planter in Ohio."

What exactly is that?

pastorgary said...

Forgiven Sinner,

thank you for your honesty in recognizing that I never said that I was more or less righteous than anyone else. You apparently made a judgement based upon your subjective interpretation of my comments instead of the objective reading of them.

I'm not sure what you want me to say about "I'm an emerging, postmodern, missional, 5-point teaching SBC church planter in Ohio."

I think that it speaks for itself. I do not embrace all of postmodernity, obviously, because full blown postmodernity denies the ability to know truth and even questions if it exists at all. But, however, unlike modern Christians, my view of truth is limited basically to that truth which the creator has revealed, that is the innerant scripture, the Holy Bible. Other than that, truth, and the ability to know it, gets real shaky it seems (not that it is impossible to know truth other than the Bible, it is just not ALWAYS an easy thing to discover). It seems like other than the objective revelation of God that much of what modernists call truth is actually prefrences and subjectivity.

The only way man can discover truth is if it is revealed by God. Modernism teaches that man can discover truth on his own and that I do not agree.

So there you go, a postmodern 5 point Calvinist.


completed Jew said...

Having had a chance to see how the nominating process works up-close, I am upset and concerned that so-called leaders would manipulate a process for their own gain rather than trust God to put the right man in the position. The year that Bobby Welch was nominated for President, Terry Fox was nominated for president of the pastors conference. So too was Steve Gaines. The dilemma was that the "mega guys" did not want Terry or Bobby in place, but they could not get away with upsetting them both. So they picked Bobby and dropped Terry, (which was actually a good thing, Terry is as power hungry as the rest of the boys)knowing that Steve would be the next 'wonder- boy" to get the position down the road. And Johnny Hunt, this is a political payback which shouldn't be but is.

As a lay person, I am very troubled to see how we operate our convention just like those in the secular world do.


azzurri said...

I stumbled upon this blog (and question how many have done the same...for fear that this may be too public a forum for those outside the faith and those who are young in the faith to resolve as healthy discourse).

I am not a seminary student/alum (and this blog may have ruined it for me), but attend (er, have my "membership") a SBC church in Georgia (perhaps my church could be called a mega church in recession, in the process of dyeing or being reborn depending on the offering that sunday) but my church is not Woodstock FBC. I have all but given up on the SBC church as an over-governed corporation and not the bride it is called to be. I have no friend posting here and basically no ax to grind (yeah right). I have come to grips that I am not a 5 point Calvinist, but don’t place me neatly in your “Armenian” box either.

I heard my first sermon from Caner last month (in fact, I heard two but I found them to be quite the same) and respect him as a teacher who reaches some who need to hear Christ thru his method. (Which is just another way of saying Caner’s teaching style is not the style I prefer). But, I will dare not judge his doctrine and I will not judge Johnny Hunt’s doctrine. (Contrast that to the prosperity preacher of the moment, who I publicly decry for lack of orthodoxy).

I do not know Johnny Hunt personally, but the line of questioning that he does not know 100, or even 10 in his flock and does not knock on the doors of his neighbors and community…for shame!

My ax grinds here…do not think that a “mega church” cannot be any more relevant, or “healthy” or local, as is implied repeatedly in these posts, than a smaller congregation. Spirit bears witness and not the size.

There I said it (I bargain that this falls on deaf ears due to the number of posts).

To the posts with personal attacks on these men a warning, out of the same mouth blessing and cursing!

To those who are spurned to action, ACT!

There are too many wordsmiths, of which I am one; let us be doers also (yea, Lord change me)!

Soli Deo Gloria
Solo Christo
Sola Gratia
Sola Fide
Sola Scriptura

bjaurelio said...

i've read through a little over half these comments, and found a couple observations (neither of which are directly related to the calvinism debate)

1. i'm amazed at how much it's assumed baptists came from the anabaptists. not true. baptists came from the congregationalists in england.

2. since caner expresses such approval and admiration for anabaptists, what about the church and state separation?

bjaurelio said...

just finished listening to white's examination of caner's sermon. actually liberty mountain turns quite a few people away from falwellism/canerism and towards the true gospel. it happened to me and many of my friends

yourmomoandpoptarts said...

As a lowly business student at the School of Business at Liberty University, I can only imagine that my words here will have a lasting effect on the readers here.

In Dr. Caner's notes, he repeatedly states that Calvinism and churches that adopt those tenets promote evangelical laziness. This post is an observation of all humans to laziness in every aspect of life.

I, just as the continual student above, have turned from Falwellian doctrine in regard to soteriology even though I took Theology 202 with Dr. Caner in Fall 2005. In that class we covered soteriology. I will attest to his obvious disdain for those of us who take a reformed stance in soteriology. I have also observed in that class as well as in the campus church that many students at Liberty are sheep blindly assuming the beliefs of those in authority. Not to say that the faculty is actively trying to deceive. It merely attests to the students' tendancies to laziness.

I am not a Baptist, either Southern or otherwise. The reformed church I attend in Lynchburg (for those of you familiar with the area - Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian - www.rivermont.org) does not get into ridiculously theological sermons. Those types of messages are reserved for the Christian education nights and sunday schools. They support and send out missionaries regularly. I say this to refute the idea of Calvinistic laziness, either in fulfulling the Great Commission or in education.

That brings me to the Great Commission. To me, in my business oriented mind, this is the strategic objective for each Christian, regardless of their view of soteriology, to strive for. Neither Calvinism nor Baptism (denomination) deny the Christians duty to fulfill this. Therefore it is not logical to say that Calvinism promotes evangelical laziness. Human nature does. I used to think that students at my community college in Maryland were lazy until I saw the academic laziness of the students at Liberty. Most of whom, by the way, are Baptist. They have a term for people who miss church down here. They say that they attended "Bedside Baptist." Therefore I conclude that Calvinism is not necessarily responsible for laziness. Yet, I will concur that some use it as an excuse for laziness.

Human nature, in its depravity, always looks for the easiest way in any situation not necessarily the best way. It will, therefore, use any excuse it deems necessary to explain any actions it knows that it should do. In my opinion, megachurches tend to invite laziness on the part of the congregation. This is because it is so easy to shuffle in, get fed, and shuffle out on Sunday mornings.

Ultimately it is the individual christian's, a part of the Church, responsibility to spread the Gospel not the church institution itself. Therefore I reject the notion that some in the church are "goers" and some are "senders." This is clearly erroneous because Jesus said in Matthew 28 to "Go and preach the Gospel..." Now some may not physically go as far or in the same way as others. Yet, we are all "goers" Therefore I conclude this post by reaffirming my Reformed/Calvinistic stance yet acknowledging my predisposition to laziness and resolving to overcome it with the unmeasurable strength of the Holy Spirit.

hastings said...

Centurion wrote: "Seriously, what do you think? There's nobody here but us calvinists". That's not true-you never know who is reading your comments. Question: Are you Calvinists agreed upon limited atonement? If so, do any of you have any children under the age of 3 three years old that you would be willing to tell that child that quite possibly Jesus didn't die for that child and God didn't intend for him/her to go to heaven?

David B. Hewitt said...

Wow, this thread is still going!

Hey, Hastings. The question I suppose to ask is this, to determine what we should do in the situation you proposed:

Under what circumstances and in what contexts did the writers of the New Testament mention Christ's death? When it was mentioned as being effective for people, when were they saying it and to whom?

David Hewitt

Lee said...

Wow! 366 comments and counting. I read about 1/3rd of the way through the comments before I decided to pipe in. I know how these blog posts often turn into running conversations that twist and turn as different points are brought up, so I apologize if this comment seems out of place at this point.

Just so you all know I am not SBC, I am PCA. I am your brother in the Lord and yes, I am Reformed, but I wasn't always. In fact, for the 1st 17 years of my Christian life I was thoroughly Arminian. My brother is SBC (also Reformed) and I believe visits this site regularly. He has kept me abreast of the happenings in the SBC and informed me of the upcoming debate between the Caners and Drs. White and Arcol. I came hear looking for info on that debate when I stumbled upon the post that includes the 39 page e-mail transcript and this one.

At any rate, as a Reformed believer (and former Arminian) I fully understand the urgency I sense in many of your comments. And just like I told my brother I believe the battle that you are engaged in, whether it is framed as Calvinism vs. Arminianism, or Reformed vs. Modern, or whatever, is ultimately a battle for the Truth. And I believe that it is a battle that must be fought. Indeed my prayer is not only that God would reform the SBC, but that He would reform His whole Church. But hear this: it is a battle that must be fought in love. Remember what the goal should be: upholding the Truth of Scripture for the edification of the Church to the glory of God.

I appeal to you, my fellow Reformed brethren, please do not let this become an us vs. them fight. Remember that your Arminian brothers and sisters are part of the family of Christ and you are commanded to love them with humility. In fact we are told in Scripture that love (or lack thereof) for our brothers and sisters is indicative of whether we even know God (I John anyone?). Arminians are not your enemy, untruth is. Ask yourself this question: If by a miracle of God everyone in the Church were to become Reformed overnight, would you be sad that you no longer had this battle to fight? What is the ultimate goal of fighting this fight? To be proven right, or to uphold the Truth of Scripture for the edification of the Church to the glory of God?

I think this is important to keep in mind whether you are actually debating an Arminian or simply sitting around with other Calvinists talking about them. I believe that most Arminians, like most of us Calvinists, are sincere in desiring to grow in their relationship to and knowledge of God. And so, I think it’s important to understand and focus on the presupposition that is behind their rejection of Calvinism.

As a former Arminian, I think I can give some insight into this. The sacred idol at the center of the Arminian camp is not free will; it is the unbiblical presupposition that in order for God to be truly all-loving and just then He must necessarily give every person equal opportunity to be saved. All Arminians agree that as a result of Adam’s sin that all of us are born into sin, and that as a result none of us are able to attain to the holiness that God requires. But instead of believing that God by grace elected some out of the mass of fallen humanity to be saved by Christ’s atonement, they believe that God by “grace”, through Christ’s atonement, offers salvation to everyone as a gift to either be accepted or rejected by choice. After all, no one chose to be born into sin, so shouldn’t everyone get the chance to freely accept or reject salvation from it? It is this unbiblical presupposition that necessitates free-will (unless you are a universalist). And by free-will of course, I mean ability apart from God’s grace to choose Christ. Take away this false presupposition and the need for free will goes away too.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into all the reasons why the Arminian presupposition is unbiblical. That has been covered to death here and elsewhere. This message is to my Reformed brethren and my main point is: absolutely contend for the Truth, but love your brothers and sisters with all humility. The world is watching.

Robert Zeurunkl said...

Satan is a "soul-winner...", Dr. Caner.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

Being "sent out" does not make you a Christian. It just makes you a missionary.

And the Mormons, Krishnas, Scientologists, and JW's send out more missionaries every year than all the "woodstock" churches combined.

None of these things make you a Christian. BTW - I am R.Z.

Kirby L. Wallace

volfan007 said...

did yall hear the one about the calvinist who fell down the flight of stairs. he said, "thank God thats over."

volfan007 said...

did yall hear the one about the calvinist who fell down the flight of stairs. he said, "thank God thats over."

volfan007 said...

sorry...i didnt mean to repeat myself. maybe that was predestined to happen? ya think?

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