Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Radio Interview

Dr. Paul Dean, host of the daily talk radio show, Calling for Truth, has asked to interview me today at 1 PM Eastern time on his program. The topic will be issues related to the Southern Baptist Convention You can listen to it live or find an archived version of it after today at the Calling for Truth website. Click on the "Listen Online" button on the top right.

29 comments:

David B. Hewitt said...

Tried to listen, heard a little bit of it. It dropped though; I think the server is getting hit too hard. :)

SDG,
Dave

hashbrown said...

I'm trying to, same problem

Tom said...

David:

That's funny! Dr. Dean is really good at this!

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, I got through!!

Dr. Ascol, thanks for addressing the question I raised... you used the phrase "zeal without knowledge" and honestly, my thoughts were the same..... which is very troubling, especially when you consider the context in Romans 10 where that phrase comes from...

Ineed, we must pray for our convention in this matter, recovering the true Evangel as you said.

Is there anything you can recommend doing in the meantime, contacting anyone in our convention, having some way to educate our churches?

SDG,
David B. Hewitt

Tom said...

David:

It was good to talk to you. I think something we can do is to present the resolution on integrity in church membership to our local associations and state conventions. Anyone certainly has my permission to use the resolution as is, or to adapt it in anyway that is deemed more appropriate. Imagine if we show up at San Antonio next year with 100 associations and 10-15 state conventions having adopted this resolution...it would be hard to ignore.

David B. Hewitt said...

One of my thoughts is to do a little work in my own church a little. First, go through the "inactive" list and call through, finding first everyone who is well, literally dead. Then, bring that before the church in a business meeting and ask that their names be removed, saying something like "God's taken them home -- let's let them GO already!"

After that, bring the names of those who are now members of other churches and ask that they be removed.

Then, those who absolutely didn't want to be on the roll anymore...and see where we are.

After that, then we'd have to work on the issue of discipline..but that might be a start.

What do you think, sir?

SDG,
DBH

Darel said...

David:

What you suggested should be common practice. Mainly because it is simply common sense.

GeneMBridges said...

I concur. I understand that when Bailey Smith left FSBC Del City, his successor trimmed the rolls radically, so it's not as if those on the other side of the soteriological aisle don't do this. They just don't do it consistently, but then some of us are in difficult churches, where you have to lay the groundwork for doing this too.

I once set up a phone bank at a church for this purpose. We set aside Mondays every week to work through all the folks who had not shown up to church and Sunday School. If they were church members, we ascertained their status and simply asked them if they wished to be kept on the roll. If they said they did, we asked them when a pastor could come by to visit with them. If they refused, we asked them why they didn't attend church. The point was to make them know the church cared but they were still watching them. Some folks came back to church. Others left. At any rate, it was a non-threatening way to do begin the process. We trimmed some fat, but we also restored some brethren in the process. Doing this can be very healthy for the church, particularly for Sunday School teachers who sometimes have lots of "contacts" but do not follow up.

Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Gene,

We did a similar thing at our church. Boy, did the ACP look different the next year! It was great because some people did come back.

PastorSeth71 said...

I appreciate your resolution on church membership. I don't think scripturally it is possible to have a 100% bulletproof regenerate church. Jesus had Judas and spoke of the wheat and the tares. This is an issue of the church, with integrity, teaching what it means to be regenerate and what biblical church membership is and being accountable for who the members are.
You are a prophet crying out in the wilderness on this. Don't back up from it because I think it may eventually bring a true reformation within the convention.
In a previous pastorate, I served a church that had approximately 500 members on the roll with around 200 in attendance. We essentially disciplined 300 members by identifying who the completely inactive ones were and then going through a process of a personal contact and a followup letter. Out of the 300, only 3 showed an interest in remaining members. That speaks volumes. Of course many had died or moved away. The church unanimously voted to remove 297 members and it was one of the healthiest things we ever did. It takes biblical teaching on the reasons for doing it, and it takes courage.

John said...

I think you all have some excellent suggestions on getting to integrity in membership. Please keep at it. I'd especially encourage you all to now focus on grass roots work, at the associational, individual church and individual believer level, to rally enough support as possible for this. Make it as positive as you can, especially accenting on how it actually helps with evangelism: going through the rolls challenging people can be an evangelistic exercise, further having a church in which every "member" is really a member (is a disciple of Christ) would be a tremendous testimony to the world.

I do have one little ax to grind: the wheat at the tares is not applicable to this. As described in another blog, "the field is the world." The church was never intended to have tares in it. The visible church may never be perfectly regenerate but we should do all that we can, in charity, to make it so.

Not wanting to change the subject but . . . There's another blog attached to the site Reformation42day.com castigating the SBC for taking a step backward into legalism with the alcohol resolution. In it, the author writes, "Spin the resolution anyway you wish, neither Jesus Christ or the apostles would be eligible as leaders."

John Wootten said...

My own initial reaction to what Dr. French said was, "There's nothing in the resolution about immediately shredding the contact info of the non-active members!!!"

My question is how can the church fulfill it's instruction from Ephesians 4 to train the saints for the work of the ministry if first, not all the people there are "saints," and second, so many of the saints aren't even showing up?

centuri0n said...

I think it's not very useful to make the saints/not saints distinction when we are talking about integrity of the rolls because we don't know, in the final sense, who the saints are. What is at stake in this issue is whether or not our churches are doing their work in teaching and training, and preaching the Gospel, or if we are substituting a very bad adaptation of direct-mail marketing to pat ourselves on the back.

See: the swollen rolls of the SBC are really an endorsement of the method we are using which, btw, is not the Gospel method. That's harsh, but let's think about this: what's the letter to Titus talking about in terms of Gospel methodology? Is Paul there concerned with how many have been baptized in the last reporting period, or his he concerned about the training up of doctrinally-sound leaders who are teaching what is right and true in order that the church may be exhorted to do the good works of the Gospel?

As a convention, we are obsessed with TV ministry, and large churches, and making sure one church can have multiple locations as if it was a McDonalds or WAL*MART, but it turns out that Paul thought we should be obsessed with making sure we have equipped men to lead in spirit and truth.

"This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you-- 6if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."

The case of the swollen rolls is an indictment of what we think evangelism out to be about. It is not about who is and isn't saved but about who is and isn't doing God's work for God's purpose.

volfan007 said...

you know, five pointers remind me of the church of christ, or the campbellites. the campbellites love to argue and fight over thier extreme doctrines. they love to argue and try to convert other christians to believe like them. also, they love to do church discipline as well. they love to kick members out. yall really do remind me of this group on the opposite end of the extreme spectrum.

also, i do believe in church discipline...done the right way.

God bless yall.

scripturesearcher said...

Underscore this in large letters:

MEMBERSHIP IS MEANINGLESS IN MOST SOUTHERN BAPTIST (AND OTHER) CHURCHES!

In days past - I have been around several years - we did the same thing that Gene Bridges discusses and it was very successful.

CAUTION: All we do in our efforts to restore honesty and integrity in membership must always be done in love for all involved

~ including our Lord Jesus!

John said...

Dear volfan007,

With all due respect, your accusation that we are the ones who "love to argue" is belied by one obvious fact: it is you who intentionally sought out, logged onto, and repeatedly post combative posts on a site you know is committed to a theology you don't believe in. Does the proverb "The pot calling the kettle black" ring a bell?

We love church discipline because it is the only direct instruction on the local church given directly by the Lord Jesus Himself. He's the Lord, by the way, who turned water into . . . wine.

John said...

scripturesearcher,

Amen. There's some excellent suggestions here for returning to integrity in membership. I hope this movement is successful in changing hearts and minds in Baptist churches across America.

John Wootten said...

Volfan,

You seem very hostile toward Calvinists, and some of it may be deserved. We too are sinners who make bad decisions.

But I was wondering, what have you studied concerning Calvinism. Which of the Reformers' writings are you most familiar with?

I know you repeatedly refer to Calvinism as extreme, but I've never seen you prove it. It seems like you reject it simply because you are unaware of what it actually teaches. It's extreme simply because it is different from your own personal beliefs.

I personally know it would go much farther in showing you cared about doctrine if you respectfully showed why you reject Calvinism, rather than just arbitrarily calling it extreme and comparing it to other doctrines you disagree with.

There's an old Hindu saying that "righteous anger based on ignorance always leads to evil."

Greg B said...

In still another thread I am asking Volfan to tell us what good church discipline looks like and what does church purity look like.
Volfan, I have worked very hard in my mind not to write you off as someone not worthy of talking with, just a poor mislead brother who can't know any better, but John Wooten is right. You need to tell us what your for in some detail with Biblical warrant instead of taking scripture and putting a twist on it that is not their nor common sensical. Adding a hedge as it were. As an East Tennesean would say, "we know what yer' agin'. Now wot ye' fer'?"
Greg in Powhatan still waiting.

volfan007 said...

i have already studied much about calvinism. when i first went to seminary i was approached by a group of students who tried to lead me to be a five pointer. thier leader was a seminary prof. who now teaches at southern seminary. i honestly, sincerely studied calvinism and i read much from many different reformed theologians. believe me when i tell you that i studied it...i did. i read calvin, luther, spurgeon, and many, many others.

i am not trying to be mean spirited about this. i am honestly trying to get yall to see that you are accepting an extreme viewpoint of theology, just as the campbellites and the charismatics are on the opposite end. and, they are into an extreme every bit as much as yall are.

we can go into scriptures. i have quoted scriptures in this blog many, many times. but, in the end, i guess none of you are willing to change. and, i am certainly not going to be a five pointer, due to it not lining up with all the bible. anytime you settle for a system, you are going to come up short of the bible.

again, i am not being mean, and i dont want to fight with any of you. i am just trying to help you. but, the five pointers i have dealt with since seminary...which has been 22 years now...and i have met a bunch of five pointers...i have many good friends who are five pointers...but, 99% of them are arrogant and think that they have reached a plane higher than the average christian. and, they think that they are more intellectual than everyone else, which this extreme tends to attract the more intellectual crowd. while the arminian extreme tends to attract the less intellectual and more emotional crowd. and, the five pointers i know think that they are more spiritual because they are willing to believe the doctrines of grace...as hard as it is to accept and believe. and, i also know of many churches that have been split and have had all kinds of trouble due to a five pointer coming in and trying to convert the church. and please dont start argueing that churches split about other things. i know they do. but, still i know of many churches that have been hurt and split due to five pointers.


i have seen it. my brothers church was one of them. it was hurt very badly by some staff members who came in and tried to convert the church to be a reformed church. it was very divisive...kind of like when a group gets off into tongue speaking and they think they have arrived spiritually...and they try to tell everyone else that they too need to speak in tongues. it's always divisive and hurts the church. i dont like this.

so, if you are asking why i tend to be against five pointers and thier theology....its for these reasons. and, the main one is that i hate to see so many young men led astray into this extreme. it concerns me greatly.

as i said, we can go into all the scriptures and start a huge debate...which i have done many, many times with some of my five point friends and seminary aquaintances of the past. but, i really dont feel like getting into again for the 100th time. i doubt it would do any good anyway.

i will just stick with the bible. and remember, calvin wasnt always right, even though he was a great man of God. he was wrong about a lot of things. luther was wrong about a lot of things too. he was a great man of God....one of my heroes. i love spurgeon, and i use john mcarthur's study bible often. but, i am not sold out to calvin, nor to a system of theology. i just beleive the bible. in fact, if you heard me preach on predestination, you might label me a calvinist. but, if you heard me preach on the responsibility of man, or a evangelistic sermon, you would probably call me an arminian. i am neither, although i am calvinistic....i am a southern baptist.

anyway...God bless yall. i hope that you will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

peter lumpkins said...

Guys,

Hope all of you are having a great afternoon. I had a little downtime, so I thought I would see the latest.

Some "regulars" on this seem ever to take the bait like a hungry little perch (what we called little sunfish that you could always catch with a juicy worm and a little hook) I remember as a boy back in Tennessee. Volfan007 threw the hook and some swallowed it along with the worm!

The comments volfan007 made do not strike me as inapporpriate. Indeed, I think they are humorous.

Perhaps I identfy much too closely because I know all too well the Campbellites to which he refers since I Pastored in middle/west Tennessee, a stronghold for the old-line Church of Christ.

But whereas the Church of Christ ever wanted to "discuss" being BAP'... TIZED in order to be saved, Calvinists ever want to talk about the five big Peaz. That may have been volfan007's meaning though he did not say it as such. If it was his intent, from my perspective, I do not at all think he is wrong.

May grace fill your lives this day. With that, I am...

Peter

David B. Hewitt said...

Volfan:

Thank you for the time you took to write such a comment. I truly appreciate you mentioning your points of concern and doing so in the manner you did. There are a couple of things I'd like to point out, and I'd agree with you on them too!

You said:
as i said, we can go into all the scriptures and start a huge debate...which i have done many, many times with some of my five point friends and seminary aquaintances of the past. but, i really dont feel like getting into again for the 100th time. i doubt it would do any good anyway.

The only way to address any of this is the Bible. What the Bible teaches is what we must go on; it is inerrant, and we are not. I'm sure you'll agree, there is but one right way to interpret the Scriptures (and it is not by Calvin, Luther, or [insert name here]), and that is what the text says in its context. Let's discuss the Scriptures, please! Even if no minds are changed, God I am sure will still work in it, and we'll all be built of by the discussion of the Word of God!

i will just stick with the bible. and remember, calvin wasnt always right, even though he was a great man of God. he was wrong about a lot of things.

True! Calvin was right about many things, and wrong about some as well. I haven't read much of him, or Luther for that matter, but what I have read, I agree with mostly. Some things I disagree with, simply because they are not biblcal. I too will stick with the Bible, for it is the only thing that is trustworthy. Through study and exegesis of the Scriptures, I have not come to reject the "Doctrines of Grace" but my belief in them has only been strengthened!

Either you or myself is doing exegesis wrongly with regard to certain passages (Such as John 3, 6, 8, 10, 17; Ephesians 1; Romans 9-11 or, on the other side, 1 Timothy 2, 2 Peter 3, Romans 5, etc.). Let us have the Bible answer us! My the Spirit guide us, and may we all change what we believe if the Bible demands we believe differently!

For the Glory of Jesus,
David Hewitt

GeneMBridges said...

i have many good friends who are five pointers...but, 99% of them are arrogant and think that they have reached a plane higher than the average christian. and, they think that they are more intellectual than everyone else, which this extreme tends to attract the more intellectual crowd. while the arminian extreme tends to attract the less intellectual and more emotional crowd. and, the five pointers i know think that they are more spiritual because they are willing to believe the doctrines of grace...as hard as it is to accept and believe.

When atheists say this about Christians, we ask them, "How does this constitute exculpatory evidence against the Resurrection, the veracity and historicity of the NT, etc.? So, we are compelled here to ask you, how a sociological argument constitutes an objection against Reformed soteriology. By your own admission you say this: so, if you are asking why i tend to be against five pointers and thier theology....its for these reasons This is functionally no different than an atheist saying that Christians are mean, bigoted, and --insert sociological argument here. Do you have an exegetical reason to deny the doctrines of grace or not? If you say "Yes," then doesn't this undermine your affirmation above?

i have quoted scriptures in this blog many, many times. but, in the end, i guess none of you are willing to change. and, i am certainly not going to be a five pointer, due to it not lining up with all the bible.

I strikes me that you say this, but the same people are always asking you tell us why those Scriptures support your views. For example, you and others point to the "pantos" passages of Scripture perpetually. You quote these and then proclaim victory, then we interact, and you just go to another pantos passage. What folks here are once again asking is that you interact exegetically with Scripture, not merely quote from it.

anytime you settle for a system, you are going to come up short of the bible

This is muddled in several respects. First, why can't a "system" be a system because that is, in point of fact, what it teaches? This assumes that Reformed soteriology is a system, but there is no support for this. It is, in point of fact, a dogmatically phrased response to the articles of the Remonstrance and the Opinions. That's why the fall in the order they follow. Are you saying that doctrines should not be logically related to each other? Is truth contradictory? Does one doctrine not underwrite another? If x is true, then does y not follow? Yes, this is deductive, but Jesus used deductive and inductive logic, and so did Paul. I'd argue that the five points of Calvinism are not a system as such, but they are a group of doctrines logically related such that one underwrites the other. Covenant Theology is a system. New Covenant Theology is a system. Dispensationalism in both its iterations is a system. These are systems. Calvinism transcends these, ergo it is not a system.

I'd further add that if you say that doctrines do not underwrite each other logically, you wind up with ethical anarchy. You can argue that the Bible prohibits homosexuality, but why is this compelling if it is not logically related to something else. In point of fact, you can much more effectively argue against homosexuality by arguing for the Trinity. The Trinity logically underwrites the theology of marriage and family. (One God =Father-Son-Spirit underwrites Paternity-Filiation-Spiration underwrites Male/Husband-Female/Wife-Child=One species, mankind). To affirm homosexuality is, thus, to affirm modalism. When Oneness people disaffirm homosexuality and affirm modalism, this is illogical and irrational, just like the denial of the Trinity is a grievous, indeed sinful error, for sin is, at its root irrational and illogical. The point here is that, by your own yardstick, the Trinity would be "a system" and fall short of what the Bible says, and the theology of marriage and family by being underwritten and modeled on the economic relationships in the Trinity falls short of the Bible, because this would make it a "system." This is, of course, absurd.

i am neither, although i am calvinistic....i am a southern baptist. And this explains much. This is a category error. I am not a Calvinist; I am not an Arminian, I am a Baptist. The problem is that Baptist, Calvinist, and Arminian are not in the same category. I submit you may have less problem with Calvinism and more of a problem with logical thinking. I'd add that, in anticipation of the objection, logic is an attribute of God's truth and thus of God. That's what I find problematic with Arminian soteriology and hyperCalvinism in general and these theologies like "3 point Calvinism" in particular. This kind of eclecticism is illogical. By the way, you, me, and everybody else can save time by simply using historical terms. All traditional Calvinists are "Five Pointers." Amyraldian is the name for a "Four Pointer." Everybody else needs to make up a term of their own instead of coopting historical definitions. This isn't to you, in particulr Volfan; it's just a general observation about the use of terms.

it's always divisive and hurts the church. i dont like this.
Yes, the Reformation itself was divisive and the Roman Catholics said the Lutherans and Calvinists and other hurt the church. You accuse us of arguing like Campbellites and then you adopt a Romanist argument from another age.

To have faith that God would bring his church back to a Biblical doctrine of salvation, one that ascribes the work of redemption wholly and unequivocally to him alone for his glory alone, is a noble faith. Is it wrong to teach it from the pulpit. What I find ironic here is that you are saying that if a doctrinal position is perceived as "divisive" in a church it should not be preached. Sound doctrine is often divisive. If the Word of God teaches it, it should be preached, divisive or not. Is Calvinism, for all intents and purposes, a second order doctrine? Yes, but the nature of second order doctrines is that they affect church order. Should we not preach second order doctrines at all?

peter lumpkins said...

Dear volfan007,

Please accept as a lesson learned from what you have just read from some of the respondents toward your very honest, heartfelt answer to those who do not agree with you. There were others too who feel as do I that your very Christ-like attitude in your post was evident.

Indeed, the naked pedanticism of one responder giving you a lesson in Logic 101 precisely stands as proof positive the reason why so many good folk on the other side of the aisle refuse to engage Calvinists. It is not that Calvinists stand as intellectual superiors. To the contrary, I have met quite a few dumbed-down Calvinists in my day (and to be honest, I've met my share of not-so-bright non-Calvinists).

Rather, it is because no one desires to be meticiously questioned about every single syllable one communicates. Nor would I wish to slice & dice every comment someone makes. Neither will non-calvinists often enter a dialogue when their views are assumed a priori inferior. For me, there is simply no glory for God in an approach like that, not to mention any edification for His people.

In my view, the pedanticism problem appears systemic in modern-day Calvinist circles with which I am familiar. Calvinists simply cannot chose a single hill upon which to die. Instead, they "choose" to die on every hill. That is, Calvinists may very well suffer "pedanticitis".

Stay faithful, volfan007. May God's grace guide in all. With that, I am...

Peter

volfan007 said...

thanks peter...God bless you.

methinks that you may be a vol fan too....the big orange....are you?

i too agree with you that talking to 99% of the calvinists is like trying to get clinton to define "is." they pick apart every word...every phrase...and then they write a book on it.

they really do remind me of the campbellites...do they you? except, of course, the campbellites are arminian to the core. but, both love to argue and debate, and they both love to convert christians to thier way of thinking.

it's sad.

but, i sincerely do hope that they will grow to know the Lord better...and one day, understand that the Lord is much bigger than five point calvinism.

again, God bless you.

Greg B said...

Dear Volfan:
Please write me personally at huguenotbible@aol.com.
Greg B

John said...

Dear volfan007,

I agree with you that a lot of self-professed Calvinist love to argue about their theology. Some of them love it so much, they seem to have forgotten to consult scripture directly. I had one Calvinist friend, who spoke of a good "Reformed" worship service as first reading the Bible and then reading from the Synod of Dordt and, he said, "then you know it's true!"

But on the argumentative criticism, please come to terms with the fact, that I've pointed out elsewhere, that you have decided to repeatedly come to a site dedicated to a theology you reject. Obviously, you've come here to argue. The pot is calling the kettle black. Maybe some self awareness is in order.

David B. Hewitt said...

Volfan:

Of course God is bigger than "5-point" Calvinism! God's bigger than the Bible, though we're limited in our knowledge of Him by it (and sometimes we can't even figure out all of it!).

My point is certainly not to come off as combative, but I truly was hoping that you'd put forth some Scripture for the edification of us all.

....are you willing to do that? Perhaps Dr. Tom will post a passage or two and then either ask us for exegesis or provide some of his own -- that is something that seems to be woefully lacking in the blogosphere anyway, a candid, exgetical study of the Scriptures.

Anyone second that? Dr. Tom, would you be willing to pick a passage or two? I'd love it.

Awaiting a response and satisfied with whatever he gets,

David Hewitt

Tom said...

David:

I will try to post some exegetical articles from time to time. The dialogue provoked could be very helpful. Thanks.