Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quick Takes on T4G '08 and the reformed resurgence

I have spent the last couple of days with 5000 friends at the Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville. OK, I'm stretching the truth a bit. It hasn't really been two full days. But there are 5000 people here. The preaching has been good and the conversations between the speakers has been fun and encouraging as an example of the value of friendship.

It has been great to bump into several old friends and to make even more new friends. I am encouraged to hear the stories of God's work in various churches and minsitries around the nation--stories of conversions, church plants, church restarts, God's deliverance and providential ordering of lives.... It has been a good reminder of what has been rather quietly taking place across the evangelical world the last couple of decades.

The resurgence (in the case of the SBC, "recovery") of reformed theology has begun to catch the attention of more and more folks. Collin Hansen's book, Young, Restless, Reformed, will further help to tell some of the story of this resurgence. I had lunch with Collin yesterday. Though he interviewed me for the book, this was the first time I had the privilege of meeting him face-to-face. He is a great guy and it was interesting to hear his "outsider's" perspective on Calvinism in the SBC. Be sure to read that chapter in his book. What Collin observed is exactly what some of us have been saying for the last 8 years. Some (much?) of the response to the revival of the doctrines of grace is more politically than theologically scripted. Collin found this surprising, which simply confirms that he is, indeed, an SBC outsider.

The resurgence is being noticed by those across the spectrum in SBC life. Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary's theological journal, which is scheduled to published in the next few weeks, contains an article by me entitled, "The Way We Were and Are Becoming Again: The Resurgence of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention." I also was interviewed this week by the Texas Baptist Standard that, in conjunction with some other state Baptist papers, are doing a package of stories on this very issue. Who knows how those stories will turn out? But I must say, I was impressed with many of the questions. They were thoughtful and seemed not to be agenda-driven.

Some have raised honest questions about how widespread the resurgence is. Compared to the larger evangelical world, it is true--the reformed movement is still very small. But unlike other movements, it is theologically driven and is recovering doctrinal and biblical insights from the past. These distinctive features give it some strength and substance that will make it more formidable for the long haul than the fads that come and go with some regularity.

Those who believe the doctrines of grace have reason to be encouraged, and no reason to be complacent. There is a real recovery of the Gospel taking place. Those who are reformed are helping lead the way. We have many reasons to pray and to keep pressing forward in seeking the renewal of existing churches and the planting of new ones.

I plan to write more about this in the weeks ahead.

32 comments:

GUNNY said...

"Collin found this surprising, which simply confirms that he is, indeed, an SBC outsider."

Humorous, but true. Those in the SBC know this has been on the radar of the anti-Calvinists for quite some time (e.g., 3/26/1997 edition of the Baptist Standard with Prof. Estep's piece).

Enjoy your time, enough for us spares who couldn't make it.

J.D. Rector said...

Tom:

Good news! As a Mid-America alumnus, I'm pleased that you will have an article for their journal.

Here's hoping that the state baptist papers do not "muddy" the wonderful doctrines of grace found in the Word by mis-quoting you!

Sincerely,
J.D. Rector

ABClay said...

Tom,

I hope you are able to write more on this as you say.

I recently left an SBC church under amiable terms (for my part anyway) soon after I was graced with the understanding of the doctrines of grace. Most of the people that I love at that church think I have joined a "cult". "Why can't you just read John 3:16" is what they asked me.

I have since moved to another SBC church in my city and we are blessed to have a reformed pastor. I spoke to him Tuesday evening (he is at T4G) and he said that he has been "emboldened" by the conference so far.

It is my fervent prayer that the Holy Spirit would lead the Calvinistic pastors within the SBC to boldly proclaim the sovereignty of God from the floor to the rafters and earnestly (with love of course) strive at every occasion to correct the man-centered beliefs that people hold in their churches. With the Word of God as your authority, who can stand against you?

Grace and Peace...

ABClay

Tom said...

Gunny:

Wish you were here. It is good to hang out with guys who would come to a conference like this. It does make me feel old though. I will make up for it by attending the SBC in Indianapolis this summer. :-)

J.D.

Phil Newton also has an article in the same issue of that journal. Interesting, eh? As for the interview...I wrote out my answers. Experience is an invaluable teacher.

Abclay:

Thanks. I believe it is happening and will continue to happen.

Keep pressing on.

Arthur Sido said...

Tom, I get what you are saying about feeling old. I am only 36 and I feel like an old dude compared to all the 20 somethings. Very encouraging though to see young men with a passion for the Gospel learning from some of the most gifted expositors of this generation. Passing the knowledge on to those who will follow...

Arthur Sido said...

I was referring to all the young people at T4G specifically.

wayner said...

The audio for T4G can be found here http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/.

Wayne

Jenny said...

I think there are more reformed baptists than anyone could imagine out there. My husband and I made the mistake of using the "C" word in church and now we are being ostricized by our Pastor. However, not by the congregation, they gravitate toward us and want to learn from us. Interesting...

SJ Camp said...

Tom
Good to hear you had a great time at T4G. I was trying to get up there to see you and other brothers, but my family obligations prohibited me from coming. But it was no sacrifice to remain home; my great joy next to knowing the Lord Jesus, is to be with my sons and daughters.

I finished listening to all of the MP3's last evening. MacArthur and Sproul were incredible and powerful. They were all good, but those two were standouts for me personally.

As I listened to them some thoughts and questions came to mind that I would be most interested in getting your response to.

On Young, Restless and Reformed (and I am not referring to the book here at all, just the theme) the issue seems to be the redefining of what the reformed faith really is about by the next generation of those entering the ministry. We know this new generation is "young and restless" - and it doesn't take much research to know it and see it unmistakably.

But being "reformed" has a history to it; it has a biblical context to it; it has a doctrinal and theological frame work to it; and it has a confessional richness to it. Those sign posts of faith are now being glossed over, passed over, ignored, or casually dismissed for a more contemporary, pragmatic, contextualized, culturally relevant, seeker-sensitive and edgy methodology in regards to doing "the faith" in our churches.

I haven't met yet or have heard by way of MP3s, blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, etc. of any great expositors and exegetes from the reformed conviction evidenced by anyone from the young, restless, reformed camp. Have you? And if so, who are they; where are they? Where is the next generation of great preachers that are faithful to the reformed faith AND haven't bought into the emerging/emergent/ casual, pragmatic view of ministry AND are doing gospel-centered, biblically focused, doctrinally rich, theologically precise ministry from the pulpit and in the pew?

What is your wisdom on these things?

I love you my dear friend and miss you. Please give my warmest greeting and sincere love to your entire family. You are in my prayers each day; and your prayers are greatly appreciated these days for me and my family too.

Grace and truth,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

DoGLover said...

I just searched Baptist Press for "Together for the Gospel" & got the response: "Sorry no stories found." Could it be that someone is trying to shut out the movement?

Has anyone else seen any reports on the conference by any Baptist media?

NativeVermonter said...

Just kind of thinking out loud, if we call ourselves by a certain name then it stands to reason we hold to all of the theology of that person. We are kind of hijacking one segement of Mr. Calvin's theology. Same with the term Reformed. I like the term Reformed Baptist because it's a very clear title in two simple words. (Although it's an oxymoron in a way.)

I like the Doctrines of His Marvelous Grace because you can't go wrong with the word grace. So I would propose less Calvinism because we are not of Calvin. And obviously we don't subscribe to Reformed theology in toto. Maybe it's time to circulate a new term, one that is distinct and original?

John in STL

Todd Pruitt said...

Tom,

It was good to meet you at T4G. Your ministry has and continues to be a source of encouragment for me.

I was enthused by the number of young men at T4G. From Steve's comment I can tell he's a bit concerned that many young reformed pastors might not be faithful to biblical exposition and models of ministry. And while it may be that some well known Y.R.&R. pastors raise certain concerns, there are many of us out here who labor every week to bring God's Word to His people without profanity or vulgarity.

Tom said...

Todd:

Great to meet you, too! I would have enjoyed more fellowship with you and was very encouraged to hear about your labors in Wichita.

Steve:

It would have been great to see you in Louisville, but you chose the better part. Hope your family is doing well.

One reason we may not have heard too much about excellent expositors among the YRR guys is because of the "Y." They are just getting started. Todd's comment reminds me that some of those who are doing it are simply pugging away faithfully in their local churches.

I do know some of the YRR to be wonderful preachers and feel confident that many more of them that I have never heard preach are fully committed to faithful exposition. Joe Thorn preached at the Founders Conference a couple of years ago and was exceptional. Derek Johnson, a former intern here, is faithfully preaching outside of Birmingham. Though I haven't heard him preach in years, I am confident that Rob Scott in NC is the same. David King in TN and Lee Tankersly in Jackson, TN would be two others. Many of the younger set just haven't had the time or experience to be forged into consistent expositors. I am fully confident that more of their generation will distinguish themselves in that way than is true of my own generation. Tim Brister is coming to serve with me at Grace and I have every confidence that, given the opportunity and discipline of regular, pastoral preaching, he will become a very competent expositor. Those are just a few names that come to mind and are ones about whom I have some knowledge of their preaching. I am sure other readers could add to the list from young men that they personally know.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Tom:

What gospel needs to be "recovered"? Are Southern Baptists, who are not five point Calvinists, not preaching the gospel?

What do you say about what Brother Bob Ross has written about your "pre-faith regeneration" views and your comments here relative to the "reformers" working at "recovering" the gospel among Southern Baptists?

See his writing at the www.calvinistflyswatter.blogspot.com

Mine also at www.baptistgadfly.blogspot.com

Stephen Garrett

Tom said...

Stephen:

The Gospel that needs to be recovered is the one that works; the one that results in sinners being saved. Whatever "Gospel" has resulted in populating Southern Baptist churches with a vast majority of members who show no signs of spiritual life needs to be jettisoned. Wouldn't you agree? This is not a Calvinism issue. It is a salvation issue. If you are content to preach a "Gospel" that apparently only converts at a 25-35% rate of "professions," you can have it. I want the real deal, and I believe that most serious, thinking Southern Baptist pastors do, too.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Brother Tom:

Thanks for your reply. I will attempt an answer to your questions.

First, I think we have a great example in “what works” in the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon. Would you not agree? Spurgeon had a great deal more fear of the damage done by Hyper Calvinism than any done by the semi Calvinists among the Baptists.

Second, I don’t see how the type of evangelistic preaching that is characteristic of the “Reformed Baptist” Calvinist are going to help increase the percentage of truly regenerate members in the Baptist church. When they spend their preaching time criticizing certain kinds of gospel invitations and alter call, I don’t see how this is going to increase converts.

Third, I would be interested in knowing how you judge the state of a church relative to how many of its members are regenerated. What is your criteria? Is it church attendance?

Fourth, I would be interested in knowing if Founders Friendly churches, or “Reformed” churches, have a higher percentage of regenerated members? Are there statistics on that also? It seems we would need both sets of data to judge, don’t you think?

Fifth, I would be interested to know why you think that the reason why Southern Baptists have so many unregenerated members is due to them not preaching the gospel. Could it be for another reason? Surely there are other possible reasons. Why do you think it is the basic gospel message that is wrong, instead of discipleship training or other factors?

Sixth, you say that this is not a Calvinism issue and then say it is a salvation issue. This seems to contradict the numerous other writings of the Founders who equate the gospel with Calvinism. Is that not true now? If Calvinism is the gospel, then Calvinism IS the issue, is it not?

Seventh, you say that you believe that “most serious, thinking Southern Baptist pastors” also believe that the reason for the low percentage of regenerate church membership is due to the fact that the basic gospel has not been preached. Where did you get those statistics?

Finally, I wished you had also answered my other questions. I can only assume why you did not choose to answer those questions.

And also, it seems to me that Jesus taught us in the parable of the sower and the seed to expect a low percentage to receive the word with an honest heart and to real salvation.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Stephen M. Garrett

ForHisSake said...

Spurgeon was not the least bit "wishy-washy" on the subject:

"I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God.

The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven."

I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart."

ForHisSake said...

Words of encouragement for the young, restless, reformed from George Whitfield:

"My desire is that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more bring into being His special instruments of revival, that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat."

Strong Tower said...

The SBC church that I came out of still has a Pastor that does not, as far as I heard, and my daughter still reports, ever preached the Gospel. Typically there is a how to have "your best life now" message so common among the Warrenites and their synergistic Romanish belief system. The message is always the same: "Give your heart to Jesus" or "If you will believe" as opposed to, "Do you beieve, then repent and be baptised." The result has been that not even the leadership is grounded in the doctrines of the Gospel. All they know is that they once went forward, signed their name on the bottom line of the membership card and were in. This very conservative SBC church refuses to study doctrine and history because they believe is superfluous. They are after all Biblicists. But they do not know doctrine, the do not know the history of the SBC, they do not know the Gospel of the Great Commission.

I know what Dr. Ascol is saying. The Gospel that works is first and foremost doctrinal. Why? Because in the beginning was the Word. The foundation for all Gospel churches is sound doctrine. You remember the second half of the Great Commission, right? Tom does. It is how to make disciples. It is out of maturity and not foolish childlike ignorance that the Gospel, the true Gospel, goes forth in the mouths of true disciples, having been taught properly the doctrines that are the Faith (Gospel). The Gospel that works produces discipleship because it is founded in a church that is not afraid of discipline in study and training in righteousness. It is a church which wants soundness, not size.

My former church had a heart for evangelism, a heart for the lost, it just did not know what it meant to make disciples because they had never seen one, they had never been taught what it meant to be one.

This is the saddest part: that others in the SBC could condemn the call to the return to the Gospel (both the making and teaching) as if it were a cult movement. That is just a strawman and a ridiculous one at that. Tom is not Joseph Smith, or anything of the kind. That is pure slander, a ploy of those who don't know the Gospel to defeat those who do. It is a cover for their shame through mockery.

You said in response to Ross: "Amen! Bob has surely "hit the nail on the head" with his keen insight and observations."

And you said that to his lying perversion of reality! Now, if ta is a cultist, and, if he is teaching heresy, then you and Ross need to prove it. You have joined Ross in his accusation, now will you follow through with a formal complaint to the SBC? Will you put your cards on the table for public scrutiny or hide behind your freedom of opinion? The only conclusion I can make about you is you do not know the Gospel or you would not have made such blind accusations as:

"Take it from someone who came out of Hyper Calvinism and Hardshellism, and who is still also a five point Calvinist, that Bob was absolutely correct about these "reformers" resembling the Campbellite, Hardshell, and other "movements" among the Baptists," in reference to ta and Founders members.

Kern R. said...

Tom, why are so many pastors that are reformed afraid or will not preach or tell their churches that they are reformed? I travel quite a bit and most SBC pastors that tell me they are reformed, you would not know it by listening to their sermons. That is why I admire John Piper so much is because he lets you know in his sermons how he believes. Yes we have a lot of reformed pastors but not many are preaching it.

Kern

Todd Pruitt said...

kern r.

As a Southern Baptist pastor who is also reformed I see no need to walk around with an "R" or "C" on my chest constantly proclaiming that I believe the Protestant Reformers were right in their understanding of salvation. I am a Christian. I preach expositionally through books of the Bible. I am a slave to no man's system. If someone who understands the categories wants to know if I am reformed then I am happy to say "yes".

If someone asks me "are you a Calvinist" I always ask them what they mean by "calvinist". If they present the typical caricature then I tell them "If that is what you think Calvinism is then I reject it as much as you do. Let me tell you what I believe the Bible teaches."

I don't "hide" my theology any more than the typical arminian pastor hides his. In fact I just taught a six week series on the doctrines of grace on Sunday evening based on Timothy George's "Amazing Grace."

My responsibility is to preach the Word faithfully. I happen to believe that the Reformes, the Puritans, Spurgeon, etc got it right. I understand that many pastors do not. As far as I can tell they don't constantly have to claim that fact.

ABClay said...

Todd,

It is my experience that:
1. Most southern baptist will affirm that Jesus lays down His life for His sheep, but will rebuke the notion that Jesus wasn't the propitiation for the sins of everyone in the world.
2. People will affirm all day long that God elects people to be saved but will rebuke the notion that His election is based upon His Own sovereign will and not some foreseen event by humans in the future.
3. People will affirm all day long that they play no part in their salvation, but strongly rebuke the notion that regeneration precedes faith.
4. People will affirm all day long that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them, yet rebuke the idea that God doesn't call everyone.
5. People will affirm all day the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints (Changed by many to be "Once saved always saved" to mean if you say a prayer and put your stake in the ground, God will drag you kicking and screaming into heaven even if you don't want to go (so much for free will huh?))but if you tell them that there is no such thing as decisional regeneration they will call you a heretic.

My question to you is as you preach through a book and you come to a verse like Acts 13:48 or John 6:44 and you are expounding these verses to proclaim the doctrines of grace, do you confront faulty understandings by calling them out and explaining how they are wrong leaving feeble man-centered soteriology crushed and broken in your wake?

Grace and Peace...

ABClay

Sparrowhawk said...

Tom, this is nothing you don't already know, but beware the leaven of the Texas Baptist Standard. The interest in things Reformed may only be of use to them, in that it appears to be driving a potential wedge down the middle of conservative (or in their perjorative usage, Fundamentalist) Southern Baptist life. This view is a misrepresentation in a sense, yet true in another sense, if recovering the day when God gets ALL the glory for being the *author* and finisher of our faith in salvation. Yet as you know, the truth, any truth, has been maligned and misquoted for more than a decade by the Standard.

Proceed with caution, boldness, and a certain bit of savvy.

SJ Camp said...

Todd
Thank you for your response---good word.

Tom
Thanks brother for your words and for some of those names as well. I will be praying for them in their pastoral calling.

I guess the overall concern would be that the most influential of all YR&R guys is Mark Driscoll (sorry for mentioning him) and his example and method of ministry is not only suspect, unbiblical, but damaging to the church at large (I believe that maybe who Todd was referring to).

Mark is self-proclaimed as being reformed, but he really is not. He is pragmatic at the core of ministry - not biblical. And many young reformed guys are really taken with him and are undiscerning in their enthusiastic support of him. I know of several well-trained men even at Southern have drank the Driscoll Kool-Aid.

Considering several YR&R men read your blog, mine, and a handful of others you have linked here as well, how can we - even from a distance - encourage them to guard against the damaging influences of say a Driscoll and Mars Hill Church and their subsequent organizations that they start or support?

Thanks brother,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Todd Pruitt said...

abclay,

I could not agree more.

In fact, as I have preached from such passages as John 3 I have lamented to my congregation that I grew up being taught that the new birth was the result of something we do. "If you want to be born again then do these three things." What a distortion of Jesus own words! Instead, I preach to them that the only reason we repent and have faith is because of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

Your point is important because Southern Baptists will proclaim "amazing grace" all day but ultimately make man the decisive factor in his salvation.

Clint said...

Hello Tom,

First, it was great to speak with you briefly at Band of Bloggers. The T4G conference may seem small compared to the wider Evangelical establishment, but none of us should 'despise the day of small things'.

Second, Steve's concerns about the Emergent influence on the Young,Restless and Reformed is a proper consideration. If David Wells is right, then we have probably underestimated how worldly we are across the board. Mark Dever helpfully pointed out at T4G that pragmatism is more fatal to the church than open-theism.

My hope and prayer is that the YR&R renewal going on will be ever quick to critique itself while cleaving to biblical fidelity in Christ.

Thanks for your ministry.

Craig Johnson said...

To stay away from the trigger words Reformed or Calvinistic, I use the term historic Baptist and use the Abstract of Principles as what I believe. Most people have a small history of SBC life. It is either what they grew up with or what they have learned from their pastor(s). Most people do not understand how the Enlightenment period and revivalistic period of the last 1880's and on have caused most of the watering down of the gospel and personalizing the gospel to only mean would God has done for and in me. Causing the gospel to become a one-time event and being based more on experience and feeling has caused the gospel to lose its life-altering impacting. Instead of being regenerated, you make a choice. Instead of knowing (epignosis) what is occurring, it is based on feeling. Due to it being your choice and a feeling, it is easily fleeting. Present day SBC calls is back-sliden or carnal. Maybe they have not understood the gospel. One came who knew no sin became a curse for us. Please download R.C. Sproul's message at www.t4g.org to learn more about Jesus being cursed for us. The gospel is not a ticket to heaven but having the Hope of Glory as our advocate for life now until death. Oh, may we teach our churches well, care for them and encourage them in the faith.

Craig J.

GUNNY said...

With regard to the question of which comes first, "Faith or regeneration?" I think it is no small matter, but one of the defining elements in ecclesiology.

I also think those who follow Jacobus Arminius instead of the Scriptures in espousing a regeneration that follows faith may have their presentation of the Gospel impaired ... perhaps to the point of another gospel.

This happens in appealing to the sinner with that which he desires instead of that which he needs.

Johnny Mac shared this in the DFW area Friday night:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ does not offer the sinner what the sinner, in his flesh, already wants. ... The gospel offers the sinner what the sinner must have, which is forgiveness of sins, even if it costs him everything." (fuller quote)

I think that's a lot of why we have problems with unregenerate membership in the SBC.

Stephen Garrett said...

Gunny:

It is Hyper Calvinism to say that faith follows regeneration. That is Hardshellism. It is not what the founders in the SBC taught, nor what the Old Baptists of 17th century England who wrote the first Particular Baptist Confessions.

Those Old Baptists considered faith to be part of regeneration and the new birth, to include conversion. Conversion followed faith and conversion included regeneration.

We should not say that faith follows regeneration and the new birth, for this would be the same as saying that faith is not a part of regeneration.

You say regeneration "comes" before faith "comes." Do you not see how you have a regenerated unbeliever?

Do you also not realize that there are scriptures that put faith before salvation and regeneration as well as passages that put if after? In the same way that the terms faith and repentance are used in reverse order in different places in scripture?

When you keep repeating over and over to people that they are first regenerated and then they believe, they will automatically interpret that to mean they can be regenerated without faith.

It is probably better to say that faith and repentance "accompany salvation" or accompany the new birth (or regeneration).

GUNNY said...

I appreciate your caution, though I disagree.

First, I disagree that regeneration preceding faith is hyper-Calvinism. By definition, it's not so.

Faith or being the necessary agent is Arminianism. Though a Hyper-Calvinist would agree with me, that makes the view no more Hyper than to say that we're Mormons because they also baptize by immersion.

Much more could be said about the process, so I'll instead link to my response to the question of whether or not faith is a gift and the relationship between the two.

Only a fool looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.

But, I genuinely do appreciate your word of caution, for it was not my intention to allow for the possibility of a person regenerated who did not believe.

I believe once a person is born again, he/she now has eyes to see and will embrace the Lord Jesus by faith and thereby be justified.

Like you mention with the package deal, but I see the catalyst not as faith, but as regeneration.

As to the historic Baptists, this is from the Abstract of Principles:
"VIII. Regeneration.
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'm not sure how that can be anything but regeneration unto a saving response.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Gunny:

I don't want to keep beating a dead horse here. However, I would like to respond to some things you wrote in response to what I said about the "ordo salutis" and the relationship of faith regeneration.

First, do you deny that God given faith is put before regeneration is scripture? What about "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord"? (Acts 13: 19 KJV)

Second, the way I read the citation from the Baptist faith and message does not say what you think it says. It says that regeneration = enlightenment, or = faith. It does not say that regeneration produces enlightenment but that regeneration IS enlightment.

Also, I was referring to the Old Baptists who wrote the Confessions and also of the Founders of the SBC such as Boyce.

Again, I repeat. This is Hardshellism and Hyper Calvinism.

I challenge you to find a Baptist theologian prior to the 19th century who separated regeneration and conversion after the manner of Berkhof and the Presbyterian baby baptizers.

In Christ,

Stephen

Stefan said...

This reclaiming of the doctrines of grace is a marvel to behold, and trans-denominational in its scope—and Christ is glorified as new believers come to repentance and salvation in churches that hold fast to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

Growing up as an atheist and struggling with skepticism all my adult life, I can testify to the power of the Holy Spirit effectually calling the lost through the faithfully preached Word of God in Christ-exalting churches.

(Needless to say, "doctrines of grace," "authority and sufficiency of Scripture," and "Christ-exalting" seem to be synonymous terms for the same principle.)