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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

BaptistFire Calls Calvinists Out of the SBC

Exactly one week ago, I shared that the notorious BaptistFire shared that they were coming out with comments by the Caner brothers on their site. Their new article is out, and it is quite interesting. Here is their conclusion:

"We believe it is time to examine Romans 14 in the light of the current conflict between Bible-believing churches and Calvinist churches in the SBC. It is time to consider whether or not Reformed Calvinist churches should be excluded from fellowship in the Southern Baptist Convention."
My first question is who is "we"? It is amazing the courage people have when they can write anonymously! At least the Caner brothers signed their names! The closest we get to any identity is "Baptist Fire Editor." Lovely. Second question, since when has Calvinists in the SBC the cause of division and attacks? Is it not BaptistFire who is slandering their Christian brother on their website? Is it not pastors like Johnny Hunt, Jack Graham, Bobby Welch, Herb Reavis, and others who have taken the initiative to take on the resurgence of Reformed theology in the SBC? Ironically, the ammunition for these men are accomplishing nothing but causing them to shoot blanks as their fill their rhetoric from faulty resources such as BaptistFire, Dave Hunt, and Norm Geisler. Thirdly, it is clear that the Caner brothers had the intention of being kicked off Founder's Blog by the extreme use of inflammatory rhetoric but failed in their attempt to do so by the gracious administration of Tom Ascol. By allowing them to continue, those who take an objective analysis of the blogpost will find the Caner brothers unable to answer any of the questions while manifesting the first-class conduct of SBC deans. This proved not to be a debate but a revelation of intent which was to prove a point which they failed to accomplish. BaptistFire calls the readers of Founder's Blog "thin-skinned," which would hardly be the case sense we have taken the heat from so many who feel like the next step in the "conservative resurgence" is to remove those evil Calvinists from the SBC. Fourthly, BaptistFire readily points to the Romans 14:1 text as an accusation about Calvinists and their debating. While they argue that we are so quarrelsome, have they gone to their own and held them to the same standards as they do us? Methinks not. But then again, this double-standardness is congruent with the rest of the illegitimacy of such organizations of BaptistFire. After all, with self-congratulatory praise, they unabashedly contend that their document "Crept in Unawares" carefully documents the spread of Calvinism. This is not history my friend. This is hype. Finally, the only thing I found honest and factual on BaptistFire is their intent on using their propaganda as resources for pastors and church leaders. "Crept in Unawares" is taken from Jude 4 talking about certain people "who long ago were designed for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." Not only is BaptistFire saying that Calvinists shouldn't be in the SBC, by applying this text they are saying that they are not going to be in heaven! How else are we to understand the phrase "designed for this condemnation" and "deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ?" Is this who the Calvinists really are? The believers who esteem a God-centered salvation and extol the sovereign grace of God - really? Rather, I would argue that those in the Reformed tradition (call us whatever you want - hyper-Calvinists, crept in unawares, etc.) are those found in verse 3 who are contending "for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." The entirety of church history and the whole counsel of God's Word attest to this. I know of some pastors who are so anti-Reformed that they won't even dialogue with me concerning what the Bible says. Just in the last week, I had been in an email exchange where one pastor refused to answer any of my questions concerning biblical texts but chose to call me a hyper-Calvinist, modern-day Pharisee, and a Gnostic. BaptistFire has made it plain that they are targeting such pastors to provide more lies and divisive rhetoric to further inflame the issue all the while avoiding the Bible and pursuing peace with their Calvinist brother. One would only hope that just as the Caner's attempt to rail Founder's Blog failed, those in the BaptistFire would have their statements backfire and fall on deaf ears. This is not a request for retribution. This is a call for integrity and accountability.


Blogger Nathan White said...

Wow. The debate in the SBC is about to kick into high-gear (if it isnt already). I think it might eventually lead to a split, that is, if God continues to move in the younger generation like He has been of late.

Ha, some of my comments on the founders blog made it into the baptistfire article. It is amazing how you make one small statement about your concern with Hunt being nominated in the SBC and your labeled as 'attacking' him as if he is some kind of untouchable saint. Same old story same old song isnt it?

Great thoughts Timmy.


3/18/2006 12:12:00 AM

Blogger Stephen Newell said...

Well, Nathan, I do sympathize with the fact that you were taken out of context, but you weren't and haven't exactly been charitable to the man. You haven't been nasty, but you haven't been charitable.

Baptist Fire might be an embarrassment, but if we can't shut up when we get poked an prodded, people like that are going to continue to embarrass all of us.

3/18/2006 11:42:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


You said, "if we can't shut up when we get poked an prodded, people like that are going to continue to embarrass all of us."

I am not sure if you are intending this comment to be towards Nathan, the both of us, or anyone/everyone who speak out against what BapistFire is doing. In regards to my response, I have absolutely no desire to pit an intellectual version of Calvinism over against the Arminianism today. I take my stand against these people because of the colossal damage on an ecclesiological and pastoral level. Their intentions are clearly stated, and I do not think this is about being "poked or prodded." I have personally seen the damage caused by unsubstantiated attacks and merciless caricatures and cannot sit idly by and watch the Church suffer because of it.

We are both at seminary studying theology together, but for what purpose? To change who we are and how we live. If all that we know and believe does not affect how we live, then I have brough damage to my own soul by short-circuiting the purpose of my education to making it a mere mental excerise of theological abstractions. I am responsible for what I know and see, and to be silent would be contrary to my conscience and what I know to be true.

I hope that you do not see me "not shutting up" as more fodder for the fire. Rather, I hope that you see it as one meager voice attempting to contend for the faith which has once for all been handed down to the saints.

3/19/2006 03:33:00 PM


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