Almost a year ago to this date, I wrote a post called "Who's Next?" in which I made a prediction concerning who would be the next SBC elite to attack Calvinism. I chronicled the previous attacks from men like Adrian Rogers, Johnny Hunt, Jack Graham, Bobby Welch, and Steve Gaines. So who was my guess? You got it - Dr. Jerry Vines.
So here's the deal. I along with the rest of the team at SBF will be addressing Dr. Vines' message with the hope that our articles will shed light on the common misrepresentations of Calvinism and provide some good discussion as well. First Baptist Woodstock has received more than their share of anti-Reformed sermons in recent years, so it does not leave one to wonder why Dr. Johnny Hunt requested Vines to address this issue (again). Clearly it was for the larger audience, and in particular, the churches in the SBC and the pastors who are in the Woodstock network. Needless to say, the Hunt/Vines combination is very powerful and influential in the SBC, and there are some out there who think that responding to them in any way is a form of attack. But the same people also think that SBF is "not known for its irenic, scholarly tone." I guess we can never measure up to some people's standards and expectations. :) Anyway, Dr. Vines' sermon does need a response from the community, and while some have already begun to respond (see especially Tom Ascol's gracious critique), we at SBF will seek to address the message (not the messenger I might add) in an "irenic, scholarly tone."
Here is the introductory post I wrote for the team yesterday. Stay tuned for more posts in the future.
SBF Programming Announcement:
The Vines Series
The team at SBF has decided to respond to a recent sermon preached by Dr. Jerry Vines
at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA where Dr. Johnny Hunt is the pastor. Vines’ message is entitled “Calvinism: The Baptist and His Election”
and can be viewed online here
Dr. Vines is a powerful figure in the Southern Baptist Convention and carries a wide influence through his ministry. The reason we at SBF have chosen to respond to this message by Dr. Vines is because we believe there are several misunderstandings of Calvinism in his message. As often is the case, most people hear about Calvinism from non-Calvinists (or anti-Calvinists) who either unintentionally or intentionally misrepresent the Reformed doctrines of grace and monergism. Therefore, we are writing to interact with what Dr. Vines has said, and as a result, to offer a more faithful presentation of Calvinism.
When this blog was created, we intended to respond to and correct the faulty notions of a website called BaptistFire. Less than two weeks into our existence, this website disappeared, not allowing us to respond to their attacks on the Reformed faith. We are quite certain that, were BaptistFire still existing today, Dr. Vines’ message would make the headlines of their website. Therefore, we believe that it is in accord with our stated purpose of this blog as well as in the general interest of the wider audience to present the glorious doctrine of grace from those who espouse it. All of us at SBF are Calvinists and are not ashamed to be called such; however, given that there are so many misunderstandings, caricatures, and straw men regarding Calvinism, any time that word is used, it must necessarily be qualified; furthermore, given that so many people are being informed on Calvinism from those who have more than a mild distaste for it, we think it would be profitable to set the doctrines plainly on Scripture, not mere sentiments, emotional appeals, or philosophical presuppositions.
The goal of our posting is to allow each article to stand for a couple of days before another one is posted. The posts probably will not be in the order to which they were presented in the message, but we hope to address each major point individually, giving due treatment without any confusion. In the end, it is our hope and prayer that we have accurately presented the truths of the Reformed faith and helped you in your understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.