"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some Helpful Articles by Les Puryear About "Calvinist" vs. "Reformed" Pastors

Les Puryear has posted a series of articles on the issue of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention. I found them very interesting and helpful.

In his articles, Les distinguishes between a pastor being "Calvinist" and being "Reformed". Big difference, says Les. The discussions are interesting, a bit over my head at times, but helpful.

Over at the SBC Today Bunch Podcast, Les was a guest on their latest episode and they discussed his articles. Les said that he plans on putting his posts into a booklet form for free distribution to small churches. His goal is to provide a resource to smaller churches in the SBC who need to ask the right questions as they search out a new pastor. According to Les and others, many churches have been split when a pastor is hired and the church finds out after-the-fact that he is "Reformed" and tries to convert the church.

Perhaps some WD readers who are interested in this topic will take a look at Puryear's posts and see if you agree with him. I know many of us have disagreed with Les on many issues (like the tithing issue and the email issue over the two SEBT professors earlier this year), but maybe his views on this might be helpful. And I commend him for wanting to help smaller churches avoid becoming victim to a Reformed pastor who sneaks in and then decides to convert it to a Reformed church.

This I think is the first article, dated June 23, 2010 addressing the topic:


which then led to a series of posts distinguising between "Calvinist" and "Reformed" from that time frame through July.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Calvinism versus non-Calvinism is incredibly confusing and frustrating. It seems to me that if you hold to the Calvinist doctrine, then the Bible has played a cruel hoax on humanity. John 3:16 clearly says "whoever believes". Revelation 3:20 says "I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice...". So, if you agree with Calvinism, do you also believe that not everyone that desires to be saved can be?

Anonymous said...

I think you were predestines to post that article (smile). I find it interesting that we baptists stay divided over issues that have no bearing on eternal salvation (confess and believe) yet we still have the highest rates of divorce and family fragmentation and do little proactively to change our own unloving hearts. Then again we choose to be this way.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The TOP CHRISTIANITY BLOG 2010 "award winner" is an ad for "Online Ph.D. Programs."

I'll never hear that name again without remembering this.

New BBC Open Forum said...

This stuff makes my eyes glaze over.

Dr Who said...

If they believe in predestination and "elect" - which mean i was chosen to be saved and go to heaven before I was even born - then, Why was Christ life sacrificed and for all of us sinners?

If the Calvinist,like many in the GBC we have all written about, really believe this junk they need to go more as Presbyterians....

I know they are saying many are chosen, but I do not believe that....I believe we must have a personal relationship AND live it!

Les Puryear said...

BBC Forum,

I had not seen that video. LOL!

Les

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

The entire series can be found on my blog under the label "reformed."

Also, SBC Today put a list of links to the series on the podcast 29 post.

Les

Thy Peace said...

Interesting site: Calvinistic Cartoons.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the differences between Calvinism and Reformism. Before I read about them, I'll note this.

I have heard, over the years, that Calvinism has been "sneaking" its way into the SBC, often avoiding the label, using other terms.

This indicates that Calvinism carries some nasty baggage.

It's my notion that a principal directive of professional clergy and theologians is to cultivate the power and influence of clergy and theologians. (Generally speaking, of course.)

What are the psychological mechanisms which give Calvinist promulgators that "power edge"?

Anonymous said...

I think TULIP is just a fantasy and a nightmare at the same time. Just stick with your BIBLE as man will get you confused time and time again. Been there and seen that happen over and over again.

Lydia said...

The whole debate is a diversion which is delightful to Satan.

First of all, election and predestination is in scripture. We haggle over the extent of the meanings. I wonder if as a Calvinist, I can choose to sin after being saved?

For example, when a Calvinist says 'total depravity' that is not what they really mean. Because a free will believer also believes in total depravity if they are saved. What a Calvinist means by total depravity is really "total inability" which is something much different.

The other reason why this is so silly is that a Baptist cannot be a Calvinist, UNLESS they believe in padeobaptism, sacraments and state church magistrates. If they agree with Calvin on these things they are not Baptist. It is that simple.

Calvin actually had cognitive dissonance in his teaching. He taught predestination yet attending church and taking sacraments was mandatory with terrible punishment if one refused. In a way, it is not unlike our works religions of today with tithing, etc. What is "elect" about mandatory sacraments and church attendance?

I am a bit amazed that so many gloss over these stark differences in what is really "Calvinism".

Anonymous said...

I reject all of the attributes of Reformed or Calvinism. Whenever you add to the Bible you are on a precipice and subject to falling off at any second. We need to get back to what the bible says and leave so called "greats" out of the equation.

Anonymous said...

Here's one for the Calvinist to ponder...Mans Total Depravity. What do they do with Enoch, Noah, Elijah, Joseph, Job and John the Baptist in this part of their platform?

Paula said...

No matter what anyone says about Calvinist beliefs, they will be accused of either misrepresentation or misunderstanding. That said, here's my summary:

If election is true, then nothing matters.

Seriously... if God picks who is to be saved, then they will be saved no matter what. So why not do whatever you want, since God will force Himself upon you when He's good and ready to? And if you're not 'elect', then why be good at all?

What makes the least sense of all is why Calvinists even argue about anything, especially Calvinism. What's the point? Didn't God make some people Arminians? Could they help it if they are? Then why get so upset? The fact that they do get so upset is proof that they really don't believe in their own teachings; they really do think we have choices.

Richard Jones said...

You do not have to agree with Calvinism, Reformed, TULIP, or whatever but you should at least understand what you are disagreeing with before you post. Each post so far has displayed great ignorance of what the Reformed faith believes the Bible teaches. To the first Anonymous I say every Calvinist I know affirms what the Bible teaches in John 6:37 "... and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." But elsewhere in John 6 we are told that no one comes unless the Father draws him. Context is the key. What is the context of John 3:16? Revelation 3:20?

I encourage all to interact with what the reformed believe and not the straw-men that are so easily knocked down.

Paula said...

" but you should at least understand what you are disagreeing with before you post. Each post so far has displayed great ignorance of what the Reformed faith believes the Bible teaches. "

Priceless! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Calvanism does a huge disservice to the Cross and the Christian. Here is the fool-proof way to stay out of "doctrinal" trouble. Stick with your Bible. It is clear. It says what it means and means what it says. It is man that likes to "mess" with the Bible. If you don't understand something, pray for Gods guidance about it. You don't need any other man who probably knows less than you do, to tell you what the Bible says. Otherwise only preachers would have a Bible. This is what the Reformation was about. I don't know one preacher, that I trust his OPINION more than my own when I pray about scripture. The Holy Sprit is my teacher. When I hear false doctrine something in me says..."wait that's not right, read your Bible". I don't listen to stuff off the wall, that's wrong and confusing. Therefore, I don't mess with Calvanism. Also, you don't need the GREEK (oh, how sick I am of hearing about THE GREEK). Many preachers today, I find, don't know as much about the Bible as the people paying them. Yet they purport to be the authorities. It is many times a job not a calling. If it is a true calling of God, your spirit will strive with the preacher's spirit. He will care as much about the Word as you. God has a way of letting us know things and then we have peace about what we hear.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate Mr. Puryear being honest about what he actually believes. Its a shame that some pastors never really tell you what they really believe. They might lose some or most of their members if they let the cat out of the bag so to speak.

Anonymous said...

"Each post so far has displayed great ignorance of what the Reformed faith believes the Bible teaches."

Richard, This is the classic Calvinist response. We are ignorant and you aren't. We know. We have heard it a zillion times by you guys.

Me thinks you all are predestined to be arrogant. :o)

Anonymous said...

"I encourage all to interact with what the reformed believe and not the straw-men that are so easily knocked down."

First of all, the "reformed" need to get on the same page. Some believe in infant baptism and some don't. Some believe in sacraments and some do not.

Do you think infant baptism is a small thing? If you do, then I suppose that those who were drowned for the crime adult baptism BY THE REFORMERS were fools. Right?

Richard Jones said...

Paula,
You wrote "If election is true, then nothing matters." Do you deny that election in some form is taught in the Bible? If so how do you deal with the passages that explicitly mention election? (Rom. 9, Rom 11,1 Thes 1:4, 2 Peter 1:10)

You also wrote "And if you're not 'elect', then why be good at all?" Does our salvation depend on our being good? If so we are all damned because according to Paul "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."(Romans 3:11-12) If God had not done a supernatural work in our hearts first we would not have been saved.

To all: I pray that you have a blessed Lord's Day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:36 July 24. Exactly. The Bible declares everyone as spiritually dead. There has to be a "rebirth". Jesus said "ye must be born again". There are saved and unsaved. We all have free choice. Just like at the cross...one accepted the other rejected. That's exactly what is taught throughout the Bible. A six year old gets it. Its not rocket science. You can be educated or uneducated, rich or poor, it really doesn't matter which side of the tracks you come from. What matters is that you accept the free gift of salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said " I am the way, the truth, and the life". That is all anyone needs, nothing more, nothing less. Faith in Him is sufficient. All of these other concepts and what some group believe is puff.

debbiekaufman said...

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned - 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:12-21.

This is just one of the many scriptures I cannot deny. Yes I am Calvinist. It would take a series to debate the misconceptions in this post, but instead it's important to see how we as Calvinists and Southern Baptists come to the view we hold. For the record however, one can be a Calvinist and not hold to padeobaptism etc.

I do not believe that any serious discussion over theology is a "delight to Satan." We must each come to the conclusion of what scripture teaches. That is never a delight to Satan.

I am one who believes there is room for both Calvinist and non-Calvinist in the Southern Baptist Convention. History dictates this is so.

Anonymous said...

"This is just one of the many scriptures I cannot deny."

So Debbie, You are saying a person who believes in Free Will denies this scripture? How arrogant! How foolish!

" For the record however, one can be a Calvinist and not hold to padeobaptism etc. "

This would astonish Calvin.

"I do not believe that any serious discussion over theology is a "delight to Satan." We must each come to the conclusion of what scripture teaches. That is never a delight to Satan."

I agree with the 'delight to Satan'comment because you actually call something of Christ as Calvin's. I have always wondered why it is not called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But it is repeatedly called Calvinism.

" am one who believes there is room for both Calvinist and non-Calvinist in the Southern Baptist Convention. History dictates this is so."

How could you since you believe non Calvinists deny your scripture you quote above.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

My hope is that this would be a discussion on the "Calvinist" definition vs. "Reformed" definition - not over Calvinism itself - and to clarify if when people like Caner and others attack "Calvinism" do they really mean "Reformed" pastors? As I understand Puryear, he is saying that someone can hold to a Calvinist view, but still be Southern Baptist.

The whole Calvinism debate itself I find boring, confusing, and if I thought I needed to understand the distinctions of what is a Calvinist and what is not and what is an Arminiam or whatever, I would stay lost.

Do the SBC leaders today use the term "Calvinist" to further divide people into those they like and agree with, and those who should be shunned - when really they mean "Reformed" people, who transform SBC churches away from being SBC?

Paula said...

Richard Jones,

In deference to the blog owner's wish to keep on topic, I'll ask you to post your comment elsewhere so we can discuss it without derailing the thread. We'd need a place where neither of us feels the other has an advantage, and nobody's posts are in danger of being altered or deleted. If you can find a place like that to discuss Calvinism, just post a quick note here. But first, you might want to do a search on "Calvin" in my blog. ;-)

Paula said...

PS: You missed my point entirely anyway. I'm addressing logical conclusions, not Calvinism itself primarily.

Lydia said...

" For the record however, one can be a Calvinist and not hold to padeobaptism etc. "

This is where I find the label "Calvinist" quite confusing and silly. Are you saying you are picking and choosing what Calvin taught yet still describe yourself as "Calvinist"?

"I do not believe that any serious discussion over theology is a "delight to Satan." We must each come to the conclusion of what scripture teaches. That is never a delight to Satan."

I think it delights Satan that folks describe what they believe after a human and that human ends up getting the glory no matter how much you protest to the contrary.

I challenge everyone who calls themselves a Calvinist to describe their beliefs never using that term. It becomes even harder when they do not use the term 'reformed', either. (After all, the term 'reformed' comes from them wanting to 'reform' the Catholic church which meant the 'reformers' wanted to keep sacraments, state church, magistrates and padeobaptism)

However, it might actually force folks to have a serious discussion on "theology" if we get rid of the labels.

I believe in predestination and election, too, because it is taught in the Word. That has nothing to do with a human but the Sovereignty of God and HE should get all the Glory, not Calvin.

"I am one who believes there is room for both Calvinist and non-Calvinist in the Southern Baptist Convention. History dictates this is so."

Huh? What does history dictate?

Read secular history on Calvin and Geneva and you would not dare call yourself a Calvinist as a Baptist who believes in Soul Competency and the Priesthood of Believers.

BTW: Did you know that Calvin "instituted" moral laws for Geneva. I will give you just one: No more than 3 courses per meal for every person living in Geneva.

I really think Calvinists should do their homework before brandying about his name instead of Christ.

Look at what Calvin himself wrote about his "Institutes":

“. . . to prepare and train candidates for the sacred office, for the study of the sacred volume, that they may both have an easy introduction to it, and be able to prosecute it with unfaltering step; for, if I mistake not, I have given a summary of religion in all its parts, and digested it in an order which will make it easy for any one, who rightly comprehends it, to ascertain both what he ought chiefly to look for in Scripture, and also to what "

Tell me, Debbie, what IS a 'sacred office'? And where would I find such a thing for a select group of candidates in the New Covenant Body?

And if his Institutes were a "summary" of scripture and made it easier to understand, why did another group of his followers decide to make it even simpler by coming up with TULIP?

One could read the entire Bible in the time it takes to read the Institutes! But Calvin wanted to interpret the Bible for people and make sure 'candidates' for sacred office believed as 'he' taught.

This is nothing less than a systematic theology. Telling people what the scripture teaches instead of encouraging them to study and seek the Holy Spirit in understanding. Trouble came when folks studied on their own as we know from Felix Mann and Conrad Grabel.

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

Do the SBC leaders today use the term "Calvinist" to further divide people into those they like and agree with, and those who should be shunned - when really they mean "Reformed" people, who transform SBC churches away from being SBC?

July 25, 2010 9:43 AM

WD, This is what is confusing because they have changed the historical definition of Reformed.

Historically, the reformers, like Luther, Zwingili and others were simply 'reforming' the Catholic church. They kept many Catholic practices including sacraments, infant baptism and most importantly the state church...which had authority over all things and the lines of civil government were blurred. (For example, in Geneva, a civil crime punishment was beheading but heresy was burning. But civil crimes were moral crimes against the church. It was very messy. Even believing a different interpretation of scripture was considered heresy)

The question is, what is being 'reformed' today.

If it does not matter, as Debbie implies, that there are 'Calvinists and non Calvinists' together in a Baptist church, then what needs to be reformed?

I think the answer lies in authoritarianism. Remember, Calvin believed in sacred furniture.

Goodwill said...

There used to be a saying that went something like this - " before heaven there is a door, and written across it's front - 'enter in all who would come'. And written across it's back - "chosen before the foundation of the world.
For goodness sake can we stop trying to formulate the wisdom of God! The vein of personal choice in the bible is as clear as the doctrine of assurance. One is not more correct than the other, but together these truths clearly demonstrate how mighty and wise is our God, and beyond containment by fragile formulations of our own wisdom. God be praised!

debbiekaufman said...

As I said, there are so many wrong thoughts here that I couldn't possibly answer them all in a comment post. Baptist Calvinist and Reformed are basically the same thing. Some even believe just in Tulip others believe more as I do. We are not Presbyterians as Les is attempting to wrongly argue, we are Baptists. Reformed Baptists.

James Galyon has a good post that answers many of Les' arguments. Nathan Finn and Justin Hale are two more. Deal with those arguments which are from a Reformed Baptist and not the ones on this comment thread that have nothing to do with either Calvinism or Reformed . In fact they more resemble a theology I have never heard of nor believe in. I realize that you may think you know, but it's kind of like when I went to a Muslim to find out what Muslim's believe. It's much more accurate. We will not lie to you. We believe in what we believe to strongly to lie. I promise. :)

Lydia said...

" realize that you may think you know, but it's kind of like when I went to a Muslim to find out what Muslim's believe. It's much more accurate. We will not lie to you. We believe in what we believe to strongly to lie. I promise. :)"

This is actually a good point. I would not go to a Muslim to find out what they believe. I would go to their so called holy books to see what Islam actually teaches as there are so many variations of practice and most Muslims do not even know the Koran or Hadith.

Our Holy Scripture are Inspired by God and I would hope would be the resource people would go to as Jesus Christ promised the best Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to teach us. By pass old Calvin and go straight to the Source. As a matter of fact, we should be Bereans about any human teacher.

debbiekaufman said...

Lydia: I could easily refute you but since this is not the topic of the thread, I am simply saying that Les' articles aren't that helpful for the fact that they are not based on true conclusions. As for scripture, look on any Reformed site, you will find plenty. Les' arguments like yours are based on a false premise. And there are just too many to be dealt with here plus your arguments are not the topic.

Lydia said...

"Lydia: I could easily refute you but since this is not the topic of the thread, I am simply saying that Les' articles aren't that helpful for the fact that they are not based on true conclusions. As for scripture, look on any Reformed site, you will find plenty. Les' arguments like yours are based on a false premise. And there are just too many to be dealt with here plus your arguments are not the topic."

Debbie, you are real good at telling people they are wrong but not making your case why they are wrong. Telling me this is not the thread for it is a cop out. But a typical one for you to claim you can 'easily refute'. BTW: How can you refute historical facts?

I have not said I disagree with all aspects of Calvinist and Reformed doctrine. I am asking why people are calling themselves that?

Reforming what?

And how can one be a Calvinist if they do not believe in a Sacral system, state church and padeobaptism, for starters. Why give Calvin the Glory that belongs to Jesus Christ on the things he gets right?

And I could not disagree with Les, more. remember, he is the one that called us antinomians because we do not believe the "tithe" is for the NC.

I have read a ton of Reformed lit and also most of the Institutes. I strongly suggest folks read outside that insular group, too.

BTW: The victors historically wrote history because they controlled information.

Which means the Reformers wrote their own history. It takes some digging to read the other side of the story.

Paula said...

Re. Lydia's comment, if anyone wants a summary and link to that hard-to-find history, try:

The Reformers and Their Stepchildren"

(I owe you for recommending this book, Lydia!)

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

You wrote, "My hope is that this would be a discussion on the "Calvinist" definition vs. "Reformed" definition - not over Calvinism itself - and to clarify if when people like Caner and others attack "Calvinism" do they really mean "Reformed" pastors? As I understand Puryear, he is saying that someone can hold to a Calvinist view, but still be Southern Baptist."

That is exactly the point. The issue is not Calvinism. The issue if those who self-identify as "reformed."

Les

Anonymous said...

One can be "reformed baptist", however, it is close to unbearable at times to hear the unbelievable misrepresentation of Calvinism from the pulpits. My sincere hope is these pastors genuinely don't understand it and aren't just intentionally misleading their congregations.

debbiekaufman said...

Reformed simply means what it implies. We are simply wanting both the church and us to be reformed back to the Bible. I believe the Bible is clear and teaches Calvinism. We simply want the Bible and Jesus Christ to be the center of worship, the center of our Convention. The center of everything. In that we wish to reform ourselves too. Does that mean everyone should embrace all the same doctrine I do? No. Of course not. Does it mean that the church should be more Bible centered? Christ centered? yes.

Reformed Baptist churches believe that the Bible is the only and final authority. Period.

Reformed Baptist churches believe that the churches exist for the Glory of God.

Reformed Baptist churches believe that the local church is central to God's purposes on this earth.

Reformed Baptist churches believe that preaching is central to the life of those in the church.

Reformed Baptist churches believe that salvation is a supernatural work of God and because of that there is a radical change in the life of those who have Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Reformed Baptist churches take church membership very seriously. It is not a matter of social status or upping numbers, but we must be sure that a person coming into membership is in fact truly born again. We do believe in perseverance of the saints.

Now how would any of that make one a non-Baptist or different from what a Southern Baptist should be. No padeobaptism, that is Presbyterian. None of the other arguments that have been given. Calvinism identifies the theology just as Southern Baptist identifies who we are. All the above can be found in scripture which we hold very high. In fact it's the highest one can hold without worshiping the book itself but the author of the book.

That is just the tip of shooting down the strawmen, as I said, I cannot do it justice in a comment stream, but this is just a sample, the rest pretty much follows. Not much for one to disagree on if read properly.

Lydia said...

" I believe the Bible is clear and teaches Calvinism. "


Debbie,

It always amuses me that some folks describe the Word as Jesus Christ teaching Calvinism. It is as if they cannot get away from giving Calvin the Glory instead of God. It is just ingrained, I guess. One would think Christianity started in the 1500's.

I agree with most of your points but am still confused about using the Word "Reformed". Are churches being reformed to Calvinism?

I have not read Les's articles yet, but in my reading I have found that most Calvinists describe themselves as Reformed and most Reformed are Calvinists. Even though some, like McArthur are dipsys.

Most all Reformed think women are second class in the Body. But then,so do many Free Willers!

I realize these things are simple labels but words mean things and labels communicate.

That is why I can believe in predestination and election as the scriptures teach but would never be a Calvinist. A Calvinist would follow all of Calvin's teachings in that cult of personality. If predestination, election and other TULIP points are correct doctrine, they come from Jesus Christ. Not Calvin. I only wish you guys would focus there and leave the pope of Geneva out of it. Lots of evil was perpetuated by the Reformers, too. To Glorify them is scary.

I have nightmares that 200 years from now, people will describe certain doctrines as Warrenism. And it will be the same type of thing all over. Giving credit to men that belongs to God.

Calvin is more popular than Jesus Christ in some circles.
And the points you make about reformed I have found in some Free Will circles who dearly love Jesus Christ.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks for the comments here.

I'm more confused about Calvinism than before.

I keep it simple: as I understand the gospel, it says whosever will, come. It also says that the faith we exercise comes from God. So there is both a calling from God and a responsibility of man to respond.

I am totally uninterested in the Calvinist/non-Calvinist/etc etc discussion. As I said before, if I had to understand that to become a Christian, or if I had to come to grips with it in order to live the Christian life "properly", I'd throw in the towel.

I love those who are brothers and sisters who say they are Calvinists, and those who say they are not.

I think many people like Puryear would agree with that - the problem they have perhaps is when pastors come in and aren't completely honest with a search committee and they get in and then start changing the church to be "reformed".

Did I just muddy the waters here?

Paula said...

And the points you make about reformed I have found in some Free Will circles who dearly love Jesus Christ.

I'm in a Free Will circle, may I testify a little? ;-)

I believe equally in the sovereignty of God and the love of God.

I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and thus the only and final authority for us. No spoken message allegedly from God can contradict or override what is written.

I believe that the "church" is the people; we are members of one Body at the moment of salvation. This is not an organization to join but an organism to be born into. Jesus said that where 2 or 3 gather because they are His, He is there. And this Body has no chain of command, as if the foot must go through the hand and the eye in order to talk to the Brain.

I believe that preaching the gospel to the lost is the duty and right of every believer, and that teaching the saved is the duty and right of every mature believer, with "maturity" being a combination of both a life exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit and a disciplined mind that correctly handles the scriptures.

I believe that Jesus died for the whole world that all might be saved and then rose again, and that all who choose to accept His sacrifice on their behalf in order to be reconciled with God are guaranteed eternal life in heaven. No other gods can be added to the One True God, and none of the divinity and humanity of Jesus can be taken away, without denying the faith and showing oneself to be unsaved. This important point must be explained to the lost; they cannot add Jesus to their existing gods nor belittle His divinity or humanity. God will not share His glory with another.

I believe that the only reason anyone can be saved is through the love and mercy of God in making salvation available by faith through Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus said that He would, if "lifted up", draw all people to Himself, and God is not willing that any should perish. There are no footnotes or fine print qualifying "all" in any of those scriptures. So the offer is all of God and His power, but His love cannot force itself on anyone or our love would not be genuine. This upholds both the honor of God as Savior and the freedom and responsibility of the individual to accept this gift-- not work.

debbiekaufman said...

I think many people like Puryear would agree with that - the problem they have perhaps is when pastors come in and aren't completely honest with a search committee and they get in and then start changing the church to be "reformed".

Did I just muddy the waters here?


No, because I would agree with you if it were actually happening. I hear this is happening but with no proof that it is. I think this may be more a fear than an actual fact. Has anyone who has brought this accusation cited actual incidents with more than just anonymous stories? Any of the 'examples' I read are with no names, no cited proof that this has happened, just generic stories. That makes it very hard for me to believe that it is a problem let alone a wide spread problem.

Our church has both non-Calvinist and Calvinist. Both are free to teach their views in Sunday School classes etc. In the years I have been at Emmanuel we co-exist as one body of Christ. Both are going to be in heaven, both should be able to co-exist here on earth and both can be Southern Baptist in the very definition of what a Southern Baptist is.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Les Puryear that was calling people ugly names like "lawless" and "robbers" and then threatening to sue for libel when someone misspelled his name on this very blog?

The same person who promised to answer the question why we are responsible to pay 10% of our income to the NT church when the OT commanded 25% and never did?

The one who when the questions got a little uncomfortable on his own blog removed the comment section?

The very same person who went to another blog and accused the writer of libel and then later was forced to apologize when he discovered that he was wrong - even though he claimed to have already read the book that she was quoting?

You know, I have never been a Calvinist, but I'm beginning to believe I should rethink my position just because Les Puryear is against it.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Yes, same Les. Same one who ran into Sheriff Wade Burleson a few months back on the letter Les wrote SEBTS about two seminary profs who don't teach the tithe.

But we all love ya Les!

Anonymous said...

Paula,
You stated that therer are no qualifying terms to the word "all" in some of those passages. That is not quite correct. Depending on the text, the word all is "pas", which refers to all kinds as oppossed to all people. God is not willing that all should perish, meaning all kinds. Revelation concurs in that there will be people of all kinds, every tongue, tribe and nation.The context of the passage is another indicator.

Anonymous said...

The same Les Puryear who was going to fire a shot at the SBC that would be heard around the world?

Anonymous said...

What disturbs me is a pastor who stands up in the pulpit and says lets all open God's word. Then he raises up his Bible (COPY) OF WHATEVER VERSION, then he starts taking it apart. He doesn't have a reliable version (whatever copy) and expects us to BELIEVE HIM. With that going on I would be the first to get out of there ASAP!!!!

Lydia said...

"No, because I would agree with you if it were actually happening. I hear this is happening but with no proof that it is. I think this may be more a fear than an actual fact. Has anyone who has brought this accusation cited actual incidents with more than just anonymous stories? Any of the 'examples' I read are with no names, no cited proof that this has happened, just generic stories. That makes it very hard for me to believe that it is a problem let alone a wide spread problem."

It is really no different than the issue of women in ministry or sexual abuse. People are afraid to name names. Some actually think it is sin to name names or churches that have gone through this. And your comment sounds eerily familiar...like the folks that refuse to believe Christa Brown.

I know of one situation right now where this is happening...in a back door way. Sort of boiling the frog so the congregation won't figure it out. If they said they were going Calvinist or Reformed, most would leave and they know it.

But if I name names it would get real nasty fast. And trust me, I know what these guys are capable of and I am a coward anymore after witnessing such things for years. I have seen what they have done to others over the years who dare disagree.

But more and more pulpit committees are asking as they become more informed. And they should. Those who tend toward Calvinism are very authoritarian in polity. (As Calvin was and taught it along with his sacred furniture) and tend to set up a small band who run the church and throw congregational polity out the window.

Except Wade, of course. Who seems to always be the exception! :)

Lydia said...

"I keep it simple: as I understand the gospel, it says whosever will, come. It also says that the faith we exercise comes from God. So there is both a calling from God and a responsibility of man to respond."

Good points! We have a responsibility to trust and believe. One of the greatest gifts from God is His granting us repentance.

Douglas said...

"John 3:16 clearly says "whoever believes"."

It doesn't say "whoever doesn't believe," it says "whoever believes." It says what one does do and that is: believe, not what one can do prior to the new birth. Believing is a direct result of the new birth, it is a gift of God. Faith and repentance are gifts from God alone, at and in consequence of the new birth. We add nothing to regeneration. Regeneration is a sole work of God alone.

"Revelation 3:20 says "I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice..."."

Revelation 3:14-22 including verse 20, is the LORD Jesus Christ talking to the "church" in Laodicea, not to non-Christians. That same chapter can still be very instructive to the church in many places today.

"So, if you agree with Calvinism, do you also believe that not everyone that desires to be saved can be?

Every single one that desires to be saved will be. Prior to the new birth, born again, born from above (see John 3), there is no one who desires to be saved. They loved the darkness and hate the light and will not come to the light least their evil, wicked, sinful deeds be exposed. They freely and willingly avoid the light at all cost. That includes you and me and everyone else prior to the new birth. There is none righteous, not even one, except the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. At the new birth, God restores our wills that were in bondage to sin, death and decay and we freely and willingly and most gladly respond in repentance and faith

As a Christian, that is how I see it.

Douglas said...

"One of the greatest gifts from God is His granting us repentance."

The greatest gift God grants His children is the new birth, without which no one would be saved.

Anonymous said...

I guess I can confess that the dilemma between Calvinism vs. Arminianism is one of the main reasons I left the ministry and stopped being a pastor. (And yes I am a graduate of an SBC seminary with two graduate degrees.) The longer I stayed in ministry and attempted to wrestle with this issue, the more confused I became, which is somewhat ironic considering the Bible teaches that God is not a god of confusion. I cannot help but wonder why a loving and benevolent God would place such a contradictory concept in His word and allow it to cause such division? How could I offer an invitation at the end of a sermon...and yet know the Bible says that the elect have already been chosen? I cannot reconcile the two positions; I cannot believe in something that is incompatible and contradictory. I have studied and prayed over this issue for years and have found no answer yet I know that scripture teaches it. Perhaps I am more like the author of Ecclesiates....vanity, vanity...all is vanity. When I get to heaven, I hope to spend some time talking with John Calvin and Jacob Arminius; I suspect all three of will be wrong.

Paula said...

Anonymous said...Depending on the text, the word all is "pas", which refers to all kinds as oppossed to all people. God is not willing that all should perish, meaning all kinds...
July 26, 2010 3:52 PM

Eph. 1:22 must therefore mean Christ is only over "all kinds" of people; Col. 2:10 must therefore mean Christ is only over "all kinds" of principalities and authorities; Herod must only have wanted to kill "all kinds" of boys when the Magi outwitted him; etc.

You say "depending on the text" but fail to specify what it is in the text that makes the difference. But when I look at the ones nobody disputes and compare them with the ones they do, I see no difference, no clear indication in the text to make, for example, John 3:16 mean anything but "all without exception". By what right can you justify that God must mean "all kinds of people" in your example?

This is Calvinism's shell game, it's Orwellian redefinition of words to suit the theory.

Paula said...

PS:

"even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God"
Rom. 3:22b:23

So "all without distinction" have sinned, NOT "all without exception".

Explain why you take this as without exception.