Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Would the PCA Be a Better Fit For SBC Calvinists?



I want to ask an honest question here. I have no ulterior motive in asking this question. I just want to understand the current Calvinist mindset better. Here's the question: Would PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) be a better fit For SBC Calvinists ?

Here's why I am asking the question. It seems to me that SBC Calvinists have much more in common with the PCA than with the SBC. The only major difference I see from what I hear SBC Calvinists say they believe and the PCA adopted Confession of Faith, the Westminster Confession of Faith is Chapter XXVIII. - Of Baptism. However, I see many differences between SBC Calvinist beliefs and our own BFM2K.

Two differences are Article III - Man and Article V - God's Purpose of Grace. Article III does not support the Calvinist view of original sin but is more supportive of the article in the Trad Statement, which SBC Calvinists claim is semi-pelagian. Also, Article V does not support the Calvinist view of election. The article is almost word-for-word repeat of the BFM 1963 version. Herschel Hobbs, who was the main architect of BFM 1963, said that the article on election reflected the view that election meant that the way of salvation through Christ is the election by God and not the individual believers.

I could note many other differences between SBC Calvinists and SBC traditionalists such as ecclesiology, polity, etc., but I won't belabor the point. It is clear to me that SBC Calvinists have more in common with the PCA than the SBC. So why would not SBC Calvinists move over to the PCA?

Thanks for your response. Comments are now closed.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

No. Reformed southern baptists are credo-baptists and not paedo-baptists. Therefore they are not at home in the PCA.

Anonymous said...

The major difference between Presbyterians and Baptists is ecclesiology, so, no, the PCA is not a better option. Another difference would be the understanding of the covenant of works and covenant of grace, as some SBC Calvinists now adhere to what is called New Covenant Theology, which is incompatible with PCA doctrine. Your questions shows theological ineptitude.

Les Puryear said...

Anon 3:08,

So one theological difference with PCA trumps more than one with the SBC?

Les

Les Puryear said...

Anon 3:26,

Did I say I wasn;t aware of covenant theology and the NWT folks? you assume a lot here.

This conversation would be more helpful if you would refrain from accusations of theological ineptitude. I could say that you were a typical arrogant Calvinist who has no understanding of the Southern Baptist Convention, but I won't say that. Let's try to keep this civil.

Les

Les Puryear said...

To all potential commentors,

If you're going to comment, I will not accept anymore anonymous comments. Please have the courage to sign your name and stand behind your remarks.

Regards,

Les

Tom Shelton said...

Les,

As a SBC Calvinist (although I prefer the term Reformed) this is not the first time I have heard this. Baptism is a very important difference but it is not the only one. Ecclesiology is another major difference but I don't want to focus on the similarities or differences with the PCA. I want to address the issues you put forth regarding the BF&M.

Article III - Man: I assume your contention is with the last sentence that says "The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love." I don't see this as an issue for me (I can't speak for others). The statement says that Christ died for man...it does not say every man and the ending phrase clarifies its meaning when it refers to every race. So, Christ died for men from every race but the BF&M does not say he died for every person. I do know that many will read it that way and that is due to their presuppositions.

Article V - God's Purpose of Grace: I assume you are referring to this sentence which says "It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end." As a Calvinist I whole-heartedly affirm that when God saves a person they make a valid real choice in choosing him and they do so as a result of their receiving a new heart which allows them to understand their need for a savior. Again, I can't speak for others, but it is my understanding that this is the standard position of the majority of Calvinists. So, Article 5 does not present a problem for an SBC Calvinist either. For some reason there is a misconception that continues to be perpetuated that Calvinism means that people don't make valid choices and that is just not the case.

As a final note, I don't belong to the PCA because I am not a Presbyterian. I am a Baptist. I have some theological similarities with the PCA but that does not make me one and does not mean I would be welcomed into their denomination. I think we need to learn how to get along and work together instead of trying to run one another out of the SBC. Would you agree?

belardd said...

I (a person holding to a reformed baptist theology), a member an independent, reformed Baptist church have thought the same thing, but nuances of Covenant theolgy, church ecclesiology and polity issues are significant.

Perhaps that is why some of us are indeed, independent of all associational ties

Douglas R Belardi

Jared Moore said...

If SBC Calvinists affirm the BF&M 2K, then how can they possibly have more in common with the PCA than the SBC? The only way you can make this argument is if you believe something beyond the BF&M 2K defines a "true" Southern Baptist. It's not your SBC Les.

Here's a question for you. Would you fit in better in your own "Traditionalist" denomination instead of in the SBC?

Tom Shelton said...

I forgot to mention in my previous comment that a better confession to consider when looking at what SBC Calvinists believe would be the 1689 London Baptist Confession. The BF&M is a solid confession but it not intended to be an exhaustive listing of what Baptists believe. The 1689 Confession covers much more. It is very similar to the Westminster Confession in many areas but is decidedly more baptistic in areas baptists don't agree with with Presbyterians.

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

So even though the BFM2K article on man does not support a reformed view of the imputation of original sin, you would still affirm it?

Also, reading Hobb's explanation of election, can you affirm that article as well?

If you can affirm these two articles with these understandings, you don't sound like a Calvinist to me. :)

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Douglas,

Thus, knowing that the SBC is not a Reformed Baptist convention, why would you continue to be a Southern Baptist?

regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Jared,

Just because Calvinists say they affirm BFM2K doesn't necessarily mean they agree with it. I've already demonstrated two articles which a Calvinist would seem to have a problem with agreement.

Your second remark causes me to laugh out loud. I don't have to join a traditionalist denomination because the SBC IS a traditionalist denomination. That is what you guys don't seem to understand.

Thanks for the chuckle. You're always welcome here.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

You said, "I think we need to learn how to get along and work together instead of trying to run one another out of the SBC. Would you agree?"

I have been consistent in saying that if SBC Calvinists would stop trying to reform traditional local SBC churches, then I would definitely agree. Stop trying to reform the local churches and we can all work together.

The ball's in your court, my friend.

Regards,

Les

Tom Shelton said...

Les,

How does the BF&M Article 3 not affirm the reformed view of the imputation of original sin? As i read it that is exactly what it does.

I have not read Hobbs' explanation. I read the BF&M and compare it to what Scriptures says and if they agree i can confirm the BF&M.

I have not always been a Calvinist. I am fairly new...my theological adjustment began in 2006 after the Mohler Patterson discussion at the SBC Pastor's Convention.

Tom Shelton said...

Les,

You said "I have been consistent in saying that if SBC Calvinists would stop trying to reform traditional local SBC churches, then I would definitely agree. Stop trying to reform the local churches and we can all work together.

The ball's in your court, my friend."

Here is the rub though. The so-called "traditionalists" get upset about pastors being hired by local congregations and teaching what they believe because it may result in those congregations becoming more reformed in some areas. They also get upset and don't want to support those same pastors when they choose to plant a church (which may be reformed in some areas) rather than take on an existing church because it may be reformed. You can't have it both ways if we are to co-exist in the SBC.

Jared Moore said...

Les, More than 86,000 saw your "Traditionalist" document, but not even 1,000 chose to sign it. That means that roughly 1.5% of those who saw it decided to sign it. If the "Traditionalist" document represents the majority, why didn't you get more signatures? I think you know the answer. Keep arguing that you represent the majority while denying the fact that "Traditionalists" didn't get the votes at the SBC this year or recent previous years.

I'm glad I make you laugh. You make me laugh as well.

Let me be clear, if you don't want to be united with both Calvinist and non-Calvinist Southern Baptists to reach the world, why don't you leave the SBC? The SBC is about unity. You're obviously not about unity. Either unite or get out. What good are you doing by trying to encourage division?

I tell you what, you keep talking about Calvinist Southern Baptists, and we Calvinist Southern Baptists will keep talking about the gospel.

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

Article III specifically reads

"By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation."

It specifically states that we "iherit" a sin nature, not that sin is "imputed" to every man. Are we all sinners? Absolutely. We are guilty of our own sin, not Adam's sin.

Also, it says that "as soon as they are capable of moral transgression..." This is a direct reference to the doctrine of the age of accountability.

Those are two differences which I have read Calvinists have difficulty.

If you want more information on this topic, I would refer you to sbctoday.com and the voluminous discussions on this topic in article two of the Trad statement.

Thanks.

Les

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

i can;t speak for all traditionalists but I can say what I have seen and heard through eyewitness reports.

The problem I see is that many, not all, but many Calvinist pastors are not forthcoming with Search Committees about their true beliefs. When they are called to traditional churches, they try to impose their Calvinism on people who don;t want to have anything to do with it. Thus, many times, a cjhurch splits or a pstor is fired. Either way, hurtful trauma has been perpetrated on the church.

Now let me say this. If a Calvinist pastor interviews with a traditional church and he is upfront with what he believes and the church calls him as pastor, then God bless them. I have no problem with that scenario.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Jared,

So you are basing the ratio of traditionalist to Calvinist in the SBC according to Internet signatures? I know you can do better than that.

Since more than 83% of SBC churches have less than 200 in worship attendance, I would say that the majority of them don't even read the blogs. So your argument is weak at best.

Your last statement implies that traditional baptists are not spreading the gospel. I am offended by that remark and its implication and I expect a public apology from you.

If you want to get into a numbers discussion, I'll be glad to do that. In the last five years, churches which I have led have baptized 69 and led 269 to professions of faith. In the last 10 months, we have baptized 17 and led 32 to professions of faith. How is your Calvinist church doing in these regards? You brought it up, not me.

You were welcome here but until I get that public apology, you are banned from commenting here.

Les

Les Puryear said...

Anon 3:08,

I'll be glad to post your comment when you are willing to sign your name.

Regards,

Les

Tom Shelton said...

Les,

You said "It specifically states that we "iherit" a sin nature, not that sin is "imputed" to every man. Are we all sinners? Absolutely. We are guilty of our own sin, not Adam's sin."

Romans 5:12 says otherwise. It says "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned [ESV]". Adam's sin is imputed to us and we do inherit the sin nature as a result. We are born totally depraved and we will sin as a result and be judged for it. There is no escape...except the atonement of Jesus.

Les Puryear said...

Tom,

I agree with the scripture. But nowhere in the passage does say that Adams sin was "imputed" to us.

"Imputed" means "credited." So that would mean that we are guilty of Adam's sin. The scripture you cited says no such thing. It say that death came into the world through Adam's sin and that every human being has a sin nature, and that we will sin. The Calvinists which I have read (Horton, Sproul, etc.) would say that Adam's sin was imputed. Sorry but this scripture does not say that.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Jared,

You said, "Don't hold your breath," in regard to a public apology. That is why your comment will not be posted.

A little humility from you would be nice but I've not seen it in your writings and, until you are humbled, I don't expect to see it in the future.

You demonstrate the stereotypical arrogant Calvinist very well.

Les

Darryl Hill said...

Les, first let me answer your question. I am a reformed Baptist who is on staff at a Southern Baptist Church and I affirm the BFM2000. I have no qualms with the things you've pointed out. I do have some serious reservations with Presbyterian paedo-baptism (which is huge) as well as some ecclesiological differences.

Now, here is my question: what kind of comments do you expect to receive from people when your entire premise of this post is basically "Why don't you SBC Calvinists please leave?" The entire thought here is antagonistic? Why are you surprised and demand "humility" from folks when your post is argumentative from the get-go?

By the way, had you posted this 3 months ago, not within the current climate produced by the Traditional Statement, I would venture to say it would have gone without much comment. But given the current climate, what did you expect? Weren't you looking for a bit of a fight here?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Les: As I predicted at the beginning and again when Emir(who has his spokesman instead) took over SBCToday. This is going to be an attempt at a full blown war. Those who love to fight will fight and they will use any means necessary including lies. You have proven that with this post and the posts at SBCToday. Good grief. The SBC has just taken two steps forward and twenty steps back. I hope this is all ignored for the most part. I hope most realize a trap when they see it.

Les Puryear said...

Darryl,

Thanks for your comment.

You assign motive to my post which is an inconsiderate thing to do. I have never said that SBC Calvinists should leave the SBC. I only posed a question about why wouldn't the PCA be a better fit. I have a hard time understanding why Calvinists want to be in a overwhelmingly traditional denomination.

No, I am not looking for a fight. I am looking for intelligent discussion in an irenic fashion, however, when commenters attack me personally instead of addressing the topic, I will respond. :)

I don't see my post as argumentative from the get-go. Just trying to understand current Calvinist thinking. if you see that as argumentative, then so be it.

If you want to see examples of vitriolic argumentation, just check out the Calvinist responses on the SBC Today comment streams.

In regards to the required apology, I don't recall ever saying that Calvinists don't spend time trying to reach people for Christ. I post maybe once a week as opposed to others who post much more frequently than me. That does not constitute anything near what Jared said to me.

Perhaps I am wrong but it appears to me and to many others that Calvinists get really upset when someone doesn't agree with them. I have no problem with disagreement but I have a big problem with personal attacks.

If you wish to continue to comment on the topic at hand, please do. But personal attacks on me do not advance your position.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Debbie,

And how does your comment address the topic of the post?

Les

William Carpenter said...

No they should not join the PCA because they are Baptist not Presbyterian, believing in believer's baptism by immersion, automonmy of the local church, and the other Baptist distinctives.
The argument could be made of would they feel more at home in a more Reformed Baptist denomination? If that be the case then they would be free to leave and join it (or form it). However, since they affirm the BF&M, believe in cooperative missions, and in the work of the SBC, they are welcome to be a part of the SBC.
Likewise, if Traditionalist would feel more at home with a Free-will Baptist denomination or other non-Calvinist Baptist denomination (as opposed to Methodist, which is similar to comparing SBC Calvinists to Presbyterians) they are free to join it. However, since they affirm the BF&M, believe in cooperative missions, and in the work of the SBC, they are welcome to be a part of the SBC.

Les Puryear said...

William,

Thanks for your comment.

I have a question. Having documented the difficulties a Calvinist may have with two articles of BFM2K, can a Calvinist honestly affirm it? If so, how?

Thanks.

Les

William Carpenter said...

Les,

Quite simply because there is nothing in either article that a Calvinist would have qualms with. Certainly a Calvinist would go further in his understanding of original sin, but for the purpose of cooperation we have said that what is defined in the BF&M is sufficient (as Mohler said, "The BF&M does not state doctrines comprehensively, but it defines our necessary consensus. Every Southern Baptist is free to believe more than the confession affirms, but never less.” [“Southern Baptists and Salvation: It’s Time to Talk”). Traditionalists do the same. While affirming what is in the BF&M, Traditionalists go on to say more in Article 2. It is this more that a Calvinist cannot affirm, but also which was left out of the BF&M (although I do not spend great time reading blogs, but as of yet I have not found anyone who has objected to the wording that is similar to the BF&M only to what was added in the Traditional Statement). The same is true concerning election. Calvinists would certainly go further in describing election, but there is nothing in it that a Calvinist would object to. Again for the purpose of cooperation we have said this is sufficient. If someone is of the opinion that it not sufficient, then there would be a reasonable question of whether this is a denomination to which they should be a part.

If I can ask a question of you now. Obviously Al Mohler ascribes to the Calvinist doctrines. He also served on the committee that put forth the BF&M2000. Are we to believe that he allowed a confession to be put forth and accepted which he cannot affirm, or are we to believe that he looked at from his perspective and said, “while I believe more, I am willing to work with anyone who at least believes this?”

Don Arndt said...

I will remain in the SBC because I believe that the SBC and the Cooperative Program are the best idea so far in history to do missions.

I will remain in the SBC because I was saved and Baptized in a SBC church at the age of 9, 30 years ago and have been a member of a SBC church for that entire time.

I will remain in the SBC because I fully affirm the BF&M 2000 and your attempt to impose reservations on me is hollow and without merit.

I will remain in the SBC because just because there is a Neo-Traditionalist movement afoot, does not mean that they in fact speak for a majority of the SBC.

I will remain in the SBC because I am planting a church in a region where the only SBC church is liberal leaning and uninterested in reaching people for the Gospel.

I will remain in the SBC because I am a Baptist, I believe in congregationalism(granted, I would probably differ with you on definition)

I will remain in the SBC because I believe in "Believer's Baptism" and not paedo-Baptism.

I will remain in the SBC because I am not going to be intimidated by anyome who foments division and strife.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Les Puryear said...

Don,

That's the kind of comment I was looking for.

I would love to hear your definition of congreational polity.

Blessings on your new church plant.

Les

Don Arndt said...

Les,

I have been a member of several churches over the last thirty years. Been in too many business meetings that were not glorifying to God.

Congregationalism does not equal democracy. Everyone does not need a voice when it comes to carpet color, programming, how every penny should be spent, etc.

We are setting up our church plant as "pastor-led" and "congregationally ruled." We have a team of four pastors, one who is the main teaching pastor, but each pastor is equal, there is no senior pastor, we hold each other accountable and make decisions by consensus. We will look to the congregation to affirm pastor/elders and deacons and other major decisions.

We have systems in place so that money is accounted for and spent appropriately and is fully disclosed, but the congregation does not approve the spending as of this point. At some point, we may/probably will have the congregation approve the budget.

Probably one or two members meetings a year, etc.

We are not presbyterian, elder-ruled, etc. etc. etc.

Maybe we are not far apart on definition, but I see this "elder-rule" thing thrown about and it does not describe our polity. From what I have read, there are many "traditionalist's" who would not approve of this polity.

Les Puryear said...

Don,

Interesting polity. It does seem to be a hybrid of some sort. I think you're correct in saying that many traditionalists would not agree with your polity.

It's interesting that you say that congregationalism does not equal democracy and Article VI of BFM2K says "Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes."

In addition to the two articles I have referenced, this is probably a third article that many Calvinists may find a problem with affirming, however, there may be some differences in defining "democratic processes."

Having recently planted a church myself, I understand that new church plant leaders may need to take a more encpmpassing decision-making role due to the immaturity of many new church plant members. It seems to me that you are addressing that issue with your polity design.

Good comment.

Les

Anonymous said...

Actually, the OPC is a better fit for them. And I think they are leaning toward Presbyterian polity anyway. Many are into membership covenants that give elders great power over people. They are big into church discipline (and even use it for those who dare to disagree with the leadership). The NC wing of the SBC is big into hierarchy and top down polity. The OPC is a much better fit.

Lydia

Don Arndt said...

Again, I don't have a problem with the way the BF&M states this.

You may employ democratic processes without being a full democracy.

The congregation will be the final voice in matters of membership, appointment of pastors and deacons, church discipline, etc. but that does not mean that every member needs to have input on decisions of lesser importance.

Membership matters to us. The goal is to always have more people attending than we have members.
We are convinced that church membership is meaningful and it is shameful that, in general, most SBC churches have a membership that is virtually meaningless. 16 million members, less than half attending.

That doesn't mean we are interested in controlling our members behavior, but accountability is a biblical concept and hardly deserves the scorn that is thrown its way.

Chris Roberts said...

Les,

I remain in the SBC for a number of reasons, some of which were stated by Don. As for the BF&M, I can affirm it because of what it does and does not say. I wish article iii had not been weakened since 1925, I think the 1963 and onward version leave too much room for error, nonetheless article iii remains general and I can affirm what it says so long as I can say more than it says. This is exactly how the BF&M should function - as a minimum standard. My overall belief about the nature of man is much more specific than just what is contained in article iii, but it does not contradict article iii. The same is the case for the article on electon. These articles do not oppose Calvinism. They are broad enough to encompass various sorts of both Calvinists and non-Calvinists. Thus I remain quite content to be in the SBC.

Aaron said...

I'm not sure I see the issues that Calvinists would have with Article III and V of the BFM2k.

Tom said it pretty well earlier.

There are probably some things Calvinists believe in addition to those statements, but agreement on those articles isn't too difficult. After all, the BFM2k committee was made up of Calvinists and Non-calvinists and they all seemed pretty comfortable with the wideness of the language to allow both camps to be included in good conscience.

But to say that Calvinistic Baptists have more in common that Presbyterians than Baptists is pretty silly.

Baptism, polity, cooperation, missions, etc. Those are pretty significant issues.

Plural-elder churches can have congregational polity just as easily as single-elder churches can. The pastor(s) lead, the congregation votes. The issues on which the congregation votes and the issues which the congregation delegates to others (committee, deacons, elder(s)) can also vary in plural-elder or single-elder churches. Not every single-elder church votes on exactly the same issues, and not every plural-elder church votes on exactly the same issues. But fundamentally, both can be congregational.

Church discipline isn't just a presbyterian thing. I mean, rightly understood, church discipline is best exercised in a congregational polity, because it involves telling the issue it "to the church" with the church (ie, the majority) making the final decision. So, the only way a pastor or pastors could actually discipline someone for not agreeing with the leadership is if the majority of the church was convinced that the person was truely in sin and truely unrepentant. And at that point, the fault rests on the congregation (ie, the final human authority in the local church)and not the pastor(s).

Historically, membership covenants played a significant role in Baptist life as well. And again, membership covenants are done best in congregational churches because they function as a pledge of promises and responsibilities between the church members! If someone joins a church and agrees to an overbearing membership covenant that gives the elders too much power, thats their own fault. They shouldn't have agreed to the covenant.

Certainly there are pastors who over-exert their authority over the congregationin Calvinists churches. But, lets be fair, there are church members in non-calvinist churches who abuse their authority and mistreat their pastors, too. And there are pastors who overexert their authority in single-elder churches. All are perversions of biblical polity.

Les (the other one) said...

Hey Les. I

Would PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) be a better fit For SBC Calvinists ?

Interesting question. As one Southern Baptist who has been in both the SBC and the PCA, my answer is no.

As you have already noted, baptism is a "bridge too far" for the vast majority (if not all) SBC Calvinists. But in addition, the federal polity as expressed in the PCA church courts is wholly incompatible with SB. There is the connectionism of the PCA vs. the local church autonomy of SB. Some have mentioned covenant theology. Yes. And I'm sure there are more differences as well.

That said, there are a good number of SB pastors who have migrated over to the PCA over the years, In practice, there are many PCA congregations that look and function not too much differently than SB churches.

Maybe a better option is the Reformed Baptists for some Calvinists SB who are looking for a better fit for them. But I suspect most SB Calvinists are just fine to remain SB and continue working with non-Calvinists in the SBC to further the gospel.

Les

CountryBoy said...

Les,

I don't see an issue with the BF&M2K and Calvinism. It's not explicitly Calvinistic or Wesleyan or Traditionalist or Arminian. This I think was by design since the document is designed for the consensus of the whole of us inside of orthodox Christianity, from the baptist perspective.

I should think a Baptist wouldn't join the PCA because, well, they're a Baptist.

Les, why can't Calvinists and Traditionalists and Arminians who are baptists, and agree on the essentials of the faith, cooperate together for the glory of God? We all agree that there is no name under heaven by which men must be saved except Jesus Christ. We all believe in His life, death, and resurrection. We all believe the Great Commission. Shouldn't this be enough, given our common baptistic understanding of church life?

Nick

Les Puryear said...

Don,

I agree that membership matters. My church's approach is to baptize all who will come to Christ but baptism does not make them a member of the church.

In order to become a member of the church, they must complete 13 weeks of training in what is a church and then they sign a membership covenant.

This membership process has worked very well for our church.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Chris,

Thanks for your comment. This helps me understand better.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Aaron,

Agreed. I think membership covenants is a great way to see who is truly committed and who os not.

Of course, any church polity can be abused on both sides (laity and pastor, elder, etc.)

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Les,

Thanks for your comment.

One of the main reasons I have asked this question is that I personally know several SBC Calvinists who have taken pastor positions at PCA churches. They have tried to defend their position is two ways: 1) they can't get a church in the SBC and 2) the only difference they see is paedobaptism. They say when paedobaptism is "rightly" understood as similar to our baby dedications, they have no problem with pastoring PCA churches.

Regards,

Les

Chris Roberts said...

One additional comment, and this points to why I initially left the PCA (I was raised PCA) and joined the SBC.

Even if I agree with Presbyterians in many areas while having one substantial area of disagreement, it is a disagreement that absolutely bars my participation with them. In the SBC, we can disagree about the theology of salvation without it affecting our work together. What you believe about Calvinism doesn't change what you believe about Christ's commands to feed the sheep, make disciples, or win the lost. We can cooperate because our disagreements are not about action. I cannot be part of the SBC because they want me to do something that the Bible does not teach, whereas I agree with the SBC's teachings on the Bible's commands for what people should do.

Les Puryear said...

Country Boy,

I agree with all of your statement and I wish we could have more cooperation.

But when Tom Ascol and his folks are actively trying to convert (they call it "reform) traditional churches to Calvinistic churches, then I and many other pastors have a major problem.

What we don't see is Trad pastors trying to convert Calvinistic churches.

When the intentional plan to convert Trad churches to Calvinistic churches stops, then I believe that cooperation is more than possible. When this stops, I believe we will be able to work together to reach people for Christ.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Chris,

You said, "I cannot be part of the SBC because they want me to do something that the Bible does not teach, whereas I agree with the SBC's teachings on the Bible's commands for what people should do."

Understood. But as I said to Cowboy, don't come into non-Calvinist churches and try to change them to Calvinism.

One may say, "Well, I can't find a place in non-Calvinist churches." My reply is, "Seek out existing Calvinistic churches or plant your own."

I planted our church without any funding from NAMB or anyone else. If God wants you to plant such a church, He will provide the way.

Regards,

Les

Nick Horton said...

Les,

What is the specific issue with Ascol/Founder's seeking to "reform" or "convert" traditional churches to reformed baptist? I don't want to presuppose anything.

Nick

PS I changed my display name so it might not show countryboy.

Darryl Hill said...

I think the thing that frustrates me about the current traditional approach to this thing is the adversarial nature of it. The question, "Wouldn't the PCA be a better fit for SBC Calvinists?" implies that one can't be a Baptist and also believe in sovereign grace. That is a false dichotomy. The history of Baptists should make it very clear just how false a dichotomy this truly is.

I can't imagine going to a Baptist friend who believes in free will and saying, "Wouldn't you be more comfortable as a Methodist?" I would never do such a thing.

I will remain a Southern Baptist until I get kicked out by someone who forces me to sign something or agree to something that goes against what I believe Scripture teaches. Thus far, that has not happened. I pray it never will.

I agree with everything Southern Baptists have always believed. I may believe more than the BF&M lays out, but I do not believe less. I also do not have trouble working with an embracing brothers and sisters who want to emphasize free will. From what I can tell, they preach the Gospel the same as I do.

I do agree with Presbyterians on some theological and soteriological matters, but I have significant disagreement with them on paedobaptism, which is a matter of breaking fellowship for me.

Here's a question for whoever: does anyone here think it would be right for the SBC to alter the BF&M to reflect a Calvinist or Traditionalist view, which would by definition alienate one group or the other?

Les Puryear said...

Nick,

Rather than rehashing everything here, I'll refer to my previous post entitled, Is There a Calvinist Agenda To Reform SBC Churches?.

Regards,

Les

Les Puryear said...

Darryl,

You said, "I think the thing that frustrates me about the current traditional approach to this thing is the adversarial nature of it."

That frustrates me as well.

Calvinists have a theological statement of sorts beyond BFM2K to point to and that is TULIP.

Since Traditional Southern Baptists are not Calvinist or Arminians, we have never had a theological statement beyond BFM2K to point to until Eric Hankins, with the help of seminary professors, wrote the Traditional Statement (TS).

The purpose of this statement was to document what Traditonal Southern Baptists believe and differentiate the beliefs of Traditional Southern Baptists and Calvinist Southern Baptists.

When that statement was released you would have thought it was an all out attack on Calvinism. It is not. The TS is a statement of our beliefs and how they are different from yours. It is educational, not adversarial.

Calvinists have descended on the TS like a pack of wolves trying to tear its prey apart. Anytime a blog has anything to say that might be construed as negative to a Calvinist, you guys swarm all over the blog like a plague of locusts. That is adversarial.

To me, it is somewhat hypocritical of you (not you personally) to accuse Traditional Southern Baptists as being adversarial when we release a statement of our beliefs for clarification and you guys vehemently attack that statement.

I have no intent of being adversarial. However, I will do everything within my power to educate the local churches on the theological differences between us. There are distinct theological differences between us and the churches need to understand what they are.

What do you have against educating the churches?

Regards,

Les