Thursday, February 23, 2006

James White and Ergun Caner Square Off
Calvinism vs. Arminianism - guess who wins?

This past last week I was part of the comment thread on the Founder's blog hosted by my dear friend, Dr. Tom Ascol, where Mr. Caner was once again venting his abrasive juvenile thoughts against Calvinism and the doctrines of grace. What made his tirade a bit shocking to everyone, is that Mr. Caner holds a position of authority as the Dean of Students at Liberty Seminary. This was completely out of character for anyone in that kind of position. But his rants not only were cantankerous (and I'm being kind here) but surprisingly sophomorically inaccurate. For example: it should be noted that he thought John Gill was a Presbyterian and supported Paedo-baptism; made the outlandish charge that Calvinism is a virus; didn't know how to spell Arminian (he kept spelling it Armenian); said that John Calvin didn't believe in particular redemption; accused John Piper of being a hyper-calvinist; said he [Caner] was Amyraldian, but then denied the historic meaning of Amyraldian when "it flirted" with Calvinism; and personally his attitude was one not marked by humility and strong debate, but rancor and venom.

I have ministered with Dr. Falwell at Thomas Road Baptist and Liberty University in Word and song. I appreciate Dr. Falwell's ministry and his love for God's Word--I have a great deal of respect for him. But, I can't believe that he would approve of the Dean of Students at his Seminary posting on another's blog with the cheap-shottish, careless attitudes that Mr. Caner expressed. You can read the email exchange from the last few days that, as a result, has now ensued between Dr. White and Mr. Caner. It is well worth the investment of your time to wade your way through this important discussion. All in all, it comes down to the fundamental issue of Arminianism vs. Calvinism - an anthropocentric gospel vs. a Christocentric gospel; free will vs. election; cowardice and rancor vs. strength and honor. This is a must read.

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

63 comments:

Nathan said...

Of course the crucial importance of a theocentric gospel is first priority. But I think, as you noted, Steve, the real shock of this whole debacle is Mr. Caner's below-the-belt rhetoric. I mean, c'mon...Calvinism is a virus? Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, the Reformers themselves, were nothing but carriers of a doctrinal plague?

What stuns me is this: I'd be rightly disciplined by my superiors if, while representing John MacArthur as an employee of Grace to You, I traversed the message boards spreading childish vitriol with every tap of the keyboard. For a man in Mr. Caner's position, his ranting is completely out of line. He simply doesn't have the freedom in his office to act like this.

I'm not wishing discipline on Mr. Caner, or even a harsh word. But I think Dr. Falwell needs to step in privately if not publicly, and exert some influence. After all, the reputation of Falwell and Liberty Seminary itself is on the line.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I too was shocked at Dr. Caner's apparent ignorance of the issues involved in the Calvinisism/Arminianism debate in general.
At first I thought it was someone playing a prank on Tom Ascol or trying to get a rise out of the commentors on his blog. I was surprised to find that it was really him.
Despite what anyone says, Ergun Caner is out-classed by James White.
I don't think Ergun could even hold his own in a debate with me, an uneducated laypreacher from Tennessee!
I'm not trying to boast, I'm just noting that I am an idiot and yet I think I could take him in a debate on Calvinism IF he truly believes what he was saying over at the Founders blog.

Puritan Belief said...

James White hits the nail on the head every time.

One thing I noticed while reading The surprising works of God by Jonathan Edwards is guess what the youth were talking about before the revival of the great awakening?

Answer: Arminianism vs Calvinism - The Youth of the area were debating it openly.

"but it seemed, contrary to their fear, that Arminianism was strongly overruled ... Many who considered themselves to be in a Christless condition seemed to be awakened by the controversy"

A little while after this came the revival.

General Statement:
Why are the youth of today not concerned with making their calling and election sure?

Whatever happened to the question in pilgrims progress asked by HOPEFUL

Has Christ been revealed to you from heaven?

donsands said...

Dr. White is a Scripture quoting "machine"!
I love how he is so full of the Word, with the love of Christ, and the boldness to speak the Holy Writ with humility.
I wish Mr. Caner would see the benefit for the Church as a whole of such a debate. I would love to see more and more debates.
It's a wonderful way to hear the Word, and grow in our faith.
God Bless James White.

I hope he wouldn't debate Caner in those kilts ...or maybe that would be kinda cool.

Calvinist Gadfly said...

Steve,

With those historic blunders, I feel sorry for those Liberty seminary students in their church history courses --->

http://www.liberty.edu/academics/religion/seminary/index.cfm?PID=9434

D.R. said...

One of the biggest problems with Dr. Caner's rhetoric is that he blasts Calvinism while underestimating its influence in the SBC both historically and today. He makes these ridiculous charges:

"The evangelical world as a whole rejects fatalistic predeterminism. Geisler. Hunt. Patterson. LaHaye. Virtually every seminary among the Baptists. Goodness, even men such as Drs. Mohler and Akin are distancing themselves from the Founder's Movement. Ask them if they want to be identified as the "reformed" schools of the SBC."
-and-
"On the other side, Drs. Patterson, Kelley, and Roberts are leading the rest of us in purging our schools of such teachings as the deletion of invitations, the Baptist use of elders as an oligarchy, and in some cases, the advocation of pedobaptism (Piper's attempt in 2005)."

This shows he knows little about what is going on in SBC seminaries, much less what is happening with the Founders movement. If nothing else, seminary presidents are lining up to hire calvinists who excell in theology and philosophy, Biblical languages and yes, even evangelism. As a graduate of NOBTS, I can assure you that Dr. Kelley, while he has had some harsh things to say about Calvinism, has not tried to "purge" NOBTS of it. Three very influential calvinists were hired while I was a student, and almost the entire Ph.D. student body were calvinists. And while Dr. Mohler might keep his distance from the Founder's movement itself, he sure doesn't distance himself from 5-point calvinists, seeing as none of the principle speakers (and organizers) of the Together For The Gospel Conference are less than 5-pointers, highlighted by the Lesser Caner proclaimed hyper-calvinist, John Piper. In fact, Mohler is the only 4-pointer in the group!

Caner has really hurt his image among the younger calvinists in the SBC, who, unfortunately for him, will one day be the leaders of the SBC.

candleman said...

Interesting ... how you characterize this debate. I guess it comes down to what side you favor, but I don’t know how you can read this and make the statements you make. It seems to me Dr. White comes across as do most Calvinists on the web, as in your face, arrogant, condescending, know-it-alls. I guess the only thing that is missing is the burning at the stake Calvin gave Servetus..... How Christ like.

{{{Candleman}}}

Breuss Wane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Breuss Wane said...

d.r. wrote:
"Dr. Mohler might keep his distance from the Founder's movement itself"

Why would he do that?

Breuss Wane said...

First of all, discipline against Caner isn't going to happen. He is THE rising star of the SBC. "Dean" is merely a stop on the way up. He is probably the most visible of the youth movement in the SBC, replacing the Vines, Falwells, Stanleys, and Rogers.

Second, his hyperbolic rancor is well known in the SBC and to anyone who has seen him on FOX News and MSNBC. Calvinists are now just noticing because his cannon barrel is pointed their direction.

Third, while his Reformed Baptist history is obviously lacking, even that has an academic explanation. He has been professor of theology and church history at both Liberty and Criswell College in Texas. His brother, who is now dean at The College at Southwestern, used to be professor of ANABAPTIST studies at Southeastern. Both Caners have been steeped in the Dave Hunt & Tim LaHaye school of Anabaptist revisionist nonsense. I suppose we can chafe at the ill-informed rhetoric. But the misinformation shouldn't be surprising. Caner is merely the most vocal of those in the SBC who not only don't understand the Reformed apologetic, don't *care* to understand the Reformed apologetic. Their mantra: Beware of the bogeyman lurking as John Bunyan.

IMHO. :-)

irRational said...

Interesting how if you believe you are right and are willing to discuss it in an open debate you are arrogant, condescending, and a know-it-all. I suppose the "Christian" attitude is to state all kinds of outrageous things and then refuse to discuss them openly? *rolls her eyes*

Carla said...

candleman, you stated:

"It seems to me Dr. White comes across as do most Calvinists on the web, as in your face, arrogant, condescending, know-it-alls."

You know, I sure get tired of hearing that from folks. Especially folks who haven't bothered to take the time to make any effort to understand why why those who hold to the sovereignty of God, are so certain of it in the first place. It's not arrogance, it's conviction! It's not condescencion, it's TRUTH. It's not "in your face" it's a passion for proclaiming the doctrines according to the Scriptures as opposed to the fluffy-happy-purpose-pomo-driven "spirituality" so many confuse with Biblical Christianity.

If this also makes me "arrogant" in your eyes, then so be it I guess.

SOLI DEO GLORIA...
Carla

SJ Camp said...

Candleman Deflection is the oldest trick in the book. If you can't make an argument according to biblical truth, then divert to finding fault with tone--it's all you can do. If you invest in some serious study time in the Word of God to biblically qualify this discussion two things will happen: 1.) You'll see the obvious error of Mr. Caner; and 2.) what you now say is arrogance, you will change to say is boldness.

The Calvin - Servetus claim sounds like Caner over the top revisionist history. I don't mind grandiose from time to time, but please...

Here is an excellent place on where to begin your research; read the book of Romans (especially chapters 1-16).

Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

This is classic: Caner is not willing to engage on the issues, not biblically, nor prove his views by theological construct. Here is how foolish his responses to Dr. White have been:


CANER: Others shall remain Armenian. (he misspells again; it is obvious, he really doesn't know)

WHITE: Sir, Armenians are so by birth. Armenian is a nationality, an ethnic group. The term is Arminian, after Jacob Arminius. Yes, many shall remain Arminian, but they do so out of devotion to philosophical tradition or blindness to biblical teaching only. And only one side is seemingly willing and able to defend that kind of statement in the presence of the other. We seek dialogue and debate before the people of God based upon the Word of God. You seek monologue and diatribe. Let God judge.


CANER: I shall choose neither- I am a Baptist.

WHITE: This is, of course, a category error. It is not a logical or rational statement. History proves there have been divisions amongst Baptists on this issue from the beginning. Baptist is not a category that determines one's viewpoint in the preceding two. It is about as logical as saying, "I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I'm blue." And it is this very kind of muddled thinking that gets cleared up very, very quickly during the cross-examination period of a scholarly debate.


CANER: I assume I am predestined to do so.

WHITE: No sir, you are not given access to God's eternal will. Christ was predestined to die at the hands of Pontius Pilate, Herod, the Jews and the Romans (Acts 4:27-28), but each and every one involved were likewise held accountable for their actions. The same is true regarding Joseph's brothers in Genesis 50:20. Once again, passages that I know if I were in your position I would not want to have to deal with before your students. But always remember, sir, I am willing to appear before those students to proclaim the sovereign perfection of the work of Christ in defense of your insertion of human autonomy of will. You are unwilling to defend your comments.

This is brilliant on White's part and unfortunate for Caner that he refuses to engage--or as he has demonstrated, is unable to do so.

D.R. said...

bruess,

Mohler has distanced himself due to political reasons (at least that is what I have heard from Founder's sources). He believes that currently it is such a hot button issue that just the mention of the Founder's group to some individuals causes division. But behind the scenes he is supportive of his faculty being involved. BTW, you said, "He is THE rising star of the SBC." Maybe you should have said, "He WAS THE rising star of the SBC." His actions will haunt him. As I said, the new SBC is thoroughly Calvinistic, and will not tolerate such ridiculousness. And I would beg to differ about THE star anyway. I believe it to be Voddie Bachaum, a man with both the education and charisma to one day be President of the SBC and possibly a seminary president.

As for candleman, your retort about Calvin is very ignorant of the facts. Here is a good source for you to go read if you really care to be educated:

http://www.challies.com/archives/001318.php

g_man said...

Passion for the precious truth of God's word, a zeal for others to join in loving God for His abounding grace, and a desire to see others led to that refreshing fountain and not away from it by an influential leader in the SBC should not be confused with "in your face" arrogance, condescension, or "know-it-all"ism.

Charles said...

Hello Steve!

James White is not yet ready to debate Caner. James still has a severe case of Rossphobia, or fear of Bob Ross, the owner of Pilgrim Publications and the publisher of C. H. Spurgeon's sermons.

Steve, you remember Bob Ross called James White out on defending John MacArthur when John was deep in the heresy of denying the eternal son doctrine. Then Bob called James out again after James stubbornly held to prefaith regeneration after Bob pointed out to James that this was in denial of historic Calvinist confessions.

Bob is an accomplished debater and was debating before James was a gleam in his daddy's eye. No wonder James ran like a scalded dog when Bob called him out!

Steve, I noticed you posted over at the Founder's blog. Are you Southern Baptist?

donsands said...

charles,
I don't know about Bob Ross, and where he's coming from, but I do know Dr. White is surely ready to debate Mr. Caner.
I'll have to read up on this Bob Ross accusation.
I really appreciate James White very much. His gift of teaching to the Church is one that encourages, convicts, and edifies.
I thank the Lord for James, a good brother in Christ.

SJ Camp said...

Charles:

A few quick thoughts and I appreciate your comment:

1. I am Reformed Baptist by biblical/theological conviction.

2. As you know, the issue surrounding the doctrine of The Eternal Sonship of Christ went to essence not title (Greek pros ton theon - John 1:1). It was to combat the Arian heresy. As the Nicene Creed (325 ad) says, "We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotton, not made, of one Being with the Father."

MacArthur has never denied Christ's eternal sonship--meaning Deity; and that Christ is eternally God the Son. He was wrestling with the title of "Son" and the meaning of "begotten" in incarnation (Heb. 1:5-6; John 1:14-18). We are all thankful that John officially now has adopted the orthodox/historical view and even written a paper as to that change.

3. As to Bob Ross, I don't know all that transpired between James and Bob. Apparently there is still some unpacked baggage there; but my commenting on it would be uninformed so it is better to remain silent.

4. Regeneration does precede faith--if that is what Bob is referring to by calling it "prefaith regeneration." That is the orthodox view. It is the belief in most if not all Arminian circles that regeneration follows faith. That stems from a diminished view of God in salvation and flows from a more anthropocentric view.

I have written on this issue before (1 Cor. 12:3; Titus 3:4-7; etc.). John Hendryx has a wonderful article on this at monergism.com.

5. What I think is shocking about Caner here, is his inability to point to Scriptural texts and theological orthodoxy in his views. He seems to emote ad nauseam (reacts rather than acts) to what anyone says, rather than logically pointing others to God's Word in "building his case." The Founder's thread was very shocking to many of us; in fact, several of the men who had been blessed by Caner's ministry were even questioning whether or not it was Caner who was posting. When they verified that it was, they were surprised and dismayed.

A man in Caner's position should show some restraint; be well informed; patient; humble; biblical; and circumspect (cp, 2 Tim. 2:24-26). I too was very surprised by Caner's demeanor and lack of knowledge on the most simple and obvious of issues (i.e., calling Gill a Presbyterian and claiming that he supports Paedo-baptism). Now you have to admit, it is hard to take seriously a "Dean of Students" at any seminary who can't get the basics correct (he still hasn't learned to spell Arminianism correctly either).

I can't speak for James, but isn't this precisely what James is responding to in his emails to Caner? And quite frankly, James has shown a Christlike attitude in how he has approached Caner. He has not sunk down to name calling as Caner has, and has made his case from the application of Scripture; theological truth and is willing to quote "other side" accurately and deal calmly, but passionately, with the issues at hand. In all that Caner has posted, he has not once "made the case." Instead, he has "made the rant." That is disappointing to many of us and I am sure it is to you as well.

Question: Can you shed some light on this for us here at COT... why won't Caner simply answer the questions posited to him biblically, historically and theologically? I for one would like to hear his views; not just his adolescent tirades.

Thank you again Charles for your comment.
Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

Charles... are you Bob Ross?
Steve

Breuss Wane said...

D.R.,

I'm afraid I don't share your calvinistic optimism about the future of the SBC. Mohler is a minority in the SBC and will always be so, IMHO... which makes the Founders even more so.

Which is why I believe Mohler should ditch the politics and publicly embrace the Founders with a passion. His political end will be disappointment otherwise.

Breuss Wane said...

Only an Anabaptist (i.e. Arminian) would claim that "prefaith regeneration" is historically confessional. Both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the London Baptist Confession are abundantly clear that regeneration precedes faith (as are the scriptures). In fact, to not affirm regeneration precedes faith is to not be a Calvinist for all 5 points (the caricature propagated by the Remonstrants) hang on regeneration preceding faith.

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

I encourage you guys to take a look at the whole of Theopedia.com. It's come a long way!

Jeff said...

"Carla stated:
candleman, you stated:

"It seems to me Dr. White comes across as do most Calvinists on the web, as in your face, arrogant, condescending, know-it-alls."

You know, I sure get tired of hearing that from folks. Especially folks who haven't bothered to take the time to make any effort to understand why why those who hold to the sovereignty of God, are so certain of it in the first place. It's not arrogance, it's conviction! It's not condescencion, it's TRUTH. It's not "in your face" it's a passion for proclaiming the doctrines according to the Scriptures as opposed to the fluffy-happy-purpose-pomo-driven "spirituality" so many confuse with Biblical Christianity.

If this also makes me "arrogant" in your eyes, then so be it I guess.

SOLI DEO GLORIA...
Carla"

Carla, I don't think candleman was questioning the points Dr. White was making, but rather the tone with which he was making them.

The reason you hear this so frequently is that many Calvinists come across as unloving and ungracious. I'm a full-on 5-pointer, but as Spurgeon once said, Calvanists tend to "pluck those 5 strings" of doctrine to the exclusion of all others. Is there not a doctrine of love? Of compassion towards fellow believers? Or if one feels that those who aren't 5-pointers down the line aren't actually saved, is there no desire to win them to Christ by speaking the truth in love?

Jeff said...

Steve Said: "Candleman Deflection is the oldest trick in the book. If you can't make an argument according to biblical truth, then divert to finding fault with tone--it's all you can do. If you invest in some serious study time in the Word of God ...
Here is an excellent place on where to begin your research; read the book of Romans (especially chapters 1-16)."

Steve, come on man. Is this the way we win our brothers? Through condescension? As I mentioned to Carla above, I think candleman was commenting on the tone, not the substance, of Dr. White's email debate with Dr. Caner. (Whether message/medium can be separated is a different discussion). And despite the tone of candleman's post, I think he has a point. So responding by recommending he read Romans 1-16 (a cheeky way of saying read the whole book!) does nothing to elevate the discussion beyond the casting of aspersion. What is the witness we provide when we speak to eachother in such shrill tones? Please, understand, I know your passion and heart for the Lord and am in agreement with you on the doctrines of grace. I'm just pleading for uss all to be demonstrators of grace.

Charles said...

Hello Steve and everyone!

To Steve: No, I'm not Bob. I just find it very funny that James is so fond of implying that anyone who doesn't want to debate him is a coward. Then when a man of God confronts James he tucks his tail between his legs (or the Scottish skirt he now wears).

Steve you wrote, "A man in Caner's position should show some restraint; be well informed; patient; humble; biblical; and circumspect."

And you think James displays those qualities? Come on, Steve, just look at his website! Humble? A guy who wants to be a "Dr." so bad that he gets an unaccredited correspondence degree?

To Bruess, my brother, I suggest you read Bob's articles, JAMES WHITE REVISITED . . . DEBATE WITH WILKIN EVIDENTLY
HAS WHITE DEFENDING THE "HARDSHELL" VIEW
, ABRAHAM BOOTH VS. "PRE-FAITH REGENERATION", "DEBATE JAMES WHITE?", and "GETTING THRU TO BROTHER WHITE?". Historic Baptists did not believe in any bogus prefaith regeneration theory.

Grace to both of you! Of course, I'm not sure if God want to bestow grace to you. After all, isn't that the essence of Calvinism, "Grace enough for me but I'm not sure about you." Well, anyway, I HOPE God has grace for all of us!

Charles

4given said...

Calvinism... a virus?
No. SIN is a virus... a soul sickness of which man makes merry with this disease.
nwc said: "the reputation of Falwell and Liberty Seminary itself is on the line."
Reputation? Okay, I will refrain from saying anything... I encourage you to do your own research on Falwell and see what he has done with his own reputation.
Charles you wrote: "isn't that the essence of Calvinism, "Grace enough for me but I'm not sure about you."...
Truly said in pure ignorance (and I say that out of a heart of love)

Apparently whenever anyone speaks real truth, you may have to write after every other line of it... all said in love. I tend to be jestfully sarcastic... something actually hard to communicate in writing because one cannot see the true ache of my heart when faced with the reality of the prevelance of the mockery and plague of sin in this world.
If anything, Arminianism is a doctrinal plague... ARMINIANISM,
Pink says, is "a religion of conditions, contingencies and uncertainties" and "is not Christianity" but "the daughter of Rome. It is that God-dishonouring, Scripture-repudiating, soul-destroying system of Popery whose father is the devil which prates about human merit, creature ability, works of supererogation and a lot more blasphemous rubbish, and leaves its blinded dupes in the fogs and bogs of uncertainty."
What I picture is Pink writing this statement, NOT to be an "arrogant, condescending, know-it-all"... but out of a heart earnestly weeping at this heretical reality.
Carla...Amen.

SJ Camp said...

Jeff:

I appreciate your words.

I wasn't questioning Candleman's tone to me; just reducing James's responses to tone rather than content. I actually didn't find anything objectionable in James's tone on this issue. In fact, I thought he was being very gracious compared to the acerbic and unintelligent quality of Caner's comments. That's all.

I always try to interject a little humor as well in many of these potential heated debates. I thought the reference to reading especially chapters 1-16 was an enjoyable way to relieve some possible tension. It was what i call, grace-filled humor :-).

Let's not reduce though this discussion to the Rodney King School of Theology - "can't we all just get along?" I find this common on Christian blogs. Nice is considered more important than truth (which I am not suggesting that you or candleman affirm). There is nothing wrong with fiery debate over key issues facing us. Where are the Christian Limbaugh's and Hannity's? That in part is what the vision for this blog is--a place where vigorous debate can occur without the touchy feely sentimentality associated with many Christian blogs.

We need to speak the truth in love; seasoned with grace; and not be reduced to cheap shotishness as Dr. Caner has been accustomed to in his posting. James is exhibiting a vast amount of grace, IMHO in all of this.

Candleman... please forgive me if my words were offensive to you--it surely was not the intention or motive here. But let's state this once for all: we are brothers in the Lord; I must love and like you; I am for the unity of the church on sound doctrine and by fellowship that we have in the Holy Spirit.

No one has to affirm that I am your brother and you love me as brother in the Lord to engage me on this blog. I know that already.

Now, let's get on and have at it - let's get to the issues at hand.

Thanks,
Campi

SJ Camp said...

4given

Thank you!!! I appreciate you. Good thoughts here.
Steve

donsands said...

Jeff,

I'm a 5-pointer. I can be arrogant for sure, and by God's grace, and the fellowship I have with the family of God, I can ask for forgiveness, and repent, but it's not a trait of Reformed Christians alone, but of Non-reformed as well. I know this to be true. We are all seceptible to this sin, I would think, and we all need to repent.
But I like what Carla said, and I agree with her. The Calvinist are tagged with being unkind and stubborn, more so than the Non- Reformed, and that's simply not true.
There's much more I could say, but I won't.
God grant us humble boldness. Amen.

Jeff said...

Steve: thanks for your thoughtful reply. Open, honest debate AND a genuine concern for the Word and the brethren? Very refreshing. Thanks again.

Terry Rayburn said...

This is only personal experience, not a worldwide Gallup Poll, but I have met hundreds of avowed Arminians over many years.

I have met only one, about 20 years ago, who would actually stick to the scriptures, seek to answer arguments by the scriptures, seek to make his points by the scriptures, and avoid closed-minded emotional tight-lipped anger and personal innuendo.

I'm sure there are more like that, but all the rest I've discussed the Doctrines of Grace with have figuratively held up a crucifix and a wooden stake to keep me and my 5-point arguments at bay.

Some Reformed folks are as quick to react from the gut, even with a bad attitude, at Arminianism, but I don't remember one who would not discuss the 5 points of Arminianism from the scriptures with anyone who would go a few rounds.

Non-monergistic salvation theories generate closed minds, de facto.

Terry

Terry Rayburn said...

By the way, I didn't address "why" avowed Arminians tend to be close-minded.

I believe it's the tendency of the flesh toward self-righteousness, and therefore the desire to at least hold on to some sliver of "I'm better than that schmuck that DIDN'T receive Christ."

Try to wrest that sliver from their hands and...well, if looks could kill.

Finally, I purposely said "avowed" Arminians, because many who tend that way are just following their every-week teachers, and by God's grace are quite open to the Doctrines of Grace when they hear them.

Carla said...

Jeff,

you said "Carla, I don't think candleman was questioning the points Dr. White was making, but rather the tone with which he was making them. The reason you hear this so frequently is that many Calvinists come across as unloving and ungracious."

I listen to James White twice a week on his radio program, and chat with him from time to time in is channel in irc. The tone referred to here is (in my opinion) non-existant. In fact, the "tone" (read: you horrible, mean Calvinist!) is quite often a red herring, period. Anyone that has ever spent any amount of time listening to James knows his passion for sound doctrine. Can he be sarcastic and flippant at times? Of course he can, but to equate that with being ungracious and unloving is simply ridiculous.

Listen, Calvinists do not corner the market on arrogance, rudeness, flippancy, or any other accusation that is tossed our way all the time. In fact, these things are a sin issue, a pride issue actually, and they have very little to do with anyone's theology. If a man (or woman) is rude & arrogant, it's going to come across no matter what side of the theological fence he's on. Reformed, Free Willer, Atheist, etc.

The accusation over and over again that "Calvinists are mean" is really quite old. Are some Calvinists less than gracious and at times flat out rude? Of course some of them certainly are. Are some Arminians the exact same way? Absolutely they are. During my years in the free will/charismatic/pentecostal church I witnessed first hand some pretty arrogant, ungracious & unloving attitudes & statements towards anyone that didn't agree with the whole "revival" business that was going on. Does that mean ALL charismatics/pentecostals are that way? Certainly not - but it does mean this unChristian attitude is not limited to one's theology. It's rooted in one's heart.

I really wish we could get past all that "oh you mean Calvinist!" junk and just address the issues raised. This is why I say it's a red herring, because it happens all the time.

SDG...

donsands said...

"... bogus prefaith regeneration theory."

Charles,
I would think James White would agree that believeing th gospel before one is born again is not reformed. Is this what you are saying I'm confused.

Here's a small portion of Scripture that to me is very clear that the human heart needs to be regenerated, born again, before one crys out in saving faith for mercy. DO you agree? Let me know.

"And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all lived in times past in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
BUT God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ, by whose grace you are saved". Eph. 2:1-5

"But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them". 1 Cor. 2:14
Powerful and clear to me. God makes us alive. Amen.

SJ Camp said...

Can anyone provide a reasonable defense for Caner's positions? I have looked, even at his blog, and haven't found any. What is driving his hatred of Calvinism and the doctrines of grace?

I am a Reformed Baptist by divine appointment, :-), but am dedicated to evangelism and very vocal about the gospel. I have had the opportunity by God's grace, to proclaim the gospel in many secular venues some which provided me the opportunity to being beat up afterwards by those attending.

Calvinism to me should be equated with strong vibrant evangelism. Giving a weak gospel, giving alter calls by raising a hand, signing a card, or telling people to come forward and "let Jesus love on you" for salvation is not evangelism--it is manipulation. I heard those words first hand at First Baptist Church in Houston presented by their new young pastor.

I was shocked that this was considered to be a genuine gospel call to repentance to follow Christ!

I think what Dr. Caner is referring to in evangelism is nothing more than a contemporary application of Finneyism.

You add severe doctrinal insult to injury by baptizing those who then make a confession of faith based upon a faulty gospel presentation and an incomplete gospel being presented.

Most SBC invitations are doing nothing more than treating Jesus as the latest self-help improvement Guru for our life (come to Jesus and have a better job, a better marriage, a better world, etc.); not the call to surrender in obedience to the gospel and repent from their sin; to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.

This is one of the greatest impairments to true biblical evangelism today. A weak gospel produces temporary converts and promises false hope to the listener. You might be able to fill the member rolls (and then lose them just as quickly) by an SBC Hunt, Patterson, Graham, Stanley, Warren kind of invitation (say this prayer and you're in), but it produces little in terms of real spiritual fruit.

Thank you, but I'll stay with the genuine gospel of Christ and let "the Caner kids" to play in the sandbox of their man-made, self-willed, human initiated Arminian theology.

(see, Eph 2:1-3, 8-9; Rom. 3:10-18; Titus 3:1-8; 2 Cor. 4:1-7; Matt. 16:24-26, etc.)

El Campi.

donsands said...

charles,
I'm not confused anymore. No need to reply. I visited James White's site.
All for the Cross of our Savior.

Breuss Wane said...

I've learned something new. Having been encouraged to "read up" on Abraham Booth, I'm now convinced that Booth firmly places himself *outside* of historic Calvinism in rejecting "regeneration" precedes faith. Esp. since the Westminster Confession of Faith and the London Baptist Confession so clearly state "regeneration-precedes-faith's" biblicity.

SJ Camp said...

The regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit is a divine work of God on the creature and precedes faith. Here are two quotes on this issue:

1689 London
This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
( 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25; Ephesians 1:19, 20 )

The Westminister Confession
This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.

Canada Family said...

As a member of an SBC church, though not raised in the SBC, I have long been troubled by the invitation to Christ that is given in today's churches. I suppose the only "invitation" we should give is the one Jesus gave to His own disciples - "come and die."

donsands said...

canada fam.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer would agree with you as I do.
-"When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die."

Of course we would need to expound upon this.

Canada Family said...

While I don't feel at all qualified as some are to expound in a very eloquent way, I simply read the gospel according to Jesus (that would make a good song title, wouldn't it?) as one that does not promise us an easy earthly life - John 16:33 - but life eternal in heaven and abundant in spiritual blessings on earth - Eph. 1:3.

In my own life, my husband and I have watched a child die with a heart defect. If the promise of only good things all the time, etc. was all there was to the gospel, we would have never made it through that excruciating experience. But as I read 1 Peter 1:3-9 I am reminded that though I suffer in this life, it coming through sovereign hands of love and will result in "praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

That is the truth I would love to see more of in the way many churches operate in the "invitation." It isn't a popular one, though.

SJ Camp said...

To readdress the initial point of this post: Dr. Caner's demeanor obstructing whatever his beliefs maybe in regards to Calvinism.

Anyone know of what Caner actually asserts biblically aside from his rants about the doctrines of grace? He feels that Calvinism is a virus; but that doesn't answer anything.

Dr. White on the other hand has been very candid, biblical and forthright about his concerns with Dr. Caner. Any audio as well would be helpful.

And here is the key issue: how are we to engage others within the church who make these kinds of wild theological claims but yet provide absolutely no documentation to prove their concerns?

It's a bit rhetorical, but necessary to ask.
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Gordan said...

For anyone interested, I just checked Dr. White's site and he's got a post up that mentions the allegations made here (and apparently other place) by Charles concerning Bob Ross.

Jeff said...

Carla said...
"Jeff,
you said "Carla, I don't think candleman was questioning the points Dr. White was making, but rather the tone with which he was making them. The reason you hear this so frequently is that many Calvinists come across as unloving and ungracious."

I listen to James White twice a week on his radio program,"

Carla, I was talking specifically about the tone of the exchange between Dr. Caner and Dr. White, and I do think the tone of the conversation - from both men - was less than gracious. I can't comment on Dr. White's character in general.

Carla said...
"Listen, Calvinists do not corner the market on arrogance, rudeness, flippancy, or any other accusation that is tossed our way all the time. In fact, these things are a sin issue, a pride issue actually, and they have very little to do with anyone's theology."

Carla, I'm not making that claim. I'm just saying that in our zeal to defend the truth, brotherly love can be lost. And I'm pointing the finger at myself as well. But the correctness of my doctrinal position doesn't give me license to be glib, sarcastic, or indifferent towards the feelings of others. Compromise the truth to protect someone's feelings? Never! Speak the truth in love? Always!

I would add that our theology *should* have VERY much to do with issues of sin. Can we divorce our theology from our sanctification or our ecclesiology? If our understanding of God, the Doctrines of Grace, and the other myriad truths in God's word don't have an impact the way we live, and how we treat eachother as believers, we are missing the point.

Gordan said...

Jeff,

Do you have a biblical model in mind for what you're talking about?

I mean, can you point to someone who, when confronting error with truth, was never "glib, sarcastic," or insensitive to someone's feelings?

Do you get the feeling in Matthew 23, for instance, that Jesus cared a lot about the feelings of the Pharisees? In fact, I would submit to you that our Lord, His apostles, and most of the prophets before them used sarcasm as a very effective means of communicating truth.

I think you want Calvinists to be nicer than Jesus while seeking to rescue truth from the mouths of wolves.

donsands said...

How are we to engage others?
Good question Steve.

I would say if they simply go on and on, and have no documentation, and are argumentative, then it may be best to "shake the dust from our cloaks" so to speak. Not in any self-righteous way of course, but simply call it quits.

If someone wants to debate, and we meet on the solid common ground of Scripture, then we need to be ever courteous, and kind, and we need to know the Bible and it's teachings. And perhaps have a few "rabbis" or commentators to rely on, without doin' any "rabbi" stacking as they say.

I have debated election with Arminians who love the Lord, and they have been very kind. Though the discussing did sometimes become very heated, especially when we discuss limited atonement. The "L" in the tulip has gotten a bad rap, while the other letters, who are just as guilty, seem to not offend as much.
Sorry I went on too long.
I love to come to this blog. I feel the Lord is helping me become bolder in the faith, and also growing in His grace and knowledge. Thanks.

Jeff said...

Gordan said...
"...I mean, can you point to someone who, when confronting error with truth, was never "glib, sarcastic," or insensitive to someone's feelings?"

Gordan, I'm not saying being glib or sarcastic doesn't or can't serve a purpose. For example, Paul used sarcastic languague in warning the Galatians against the Judaisers. What I *am* saying is that it can be overdone, and many of us are guilty of this.

Gordan said:

"Do you get the feeling in Matthew 23, for instance, that Jesus cared a lot about the feelings of the Pharisees?"

Gordan, are you comparing our Arminian brothers to the Christ-denying Pharisees? Please clarify this. Do you really see a parallel between the Pharisees in Matt 23 and the average Arminian?

(Apologies to all for taking this thread in another direction, just wanted to stand by my original point that how we speak the truth (i.e. the means/motives/methods) is very important. Honestly folks, if I'm wrong to think we need to apply 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 to our internet and other debates, please let me know. I say that with genuine humility - I'm not wanting to gloss over gross sin and heresy with a veneer of phony love).

SJ Camp said...

Dr. Caner said that "Calvinism is a virus." Strong words meant to only hurt, intimidate, offend, stir up anger, cause division, wound another Christian and discourage.

But take heart dear friends... El Campo thinks that this is a positive. Could Dr. Caner somehow be correct in what he is saying? Could Calvinism really be a virus?

Let's see:

V. - Vitium totalis*

I. - Irresistible Grace

R. - Restricted redemption

U. - Unconditional election

S. - Saints perseverance

*(vitium latin - fault, moral depravity, corruption, wickedness) and (totalis for complete, total, absolute) = total depravity.

YES! There you have it beloved--the definition of an infectious, contagious faith that no earthly antibiotic of sinful men or hellish devil can thwart once it is given to you by God's sovereign predestined plan for our salvation!!! The elect of God; the chosen by Him in Christ before the foundations of the world, sealed with the Holy Spirit unto our day of redemption.

Thank you Dr. Caner. Once again the darts that you meant to hurt and wound can be turned into a cause for rejoicing. We are indebted to you sir for helping make our faith stronger in the great doctrines of grace and to learn how to speak the truth with love in the midst of your tirades. You have blessed us in our sanctification this day and we are grateful.

May all men everywhere repent and be infected with this contagious grace that can arrest men's souls for eternity and transform every part of their lives! This reformed biblical soteriology is the our great hope...amen?

Thank you for the challenge and privilege of taking your cantankerous rant and seeing it used for all our good. We are indebted to you sir.

May all Christians lives be infectious with the gospel as salt and light to a lost sinfully healthy world! They need the virus of the doctrines of grace to make them new creatures.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Rom. 3:21-16

Breuss Wane said...

Steve wrote:
>Could Calvinism really be a virus?

Someone, please infect me!! Tulipus Syndromus, baby.

candleman said...

Carla - you said - “Especially folks who haven't bothered to take the time to make any effort to understand why those who hold to the sovereignty of God, are so certain of it in the first place.”

I have (still am) taking the time to ”truly understand the five points of Calvinism”. I have been blogging for about a year, and about 6 months into it for the first time I ran across people who really challenged my salvation experience. In my background a Pastor preaches the Word, and through the conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit, a sinner responds to the Gospel message. Yes, the sinner makes a choice, to repent of sin,
and pray/ask ,”Jesus into their life as their personal Lord and Savior” … a starting point, a conversion point of which should be a long and wonderful walk with their new found faith. This was my salvation experience and that of my close personal friends. I can’t quite grasp how the reformed world (at least my understanding of it) says that you have absolutely nothing to do with your salvation, and to think you do is heresy. I heard statements like it is impossible for me to choose Christ, because man is “totally depraved” and can’t possible “choose Christ.” For the first time in many decades I questioned my salvation. Which begun a relentless search, that has lead me to many article’s on Phil’s site here and here and very good message by Phil here here. I am currently reading Dr. White/Dave Hunt’s – “Debating Calvinism" ... So I am engaged and attempting to understand. Phil himself states he wrestled with Calvinism for as long as ten years before he came to the conclusions he has. So my comment was not made without much research, and if you read other posts here made by fellow Calvinist, they agree that the tone in many Calvinistic circles is one of superiority which some people not in their circle and searching the issue
can rightly or wrongly view as arrogance.

--------------------------------------



dr - I am not quite sure what your referral to Tim’s site changes. The fact of the matter is John Calvin had a large part in bringing about the execution of Servetus, because Servetus had belief’s that did not align with Calvin’s. I don’t quite get what is so noteworthy about, “It should be noted that Calvin was the only person who suggested a lighter sentence, asking the court to allow Servetus to die painlessly by beheading.” All I can say is I thank God we have progressed over the past few hundred years and we can discuss these issues without the fear of a death penalty.

Steve – I do accept your apology, I found the comment about “go read the whole book of Romans” as slightly flippant and dismissive, but not offensive, I did look past it and saw a glimmer of humor in it. However I will take you up on your challange, and I will re-read the book of Romans;) and continue reading the book I have previously mentioned. Of the 5 points of Calvinisim I am half way there…I agree with about 2.5 of them, so we will see where my search will bring me.

I also appreciate your point – “But let's state this once for all: we are brothers in the Lord; I must love and like you; I am for the unity of the church on sound doctrine and by fellowship that we have in the Holy Spirit.” However in many Calvinistic blogs I have visited that is not the starting point. The starting point is accept all 5 points, so we can look at you as one of us, one of the elect, and until then you are a heretic. Yes, I know that is my subjective impression, but mine nonetheless.

As I re-read Dr. Whites exchange I am still left with the same impression as my initial post, I am not sure why no one with the exception of myself and perhaps Jeff can see the pride, condescension and arrogance in these responses. They lack the love of someone who should be striving to be more Christ like, and sound like one big clanging symbol to me. It hard to really get to the “content” when you need to wade through the tone of the statements Dr. White uses.

In my view some of these include:

I doubt highly, sir, that you have been challenged to debate by anyone with more documented debate experience; I likewise doubt you have been challenged by someone who has taught at a Southern Baptist Seminary since 1995, either. I doubt you have been challenged by someone who has written as many books on the subject, and defended the topic in debate, as often as I have….

The commentary on Hunt is likewise almost humorous….

I am quite certain you have no idea what I'm talking about, since you have not taken the time to even be aware of the issues you are so confident in addressing. I truly, truly hope you do not engage in apologetics against Islam with the same cavalier attitude, sir. I truly do…..

One is again left airing one's tonsils at such writing……

There surely is no reason to drag this particularly painful experience out much farther. All who have benefited from the work of Norman Geisler in the past cannot help but feel a true sense of embarrassment at the publication of this response….

Sir, your emotionally-based response only shows your incapacity to engage the subject on any other level. I am accustomed to this from laypeople, but it is simply beyond the level of amazement that one who claims a standing as a Baptist scholar would behave as you are behaving. Once again, please, please, do not engage in apologetic encounters if you carry this kind of disrespectful attitude into your work in other areas. Those of us who labor diligently to honor He who is the truth would very much appreciate it….

Please, sir, you truly need to back up, take a deep breath, and realize what an utter melt-down on the level of simple scholarly behavior you are presenting here. It is egregious, is it not, to treat someone the way you are,……

Neither Geisler nor Hunt touched it. They could not do so (Hunt is not a scholar nor can he read Greek, and Geisler ignored it in his response). Can you refute my "laughable" exegesis? Can you deal with the meaning of tetagmenoi?

Anyone who would read this exchange could see that one of us offers facts, one unfounded, second-hand opinions…..

Nadir Ahmed could not stay on a single topic if is life depended on it, Ergun, nor could he engage any meaningful topic without generous uses of ad hominem and irrational argumentation…

Sir, since you have yet to read my response, yes, you are ignorant…..


--------------------------------------------

I guess we are just coming from two different perspectives, Steve, I guess I am just a little to “touchy feely” for your blog. To me the whole email exchange did not represent “speaking the truth in love; seasoned with grace”.


PS You keep mentioning (as does Dr. White) the Founders blog where this all started, but I have yet to see a link to …can you provide please?

Grace and Peace

{{{Candleman}}}

SJ Camp said...

You are not too touchy feely for this blog. We all in progress here brother... no one has arrived here and you are a welcome friend here.

Here is the link you requested Scroll down to the article "Johnny Hunt to be nominated for President of the SBC." You will see about 300 comments posted there.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

GeneMBridges said...

Candleman,

The link is www.founder.org/blog

Look for the thread with about 230 responses or more. It's the one on Johnny Hunt for president.

Regarding Bob Ross: Ross seems to be assuming that Dr. White is teaching "hardshellism" a type of hyper-Calvinism that asserts that a person could be regenerate for some time before believing. Dr. White in no wise affirms this.


I am not quite sure what your referral to Tim’s site changes. The fact of the matter is John Calvin had a large part in bringing about the execution of Servetus, because Servetus had belief’s that did not align with Calvin’s. I don’t quite get what is so noteworthy about, “It should be noted that Calvin was the only person who suggested a lighter sentence, asking the court to allow Servetus to die painlessly by beheading.” All I can say is I thank God we have progressed over the past few hundred years and we can discuss these issues without the fear of a death penalty.

True, Candleman, but Calvin was *not* in such a position. He lived in a different day. To us death for heresy isn't a crime v. the state. For them it was.

Here's the deal on Servetus.

Servetus was an anti-Trinitarian. Next to being a Protestant, this was the worst possible heresy to commit in that century.

Servetus came to Geneva to make trouble. He had already been condemned to die by Romanists. Calvin was out of favor at the time. He was not a highly influential person in Geneva. However, he was able to ask for a more merciful death.

The civil authorities condemned Servetus. This, under the civil law, was a just death. As an apostate, under the prescription of Scripture, he would have been stoned in OT times. It's not as if his death was unjust under the law.

If Calvin had objected and gotten Servetus set free, then the result would have been the invasion of Geneva. This was the age of the Wars of Religion. The Peace of Westphalia would not come until 1648. European states would excuse their internal wars with religion on an ongoing basis.

Note again, to be an anti-Trinitarian was a worse heresy than to be a Protestant. Remember, Geneva lies between France and Italy (at the time the Italian states). If Geneva had not executed Servetus, Rome would have thought nothing of inciting either France or the Italians to invade Switzerland. It may well have provoked the Lutherans as well. There was, at that time, antagonism between all three groups.

So, what would YOU have done as the most prominent theologian in Geneva, the one that Rome understood to be a major Reformer? Would you comply with Romans 13 and the law of the day? Would you be soft on Servetus and risk the end of the Reformation?

~Mark said...

"Calvinism to me should be equated with strong vibrant evangelism. Giving a weak gospel, giving alter calls by raising a hand, signing a card, or telling people to come forward and "let Jesus love on you" for salvation is not evangelism--it is manipulation."

~As far as "raising a hand", I must disagree. What's wrong with doing that to show that, after being taught the truth about Christ, you have submitted to Him? I don't understand the current wave of dislike for what is known as "altar calls". Is it because of a specific way they are done? Is such a thing considered unbiblical? What I have always thought was meant by altar call was when, after the teaching, the pastor gives everyone the chance to admit their salvation if they had just become believers. Am I thinking of the wrong thing?



"This is one of the greatest impairments to true biblical evangelism today. A weak gospel produces temporary converts and promises false hope to the listener. You might be able to fill the member rolls (and then lose them just as quickly) by an SBC Hunt, Patterson, Graham, Stanley, Warren kind of invitation (say this prayer and you're in), but it produces little in terms of real spiritual fruit."

~Speakign only for one, if this Stanley is Charles Stanley then I have to disagree that he offers a watered-down Gospel. In fact, his are some of the most challenging and informative sermons on the air. I find myself continualy challenged to lay myself before Christ after listening.

I definitely don't want to come across as holding him up higher than a man should be, I just don't understand his inclusion here, if he is the Stanley you mean.

GeneMBridges said...

First of all. Invitations. The Calvinists in the SBC are not opposed to the use of invitations. They are opposed to the invitation system itself. There is a time for an invitation, but not every sermon is designed for one. In smaller churches in particular, the invitation time could well be replaced with a Question and Answer time about the sermon from the congregation. This is what many of the churches are doing to replace the constant use of invitations. The result is that pastors are growing more accountable to their congregants and there is more interaction and thinking about the material as it is being presented. This seems much closer to the biblical model; we know there was discussion of the presentation of the Word of God in the early churches. This, IMO, is much more effective than a "raise you hand."

I would suggest you read about Asahel Netteton. This is the kind of evangelistic technique that is being advocated.

http://www.founders.org/FJ33/article1_fr.html

Dr. Caner would have you believe that we oppose the use of invitations. No! We oppose the invitation system and its abuses. We advocate the constructive use of them. We use them when the sermon lends itself to one. For example, imagine a church looking for a new pastor. They have just formed their committee. If I was invited to preach there in supply, The invitation was quite simple. After preaching out of 1 Thess. 1 on the characteristics of a "model" church; I might have the committee members come to the front to present them to the church, and I would call for a deacon or Sunday School teacher to come forward and publicly covenant with the church and with the committee member to pray for them and set up an accountability relationship with them until their duties had been discharged with the calling of a new pastor.

As to the inclusion of Dr. Stanley. Nobody denies he is a good teacher, but when it comes to his soteriology, he affirms a Dave Hunt/Norm Geisler/Zane Hodges presentation of the gospel. It puts election and regeneration outside a chain of grace. It has only the work of Christ in view. This is functionally Unitarian. Also, read his book on eternal security. It appears he doesn't affirm that all believers will persevere. If believers can apostatize and still be considered Christians, this is a problem.

The criticism of him along with these others goes to this aspect of his teaching. It also goes to the statistics for FBC Atlanta. Like most SBC churches that preach this kind of soteriology (like Johnny Hunt's church) you find that while the membership roll is quite large, only 30 to 40 percent show up to church on Sunday morning. It takes large numbers of members to baptize just one person, and of those baptized 1 in 4 usually stays.

I personally can testify to this phenonmenon. My home church is one of these churches, and I interned there while in undergrad and graduate school. I've seen this happen. When confronted they say things like, "We don't take people off the rolls unless they ask." Of course, this presents a whole host of other problems. Take the publications offices. I wonder how many church bulletins and newsletters and offering envelopes are printed and sent to people who are dead, apostatized, or members of other churches? My Mom left that church for her present one a couple of years ago. She is *still* on their roll, even though they transferred her letter. The money being wasted there could be used for missions.

The result is a denomination that claims it is 16. 4 million strong, but only 1/3 show up. This is a violation of the 9th commandment. It is also a belittling of the ordinance of baptism. Now, we have no way of knowing how many of those persons baptized were actually converted. We simply assume they are. However, take a look down below this thread at Jim Eliff's article.

The current president of the SBC touts his church as a model for growth in his quest to get us to "Baptize a Million." Yet, if you look at his numbers, you find that his church attendance has decreased steadily while his baptisms have increased. Why should we listen to him ask us baptize a million when his church stands in a state of attrition while his baptisms increase?

Though the Founders churches are smaller, there are some larger Calvinist churches. There's one in FL, but I can't remember it's name. The point here, however, is that, in these churches it takes fewer to baptize one person, and nearly all of those baptized show up on Sundays. Those that do not show are known quantities. The point here is that the evangelism being espoused does not really build churches at all. It bloats membership rolls, and the "Good Ol' Boys" get together and pat each other on the back year after year at the Pastor's Conferences and hurl anti-Calvinist rants when they do so.

Dr. Stanley, I will admit, is not as egregious offender as Dr. Hunt in the anti-Calvinist rant department. He says what he says, but, from what I gather, is quite happy to work with us. However, Hunt, O'Guinn, Graham, the Caners, and others are not so accomodating.

On the church growth front, however, Dr. Stanley's church's numbers could stand closer scrutiny. That is why he is included in this group.

Breuss Wane said...

Altar calls? There's only 1 Altar of significance and that Altar renders ours a charade of bad theology (it's a recapitulation of the OT shadow, albeit bloodless).

Michael Horton has rightly dubbed the baptist invitation/altar a sacrament:

"While we would never have referred to the place where God speaks and acts in Word and Sacrament as an altar, we had no trouble calling this other place -- the stage around which we gathered as we "came forward" to receive Christ--by that name.

"To this day, I hear Christian brothers and sisters defend this practice by saying, "Surely you wouldn't deny that many people are saved by coming forward!" In other words, the altar call is regarded as a means of grace. In fact, the medieval view of the Sacraments as working ex opere operato (i.e., just by performing the act, one is saved) finds a Protestant parallel in this new Sacrament.

"After all, doesn't the pastor declare, "Now, if you prayed that prayer after me, you are a Christian"? (In fact, if you pray that prayer at the end of some tracts, there is even a place to sign your name and the date of your new birth!) While the ancient church condemned as Pelagian the idea that grace is conferred by saying a prayer (the Council of Orange, 529 a.d.), it is now regarded as a guarantee of saving grace in many circles. Although few evangelicals would be comfortable hearing a Lutheran or Reformed minister announcing God's forgiveness in connection with Baptism or the Lord's Supper, they do not seem to mind when the same grace is linked to "receiving Christ" in an altar call, a Promise Keepers' meeting, a small group, in spiritual disciplines, or at summer camp." -- Michael Horton, Mysteries of God and Means of Grace

SJ Camp said...

Charles:

I received this exact same info in an email earlier today. It is not in keeping with this blogs rules of engagement or Christian charity.

If you have a biblical argument to make--then make it. But the name calling against James, in Caneresque fashion mind you, will not be tolerated at COT.

I am deleting your post. You will only be allowed to repost here if you want to ask questions about what this discussion is about: regeneration, election, or any other Calvinistic teaching and I and others will be happy to address them. If you want to quote James on a doctrinal issue where you think he is skewed, we will be happy also to address that as well. BUT, you must provide accurate documentation from Dr. White's own writings; and then your concern about what he is teaching.

BUT, the tenor and content of your post is not acceptable here. BTW: I don't allow anonymous posting either. Complete the necessary bio info, email address, web info, etc. IOW, I want to know who I am addressing before you will be allowed to post again.

Steve
Col. 1:9-14

~Mark said...

genembridges and breuss wane, thanks so much! I gotta say those were probably the best answers I've ever gotten to a question online! :)

I understand clearly now where y'all are coming from, and while I'm not familiar with some of those other names, I'll check them out. Thanks again both of you, I really appreciate the clarification.

By the way, I totally agree about the situation with careless altar calls. I like the examples you gave!

SJ Camp said...

Mark:

I also appreciate the words of Gene and Chad very much too...

I must apologize. I accidentally posted a response on "alter calls and evangelism" under the above article, "The Contagious Infectious Doctrines of Grace Thank you Dr. Caner for Calvin's Virus" Too many articles sometimes to keep up with...

Please see my response there from yesterday and thank you again for your comments here.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. !:9-14

GR said...

"I appreciate Dr. Falwell's ministry and his love for God's Word--I have a great deal of respect for him. But, I can't believe that he would approve of the Dean of Students at his Seminary posting on another's blog with the cheap-shottish, careless attitudes that Mr. Caner expressed."

He just might. I sat through a convocation at Liberty University several years ago, and during his talk the gracious Dr. Falwell called calvinism a "heresy." Dr. Caner is at least a step up from the last dean of the seminary, Dr. Lovett. If you think Caner expresses careless attitudes...

SJ Camp said...

GR

Is there an online record of that quote that I could access? (either audio or written).

Steve

Everyday Mommy said...

I'm going to be brutally honest with all of you.

Your comments here have only served to confirm my experience with Calvinists. You say you want debate, but you hack and hack and hack at anyone who opposes your position and you don't stop until they surrender. Like the Borg on Star Trek, your motto is "Resistance is futile." You want a white flag and you settle for nothing less. You view your brothers and sisters in Christ as the enemy, to be crushed and conquered.

Strong words? Extremely. But, this is my personal experience with Calvinists during the past year.
One year ago I began a genuinely open-minded examination of the teachings of Calvinism. In twelve months I have yet to meet a Calvinist who didn't forcefully, relentlessly and mercilessly bash me over the head with their interpretation of Scripture. Even more so when I dared to pose an honest question.

To accuse Dr. Caner alone for poor behavior is blatant favoritism. Dr. White is quite adept at ad hominem.

The comments on this post remind me of the people rushing to gather stones for a stoning.

Let all of us who be without sin cast the first stone.

read4316 said...

Ergun Caner is absolutely right. James White and other Calvinist are heretics. The god they preach about is not the God of the Bible. The god they preach about is a god of hate that predetermines people in your family (those that believe in calvanism)to hell without any chance of repentance. How dare they libel God's character. The One and only true God is a God of love, not willing that any should perish but that all come to the knowledge (repentance is the key). Salvation is open to the who so ever will, for God so loved the world, not the arrogant ones that call themselves god's elect. Selah!