Friday, June 16, 2006

What in the World is Going on in the SBC?

Friends, I wanted to post an email I got from a friend of mine today. It proves a great point of concern for those of us in the SBC! Know that God can and will bring the SBC back to where it needs to be for His glory in the near future!

Before I get to the letter that was sent, I was thinking earlier today how a non-calvinist and non-armenian like Dr. Page Patterson and the many others in the SBC can preach/teach faithfully the doctrines of grace? Remember when he said it is not just calvinists that preach and believe in the doctrines of grace. He said that even he and others of his like preach all of the doctrines in the Bible. I got a question, what is that supposed to mean? This concerned me, does it concern anybody else? I wonder if this was a one way to bad-mouth calvinism? Maybe or maybe not. I am concerned with so-called people say that they are neither calvinists or armenians in the SBC. How can men of this type be true expositors of the Word. Can they really be? I admire so much Al Mohler standing up front and stating that he was a 5 point calvinist. At least he had the guts to say what he was. I want to address this issue one last time and than move on to bigger and better things.

Now, here is the article sent to me from a friend outside the SBC. (Hint, others are noticing what is going on in the SBC what does that tell you?) It should tell us alot, namely that the SBC is not what it could be entirely. Be sure to check out Spurgeon's sermon at the end of this article. I appoligize in advance for this being such a long post. I just felt all of it needed shared.

Here is the statement from a friend; it displays the lack of biblical concern and passion for truth that is all to common today, and let me say that this is present in many SBC churches across America.

"While there are Southern Baptists who believe in the doctrine of election, most Southern Baptists are not strident Calvinists or ardent Armenians. They are biblical and they are Baptists. They believe Jesus shed his precious blood for the sins of all mankind and that the Bible teaches “Whosoever will, may come.”...
If you wish, debate Calvinism. We should not fear theological debate as long as the participants understand they are brothers debating one another in a friendly environment. While Calvinism is a fair debate in the halls of academia, we do not need to bring the debate into our churches at the cost of dividing our congregations.
In actuality, the Bible contains a healthy and dynamic tension between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Let’s leave it where God left it in His Holy Word."
I would like to respond to this comment and many others I have heard before.

O' dear brothers, what a dreadful condition the church has fallen into today. The news and attitudes that say we must maintain the status quo and never rock the denominational boat is a plague on the denomination itself. A cancer is eating away the heart of truth and they cannot even see the effects. The majority of Baptist churches today maintain high numbers of attendees but little or no understanding of biblical truth. Most churches serve as spiritual daycare centers where pacifiers are placed on the every pew and lullabies are sang from every pulpit and the denomination is being rocked to sleep. When will good men stand up and lead the church, when will good men say it is time to see a sleeping church rise up and become a mature man? This will never happen however until good men are willing to stand for those doctrines that are the very pillar and support of our salvation.

Calvinism it seems is the catch word that is so often hated and despised by many today, but the heart of the matter is most do not even understand the term. This in itself is a sad commentary on Baptists in general since Calvinism is the very foundation of the denomination (look it up if you disagree). The true anger we see seems to be focused on the misunderstanding of what Calvinism is and is not. But what truly frightens me is that the anger we see may be at the implications of what Calvinism says about many professing Christians. Much of the anger focused on Calvinism may be attributed to the fact that it declares we serve a Sovereign God who calls all the shots. Generally this sends a chilling hatred in unbelievers who believe they call all the shots in their lives but I see the same effect in many so-called evangelicals when this issue is in focus. Many despise a God who has the audacity to say He alone is the author of our Salvation but the same people who despise that statement love to say that once you are saved you are always saved! Well you can't have the last statement without the first! Pride keeps man from submitting to such doctrines, and pride in the heart of those who profess Christ and understand and yet hate these essential doctrines is SIN!

The fear I have is that many who profess Christ as Savior despise a God who commands that you profess Christ as LORD! The doctrines that are espoused by biblical Calvinists is the doctrines that are established on the Word of God alone. These doctrines can be hard to profess, and teach but that is why Christ gave the church pastor-teachers. If you find that you cannot or will not teach these truths then you find conversely that you are not called to be a pastor-teacher to be quite blunt. It doesn't take high intellect or education to profess and teach such truths or accept them. I know of 10-12 men in a state prison that have little or no education who can profess and explain each point of Calvinism and passionately evangelize at the same time! Yes, Calvinism and evangelism go hand in hand you cannot have one with out the other. We must proclaim what scripture proclaims no less no more.

A biblical view is to preach the Word and let the secret things belong to the Lord, but we must preach the Word whether we like it or not. We must confront the issues not skirt them, you have no right if you make a claim to be a "Man of God"and do no less than preach the Word of God. You must preach all of it don't skip difficult issues because of your puny human opinion or minuscule intellect. If you don't understand it get on your face before God and pray that your selfish pride would be crushed and only God's truth would flow from your mouth. Lock yourself up with the godly men of our past, read until your eyes hurt, read Spurgeon, Calvin, Whitefield, Pink, Gill, Bunyan, and a host of other faithful men of God. Surround yourself with humility in your study not pomp and style, look for truth not a catch phrase you can not seek "a purpose driven life" until you have died to self!

Search the Scriptures it is here that we find our sermons not the Internet or on popular opinion polls. O' my dear Baptist brothers how far we have fallen from the call to shepherd, train and equip Christ's flock. We dare to say stay away from controversial doctrines, you have no such right, Christ commanded us to "go make disciples" and the Word of God declares we are to preach it "in season and out of season" when it's popular and when it is not. The sad commentary is that a season of perpetual winter has fallen upon the church when it comes to preaching doctrine. Let me be quite honest the number in the pew dictates the message from the pulpit in all to many churches today and that quite simply lies at the feet of ungodly men who desire a pay check rather than a crown! O' may God bring a revival of truth at all costs, it may rip a denomination apart, so be it if that denomination can not even define the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The following is excerpts from Spurgeon's sermon on "The Defense of Calvinism" in it he ardently defends preaching the whole counsel of God and not running from controversy as all to many do today. Here Spurgeon lays out the correct and balanced view of biblical doctrines (Calvinism) that seem so out of place today in our times.

"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again."

"I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor."

"The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring."

C. H. Spurgeon


Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, so that your Eastern European readers are not confused...

Armenian - a resident or native of Armenia
Arminian - a follower of the theological convictions of Jacob Arminius

I think you meant to write "Arminian."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post... apt thoughts. Can you tell us this quote comes from in Spurgeon's writings? (book, pages, etc.)

Anonymous said...

You are right "Arminian" is the word, my error.

Also, as far as the Spurgeon writing it is being posted.

Justice said...

That quote is from A Defense of Calvinism by C.H. Spurgeon. You can read it in it's entirety here.

Anonymous said...

As far as a page number, I can't tell you exactly since I didn't write the article.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at the webpage listed above and it appears the writer is quoting from the website. It says, "The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again." —C. H. Spurgeon

Anonymous said...

I don't think SBC will ever be in favor of total Calvinism because John Calvin followers persecuted Baptists.