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Baptist newspaper editor: 'The Calvinists are here'


Erin Roach, The Baptist Press:

"In a column titled 'The Calvinists are here,' Harris, editor of The Christian Index, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention, set forth statements about Calvinism and quoted Southern Baptists on both sides of the issue.

"'. . . It appears that some of our institutions and agencies are giving, at the least, tacit approval to Reformed theology or are, at the most, actively on a path to honor, if not implement Reformed theology and methodology in their institutions,' Harris wrote at ChristianIndex.org.

"Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., was cited in the column as 'a particular source' of recent graduates espousing Reformed doctrines.

"'There is a growing perception that Southern Seminary has become a seedbed for a brand of Calvinism that is quite different from the Reformed theology of its founder, James Petigru Boyce, and also a training ground for Reformed church planters," Harris wrote.'"

Mike Ebert, vice president of communications at the North American Mission Board, responds: "If someone wants to express concern that the SBC is moving toward Calvinism, he should state those concerns honestly and explain why he sees it as a problem. But to weave together a series of unrelated examples and imply that SBC entities are being infiltrated by Calvinists whose goal is the 'encroachment of Calvinism in SBC life' evokes the McCarthyism of the 1950's."

Comments:

The concern is not whether it is an insult to me but whether it is an insult to God.
Good Point
Well stated, Lee; you hit the nail squarely upon the head.
Come back tomorrow, Lee, and I'll make sure you get your laugh (courtesy of a video that Shane sent me today). We aim to please! :-)
My deepest apologies, Gina. I really, REALLY needed a laugh today, but I shouldn't have had one at Shane's (or anyone else's) expense. May God help me to never do anything again that makes you even think about the YOD.

Philip, having been a Southern Baptist myself thirty years ago, when liberals and conservatives were duking it out for control of the denomination, I'd much rather every member of the SBC become a convicted 5-Pointer than go the way of most Episcopal churches.

As I recall, SBCers and most other Baptists (including my wife's relations, who are from far more conservative groups) have always been Reformed. However, they've never been any more than 3.5-Point Calvinists. (I'm speaking very broadly; it's possible to find "Baptists" who believe almost anything.) So I could see two ways to think about this brouhaha: one, this may be about a 1.5-Point shift, and concerns it may have for changing member attitudes about evangelism. Two, it could be a continuation of the old liberal/conservative spat, with liberals upset that they may be losing their stranglehold on SBC universities and seminaries, and possibly using "Calvinism" as a codeword/smokescreen for "conservative".

Irrespective of what happens, I agree with Shane that increasing everyone's interest in theology - even if it results in some "moments of intense fellowship" ;-) - can only be a good thing.
Curious irony
It's quite strange that some Baptists are up in arms about Calvinism when, long years ago, not only Roger Williams, George Whitfield and Charles Spurgeon were of that persuasion, but the whole Baptist denomination (before the SBC) were decidedly Reformed.
Hehe.

OUCH!
Behave yourselves, gentlemen. I have a YOD and I know how to use it!
Hehe.
(CAN'T... RESIST...!!)
Kevin, Calvinists don't join clubs - they wield them.

:-)
In my fuzzy thinking...
I was conflating the two current blog topics, into one:
"The Calvinists are here: the brutal side of joining clubs." ;-)
Actually...
I think that about sums it up, Jason. ;)

But I'm not aware of any serious "New Calvinist" who thinks there's anything particularly unique about the movement. It's "new" because Calvinism (traditionally the dominant theology in Protestantism) was in decline for at least a century. Now it (and the earnest study of theology as a whole) are regaining ground.
Hehe.
The difference is that New England Calvinism commands that The Elect should wear blue and Southern Baptist Calvinism commands that The Elect should wear grey when they can get it and butternut when they can't.
Apology accepted, Shane. ;-)

But you inadvertently raise an interesting point: articles I've seen that were written by critics indicate this is a "new Calvinism", not like that of Calvin's day. (That makes some sense in that society has changed, even if the theology is identical.) So is it fair to equate Epscopalian Calvinism of 230+ years ago with the movement taking place today? Why or why not?

(For extra credit: how different would *New England* Calvinism be from that of *Southern* Baptists?)

And please note that I am seriously interested, in spite of my amusement that your headline reminds me of Paul Revere.

Jason, that's a whole different discussion which will need to wait for a posting on gay activism or something similar.
Is masculinity predestined Lee? Or maybe maleness is predestined and masculinity is free will?
Jocular technicalities
Old North Church was Episcopal, which in 1775 America (Boston, no less) was almost synonymous with Calvinistic. Sorry... ;)
"One if by land, two if by sea; look to the steeple of the Old North Church"?

An interesting article on Mark Driscoll of Seattle indicated that this Calvinism and the masculinity expressed by Dr. Piper's speech are closely associated. (I would provide the link, but the article has blunt talk about sex - which ties to the Ed Young posting here, I suppose.)