When I was growing up, my mother often warned me that I would be judged by the company I keep.  When companies invite speakers to their annual meeting, Wall Street watches very carefully because these speakers can often indicate the direction the company is going to pursue. Rest assured that a company would never feature a speaker with whom they disagreed.

The Southern Baptist Convention has invited an interesting line-up of speakers for its 2010 Pastors’ Conference. There can be no doubt that the “committee” to “pick the guys” (yep, all male – women presumably have nothing to contribute) made darned sure that none of the speakers would detract from the direction of the SBC.

We would like to focus on some of these speakers and tell you what we, at TWW, think the CTPTG (Committee That Picks The Guys) might be telling us. Note the word “might”. We can’t read minds; however, since we have been following trends in the SBC, we believe that our thoughts cannot be dismissed entirely.

But, first, we will provide a bit of SBC history.  Here goes…

Paige Patterson was the author of the far right lurch of the SBC. Please don’t misunderstand us. There was a definite need to tighten up on the doctrinal swing of the SBC, but Patterson used this opportunity to put women in their place.  He has systematically removed women from their posts at seminaries and on SBC committees, and he has recalled missionaries who have made the mistake of admitting to a private prayer language or who, at any point, might have held any position of authority over a man.

Patterson has also demanded that all missionaries who were not baptized within a conservative SBC church be re-baptized, giving new meaning to the New Testament practice of baptism. He also established a B.S. degree in homemaking at SWBTS while ignoring the need for a B.S. degree in how to be a “manly man”.  Just think… SWBTS could offer courses in auto mechanics and how to kill a charging elephant while on safari, which Patterson is qualified to teach…

Patterson also believes that women who are physically abused must return to their abuser. We have written extensively on Patterson and have proof in our archives. He was the de facto leader of the SBC since he met with friends in the 1970s at the Café Du Monde in New Orleans to map out his planned coup d’état.

But times, they are a changing… The reformers are gaining ground in the SBC in case you haven’t noticed. If you think Patterson had serious “issues”, wait til you meet these new boys. Yep, “boys only”, which carries on the Patterson tradition. Allow us to introduce you to the speakers of the 2010 SBC Pastors’ Conference and to rate them as follows:

(+) if they are reformed (a more acceptable term than “Calvinist”) 

(-) if they are not reformed

(?) if they have not declared or appear neutral


Al Mohler (+): The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the rising “definer of the way” in the SBC.

– A rabid reformed Baptist (Calvinista)

– A member of the governing body of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), which his seminary houses 

– Supports the strange doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS – the Son, Jesus Christ, will be subordinate to God the Father for all eternity) which serves the basis for the Eternal Subordination of Women (subordinate to men here on earth and for all of eternity) This is not a joke!

– Formed Together for the Gospel with Ligon Duncan, (PCA), Mark Dever, and C. J. Mahaney.


C.J.Mahaney (+) This self-styled “Head Apostle” is the founder of the “family of churches” called Sovereign Grace Ministries. These ministries have been dogged by accusations of abusive leadership both now and in their former permutation as People of Destiny (PDI), among other names, and even reaching further back into the well known abusive shepherding ministries of the 1970s.

– Reformed charismatic

– Not Southern Baptist

– No education beyond high school

– Founder and head of the secretive Pastors College

– Vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

– Known for accusations of abusive leadership in this “family of churches”  (Refer to and

– Best “homie” of Al Mohler  (Hey Al — friends don’t let friends abuse church members!)

– Lots of churches — well, actually 61 in the United States and 12 abroad.  Interestingly, the first SGM church (Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland) was established in 1977.  Let’s see… that works out to around 2 churches per year that SGM has added to its “family of churches” in the U.S.  WOW!  A real trendsetter!!!


Russell Moore (+) Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration of Southern Seminary and is a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

– Reformed Baptist

– Heavily involved with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) — did we mention that the CBMW is housed at SBTS?

– Proposes that complementarianism between man and woman is too soft a term. Instead prefers the Old Testament term “Patriarch” 


David Platt (+) Platt is a rising star in the Southern Baptist firmament. He is 31 years old and holds an earned Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. He is the lead pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.

– Reformed Baptist

– Will be featured at the 2010 Together for the Gospel (T4G)

– Shows up at all the “´right” conferences with Mahaney, Mohler, etc.

– Plugged by Mahaney

– Big church


Matt Chandler (+) Chandler is lead pastor of the “6,000 member” of the Southern Baptist Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas which is a suburb to the north of Dallas.

– Reformed Baptist

– Big church

He has been critical of some “Calvinists”, yet seems to embrace friendships with Mohler, Mahaney, and others.  (

Sad Update: Chandler was diagnosed with an unencapsulated (meaning it is not contained) malignant brain tumor of the frontal lobe and is presently receiving radiation at Baylor Hospital. We ask that our readers take a moment and pray for Chandler and his family. Although we may disagree with some of his theology, he is our brother in Christ and we pray for peace that passes all understanding. Dee’s daughter had a similar diagnosis at the age of 3 and our hearts understand their pain.


David Uth (?) Uth holds an earned Ph.D. from SWBTS. He is the lead pastor of the “14,000 member” First Baptist Church of Orlando. (Side note: TWW has taken to putting quotes around all figures of membership released by SBC churches since even the SBC has admitted that these membership numbers may be inflated throughout convention affiliated churches.)

– SBC affiliated –  although there are some loose associations with the reformed crowd, there is no firm tie so we would say the jury is out on this

– Since Orlando is hosting the SBC Convention, it’s probable that Uth’s inclusion on the platform is a courteous quid pro quo

– Big church


David Landrith (?) Landrith is the head pastor of the large Long Hollow Baptist Church which is located just north of Nashville, Tennessee and has  three worship centers. He holds a degree from SWBTS .

– Close ties to Al Mohler and Ed Stetzer (Lifeway)

– Big church


Francis Chan (+) Chan is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California and holds a master of Divinity from Masters College which was founded by John MacArthur. The church is not affiliated with any denominations.

– Espouses reformed theology yet shies away from calling himself by the reformed title

– Big church


Ken Whitten (-) Whitten is the Senior Pastor of Idlewood Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. He is also a member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

– Big church

– Friend of Johnny Hunt, SBC President


Steve Gaines (-) Gaines is the lead pastor of the embattled “30,000” (probably closer to 7,000) member  Bellevue Baptist Church located in Memphis, Tennessee. He has an earned degree from SWBTS and is a friend of Paige Patterson.

– Big church, big salary

– Knowingly concealed the history of an incestuous pastor from his congregation for over 6 months


Andy Stanley (-) Stanley is the son of Charles Stanley. He holds an earned Masters degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and is a senior pastor of the ‘”40,000″ attendee North Point Community Church in Atlanta. Although the church and ministry are not formerly affiliated with the SBC, observers say that the church functions as one.  His father was once President of the SBC.

– Big church

– Major author

– National profile

– Close family ties to the Paige Patterson wing of the SBC


Danny Akin (?) Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Masters degree from SWBTS and an earned Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Arlington. While Akin has not made a public profession that  he is reformed, he is very supportive of reformers within the SBC.

– Friends with Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and C.J.Mahaney.  All three have spoken during chapel at SEBTS (Mahaney has spoken on AT LEAST three separate occasions since 2008 — specifically, the 2008 and 2009 20/20 conferences and the 2009 “God Exposed” Conference along with his close buddy Mark Dever of IX Marks)

– Council Member for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

– Developed the “Great Commission Resurgence” plan together with Johnny Hunt 


Tony Evans and Ravi Zacharias (-) For the sake of brevity, both of these men are well-known on an international scale for the ministries and are loved by both those inside and outside of the Calvinist tradition. They are not “political” within the SBC factions.

So, here is our observation. The reformed wing of the SBC is on the rise, and we predict they will dominate during the next decade. We believe that Mahaney is tied into this group because he brings a strict, hyper-authoritarian view to the SBC. Over the last several decades, Mahaney has achieved total control over the SGM “family of churches”.  We believe the SBC is looking to do something very similar.  The reformed leaders in the SBC want to control doctrinal issues that, in the past, would have been considered secondary issues.

What does this mean in practice?

– Pastors will adopt a strict view of “authority” and, as such, will have little, if any, accountability to the congregation.

– Women can expect to see their roles within the church severely limited in the coming years.

– There will be an upsurge in “church discipline” as SBC pastors will seek to control members ala SGM, thanks to Mark Dever and his 9Marks (Mark #7 to be specific).   

– Young earth creationism will become an “enforced” doctrine.

– The priesthood of the believer will be downplayed even more than it is now.  Note:  it is non-existent in Sovereign Grace Ministries.

– Big churches will be equated with God’s favor. Only those who lead mega-churches will have any influence within the SBC.


What will be the results of this? We believe membership in the SBC will continue to decline precipitously, and the SBC will become increasingly irrelevant, losing its previous influence in the general society.

If only the SBC could learn to major on the majors and minor on the minors. Unfortunately, there are far too many egos at stake. The new majors will include large churches, lots of money, and pastoral authority, leaving the SBC looking less and less like the church of Jesus Christ. 

If the leadership of the SBC does not change the current direction of the denomination, we predict the Southern Baptist Convention in decades to come will become a shrunken version of its previous self, incapable of carrying out the “Great Commission Resurgence”.  When that day comes, we believe the SBC leaders who took the denomination in this dangerous direction will  look back and FINALLY realize how terribly wrong they were.  Then it will be too late…



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    Double check your info on Platt. Don’t think he is a Calvinist.

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    If David Platt isn’t a Calvinist, then why was he chosen by the Fab Four to be a breakout speaker at the upcoming T4G? Are these reformed guys finally becoming more inclusive?


    Thabiti Anyabwile
    Mark Dever
    Ligon Duncan
    John MacArthur
    C.J. Mahaney
    Albert Mohler
    John Piper
    R.C. Sproul

    Breakout Speakers

    Eric Bancroft
    Tony Carter
    Kevin DeYoung
    Greg Gilbert
    Brian Habig
    Joshua Harris
    Michael McKinley
    David Platt

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    David Platt is reformed. My wife asked him herself off to the side after he preached at Johnny Hunt’s FBC Woodstock in December. His reply was something like, “Yes. I see the sovereignty of God throughout Scripture.”

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    Thanks for the info JD!

    Here what I found at the Brook Hills Church web site:

    “God’s Purpose and Grace
    Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.”

    I find the word “election” above to be rather telling…

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    It seems to me that the predictions you have made for the future of the SBC are all already in place. They may (and probably will) increase, but it seems the SBC is already well down the road you’ve described.

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    You are also on top of this. I have left the SBC and have returned to a Bible church which in involves a 35 minute drive. This is 15 more minutes than my last church. However, it is worth every last mile. They are not dogmatic on Calvinism , creationism (in terms of how long) and they are very evangelical. They are in a university town and have several atheistic professors who have started coming because they are intrigued with the Gospel. I will write more on this in the coming weeks.

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    Dee and I were STUNNED to learn about the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the Eternal Subordination of the Son to the Father, Patriarchy (disguised as complementarianism), Together for the Gospel, C.J Mahaney and his shenanigans in SGM, Mark Dever’s 9Marks, and Al Mohler’s bizarre stands (such as the sin of singleness and deliberate childlessness), among other issues in the FALL of 2008. The events that led us to such discoveries are truly incredible.

    We talked about establishing this blog for at least two years before we launched it. I was hesitant to get started because I honestly didn’t think there was that much to write about within Christendom. That was BEFORE we discovered what was REALLY going on with the Calvinistas.

    I would venture to guess that most Southern Baptists have no clue what’s really going on underneath the surface. It reminds me of the conservative takeover of the SBC by Patterson and his crew. That’s part of the reason why The Wartburg Watch exists. We are trying to educate Southern Baptists about what is happening in their denomination. You are probably right — it may be too late…

    I have also left the SBC, so I don’t have a vested interest in any of this now; in fact, my research of the above-mentioned topics is the very reason why I left a year ago.

    May blind eyes finally see in the SBC…

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    Northpoint Community Church does not operate in any way like an SBC church.

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    Notice, most of the pastors listed are mega church pastors. What does that tell us?

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    Anonymous, To date, most SBC churches do not operate as Baptist. They have thrown out the Holy Priesthood and Soul competency. Two big tenants of being Baptist. Now, we have our very own human high priests between us and Christ.

    Andy Stanley believes the pastor is best thought of as a CEO.

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    It is suggested by, Mortal, that as members of the family of God, we are similar to members of worldly families. We all are born unsaved.
    We know our families norms, culture, expectations, and what will bring a parents correction. It is common for members of the same family to develop separate and distinct values of their own, and these are reflected in their own families and their life and their published writings.
    We, as members of the family of God, have similar differences. The key is we should filter out all input that are from those who are charlatans of the church, or those that have not excepted Jesus as their Savior.
    We should only consider input from those family members of God that are biblical in their life and actions and works. Especially for the works they write.
    By doing this filtering, we can save a lot of time and focus and learn from the ideas that are of value to us as members of the family of God on earth.

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    Mortal said:
    “We should only consider input from those family members of God that are biblical in their life and actions and works. Especially for the works they write.”


    You have made an excellent point. In fact, it’s why The Wartburg Watch exists. We know that all Christians will not always agree with our positions, but we are striving to be “Biblical” to use a term that is overly used and sometimes wrongly applied by the Calvinistas.

    Thanks for commenting, and I hope you’ll chime in again soon.

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    Thank you for your edification on this topic.

    I am not sure if this is where we can discuss evolution or not. If not please ignore me.

    In the debate between evolution and creation, if we can prove the opponents position, that of evolution, then we can move on.

    But if we try to prove evolution, based upon the theory the evolutionist provide, and from scientific facts, and only facts, and with no personal opinions, bias, or statements like “I THINK”, “I Believe” and such input, and the theory falls or collapses upon itself we can then move on.

    References to the bible or other religious references should only be used where scientific facts are presented.

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    Hi Mortal

    I am teaching this Sunday on the conflicts between Christians in the creationism debate. Although I am not an evolutionist, I am an admirer of Francis Collins with his theory of Biologos. Straight Darwinism cannot be Christian position since it relies on naturalistic, random evolution and nothing about God is random. Could God have programmed our genes? Well, why not? It is the position of thoughtful Christians who are far smarter than I am-Collins being the prime example.

    Here is the issue for me. God spoke and the universe leapt into existence. When I consider the universe-galaxies, black holes, nebulas, infinite vastness, particles of energy that arrive at their destination before they left the previous one, and so on; I am in awe, startled perplexed and strangely worshipful.This God is not a tame God and my efforts to understand this with my limited IQ is doomed to failure.

    So, I am a curious observer.And I struggle with the pat answers of some of the YE crowd-note: some, not all.I believe that God has given us natural revelation so we can discover Him in His creation. Romans1:20 tells us that we are without excuse because He has given us clues in nature. I do not believe God set out to trick us by allowing us to observe an ancient universe and then say, “got ya” when we reach logical conclusions.

    In the end, you may discuss anything you want on this site so long as you don’t mind honest answers. Thanks for being interested.

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    I just left a SBC church that prided itself as not functioning anything like an SBC church. They were only partially correct. They didn’t operate like an old fashioned SBC church. They operated as a newfangled reformed SBC church and that is why I didn’t recognize what was going on for a few years. And once I figured it out, it was jumping from the frying pan into the fire. I just wish someone had clued me in so I didn’t spend over 8 years banging my head against the wall.

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    I responded to your email without hitting reply so it immediately follows your comment. Sorry.

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    Thank you for your honest answer, and my studies on evolution versus creation beings me close to your view. God has not set out to trick us, but as a very loving Parent, has provided clues to us so we can use our intellectual capabilities to figure out this puzzle.

    Just like you may place your child in a situation that encourages them to figure things out. You provide all the material they need, but let them figure it out.

    And remember the joy you felt when they finally got it right!

    Does God feel joy when we, His children, correctly figure out the issue or problem He places in our paths as we progress through life?

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    I loved your comment. I plan to read it to my Sunday school this Sunday. I am talking about conflicts in creationism and how we should learn to treat one another with respect.I never thought of the analogy of our own children and how they learn things and how absolutely proud we are when they figure it out. I still remember when my older daughter, now a firefighter, learned to tie her shoe. We jumped around and she sang songs and marched around. I bet God does something similar-I wonder how God jumps up and down?

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    Platt handles the issue of election/free will very well in my opinion. The two are “unexplainable but undeniable,” both election and man’s responsibility. “Election” is a thoroughly Biblical term. As a pastor, I use it regularly, but only because the Bible does; not because I have a Calvinist agenda. If I have to fall into one camp or another (which I do not), I am NOT “reformed.”

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    Several years ago I attended the Presidential Forum at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In response to a student’s question regarding election, Dr. Akin affirmed “It’s a mystery.”

    I absolutely agree with Dr. Akin. I refuse to choose sides, and I think it’s a terrible waste of time to get bogged down in these debates over which camp is right. Instead, that time and effort should be spent seeking and saving the lost.

    If I’m not mistaken, I recently read that Mark Driscoll is a four-point Calvinist. Mark has trouble accepting “Limited Atonement”, as do I. I have given this much thought over the last several years, and I agree with Dr. Adrian Rogers. “Whosoever” may come to faith in Christ.

    I am either a three or four pointer, and I believe Jesus Christ died for ALL, but that doesn’t make me a Universalist. Last week I had an indepth conversation with a Five-Point Calvinist. When I stated that I believe Christ died for all, he responded along these lines — that means Jesus failed on the cross if all do not accept His salvation. Sorry, I don’t see it that way. God placed Adam and Eve in a perfect environment, and they sinned. Was God a failure because they chose to disobey Him?

    Thanks for your comment.

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    I’m very disturbed by the rise of Calvinism in the SBC, not only because I personally disagree with the theology, but because I see it taking place in a very underhanded way. None of those who are pushing it will say openly that they are Calvinists – in fact they continue to deny it – while using speakers and writings from those who are clearly part of the Reform movement. If they think it is right, why not say so, and form their own churches according to their beliefs? Could it be because they would like to keep the power, numbers and money that the SBC has, even while forming their “denomination within a denomination?”

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    What an excellent description of what appears to be taking place behind the scenes in the SBC. I believe you are absolutely correct with your assessment.

    We’ve got to keep getting the word out…

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    How about another reason to go along with your thoughts? Perhaps these “calvinistas” as we like to call them, actually believe that they “know the truth” and are attempting to create their very own Reformation within the SBC.

    Perhaps that is why CJ Mahaney, not a Baptist, gives so much money to Southern Baptist Seminary. Maybe he hopes to be thought of as the new John Calvin and needs the undying respect of those within the SBC who tilt this way.

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    I will not say that I support some of the actions that are attributed to these men, certainly, the hiding of a serious sin that has a direct effect on the congregation, if determined true, is a problem that should be dealt with IMHO by “de-frocking”. They are mere men and are capable of sinning as we all are and certainly would not want our lives to come under the same scrutiny as theirs…at least I wouldn’t.
    I am not in the SBC but was for a number of years. The name calling that is here I find disturbing. Have you read any of John Calvin’s writings? Have you read about his life? He was a very Godly man and was not the creator of the “five points”, in fact he would probably not even recognize them though they are espoused from his doctrinal teachings. His commentaries on the scriptures are outstanding. Additionally, the SBC was once more “reformed” in it’s own doctrine adhering to the BCF of 1689 found here…
    I’m sure these men believe they are only returning the SBC to it’s roots. The real question in all of this is “What does scripture teach?” and recognizing that the right way to interpret scripture is to begin with the clear passages and their broader context and to then use them to interpret those that are less clear. I do not understand this doing away with the priesthood of believers being attributed to the reformers? Martin Luther was a major player in the Reformation, as was John Huss and John Calvin. One of the primary arguments was that we have no earthly father (priest/intermediary), Christ is the forgiver of sins and head of the Church and the people should have the scriptures in the language that they may read since as believers they CAN understand. I’m no Calvinista, Calvin would want me to be!!! Soli Deo gloria!

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    Ladies and gentlemen,I apologize for talking about myself, but it is pertinent to this discussion. I was raised in the SBC and served on the Baptist Sunday School Board for five years. I found out a lot about the SBC that I had not an inkling about before I became a trustee. I will not say anything about that here.

    In reading what many of you have written, it is obvious that you do not know what Calvinism is nor do you know what Reformed means. These doctrines have been in the church since its beginning ( See the Council of Orange 6th century AD ). Huss, Luther and Calvin simple drew the church back to solid biblical doctrine during the Refomation. Calvin formulated a systemic Theology that was used by non-Roman Catholic churches for over 300 years. He would probably not even recognize the so called 5 points if he saw them; however he would agree with them. They were formulated in response to the Remonstrants in Holland along with the Canons of Dort. I challenge any of you to read these and find anything in them that disagrees with scripture. The churches of today, evangelical, SBC, Pentecostal etc. could all do with a large dose of preaching by the Reformers and the Puritans. Please do some homework in the scrptures before you are so quick with your shallow comments.

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    Could you be more specific about the “shallow comments” that have obviously upset you? It would be helpful if you could quote a comment or two with which you take issue and then provide your response. Thanks.

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    I believe it is very shallow to critize a doctrine that you have not thoroughly researched. Take the time to read Calvin’s institutes of the Christian Religion. If you prefer to read a Baptist, read A.W. Pink’s Sovereignty of God, Spurgeon’s sermon’s on Calvinism; also read the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.

    As for the accusation that Dr. Mohler believes in the eternal subordination of Christ to the Father, I doubt, but certainly do not agree with in the way some have stated it.

    I realize my comments were a bit abrasive, but I wanted to challenge all young people to study thoroughly and learn to think before you make blanket statements.

    Incidentally, I left the SBC years ago and became an Orthodox Presbyterian. We suscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith; very similar to the BCF of 1689. I certainly agree that rebaptising someone who has been baptized by an ordained minister of the gospel in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit does not need rebaptising.

    Those of you that think that Calvinism is taking over the SBC are, unfortunately in my view, wrong. Arminianism is live and well in the SBC and Calvinism is a dirty word to the majority. I’m sure Charles Spurgeon is turning over in his grave.

    My last word is that debate about these things is good. But please don’t make it about your opinion without being able to substantiate your opinions with scriptural facts. Search the scriptures to see if these things are true. may God bless your search.

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    I’m very familiar with the tenets of Calvinism. What I’m not sure you are aware of is the vast difference between “Calvinism” (which you affirm) and “New Calvinism” (remember the CT article Young Restless Reformed?)

    Let me be absolutely clear… I respect Calvinists, although I refuse to label myself as a Calvinist or an Arminian. That being said, I’m probably a 3-point Calvinist. I cannot accept the “L” in TULIP, and I also have a problem with “I”. I hope that as brothers and sisters in Christ we can agree to disagree on these specific points.

    The New Calvinists (which we have labeled “Calvinistas”) are a different breed of Calvinist with a very specific agenda. They are highly focused on hyper-authoritarianism, gender roles, young earth creationism, ESS, among other issues we have frequently discussed here at The Wartburg Watch. Calvinistas are enamoured with their iconic leaders, and I believe it will be their downfall.

    Thanks for your comments, and I would be happy to continue the discussion if you so desire.


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    I would like to agree with Jack when he says, “Arminianism is live and well in the SBC and Calvinism is a dirty word to the majority.”

    TBC is in upheaval over the alleged Calvinist beliefs of the pastor. This makes me wonder if they know what Calvinism is, before they jump to judge the pastor (who has made no claims of one belief or another, as far as I know.)

    Personally, I agree with Dr Akin, Deb, Steve Gaines, Matt Chandler (heard it in a sermon he preached), and perhaps David Platt, and I think that both camps are well represented in Scripture. And I firmly believe that God is Sovereign and has elected us as His children, while at the same time allowing us to make the decision to want to be His kid (whosoever believes). It truly is a mystery that cannot be solved until we get to heaven, IMHO. God is so much bigger than we can even think about, so why can’t we just accept the fact that we cannot ponder things on His level??

    One of my friends left our church when the pastor came because he was a “Calvinist”. When I asked her what that meant, she said that he wouldn’t support missions since God had elected who He wanted to save. In his defense, if we believe what he says, our pastor is VERY concerned with missions and considers the Great Commission as number one priority of the church. He is always concerned with getting the Gospel right. Which, BTW, seems to be another catch phrase I keep hearing, “get the Gospel right.” Anyone else notice this lately?

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    I will respond in depth later, but be very careful in assuming we have not read something. I have read a great deal of the Institutes and have studied Calvin’s life in some detail. probably more than many people who claim to be Calvinists.

    Can I ask what you mean by being baptized by an “ordained” pastor. Are those who are ordained imbued with some specific gift that allows them to baptize?

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    I am very aware of the so called ” new Calvinism ” and the Calvinistas. They tend to be what has been called in the past hyper Calvinists. I do not call myself a Calvinist, but rather an Augustinian. Too Dee, an emphatic yes!!! I do believe that only ordained ministers are authorized to baptize. I believe this is clearly taught in scripture. I also do not believe that scripture teaches the any person or any self defined group has the biblical authority to start a church. All new churches should be missions of other churches. I believe this is also consistent with scripture. Finally, and I do mean finally, if you can only accept 3 points you are an Arminian or a Pelagian. Both of these doctrines were condemed as heresy by the ancient church. Now, please do your homework. I’m still working on mine. I try to read the Bible through each year and have for several years. Also, I have read Calvin’s Institutes through twice and studied several sections numerous times. I’m old and I forget. Now I’m into reading the five volume work by Herman Bavinck that was recently completely translated from Dutch to English. Dr. Bavinck was the mentor and major professor of Louis Berkhof, author of the Manual of Christian Doctrine. This simple little volume is a good place to begin to learn something about how reformed people think and believe. Even if you study every day from now until you die or the Lord returns, you can not learn it all, but you should learn something. Good by and may the Holy Spirit enlighten your minds.

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    Not so fast, Jack…

    I have done my homework, and I believe (as Adrian Rogers did) that WHOSOEVER may come. Does that mean I am in error? If I don’t hold to a Limited Atonement, does that mean I’m wrong?

    I attended a Presidential Forum at SEBTS a few years ago and Dr. Akin was asked a question about Election vs. Free Will. He said and I quote: “It’s a mystery.” Yes, it is, and neither camp has all the answers. What bothers me about some Calvinists is that they presume to believe they are ALWAYS RIGHT.

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    I disagree with you on the issue of baptism. If it were so clearly taught than there would not be profound disagreement. So, please help me here. What sort of thing happens with ordination that gives one man the right to baptize and the other no right to baptize.

    Also, comment on the fact that many have been baptized by “unordained” pastors. Are they not baptized?

    Who can be ordained, by whom and what sort of call on their lives and specific training must they have to be ordained in your thinking? Can a woman be ordained to baptize?

    As for homework, I have done much but am still so doing as you are. So, what makes your choice of homework superior to others choice of homework?
    I have taught church history and am well aware of the heresies of the early church. I have taught them and I believe that you are in error in your interpretation of heresy.

    Be cautious. If one were to ask an average Baptist or Calvinist to define the Trinity, one would hear many heresies. So, is the church filled with heretics with the exception of yourself?

    Forgive me for saying this but you sound as if you have the answers and are in lecture mode. Why not get into discussion mode?

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    Just study the New Testament and see how the apostles were given authority and how they organized the church. I don’t believe you will find any women given authority to preach, administer the sacraments or be ordained in any way. I’m sorry that you wish to take authority that is not yours to recieve. There are many functions in the body for women but Christ has not authorized such duties for women. If you had read as much as you say you have you would know Calvin’s position on such things. I said I was done in the last blog. I’m sorry I had to break my word and say more. FIN

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    I am amazed that two guys would both post on the same day on an old blog and say exactly the same thing. Both of you accused us of not reading Calvin, either his writings or his biography. Unfortunately, your assumptions are incorrect. I have read quite a bit of his writings as well as a biography.

    Here is my issue. Everyone seems to be so cocksure that they are the ones who are interpreting Scripture correctly. However, all of these theologians seem to disagree ardently with one another and each of them are sure the other is bordering on heresy.

    Baptists were once reformed; Baptists have never been reformed; no Baptist would be reformed, Arminians are heretics; Calvinists are heretics and on and on. Frankly, we spend so much time proving how right we are and a watching world looks on bewildered.

    Go to the exChristian site and see how we are laughed at by those who see that we have a gazillion denominations and how we fight with one another over minutiae.

    And, by the way, I am a Hus fan.There was a guy who gave it all with incredible humility.

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    Since when did i say I agreed with Calvin on all things? I have studied the New Testament and do not see where it says that ordained pastors are the only ones who can baptize? Why does anyone need special authority to baptize? Isn’t one Christian, as part of the priesthood of the believer, allowed to function as priest under the authority of Jesus as his or her high priest?

    Please define what “authority” you are speaking of so forlornly that I wish to take? Why can’t anyone administer the sacraments? What specific power is given to the administrator of the sacraments? Do the sacraments “not take” if it is given by an unordained person?

    What is ordination? What occurs during said ceremony? Where did Christ say that a woman could not give the sacraments? Do the sacraments first start with an ordained minister who gives it to an unordained male who then gives it to a woman who then….what? Where is this spelled out? What is it about women that makes them unable to pass out the communion? What is it about unordained men that makes them unable to pass out communion? What do you mean by “administer” the sacraments? Isn’t it simply a remembrance of the Last Supper? Cannot a man read from Scripture which says…On the night He was betrayed, Jesus took the bread….? Why couldn’t a woman? What is the special “spiritual” duty in “administering” the sacraments? Do you believe like the Catholics that the host turns into the body of Christ?

    You response is confusing and not elucidating. Since you are a man and therefore “in authority” over this woman, please explain yourself in such a way that this “easily deceived” woman can understand you. Or perhaps only those who are ordained can elucidate the Scripture to women and that is why I don’t understand you? Are you ordained?

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    Trinity Watcher

    Fascinating. What does it mean to get the Gospel right? Especially when there seem to be so many evangelicals who ardently disagree with one another. It seems to me that everyone thinks they know more than the others and that they are the only ones who are right. Funny thing, i am talking about those who believe in the essentials as found in the Apostles Creed. No wonder the secular world thinks we are nuts!

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    I love how you quote everything you’ve read that MEN wrote, but I see NO quotes from scripture that substantiate your points. You, instead, just criticize others for, apparently, not studying as much or knowing as much as you do.

    My experience has taught me that people have a whole bunch of logical systematic theology built upon false, and flat out wrong, assumptions. And they usually get those wrong assumptions from men of God, who were also wrong, perpetuating bad theology.

    First, I’d love for you to show me one single person who was, “ordained,” in the New Testament.

    Now, regarding baptism:

    In I Corinthians 1, Paul says he baptized Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanas. It goes without saying that all the other Corinthian believers were baptized by someone else.

    1. Who baptized them?
    2. Do you have proof that the person who baptized them was ordained and by whom?
    3. What is your scriptural reference that instructs ministers to be ordained, and who ordains them?
    4. What is your scriptural basis that instructs us to only be baptized by the, “ordained?”

    (Please don’t give me some haughty answer like, “study more.” I’ve studied plenty, just like you.)

    5. Who baptized those three thousand souls in Acts 2?
    6. Do you have any scriptural evidence that tells us that they were ordained?

    There were 120 people in the upper room, men and women, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Any of them could have baptized the three thousand. It’s no stretch that if sons and daughters, bond slaves and free, could all prophesy, and could all be filled with the Holy Spirit, then any of them could baptize. I mean, if so many, “ordained,” ministers today, who are NOT filled with the spirit, baptize, why can’t someone who is not ordained, but filled with the spirit, baptize? And is the former more legitimate a baptism than the latter?

    Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…Let’s be consistent here, who does this passage speak to? Is it just to the eleven disciples or to all believers, because I’ve heard a million sermons telling me to make disciples as I go, referencing this passage?

    If it applies to just the eleven, then you would have to say it applies only to them and not to other apostles, like Paul. So, only the eleven are to go and make disciples, baptizing them…Also, if it only applies to the eleven, then it must not apply to pastors, since they are not only of the eleven, but they are also not apostles, but pastors. So what are these pastors doing, baptizing? Are their baptisms illegitimate?

    Well, then if this instruction is not ONLY to the eleven, then it must be to all believers, as well, since it doesn’t specify exactly to whom it also applies. And if the, “make disciples,” applies to other believers, then the, “baptizing them,” also applies to other believers. That would pretty much debunk your belief that only the, “ordained,” whoever they are, should baptize.

    Regarding Calvinism vs. whatever else. The whole premise of the entire debate is false, wrong, illegitimate, and taken completely out of context. And if the premise is off, the whole debate is off. And I’ll deal with that later, if compelled.

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    Wish I had said it just the way you did!