"I don’t know anyone who fits the profile that these documents present. I doubt such a person exists within the SBC. Nevertheless, this is how some people perceive us."
Seven years ago Tom Ascol over at Founders Ministries featured a post entitled: Memo: How to smoke out a Calvinistic pastor in your church. He was greatly disturbed to learn that some Southern Baptist churches in Western Tennessee were circulating three documents with tips about how to spot a Calvinist pastor. Apparently, he was trying to contact the individuals who created these documents (purportedly not official denominational workers) "in hopes of better understanding what has provoked this mission".
After sharing screen shots of these three documents, Ascol stated:
Much could be said about the wickedness and ignorance behind a campaign to “smoke out” Calvinistic pastors using these dubious tools. However, I want to conclude by issuing a plea to my fellow pastors who may be more reformed in our understanding than others in the SBC. Though these documents promote caricatures and distortions, they are a sad reminder that this is the way that at least some people perceive us. As I have indicated, I don’t know anyone who fits the profile that these documents present. I doubt such a person exists within the SBC. Nevertheless, this is how some people perceive us.
A wicked and ignorant campaign? We have posted story after story where this very thing has happened. 'Calvinista' pastors weasel their way into churches and do a total transformation in five years or less. We just posted someone's account of how such a takeover occurred at a Baptist church in the Midwest. It is entitled Church Takeover Success Using Strategies from the Calvinista Playbook and it is one of the most detailed testimonies we have ever read about how the transformation occurs.
Let's take a look at those documents and see whether the information that was being circulated seven years ago could possibly be accurate. Here are screen shots of the first two (sorry that they are not perfectly straight):
Sorry Tom, but I have to agree with a good number of those "Reformed Red Flags" because I have seen some of them first hand and have met with others who have seen these red flags at their churches when they unwittingly hired a Reformed pastor.
The third document that was being circulated is pictured below (see screen shot).
There has been so much pain in non-reformed congregations that have hired Calvinistic pastors by mistake, and it would behoove them to use a belief statement and pastor's pledge like the one above to avoid such a problem in the future. It's time for congregations to wake up regarding the backgrounds of some of these pastoral candidates. If they recently graduated from seminary, chances are they are Calvinistic in their soteriology. It's time for pastor search committees to wise up and begin asking pastoral candidates very direct questions about their theology.