Mark Dever Is a Proponent of Delaying Baptism Until You Are 18

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  -Acts 17:11 NIV

“The Children and Their Hosannas”
A SERMON DELIVERED ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, MAY 7, 1884,
By C.H. Spurgeon

Yes, and I may add, I think, that children sometimes rebuke God’s own people and so glorify God. Some of God’s people here, tonight, have never made a confession of their faith. What would you think if I introduced six children to you whom I saw, one after another, last week, and who all came forward with eagerness to say, “We have been washed in the blood of Jesus and we want to join His Church”? I said, “Come along, my children; I am glad to see you.” When I talked with them and heard what God had done for them, I had great confidence in proposing them to the Church! I have not found young converts turn back. I usually find that these young ones who are introduced early to the Church hold on and become our best members!

Do not refuse to receive them, lest it should ever happen to you as it did to one who was cruelly prudent. A child had loved the Savior for some two or three years and she desired to make a confession of her faith. She begged her mother that she might be baptized. The mother said that she thought she was too young. The child went to bed broken-hearted, and in the morning a great tear stood in her eye. She had joined the Church triumphant above! Do not let your child ever have to complain of you, that you will not believe in its truthful love to Jesus! Do you expect perfection in a child before it joins the Church? Then I hope you are perfect, yourself and, if you are, pray go to Heaven, because I am sure you will fall to quarrelling with everybody here on earth! Few of the perfect people are agreeable neighbors—I suppose they are so good that they have no patience with us who are not up to their standard.

No, dear Friend, a converted child will give you evidences of true religion, not of perfect religion—for that you ought not to expect. Let the child avow its faith in Christ and, if you have not confessed Him in Baptism, yourself, stand rebuked that a child is ready to obey its Lord while you are not!  Source

“Baptist Christians used to wait longer before they encouraged their children to be baptized.” -Mark Dever

Mark E. Dever received his Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from Cambridge University, he serves as the Senior Pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. and is Director of www.9marks.org.

 Mark Dever should know better than to distort the views of Baptists on the subject of the baptism of children as he has done in the sermon above and as he and his fellow elders have done in their “Elders’ Statement.”  He would like us to believe that Baptists “used to wait longer before they encouraged their children to be baptized,” but did they really? Dever runs through a list of 11 famous Baptist preachers and tells us the age these men were baptized, as if that proves anything. Dever believes that the widespread baptism of children is the cause of so many unconverted church members, therefore he advocates that children who profess faith in Christ Jesus as their Savior shouldn’t be baptized until they are 18 years old, have moved out of their parent’s homes, have matured, and still retain their faith in Christ.

Do we find this to be the case in the Scriptures?  Well, let’s see how Dever twists the Scriptures to fit his narrative:

No delay is present in baptism accounts in Acts, but in Acts there would have been little question of the state of those people (as in the cases of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, and Cornelius’s household in Acts 10).

“Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ.” Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright, Chapter 10, “Baptism in the Context of the Local Church” by Mark E. Dever

So there is no delay in the baptism of the above-mentioned individuals because “there would have been little question of the state of those people.”  Meaning, I assume, that they were all undoubtedly born-again believers in Christ. Does this include the children? Two Scripture passages that Dever conveniently neglected to mention are the passages below. They deal with Lydia and her household being saved and baptized and the jailer and all his household being saved and baptized.  Surely there can be “little question” there were children in these two households, which is likely why the Doctor of Ecclesiastical History didn’t include them in his narrative.

“When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” Acts 16:15 NIV

“He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.”  Acts 16:30-34 NIV

The question that immediately came to my mind as Mark Dever rattled off the ages of baptism for some of his favorite Baptist preachers of old was, at what age were these men born-again?  Did they fit the Dever narrative of being saved as a child and waiting until they were responsible, mature, battle-proven men prior to being baptized?  I did some research and the answer is overwhelmingly no, they do not. In my opinion, Dever is being disingenuous, but his church members lapped it up just like the Thessalonican Christians of old. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative!

John Gill Baptized at age 19 – Converted at age 18.

“About age 12, Gill heard a sermon from his pastor, William Wallis, on the text, “And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). The message stayed with Gill and eventually led to his conversion. It was not until seven years later that young John made a public profession when he was almost 19 years of age.”
John Gill – Theopedia.com

Samuel Medley – Baptized at age 22 – Converted at age 21.

“He was born on this day, June 23, 1738 in Chestnut, England. A Grandfather gave him his earliest education, and when he was fourteen, he was apprenticed to an oil-man in the city of London. Three years of that was enough for young Medley. In 1755, he escaped from his agreement by enlisting in the Royal Navy. Late in 1759, he was discharged from the Navy, too, after being severely wounded in a battle off Port Lagos in August 1759. It was while he was recovering from his injuries that he read a sermon by Isaac Watts, a pastor and hymn writer, that led to his conversion to Christianity.”    Source

Richard FurmanBaptized at age 17 – Converted at age 16.

“Furman’s spiritual heritage of evangelistic Calvinism determined his doctrine and tempered his preaching. He was converted in 1771 under the ministry of Joseph Reese at High Hills. Reese was a convert of Phillip Mulkey, who was, in turn, a convert of Shubal Stearns;”   Source

John Dagg  Baptized at age 18 – Converted at age 15

“Accordingly, on the first of January, 1809, before I was fifteen years old, I became the master of a neighborhood school. In the house of H. S. Hathaway, with whom I boarded, were Slackhouse’s History of the Bible, and Boston’s Fourfold State. These books I read with diligence, and prayed earnestly for renewing grace. On the night of February 12th, after I had gone to bed, I thought much on the words of Christ, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” A glimmer of hope, feeble and transient, now first entered my mind. The next day was my birthday; and on my way to school, I prayed that as I had been born on this day into the natural world, so the Lord might bring me this day into the spiritual world. In the evening after returning from school, I took up Boston’s Fourfold State, and read until I came to a passage, “Think not of want of time, while the night follows the busy day; nor of want of place, while fields and out houses may be got.” I rose, and retired behind the corn-house. Here, while in prayer to God, my soul was relieved by a joyful sense of divine acceptance. The prayer of the morning seemed to be answered; and the following words, though originally spoken in a far higher sense, appeared applicable to my case: “Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.” I returned to the dwelling house, and to intercourse with the family, concealing with some effort the happy change that I had experienced. For, many days, the wonder was, that I did not love more; and this wonder has not yet ceased. The hymn, “Come let me love,” etc., I often repeated throughout; and felt the force of every line.”   Source

J. Newton Brown – Baptized at age 14 – Converted at age 11-14 (unable to accurately determine his age).

Brown’s reminiscences of a preacher he sat under for a couple of years until the preacher’s death in 1814 suggests Brown himself was not yet converted then:

“I  never can forget one discourse which I heard from Mr. Jenks in that old Court House. It was on the Day of Judgment. Young, and careless as I was then, it was long before the shock of that terrible vision ceased to affect me; followed up, as it was at the time, by the most tender and heart-touching appeal to seek salvation in Christ without delay. I give this only as a specimen of his oratorical powers, when filled and agitated with his subject. Had I then loved the Saviour, I should have doubtless felt and remembered more”.   Source

Patrick Hues Mell – Baptized age 18 – Converted at age 15-18 (unable to accurately determine his age).

“STRUGGLES AND TRIALS OF EARLY LIFE.

Before his mother’s death, and while attending school at the “Sand Hills,” he received the following letter from her which shows so clearly how anxious she was that her son should grow  up in the fear of the Lord and give his entire life to the Master’s service. 

‘October 13th, 1829. 

My Dear Boy: — It is high time that you and I should communicate frequently and intimately and confidentially. If this is not to be expected by the time you have arrived  at fifteen when is it to be looked for? On one account I have more anxiety, and even dread on your behalf than for any of my children. Earnestly as I wish a son of mine to be a minister yet I tremble at the idea of educating- and devoting- a son to the sacred profession without previously satisfactory evidence that his own soul was right with God My heart burns to see you in every sense of the word a true Christian. You cannot oblige me more than by giving me the history of your heart at different times. I have known too little of you, my child. Let  that ignorance on my part cease. I have loved you from  your birth, and have watched over you until now with the tenderest affection, but feel my own deficiency in not communing more with you on the state of your mind. You should exercise a jealousy over yourself lest the trifles of this world should deaden your feelings about the grand question: what are the chances of my salvation — what have I done — what must I do to be saved? 

In 1832, three years after the dates of the above letters, Mr. Mell was baptized at North New Port Baptist Church, in Liberty County, by the pastor. Rev. Josiah Samuel Law.”   Source

J. R. Graves – Baptized at age 15 – [Note from editor – I actually was provided evidence that Graves was baptized at 14, thus, I must assume he was also converted at age 14. See screenshot following this list.]

Dr. Graves was born in Chester, Vermont, on April 10, 1820

“At the age of fifteen, James was converted and baptized, uniting with a Baptist church in Vermont.” Source

John Broadus – Baptized at age 16 – Converted at age 16.

“John A. Broadus was converted in a protracted meeting in May, 1843, at Culpepper, Virginia. In this country community were Baptist preachers of marked ability. The Rev. Barnett Grimsley was a man of great gifts and unusual eloquence. In a meeting a few months after John’s conversion the preacher suggested that Christians should speak to their unconverted friends. John had never done anything like this, but decided that he might venture to speak to a man not very bright, named Sandy Jones. This led to Sandy’s conversion. Ever afterwards Sandy would cross the street to meet the friend who had led him to Christ, and would say, “Howdy, John? thankee, John.” In telling: of this first effort at soul-winning, Dr. Broadus used to add, “And if ever I reach the Heavenly home and walk the golden streets, I know the first person to meet me will be Sandy, coming and saying again: ‘Howdy, John? thankee, John.'” Source

Charles H. Spurgeon Baptized at age 16 – Converted at age 15.

“C. H. Spurgeon, of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, was born at Kelvedon, Essex, in 1834; converted Jan. 1850, at the age of 15, at Colchester; gave his first Gospel address at Faversham when he was 16, and for thirty years declared almost weekly, to audiences numbering five or six thousand, the glorious Gospel of the blessed God; millions of his sermons have been scattered in all parts of the world.”    Source

E. Y. Mullins – Baptized at age  20 – Converted at age 20.

“Indeed, Mullins was not converted until 1880, when he attended revival services in Dallas under the preaching of Major William E. Penn. Shortly thereafter, Mullins was baptized by his father at the Corsicana church. A “definite call to the ministry” came just a few months later, and Mullins departed for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary within the year.”  Source

W.P. Conner – Baptized at age 17 – Converted at age 17

“Walter Thomas Conner was born 19 January 1877, to Philip Orlander Conner and Frances Jane Monk Conner, in Cleveland County, Arkansas. The family moved in 1892 to present-day Tye, Texas, near Abilene. He came to faith in Christ in 1894, at a Methodist meeting, received baptism and united with the Harmony Baptist Church, Caps, Texas.”  Source

Basil Manly Jr, a prominent SBC Founder who somehow didn’t make Dever’s list, was also age 14 at conversion and baptism. Yet Dever said in that audio that 14 was unusual, historically.

Additionally, the minister who founded Dever’s home church, First Baptist Madisonville, Ky (where Dever was ordained) was age 11 at conversion and baptism:
“COLEMAN, JAMES SMITH (b. near Beaver Dam, Ky., Feb. 23, 1827; d. Mar. 29, 1904). Pastor. The only child of Elisha and Susanna (Maddox) Coleman, he was well educated. He was converted at the age of 11 and was baptized on Mar. 10, 1838….In the years 1867-70, he was appointed as an evangelist by the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. He organized the Baptist church at Madisonville in 1870.”
Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Vol. I. Source


“One special case of delay has been the delay of children claiming regeneration. Here all the cautions mentioned earlier should be borne in mind. But are there no more questions to be considered in the case of baptizing minors?!! Some will conclude that there are not and that to encourage delay in such cases is to disobey Scripture. Others, however, are less certain of that. Spurgeon is a good example of someone who both preached and practiced the importance of leading children to conversion!! and yet who waited to baptize his own sons—evidently Christians for years—until they were eighteen.!! This practice of delaying for maturity—similar to other delays commanded in Scripture (e.g., marriage, responsibility in OT Israel, service in the army in the OT)—is common around the world today!! and was formerly common in the United States.!! Baptisms of children eight or nine years of age, or even younger, were either unheard of or very rare.”
“Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ.” Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright, Chapter 10, “Baptism in the Context of the Local Church” by Mark E. Dever

Mark Dever also mentioned that C.H. Spurgeon waited until his sons were 18 before he baptized them. He offers no evidence for this but implies that since Spurgeon “preached and practiced the importance of leading children to conversion” we are to assume his two sons were saved as children. Again, the fact his sons were baptized at age 18 apart from evidence of their age of conversion is meaningless. I could not find any information concerning the age Spurgeon’s two sons were converted, but based on his sermon quoted above, I would venture a guess that they were not converted as children or they would have been baptized as children.

The following statement from Mark Dever I found to be absolutely bizarre.

“In the event of young persons from non-Christian families coming to the church for an extended period of time, professing faith and giving evidence of the reality thereof, requests for baptism and membership would be considered without the involvement of the parents. While all the previous comments on the nature of immaturity still pertain, the fact that such a young person would be doing so despite indifference, or even opposition from their parents would or could be evidence for the reality of their conversion.”
“Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ.” Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright, Chapter 10, “Baptism in the Context of the Local Church” by Mark E. Dever

So favoritism is shown to a young person coming from a home of unbelieving parents while a child raised in a home with Christian parents who are faithful members needs to be carefully observed and not baptized until they leave the parents home.  How ludicrous is this?

Opposing Views

Early Southern Baptist Views on the Baptism of Children, Robert Matz
(D6 Family Ministry Journal, Volume 2, copyright 2017, Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tennessee, 37217. To purchase the D6 Family Ministry Journal, visit http://D6academic.com.

“A narrative has been posited among Southern Baptists regarding the history of child baptismal practices. Specifically, it has been asserted that the practice of baptizing children is novel among Southern Baptists with earlier generations of Southern Baptists historically preferring to delay the baptism of children. The argument for the novelty of child baptism has been made through appeals to studies showing declining average ages of baptism, through appeals to increasing rates of preschool baptisms, and through appeals to the baptismal ages of specific historic individuals. Yet none of these methodologies provides a complete picture of the child baptismal practices among earlier generations of Southern Baptists. Specifically, the statistics cited from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to show a declining average age of baptism are flawed as they utilized studies that did not look at the practices of Baptists. The claim regarding increasing rates of preschool baptisms is overstated as the number of pre-school baptisms has always been insignificant compared to the number of total baptisms and because the number of preschool baptisms is actually declining. Utilizing the age of baptism of a group of select notable Baptist individuals is problematic because such a list is not representative of Southern Baptists as a whole and because an alternative list has been offered. 9

9  Dever’s research in collecting baptismal ages is impressive. Still, offering this list as evidence that the practice of young baptism is novel fails as this list is largely anecdotal. Southern Baptists baptized millions of people over the course of their early history. To assert that Baptists in America as a whole rarely to never baptized young children because a list of select early Baptists figures were baptized at a later age, ignores the fact that a select list of leaders does not make up the whole of denominational life. Indeed, an article appearing on the online “Southern Baptist News and Analysis” website, SBCToday, by Dr. Tim Barnette has provided an alternative list noting the young age of conversion of several significant historical Baptist figures. Dever, “Baptism in the Context of the Local Church,” 345. Tim Barnette, “About Baptizing Children,” SBCToday March 3, 2015, accessed March 24, 2015,” Source

Of Baptisms and Children
by Dr. Tim Barnette, pastor
Oakdale Baptist Church
Rocky Mount, N. Car.

“Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Jesus in Luke 18.16-17 (HCSB)

The Pastors’ Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms released the findings of its research just before the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, MD. Among other things, they noted “The only consistently growing age group in baptisms is age five and under.” While I believe the report offers valuable insights that can and should be used to spur greater evangelistic effort on the part of Southern Baptists, I am somewhat troubled by the response that particular line has received.

I have read several posts online and through social media joking (albeit with a tinge of sarcasm) about this statistic. “We should apologize to the paedobaptists,” wrote one. Another wrote, “We don’t practice infant baptism, but apparently we’re great at toddler baptism.” While I would love to see an increase in baptisms throughout the various age strata represented in the report, I am concerned about demeaning the baptism of these younger children without knowing the circumstances represented.

Let me explain. I am a Southern Baptist pastor who has been in vocational ministry for nineteen years. I am a graduate of three different seminaries. I have shared the gospel throughout the Eastern United States as well as Canada and South America. I am forty-one years old, and have been a Christian for thirty-eight years. Yes, that means I came to Christ at the age of three years old. One of the earliest memories I have is of sitting on the steps of Lower Falls Baptist Church with a children’s church volunteer and praying a sinner’s prayer to receive Christ as Savior. And I am so glad no one at my Baptist Church in 1976 said I was too young to be saved.

Is my story characteristic of the average Southern Baptist? No, and I am not suggesting that my experience will be the normative one. But I also realize the following:

Matthew Henry was 11 when he trusted Christ.

Jonathan Edwards was 8 when he trusted Christ.

Polycarp was (according to church tradition) 9 when he trusted Christ.

Charles Spurgeon was 12 when he trusted Christ. [Note from editor – my research indicated Spurgeon was 15 when converted.]

W. A. Criswell was 10.

Stephen Olford only recalled it was “as a very young child.”

And Billy Graham’s wife, the late Ruth Bell Graham, was so young she said she could not remember a time she did not love Jesus.

Spurgeon’s quote from chapter two of his book Come Ye Children is apropos: “I believe that of children is the kingdom of God, both on earth and in heaven.”  I also like this quote attributed to one of Spurgeon’s sermons: “A child of five, if properly instructed, can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.”

So it is interesting to me that Jesus says that whoever “…does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18.17, HCSB). Oftentimes, we completely reverse Jesus’ teaching, wanting children to have more adult understandings. I have heard stories of children who have made professions of faith and then have later been unsure. People said, “They didn’t really mean that.” My observation, however, is that it is more often the adults dealing with them who didn’t know what they were doing. That’s why we as Southern Baptists should place such a value on individually counseling each child who wants to come to Christ. If we disciple them properly and they meant that profession of faith, then we can nurture and grow a budding faith before the world has a chance to tear it down. I know that from experience, and I can tell you for sure that my experience was valid.    Source

Finally, I can’t help but wonder if the primary reason Mark Dever thinks the ideal age to baptize an individual is 18 has to do with signing a church membership contract. Someone who is not of legal age cannot be legally held to a contract they sign.

Who is to be Baptized

Finally, an interview by the pastor, other elder-type figures, or other wise and reliable members is a helpful way to get to know the person better. In such an interview, the person conducting it can sort out simple facts (name, address, job, age) and ask more careful questions (about marital status, current and previous church relations). The pastor can examine the prospective member’s understanding of the gospel and the church. Their willingness to sign the statement of faith and the church covenant and to participate in the life of this congregation can be tested. And the interviewer can hear the friend’s life history, especially his testimony of conversion and following Christ. At the end of such a thirty-to-sixty-minute interview, the pastor could summarize membership duties and can remind those interviewed of the membership process. Concluding such a time with prayer is a helpful way for the congregation visibly to begin exercising a shepherding ministry in the person’s life.  -“Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ.” Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright, Chapter 10, “Baptism in the Context of the Local Church” by Mark E. Dever

Hat Tip to Jerome, a friend of this blog, for his valuable assistance on this article.

Comments

Mark Dever Is a Proponent of Delaying Baptism Until You Are 18 — 183 Comments

  1. > “… therefore he advocate that children who profess faith in Christ Jesus as their Savior shouldn’t be baptized until they are 18 years old, have moved out of their parent’s homes, …”

    It superficially sounds like he’s trying to get as far away as possible from classical presbyterian/Reformed thinking about baptizing all household members, regardless of age, when the head of household converts.

  2. I think Denver’s all about policing the social boundaries of the church, determining who’s “in” and who’s “out”. I think this is the primary purpose of 9Marks and it definitely fits with this sermon. Any person who controls these boundaries has immense power because he can control a person’s sense of belonging AS WELL AS their very real belonging. This is the kind of power and persuasion that led Zwingli to persecute the Anabaptists because the Anabaptists were basically saying the paedo-baptists were “out” and Zwingli, a paedo-baptist, did not like that one but. The gate may be narrow and there may be few who find it, but I think Jesus would balk at Dever’s list of rules perhaps to say, “It’s not THAT narrow!”

  3. Dever & Co.’s claim:

    “baptizing pre-teenage children is of recent development (largely early 20th century) and of limited geography (largely limited to the United States, and places where American evangelicals have exercised great influence).”

    reality:

    1600s England
    Benjamin Keach (Particular Baptist):
    • “God hath in our days wrought by his Spirit, savingly on several little Children, some three or four years old, others about six or seven”
    • “those little Children who do believe in Christ, have an indubitable right to Baptism”

    p. 16, “A Counter-Antidote…Wherein the Baptism of Believers Is Evinced to Be God’s Ordinance” by Benjamin Keach (London, 1694)

  4. Todd makes a great case that Dever’s baptism argument doesn’t hold water.

    The graphic at the beginning of the article says it all. Dever and other New Calvinist elite are trying to make the mind of God fit into a neat theological box to support their aberrant belief and practice on several fronts. Such arrogance!

  5. Paul K: I think Denver’s all about policing the social boundaries of the church, determining who’s “in” and who’s “out”. I think this is the primary purpose of 9Marks and it definitely fits with this sermon. Any person who controls these boundaries has immense power because he can control a person’s sense of belonging AS WELL AS their very real belonging.

    Isn’t this called “dispensing of existence”?

    “You do not exist.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Nineteen Eighty-Four

  6. Max: The graphic at the beginning of the article says it all. Dever and other New Calvinist elite are trying to make the mind of God fit into a neat theological box to support their aberrant belief and practice on several fronts.

    All that’s missing is a sledghammer and “YOU’LL FIT! (SMASH!) YOU’LL FIT! (SMASH!) YOU’LL FIT!”

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy: Is this the latest salvo in the Paedobaptism vs Credobaptism Wars?

    These guys would be more than happy to fight literal wars over this stuff, just as their forbears did long ago in Europe.

  8. from the 1600s
    Rhode Island

    First Baptist Church, Newport “believed in child-conversions, and that children could profess faith in Christ and become members of the church. Samuel Hubbard’s daughter Ruth was, Nov. 12, 1652, baptized at the age of twelve years. And such instances are numerous during the history of the church.”

    [p. 25, History of the First Baptist Church in Newport, R. I., by Pastor Comfort Barrows, 1876]

    Tom Ascol’s Founders Journal (#27 Winter 1997) tells us that:

    “the First Baptist Church of Newport, RI…deserves ‘the first place as regards the consistent and persistent devotion of its leaders to Baptist principles’.” It was founded by “John Clarke, ‘a baptist of the completest and purest type’.”

  9. drstevej: For every problem there is a simple solution and it’s usually wrong.

    False teaching/theology always contains a wrong view of God, man, sin and salvation (e.g., New Calvinism).

  10. Max,

    I’m not a New Calvinist, I am a Christmas Calvinist (i.e. No-L). aka T-U-I- -P. That’s what I find in Scripture. Baptism is a picture of the gospel and immersion best pictures salvation.

  11. drstevej: I’m not a New Calvinist, I am a Christmas Calvinist (i.e. No-L). aka T-U-I- -P.

    If you were God and limited the atonement of Christ to only an elect few, why the heck would you pick some of these New Calvinist rascals?!

  12. It’s simple. It’s all about control. If the baptized is a minor then Dever still has to relinquish control to the parents. In fact the law is completely on the parents side. A minor cannot sign the legal contract Dever’s church requires.

    Once a person hits the age of consent then they can legally sign the contract and place themselves under Dever’s control. The church is protected from liability.

    Pathologic patriarchy strikes again!

  13. Jeffrey Chalmers: I love that cartoon at the top!

    It’s a perfect illustration of what the teachings and traditions of mere men look like to God. He just won’t fit in our theological boxes.

  14. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Take predestination vs. free will, for example. Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God. Scripture speaks much about the free will of man. It all comes together in salvation in a way that is beyond human comprehension. To attempt to put the mind of God into a neat systematic theological box is to stand in arrogance before the Creator.

  15. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    As I keep saying, the longer I live, and the more I learn ( and as a Professor, I get the luxury of being paid to constantly learn) the less I seem to know… this holds for the physical world as well as spiritual world….
    in contrast, we see so many “preachers” thinking the know the “True way”, and “the answers to life’s mysteries”..

  16. Jack: It’s simple. It’s all about control.

    This is exactly what I think. And Mark Devers is THE LAST person anyone should want having control over their soul.

  17. So under-18 cannot be baptized nor have church membership. Are these “leaders” concerned about predators in the church – those who prey on minors, predators to whom these “leaders” have given membership? (Or even put in the pulpit? Referencing Rob Downen & the Houston Chronicle’s database of legal sex offenders in the pulpit.) If these leaders are so pre-occupied with control and propriety, where are the church policies and practices that deal with dangerous predators in the church? Seems they are diddling with a splinter when there’s a log in the way.

  18. Dever is the proprietor, “sign the statement of faith and the church covenant and to participate in the life of this congregation”. In the real real world, we don’t have any “statement of faith” only the Nicene / Apostles’ Creed and we expect churches to teach all (Mt 28) not misselected fragments of its meaning. Thus we got baptised in the Name of each Person of Holy Trinity into Christ’s Creed and not any statement Dever is making, not his congregation, not his so-called covenant. Some at 8 days, some at 88 years.

  19. Ava Aaronson: If these leaders are so pre-occupied with control and propriety, where are the church policies and practices that deal with dangerous predators in the church? Seems they are diddling with a splinter when there’s a log in the way.

    The New Calvinist elites focus on jots and tittles of the law, rather than preach the Gospel, fulfill the Great Commission in the world, keep the enemy out of the Church, or care for the abused within the Body of Christ. Their mission is to control and conquer the religious kingdom through manipulation, intimidation, and domination … it has little to do with the Kingdom of God … they would not be accused of being Ambassadors of Christ.

  20. Jeffrey Chalmers: the more I learn ( and as a Professor, I get the luxury of being paid to constantly learn) the less I seem to know

    You are exactly the sort of person that God is looking for! What He teaches you, you ‘know’ in your knower … you can’t unlearn it. When our intellect gets out of the way, the Holy Spirit has room to lead us to Truth. (Dever’s intellect is in the way)

  21. My Mennonite and Amish friends do not baptize children either. They want this to be a freely chosen act of an adult, capable of making the decision for themselves.

    That isn’t evil in itself. Baptism is not going to actually make a believer out of the infant or child. (That alone may get me bounced from my church.) Many have been baptized as infants yet never ever believe in Christ. And in fact, some go through confirmation because they are supposed to do so and never believe. Just in the same way, many children and younger teens go forward in evangelical churches and make a profession of faith but are not believers. They are simply doing what is expected of them in their church and family groups.

    Some carry a hold over from the Catholic teachings or folk teachings, I am not sure which, that unbaptized babies could not enter heaven. Limbo, yes, but not heaven. So the idea of refusing to baptize babies horrifies some people with the idea we might be confining those children to hell should they die.

    But my understanding of scripture again is that there are NO unbaptized believers. The baptism that counts is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and no church or council can either refuse or deliver that.

    My church baptizes infants. Some churches in our town allow the parents to choose between baby dedication and infant baptism. Others believe in believer’s baptism, and still others only baptize adults.

    Nothing to get our panties in a wad over. Scripture tells us that some think they can eat anything, others don’t eat meat, and we are to not judge our neighbor on these kinds of matters.

    It is to God they stand or fall, not to use. Wet wash, dry clean, sprinkle, or pour, the only thing that matters is not the rite but the heart of faith.

  22. Ted: danger of pressuring young children to be saved at … what Dever is getting at, although I think he goes way too far

    David Platt, New Calvinist icon, also went way too far with false conversion claims among Southern Baptists … calling the “sinner’s prayer” superstitious, “accepting Christ” unBiblical, etc. Of course, all this fits the New Calvinist salvation grid that God does it all and humans have no free will.

  23. Max:
    Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Take predestination vs. free will, for example.Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God.Scripture speaks much about the free will of man.It all comes together in salvation in a way that is beyond human comprehension.To attempt to put the mind of God into a neat systematic theological box is to stand in arrogance before the Creator.

    Precisement, as Poirot would say ( except that he would add the accent over the first “e,” whereas I don’t know how).

  24. Max,

    I find David Platt unhinged. But I do agree with him and Dever that false conversions are a thing. And that they are often a threat to the church. But this crowd gets too dogmatic, willing to sacrifice the 99 sheep so that one wolf in sheep’s clothing won’t sneak into the fold.

    In the Langston Hughes essay, this is a free-will baptist church that’s into bean-counting, increasing membership and getting people “saved” by any means. Hughes is right to expose the excess, but in fact some do get saved by these means.

    Platt, Dever, and crowd look to Charles Spurgeon, a British reformed baptist, for inspiration and have abandoned the free-will Wesleyan style that was more common in the US. Spurgeon too would sacrifice the well-being of the church in order to prevent a false believer from entering (although he did recognize child conversion, as Dee referred to above). I couldn’t find a quote I was looking for, but here is a sermon by Spurgeon entitled “False Professors Solemnly Warned.” Here I think he’s warning those at the top, the hypocrites causing destruction that Jesus too railed against. With the new calvinist crowd I’m afraid it’s too much about power, with those at the top trying to control what’s in the pews and beyond.
    https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/false-professors-solemnly-warned/#flipbook/

  25. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Precisement, as Poirot would say ( except that he would add the accent over the first “e,” whereas I don’t know how).

    Précisément indeed (You have to set your keyboard to English International for the accents)! Max’s quote is what we’re talking about.

  26. “I will say broadly that I have more confidence in the spiritual life of the children that I have received into this church than I have in the spiritual condition of the adults thus received.” —Charles Spurgeon, “Jesus and the Children”

    “If there were two enquirers before me now—a child and a man—and I received from each the same testimony, I should have no more right to distrust the child than to suspect the man! In fact, if suspicions must come in anywhere, it ought rather to be exercised towards the adult than in reference to the child who is far less likely to be guilty of hypocrisy than the man and far less likely to have borrowed his words and phrases!” —Charles Spurgeon, “Receiving the Kingdom of God as Little Child”

  27. Max,

    Agreed, it is absolute folly to claim that you have God and His ways all figured out. His ways are higher than ours and so is His thoughts. Foolish is the man who falls for this kind of total b.s. Let there be some mystery in your religion, God is big enough for that…

  28. Ted: I do agree with him and Dever that false conversions are a thing

    As do I. I spent 70+ years in Southern Baptist life with a lot of folks who were “saved” and baptized for years with no evidence of Christ in their lives … including many who served as deacons/elders. But tossing out all conversion experiences of children as counterfeit is pushing things too far.

  29. Ted: Platt, Dever, and crowd look to Charles Spurgeon, a British reformed baptist, for inspiration and have abandoned the free-will Wesleyan style that was more common in the US.

    “If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirts. But since He didn’t I must preach “whosoever will” and when “whatsoever” believes I know that he is one of the elect.” (Charles Spurgeon)

  30. Max: But tossing out all conversion experiences of children as counterfeit is pushing things too far.

    Agreed. I don’t think Langston Hughes was calling all child conversions counterfeit either, although he reports that he himself and his friend Westley were guilty of it.

    I think we’re supposed to let God sort out the wheat from the chaff, unless as Spurgeon suggests the “false professor” is in a position of influence.

  31. Max: “If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirts.

    OK, so Spurgeon was saying that he had to give people the benefit of the doubt and let God deal with it in the end? I like that. But there’s still a quote by Spurgeon from a promotional video on Calvinism that I remember as ominous. It may have been a misquote. That would not surprise me.

  32. I think it would serve these men to worry about abusers and truly evil men and women in their midsts and leave the wheat and tares to God, as Jesus instructs.

  33. Ted: I think we’re supposed to let God sort out the wheat from the chaff, unless as Spurgeon suggests the “false professor” is in a position of influence.

    Exactly. Without correction, false professors find their way into pulpits and elder boards across America. They have been the subjects of many TWW posts. All that glitters is not gold.

  34. Bridget: I think it would serve these men to worry about abusers and truly evil men and women in their midsts and leave the wheat and tares to God, as Jesus instructs.

    As God would say “Bingo!”

  35. Max: Both sides (Calvinists and non-Calvinists) claim Spurgeon as their own.

    This is a known mind game called “All Great Men Are”, where a group claims major historical figures as “One of US! See? See? See?”

    The most common (to the point of urban legend) type example had to do with Gay Activists in the Seventies/Eighties claiming most every famous historical personage as “One of US”.

  36. Max: Max: “whatsoever” believes

    should read “whosoever” believes

    How about “whosoever believes whatsoever”?
    That should cover all the bases and brain-fogs.

  37. Ted: Précisément indeed (You have to set your keyboard to English International for the accents)! Max’s quote is what we’re talking about.

    Thank you!

  38. H. Boyce Taylor, the pastor whose idea inspired the SBC’s Cooperative Program, was 9 years old when converted and baptized:

    http://westernrecorder.org/2721.article

    “At a revival in Auburn in 1879, the pastor’s 9-year-old son Boyce was converted. His father was concerned about his son’s young age. Yet after Coleman* counseled with the boy, he declared, “That boy is as much saved as I am.” The boy was H. Boyce Taylor, who went on to be the long-time pastor of First Baptist Church of Murray and is given credit for the idea of the Cooperative Program.”

    *Coleman = James Smith Coleman, founder and pastor of FBC Madisonville (church that ordained Mark Dever!)

  39. Max: Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God. Scripture speaks much about the free will of man. It all comes together in salvation in a way that is beyond human comprehension.

    And when both are True, you have a paradox.

    To attempt to put the mind of God into a neat systematic theological box is to stand in arrogance before the Creator.

    And instead of accepting the paradox, they try to resolve it in a CONVOLUTED systematic theological box.

    Remember Dispensationalism?
    Same dynamic:
    Square Peg, Round Hole, Sledgehammer.
    “YOU’LL FIT! (SMASH!) YOU’LL FIT! (SMASH!) YOU’LL FIT!”

  40. Jeffrey Chalmers: Instead of quoting “Spurgeon”, why not quote Christ’s beatitudes??

    The New Calvinists don’t read the words in red much. They prefer to quote reformed icons instead … or twist the epistles of Paul to make them fit their theology.

  41. Wow… interesting post…. The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, GARBC, would not be happy with Dr. Dever’s “message”.
    As many of you know, I was mostly raised, grew up, in either a GARBC church, or Evangelical Free Church, and attended a GARBC 7-12 grade school. If you could us one word for GARBC, it is “fundamentalist”. If you could use a phrase, it is “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”.
    GARGC spun out of American Baptist because they were to liberal.
    I just looked up their “distinctive”… under ordinances, they have two: Baptism and Lord’s supper..
    In all my years with GARBC, I saw MANY kids baptized, and communion was open to all that professed faith in Christ…
    Dear old Dr Dever is very dishonest.. while I do not agree with the extreme “fundamentalism” of GARBC, they are VERY much into the “priesthood” of the believer, for which I will forever be grateful for being taught..
    GARBC is VERY Baptist and would VERY MUCH object to dear Dr Deaver.

  42. Max,

    I would much rather do what Christ said is “blessed”, than what some old dead white man said… and remember, I am and old white man, and Christ is neither dead, nor white! Or so my faith says..

  43. Our family was considering going to a 9Marks church when this very issue arose. We already had 2 baptized children which would have been awkward. The truly baffling part is the pastor made a huge deal out of driving an automobile as a sign of maturity and autonomy.

    We also have a mentally disabled child who had professed faith, but was unbaptized. I asked the pastor, “How will this child, who loves Jesus ever be allowed to be baptized?” He had nothing. He tried to backpedal, but the fact is that the strict 9Marks paradigm falls flat to basic biblical teaching. It rejects simple faith.

  44. I’m a Lutheran (like Dee), and don’t disagree with the objections raised here, but curious: why raise them at all? Do very many people care what Dever believes or what his church practices? If Christians in his area disagree with his church’s practice, there are plenty of other churches around. Calling Christians out for sinful leadership is one thing, but this doesn’t strike me as that.

  45. Max: Their mission is to control and conquer the religious kingdom through manipulation, intimidation, and domination …

    For $$$? For their own purposes? Obviously, with your list of what they do not do (start with the James’ mandate of widows & orphans, definitely not their deal), they are not in it for the Kingdom.

    Very much like Jesus was dealing with in His day. Eventually, Jesus was on the cross, and guess who put Him there …

    Wonder what the chef-d’œuvre of our modern day religious elite will be … There is an end game. Wonder where we will end up. The Elect or Remnant and … ?

  46. linda: But my understanding of scripture again is that there are NO unbaptized believers. The baptism that counts is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and no church or council can either refuse or deliver that.

    The time element being, when the Holy Spirit delivers.

  47. I see reports of baptizing children under six and I find it pretty appalling. A friend of mine was baptized at age three. There’s not a big difference between infant and three. In my opinion. I think 13 is a good age, the age of accountability in Jewish custom. But if someone desires to be baptized, you must take that desire seriously.

  48. Max,

    Here is Spurgeon’s own assessment. “We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold men to the vital truth.”[18] The clear implication to both Spurgeon and Shindler was that a high view of Scripture goes hand in hand with a high view of divine sovereignty.

  49. There are (limited) precedents for Mr Dever’s view. In the 16th &17th centuries. There were small groups and associations of Anabaptists in Central/Eastern Europe who wouldn’t baptise people until they were 30 years old. (The Radical Revolution).

  50. geoff y: I’m a Lutheran (like Dee), and don’t disagree with the objections raised here, but curious: why raise them at all? Do very many people care what Dever believes or what his church practices?

    Good point, Geoff, but it’s not just Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Mark Dever’s 9Marks network has become a large component in the Southern Baptist “conservative resurgence” that appears to be moving north and causing concern here too. It’s not the idea of “conservative” that’s the problem, in my opinion (I am very conservative theologically) as the clandestine, “stealth” manner in which it’s being done, as well as the questionable and downright unbiblical doctrine that they’re insisting is biblical—and that their doctrines MUST be put into place or a church is not behaving scripturally and therefore is out of the will of God.

    This showed up at our local First Baptist about 2014, which had been my church for more than 20 years and I had recently term-limited out as deacon. It’s still my wife’s church (she’s currently a deacon), and she’s fending off a renewed effort to move into 9Marks, without anyone quite mentioning 9Marks. This movement seems content to clone the effort, much like IBM and Microsoft did with the clone PC computers back in the 90s. Same PC, different label. Almost drove Apple out of business, but that’s a different story.

    A couple of other prominent churches nearby have gone this route, one a congregational church that acts like a reformed Southern Baptist church; the other one American Baptist—many of which are on the liberal side here in Maine.

    To me, it’s the extra-biblical matters that they have raised to the level of doctrine, and the dishonest, stealth methods of propagating, that are the problem. Any many good people are getting sucked into this because they’re pressured into thinking that they must run their church “biblically.”

  51. Lowlandseer: The clear implication to both Spurgeon and Shindler was that a high view of Scripture goes hand in hand with a high view of divine sovereignty.

    The New Calvinists also have a high view of themselves! They elevate the likes of Piper and Dever, but subordinate Jesus – not good.

  52. geoff y: Do very many people care what Dever believes or what his church practices?

    What?!!! Dever and other New Calvinist elite have been leading a rebellion to take over the American church, to restore the “gospel” that the rest of Christendom has lost (Calvinism = gospel). They alone hold truth, or so they believe. Countless thousands follow their aberrant belief and practice. We are darn near losing a generation of church folks to these guys. When the New Calvinism bubble breaks (it will), a great multitude will be disillusioned and confused … they may never seek God again (too bad they found Dever before they found Him). Who cares what Dever believes and practices? I DO!!

  53. Ted: It’s still my wife’s church (she’s currently a deacon), and she’s fending off a renewed effort to move into 9Marks

    She would no longer be a deacon in a 9Marks church … she would only be barely human.

  54. Ted: it’s the extra-biblical matters that they have raised to the level of doctrine, and the dishonest, stealth methods of propagating, that are the problem

    The New Calvinist modus operandi is all about extra-biblical teaching through stealth and deception.

  55. Max,

    Indeed they do. Here is Mr Dever’s rather holier than thou assessment of paedobaptist friends –

    “I certainly do not think my paedobaptist brethren are intentionally sinning in this. In fact, they even think that they are obeying God so, short of them changing their understanding of the Bible’s teaching on this, I can’t expect any “repentance,” because they lovingly but firmly disagree with the Baptist understanding of this.”

    Mr Dever, despite having studied in the mainly paedobaptist UK, still hasn’t grasped its theology or the possibility that he is the one who is mistaken.

  56. Max: She would no longer be a deacon in a 9Marks church … she would only be barely human.

    You’re essentially right. The plan is to install elders (all-male revue) yet keep the diaconate, which is made up of department heads, women included. Women may be deacons, but never elders with this crowd.

  57. Lowlandseer: Mr Dever … hasn’t grasped … the possibility that he is the one who is mistaken

    That will never happen with these boys. They alone hold truth. The arrogance of the New Calvinist elite is reaching unBiblical proportion.

  58. Ted: Women may be deacons, but never elders with this crowd.

    “Man is the image of God directly, woman is the image of God only through the man … Because man was created by God in His image first, man alone was created in a direct and unmediated fashion as the image of God, manifesting then the glory of God in man, that is male man … It may be best to understand the original creation of male and female as one in which the male was made in the image of God in a direct, unmediated and unilateral fashion, while the female was made image of God through the man and hence in a indirect, mediated and derivative fashion.” – Bruce Ware

    Thus, in you wife’s church under New Calvinist 9Marxists, she would be a mere indirect, mediated derivative of the image of God. Only male elders can be the real deal.

  59. Max: … was a Calvinist resurgence in disguise.

    Max, it’s kind of interesting. At First Baptist it hasn’t been Calvinism so much, it’s more about the “need” to have elders (all male) to support the pastor, who is also supposed to be considered an elder. The diaconate would remain with this structure, although subordinate to the elders.

    In the early days of the push there were videos about Calvinism (referred to as “Doctrines of Grace”) but that pastor has retired, his successor quit in September, and the current crowd isn’t really theological. And there’s an interim pastor from among the ranks, our former youth pastor (Covid has complicated church). But they are at least convinced of the need for male elders, and they’re into the CBMW thing (Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood). Calvinism hasn’t really been the driving force.

    Irony is, I’m now attending a congregational church with a Presbyterian pastor who acknowledges that he’s a 5-point Calvinist. But he doesn’t preach it (well, neither did First Baptist, other than a few videos). It’s merely his lens to understand the gospel, and I’m OK with that. It’s a valid lens, as long as it doesn’t BECOME the gospel. Presbyterians have been Calvinists for 500 years and have matured in it, while Baptists don’t know what to do with it, like teenagers discovering sex.

  60. Max: Thus, in you wife’s church under New Calvinist 9Marxists, she would be a mere indirect, mediated derivative of the image of God. Only male elders can be the real deal.

    We were posting at the same time. No question females on the diaconate would be subordinate, but like many churches it’s the women who get things done, and most of the men aren’t unreasonable.

    As for Bruce Ware, he and Wayne Grudem will have a lot to answer for. In a reading of Genesis 1, God made man in his (God’s) own image, male and female created he them. It’s not until the (alternate, and contrasting) creation story in Genesis 2 that woman is made from man (and therefore subordinate?) and later the curse as a result of the fall. But man is made from the dust and mud. Is he therefore subordinate to the mud?

  61. Ted: Presbyterians have been Calvinists for 500 years and have matured in it, while Baptists don’t know what to do with it, like teenagers discovering sex.

    Actually, Calvinism has been around for a long time in the Baptist world as well. The London Baptist Confession of 1689 is nearly a mirror image of the Westminster Confession of Faith written in 1646.

    “The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, also called the Second London Baptist Confession, was written by Particular Baptists, who held to a Calvinistic soteriology in England to give a formal expression of their Christian faith from a Baptist perspective.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1689_Baptist_Confession_of_Faith

  62. Todd Wilhelm: Actually, Calvinism has been around for a long time in the Baptist world as well.

    You’re right, Todd, and I suppose Charles Spurgeon is evidence of that. My former pastor brought up similar points, even though he grew up in a Wesleyan baptist tradition.

    But are the calvinist roots very deep among baptists in the US? Or was that mostly over there in England? The 9Marks (and recent SBC) effort to “revitalize” churches has targeted non-calvinist baptist churches, of which there are many.

  63. Ted: But are the calvinist roots very deep among baptists in the US? Or was that mostly over there in England?

    I am no expert on the roots of Baptist Calvinists and I have not done a deep dive on the men who made Dever’s list. I have stumbled across a few interesting facts. having nothing to do with Calvinism, about a few of the listed men.

    John Broadus was the 2nd President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was also a Captain in the Confederacy, a slaveholder, and had this to say:
    “We must not forget that the Negroes…many of them are greatly superior to others in character, but the great mass of them belong to a very low grade of humanity.” https://twitter.com/ThouArtTheMan/status/1378101472169127936?s=20

    Patrick Hues Mell wrote a book in 1844 titled “Slavery A Treatise, Showing that Slavery is Neither a Moral, Political, Nor Social Evil
    https://www.google.com/books/edition/Slavery/QHumAQAACAAJ?hl=en

    J.R. Graves “preached that the ancient view of Baptists was that there was not an invisible, universal church of all the saved. Only local churches had authority to baptize, to administer communion, to send missionaries, and to ordain ministers. The Landmark Baptists called for the Convention to give back the authority to local churches in mission work by rejecting the board system and adopting local church sponsored mission work.”

    “Three “Landmarks” were emphasized:

    1. Church succession of an unbroken lineage of authority and doctrine from the time of the founding of the first church by Jesus Christ when He called the disciples in Galilee to the present age.

    2. The local, visible assembly of saved, baptized believer, covenanted together to carry out the work of the Lord is the only type of church. There is no universal body of believers, and scriptural authority is only given to local bodies, each congregation being recognized as the body of Christ.

    3. Baptism, administered by scriptural authority (a local church) to a scriptural candidate (a person professing faith in Christ) by a scriptural mode (immersion in water). This ruled out pedobaptism, sprinkling, and any baptism administered by a denomination or congregation that is not of like faith and practice.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Baptist_Association

    Landmarkism is a type of Baptist ecclesiology developed in the American South in the mid-19th century. It is committed to a strong version of the perpetuity theory of Baptist origins, attributing an unbroken continuity and unique legitimacy to the Baptist movement since the apostolic period. It includes belief in the exclusive validity of Baptist churches and invalidity of non-Baptist liturgical forms and practices. It led to intense debates and splits in the Baptist community.

    The movement began in the Southern United States in 1851, shaped by James Robinson Graves of Tennessee, and Ben M. Bogard of Arkansas. The movement was a reaction to religious progressivism earlier in the century. At the time it arose, its proponents claimed Landmarkism was a return to what Baptists had previously believed, while scholars since then have claimed it was “a major departure”.

    In 1859, the Southern Baptist Convention approved several resolutions disapproving of Landmarkism, which led to adherents gradually withdrawing from the Southern Baptist Convention “to form their own churches and associations and create an independent Landmark Baptist tradition.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landmarkism

  64. Years ago Dever suggested that advocating baby “baptisms” was a sin that barred Presbyterians like his pal Ligon Duncan from communion at CHBC’s Lord’s Table.

    Well, not any more, apparently, for Lig (a special case):

    https://sbcvoices.com/my-beliefs-about-the-extent-of-communion/#comment-230107

    Nick Horton: “I attended a 9Marks Weekender [9Marksism training session at CHBC]…Someone asked them what they would do if a Presbyterian was there at CHBC and desired communion…Ligon Duncan was mentioned, as he has taken communion there, but Mark said that Ligon has been baptized as a believer”

    That’s right, it came out that Ligon Duncan, although he advocates for it now, was not himself baptized as a baby, so he gets a pass now, at CHBC!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkqeQUFsBpg

    Ligon Duncan, three minute mark: “…I was not baptized as an infant. My two brothers, my younger brothers, were; but I was not.”

  65. Ted: Women may be deacons, but never elders with this crowd.

    I predict that ‘this crowd’ (religion wise) will not see the 22nd century.
    More and more people of faith are doing their own research into a gender based hierarchy allegedly established in Genesis, and are finding out that the Bible teaches no such thing.

  66. Todd Wilhelm: John Broadus was the 2nd President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was also a Captain in the Confederacy, a slaveholder, and had this to say:
    “We must not forget that the Negroes…many of them are greatly superior to others in character, but the great mass of them belong to a very low grade of humanity.”

    SBC Founders were Calvinist slaveholders, including many pastors and deacons. They believed sovereign God was on their side during the Civil War, until early Confederate victories turned to defeat. After the War, Southern Baptists distanced themselves from the Founders’ theology and remained distinctly non-Calvinist in belief and practice for 150 years. That is, until Al Mohler and his Mohlerites started dragging the denomination back to their theological roots, without asking millions of non-Calvinist members if they wanted to go there! Only a very low grade of humanity would do that!

  67. Ted: man is made from the dust and mud. Is he therefore subordinate to the mud?

    Only those holding to a certain theology 🙂

  68. Ted: Presbyterians have been Calvinists for 500 years and have matured in it, while Baptists don’t know what to do with it

    While I may not agree with the tenets of their theology, I have found classical Calvinists to be civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith. New Calvinism is another beast altogether … it is militant and aggressive with arrogant leaders who believe they alone hold truth.

  69. Jon Zelin: It rejects simple faith.

    Talking with a friend, daughter of a Methodist pastor, we discussed how young people profess Jesus as Lord, and get baptized, then struggle with their commitment vs peer pressure. Later, the young adult wants to re-commit and re-baptize at church. The pastor daughter friend commented, “Why not honor this young person struggling to solidify their commitment and finally get it right (in their own mind and soul)? What’s the problem? Too much traffic at the tank?”

  70. We have testimony from a (real) SBC Founder about what most Baptists believed back then.

    From James B. Taylor’s work titled Virginia Baptist Ministers, written in the 1850s:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=nC43AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA289

    “the view now generally adopted by the Baptists [is] that the atonement is general in its nature”

    Taylor travelled all around the South (was the first Secretary of the SBC’s Foreign Mission Board).

    Taylor, although a Founder of the SBC, didn’t make it on Dever’s (deceptively selective) list; he was converted and baptized at age 12 or 13:

    https://sbhla.org/biographies/james-barnett-taylor/

    “b. Lincolnshire, England, Mar. 19, 1804…Pastor and foreign mission leader. After coming to America with his parents in 1805, Taylor spent 12 years in New York…his parents and then Taylor were converted and baptized into the fellowship of the First Baptist Church, New York. The family moved to Virginia in 1817.”

  71. History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia

    https://books.google.com/books?id=d8ZMAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA450

    “Rev. WILLIAM HENRY ROBERT is a lineal descendant of Dr. Pierre Robert, who emigrated to South Carolina, from France, in 1685, at the revocation of the edict of Nantes”

    “Robert’s father was James John Robert, who married Phoebe McKenzie, who was the granddaughter of Dr. George Morse, of Savannah, and who was baptized at the age of seven, by Rev. Dr. Holcombe, pastor of Savannah church.”

    “William Henry Robert was born, July 15th, 1821…Robert gave his heart to the Redeemer, and was baptized and received into the Robertville church, November 15th, 1835, at the age of fourteen.”

  72. Max: New Calvinism is another beast altogether … it is militant and aggressive with arrogant leaders who believe they alone hold truth.

    Chairman Calvin’s Red Guard.

  73. Todd Wilhelm: 1. Church succession of an unbroken lineage of authority and doctrine from the time of the founding of the first church by Jesus Christ when He called the disciples in Galilee to the present age.

    Isn’t that Apostolic Succession?

    Landmarkism is a type of Baptist ecclesiology developed in the American South in the mid-19th century. It is committed to a strong version of the perpetuity theory of Baptist origins, attributing an unbroken continuity and unique legitimacy to the Baptist movement since the apostolic period.

    Coupled with the dogma that the Church went off the rails into Romish Popery when the last Apostle’s body assumed room temperature and all was Apostasy and Heresy EXCEPT for Us. Except for “The Trail of Blood”, the shaky trace of Our One True Church in secret through all these PERSECUTED splinter groups. Except for the unbroken Secret Apostolic Succession angle, the same Church History as the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Calvary Chapel, and various Reverend Apostle Joe Soaps.

  74. Max: Thus, in you wife’s church under New Calvinist 9Marxists, she would be a mere indirect, mediated derivative of the image of God. Only male elders can be the real deal.

    Remember the marginal notes of Dake’s Annotated Bible (which have more words than the actual KJV text)? About how the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all the angels, and all “spirit animals” in Heaven are male? And females were a special creation of animals and humans for reproduction only?

    Incidentally, the Dake who annotated that Bible version ended up getting in trouble with the law for polishing his shaft in underage jail bait.

  75. Someone help me here, I think I missed something: who said all childhood conversions are false conversions? Or are some assuming not baptizing the children until they are adults equals that? The SBC church where I grew up accepted the profession of faith of anyone of any age—but would not baptize anyone younger than 12 and then the younger tweens and teens like that only after pastor met with them and felt sure they were converted to Christ, not following the crowd or responding to a very emotional appeal at summer camp.

  76. Max: That’s Dever in the image, of course, explaining to the children why they can’t be baptised

    Whose words should we believe?
    Dever of Calvin or Jesus of Nazareth?

    13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

    14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
    — From Matthew’s Gospel —

  77. Mark Dever, as a Christian shepherd is responsible to determine a parishioner conversion is real. This he takes quite seriously. For some reason, baptism and church membership are in·tri·cately linked.
    Mark Dever is concerned generally of the genuineness of conversion, baptism,
    and age 18mmeans adulthood in most states. He knows a under age individual can not legally sign a membership agreement. He knows he cannot legally disaplne a juvenile. That is the parents job. His membership stick only works with adults who are members. Mark Dever however has the right to determine the genuineness of an individual, under his pastoral care.

  78. Muff Potter: Whose words should we believe?
    Dever of Calvin or Jesus of Nazareth?

    That’s why the New Calvinists don’t talk much about Jesus. They don’t want you to know what He has to say. They conveniently leave out the words in red, lest you get wise to their false teaching about God, man, sin and salvation.

  79. 1638 Roger Williams forms the first Baptist congregation in America in Providence, Rhode Island.
    1654 Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard, is forced to resign because of his Baptist views
    1665 Thomas Goold organizes the first Baptist church in Boston.

    1682 First Baptist Church is formed in Kittery, Maine, then moves to South Carolina, becoming the first Baptist church in the South.

    1707 Congregations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey unite to form the Philadelphia Baptist Association (PBA).

    1727 Free Will Baptists are founded in North Carolina.

    1740s First Great Awakening prompts Baptist growth.
    1750 Silver Bluff Baptist Church is founded in South Carolina, the US’s oldest African American church.
    1755 PBA organizes a home missions program, alarming Baptists who fear too much organization.
    1764 Baptists found the school later called Brown University, only the seventh institution of higher education founded in the colonies.
    1773 Isaac Backus publishes An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty.
    1780 Another line of Free Will Baptists is organized in New Hampshire.
    1802 Thomas Jefferson writes to the Danbury Baptists.
    1812 Adoniram and Ann Judson and Luther Rice leave for India as Congregationalists but become convinced of Baptist doctrine.
    1814 Triennial Convention is formed in Philadelphia.
    1815 Two black Baptist ministers, Lott Carey and Collin Teague, and a white deacon, William Crane, form the first black mission society. It sends Carey and Teague to Liberia.
    1822 Baptist preacher William Miller announces the coming end of the world, beginning the Millerite movement.
    1827 Kehukee Association Declaration signals the rise of Primitive or Hard Shell Baptists.
    1832 Triennial Convention establishes Home Mission Society.
    1833 Triennial Baptists approve New Hampshire Confession of Faith.
    1840 American Baptist Missionary Convention, the first black Baptist convention, is formed.
    1844 In the “Millerites’ Great Disappointment,” the world does not end on October 22.

    1845 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is formed.

    (All this and more from Christian History Timeline: Baptist’s, 1600-2000)

  80. Lowlandseer: 1844 In the “Millerites’ Great Disappointment,” the world does not end on October 22.

    And the Millerites later split off and reorganized into the Seventh Day Adventists.

  81. Sòpwyth: Mark Dever, as a Christian shepherd is responsible to determine a parishioner conversion is real. This he takes quite seriously. For some reason, baptism and church membership are in·tri·cately linked.

    Sounds ROMISH to me.

  82. Sòpwyth: Mark Dever however has the right to determine the genuineness of an individual, under his pastoral care.

    This is the rub for many of us. New Calvinism has been called aberrant theology (heresy by some), a personality cult, an authoritarian unbalanced clergy/laity system, and other labels. It is the subject of many negative articles within the blogosphere and is a growing concern within mainline Christianity for the stealth and deception its “pastors” use to takeover non-Calvinist churches and denominations. If it is counterfeit faith, what gives a leader within it “the right to determine the genuineness of an individual, under his pastoral care”? I don’t doubt the sincerity and passion of the New Calvinist elite to promote their version of truth, but it is a misplaced passion given the aggressive methods and distorted message they use to spread ‘their’ gospel.

  83. Max,
    As a Calvinist, The Westminster Confession Of Faith give Mark Dever, as an Reformed elder, the right. That he many be found abusing the Holy Scriptures, is a matter beyond general authority of public opinion. If you sincerely believe that he is breaking Gods church administration, best continue to bring your devout requests directly to the Lord.
    It is His, Jesus church, the last time I checked… (grin)
    Is Mark Dever really pastoring 0ne of Jesus genuine true churches, is beyond my heavenly pay grade..
    I will say this, the Calvinist gospel he preaches is a lie. It all goes down hill from there.
    Inter Mission,
    Ray Anthony – Dragnet theme
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw6PO-tPTR8

  84. The following title published by Yale shows that Calvinism featured more strongly in Baptist history from its earliest days than some people like to think.

    E. BROOKS HOLIFIELD
    Theology in America
    CHRISTIAN THOUGHT FROM THE AGE OF THE PURITANS TO THE CIVIL WAR

  85. linda: The SBC church where I grew up accepted the profession of faith of anyone of any age

    Max: the stealth and deception its “pastors” use to takeover non-Calvinist churches and denominations. If it is counterfeit faith, what gives a leader within it “the right to determine the genuineness of an individual, under his pastoral care”?

    Sòpwyth,

    There is no call for “membership” except if volunteering or electing. See Linda’s at 9.27 and Max’s at 12.41 but unlike Max I see no sincerity in them and no-one has such a right except over senior appointees.

  86. Alison: I see reports of baptizing children under six and I find it pretty appalling. A friend of mine was baptized at age three. There’s not a big difference between infant and three. In my opinion. I think 13 is a good age, the age of accountability in Jewish custom. But if someone desires to be baptized, you must take that desire seriously.

    What about it is appalling? Do you think children should be raised as Christians and allowed/encouraged to declare belief at age 13? Should they have no religious training at all, and choose a religion for themselves—or not?

  87. Again, while I am no fan of Dever, this isn’t anything new among Baptists. There have always been some who set age limits, and most expect, even adults, to meet with the pastor as a candidate for baptism.

    But then again, Baptists do NOT see baptism as saving. A child can certainly come to Jesus and be saved and be turned down for baptism without any spiritual danger. The same can be said for adults, for that matter.

    Baptism is to a Baptist both a step of obedience to Christ as a witness to being already saved, and a gate to church membership. I’ve known Baptist churches that would not admit those who danced, those who smoked, children, those engaging in serial divorce and remarriage, those in ongoing affairs, those owning liquor stores, and a host of other reasons.

    Dever’s church cannot stop any child from being saved. They have every right to set what think the Bible teaches as the right parameters for baptism and church membership. That does not make them evil.

    But those that disagree with them are of course free to join churches that teach in accordance with their beliefs.

    But both this post and the comments do seem sadly to be exactly the sort of judging another the Bible does forbid. To their own Master they stand or fall.

  88. Alison: I see reports of baptizing children under six and I find it pretty appalling.

    As Lutherans, we baptize infants so I see little wrong in baptizing a 3 year old.

  89. Alison,

    I forgot to add that given the rigorous confirmation process which lasts two years, I would put any 6th grader in my church up against kids of the same age in many denominations.

  90. From Michael in UK,

    Sòpwyth,
    There is no call for “membership” except if volunteering or electing. See Linda’s at 9.27 and Max’s at 12.41 but unlike Max I see no sincerity in them and no-one has such a right except over senior appointees.

    hmmm…

    .
    Michael in UK ,

    hea,

    Respectfully, There is not an Southern Baptist Conference entity that disagrees with the authority Dever has to shepherd his flock…

    Go fish.

    Inter Mission,
    Bruce Springsteen – Cover Me
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r13kXZKe4IA

    ..

  91. dee: I would put any 6th grader in my church up against kids of the same age in many denominations.

    I would too. Lutheranism is liturgy-centric and very specific in its belief system. Confirmation classes are not easy and the curriculum is not subject to the whim and fancy of an alpha-male-cheiftain-in-the-pulpit.

  92. linda,

    Good point about the freedom to choose to attend church or not. Freedom of religion is important.

    However, bait-and-switch tactics and other deceptions on the part of religious leaders is another matter.

    For some church participants, when there is a leadership change, the new guy completely upends what was before, right in an established network of people.

    The manipulation, intimidation, then domination progression can be a subtle and destructive experience for church participants.

    In any case, the discourse around baptism here with biblical texts, and history, I find, is extremely helpful.

    The headline of some of these TWW posts could begin with: “Did you know that …” followed by the topic.

    For some (like myself), it’s a wake-up call: “No, I did not know that, but I want to read/write/discuss it as a follower of Jesus, trying to figure things out.”

    Unfortunately, churches & leaders don’t always allow discourse and discovery. It’s “my way or the highway” of the leader. Great loss.

  93. linda: this isn’t anything new among Baptists

    True. I was on the mission field on an evangelism team. One day during lunch, a local pastor told me that in his tradition, I would not be considered baptized because I had not been baptized according to his tradition. Over lunch, we compared our traditions. Then we all went out (a team of about 30 adults) and did street evangelism together.

    We disagreed but it wasn’t a deal-breaker for him, the pastor of that tradition.

    On the other hand, personally, for me, a deal-breaker is having a predator (of children or youth, like many covered here at TWW) socially active among his targets in church. In my judgement, it’s wrong.

  94. dee: given the rigorous confirmation process which lasts two years, I would put any 6th grader in my church up against kids of the same age in many denominations

    My son-in-law is a hospice chaplain. My daughter is social media manager for a Christian organization that produces children’s Bible curriculum. They both pour the Word into our grandsons (age 7 and 4), who know the Bible from Genesis to Revelation at a level that surpassess many long-time adult church members. They quote Scripture and pray. When my son-in-law feels they truly ‘know’ Christ in a way that expresses genuine faith, he will personally baptise them … their age won’t matter.

  95. Friend,

    Controlling. Gatekeeping.

    Church gatekeeping should be dealing with predators in church, predators as evidenced by Rob Downen, The Houston Chronicle. The End Game being making the church a safe place for the vulnerable. A Jesus follower church thing to do.

    What’s the End Game of Baptism Gatekeeping?

  96. Max: Shaming those who professed faith in Christ and were baptized before age 18.

    And those who were baptized as infants by faithful families who followed generations of tradition. I have records of infant baptism in our family going back to the 1700s, and child baptism to the 1600s.

    It’s just crazy to me that some folks refuse to think infant baptism is normal, when it’s in Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches all over the world, just to name a few that people might have heard of.

  97. Ava Aaronson: For some church participants, when there is a leadership change, the new guy completely upends what was before, right in an established network of people.

    For the most part, you (generic you) don’t find (and yes there may be exceptions) this dynamic in Lutheranism. In what you’ve described, the Calvary Chapel association is a good example, it’s a loose Confederation of Churches with no central government.
    Each head Honcho (Pastor) rules as an autocrat, in what they (the association) call the ‘Moses Model’. They feel it’s ‘Biblical’ and has Scriptural warrant all the way from Exodus to Paul’s letters.

  98. Friend: It’s just crazy to me that some folks refuse to think infant baptism is normal, when it’s in Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches all over the world, just to name a few that people might have heard of.

    Those same folks in some cases will also insist that the faith traditions you’ve listed, are not truly ‘Christian’.

  99. Muff Potter: Each head Honcho (Pastor) rules as an autocrat,

    Full stop right there. Not the Jesus model.

    Moreover, if they are autocrats in charge, why are their church full of felony predators, referencing the Houston Chronicle database pulled from public record.

  100. linda,

    Not exactly. I agree that in the instances you cite they should not be youth ministers, prayer leaders, group leaders, music leaders.

    I wish all denominations would completely abandon all “communion ceremonies” (but I have no specific quarrel with most oriental orthodox).

    Dever claims ownership. This is EXACTLY the same as Crabapple First with Robert Aaron Long, and EXACTLY the same as John Piper with Abraham, claiming to “restore” him (he should have been allowed to re-mingle at his own level and not be made part of the exalted caste).

    Long’s baptism was OK the first time. It was Crabapple that weaponised him with their law.

    Those who mock God’s sacraments bring down evil on everybody. This WAS pointed out by secular agnostic locals in Georgia.

    Abraham and his jigsaws is good (I only got frightened when he pretends to have the same face as John). I found his other web site and I like his art a lot.

    Christians need MORE:

    – philosophy
    – imagination
    – repetition

    Just not the vain kinds.

  101. Max,

    Gotcha! wow I didn’t know this man wielded so much influence. (I don’t interact much with his denominational circles I guess–for which I’m now grateful!)

  102. Baptized at age 16 after being raised a devout J.W. it took some years of praying, witnessing to me by taking me in and just loving me. I was abandoned by my mother at age 11 and unable to live with my alcoholic father ( he wasn’t a bad person he just couldn’t take care of himself much less any of his children). Rather than become ward of the state several Christians took me in and shared the responsibility of caring for me. I primarily lived at the Christian camp where I served since age 11. I’m incredibly blessed to have been spared going into the foster care system and becoming ward of the state or going to a very dysfunctional family. As a result of loving christians God saved me from another life. After I became a believer I wanted to get baptized because I love the Lord. If I had been in the care of christians such as the likes of Dever or any of these loons Lord knows what and where I would be today. Thankful for the Lord’s care of me.

  103. Geoff Y: I didn’t know this man wielded so much influence

    Dever is HUGE within New Calvinist ranks. Along with his buds Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, and John Piper at “Together for the Gospel (aka Calvinism)”, they have influenced thousands of young reformers with ‘their’ brand of the gospel.

    Their influence is expanding … from the T4G website: “Pastors and church leaders from over 25 denominations, all 50 states, and 62 nations gather at Together for the Gospel every other year.” https://t4g.org/about/

    The Young, Restless and Reformed movement may be winding down, but New Calvinism is not! Spiky hair and skinny jeans may be on the decline, but the NeoCal method and message continues unabated. And Dever is at the front! Yep, he has influence and thousands who listen to him are under the influence of aberrant faith.

  104. geoff y:
    I’m a Lutheran (like Dee), and don’t disagree with the objections raised here, but curious: why raise them at all? Do very many people care what Dever believes or what his church practices? If Christians in his area disagree with his church’s practice, there are plenty of other churches around. Calling Christians out for sinful leadership is one thing, but this doesn’t strike me as that.

    The problem is Dever’s 9Marks organization is making inroads into many churches. Primarily Bible churches, SBC and some Presbyterians. And although the actual 9 Marks are in and of themselves not bad, HOW 9Marks implements them is a major concern.

    For example, along with the baptism issue, 9Marks also teaches that only members of a specific congregation in good standing should be permitted to take Communion. This is more in line with Catholicism than historic Baptist teaching (which has always allowed anyone, visitors included and regardless of denomination, to partake if the person considered himself/herself to be a Christian).

    And, their implementation of church discipline has been a major issue. It’s one thing to toss members off a church roll when a congregation can’t locate them no matter how much effort is put into doing so. But they will “discipline” a member for not joining another “9Marks approved” congregation, even after the member has renounced his/her membership.

  105. linda: But then again, Baptists do NOT see baptism as saving.

    Then why are they so adamant about it?
    And by Immersion or it’s not really baptism?
    Other than its their Tribal Identifier?

  106. Dee–as a Lutheran myself, I see nothing wrong with baptizing a 3 year old myself. But of course Dever is not a Lutheran. He is a Baptist. And many Baptists through the ages will not baptize a child that young. Around here, the local pastors usually will baptize younger kids down through around 8 or so, but only after meeting with the child, and their parents, and being as sure as one human being can be that the candidate for baptism has some rudimentary understanding of salvation.

    Would I attend Dever’s church? Obviously not. But if the members of his church don’t like his stand, they are free to change it or walk away. That they don’t tells me they agree with him. I may think they are all wet (no pun intended) but they have the right to run their church the way they see fit.

    I first became a Lutheran in the 1990’s. With many moves we learned that not every Lutheran church allows first communion at the same age. One synod we were in instructed kids at age 6, then welcomed them to communion. Other synods we have been in or visited insisted no communion until confirmation was complete (I believe our church does this.) And one left it up to parents, so I have seen newborns given the slightest bit of host soaked in the wine, then placed on their inner lip.

    Are Lutherans that do it one way “right” and all the others “wrong?” Or do we stand with Luther and the priesthood of the believer?

  107. There is a legitimate concern about bumping up statistics. Jack Hyles was notorious for his “1,2,3, repeat after me” Quick Prayer-ism, and the inflated statistics which followed. And of course you have the seeker-sensitive church movement (a/k/a “Bible Lite” of which Fellowship Church — a church with whom Dee and I both have history, not good either) which is just as bad.

    But historically Baptists have NEVER prohibited children from being baptized, so long as the parents were OK with it. Dever is WAY outside the norm.

    I’ve always thought: what if I lived in a town where the only three options were a 9Marks church, an IFB church, and a NAR church? I think I’d go with NAR: if you can handle the constant pushes for $$$, they tend to be not as bad about everything else.

  108. Sòpwyth:
    Max,
    As a Calvinist, The Westminster Confession Of Faith give Mark Dever, as an Reformed elder, the right. That he many be found abusing the Holy Scriptures, is a matter beyond general authority of public opinion. If you sincerely believe that he is breaking Gods church administration, best continue to bring your devout requests directly to the Lord.
    It is His, Jesus church, the last time I checked… (grin)
    Is Mark Dever really pastoring 0ne of Jesus genuine true churches, is beyond my heavenly pay grade..
    I will say this, the Calvinist gospel he preaches is a lie. It all goes down hill from there.
    Inter Mission,
    Ray Anthony – Dragnet theme
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw6PO-tPTR8

    I’m very intrigued by this comment. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never encountered a person expressing this thought process. You have several things happening at once here, and seem to be connecting them:
    Westminster..
    Rights..
    God..
    Prayer..

    Are these actual connections and Rights, and is there an intended outcome?

  109. Headless Unicorn Guy: Sounds ROMISH to me.

    The majority of Calvinism is Augustine’s theology repackaged. In his Institutes, Calvin quotes Augustine more than the Bible, and makes many references to his infant baptism but none to any salvation experience as an adult (though he claimed to have repudiated Catholicism). AND Calvin routinely persecuted the Anabaptists.

  110. Headless Unicorn Guy: Then why are they so adamant about it?
    And by Immersion or it’s not really baptism?
    Other than its their Tribal Identifier?

    It goes back to their Anabaptist roots where they wanted to show a clear break with Rome and its infant baptism practices.

  111. geoff y: Do very many people care what Dever believes or what his church practices? I

    Dever is pushed by many of those involved involved in the Reformed baptist movement which means that manyin the SBC would be forced to sign membership contracts and endure unjust dicpline. In 2015, I met Todd Wilhelm who now writes for TWW. I have written about 9 Marx on a regular basis.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/10/30/my-my-dubai-9-marks-played-hardball-while-lifeway-david-platt-stretched-the-truth/

    His influence in the conservative Reformed movement is incredible. When I joined my Lutheran church, I was relieved to find that few people know about 9 Marx or church contracts.

    I’ve written extensively about this on TWW. I am grateful I no longer have to deal with this on a personal level. I do not recommend that anyone join a 9Marx church.

  112. This book was just highlighted to me in a dream so here it is in its entirety. I wonder what it might say to you?

    PROVERBS 29

    Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

    When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

    A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

    By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.

    Those who flatter their neighbors
    are spreading nets for their feet.

    Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

    The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

    Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

    If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

    The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
    and seek to kill the upright.

    Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

    If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

    The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

    If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established forever.

    A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

    When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

    Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

    Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

    Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

    Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

    A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

    An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

    Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

    The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

    Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

    Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

    The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

  113. linda: both this post and the comments do seem sadly to be exactly the sort of judging another the Bible does forbid.

    Correcting Dever’s inaccurate contentions about Baptist history is not “Bible-forbidden judging of another”

  114. Nathan Priddis,

    One may not like Devers outcomes, or how he obtained his authority to shepherd his flock, but he has it. In his mind, the genuineness of an individuals Christian devotion is of utmost importance, that his gospel has no ring of truth, is another story…

  115. Nathan Priddis,

    Calvin weaponized Augustine theological writings, Mark Dever is just following Calvins playbook. The disaster is baked in before the brand name goes on…

  116. Mark R,

    Facts are handy things to have around. Calvin quotes Scripture approximately 6048 times and quotes Augustine 672 times.
    And as for Calvin persecuting Anabaptists, well, you would have to put Luther and Zwingli and possibly even the RC church before him. Even then, it wasn’t so much their faith that was the trouble, it was the fact that they were revolutionaries in the real sense of the word and they tried to cause havoc throughout Europe., the Peasant Wars and the taking of Munster being examples.

  117. Lowlandseer:
    Mark R,

    Facts are handy things to have around. Calvin quotes Scripture approximately 6048 times and quotes Augustine 672 times.
    And as for Calvin persecuting Anabaptists, well, you would have to put Luther and Zwingli and possibly even the RC church before him. Even then, it wasn’t so much their faith that was the trouble, it was the fact that they were revolutionaries in the real sense of the word and they tried to cause havoc throughout Europe., the Peasant Wars and the taking of Munster being examples.

    It’s a struggle for me to recall either Calvin or Augustine. Both of their crowning achievements run 600 or 700 pages if I remember right.

    My memory of Calvin is not the number of quotes, but how he quotes. Augustine was how he interpreted Scripture. The authority of his interpretation was it’s foundation of Augustine. I came away identifying Augustine as the first Calvinist.

    I also felt that one does not have the ultimate goal as correct interpretation, but rather a goal of love. One can reach such a place of love, whereby Scripture is no longer needed, except for teaching of others.( this from Augustine )

    MOD: Edited to remove large block of duplicated quoting. GBTC

  118. Mark Dever offers up (near-)adult baptism ages of, among others, J.M. PENDLETON (17, but Dever says 18) and J.R. GRAVES (14, but Dever says 15)

    [Note: neither baptism was long-delayed after conversion]

    Dever concluded his recitation of his selective list with: “All had jobs by the time they were baptized. Baptist Christians used to wait longer before they encouraged their children to be baptized.”

    But in Pendleton’s autobiography, Pendleton says of his child:

    “We named her Letitia after a dear friend. She was a weakly child and we feared she would not live. The Lord preserved her life and in the days of her youth she became a Christian and received baptism at my hands.”

    https://books.google.com/books?id=d6bSAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA61

    She was just 13!

    And get this: Pendleton’s daughter’s conversion came under the ministry of visiting preacher J.R. Graves!

  119. Sòpwyth:
    Nathan Priddis,

    One may not like Devers outcomes, or how he obtained his authority to shepherd his flock, but he has it. In his mind, the genuineness of an individuals Christian devotion is of utmost importance, that his gospel has no ring of truth, is another story…

    Ok. Yes the influence grants at least defacto authority.

    What about actual authority?
    This is the House of God. Hod gas established positions and gifts, such Elder and Apostle, and prophecy.

    Setting aside the complexities of past official Church pronouncements, do said pronouncements carry weight? Specifically, Westminster and Dort?

  120. Apostle? that’s CJ Mahaney.

    9Mark Dever is…Prophet!

    SBC President J.D. Greear:

    https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-blogs/153356-jd_greear_are_there_modern_day_prophets_in_the_church.html

    Greear: “I am very grateful for the prophets God has raised up”

    Greear: “my friend David Platt….another example: Mark Dever”

    Greear: “God is using them to speak to us. We must heed the message being given and ask God what we need to do with the truths they embody”

  121. Nathan Priddis: influence grants at least defacto authority

    The authority of Christ is waning in much of the American church; He has little influence. Man is on the throne; we’re doing church without God in many places.

  122. Friend:
    You made my day! Thank you. As Mark Dever would readily agree, the teensiest little details matter!

    Anything I can do help. I’m practically feeling like I’m on a mission from God, to make your day better.

  123. Headless Unicorn Guy: What do you think I had in mind while I was writing that?

    Maybe I got it from you. Sadly, thomasthedoubter.com (Tom’s Doubts, by Saji George), doesn’t seem to be out there any more. But you can still google for some of his cartoons.

  124. From the beginning Baptist where Calvinist. Lutherans where bottled up in N.Europe and Scandinavia. Everything else was Calvinist or somewhat influenced by Calvinist thought. Lutheran regions weren’t really engaged in seaborn trade to the extent of Holland and England.

    Methodism and Dispensationism would be later developments. But Darby’s Disp was still influenced by Calvinism, as he held to Calvin’s teachings. After Darby’s last missionary journey to America, Disp was promoted by Calvinist. While Neo-Calvinism only dates from the start of the 1900’s, it was just a revival, not an invention of Reform Theology.

  125. Nathan Priddis: Methodism and Dispensationism would be later developments. But Darby’s Disp was still influenced by Calvinism, as he held to Calvin’s teachings.

    So exactly what were the Calvinist elements in Dispy?

    Dispy was an attempt to reconcile ALL apparent variations in the Bible by splitting them off into separate chronological “dispensations”. Like any airtight system, not only did if shove God into its box (“YOU’LL FIT! YOU’LL FIT! YOU’LL FIT!”) but it bent reality and history into its Perfect System. Reality is not Boolean.

  126. Nathan Priddis: While Neo-Calvinism only dates from the start of the 1900’s

    Nathan, I’ve been trying to use the term “new calvinism” rather that “Neo” Calvinism. The Neo that you might be referring to was a movement within Dutch Calvinism in the early 20th century. The “new” calvinism that’s infiltrating baptist churches today seems to be a product of the late 20th century, influenced by a backlash to “liberal” policies, political and theological, a backlash that brought about the Moral Majority, Reagan’s presidency, the Southern Baptist Conservative Resurgence, the purge of Southern Baptist seminaries, 9Marks, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, etc.

    While they do insist on the sovereignty of God (as do I), it translates into a sovereignty of men over women in church politics and, if they can get away with it, in the home. Some, such as theologians Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem, have even subordinated Christ to the Father in the Trinity in a bizarre attempt to illustrate woman’s subordination to man.

    And, I’m noticing, their evangelistic and missionary zeal in fulfilling the Great Commission seems to have re-targeted. It’s now churches in the U.S. in need of “revitalizing” that are in their sights, not so much the unchurched or the heathens overseas.

  127. Nathan Priddis: I’m practically feeling like I’m on a mission from God, to make your day better.

    “NO, MA’AM. WE’RE MUSICIANS. WE’RE ON A MISSION FROM GOD.”
    (with Miss Heavy Weapons on our tail the whole way)

  128. Mark R: Headless Unicorn Guy: Then why are they so adamant about it?
    And by Immersion or it’s not really baptism?
    Other than its their Tribal Identifier?

    It goes back to their Anabaptist roots where they wanted to show a clear break with Rome and its infant baptism practices.

    i.e. We have to do it this way because Enemy Christians do it this other way?
    That’s Protestant taken to its most sterile extreme.

  129. Headless Unicorn Guy: Ted: HUG, I’ve probably showed you this cartoon before.But, as my Dad used to say, “It bears repeatin’”:
    https://fromoffshore.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/christian-movements-lg-text-thomas-the-doubter.jpg

    What do you think I had in mind while I was writing that?
    Like South Park, it’s funny because it’s true.

    HUG, this is off-topic, but Gary Larson is good for comic relief.

    I’ve seen your illustration of the soon-to-be-headless unicorn, heading to the guillotine. You’ve probably seen this, but here’s another guillotine cartoon I posted a while back:
    https://fromoffshore.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/far-side-marie-antoinette.jpg

  130. Mark R: AND Calvin routinely persecuted the Anabaptists.

    EVERYBODY perescuted the Anabaptists back then.
    The only thing the Pope, Luther, and the other Reformers could agree on was a Final Solution to the Anabaptist Problem.

  131. Paul K: I think I’ve observed the same dynamic. What’s that about?

    It’s a spiritual sickness. I truly believe that many who consider themselves “elect” haven’t been elected at all. One can be very religious but not Christian. Piperism, Mohlerism, Deverism, etc. is an intellectual religious pursuit (rather than a journey with Christ) that creates “we have arrived” smugness, having no room for anyone outside the tribe or other expressions of faith (since New Calvinism is the one true way). The new reformers have drifted far off the path and may never find their way home.

  132. Headless Unicorn Guy: So exactly what were the Calvinist elements in Dispy?

    Dispy was an attempt to reconcile ALL apparent variations in the Bible by splitting them off into separate chronological “dispensations”. Like any airtight system, not only did if shove God into its box (“YOU’LL FIT! YOU’LL FIT! YOU’LL FIT!”) but it bent reality and history into its Perfect System. Reality is not Boolean.

    Headless Unicorn Guy: So exactly what were the Calvinist elements in Dispy?

    Dispy was an attempt to reconcile ALL apparent variations in the Bible by splitting them off into separate chronological “dispensations”. Like any airtight system, not only did if shove God into its box (“YOU’LL FIT! YOU’LL FIT! YOU’LL FIT!”) but it bent reality and history into its Perfect System. Reality is not Boolean.

    It started with Darby’s personal background. He was a lawyer for the Crown, but left off his profession, to become a Curate in the Church of Ireland. Yes he created a new system, but also brought old doctrines as well into Disp. He held to Calvin’s influence.

    He was a driven man, and was accompanied by an assistant. The assistant made notes of his constant sermons, and edited these into commentary set. (pub-1866) This was the basic framework of Disp.

    Darby made 3?..I think..missionary trips to Canada/US/Australia via San Francisco. He was recieved into significant US pulpits in the Mid-West and North East. These are Calvinist preaching pulpits. One very notable pastor was J.A.Brooks, in St Louis. Brooks was a major figure in linking Princeton Theology, and the Niagra Bible Conferences.
    Brooks also mentored a guy named Scolfield. Scofield is Darby’s spiritual grandson.

    Calvinism never really left Disp, even if Disp left Cannons, Councils and Confessions.

  133. Ted,

    I think you make a good distinction. I focused on Kuyper’s Spheres doctrine, and lumped all that descended from it together, regardless of era.

  134. Please understand that Mark Devers religious system does not work on children. This is why he wants to wait until individuals are adults and out of there parents home. The individuals must be made accountable to his religious system. Because of this, One must take caution when encountering these Calvinist people. Your children must be made safe from this nefarious system.

  135. Sòpwyth: Please understand that Mark Devers religious system does not work on children. This is why he wants to wait until individuals are adults and out of their parents home.

    Yeah, have your children wait until 18 before they can be spiritually abused. In the meantime, they can sit quietly with you in a 9Marxist church and watch you be abused and and spiritually drained in humble submission to New Calvinist law. I’m sure they can’t wait until they grow up!

  136. Ted: Some, such as theologians Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem, have even subordinated Christ to the Father in the Trinity in a bizarre attempt to illustrate woman’s subordination to man.

    Whatever happened to that near religious war (so to speak), I know they got called on the carpet for messing with the trinity, so what happened?
    Did they back-pedal?
    Redefine trinitarianism?
    Affirm their shtick all the more?

  137. Muff Potter: Whatever happened to that near religious war (so to speak), I know they got called on the carpet for messing with the trinity, so what happened?

    Nothing happened. Herein lies a problem with false theology in America. Whenever these issues arise, the bad boys get chastised a bit but never rebuked and corrected by Christendom at large. Thus, the next ungodly movement has room to bloom and flourish. New Calvinism will run its course, like all counterfeit expressions of faith before it, but will do its damage without Nathan pointing a finger in David’s face.

  138. Muff Potter: Whatever happened to that near religious war (so to speak), I know they got called on the carpet for messing with the trinity, so what happened?
    Did they back-pedal?
    Redefine trinitarianism?
    Affirm their shtick all the more?

    I think they did backpedal. This heated up a few years ago and got some traction, but, according to a friend who belongs to the Evangelical Theological Society, when it was discussed at an annual ETS meeting they backed down. I think enough of the others demonstrated that Grudem/Ware had prostituted their hermeneutic, calling for the eternal subordination of Christ in the Trinity in order to justify the eternal subordination of women. It’s one thing to recognize that sin and the Fall created a male-female division, another to suggest that it was God’s plan from eternity. Genesis 2 describes the results of the Fall; Genesis 1 says both are made in God’s image, male and female created He them.

  139. Max: New Calvinism will run its course, like all counterfeit expressions of faith before it, but will do its damage without Nathan pointing a finger in David’s face.

    Well said, Max.

  140. Ted,

    I cannot for the life of me understand why this gender thing is so important to them. So important that they actually try to read something into Scripture that’s not there.

  141. Muff Potter: I cannot for the life of me understand why this gender thing is so important to them. So important that they actually try to read something into Scripture that’s not there.

    Perhaps they just don’t like women.

  142. Max: Perhaps they just don’t like women.

    Oh they like em’ alright, but only for certain functions.
    What amazes me most about these fools is that they have no inkling of the real power source (sexual) that women can and do exercise over them.
    Weaker vessel?
    Either Paul was clueless or he was referring to the brutal cultural constraints place on women in his time.

  143. Ted,

    Calvinism is certainly alive and well in the Phoenix Arizona area. Our church just fell to the TULIP right under our noses. It is very sly, it is cult like, and it is unloving. You would have thought that we had shot all of the Calvinist’s dogs. I understand that there is a group of Calvin pastors that are church planters working hard to create more Calvin churches. Sad…

  144. dave turner: I understand that there is a group of Calvin pastors that are church planters working hard to create more Calvin churches. Sad…

    The Southern Baptist Convention is leading the pack. They have an aggressive goal to plant 1,000 new churches per year. New Calvinists fresh out of SBC seminaries are lining up for church planter “lead pastor” jobs. This movement is not about planting Gospel churches – it’s all about planting reformed theology across America as quickly as possible.