22 October, 2007

More Churches Accepting and Affirming Calvinists in Their Midst

Austin, Texas - Pastor Micah Law is excited about the direction that his church is going these days.

"We've become more open and accepting of others" said Law, pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Austin during a recent interview with TBNN. "We know that our decision to become more open and accepting of Calvinists and Reformed people has caused a lot of trouble within our own denomination, but we feel it is the right thing to do."

Law's church is part of a growing number of churches within the Southern Baptist Convention that are declaring themselves to be Calvinist/Reformed/Sovereign Grace (CRSG)-friendly. While many SBC churches are currently struggling against Calvinistic tendencies within the denomination, some, like Riverside Baptist, are embracing the movement.

"While I myself am personally not a Calvinist, I don't think there's anything wrong with being one" claimed Law. "These people love the Lord and want to serve him too, and I don't think we should hinder them. There's no reason we should shun them or not let them become full members of our Southern Baptist churches."

But not everyone is so welcoming of the idea of a church that openly accepts Calvinists.

"I think it's absolutely terrible" said Rev. Danny Douglas, pastor of Longview Baptist Church in Onida, Arkansas. "It's one thing to say you welcome a Calvinist into your church. Of course we'd welcome one if he came, but we are going to be honest with him about his sin. For him to call himself a Christian and yet remain a Calvinist is just wrong. And these churches out there in our own denomination that are welcoming Calvinists, four and five-pointers and embracing them as brothers and sisters are in serious error."

Still others are even more infuriated by the whole tendency within the denomination.

"My son went off to college and became one of those blasted Calvinists!" shouted an angry Mark Tenderfoot, from Memphis, Tennessee. "I thought I had raised him right. We sent him off to school and a year later he comes to us and says 'Mom and dad, I'm a Calvinist.' It just broke our hearts. We still love him, but he's just not the same to us. Every time we see him we just can't get past it."

But despite objections CRSG-friendly churches continue to grow within the SBC.

"We have seen the good character of Calvinists within the SBC towards those of us who are not" stated Law. "We particularly respect Pastor Dever up at Capitol Hill Baptist, and Dr. Mohler. Both fine men of God. While I don't agree with all of their positions, they have been very gracious to those of us in the SBC with whom they differ and have done a lot for the cause of the conservative revival within our denomination."

When asked to what degree Riverside Baptist Church would allow a Calvinist to serve, Law commented,

"They are free to serve anywhere in our church. They can teach Sunday School, lead children's classes or even pursue pastoral ministry. We want Calvinists to know that they are welcome and accepted here, so that they may freely serve."

When asked if Law would marry a Calvinist couple in his church Law responded,

"Of course, if a Calvinist couple wants to marry, who am I to say that it's wrong."

14 comments:

Corey Reynolds said...

Hah! I'm coming out! I'm a CRSG!

Stefan said...

So this is what "Founders-friendly" means!

PaPaMarc said...

I can't believe it "teach Sunday School, lead children's classes". Next thing you know they will be letting them go into the mission field!

van walker said...

Of course, this still avoids the real question:

If one reads the whole of the Bible without editorial comment from better-educated Bible expositors, how does one AVOID becoming a Calvinist?

We obviously need a Bible edited to suit the private needs of the great unwashed, a Bible that doesn't carry the weight of anything controversial or suggestive of God's overall sovereignty.

The resultant edition (KJV, of course) would be pamphlet sized, thus the cost would be minimal.

But we need to act quickly! It could be your son or daughter bringing a Calvinist home to dinner!

Liberty University Student said...

You mean I can be a Calvinist and still be part of the church, too? I thought my professor was just making that up!

Jeff Voegtlin said...

So Pastor LAW and the GRACE movement are working together?

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong to believe that we are saved by Grace? Is it wrong to believe that we are DEAD in our sins and cannot even reach out to accept grace without the gift of faith? Is it wrong to believe that God gives lights ALL men with the gift of faith? Is it wrong to believe that some men will take that faith/light, see grace and grab hold and live? Is it wrong to believe that some men will squelch that faith/light and refuse the gift of grace and perish????

Sincerely,
Lamb

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Lamb,

Yes.

-Tom

Anonymous said...

Dear Tom,

Yes to which?

Sincerely,
Lamb

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Lamb,

Let me first say that this comment is getting off subject a bit. The article was supposed to be a more light-hearted approach to the Calvinist/Semi-Arminian issue within the SBC, highlighting the need to remain unified, and continuing to work together.

I'll answer your questions categorically.

>Is it wrong to believe that we are saved by Grace?

-No

>Is it wrong to believe that we are DEAD in our sins and cannot even reach out to accept grace without the gift of faith?

-It goes much deeper than this, but basically no, it's not wrong.

>Is it wrong to believe that God gives lights ALL men with the gift of faith?

-Yes, it is wrong to believe that. God does not light all men with the gift of faith. That would imply that all men have received the new birth. DEAD men cannot receive the light of the gift of faith. If they do, they are no longer dead, and thus enlightened unto salvation.

>Is it wrong to believe that some men will take that faith/light, see grace and grab hold and live?

-See the previous question. Yes, it is wrong to believe this. ALL who are given the gift of faith will grab hold and live.

>Is it wrong to believe that some men will squelch that faith/light and refuse the gift of grace and perish????

-Yes, it is wrong to believe this. DEAD men who have been made alive and given the gift of faith, have been made alive in Christ, and given a regenerate heart, a heart that cannot refuse. Furthermore, "the gift of grace" is a confusing term. Grace is already in operation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response Tom. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to spoil the lighthearted mood. I am just trying to understand the basics here.

So you are saying that ONLY some people are given faith (as a gift from God)and that everyone who God gives faith to, will be saved. So God is completely determining who will be saved by whom he give the faith to. All others will die because they were not able believe because God did not allow them what they needed, faith, in order TO believe. That's what you're saying right?

As opposed TO

God gives everyman the gift of faith. Then it is up to each man to choose whether or not he is going to use that faith to believe or deny that faith and not believe.

Am I understanding this correctly??

Sincerely,
Lamb

(I won't post anymore after this because I don't want to detract from your funny blog. Sorry about that! If you want to e-mail me, you probably have my address. Take care)

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Lamb,

To answer your question directly, yes. Only the elect are given faith, and once the gift of faith is given it will, irresistibly be exercised.

It goes back to Ephesians 2:1, and the very phrase that you used. Paul said that we were "dead" in our trespasses and sins. Let's say a person who is spiritually dead receives the gift of faith from God. Here are the possibilities,

1. He cannot accept that gift. He's dead.

2. If he's made alive to accept it, then he's no longer dead, he's alive by the supernatural power of Christ and thus elect.

To say that all men receive the gift of faith and actively either reject it or accept it of their own free will is to logically imply the following.

1. That we're not really spiritually "dead" just "dying," which is very problematic because it's not Biblical.

2. That all men are quickened unto life, given a choice, and then spiritually "killed" again if they reject. Again, not a Biblical notion.

So, God has predestined from all eternity who will be saved and elected them unto salvation. Only these are quickened unto life and given faith.

Thanks for the question.

-Tom

Anonymous said...

That all men are quickened unto life, given a choice, and then spiritually "killed" again if they reject. Again, not a Biblical notion.

Tom, when I read this I immediately thought of Hebrews 6:4-6(it must be the devil sowing seeds of confusion). Now, I have never done an in-depth study of this chapter. That being said, assuming I know nothing about exegesis, hermeneutics, blah blah, etc just thinking this means that Christ can be rejected, am I in err? It would seem just taking the bible for what it plainly states is contrary to some Calvinist teachings

rebuke me in love,
-Justin
John 6:44

Family & Fellowship said...

I guess I now have another reason why I am not SBC to many of them have a problem with us Calvinist. I w.ll stick with Bible believing fellowships.