SSB Open Discussion



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Last Friday, I completed my second term at college and then had a fun visit with Kathi (Kathi helps me on the SSB Facebook page) on Friday and Saturday.  Today, for the first time ever, I became a “former homeschooling mom” as I sent all my kids to public school – two for the very first time.

At Kathi’s suggestion, I think I’m going to pull back a bit from the blog this week and take a break from writing new posts. It will be good to have some down time while my family is adjusting to this new season of our lives.

Posts will resume on Sunday with our SSB weekly gathering, but I will keep this blog post open for discussion (and will join in, too).

So, have at it – talk about whatever you like, post articles that you come across, share what’s on your heart.

135 comments on “SSB Open Discussion

  1. Praying for you and yours. I remember the change when we put our kids in school after homeschooling 16 years. I was also going to college to renew my licensure. God will provide all you need.


  2. Lydia,

    Since our former Pastor left our church awhile back, my wife and I resumed attending. In the mean time, the seed of Neo-Calvin has been planted in our church, This being the only church in our community is hard for me to stomach.

    Are you familiar with “Lifeway” Sunday School Curriculum? What about the organization “Young Life”?


  3. JA,

    I’m not really ‘cheerleader material’ but I’ll add my (big) voice to the rest of the people who are offering congratulations – you ROCK sister! You’ve got the power! Kick back and relax – you earned it! Go, Julie Anne!! 🙂


  4. Julie Ann, please know you and your family will be in my prayers this week for our LORD’s blessing, protection, and provision. You have made a wise decision in being there for your family and from a parent’s perspective, it’s the best choice.

    Since this blog is relatively new to me, I believe we’ll all be here when you come back. May God be with all of you.

    Enjoy your week and then some!


  5. Good for you! My son went to a public high school his senior year and we both wished he had been allowed sooner. No devil there, just a bunch of wonderful, competent, dedicated professionals, and some great kids. My prayer is that the wonderfully creative holy spirit follows your kids as they wander through the rest of their school years, and rests upon your home. Thanks for your hard work. Your blog has been a huge comfort. I’m excited to hear how this next chapter of your life unfolds.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jkpvarin,

    I’ve been volunteering at high schools for the last 6 years and I haven’t seen all of that devil stuff, either.

    Our first day went well, yesterday. I escorted both the 3rd and 6th grader to the bus stop to make sure they were at the right place – they were. When I met the 3rd grader at the bus stop on his way home, he told me I didn’t need to be there because he already knew the way home. Well, alrighty then. lol

    This same little cutie pie was in bed at an appropriate time, but at 10:30 PM, he came downstairs complaining that he couldn’t sleep. Thoughts of school were occupying his mind. 🙂 So cute.


  7. I’m glad you’re taking the week off! Take this time to focus on your kids because it’s a whole new routine. Get them up, get them out, activities, meals, bed time. I know you’ll slide in well.

    Also, thoroughly enjoy your alone time (guilt free!) before school starts back up for you. Maybe you’ll get through a pile (or two) of papers! If not, no big deal. They’ll still be there for another day.


  8. Mark: I’m assuming that the Lifeway Sunday School curriculum is associated with the Lifeway stores. Am I right on that? I don’t know anything about it, but if it is connected with them, I’m surprised that they would create their own when there are some major Sunday School and VBS publishers out there. Let me take that back, I’m not surprised at all.

    As far as Young Life, I’ve only heard of it. I don’t know anything about it. It would be interesting to know about it though. Has anyone here ever participated in Young Life?


  9. I survived public school after attending years at a local, conservative Southern Baptist private Christian school, as did my brother. Looking back, I was terrified, but I’m glad we attended public school. May God bless you all in this new season.


  10. My wife headed up the Young Life program here back in the 80s. Great way to reach out with the Gospel to kids who aren’t necessarily the church-going type.


  11. Kathi and Lydia

    I don’t know anything about Lifeway other than it may be approved by the Neo-Calvin movement. Which is a concern to me.

    The same may be said about the modern Young Life organization.

    I don’t know which is why I’m asking and if anybody else reading cares to share an insight that is fine by me.

    I inquired Lydia because she may have a greater understanding of current Lifeway and Young Life.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My family has attended Young Life family camp a few times and we loved it. At the high school where I volunteer, I hear of Young Life activities going on after school. I’ve only heard positive things from the students.


  13. Young Life and Lifeway are completely unrelated organizations, Mark. I’ve never seen neo-Calvinism in Young Life’s materials. Then again, I’ve never seen classic Calvinism or Arminianism or Holiness Pentecostal or any other denominational stripe in it. The organization is principally protestant, but not exclusively since I’ve seen Catholics and Orthodox people involved as well.


  14. Congratulations on your college work! How did this last semester go? What are you taking this semester? What I liked about sending my son to public school was the diversity of cultures and ideas (both good and bad) he was exposed to. Your kids are at an age where they still come to you to discuss what they see and hear. You are the person who can help them learn how to deal with the tough things of the world in a heathy manner. I believe some parents choose to “hide” their children from the world therefore give them no tools to deal with novel ideas and situations. Then as young adults, the world becomes a place of fear. By 18, young adults aren’t as willing to go to their parents for advise if that pattern and trust hasn’t already been established. You can’t protect your kids from difficult situations, but you can coach them through the problems and temptations of life which gives them the ability to make better choices in the future. JA, with all the challenges you have experiencd in life, I know your kids have a very wise and empathic mom to help them navigate through their school years. You are a great role model for dealing with people who are bullies and how to stand up for the underdog! They will meet some incredible kids and they will also become more confident in who they are and how much they are valued! I know you are proud of your kids and I hope they can understand what an amazing mother they have! Eat lots of desserts this week!


  15. Thanks Julie Anne,

    It’s good that teens are being reached.

    I did a little research on Young Life and I’m under the impression that Doctrinal Strife may become a distraction within the organization.


  16. Ann,

    When I signed up for summer term, I signed up for one less class thinking it would lighten my load. HAHAHAHAHAHA. For summer term, they cram 11 wks into 8 wks and both classes were online, so it was actually more difficult than the previous term. Sociology was great – we had reading assignments from the text and the book “Amazing Grace” by Kozol (highly recommend this book). There was lots of work to do (reports/online class discussion), but it went very smoothly and it was good to be able to think of stories I’m familiar with as I wrote my reports. I did reports on mandatory reporting and failure to report, trafficking, economic class divide, poverty, etc. I did a report on cyber bullying leading to suicide. I didn’t use the Caner story, but you can be sure that was in my mind and it was good to look up references on cyber bullying/teen depression/suicide. It’s interesting how the patterns of spiritual abuse by bullies are the same patterns we can see in politicians, business leaders who use their power and $$ to corrupt, etc. Bullies are bullies.

    The other class was a challenge. I’ve decided that taking computer classes to learn a program or programming is just not fun. It’s better to be in a class and ask a professor directly for communication than rely on e-mail. But, all turned out well. I’m working hard, but it’s paying off with decent grades.

    I find that in going to college right now, I am much aware of the challenges young college students face, so these topics have come up with my teens as they are planning their future. It’s causing me to be even more proactive in encouraging them educationally. One of the biggest take-aways for my family that I learned (and it wasn’t so much from the text as it was from mingling with the college students in the online discussions) is how difficult it is to land decent jobs after college. I was especially interested in reading the stories of those students who are living on their own and trying to going to school while working, single moms, displaced homemakers, those who are tired of struggling at low-paying jobs and are going to school to learn new skills. The economic divide is huge and the middle class seems to be diminishing.

    When I was 17, I was able to get a job at a local utility right out of high school with no experience. My daughter who is a college graduate doesn’t make much more than I made per hour 28 years ago. Lots of her peers are college graduates and not many of them have a job within their field of interest. It’s a lot more challenging for our young adults and so helping our students navigate through high school and plan for their future is going to be very important.

    Thanks for asking, Ann.


  17. I recently returned to college too, taking courses online at a private Christian university. I love it! Learning is good, and I believe that Christians should be the best educated people there are. Earlier mention of LIfeway: that is the publishing arm of the SBC. The SBC is not Calvinistic in doctrine, but since each SBC congregation is autonomous, there may be congregations who lean that way.


  18. My wife and I were young life leaders in the 90s before kids. Very demanding but very fun. Awesome outreach camps. We quit when we got pregnant. In the week long camp at saranac lake in ny state I think I heard the best presentation of the gospel to teenagers that I’ve ever heard.

    Coincidently we put out three youngest in public school for September. We’ve been homeschooling for 14 years. We have one homeschool graduate. And our next older two want to keep homeschooling. Whatever it takes.


  19. Christian Studies, with an emphasis on Biblical Studies. Grand Canyon University, class of 2018. I’ll be 59 years old when I graduate.


  20. Thanks, Shawn. Yes, I saw it earlier today and have some issues with it. Farris tries to claim he has never been a proponent of patriarchy. That’s not what I remember of him from decades ago. Homeschoolers Anonymous I’m sure has some proof of this. He came out publicly against patriarchy only after the demise of Doug Phillips and Gothard. He had to because HSLDA had aligned publicly with Vision Forum as recent as late 2013, right before Phillips stepped down. He has also had the heat of Homeschoolers Anonymous and Coalition for Responsible Home Education and other bloggers (including yours truly) which was putting out information that challenged HSLDA.

    A lot of people and their abuse stories have been dismissed/rejected while HSLDA enabled this bad teaching/behavior. I’m thankful for this statement, but let’s see the proof of their sorrow. A good public response would be to financially help moms/children/adult children who have been harmed by domestic violence or by tyrannical patriarchal fathers who keep their adult daughters captive in their own home (don’t allow them to work outside the home, go to college, etc).

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I don’t know if you read World Magazine regularly, but they are starting to publish some articles about home schooling. So far they are taking the tack that there are a few bad ones out there, who have used home schooling as a front for abuse, but that most home schooling parents really do have the best interests of their children in mind. They have mentioned Homeschoolers Anonymous in a couple of the articles. I am hopeful that more of this information is getting out to the mainstream Christian audience who may be totally unaware of the dark side of home schooling and the larger issues of systematic abuse in churches. Many of the posts that I read here make me so sad, because church should be a happy place. It has been for me.


  22. World has been under fire for misrepresenting the words of both sides (Heather Doney and representative of HSLDA) in their recent article. And then mentioned well-known proponents of Patriarchy to add to the discussion. I was not impressed with either one of their recent articles, sadly.

    I know many of the posts here are sad. But it’s a place where people can discuss their sad situations whereas their churches /church groups likely silenced them. I’m very glad to hear that church has been a happy place for you. That gives me hope for me and others.


  23. I noticed the reference to Voddie Baucham. I think there are several areas in the dialog where there is a disconnect. Unless people really do a lot of research into the writing of some of these controversial “leaders”, there is no deep awareness of how they really think. Since there is so much going on in the world to research and write about, I am not sure that any of the staff at World have dug very deeply into these men at all. Also, their being a widely distributed publication, they have to be very careful about vetting anything they publish. Where abuse is concerned, there is so little physical evidence. I have my own ideas about what I think the worst problems in American Christianity are, but until someone made me aware of your situation I had little concept of the kind of systematic abuse I read about here. I knew of families whose parents professed to be Christians when it was convenient, but were really abusers. I don’t know what the answer is (to the problem of reaching a larger audience), but I think trying to get the attention of the people who have the platform is part of it. I read World’s response to the accusations about misrepresenting, but I don’t have enough background on the history of it to make a judgment call.


  24. I start online college next week from a Christian University also. I was never encouraged to go to college as a teen since the only reason a girl should go is to either be a Christian School teacher or nursing school was ok I think, not much to choose from.
    Anyway I’m 53 now and I’m nervous about all those reports.


  25. Shawn, August 27 @ 4:59 PM links to an article titled “Farris, HSLDA apologizes for silence about Phillips and critiques patriarchy”.

    Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin Spin

    In the article, Michael Ferris is credited for “a humble act of public repentance”. What is really going on, of course, is damage control made necessary by the sudden exposure of their true colors. It all kind of reminds one of Doug Phillips’ supposed statement of repentance, as if one can repent with mere words. Ferris maybe is belatedly and conveniently renouncing Phillips and his unexpectedly embarrassing agenda, but they embrace his modus operandus of confess-and-demand-unquestioning-trust. Do they really think that to confess is to be absolved? Unfortunately, much of Christendom has been programmed to grant grace cheaply.

    Ferris is quoted as saying, “Our movement will only be tainted by extremist views if we give our platforms over to such teachers.” Translation: “We are so, so distressed that our movement’s extremist views have been leaked by these teachers to whom we lent the full force of our public relations juggernaut when we thought the public at large would not be paying attention.”


  26. The high school I attended was… interesting to say the least. My parents chose to let me and my brother attend it rather than a private christian school on the mainland because we would be exposed to the world and people/circumstances different than our own lower middle class neighborhood. The teen pregnancy rate was so high that there was an on-staff ob-gyn, a daycare for children of students, over 1/3 qualified for free breakfast/lunch/summer food and people who looked like me were definitely in the minority. Because of all that, I wouldn’t have changed anything. Well, I could live without having to call in the location of a drug house. Minor details. I still received a wonderful education. Several of my high school classes were actually harder than what I took in college. Obviously there is no one “superior” way to educate a child but I would still choose my public school experience over the the sequestered life of the private Christian school.

    On a bright note, we just received word that my husband’s much-needed pay raise should be coming through next week. When he took the job last year the gm somehow put him at a manager level but at a barely livable salary. He has worked 60-80 hour weeks and it is finally paying off.


  27. my husband’s much-needed pay raise should be coming through next week.

    Mandy that is wonderful. I am happy for you both.


  28. Brenda R – all of the course material/syllabus and assignments are posted online in calendar format. In addition to completing the posted assignments, students are required to participate in forum discussions a minimum of two times on any four days of the week (I tend to exceed the minimum). Assignments are completed and submitted on line. The course material is designed to move the student toward the stated objectives for the week. In this particular class, we are learning the standards for scholarly work and we are required to use them. The courses move pretty fast. This university also has a traditional campus including student housing, athletics, and all the typical university features. I became attracted to it while attending a gospel music festival there last winter. I also have friends who have attended or received degrees there. I attended University of Phoenix many years ago for a year; this program beats theirs all to heck.


  29. Thank you, Shawn. I look forward to reading it.

    BTW, did you happen to hear your fellow OPC Pastor Swanson yesterday discussing the World Magazine article and HSLDA response on his Generations Radio podcast? What’s up with the OPC in allowing Swanson to use their name and speak such vile? I’m do disgusted by Swanson and his rhetoric. How can that man be a pastor?


  30. Julie Anne: I was not aware of the World article or his response to it. I cannot keep up with every minister who has public access, even in the little OPC. I’ll check it out though.


  31. A while back, you and I have spoken online about Swanson before and I know you are aware of his behavior. I know he was recently told to sever ties with NCFIC. Thank you for speaking out against family-integrated church rhetoric for the past years, Shawn. I think your tireless efforts surely helped.

    But I’m sure you are aware of his rhetoric – ie, falsely stating women who took birth control pills have embedded fetuses in their wombs. Swanson is harmful to the body of Christ in the way he exaggerates and lies.

    Do you know who oversees him? Feel free to e-mail me.


  32. Mark said “I just got feedback from PaulsPassingThoughts regarding Lifeway Cirrucucum which he referred as “New Calvinism on Steroids”

    How so? Southern Baptists are not Calvinists.


  33. Bystander,

    The SBC has a mixture of New Calvinist, Reformed, Neo-Calvinist, Arminians and Believers that simply call themselves Baptists.

    I’m not the one that referred Lifeway Curriculum as New Calvinism on Steroids.

    As controlling as the Stealth Neo-Calvinists Pastor that left our church, my impression is if Lifeway didn’t match his Neo-Calvinist criteria, he would’ve replaced Lifeway with something else.


  34. I am familiar with Al Mohler, but as a Southern Baptist I am not obligated to agree with everything he says. Officially, Southern Baptists believe in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, which is silent on the issue of how, exactly, God chooses to operate in his Sovereignty. Having been an active member of a SB congregation for 22 years, I know Lifeway’s material pretty well.


  35. I should add that I have read many things on this board about Southern Baptists and what we are supposed to believe, and thought, “Really?”


  36. Ed, I am a Southern Baptist. There may be Southern Baptists who are Calvinists, but that is not an “official” Southern Baptist position.


  37. Bystander,

    I am not a Southern Baptist, but my advice is for you to believe as your conscience dictates, however, I would also suggest that you might want to get more educated as to what is going on in the Southern Baptist community in regards to Calvinism.  You just might wish to not be a bystander anymore.  I support Southern Baptists to remain Southern Baptists, without Calvinism influence.  But…I’ll leave it at that.




  38. Bystander, did you look at the Google search link I provided? If you are comfortable at your church and haven’t had the need to check online, you may be unfamiliar with what is going on. But there is indeed a battle going on within the SBC regarding Calvinism.


  39. Bystander,

    You suggested: “Southern Baptist are not Calvinist”

    I may also add that Calvinist within the SBC don’t want to be referred as Calvinist which I guess would make you statement true.


  40. Bystander,

    You may not know this, but I discovered a Southern Baptist website that is very hell bent on turning Southern Baptist church’s into Calvinist church’s. 

    There is a step by step process for this, and the steps are set up in such a way that takes a lot of time to do.  The reason, little by little for you to not even notice.

    Again, you might not want to be a bystander after you get to know what is really going on. 




  41. Haven’t seen it yet.  Am now.  The other day, I tried to listen to JD’s online pod cast…I got about 5 mins into it, then had to leave.  Unfortunately, it takes about 5 minutes to get past all of his intro stuff before he even speaks.  If he is no longer a part of P&P, I wanted to find out what he’s preaching since he left…or did he really leave…or is he just temporarily stepping back.  I’m unclear about that.



  42. I am very familiar with the debate among SBs about Calvinism, among other debates. We like debate. It’s healthy. We respect the freedom to disagree on secondary theological issues. I am not new to the idea that some SBs are Calvinists, and have been a lurker at sbcvoices for a long time. In fact, I found this site because it was mentioned on Denny Burk’s site. I respect Al Mohler’s opinion, but I am not obligated to agree with him.


  43. I guess I’m confused, Bystander. I was basing my comments on your statement here:

    How so? Southern Baptists are not Calvinists.

    and now you say this?

    I am not new to the idea that some SBs are Calvinists, and have been a lurker at sbcvoices for a long time.

    Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand you.

    I haven’t been at Denny Burk’s site for some time now. Was it a recent post that you read where you found my site? Just curious.


  44. Bystander,

    Well, you have more tolerance than I do, as I do not see the differences as being secondary issues.  I see it as a whole 180 degree turn.  I see it as major doctrines, not secondary at all.  This is not like the difference between chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  This is like the difference between ice cream and spinach.  Sweet vs. Sour.

    I briefly spoke with Peter Lumpkins, and he has no problem mixing the two.  I was really taken aback by that. 

    But, I would have a problem with it, after all, we are supposed to be of the same mindset. 




  45. Bystander,

    I think the Calvinist or Reformed debate within SBC has surpassed what is Healthy.

    Stealth Neo-Calvinist purpose is to Reform the SBC even if it means dividing churches.

    If Lifeway is truly New Calvinism on Steroids as referred by some and you are in a Congregation for 22 years that use Lifeway then maybe you are in a Reformed Church that so happens to be affiliated with the SBC.

    You may be in a church that embraces Reformed Theology or a mix which has become the new normal in the SBC and be completely comfortable with it.


  46. OK, let me clarify: Southern Baptists are not officially Calvinists. Some people who are members of Southern Baptist congregations are. There is NO official Southern Baptist position on Calvinism. I do not believe that everyone in my congregation has to think exactly like me. Isn’t “groupthink” the very thing that leads to abuses? Isn’t that what we want to avoid? Julie Anne, the mention at Denny Burk’s site was quite some time ago. Maybe when the Vision Forum scandal broke. Denny didn’t mention you, one of the commenters did. I thought it sounded pretty interesting, so I hopped on over.


  47. Mark – our congregation does not embrace Reformed theology. I’ve been studying theology as a hobby for almost the whole 22 years I’ve been a Christian. One of the reasons I decided to pursue a college degree in it is, I’ve got the academic practice, I might as well have the diploma.


  48. Ed,

    Peter Lumpkins (paraphrased) “wants to preserve the Rich History and Traditions within SBC”.

    An ongoing argument is the Calvinist think they started the SBC, which is speculative at this point in time as Non-Calvinist Leaders disagree.with that assertion.

    Strife started to heat with the Baptist’s that caused division between the North and South and the Civil War, which may be included in the Rich History and Traditions within the SBC.

    I got into an interesting cyber-debate with a Southern Baptist who to this day defends the Southern cause.

    I’ve wondered if Southern Preachers might be hopelessly loyal to one-another because of their geographic and their noticeable Southern Charm that dated back before the Civil War.

    It in the end their inability to find a Doctrine (or Methodology) they can agree on, will break up that loyalty.

    Peter Lumpkins may want to consider that we can’t and won’t erase the Rich and Traditional History of the SBC that may have nothing to with Calvinism, but more to do with Southern Pride.


  49. Bystander,

    My impression is the seed of Calvin has been growing quietly in a lot SBC Churches.

    Even if your church doesn’t officially embrace Reformed Theology doesn’t mean Reformed Theology isn’t practiced in one form or another.

    If current Lifeway curriculum is influenced by New Calvinism it wouldn’t surprise me that students in your church (or my) wouldn’t even be aware of it.

    I never considered what Doctrine the innovators of Lifeway embraced but it may be configured in a way that doesn’t contradict TULIP. (outside our knowledge)


  50. I think Southern Baptists are a pretty diverse crowd theologically. Now, i have lived in Arizona almost all of my life. The diversity that I know among SBs may be more a reflection of us as Arizonians than as SBs. As with any other group of believers, there are SBs who are serious students of the Bible, and then there are those who are not. Those people who are serious students of the Bible will be able to detect Calvinism in the study materials. I really think that the fallout from the Driscoll mess will end up turning people off of the new Calvinism. Let’s all pray that it turns people away from following men, and back to following Jesus Christ.


  51. Mark,

    “Peter Lumpkins (paraphrased) “wants to preserve the Rich History and Traditions within SBC”.”

    Before I answer, you should see the movie “Blue Chips” with Nick Nolte, and when it comes to the part that he “was raised a Baptist”, see which one he chose when asked, “First or Southern”.  By the way, he also “was raised Pentecostal”, too.  It all depended on which family he was talking to at the time.

    Well, was John a Baptist?  He ended up getting his head cut off.  Rich history, huh? 

    In my humble opinion, I could care less about rich history, or any history at all.  I’d rather be a non-denomination and make up my own mind about God based on the Word of God.  Who cares about Rich History.  The ole “My history is better than your history” is a bit strange when discussing Christianity.  Denominations divide Christianity. 

    I think that Christians should worry about the future rather than history.

    God declares the end from the beginning.

    Some church’s are into “The History of the Church”.  Especially the Catholics, because they are always quoting some strange “church father”.  

    I don’t care about the history of the church.  I really don’t care. 

    When I was in debate with a Catholic, I kept asking him for him to make a decision, rather than to rely on some church father to make it for him.

    When I read the Bible, I’d rather say, “God said”, “Isaiah said”, “Ezekiel said”, “Paul said”, than to say, “Spurgeon said”, “Piper said”, or even “Lumpkins said”.  

    The Church history thing should show people that:

    1.  Christians must be baptized. 2.  Everybody has a different opinion on how that is done. 3.  Who is right? 4.  What happens to a baby when it dies if the baby was never baptized?

    **That is the question that divides people, because some have no clue, and others speculate.  But….I KNOW.

    Conclusion:  How many dead professing Christians are burning in hell because they got the Baptism thing wrong?  Maybe we were all supposed to wear a white robe and sandals in the Mediterranean instead?  Maybe nobody is baptized right.  Where is the Jordan River located? 

    Maybe Tap water is the wrong water?  Maybe bottled water?  Does blessing a bowl of water send some sort of magical power to the water?  But wait, Jesus doesn’t use water.  He uses fire.  How many burn victims do we have?

    The only history that I want to know is:  How did my ancestors get to Washington State.  I don’t care about their beliefs.  They are dead.  I cannot “give’em the gospel”. 

    Rich history, huh?  No, I say that Southern Baptists stay Southern Baptists as they choose to be, and kick Calvin to the curb.  That was the dumbest idea that anyone ever had, to mix the two.




  52. Ed,

    I pretty much agree with what you are saying.

    I tend to think Peter Lumpkins has been a little too optimistic for Christians and Calvinist within the SBC to negotiate a remedy.

    Quite frankly I applaud his efforts to expose the deceitful behavior of Stealth Calvinist and also revealing their false doctrine and rebuking the toxic Methodologies of the Reformed.

    His reluctance to throw in the towel and seek a separation of Calvinist within the SBC is based on caution and respect for God. But is something he hasn’t ruled out.


  53. The discussion on the Reformed/neo-Calvinists has been interesting to me, as I haven’t seen it elsewhere as well expressed. If I want to know more of contemporary church history, in particular the genesis of neo-Calvinism, where could begin to educate myself? Any suggestions appreciated.


  54. Thank-you Ed for you commentary. One of the rich truths of God’s Word can be found on Calvary, the three crosses and the persons who were hung on each side of our LORD and Savior. In the persons of the mocking thief and the other criminal who recognized Jesus as his Redeemer, the one spewing hatred from his mouth and the other who loved Jesus as His Shepherd…..and Jesus said to the repentant criminal, “You shall be with Me in Paradise.”

    In this truth account, there is no evidence of this criminal being baptized on that tree, by Jesus Himself, or any other “office” of the clergy system. It is not there and apparently was not a requirement held by our King, Himself, into entering into Paradise to be with our Savior.

    Oh, what amazing love is this, for Christ Himself, is the head of His Ekklesia amongst the muck and mire of organized religion.


  55. Jamie,

    It seems the site paulspassingthoughts has the ability to answer most any question about Calvinism or Reformed or whatever it is Calvinist want to call themselves.


  56. I’ve volunteered with and financially supported Young Life for years. It’s not about any one Christian doctrine…it’s about Jesus and helping kids meet Him wherever they are. Quality staff. Thorough training. Lots and lots of mentorship and connecting not simply programming. Can’t say enough good things about this organization.


  57. Priscilla,

    Thank you for expressing your experiences with Young Life.

    I raised my questions about Young Life because some people heavily entrenched in Reformed Theology in our church is involved with Young Life and are mentoring some of the youth in our church.


  58. I look at this site sometimes, and I wanted to give a little more information on Lifeway; I’m currently teaching children’s Sunday school using Lifeway’s Gospel Project curriculum, which is a multi-year survey of the entire Bible.
    Just to let you know where I’m coming from, I am Southern Baptist, and tend toward Calvinism. Please don’t hate me :-).
    The recommended Gospel presentation to children included in the curriculum is summarized by these phrases: God rules; we sinned; God provided; Jesus gives; we respond. That is, God created and rules the world, we rebelled against God, becoming separated from him and deserving of punishment, so God provided a savior for us, Jesus, who gave his life to give us salvation. We receive this salvation by believing and repenting of sin. Although I never use their exact formula in my Gospel presentations, I find it to be reasonable.
    The curriculum contains a “Christ Connection” in each lesson that relates the material in the lesson to Christ–for example, lessons about King David show he is an ancestor of Jesus and his kingship looks toward the rule of Christ, and the lesson about Ruth connects her redemption by Boaz to Christ’s redemption. I have not noticed any particular Calvinistic bent to the curriculum, except insofar as Calvin also worked to relate the Old Testament to Christ.
    For those considering it, I want to say I don’t think the curriculum is perfect–sometimes I need to improve on the actual lesson plans, which can feel like they were designed by committee, but I don’t see any theological conspiracy to produce Calvinists.


  59. Ben,

    I don’t hate you either.

    Like you, I never would consider any secret conspiracy to Reform our kids/grandkids through Sunday School material.

    The concern I raised about Lifeway was triggered by a former Reformed Pastor who centered his Methodology into staying within the perimeters of TULIP. In my view there is no way my former (controlling) Pastor would allow Lifeway on his watch if it didn’t fit his Reformed Ideology.

    If innovators and teachers of Lifeway Curriculum strategically avoid contradicting or purposely stay within the perimeters of TULIP that would pose a problem to those of us who do not embrace TULIP.

    Admittedly I’ve been unfamiliar with Lifeway until it was brought to my attention that my grandchildren were going to be exposed to it.


  60. Mark, it’s been my experience that leaders in the Young Life groups I’ve worked with have been from all Protestant backgrounds as well as some Catholic. I, myself attend a Methodist church. My friends in the work are Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, non-denom, Wesleyan, etc.


  61. Thanks Priscilla

    Reformed Theology is something a lot of us would never have considered just a few years ago.

    It is prevalent in all the denominations you listed above

    It really becomes of problem when it is force fed in the form of Spiritual Abuse to those that don’t embrace it.


  62. Understand. Left a church over such stringent teachings. Was actually threatened to be disciplined and quite frankly harassed for over a year b/c I didn’t join the new church as the membership contract I signed indicated I must do upon leaving. Long story. It was quite shocking and painful.

    Also, my alma mater seems to have been hijacked by the a more Reformed/Calvinist branch of the SBC. Believe me, I am now very aware of all the signs of spiritual abuse and a controlling church. (i.e. I will not attend a church with no women in leadership positions.)

    I’m not saying some YL leaders may or may not be Reformed followers. I am saying it’s a parachurch org. I’m not familiar with the national board leaders, but I can say that I worked in it both with military kids overseas and back in the States, and I didn’t see a hint of it in the clubs with which I was involved. (I spent a lot of time with student leaders from a Big 10 school, and they were not of a Reformed Theology belief set.) Remember it’s a national organization with different leaders different communities. Maybe it is something to watch for, however, now that you’ve asked about it. I hope I’m not coming across as combative. That’s not my intention at all. I am just sharing my personal experience with the organization.

    (I’m also survivor of the fundamental, Bible believing, culotte wearing, no mixed swimming, no movies type of Christianity, and YL was a wonderful balm.)


  63. Priscilla,

    You don’t sound combative at all.

    From what you are saying is in your experience in Young Life you haven’t dealt with Doctrine Abuses or noticed the Reformed Indoctrination of youths.

    I never even heard of Young Life until last week when it was proclaimed that mentors of some of the youth in our church would be attending a Young Life seminar. These mentors are entrenched in Reformed Theology by our former Pastor. (who spiritually abused those who wouldn’t embrace Reformed theology)


  64. Ben,

    You speak of “Jesus, who gave his life to give us salvation.” I have come to understand that He accomplished a good deal more than our salvation, especially if by salvation you mean we go to heaven instead of hell when we die. Oh, and I’d like to add my name to the list of those who don’t hate you.


  65. I was at a Christmas dinner with some Oneness folks many moons ago and this heavy set man got up to preach and he started yelling and screaming about sin etc. About four or five of the brothers figured me as an outsider, mainly because I could not stop chuckling at how the preachers face got so red as he stomped around and yelled. I mentioned about the fact that I had good hearing and they took offense and said the preacher was full of the spirit and that is why he was all excited. I mumbled well he is full of something that is for sure. It was truly amazing, two patrons from the restaurant thats right we were in one of the wings of a restaurant and these two folks walked in by mistake and the pastor yelled do you want to go to church come get saved. They headed quickly out the door. As the rhetoric got worse I looked at two of the five brothers assigned to save my soul and asked you you actually believe this nonsense this guy is spewing you, do you actually think your kids are wretched bla bla and they started shaking their heads no, when they really thought about it. Well I left but I will never forget that night. Nice people but deeply indoctrinated. Groupthink is not a good thing.


  66. “An ongoing argument is the Calvinist think they started the SBC, which is speculative at this point in time as Non-Calvinist Leaders disagree.with that assertion. ”

    Mark, I think the Founders of the SBC were, for the most part, Calvinistic. Read Broaddus’ bio of Boyce. It was founded because Southern Baptists wanted to take their slaves on the mission field with them and the Northern Baptists had a problem with it. It sort of amuses me from a PR angle why anyone would want to go back to the doctrines of the SBC “founding”. What a horrible time and reason to be founded. It is something to be ashamed of not something to encourage. Broaddus writes with sincerity what a godly man Boyce was for believing God instituted slavery so they would have a captive audience to disciple! Sounds like Mark Dever and his “keys to the kingdom” in many ways. The Puritans were the same.

    Much of history shows a strong connection to slavery/serfdom/class caste system and the dualism of Calvinism. You can even go back to Augustine on this one. Luther wanted to wipe out the peasants and Jews. Calvin, the second time around in Geneva, became a dictator regulating everything from how many courses could be served at meals to punishment for making fun of him. The Dutch Boers implemented apartheid. Calvinists do not have a history of believing in any sort of individual liberty and worth for all. So when folks think I am hard on Calvinism, I am looking at a much larger picture where I think the ingrained doctrine of dualism plays a big part. The history of Christianity is an evil bloody mess we are fools to ignore and say, oh, it was the times….as if the Holy Spirit were awol in “those times”.

    People laugh and say that has nothing to do with today. And that is because there were men reading Locke and others as youth and who no longer bought into the caste thinking to the same degree. America was not founded on the beliefs coming out of the Calvinistic dualism and caste system of the Puritans. Most of their descendants became Unitarians or liberal Presbyterians of the frozen chosen sort. And there is a reason for that.

    The foundational thinking of dualism and Greek pagan philosophy of “special people with special knowledge” is showing up all around us with all the scandals, implosions, etc. To some degrees it is all over Protestantism. Calvinism just has a system that is more pure in dualism so you see it ingrained in those systems.

    As to Gospel Project, there was lots of chatter on it when it was being marketed like Potato chips. (Even Setzer flying in certain bloggers to wine and dine them to write about it). The entire cast and crew who wrote, advised, etc were Reformed. Some not even SBC. James McDonald who thinks “congregationalism is from Satan” was in the cast. I did read through one leader guide and saw the foot prints of the sublte ways they use to bring people around. For one thing, it starts out with their view of Sovereignty. And most of us know where that goes.

    Here is one link of an SBC pastor very unhappy about it:

    There were long discussions about it here on this pro Calvin SBC pastors blog:

    Note the comments. If one has a problem with how this came about, etc, then they are mean, hateful, etc. It is the same old song and dance dealing with those guys.

    There was a lot of obfuscation involved in the Gospel Project. But the SBC is well past all that now. It is basically Calvinist and a done deal. I think Peter knows that except for a few hold out places. The fight is going to the state associations. Mohler owns the national entities. If he could get by with Mahaney, he can get by with anything. The man missed his real calling as a political strategist.


  67. “The man missed his real calling as a political strategist.”

    Denominational activist. Political strategist. Now there’s a distinction without a difference.


  68. Ben,

    one of the problems I have with the Calvinist resurgence is they actually teach pew sitters that disagreement is hate. Calvin taught the same thing. It boggles my mind. I disagree with the “tongues” folks. I don’t hate them. I might point out all the ways I think they have it wrong and it’s origins as doctrinal truth, etc. Don’t we often change our minds with debate, discussion then study on our own, etc,?

    Debate, discussion is good. It is a mark of our freedom of conscious, etc. And it teaches our kiddos to think instead of just being indoctrinated.

    When people try to position it as “hate” we lose that freedom by degrees. And we lose the will to think because we all want to be accepted by the group. It is a damnable thing to me. Seriously. I said a bad word!

    I have been debating YRR pastors/seminary students for years now and one thing I have noticed is they never take their doctrine to its logical conclusions but often turn it around to a “you hate” issue. . And they can get by with that by basically disavowing logic and reason. (Luther said reason is a whore). So then they have to go to mystery and “special knowledge”.

    And because of this, those that take the ingrained determinism to its logical conclusions, if they ever do, often become atheists. (usually those not making a living from it)

    There are few places such discussions are allowed which is why it is shocking for those in that movement to see it. It is fast becoming not allowed in more places because of some idealism of “unity”. I could never be unified with a monster god that orchestrates evil and suffering. And many decent people out there in that movement never get to that point. That is the logical conclusion of all the fancy terms like compatiblism, revealed will and decretive will, Sovereignty as they define it, etc, etc,.


  69. Lydia,

    Very interesting post you wrote to me.

    So were the Northern Baptist less Calvinistic and Southern Baptist more Calvinistic?

    Was the Civil War was fought between Northern Baptist/Christians and the self-professed Southern Baptist/Christians who were mainly Calvinist who’s views dominated the people of the South?

    If that were the case then the Southern Calvinist somehow must of view themselves above elite status more like divine elite status. And somehow Calvinism and Slave ownership didn’t contradict their Doctrine instead it complimented their Doctrine/Methodology.
    This essentially means the Calvinist were practicing a strange Reformed Holistic approach of controlling Mind, Body and Spirit of humans. If you didn’t conform you either got whipped or if you weren’t a slave you got shunned. (the start of Succession)

    Many Calvinist may have finally denounced no free will Slavery they still want to leave Free-Will out of the equation when it comes to faith. (or the elitist view of Salvation before Faith)

    Neo-Calvinist are doing the same thing today taking a no prisoners approach of force feeding their Pharisee elitist views. (if you don’t embrace Calvinism are you really saved?)

    I applaud Peter’s efforts to expose Calvinistic Fallacies but it seems those among the SBC Leadership that support Peter’s views have been dragging their feet since Adrian Rodgers passed away which opened the doors for Albert Mohler to take full control causing those of us who don’t embrace Calvinism to become more oppressed.


  70. This sort of reminds me of the Japanese guy in the Philippines that years later had no idea that WWII had ended.

    Or, in the Beverly Hillbillies that grannie still had confederate money that she wanted to use at the grocery store.

    Someone needs to tell the SBC that the North won!



  71. Mark, I don’t think any of this is as black and white as we would like it to be as in the North thought this and the South thought that….sort of foundation. If you trace the trajectory of Puritan doctrine to the founding of our country and up to the civil war, it is all over the place. Puritan descendants becoming Universalists or “Congregationalists”. Presbyterians becoming Baptists, etc, etc. Separatist and Particular strains all arguing over who owns Roger Williams. :o)

    To further illustrate how nuanced it all is, Finney was a Presbyterian! He is now the whipping boy for the Reformed movement. He is evil incarnate to them for his revivals, altar calls, sinners prayers, etc. And he was on the stump talking the evils of slavery and became the president of Oberlin College…founded to admit both black and white. Yet, he ruined Christianity in America according to the current Reformed guys.

    Take Harriet Beecher Stowe as another example. She was raised Calvinist. Her father, an ardent Calvinist, became president of Lane Seminary and ended up in a horrible “ecclesiastical trial” over his own supposed “heresy”. (See how this works?) His daughter ends up writing not only Uncle Tom’s Cabin but also “the Ministers Wooing” which is basically a critique of the Calvinism she was raised in. But the Calvinists will claim “Uncle Toms Cabin” written by a Calvinist. She was rethinking it all that time.

    So, what are those people? Calvinists? According to Calvinists of their time, they were heretics.The mainline Presbyterians went social justice– sort of burying the determinism in good works and education.

    Very few folks can live with pure determinism without tweaking it to fit their situation and I think historically that is what has happened. In fact, I would say that dualism itself provides the means to do so easily: “Spiritually they are good. But their Humanness is bad”. As dualism separates us from ourselves into “spiritual vs material”

    And we wonder why America has thousands of “Christian” denominations. :o)


  72. ” I applaud Peter’s efforts to expose Calvinistic Fallacies but it seems those among the SBC Leadership that support Peter’s views have been dragging their feet since Adrian Rodgers passed away which opened the doors for Albert Mohler to take full control causing those of us who don’t embrace Calvinism to become more oppressed.”

    Irony alert. From what I have read on blog comments from Adrian’s son, he is basically a Calvinist who buys into some of the determinism/dualism but he is hard to understand, too. I get the feeling he is trying a bit to reposition his dads doctrines. However, I was never a student of Rogers and only know what people link to today to explain his views. When I used to read Calvinist pastor blogs, he would pop in to respond to someone who quoted his dad.

    And lastly, based upon my experiences up close and personal, I don’t think mega church pastors become mega church pastors staying “humble servants”. I think that is impossible due to the nature of the institutional growth.

    I read of the “airport” meeting concerning Paige Patterson and Criswell in Joel Gregory’s book and realized many folks positioned Rogers in such a way to ignore facts. These guys all saw themselves as “God’s anointed” ones even though some were nicer about it than others in public.


  73. Lydia,

    You have illustrated to me complexities of Calvinist history dating 400 years back. It is complicated. Some of the sinful abuses practiced in churches today may have been inspired by Puritans and the Calvinist Movements.

    in truth the act of Free Will, Revivals, Alter Calls and Sinner’s prayers is a major problem to the Calvinist. It minimizes Calvinist view of a Works, Law and Sin Centered Theology that they and the so-called Patriarch Movements embrace.

    Their works based philosophy focuses on self rather than Christ.

    I argued to a Calvinist that the thief on the cross conversion was instantaneous, to which they had no answer. The true meaning of parable of the workers in the vineyard must really stick to their ribs. Matt. 20 1-16


  74. I would like to, but they have me on permanent moderated status, for one, and secondly, if I do speak out on their blog, I am out numbered by several to one. 😦

    I just see this tendency even on Christian blogs that specialize in spiritual abuse to equate disagreement on a social or religious topic to be construed as “hate,” which is troubling. It can put a damper on people feeling that they cannot speak freely, which is what some abusive churches do, too.


  75. Anon,

    Wow, talk about a woman who stands by her man! Can’t wait for her part 2.

    Now, we probably should note that she got a nudge from hubby to write that, and I am not sure that she is the one who wrote it. It could be Doug. Would Patriarchy families allow the wife to do this?

    Last I remember, his own attorney has tried to keep him as silent as possible in the wake of Lourdes’ civil complaint against him. But he is obviously not one to remain silent, even when he has the right to do so.

    This is a guy that repented, and then called Lordes a liar. That’s a big “huh?” for me.

    This is gonna get interesting.



  76. Ed, you crack me up. I’ve been hearing a few people speculate that the wording sounds like Doug, so you may be on to something. I suspect Doug doesn’t have permission to talk publicly because of the lawsuit.


  77. Goodness, I stepped away for a day and a half, and now there are so many subtopics in the thread that I can’t catch up. Am I the only Southern Baptist here? I think that if people are drawing conclusions about what Southern Baptists believe by reading blogs that are dominated by Calvinist-leaning SBs, then I can see why people think that Calvinism is taking over the whole convention. As an active member of a SB congregation, I am not seeing that. You have to keep in mind that active participants in blog conversations are only representative of that particular group.


  78. Bystander,

    I’m a member of an SBC affiliated church that had a stealth Neo_Reformed something leave his Reformed footprint firmly left intact after he resigned.

    Though you may not have Neo-Calvinism infiltrating your church (yet) it will eventually sneak in. And it may be as simple as the kind of Sunday School curriculum your church uses.

    Be patient and give it a little more time, the Reformed are just around the corner getting ready to join your fellowship.


  79. Julie Anne,

    I’ve been having problems with letters and words skipping around my keyboard. If I forget to re-read my statement sorry about my typos..


  80. Mark, I’ll keep an eye out for typos and fix them. No worries.

    I don’t want to plant fear into everybody that Calvinists are around every corner. That’s kind of like what JD Hall did in his Arminian nightmare book for children. I think there are a lot of decent churches out there who will stand on their 2 feet and not let errant doctrine come in. The bottom line is that we need to be good Bereans ourselves.


  81. JA,

    Good Bereans with a good knowledge of the day’s new catch phrases, and the origination of them.

    For example: Saving Faith, Irresistible Grace

    Those terms sound great, to an outsider not knowing what is meant. That’s the stealth part.

    Having a preacher ask the congregation a rhetorical question, “Isn’t grace irresistible? You can’t resist it, can you?”

    Now, to me, I can’t resist a good cup of coffee, but that is NOT the same as the teaching of Irresistible Grace. I can resist a cup of coffee. And, yes, I can resist grace. But not according to the doctrines of grace.

    Stealth is a good word in this. We need to be smarter than the adversary who tries to convert a church. Otherwise, people will go along with it unwittingly.




  82. “Am I the only Southern Baptist here?”

    Holding hand up. But I have left recently.

    ” I think that if people are drawing conclusions about what Southern Baptists believe by reading blogs that are dominated by Calvinist-leaning SBs, then I can see why people think that Calvinism is taking over the whole convention. As an active member of a SB congregation, I am not seeing that. You have to keep in mind that active participants in blog conversations are only representative of that particular group.”

    Well, I live at ground zero so my experience is going to be different. I was in about the only SBC church that had not been completely taken over but not for trying. For years SBTS students would come to volunteer and our pastor would say: I don’t think you would be happy here. We have women deacons, we vote on budgets and every member has a vote, etc. And no, they would not be happy because the pastor was warning them not to cause trouble as they had in just about every church. Even splitting some right down the middle. In my sisters SBC church they volunteered to work youth group. It did not take long for them to tell the youth that the pastor “does not know the true Gospel” His kids were in the youth group. Not that they cared, of course.

    We have had a tension for the last few years because hiring staff that is not Calvinistic and teaches Calvinism is near impossible here. Many are very careful to conceal it until they are settled and accepted then it changes.

    Now the congregation has voted on someone I know is a Calvinist. A YRR pastor who I knew and had long talks with a year before when he was serving as youth pastor.

    He claimed to the pulpit he was not a hyper Calvinist (as if that makes a difference) t and got through the process. He knows that I know he is but he fooled the pulpit committee that he is some sort of quasi Doctrines of Grace guy in line with Mohler. And he is evangelistic so it is ok. (Just like Piper’s evangelism for Calvin) His idols are Piper, Driscoll, Mohler, etc.

    The problem is the pew sitters are so ignorant about it they usually have no clue for years because they use the same words but have different definitions. And our state convention is run by Calvinists who want every single SBC church here run by Calvinists and work toward that aim. The state guy was Mohler’s pick after he managed to split 2 churches over Calvinism out in the state.

    They advised our pulpit committee to hire a “preacher” not a pastor. (YRR are perfect for this as they don’t have to visit the sick or get involved with actual pew sitters at all. They are only to “preach the gospel” so they are “special and set apart” from us peasants. Ed Setzer of Lifeway is actually promoting this concept all over the place)

    It was a train wreck and no one realizes it or wants to know. They see a guy they like personally that makes them cry and has a move of the Holy ‘Spirit every 5 min. (He emulates Piper) In fact, I got sick of hearing everyone on stage say the Holy Spirit affirmed the candidate as if they are the Holy Spirit for me. I used the entire process to teach my kids what this looks like in action. Cult. How to recognize cult speak, cult actions and watch the grown ups just go along…to be nice. No one wants to look mean and actually ask hard questions. No one questioned the “preacher” thing outloud but many were very concerned. We cannot look “mean” you know. We are Christians and it is not nice to dissent or question. (I am so done with that stuff)

    . And most of them went along. Not all, but most. Some are leaving. Not angry. just disappointed in the process and the fact it is a sin to say you are concerned about Calvinism.

    Now it is all about “unity” and if you don’t agree with the Holy Spirits pick then you are divisive. So we are out. A church we have been in since we left the seeker mega circus world. It took many years but they got it. A debt free building (they love these and really go for them as the YRR cannot run them into the ground that quickly as they have done with others and less expensive than church planting for the SBC.)and pretty soon the women deacons will be gone, membership covenants will be offered under the guise of evangelistic gospel and on and on. I see it coming. (See, even if the pulpit committee is appalled a year from now, they have to save face. So it will be excuse after excuse for years until it is so bad it will be ruined)

    So the “new Gospel preaching preacher” is 31, brash, untested, inexperienced and will be paid almost 6 figures. Welcome to Mohler’s SBC.


  83. Since we left, btw, we have visited 2 CBF churches (The ones who broke off from SBC back in 80’s and are considered flaming liberals) and it was like listening to NT Wright at both. What a change! The teacher was not a celebrity. It is not about him at all. It was not “preaching” but more teaching and actual scholarship.

    JA, Read chapter 4 of Quiet Revolution. (it is free on and you will see why many ARE paranoid because they have seen Chapter 4 put into action at their church by a “new” preacher. Especially in the South. It has been a real problem. Stealth, covert take overs.


  84. Lydia, I am so sorry to hear about that. Are you in the south? I have been told that the “southern” arm of the SBC is not overly interested in us out west. I may try to get involved in our state association at some level just to see what is going on. We have interns come and serve from time to time, but I am not aware of any trouble that has come from it. I will be on the lookout for it. Fortunately, our pastor is not a Calvinist (yes, I have had the conversation with him). We are constantly poking fun at ourselves because we have all our committees, and no one can do anything without the committee voting on it, but I think I prefer that kind of system to one where a single individual has the power and/or authority to make decisions for the whole congregation. Another problem with “Calvinism” is that you almost have to nail people down to a definition when the subject comes up. There is a Calvinism Spectrum, if you will, that seems to run from the ordinary pew-sitter Presbyterian at one end, to the Westboro cult at the other end. The biggest problem that I see with it is, it is a theological system developed by men.


  85. I am sure Doug was behind that whole response. Does his wife generally make open remarks like that? Was she actually on the board? Perhaps she was allowed to serve coffee? Something smelled while I read her response. It sounded more like the writing of an abused woman with a gun to her head.


  86. Bystander,
    I think a problem, at least for me, is that pastors like John Piper who declare Calvinism as the best thing ever and his church being in the SBC doesn’t help. He is high profile and people listen to him like he was a god. I grew up in a Baptist convention that had broke away from the SBC. I was told because the SBC was allowing women preachers. I was really too young to care at the time, but believed what I was told. I have never been to an SBC church so I won’t make any opinions on it other than specific incidents that I know of first hand. I have been in a few of Beth Moore’s studies and quite honestly the first time I watched her on a dvd I kept thinking to myself, “Why is this woman preaching to me?”. I think the hierarchy of the SBC may be wanting to inject Calvinism into the church and the smaller churches need to be on the lookout.


  87. So the “new Gospel preaching preacher” is 31, brash, untested, inexperienced and will be paid almost 6 figures.

    So the preacher/pastor of the church will be making most likely more than the majority of the members of the church. What is it that he is being paid for? Inexperience certainly doesn’t get a person that kind of money. I know that Jesus was preaching at 31, but seeing he is the Son of God gave him special authority and he was not given a salary. That, of course, was a special case. My church does have a youth pastor who is 33 and has been in that role for about 5 years now. He is humble and great with the kids. Neither of the pastors make anywhere near 6 figures.


  88. Bystander, Yes I live at ground zero for YRR Calvinism where SBTS is. I practically grew up around SBTS folks so the difference from then and now is quite glaring.

    “I have been told that the “southern” arm of the SBC is not overly interested in us out west.”

    I don’t know who told you that but it is not true. The SBC/NAMB has been trying to plant churches in the North and West. And it is more likely the plants do not call themselves a SBChurch so not as noticeable. It is just not as easy because the culture is different. The state associations are tiny compared to Southern states. There is the whole money angle, too, which drives all of it. The SBC is slowly going downhill financially. It does not help they put mega church pastors in positions of power in the entities whose churches gave very little to the Cooperative Program.
    So their only qualification is a big church that gave very little to the SBC for missions (because they did their own thing) but the pastor is a celebrity or a loyal yes man to Mohler. The CP is the only reason the SBC exists in the first place. Just recently David Platt was named International Mission Board President. Seriously? That blows my mind and shows me how bad it really is in the SBC.

    The NAMB President is Kevin Ezell who used to be pastor of a mega church here where Mohler went. Ezell was one of those who covertly took his church elder led. (Russ Moore was the teaching pastor there when Ezell left if that gives you any indication). Ezell’s mega church gave a whopping $10000 to the CP the year he became NAMB pres. (If I have my years right). And compare that to a rural church called Hopewell with less than 100 members that gave 30,000. So why was Ezell qualified? Giving is a percentage. Because Ezell is a Mohler yes man and on board with the Reformed only Acts 29 which they poured money into.

    So if your church is giving money to the CP, you are indirectly supporting not only Mohler but the salaries of all those mega church CP leaders including Moore and Joe Carter at ERLC. And Moore is scary when it comes to women and hierarchies. And they are all paid well. How many missionaries could they send with all those high salaries and bureaucrates who work there? NAMB was a money pit for years when Bob Reccord was there. Insiders making tons of money off royalties having first dibs on everything published. My dad was even designating back in the 90’s and beyond because it was all so corrupt.

    ” We are constantly poking fun at ourselves because we have all our committees, and no one can do anything without the committee voting on it, but I think I prefer that kind of system to one where a single individual has the power and/or authority to make decisions for the whole congregation.”

    Hee Hee. That is VERY Baptistic. And I agree it is preferable to individuals having the power. It was the way I was raised: Holy Priesthood and soul competency. Freedom/equality/responsibility was huge back then. Drilled into our heads

    “Another problem with “Calvinism” is that you almost have to nail people down to a definition when the subject comes up. There is a Calvinism Spectrum, if you will, that seems to run from the ordinary pew-sitter Presbyterian at one end, to the Westboro cult at the other end. The biggest problem that I see with it is, it is a theological system developed by men.”

    It changes monthly. Now the word on the street is they are backing off trying to convert churches to elder led only where basically the pastor chooses his own yes men. They were getting bad reputation for doing that covertly in too many churches without congregational vote and now the Mohler folks are saying those were only “bad calvinists” doing their own thing. (Not true, they were taught to do it because the pew sitters need firm hand and don’t know the right church structure. These grads come out of seminary convinced most SBC churches do not know the true Gospel) But the truth is it started becoming a PR problem for SBTS/SEBTS and churches starting not interviewing their graduates.

    Many SBC churches have became Spiritual Oligarchies with those who stayed. The church plants have big turnover. I get letters/emails every month from some Acts 29/Sojourn church plants in other states begging for money. How did they get my name? And why ask for money outside the CP/NAMB who funded the start up? When people give to their SBC church it is to fund such things. They don’t expect to be contacted outside of that to fund such things. Sojourn is paying the MH guys big bucks to be “event pastor” and other silly titles. So what is going on with the money?

    The pewsitters are not asking enough questions and demanding accountability from the mega star leaders and bureaucrats.Things have changed. When I was a kid, the pew sitters considered themselves equal to the task and qualified to receive answers. That is not the attitude anymore at all. I think our entire culture has changed and people want to be “taken care of” both physically and spiritually.


  89. “I know that Jesus was preaching at 31, but seeing he is the Son of God gave him special authority and he was not given a salary. ”

    Brenda, When ever someone trots out age as not a problem as we have heard over and over in the YRR world, I wish they would understand the context of that in the 1st century.

    Jesus being 30 was significant in Hebrew culture. It was necessary for him to begin at age 30. Remember he came for the lost tribe of Israel first. Thirty was significant because that was when those studing under a Rabbi went out on their own, so to speak, as fully vested Rabbi’s. It was a cultural Jewish thing. And 30 back then would be more akin to 45 or 50 today in terms of basic maturity. There was no such thing as a “teen” back then. Only boy/man. And men started working around ages 12-13 if they had been educated. Younger for those who were not.

    And just like that being a cultural thing which God often works within all through the OT, Jesus as a woman would have been impossible in that culture because a woman’s testimony only counted if there were 3 women. Women were not allowed to learn at the feet of a Rabbi either. Jesus just turned all that on its head.

    Jewish boys started studying under a Rabbi at age of 7. If they were not suited or the “cream of the crop” they usually went to work with their fathers at age 14 or so. That is why the Apostles are so interesting. They were not cream of the crop. They were all working jobs when Jesus called them. (I think that is on purpose). The only one who qualified as a Rabbi was Paul and ironically, he was later and was sent to the Genitles with all his rabbinical qualfications! I am often amused with this. The Gentiles were not as impressed with his Rabbinical training under the great Gamaliel. The Judaizers were, though, as Paul trotted it out to rebuke them at one point.

    So who was Jesus’ Rabbi? Can anything good come from Nazareth? Jesus kept referring to His father as the one telling him what to do which meant he was equating himself as equal to God. All these things fall into place to show the radical position of Jesus Christ in that culture. I love it.

    There is no way to map that context to today. It has a specfic meaning in the culture. Just like with youngTimothy who was left in Ephesus, teaching in a Gentile culture who were more impressed with experienced sage like philosopher kings. It always cracks me up that Paul rented the Hall of Tyrannus in Ephesus who many scholars identify as a Greek Sophist and had traveling Greek orators would teach in the mornings. And there is Paul, teaching the Gospel in the hot afternoons.

    Youth and inexperience being given power is a huge problem in our culture. In that culture youth was often paired with older experienced seasoned men for a time.


  90. In that culture youth was often paired with older experienced seasoned men for a time.

    Which makes far more sense to me, Lydia. Most, not all, young men do not possess the maturity to handle the situations that arise with the flock. The best pastors that I ever had never went to seminary, worked a 40 hour week, got a very small salary from the church (it was a very small poor church), but they knew their stuff when teaching Christ and dealing with people.


  91. Bystander,

    During the transitional times in our church, we had 3 Preachers who came from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. We are in Alaska.

    The SBC is in all 50 states and Calvinism is spreading fairly rapidly into each individual State Convention. Some are less toxic than others.


  92. Brenda,

    It is interesting to read of ancient cultures. There was no such thing as “Teens” hanging out together unless siblings or something like that. I am not suggesting we stop that but that we perhaps moderate it a bit with other things. Easier said than done, of course! It seems to delay their development and maturity. Where do they learn to be adults and take on responsibility? From each other? I think not. :o)

    Now they come to seminary to be “indoctrinated” in a bubble of group think before they ever learned any real critical thinking skills and applications. A recipe for disaster. They expect high salaries right off the bat AND to be respected and PAID by people twice their age because they are in the pulpit. More disaster.


  93. Wow Mark I had no idea you were in Alaska. In fact, I know a guy who was up there after seminary but did not stay long. :o(


  94. Lydia,

    I grew up Washington and spent the majority of my adult life in Alaska. Didn’t get blind-sided from Reformed Theology until 2009.

    With my Catholic upbringing, I see a lot of similarity with Reformed Doctrine both of which surround their Theology in a state of Unworthiness, Doubt, Works, Law and Sin Centered minimizing what Christ did.

    Although the Catholics gave far more credit to what Christ for the redemption of our sins than the Stealth Neo-Calvinst that surfaced in our SBC affiliated church.


  95. I am still trying to keep up with the SBC part of this thread.

    Financially, the Lifeway organization has been selling off assets in the west; apparently we are a drain on them. They sold Grand Canyon University about ten years ago, and Glorieta more recently (many New Mexico SBs are still smoldering about that), because they couldn’t afford to maintain them (so they said). I don’t think Glorieta had enough use to make it self-supporting, although it was beautiful and I have great memories of the place. I am aware of some local SB congregations that are having problems of one kind or another, but no one is mentioning doctrine as being one of those problems. We do support missions, but I don’t remember how much (if any) we contribute to the CP. In all honesty, I have never heard the names Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Joe Carter or Kevin Ezell mentioned at my church. I only know who they are because I read a lot and visit blogs. David Platt we know, because some of our small groups used some of his books for a study on missions. Some of us like them, some didn’t. I agree that the rank-and-file church member is sadly underinformed about leadership (not just in the SBC, but other churches as well), but I think, to an extent, these kinds of debates have been going on in Christianity since the last apostle died. Some of the things you mentioned (getting pleas for money and event pastors) are totally unknown to me. Who gives most of the funds for church plants, the NAMB or the mother church that is doing the planting? My understanding is, when our church plants another one, most of the support is coming from us.


  96. Bystander, I knew about Glorietta. I went there once when I was about 10.

    “Who gives most of the funds for church plants, the NAMB or the mother church that is doing the planting? My understanding is, when our church plants another one, most of the support is coming from us”

    That is really as it should be for church planting as your church is doing it. But ask different SBC bureaucrats how it is done and you get different answers about the money. That has been one of the problems. But the SBC definitely had/has some sort financial arrangement with Acts 29. That has been a thorn in some sides because Acts 29 only plants Reformed churches as they admit in their charter. And many SBC’ers in the pews are not Reformed and have no idea their money is going to plant exclusively Reformed churches. So now Acts 29 kicked out Driscoll. Good PR move.


  97. I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open. Can you point me toward some further information I can read up on about some specifics, other than peoples’ blogs? People are free to write whatever they want to on their blogs, so that kind of material is not something that I am concerned about unless it crosses the line between opinion (or experience) and defamation. I can live with knowing that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ are Calvinists, but if there is something specific to be concerned about (such as violations of ethical standards or abuses of power) it’s good to have original source material.


  98. “Can you point me toward some further information I can read up on about some specifics, other than peoples’ blogs?”

    Wish I could. Reporting numbers, dollars, etc by line item is not forthcoming. Niether is strategies. That is why it has taken folks so long to connect dots from what has been reported over and over on different blogs.


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