by Tom Ascol
Every Christian believes in limited atonement. That may sound ludicrous to my Arminian friends because it has long been assumed that only Calvinists hold to the dreaded “L” in TULIP. But if the death of Jesus Christ is recognized as an actual atonement (and not merely a potential one), then the question of limitation cannot be escaped, unless you believe the lie of universalism.
It is the recognition that Christ’s death actually atoned for sins that governs our interpretation of those wonderful texts that speak of the great breadth of His saving work. For example, John writes that Jesus is “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). The choice here is not between Calvinism and Arminianism. It is between Calvinism and universalism. If “world” means “each and every person who ever lived or will live” then everyone will be saved because of the objective nature of propitiation. No sin would be left unpaid for — including the sin of unbelief.
Read the entire article here.
Founders Journal 89 · Summer 2012 · pp. 7–33
“Traditional” Baptists Under the Microscope of History
The following is an expanded version of an address delivered at the Founders Fellowship Breakfast on June 19, 2012 at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, LA.
Recently, a group of anti-Calvinist Baptists claimed that they have exclusive rights to the term “Traditional Baptist.” Calvinists, therefore, should resign themselves to the status of a distinct minority among Southern Baptists and be willing to receive the grace of mere toleration. With that they should be happy, and be content to expect little else. Perhaps a bit of historical perspective can serve to amend this strange perception.
A Doctrinal Profile of Baptist Identity
When Baptists emerged out of seventeenth-century English Separatism, they already were identified with several specific marks inherited from the Reformation. The Theological Orthodoxy of the early church, received by the Reformers, they claimed as their own. Like their fellows Protestants, they revolted from the sacerdotalism that dominated Roman Catholic soteriology and developed a more highly purified evangelicalism than even their Protestant brothers. The confessional stewardship that had thrived in early Christianity and that was renewed in sixteenth-century Protestantism became an important and strategic part of Baptist witness. Confessions operated at three levels for Baptists, as indicated by a confession adopted by the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Louisiana. First a confession….
by Tom Ascol
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once observed that “the ignorant Arminian does not know the difference between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism.” The good news is that not all Arminians are ignorant. The bad news, however, is that such ignorance is not limited to Arminians.
Throughout evangelical history, where evangelical Calvinism as spread among Bible believing Christians, charges of hyper-Calvinism inevitably arise from those who do not know the difference. That pattern is being repeated today both within and beyond the borders of the Southern Baptist Convention. Examples of such careless accusations are not hard to find.
Read the entire article here.
My comment: I do not know Dr Rick Patrick personally, but I do live in the area where he Pastors and would like to say that the reason First Baptist Church has no influence on the youth in this area or the area in general is because of the Arminianism taught within its walls. I wouldn’t even know his church existed, if I didn’t have to drive by it. So if Calvinism is moving our youth towards reading sound theological books, then maybe its because the true gospel is being preached within Calvinism. However, I will give him a thumbs up on putting a ‘Belief’ section on his webpage. Most Arminian Baptist don’t even do this.
Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL
Southern Baptist youth groups are filled with young people converting away from the traditional doctrines held by their parents in favor of more Calvinistic views on salvation, church, culture and ministry. At first glance, this trend seems harmless. If anything, the students converting in spellbound droves to the doctrinal views of Calvinism take their faith far more seriously than their parents do. What Christian parent is going to oppose a movement that actually encourages their child to read the Bible and study theology?
Though most Southern Baptist parents are not at all familiar with the doctrines of Spurgeon, Edwards and Piper, they are profoundly relieved when they discover their teen is into books about God rather than any number of harmful or worldly temptations. In all my years of listening to Focus on the Family, I never once heard a parent ask Dr. Dobson for advice about their teenager reading too much theology. And yet, there are legitimate reasons for traditional Southern Baptist parents and church youth group leaders to view this trend as a dangerous development.
The problems created by Youth Targeted Calvinism (YTC) can be divided into two groups: (a) general problems with Calvinistic doctrines that many parents may not understand, and (b) problems with the practice of targeting youth, introducing them to doctrines disaffirmed by their congregation and especially by their own parents.
Read this article here.
The power and office of the intellect and will in man before the fall, this freedom lost by the fall
The power and office of the intellect and will in man before the fall. Man’s free will. This freedom lost by the fall — a fact unknown to philosophers. The delusion of Pelagians and Papists. Objection as to the fall of man when free, refuted.
8. Therefore, God has provided the soul of man with intellect, by which he might discern good from evil, just from unjust, and might know what to follow or to shun, reason going before with her lamp; whence philosophers, in reference to her directing power, have called her “to hegemonikon”. To this he has joined will, to which choice belongs. Man excelled in these noble endowments in his primitive condition, when reason, intelligence, prudence, and judgment, not only sufficed for the government of his earthly life, but also enabled him to rise up to God and eternal happiness. Thereafter choice was added to direct the appetites, and temper all the organic motions; the will being thus perfectly submissive to the authority of reason. In this upright state, man possessed freedom of will, by which, if he chose, he was able to obtain eternal life. It were here unseasonable to introduce the question concerning the secret predestination of God, because we are not considering what might or might not happen, but what the nature of man truly was. Adam, therefore, might have stood if he chose, since it was only by his own will that he fell; but it was because his will was pliable in either directions and he had not received constancy to persevere, that he so easily fell. Still he had a free choice of good and evil; and not only so, but in the mind and will there was the highest rectitude, and all the organic parts were duly framed to obedience, until man corrupted its good properties, and destroyed himself. Hence the great darkness of philosophers who have looked for a complete building in a ruin, and fit arrangement in disorder. The principle they set out with was, that man could not be a rational animal unless he had a free choice of good and evil. They also imagined that the distinction between virtue and vice was destroyed, if man did not of his own counsel arrange his life. So far well, had there been no change in man. This being unknown to them, it is not surprising that they throw every thing into confusion. But those who, while they profess to be the disciples of Christ, still seek for free-will in man, notwithstanding of his being lost and drowned in spiritual destruction, labor under manifold delusion, making a heterogeneous mixture of inspired doctrine and philosophical opinions, and so erring as to both. But it will be better to leave these things to their own place, (see Book 2 chap. 2) At present it is necessary only to remember, that man, at his first creation, was very different from all his posterity; who, deriving their origin from him after he was corrupted, received a hereditary taint. At first every part of the soul was formed to rectitude. There was soundness of mind and freedom of will to choose the good. If any one objects that it was placed, as it were, in a slippery position, because its power was weak, I answer, that the degree conferred was sufficient to take away every excuse. For surely the Deity could not be tied down to this condition, — to make man such, that he either could not or would not sin. Such a nature might have been more excellent; but to expostulate with God as if he had been bound to confer this nature on man, is more than unjust, seeing he had full right to determine how much or how little He would give. Why He did not sustain him by the virtue of perseverance is hidden in his counsel; it is ours to keep within the bounds of soberness. Man had received the power, if he had the will, but he had not the will which would have given the power; for this will would have been followed by perseverance. Still, after he had received so much, there is no excuse for his having spontaneously brought death upon himself. No necessity was laid upon God to give him more than that intermediate and even transient will, that out of man’s fall he might extract materials for his own glory.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 15-Henry Beveridge Translation
by Josh Powell
This article was written in collaboration with Tom Nettles. Dr. Nettles has expanded and edited this material further for inclusion in The Baptists, Vol. 2.
The year was 1758 and God had richly blessed the gospel strategy of the Separate Baptists in North Carolina. Just three years before, a group led by Shubal Stearns had settled at Sandy Creek and constituted a church. Within those short three years with “a few churches having been constituted, and these having a number of branches which were fast maturing for churches,” Stearns thought it would be a good idea to start an association. The Separates’ remarkable personalities, novel practices, and fiery style of worship and preaching prompted some special attention from the Particular Baptists. Because some gave credit to disturbing reports about these ecclesiological kin, John Gano , who had been commissioned to his work in North Carolina by the Philadelphia Association, attended the 1759 meeting of the Sandy Creek Association. “He was sent, it seems, to inquire into the state of these New Light Baptists.” Robert Baylor Semple reports the visit in this way:
He was received by Stearns with great affection. But the young and illiterate preachers were afraid of him, and kept at a distance. They even refused to invite him into their Association. All this he bore patiently, sitting by while they transacted their business. He preached also every day. His preaching was in the Spirit of the Gospel. Their hearts were opened, so that before he left they were greatly attached to him…. This Association was also conducted in love, peace and harmony. When Mr. Gano returned to his own country, being asked what he thought of these Baptists, he replied, that “doubtless the power of God was among them; that although they were rather immethodical, they certainly had the root of the matter at heart.”
Read the entire article here.
Tom Nettles expanded article can be downloaded here.