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The Dangers of Calvinism….

Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s newspaper (Baptist & Reflector), has a new column entitled “Calvinists Have No Sense of Urgency – Jesus Did.”

And a snippet…

The danger with Calvinism as I see it is that it could cause Southern Baptists in the pew to think they do not need to witness, give through the Cooperative Program to missions, or pray for lost souls. That would be a tragedy. To be fair to Calvinists there are some who say that there is a need to witness and share the gospel. But they do not seem to have that sense of urgency that Jesus had. One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples (and to us) is the Great Commission, recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. I can’t imagine Jesus saying those words at that particular time if it didn’t matter.

I can only go by the example Jesus set. He had an urgency for saving lost souls and He passed that urgency on to us.

In the article, Wilkey admits that he’s no theologian and writes from a layman’s perspective with no seminary training. Most Southern Baptists have no seminary training.

I do wonder how many in the pews share the views of Wilkey?

I’m willing to bet that number is a tad bit higher than 10%….

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Discussion

  1. Paul says:

    This is a strawman argument. Mr. Wilkey makes an observation about a conclusion he would reach if he were Calvinist, and then makes that a deficit of Calvinism.

    For the record, I don’t see enough Christians (of any theological persuasion) spreading the gospel with the sense of urgency Jesus had.

    If you want to take issue with Calvinism, take issue with the teachings, not with a few isolated observations of the actions of some people you may think are Calvinists.

  2. Paul says:

    “To be fair to Calvinists there are some who say that there is a need to witness and share the gospel.”

    Oh, and I don’t know of any Bible-believing Calvinist who *doesn’t* believe we need to witness. If one of them has an aversion to witnessing, it doesn’t come from reformed (Calvinist) teaching, it comes from disobedience to the Word.

  3. Big Daddy Weave says:

    I never said I agreed with Wilkey.

    And I do agree it is a strawman argument. I do know quite a few Calvinists whose actions contradict Wilkey’s conclusions.

    But you never addressed my questions. How many folks in the pews would agree with Wilkey? Baptists in the pews have never been sufficiently educated on their heritage and theology. It’s quite easy for the uneducated to buy into a straw-man argument. How do you think the Religious Right became so powerful????

    Also, when you say “Bible-believing Calvinists” – are you implying that some Calvinists are not Bible-Believing??

  4. D.R. says:

    Wow, and in my home state! My first question is how did Wilkey get the job if he didn’t have any theological training and what is he doing speaking about a theological subject when it is clear it is not his expertise? Mr. Wilkey needs to get out more and spend some time with the people in his state. He would find that TN is churning out a great many Calvinists who are engaging culture and spreading the Gospel with passion. Paul is right that this is a straw man argument.

    BDW, to answer your questions, I would say that I don’t think many people in the pew really care. Most Southern Baptists have been fed a steady diet of evangelism over the years to the exclusion of theology and many Baptists in general see theology as an unneccesary discipline. I thought the same thing prior to entering seminary. I had a poor view of Calvinism, but honestly I didn’t really care. I don’t think most Baptists do either, especially since most don’t evangelize themselves, so they really can’t say anything to anyone else.

    As for your question about Paul’s term “Bible-believing Calvinist” I think he just meant “Evangelical Calvinist.” Clearly there are some non-Evangelical Calvinists including even some Hyper-Calvinists, none of which I think are in the SBC.

  5. Michael Westmoreland-White says:

    My beef with Calvinism is the view it has of God.

    I am an Anabaptist and identify with the early General Baptists more than with the Particular Baptists, but I note that the missionary-type Calvinist Baptists sprang from the modified-Calvinism of Andrew Fuller and William Carey, and not from strict Calvinism. Also, I am convinced that the support for slavery by Boyce, Manley, Furman, etc. is connected to the TYPE of Calvinism they embraced: which said that God’s sovereignty put slaves in one social station and masters in another and no one should try to change that! So, I think contemporary Baptists who admire the “Founders” of the SBC (not the founders of the Baptist movement 200 years earlier!), should read them more critically and weigh them more carefully than they do.

  6. Brother Makarias says:

    My main issue with CAlvinism is the view of God it demands. While internally consistent, if one insists on logical consistency outside the five points, God becomes the author of sin. While many CAlvinists are comfortable being inconsistent, if truth is truth, and all truth is consistent with the nature of God, then one cannot, properly speaking, embrace an unmodified Calvinism and claim intellectual honesty.

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