Aug 27, 2017

What I Dislike About The SBC

Over the years I have refrained from criticizing the Southern Baptist Convention of churches. I was saved in a Southern Baptist church near Oxford, Ohio as a teenager. My wife was also saved in a Southern Baptist church. I have friends in the Southern Baptist Church. I have interacted with several SBC pastors and teachers on the Internet over the past several years, mostly however, with those who are strongly opposed to Calvinism and its place in the SBC. I have mostly enjoyed the preaching of such men as Adrian Rogers. But, I must say, that in spite of so much good enjoyed from the SBC, I have had much reason to denounce many who are outspoken leaders of the SBC.

One of the things I liked about the SBC was the fact that both Calvinists and Arminians lived and worked together in the SBC and that they for the most part did not denounce the other. But, things just seem to be getting worse along this line. It seems that the Arminians or moderate Calvinists have lost their willingness to have four or five point Calvinists as part of the SBC.

I recall listening to a Baptist preacher on the radio many years ago talking about why he left the SBC. He said "I did not leave the SBC, the SBC left me!" I know what he means. Though the founders of the SBC were mostly four and five point Calvinists, it seems today that only about 10% are such, and that those who are such are being persecuted and evil spoken against by the 90%. As an example of this I just read an Internet article on a leading SBC web site titled "Where’d All These Calvinists Come From?" and written by SBC pastor Charlie Harris (see here). In this article Harris, like others in the SBC, think it part of their calling to rid the SBC of the remaining Calvinists. Those who are anti Calvinists call themselves "Traditionalists," which is ironic, considering the fact that most of the founders of the SBC were strong Calvinists.

Wrote Harris (emphasis mine):

"With the rise of Calvinism, Traditionalism is out of season, which is why Traditionalist pastors must be all the more faithful to preach all of God’s word and not shy away from preaching against Calvinism from the pulpit. In 2006, Lifeway Research surveyed 413 pastors about their views of Calvinism. The survey addressed discussing Calvinism from the pulpit and stated, “…a slight majority of Southern Baptist pastors only address Calvinism from the pulpit once a year or less. While a greater number of pastors—51 percent—rarely speak on Calvinism with their people, 45 percent of SBC pastors address Calvinism several times a year or more from the pulpit.” (3) With half of pastors only mentioning Calvinism from the pulpit once a year, it’s no wonder most Traditionalist churches have members who have little understanding of Calvinism."

Harris would like to see more denunciation of Calvinism "from the pulpit." He does not think it has any place in the SBC. I don't know how this is good for the SBC! Though I much liked the preaching of Adrian Rogers, when he would get on his anti Calvinism rant, and would call Calvinists "heretics," he would lose me.

Harris wrote:

"Traditionalist pastors have not protected their sheep from Calvinism. As a result, Traditionalist Christians are taking the Calvinistic bait, hook, line, and sinker."

"Have not protected the sheep from Calvinism"? Oh that is going to help promote brotherhood among the SBC! It is because of such an attitude as this that keeps my wife and me from SBC churches.

Wrote Harris:

"Traditionalist pastors must be more intentional about preaching against the errors of Calvinism."

Oh that is going to help the brotherhood! What about the Calvinists preaching against the error of the Arminians and semi Pelagians?

Harris wrote:

"Some Traditionalist preachers may believe they preach against Calvinism by simply preaching the gospel."

And what is wrong with just preaching the gospel?

Wrote Harris:

"Calvinism is rampant in the Southern Baptist Convention, and is growing due to Reformed preachers and publications...It will continue to grow unless Traditionalist preachers graciously tackle this doctrine from the pulpit."

What is Harris' thesis? Calvinists are not welcome in the SBC! And, people wonder why so many Calvinists remain outside of the SBC!

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