Confessions, Creeds, Cooperation, & Calvinism… Oh, My! – SBC, Renihan, Finn, Fuller + More

dorthyLots of post from this week on the topics mentioned in the title. Thought I would just link them all here:

The Reformed For His Glory blog provides a lengthy quote from the The Reformed Baptist Theological Review Volume 2. 2005. It is Mike Renihan On Hermeneutics And Confessionalism:

Many of us were taught to read and comprehend documents according to a self-centered methodology that assumed that all literature is dynamic. We were taught to ask questions like, “What’s in this for me?” or “How am I to understand this in the present?” or “What is useful for me and what should be overlooked?” This is a reader-response method of reading and studying. With its roots in existentialism, this method implicitly believes that writings are there for the reader’s use. Written words are not understood as conveying truths according to the author’s intent…

Read the rest or listen to readout [9 min.]


The Sovereign Logos blog has started up quite a discussion on a quote from James Renihan (which we previously featured). Comments are currently over 40 and counting on this thread: Why I Am Not A Biblicist. (Later in the week posting Crampton on Creeds, Confessions, and Exegesis to help make the same point Renihan was making.)


Relative to our last podcast, Nathan Finn posted Calvinism, Cooperation, and the Southern Baptist Convention. He writes:

I’m considering this my annual “let’s everyone act like grownups” post, just in time for the SBC [annual convention]. It’s become something of a tradition, I suppose.

Read the rest or listen to readout [9 min.]


In the same vain as above Pastor Nate Akin wrote “The Conservative Resurgence, Calvinism, and Plurality of Elders (Read or listen to readout [7 min.]).”


The Founders Ministries Blog posted What does Calvinism have to do with Marriage?:

But thanks be to God, the Bible teaches that God has a very different kind of love for His people. The fullest expression of God’s love is never conditioned on a human response. The Bible teaches that God’s love is unconditional at the most fundamental level. Certainly, God’s love produces responses in people, but His love is never based on those responses.

Read the rest or listen to readout [6 min.]


New blog at Reformed Baptist Daily, The Importance and Use of Confessions of Faith:

The following is an explanation of why I believe confessions of faith are important for the life and order of the church.

1. Confessions emphasize the authority and centrality of the Bible
2. Confessions focus on fundamental doctrines
3. Confessions help to promote and maintain church unity
4. Confessions help to guard against error in the church

Read the short explanations of each point above.

And then this morning he posted a General outline of the 1689. Read here.


baptist catholicityNathan Finn provided another interesting post which provides much food for thought, Baptists, Creeds, and Corporate Worship:

Though I’m not “liturgical” in the way my Episcopal friends are, I’m an advocate of Baptists reciting the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as part of our corporate worship gatherings. I wouldn’t want to bind anyone’s conscience on this issue, since I think its adiaphora, but I’m in favor of churches at least periodically confessing the faith verbally through recitation of the ancient creeds.


Steve Harmon has written on this topic in many places, most notably in his provocative book Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision (Paternoster, 2006). More recently, Steve has written on this topic on his blog, Ecclesial Theology, in a post titled “Do Real Baptists Recite Creeds?” The post is condensed from a 2004 article by the same titled published in Baptists Today (see p. 27).

Read the rest.


CredoCovenant blog posted an excerpt from R.A. Venable’s The Baptist Layman’s Hand-Book, pp.9-10:

Q.2. Are church and denominational creeds necessary and desirable?

A. Creeds or confessions of faith are necessary from the nature of the human mind and the character of revealed truth. Without a creed there could be no preaching, no church organization, no doctrinal fellowship, no evangelical faith, no singing and no praying.

 Q.3. Why do so many religious teachers, both in oral and written discourse, disparage the use of creeds and confessions of faith in matters of religion?

A. (1) When the grounds of their objections are disclosed, it is generally plain that these teachers do not object to creeds as such, but only to such as are out of harmony with their views and oppose their methods. The young man, representing the Young Men’s Christian Association, with a limp Bible under his arm, often objects to creeds, but no one has more creed than he has; he is objecting to any one’s having any creed but his; it is all right to believe as he does. He is not alone. (2) Again, the substitution of a creed for piety and a Christly life has no doubt driven many really earnest people to disparage creeds, regarding them as substitutes for vital Godliness. Good old Andrew Fuller says, “The man who has no creed has no belief, which is the same thing as being an unbeliever; and he whose belief is not formed into a system has only a few loose, unconnected thoughts, without entering into the harmony and glory of the Gospel. Every well informed and consistent believer, therefore, must have a creed–a system which he supposes to contain the leading principles of Divine revelation.” (Fuller’s Works, Vol. 3, p. 449.)


B.H. Carroll on Original Guilt – Tom Ascol

Besides having an epic beard, B. H. Carroll addressed what seems to be a problem for traditionalist Southern Baptists, that is the history the doctrine of original guilt has in the SBC. Tom Ascol offered some brief citations below, and as always do not forget to add the Founders Ministry Blog to your RSS Reader and follow on Facebook



Many of bits and bytes have been given lately to the question of the relation of Adam’s sin to the human race. Within the Southern Baptist Convention those who have championed the so-called “Traditionalist” statement of Southern Baptist soteriology deny that Adam’s sin results in his posterity inheriting guilt. As Adam Harwood, one of the most outspoken defenders of this document expresses it, their view

 distinguishes between a sinful nature (which every person bears from the first moment of life) and guilt (which occurs as soon as people become morally accountable and commit their first sin). To the question, “Who is guilty of Adam’s sin?” this view answers: Only Adam is guilty of Adam’s sin. The reason? According to the Bible, God judges people for their own sin. (original emphases)

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Admittedly this question has been debated throughout much of Protestant and Baptist history. The best expressions of those debates have been exegetical, as it should be. An additional approach, one that Harwood and those inthose in his camp also like to take, is historical. In a recent post at the anti-Calvinist SBC Today blog, Harwood tries to shore up his “traditionalist” bona fides by claiming that he was informed by James Leo Garrett that “for over 100 years the theology faculty of SWBTS [Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary] has affirmed: we are not guilty of Adam’s sin.”

“By the offense of one man, condemnation came upon all men.” While that may be technically true depending on how one defines “theology faculty,” it most certainly is not true with regard to the founding President of Southwestern, B.H. Carroll. In his massive, highly acclaimed Interpretation of the English Bible, Carroll argues plainly for the biblical teaching that

This, of course, flies squarely in the face of the position of the “Traditionalist” statement, which asserts,

“We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

Read the whole section from Volume 14 of Carroll’s work below:

Read the rest or listen to readout [9 min.]


Double Rainbow… err… Radio Free Dividing Line! – James White | Updated: Continued

Yes, the rumors are true, a double Dividing Line including both a Radio Free Geneva and a Radio Free Damascus in ONE podcast!!!

More-Awesome-Than-A-Double-Rainbow_Dividing Line-l

James White had a double feature on his recent podcast, Radio Free Geneva (A Dividing Line podcast dealing specifically with Reformed issues) and Radio Free Damascus (dealing with Islamic issues in particular). It aired May 28, 2013 and dealt with the following topics:

Audio timeline:

  • 00:35 – 05:50 “Comments on the Catholic Answers ‘no, you didn’t force us to make that debate available’ silliness” & “a few words on the Pope and redemption
  • 06:00 – 50:00 “Radio Free Geneva, where I started responding to my friend Michael Brown’s comments on his radio program last week, The Line of Fire. Michael had a “Calvinist Call In Day,” where…most of the callers were not Calvinists! But Michael asked a lot of questions of the Reformed position, and you know me! I love to respond to questions like that! So we started reviewing the program. “
  • 50:00 – 1:28:00 Radio Free Damascus, where I began a review of the William Lane Craig v. Yusuf Ismail debate from 2010 in South Africa. I’m doing this to help prepare for my own debate with Yusuf Ismail in October (see the banner ad above and please help me get there!). I am also doing it to help Mr. Ismail prepare as well! I hope he will listen and will benefit from the interaction.”

Listen (right-click to download).

[source: Alpha & Omega Ministries]

Update 05/31/2013: James White continued these discussions in yesterday’s Dividing Line:
Update 06/05/2013: James White continued these discussions in yesterday’s Dividing Line:
Update 06/07/2013: James White continued these discussions in yesterday’s Dividing Line:

Interview #8: Paul Brewster – SBC History: GA Baptist Assocation & Sandy Creek


On episode eight of our podcast, we interview Pastor Paul Brewster on some Southern Baptist (SBC) History: GA Baptist Assocation & Sandy Creek.

After that, we talk about some Reformed Baptist headlines and give you a preview of next week’s episode featuring Paul Reynolds on his book 66 Books One Story.

Books & Sites Mentioned:

Headlines Mentioned:

Sponsor: – A wiki dedicated to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, commonly called the 1689, and theology in accordance with the doctrines contained therein.

Post-Interview Music:

Be Thou My Vision by Ascend the Hill from their album Hymns. Entire album can be downloaded free.

Help, Mom! There are Arminians Under My Bed! by JD Hall [Book]

Product Description

Come along on a journey with Mitchell, as he recalls his nightmare for his mother. Mitchell was in a land of darkness and gloom, when due to no cooperation of his own, a Knight in shining armor saved him and all the other captives He intended to save. “Help, Mom”is a children’s allegory designed to teach your kids the Doctrines of Grace through the use of creative story-telling.

About the Author

JD Hall is the pastor of Fellowship Church in Eastern Montana, where he lives with his wife, Mandy, and three children. JD is a co-founder of Reformation Montana, a network and mission society consisting of Reformed Baptist churches in Montana and the surrounding region. He is a columnist for the Intermountain Christian News, and operates the Pulpit and Pen website. JD received his B.A. in Christian Education from Williams Baptist College and M.A. in History from Arkansas State University.

Get it here!

Andrew Fuller & the Gospel – Nathan Finn

Today is the 198th anniversary of Andrew Fuller’s death, and Nathan Finn wrote a  short essay for the Desiring God blog on Fuller’s defense of the gospel. He writes on his blog:

I discuss two aberrant views of the gospel that Fuller critiqued in this day: High Calvinism and Sandemanianism. I also make the following practical application.

Fuller reminds us to be diligent in guarding the gospel from unhelpful articulations of the saving work of Christ. Though no longer widespread, High Calvinism continues to eek out an existence, always leeching off of evangelical Calvinism wherever the latter is popular. Sandemanian-like views are embraced by the Campbellite traditions and are popular among many revivalistic evangelicals and in the so-called Free Grace movement among some Dispensationalists. As in the past, current versions of these heterodoxies often give rise to antinomianism, whether of the Calvinistic or revivalistic variety. Contemporary gospel-driven pastor-theologians can find a helpful role model in Andrew Fuller.

I hope you’ll go to the Desiring God blog and read the whole essay.

You can also listen to a readout of article [7 minutes].

James White vs. Michael Brown Debate on Calvinism [Video]

Dr. Michael L. Brown and Dr. James White debating predestination, election and the will of God at Southern Evangelical Seminary, February 14, 2013. Video is 2 hours and 22 minutes long:


Update 05/24/2013:

The Predestination Debate

James White and Michael Brown debate the subject of Predestination at Southern Evangelical Seminary. In a debate marked by mutual respect and brotherhood, these two apologists do not hesitate to press each other on the implications of their beliefs. The debate includes 25 minute opening statements, plenty of interaction, and audience questions. If you want to hear a biblically based, intra-mural, brotherly debate that is clear and direct, this is the one to listen to.

In addition to the audio formats available in MP3 and CD the video is available in DVD(720p) and Blu-Ray(1080p) formats for excellent HD playback for large audiences.

[source: Effectual Grace]


Sandy Creek And The Myth of Two Southern Baptist Streams

Part of the association’s legacy has become forgotten and/or distorted. The doctrinal/confessional legacy of Sandy Creek has come to represent non-Calvinism and at times even anti-Calvinism. Perhaps no one has spread the myth that Sandy Creek represents something other than historic Baptist Calvinism than Dr. Paige Patterson. In numerous interviews and writings, Patterson (along with David Allen, Emir Caner, Steve Lemke, and others) has claimed doctrinal affinity with the Sandy Creek tradition. To add more confusion, Patterson has signed both the Calvinist Abstract of Principles while president of Southeastern Seminary and the recent Hankins authored Traditional Statement on Soteriology. (source)

Southern Baptists, The Sandy Creek Association and The John 3:16 Conference

sandy_creek-300x187Southern Baptists, The Sandy Creek Association and The John 3:16 Conference.

As recently as The John 3:16 Conference, it has been asserted that the Sandy Creek Association was less Calvinistic and that there were two strains of Baptists that fed into the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention one more Arminian, and the other confessionally Calvinistic;

“Caner noted that Baptist churches from the historical lineage of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association practiced revivalistic evangelism methods 40 years prior to the birth of Charles Finney, who is often credited with originating them during the Second Great Awakening.

This strand of Baptist life, Caner said, ran concurrent with the stronger Calvinistic one from the Philadelphia Baptist Association and both have existed within Southern Baptist life since the founding of the convention.

Caner asserted that much of the theological disunity could be resolved if there was more evangelistic methodological unity, particularly using an altar call.” (Source)

In 2006, the Founders Journal dedicated an entire edition to The Sandy Creek controversy, known as “Sandy Creek Revisited”:

Sandy Creek Revisited

The Raw Calvinism of the North Carolina Separates of the Sandy Creek Tradition

Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition







Radio Free Geneva Podcast From April 4, 2013

James White’s podcast, Radio Free Geneva (A Dividing Line podcast dealing specifically with Reformed issues), from April 4, 2013 dealt with the following three topics:

Audio timeline:

08:40-27:15 The John 3:16 Conference from a few weeks ago (here is the article he referenced)

27:16-52:19 Greg Boyd’s attack upon penal substitutionary atonement (lots of parallels to the arguments Muslims use) (from the Unbelievable Podcast: What happened on the cross? Penal Substitution debate – Unbelievable?)

52:20-1:29:30 Full review of Peter Lumpkin’s booklet on Calvinism, entitled, “What Is Calvinism”

Listen (right-click to download).

[source: Alpha & Omega Ministries]

Defending Divine Election – Six Video Teaching Sessions

Pastor John Samson’s Defending Divine Election – Six Video Teaching Sessions:

As a supplement to his book “Twelve What Abouts – Answering Common Objections Concerning God’s Sovereignty in Election” book, he recorded six video teaching sessions totaling more than two and a half hours of material. The sessions are now made available, free of charge.

“I trust these will prove to be a useful resource for people. God bless.”

– John Samson

(1) The first session is on John chapter 6, verse 35 and following:

(2) Covering Scriptures in Matthew 11 and Romans 8:28-30, here’s a 27 minute teaching on the question of election and evangelism, as well as what is referred to as the Golden Chain of Redemption.

(3) Romans 9 stands like Mount Everest – a majestic, spectacular, lofty and immutable testimony to God’s supremacy and sovereignty in salvation. Here’s a 36 minute video teaching on the chapter:

(4) Many Christians reject the biblical doctrine of God’s sovereignty in election because of traditions associated with the love of God and what amounts to a pagan concept of the human will, as I seek to explain in this 20 minute video teaching:

(5) A biblical study of foreknowledge and the grace of God:

(6) This video deals with the three texts most often raised as objections to the Biblical doctrine of Divine election, namely John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9 and Matt 23:37:


John Samson is serves as the pastor of King’s Church in Phoenix, Arizona.

[source: Reformation Theology]

New Calvinism Considered by Jeremy Walker [Audio + PDF]

New Old Calvinism

“I was invited to address the topic at a sister church in the US, which I sought to do. Following on from that, I was asked to put that material in print, to which I replied, ‘Tricky, as it’s only a series of headers with a few notes on a sheet of paper.’ The upshot was that the original address got transcribed, and I got round – eventually – to editing it. I used the substance of that address recently for a series of adult Bible classes in the church which I serve, and it provoked a lot of profitable engagement. And, now, finally, I am posting it here in its slightly more polished, slightly less personable form.”

– Pastor Jeremy Walker

Here is the four part blog series:

  1. Caveats and characteristics
  2. Commendations
  3. Cautions and concerns
  4. Conclusions and counsels

And said teaching:

  1. The New Calvinism Considered (67 min.)
    (Transcript: View or Download PDF)