Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why SBC Infighting Will Never End

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 14, 2013

ppt-jpeg4I have been a Southern Baptist since 1983, and I certainly don’t remember any significant tension between Calvinists and Arminians in the association until recently. That’s because most Calvinists in the SBC have been Reformed Light for the most part. Circa 1981 began a concerted effort to take over the SBC with the rediscovered Reformed authentic gospel. That’s Luther’s centrality of the objective gospel outside of us. Until maybe ten years ago, few Calvinists in the SBC held to that soteriology. They are now known as “aggressive Calvinists” in the SBC.

Right, because the authentic gospel of the Protestant Reformation comes part and parcel with spiritual tyranny and indifference to human suffering. So, do I think it’s a good thing that SBC notables are pushing back against the “aggressive” Calvinists? No, not really. One camp is dying a painless death akin to gangrene, and the leaders of the other camp make you feel the pain. At least in the latter, you know something is going on that needs attention. Then you hope you can figure out the cure.

Fact is, both camps are Protestants, and Protestantism is founded on weak sanctification. And when you have weak sanctification, there will always be infighting. The Reformers had a different doctrine than Rome, but it was predicated on the same philosophy: spiritual caste. It’s an ancient philosophy that believes in the enlightened few ruling over the unenlightened masses. Rome was terrified that the unenlightened masses would get their hands on God’s word. They thought that was like handing a four-year-old a loaded musket or a really sharp knife. The Reformers had the same attitude even though they partook in the printing of Bibles. But one, it is unclear as to whether mass production was intended, and two, it is clear that the Reformers believed that the ignorant masses needed a dumbed down explanation of truth called orthodoxy. Hence, Calvin started the study Bible thing that is all the rage in our culture. Don’t forget, Luther and Calvin both believed that saints remain totally depraved.  And don’t forget that two Catholics helped start the Reformation and were revered by Luther and Calvin till the end.

The Reformation was really a fight among philosopher kings for the mutton. And this fight between SBC academics is no different. T4G/TGC verses the John 3:16 crowd is all the same song and dance: philosopher kings fighting for the mutton. How do we know? I will tell you.

Jerry Vines, et al are not stupid; they know that this authentic Calvinism taking over the SBC is progressive justification which is clearly an in-your-face false gospel. So why not tell it like it is? Why not express outrage that the president of Southern Seminary propagates a false gospel? The answer to that is fairly simple: they don’t believe that the average Southern Baptist is able to understand what progressive justification is. And sadly, they are probably right, but no thanks to them. Look, I’m a pastor, and I can tell you that the American pastorate is saturated with the idea that the average parishioner cannot understand doctrine. Therefore, at best, Southern Baptists will live by biblical generalities and whatever the philosopher kings think they might be able to understand.  The doctrinal illiteracy of the American church knows no bounds and that is by design; it reflects the spiritual caste mentality that has dominated the pastorate in Western culture for centuries.

Therefore, New Calvinists can’t be called on their false gospel; the other philosopher kings have to rally the spiritual peasantry around issues like the sinners prayer. While the SBC’s flagship Seminary is overseen by a heretic, thank goodness that resolution passed by an “overwhelming majority.”


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  1. Lydia said, on February 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Paul, It always sort of cracks me up to hear folks discuss the SBC. it is so disparate that it seems as if folks are talking about totally different denominations!

    The SBC I grew up in (many different churches of all sizes because of a family ministry) was big on priesthood of believer, soul competency and being a Berean. it was drilled into our heads. The one I grew up in would NEVER have referred to itself as “protestant”. But as Baptist. Which meant FREEDOM to us as each person stood before God alone

    That is why I think the YRR movement really appeals to the young. They are part of a culture that has progressively veered toward entitlement mentality of others thinking for them. They have been indoctrinated and with the YRR they can be in authority over other people and be ‘right’. They would never admit they are really following gurus both dead and alive.

    And they fill the churches with people who have the entitlementality of checking their brains at the door: care for my soul for me. Tell me what to believe. And the government should take care of them physically.

    I do not think we have stopped long enought to really think through how our system of education has evolved over the years to indoctrinate in basic socialistic thinking. The YRR would be the first to say they are conservative but what does taht really mean? For many it means following a leader.

    Calvinism is a logical resurgence for this socialistic thinkiing model. It is dangerous to them for folks to be independent thinkers. they cannot control them and othersfollow. That is why they are so quick to censor folks and call disagreement or critcism slander or gossip. It is all they have. And as a movement it HAS to grow or it will die. I think they instinctively know that. And they need people dependent on them to understand God. And we both know what a maze that is in Calvinism!!!!

    I think guys like Vines, Patterson are just as much into the authority celebrity circuit as anyone else in Christianity as a business model. It is how they make their nice livings. (I was not impressed with Vines legacy at FBCJax at all that Brunson of all people, took over)

    A truly free and independent person is not going to have a guru to rally behind. That is the SBC I grew up in. No King but Jesus. We despised despots and thought they were lost souls.

    We might agree with so and so here and there and band together on an issue or two but we will never really have a “movement” like the YRR does. It would not occur to us as independent agents. YRR is group think and rallies around gurus whether it is Mohler, Piper, Mahaney, Driscoll, etc. It is man centered all the way no matter how much they protest it is about God’s Sovereignty….their definition, anyway.

    So, I hope more pew sitters will take a long look at what has happend at Mars Hill and SGM for those who get sucked into such models of group think. I don’t expect the YRR who want power to care but I do hope we can convince more and more pew sitters to be seek to be Bereans and understand the true Priesthood. I pray the young will long for soul competency which means they must seek Jesus Christ and not wait to be indoctrinated.

    one of the problems with this movement is that folks don’t just leave Calvinism(YRR brand),. they leave the faith. (Calvinism has a ready excuse for this) Too many of them are becoming rabid athiests after being exposed to the cruel narcissistic determinist god paradigm who wants you subservient to a 30 something despot who can only explain God to you.

    I get chills thinking about the fall out from this movement will see over the next 20-30 years..


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