Ex-Calvinists and SBCToday.com (#5)

This is the fifth post in a series of observations about Leighton Flowers’s post on SBCToday.com, The Five Points that Led Me Out of Calvinism.  

Find the Introduction Here, Part #2 Here, Part #3 Here, and Part #4 Here.

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It appears I’ve ruffled some feathers at SBCToday.com.  And, as they would have it, I am extremely threatened by them.  I guess I am threatened by error; so sure.  The lack of meaningful response to anything I have written is duly noted, but I feel I’ve been more than cordial in my treatment of Mr. Flowers’s posts—something not reciprocated by those on the SBCToday comment board.  While they are busy accusing Calvin of the worst crimes, including pride and hatefulness, they never cease to spew their own.  Never mind all that though…

Moving on to Flowers’s last point:

 

Point #5: I came to understand that sovereignty is not an eternal attribute of God that would be compromised by the existence of free moral creatures.  

This is no new argument, but it is worth considering.  He starts with a quote from AW Tozer:

God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.

It will be necessary for Flowers—as it was for Tozer—to show how this is the case from Scripture.  Not only that, but no one denies a will given to the creature, the point is: what state is that will now in after the fall?  Taking us back to the problem with most of Flowers’s points.

“Some seem to believe that for God to be considered ‘sovereign’ then men cannot have a free or autonomous will.  Should sovereignty be interpreted and understood as the necessity of God to ‘play both sides of the chess board’ in order to ensure His victory?”

Flowers needs to define free and autonomous.  Is it free and autonomous at all times?  In all situations?  Is the will affected by nature, circumstances, temptations, the fall, regeneration?  Is there anything in history that is known to God, but not decreed?  If so, does God take on knowledge as he sees things unfold in the future?  These are all questions worthy of consideration, and desperately needing an answer.

“I’m saying that the revelation of God’s holiness, His unwillingness to even tempt men to sin (James 1:13), His absolute perfect nature and separateness from sin (Is. 48:17), certainly appears to suggest that our finite, linear, logical constructs should not be used to contain Him (Is. 55:9).”

This is all fine and good.  After all, I’m a compatibilist.  It is not for me to reckon how man’s accountability and God’s sovereign decrees are reconciled, I can only admit that both are Scriptural, and be content to leave it at that.  I’d actually charge the person who rejects compatibilism with attempting to fit God’s sovereignty and man’s accountability into a logical or linear construct—so that it can make sense in their mind.

For example: if man is accountable then God must not decree all things, because to decree all things would make Him the author of sin.

This is what leads many people to reject the Biblical account of God’s absolute sovereignty and man’s will as compatible.

“One point that really helped me to understand the apparent contradiction of this debate was realizing the divine attribute of sovereignty is not an eternal attribute of God.” (his emphasis)

Here, I think, Flowers misses the mark.  He goes on:

“What the Calvinist fails to see is that sovereignty means ‘complete rule or dominion over creation.’  For God to be in control over creation there has to be something created in which to control.  He cannot display His power over creatures unless the creatures exist.  Therefore, before creation the concept of sovereignty was not an attribute that could be used to describe God. An eternal attribute is something God possesses that is not contingent upon something else.”

Flowers may want to tread lightly here, before he rejects—out of hand—the proper definition of sovereignty.  The first question I asked upon reading this was: where does he get this definition of sovereignty?  The Bible certainly never speaks of God’s sovereignty in this manner.  The problem for the Flowers is evident: he is forced to change the definition in order to fit his new system.  No longer is Sovereignty an eternal attribute of God, meaning “absolute rule, dominion, power, kingship, authority, etc.”; it is now a role taken on by His interaction with creation.  The issue is the conflation of what has historical been understood as the Providence of God with the Sovereignty of God.  A.W. Pink has correctly defined the Sovereignty of God (see previous link), and I’m content to leave it with him:

What do we mean by [the sovereignty of God]? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.

And he says elsewhere:

The Sovereignty Of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy (see preceding chapter). Infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth; subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent. God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa. 46:10); “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand” (Dan. 4:35). Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things “after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11).

As James White has rightly observed: Sovereignty is not something God does, it’s something God is.  Flowers may want to challenge that understanding, but he must demonstrate it Biblically—and refute the Biblical definition given.  God does not suddenly become sovereign once He chooses to create; his very choice to create is a demonstration of His sovereignty.

“The eternal attribute of God is His omnipotence, which refers to His eternally limitless power. Sovereignty is a temporal characteristic, not an eternal one, thus we can say God is all powerful, not because He is sovereign, but He is sovereign because He is all powerful, or at least He is as sovereign as He so chooses to be in relation to this temporal world.”

Splitting hairs here a bit.  It really matters not what word is used so long as the definition is understood.  This sentence really doesn’t make any sense: “God is all powerful, not because He is sovereign, but He is sovereign because He is all powerful.”  It might be better written as “God is sovereign and omnipotent.”

“If our all-powerful God chose to refrain from meticulously ruling over every aspect of that which He creates, that in no way denies His eternal attribute of omnipotence, but indeed affirms it. It is the Calvinist who denies the eternal attribute of omnipotence by presuming the all-powerful God cannot refrain from meticulous deterministic rule over His creation (i.e. sovereignty). In short, the Calvinist denies God’s eternal attribute of omnipotence in his effort to protect the temporal attribute of sovereignty.

Once again, Flowers must demonstrate this Biblically.  Where does the Bible speak of God giving up his sovereign direction of events?  I don’t want to call Flowers a deist, but one should recognize how far this can go.  He must also reckon with verses that directly contradict his understanding: Gen 50:20; 1 Sam 2:25Psa 139:16; Prov 16:4; Isa 10:5-19; 46:10; Matt 10:29-30; Acts 4:27-28Rom 9:19-24; Eph 1:11.  If the Calvinist denies what Flowers says they do, then it must be said, “the Synergist denies God’s supremacy, sovereignty, freedom, foreknowledge, and foreordination in his effort to protect the libertarian free will of the creature.”  Man’s will is elevated, God’s will is downplayed.  Trust me, recognizing God’s right to do as He pleases is sometimes a tough pill to swallow; it is tough even for those who confess it; but it is also the basis for our comfort, confidence, and hope that God is able and willing to work all things together for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28).

 “The Omnipotent God has not yet taken full sovereign control over everything on earth as it is in heaven. Is not that His prerogative? Passages throughout the bible teach that there are ‘authorities’ and ‘powers’ which are yet to be destroyed, and that have been given dominion over God’s creation.”

Sadly, when Synergists head down a certain road, and it becomes all-important to defeat Calvinism, they tend to say some dangerous things.  His [mis]definition of sovereignty has already been addressed, but this is a comment that I would hope Mr. Flowers would want to qualify.  In a sense Flowers has a point; Christ has not yet subjugated all to a final judgement (well, already-not-yet); and God has permitted evil forces to continue for His “sovereign” purposes.  However, what is the implication of this statement?  Is the idea that God is now, somehow, completely hands-off?  Does He not still exercise dominion and sovereignty over all things that take place?  He allows free reign of evil forces, unhindered, and outside of His sovereign, omnipotent, immutable decree?  This needs clarification.

What he says has a tinge of truth, but what he implies by the way he’s been arguing has unsavory consequences on a person’s thoughts about God’s sovereignty and control of events.

He now goes on to list the passages that show how authority is still being given to temporal powers, including: Isa 24:21; Eph 6:12; Col 2:20; 1 Cor 15:24.  But again, we must not understand these as though God has no present control or decreetive purpose in what comes to pass.  To say that takes these verses much too far.

“Much more could be said, but in short we must refrain from bringing unbiblical conclusions based upon our finite perceptions of God’s nature.”

Much more could be said, and one really wishes he had spent more time to say it.  One especially wishes he had taken the time to show us the Scripture that led him his conclusions.  His hope may have not been to “convert” the Calvinists reading, but he certainly didn’t try.  [Side note: I for one hate the “I’m never going to change your mind, you’re never going to change mine, so why bother” mentality; to me it downplays the ability of the Spirit to convict and enable people to have a greater understanding of Biblical truth].  And laying the charge of “unbiblical” is never good when your “reasons” never really included much Scripture.  Also, appealing to our “finite perceptions” is no excuse for not submitting to what is clearly revealed to us in Scripture.

Flowers then says some things I agree with, before getting to the proof texts commonly used, namely: 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim 2:4; John 3:16; 1 John 2:2.  These texts have been answered several times over, so it’s not really my objective to evaluate them one by one (maybe in the future).  Because he sort of carpet-bombs the end of this post, and just lays down a bunch of verses that he assumes a Synergist meaning to, I have chosen to remain on the original subject: sovereignty.  So I really just want to respond to one more thing he says before concluding this:

“No man will stand before the Father and be able to give the excuse, ‘I was born unloved by my Creator.  I was born unchosen and without the hope of salvation.  I was born unable to see, hear or understand God’s revelation of Himself.'”

Oy!  This is another one of those statements that just makes me wonder how I can believe this guy was a “former Calvinist.”  I just don’t think I could ever reject Calvinism and then make arguments like this; I should hope they’d be a bit more fair and understanding.

One more time: The reason men won’t come to Christ is not because God won’t enable/allow them, it’s because of their sin. But they won’t come unless God enables them, because of their sin.

Or as Piper (I think) once put it: if we find ourselves in hell we have no one to thank but ourselves; if we find ourselves in heaven we have no one to thank but God.

That Flowers would make such a cavalier statement is telling, unfortunately.  It truly belittles the Scriptural account of man’s sin and God’s gracious provision.  Even if Flowers decides to remain in the Synergist camp, hopefully he will take more care to understand the position he once held to, and not paint it in the most objectionable light in order to defeat it.

 

Conclusion

It was Mr. Flowers’s stated objective to help all—even the Calvinists—reading his blog to REALLY understand why he ended up abandoning his Calvinist position.  But, as I have said several times, he has failed to REALLY help us understand for two simple reasons:

1) He provided no convincing case that his Calvinism was ever really grounded in a Reformed church or based on a all-encompassing worldview conviction.  Reformed theology and ecclesiology is based on more than 5 points, and it is best fostered by a church that integrates the doctrines of grace into the practice and life of the local church.  Moreover, the doctrines of grace are not a social club or academic affiliation, they are not rooted in a “brotherhood of ministers.”  Flowers’s account of his move from the Reformed doctrines to a Synergistic semi-pelagianism seems to focus more attention on the friends or influence he might lose, rather than his views of the Scripture, man’s condition, and God’s sovereignty.  One would like to see that those things were very difficult to change his mind on, because they ought to have undergirded his entire worldview and his Christian walk.

2) Flowers’s attempt to help us understand his move away from Calvinism is even further diminished by his lack of Scriptural exegesis.  It is one thing to proof-text and assume a Synergistic meaning into things, and then expect others to come to that conclusion; it’s another to actually look at the verse in context and to thoughtfully consider the implications of your interpretation.   I can as easily cite Romans 9:11 as the Synergist can cite John 3:16—and we can both just assume our interpretation; and this is often what the discussion is boiled down to; but I don’t think it’s a faithful way to handle the Scriptures.  I’m not interested in tricking people into the Calvinist position by showing them prooftexts out of context; I want them to honestly assess the Scriptures, to consider them, to pray, and to continue asking questions.  I think we need to see more analysis and willingness to explain context, writers, audience, etc.  Flowers cites passages, but he gives no meaningful analysis.  In fact, most of his assertions are backed up with nothing more than an exclamation point.  This does not help anyone REALLY understand.

I do hope I let Mr. Flowers speak for himself, and gave each of his points due consideration.  I’m more than willing to hear the thoughts of those who disagree; but I would please ask for Biblical analysis for the assertions you make.  I will try to respond in kind.

SDG,

Jon

 

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~ by TSL on January 20, 2015.

3 Responses to “Ex-Calvinists and SBCToday.com (#5)”

  1. Hi Jon, thanks for engaging with my article. Due to time constraints I’ll limit my comments to this final page, but if you feel there is an important point that you’d like me to address just let me know.

    Jon: It will be necessary for Flowers—as it was for Tozer—to show how this is the case from Scripture. Not only that, but no one denies a will given to the creature

    Leighton: Jon answers his own request. No one denies creatures have a will. We are discussing our theories of how that will functions based on our interpretations of the exact same texts. So, my answer to him would be the same…he would need to show his theory of how man’s will functions is supported by individual texts. I’d be glad to discuss any specific text Jon would like to present, but blanket appeals like this are far too broad to give a fruitful reply in this format. The scholarly works of both perspectives are well documented.

    Jon: what state is that will now in after the fall?

    Leighton: Man’s will is fallen, but not judicially hardened. Man is Sinful, but not unable to admit that fact in response to God’s revelation. I recently posted an article on my blog titled “The Nature of Man vs. The Nature of the Gospel,” in which I spell out the issue is less about how fallen man is and more about the purpose and power of the gospel. We can agree as to the nature of the man after his fall while still disagreeing as to the sufficiency of the gospel’s appeal to enable a fallen man to respond.

    Jon: Flowers needs to define free and autonomous.

    Leighton: Contra-Casual freedom is the ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from a given moral action. Compatibilists believe the will is ‘free’ if it is acting in accordance with its desire (voluntary), yet the desire itself is ultimately determined by God’s meticulous determinism. In other words, man is doing what they want but what they want is determined by God…would you agree? If not, why not?

    Jon: Is it free and autonomous at all times? In all situations? Is the will affected by nature, circumstances, temptations, the fall, regeneration?

    Leighton: Free does not mean free from outside influence…it means free from outside determination. The chooser determines his choice though he does so in light of many countless influential factors. The will makes the determination, not the outside factors. Some refer to this as “self-determination.” The cause of the choice is the chooser.

    Jon: Is there anything in history that is known to God, but not decreed?

    Leighton: Depends on what you mean by “decreed”… do you affirm the concept of a permissive decree (bare permission)…where by God merely allows (does not prevent) the contra-causal free agency of others to choose and act?

    Jon: It is not for me to reckon how man’s accountability and God’s sovereign decrees are reconciled, I can only admit that both are Scriptural, and be content to leave it at that. I’d actually charge the person who rejects compatibilism with attempting to fit God’s sovereignty and man’s accountability into a logical or linear construct—so that it can make sense in their mind.

    Leighton: Scholarly compatibilists go further than you do in their “reckoning” of these issues…as alluded to before (i.e. men do as they desire but God determines men’s desires). I point you to my blog post titled, “Why the Theory of Compatibilism Falls Short,” where I engage with a scholar on the subject.

    Jon: Flowers may want to tread lightly here, before he rejects—out of hand—the proper definition of sovereignty. The first question I asked upon reading this was: where does he get this definition of sovereignty? The Bible certainly never speaks of God’s sovereignty in this manner. The problem for the Flowers is evident: he is forced to change the definition in order to fit his new system. No longer is Sovereignty an eternal attribute of God, meaning “absolute rule, dominion, power, kingship, authority, etc.”; it is now a role taken on by His interaction with creation.

    Leighton: I am fine if Jon wishes to use the term “providence” instead of “sovereignty” as that which is in relation to God’s rule over creation. The terms change but the point remains.

    God’s eternal power or abilities do not change because God might choose to grant others rule, dominion, authority temporally within His creation. I contrasted “sovereignty” (rule over creation) with His eternal attribute of “omnipotence” (all power and ability). Likewise, Jon would need to contrast “providence” (rule over creation) with His eternal attribute of “Omnipotence” or “Sovereignty” (or whatever term chosen to represent the eternal unchanging attribute of God’s limitless power and ability).

    Semantics often keeps us from discussing the real point being made and so for the sake of that point I’m more than willing to concede the definition of terms and use Jon’s terms. Take everything I said about “Sovereignty” and plug in “Providence”…now answer the argument regarding how God’s eternal quality is not comprised by our claims regarding God’s choices in regard to how he rules over the temporal world.

    Jon: As James White has rightly observed: Sovereignty is not something God does, it’s something God is.

    Leighton: Allow me to translation using White’s definitions of those terms: “God’s meticulous deterministic control over all created things is not something God does, it’s something God is.”

    That is the point I was debunking. I was doing so by drawing the distinction between Providence (what God does in relation to creation) and Omnipotence (who God is). White confounds the two as one thus presuming true the very point up for debate. White presumes that what God does in relation to creation IS EQUAL to WHO God is…do you?

    When I debated White on this subject he would object to my view saying, “God cannot create a rock to big for Him to move.” And my rebuttal, which went unanswered was, “Does that mean God cannot create a rock that He chooses not to move?” White believes the choice of God to allow others to have any level of control would be equal to God choosing not to be God and that is convoluting the eternal nature of God Himself with God’s contingent choices to rule over His temporal creation.

    White’s view suggests that God’s power is limited in that He would be unable to create a world with contra-causally free creatures because to do so would deny Himself. White limits the abilities of God’s eternal attributes (an all powerful God cannot create a contra causally free creature) in order to protect a temporal attribute (His power over the temporal world).

    Jon: This sentence really doesn’t make any sense: “God is all powerful, not because He is sovereign, but He is sovereign because He is all powerful.” It might be better written as “God is sovereign and omnipotent.”

    Leighton: Let me use your terms to see if it clarifies things: “God is all powerful, not because he has Providence over creation, but He has Providence over creation because He is all powerful.” The point is to understand the distinction between the eternal attribute and the attribute that is contingent upon the existence of another. God’s control OVER ANOTHER is contingent upon the existence of ANOTHER. That was the point… a point you didn’t seem to understand or address throughout the rest of this discourse. I hope this helps.

    Jon: In a sense Flowers has a point; Christ has not yet subjugated all to a final judgement (well, already-not-yet); and God has permitted evil forces to continue for His “sovereign” purposes. However, what is the implication of this statement? Is the idea that God is now, somehow, completely hands-off?

    Leighton: Complete hands-off? Of course not. I’m not arguing that God doesn’t play either side of the chess board…I’m arguing that He only plays His own side. He doesn’t determine creatures moves and His own by the same deterministic control. He does determine some things, just not everything.

    Jon: Does He not still exercise dominion and sovereignty over all things that take place?

    Leighton: Depends on your definitions, but it seems clear that God gives creatures dominion/authority/control/power over some things…as pointed out already in the text. God PERMITS others to rule and have dominion…and thus suffer the full weight of the consequences associated with their rule.

    Listen, there is a place where God has complete meticulous deterministic control…its called Heaven and I can’t wait to get there because of that fact. His will here isn’t being done like it is there, which is why we pray for his will to be done here like it is in heaven…there is a distinction between the two places. People and the rulers of darkness have been given dominion HERE, but not THERE. Surely you don’t want to suggest God is just as in control over what happens here as what happens in heaven, are you? God controlled the rape, molestations, holocausts…etc etc? I don’t think so…those where the MOVES of free creatures, not the MOVES of God. Now, I do agree God counters those evil MOVES with his works of redemption and bringing about His good purposes, but He is not to be associated with moral evil in any way (Jer. 7:31)… He doesn’t even tempt men to moral evil much less causally determine it. (Jms 1)

    Jon: He now goes on to list the passages that show how authority is still being given to temporal powers, including: Isa 24:21; Eph 6:12; Col 2:20; 1 Cor 15:24. But again, we must not understand these as though God has no present control or decreetive purpose in what comes to pass. To say that takes these verses much too far.

    Leighton: I’ve only stated what the verses themselves say…God has given dominion and authority to others. It appears Calvinists want it both ways…God gives dominion to others while maintaining all dominion for Himself? Does God give dominion to others or not? Are the “others” just tools God uses to work his dominion through (i.e. puppets)? If so, please expound. You affirmed that I have a point but you never seem to acknowledge what that point is in relation to your views.

    And we affirm God has a purpose in permitting others to have dominion. His purpose in doing so is the same purpose he put the forbidden fruit in the garden and gave his youngest son his inheritance to go and squander. It is only in PERMITTING man to make choices (i.e. free will) that they will experience the forgiveness, unconditional love and joy in the journey. See the CS Lewis quote.

    Jon: Oy! This is another one of those statements that just makes me wonder how I can believe this guy was a “former Calvinist.” I just don’t think I could ever reject Calvinism and then make arguments like this; I should hope they’d be a bit more fair and understanding.

    Leighton: I agree, the way in which this is stated is not palatable for the Calvinistic system, but that doesn’t make it any less true of the Calvinistic system’s claims. What specifically is untrue or misrepresentative of what Calvinism teaches? Explain why.

    Jon: One more time: The reason men won’t come to Christ is not because God won’t enable/allow them, it’s because of their sin. But they won’t come unless God enables them, because of their sin.

    Leighton: It’s more than their sin being discussed. It is their inability from birth to acknowledge their sin and trust in Christ for healing (a condition imposed on them by God’s decree leaving them without hope of responding to God’s revelation). Jon is equating the two as if they are one in the same. Proving man is born a sinner is not proof that man is born unable to respond to God’s appeal to be reconciled from that sin. Proving that the lost cannot seek God is not proof man cannot respond to a God who is seeking lost. Proving that man cannot attain righteousness by law through works is not proof that man cannot attain righteousness by grace through faith.

    Jon: It truly belittles the Scriptural account of man’s sin and God’s gracious provision.

    Leighton: Ironically it is just the opposite… I believe it belittles God’s gracious provision to suggest man’s sinful nature is too fallen to be able to respond to that provision. It seems backwards to suggest that God has to irresistibly reconcile man from their fallen condition in order for man to be able to respond to the appeal to be reconciled from that fallen condition. It’s like a doctor finding the cure for cancer making an appeal for all with cancer to come and be healed only to find out that they can’t be cured by the new medication because they have cancer and so they must first be cured from their cancer in order to take the medication meant to cure them.

    Jon: It was Mr. Flowers’s stated objective to help all—even the Calvinists—reading his blog to REALLY understand why he ended up abandoning his Calvinist position. But, as I have said several times, he has failed to REALLY help us understand.

    Leighton: Jon may be correct in my lack of abilities to explain these views, but there is no shortage of materials available for anyone to read, listen to or study if they desire to really vet this perspective. As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” Jon seems to confuse the word “understand” with the word “accept.” Whose fault is it for not understanding a well established, well documented perspective? I’m glad to work with any willing soul seeking to better understand our point of view, but they must be open to understanding it even while rejecting its claims.

    The two reasons Jon believes I’ve failed in my goal is (1) I didn’t prove (to his satisfaction) that I was actually a Calvinist and (2) I didn’t provide enough biblical exegesis. First, I’m not sure how point 1 matters as to the fact that I went from affirming the claims of TULIP to not affirming the claims of TULIP in my ministry. I taught TULIP for over a decade and now I don’t teach TULIP. I was on staff with a Reformed Baptist Church associated with The Founders of the SBC and willingly affirmed the claims of the Calvinistic confessions associated within and now I do not. I went from attempting to convince people to affirm the Calvinistic interpretation to attempting to convince people NOT to affirm the Calvinistic interpretation (but instead affirm the corporate perspective). Those are just the facts of the matter.

    Whether I taught Calvinism or even understood it to the level that would satisfy Jon is really not the point. That doesn’t affect the well established systematic held to by most non-Calvinistic Southern Baptist scholars. It doesn’t affect that fact that I affirmed one systematic and now I affirm another.

    Second, the article was a narrative, not an exegesis. I’ll refer him to my blog and podcast to hear more of my exegetical commentary on these subjects…or to the scholarly journal from Brian Abasciano I linked to at the bottom of the first part of my story at SBCToday. It seems if Jon were interested in understanding, not merely debunking, my views (or the established scholarly exegesis that underlie these views) then he would have researched the subject instead of questioning my scholarship based on a relatively short narrative.

    Thanks for the manner in which you approached this subject. Though you got a bit personal in parts, you seemed to be relatively cordial in your approach, which is all too rare.

    I’d love to discuss the doctrines by phone for my podcast one day when you have time. It would give the listeners a good example of the different perspectives. Let me know when you have time.

    • Mr. Flowers, thanks for responding. I’ve skimmed over it for now (headed out the door). I plan to read it more thoroughly later, and I’m sure I’ll post something in the future.

      Thanks for not taking anything too personal (and if there’s anything specific, I think I’m pretty good about editing it), I respect your thoughts, and hope for a good discussion if possible.

      • Please call me Leighton, and no need to edit anything. I’m not offended. I look forward to the discussion. Take your time as it may be a while before I could respond anyway. Blessings!

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