Traditionalism vs. Calvinism: Neither is “Better”

The Traditionalist quips, “The Calvinist God chose to unconditionally elect some, saving them, and leaving the rest to burn in Hell for all eternity. That’s not a loving Father.”

To which, the Calvinist responds, “The Traditionalist God foresaw the free-choices of everyone, and he still chose to create the people who he foreknew would never ever repent and believe, people who he foreknew would suffer His wrath in Hell forevermore. Based on your logic, that’s not a loving Father either.”

If God is all-knowing, if God foreknew me, every free choice I would ever make, and He foreknew that I would never repent and believe, and He still chose to create me, for what purpose did He create me? In the Traditionalist system of theology, would a “loving Father” create children he foreknew that he would send to burn in Hell for all eternity? I literally cannot choose other than God foreknew I would choose when He created me. Thus, since God foreknew every person who would never repent and believe, and still chose to create them, He did not create them to save them, because He foreknew that they would never be saved. Rather, he made them to show His glory in pouring out His wrath on them for all eternity. Therefore, the Traditionalist system of theology does no better than the Calvinist system of theology in answering the difficult doctrine of God’s sovereignty vs. man’s responsibility.

After all, since Traditionalists believe that God foresaw every human’s free-will decisions, God could have chosen to only create those who would freely repent and believe. Or, God could have caused those who would never repent and believe to die in infancy, therefore, sending them straight to Heaven due to His grace in Christ.

Or, “better” yet (I say “better” in quotation marks because whatever God ordains is right; who is the creature to correct the Creator?), God could have given Adam, Christ’s human nature in the Garden of Eden. Just as our loved ones in Heaven are incapable of sinning due to union with Christ, the Holy Spirit, and their new human nature, Adam could have been united to Christ from the beginning. If God can give our loved ones new natures in Heaven in the likeness of Christ’s human nature, and they are incapable of sin but still free, then God could have done this in the Garden of Eden prior to Adam’s sin. God was not forced to give Adam or the angels natures capable of sin in order for them to be free. After all, the elect angels and our loved ones in Heaven cannot sin. If you believe otherwise, then the New Heavens and New Earth will fall like the old one.

In conclusion, getting to the title of the article, neither Traditionalism nor Calvinism provide satisfactory answers to the difficult realities presented by Scripture concerning God’s sovereignty vs. Man’s responsibility. Rather than fight over which of us really believes that God is a loving Father, it’s best to just embrace what the Bible teaches, instead of using self-defeating rhetoric to bolster one’s position. God, not man, not Traditionalism, not Calvinism, determines the definition of a “loving Father.” And the undeniable reality in both positions is that God has chosen to create this world He foreknew, this humanity He foreknew, lost and saved, and no other.

Only the repentant will be saved in both positions.

Only the repentant will experience God as loving Father for all eternity. On this, we agree.

Let’s embrace this reality instead of quipping over our rhetoric and logic.

My site. I’m married with 4 children, an SBC pastor, a TA for Dr. Kyle Claunch & a PhD candidate at SBTS. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Udemy. I host 2 podcasts: All Truth is God’s Truth (iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Tune In) & Pop Culture Coram Deo (iTunes, Stitcher, acast, Player.FM).

What do you Call a Baptist who attends a Presbyterian Church? Answer. . .


What do you call a Baptist who attends a Presbyterian Church? Answer. . .

Not a Baptist.

The Second London Baptist Confession 22.1 says:

…the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

As a Reformed Southern Baptist pastor, I grow weary of other “Reformed” Baptists, who, due to the lack of “solid” Reformed Baptist churches near them, opt to attend solid Presbyterian churches. I put “Reformed” in the phrase ‘”Reformed” Baptists’ in quotes because Reformed Baptists in church history would not recognize you as a Reformed Baptist. They were persecuted for believing and teaching rightly about baptism.

If you can participate in a worship service where baptism is administered unbiblically, Sunday after Sunday, over and over again, don’t call yourself a Baptist. If you can watch pastors diminish the New Covenant in Christ by baptizing babies apart from their personal repentance and faith, don’t call yourself a Baptist. Furthermore, sprinkling is not baptism; sprinkling does not display the biblical drama of identifying with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection; only immersion does. Moreover, baptism without a prior profession of faith is not biblical baptism. If you can participate in a worship service where babies are included in the New Covenant apart from personal faith in Christ, don’t call yourself a Baptist.

At this point, you may say, “But Jared, there isn’t a solid Baptist church in my community.” Then start one! The fact that you’re not willing to invest the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to start or build a Reformed Baptist Church means that there will never be a solid Reformed Baptist Church in your community. And if there ever is, it will be in spite of you, not because of you. Stop blaming others and look in the mirror. Or, love your brothers and sisters in Christ enough at these semi-Reformed Baptist churches (SBC/BF&M2K) to get alongside them and spend 10+ years loving and teaching them, until they are persuaded to be Reformed Baptists. You may learn something from them in the process; I sure have!

The fact is that if you are a Baptist who attends a Presbyterian church, you will never serve as an elder at your church. You will never be able to teach biblical views concerning baptism. You will never lead in your church. If the biblical mode (immersion) and the biblical prerequisite (repentance and faith in Christ) for baptism are not important enough doctrines for you to worship somewhere else or to start a church with biblical worship, then just become Presbyterian already.

Or, at least stop identifying yourself as a “Reformed Baptist.” You are more Presbyterian than Baptist.

*I love my Presbyterian brothers and sisters. But just as you are unapologetically Presbyterian, I am unapologetically Baptist. Only believers should receive the sign of the New Covenant, for only believers are in the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-40).

My site. I’m married with 4 children, an SBC pastor, a TA for Dr. Kyle Claunch & a PhD candidate at SBTS. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Udemy. I host 2 podcasts: All Truth is God’s Truth (iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Tune In) & Pop Culture Coram Deo (iTunes, Stitcher, acast, Player.FM).

The Demise of the SBC? Not According to our Seminaries

 

Baptist Press

I’ve been doing a series this year on “5 Reasons to be Thankful for…” various SBC entity Presidents (So far, Al Mohler, Paige Patterson, Kevin Ezell). While researching, I noticed that our SBC seminaries as a whole have increased in their student enrollment by 8-10% in the past 10 years! That’s not bad for a so-called “dying” denomination in a “dying” evangelicalism!

SBC Seminaries FULL TIME Student Enrollment

2017-18 vs. 2007-08

SBTS: 1,702 vs. 1,411 = 21% Increase

SWBTS: 1,393 vs. 1,847

SEBTS: 1,602 vs. 863 = 86% Increase

MBTS: 1,120 vs. 398 = 181% Increase

NOBTS: 909 vs. 1,579

Gateway Seminary: 634 vs. 699

TOTAL = 7,360 vs. 6,797 = 8% increase! WOOHOO!

SBC Seminaries TOTAL Student Enrollment

2017-18 vs. 2007-08

SBTS: 3,157 vs. 2,562 = 23% increase

SWBTS: 2,767 vs. 2,693 = 3% increase

SEBTS: 2,187 vs. 1,542 = 42% increase

MBTS: 1,814 vs. 765 = 137% increase

NOBTS: 1,570 vs. 2,604

Gateway Seminary: 1,297 vs. 1,452

TOTAL: 12,792 vs. 11,618 = 10% increase! WOOHOO!

To those who want the SBC to go away. Lord willing, if these numbers are any indication, we are not “going away” any time soon.

*These stats came from the Association of Theological Schools’ Annual Data Tables.

My site. I’m married with 4 children, an SBC pastor, a TA for Dr. Kyle Claunch & a PhD candidate at SBTS. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Udemy. I host 2 podcasts: All Truth is God’s Truth (iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Tune In) & Pop Culture Coram Deo (iTunes, Stitcher, acast, Player.FM).

The Demise of the SBC? Not According to our Seminaries

 

Baptist Press

I’ve been doing a series this year on “5 Reasons to be Thankful for…” various SBC entity Presidents (So far, Al Mohler, Paige Patterson, Kevin Ezell). While researching, I noticed that our SBC seminaries as a whole have increased in their student enrollment by 8-10% in the past 10 years! That’s not bad for a so-called “dying” denomination in a “dying” evangelicalism!

SBC Seminaries FULL TIME Student Enrollment

2017-18 vs. 2007-08

SBTS: 1,702 vs. 1,411 = 21% Increase

SWBTS: 1,393 vs. 1,847

SEBTS: 1,602 vs. 863 = 86% Increase

MBTS: 1,120 vs. 398 = 181% Increase

NOBTS: 909 vs. 1,579

Gateway Seminary: 634 vs. 699

TOTAL = 7,360 vs. 6,797 = 8% increase! WOOHOO!

SBC Seminaries TOTAL Student Enrollment

2017-18 vs. 2007-08

SBTS: 3,157 vs. 2,562 = 23% increase

SWBTS: 2,767 vs. 2,693 = 3% increase

SEBTS: 2,187 vs. 1,542 = 42% increase

MBTS: 1,814 vs. 765 = 137% increase

NOBTS: 1,570 vs. 2,604

Gateway Seminary: 1,297 vs. 1,452

TOTAL: 12,792 vs. 11,618 = 10% increase! WOOHOO!

To those who want the SBC to go away. Lord willing, if these numbers are any indication, we are not “going away” any time soon.

*These stats came from the Association of Theological Schools’ Annual Data Tables.

My site. I’m married with 4 children, an SBC pastor, a TA for Dr. Kyle Claunch & a PhD candidate at SBTS. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Udemy. I host 2 podcasts: All Truth is God’s Truth (iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Tune In) & Pop Culture Coram Deo (iTunes, Stitcher, acast, Player.FM).