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Expect More Anti-Calvinism Rhetoric

From  my limited perspective, it seems to be slowly becoming a fad for churches to do anti-Calvinism Conferences.  For example, the upcoming SBC president Johnny Hunt’s church First Baptist Woodstock recently hosted an anti-Calvinism conference with some pretty big wig evangelicals (see here).

When I received my latest copy of the Wester Recorder, there was an add that took up an entire page of the paper entitled, “Meeting the Calvinist Challenge: A Conference for All Those Seeking Biblical Answers to the Challenge of Calvinism.”  It’s being held at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College on October the 4th from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Here are the topics that will be addressed:
1) Introduction to Calvinism
2) Calvinism’s Effect on the Public Invitation
3) Does the Gospel of John Teach Unconditional Election?
4) Questions to Ask Prospective Pastors
That last one is the one that scares me most.
Someone else has written a more extensive blog about it here and here.
Someone else (North East Reformation Society) who graduated from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College has given some thought to the conference here.
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  1. The North Eastern Michigan Reformation Society says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to Clear Creek’s anti-calvinism. I hope that they will get the point that not everyone hates Calvinism, and they’ll stop treating them as subchristian.

    The North Eastern Michigan Reformation Society also has a blog concerning Clear Creek’s conference.

  2. Bradley says:

    Let us also hope also that Calvinists won’t respond to the hostility by demonizing Areminian Christians.

  3. Bradley says:

    oops … i misspelled Arminian (sorry)

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Here are the topics that will be addressed:
    1) Introduction to Calvinism
    2) Calvinism’s Effect on the Public Invitation
    3) Does the Gospel of John Teach Unconditional Election?
    4) Questions to Ask Prospective Pastors
    That last one is the one that scares me most.”

    Why? Why would anyone want to veil or hide their doctrinal beliefs from pulpit committees?

  5. Bradley says:

    I never said anything about people needing to hide their beliefs, although I can think of some situations where it might be best to not wear them on your sleeve for the sake of keeping the focus on the gospel and unity.

    The last one disturbs me because It seems to indicate that Baptist Christians would need to “screen” to make sure they don’t hire any Baptist Calvinists. It appears to me as theological snobbery. It’s divisive.

    I’m a Calvinist, but the majority of the staff at my church are not Calvinists. I love these people, and we do ministry together in the bond of unity. Unity in the gospel is downplayed when differences between Calvinists and Arminians are taken to the level where the mentality is to divide–“You Calvinists minister at your Reformed Churches over there, and we will keep our staff Calvinist free and do our Arminian ministry over here.”

    I’m tired of the division.

  6. John Jacob says:

    But shouldn’t churches know where a man stands theologically before calling him? And shouldn’t he be more than glad to share his convictions? If I am being interviewed by a church, and do not let them know clearly where I stand on the doctrines of grace, how far am I from lying from them? Are the doctrines of grace something we should hesitate to publicly proclaim? Is there any question about my theology I should not be anxious to answer?

  7. Bradley says:

    Open and honest about beliefs? Yes.

    But what should be most important to a staff looking for a pastor is not ultimately whether that potential pastor is a Calvinist or Arminian. In fact, one thing I would look for in a potential pastor is a sense that the potential pastor understands how relatively unimportant this in-house debate among Baptists concerning aspects of Arminianism and aspects of Calvinism actually is in the grand scheme of things. Too much importance (especially for seminary students) is placed on Calvinism among Calvinists, and too much importance is placed on Arminianism among Arminians (and probably especially among those potential pastors who have gone to Seminary’s that promote and teach Arminians).

    I don’t wear my Calvinism on my sleeve at my church, although on occasion it does come out (and I’m honest about it when people ask). I try to be careful not to bring unnecessary tension to the unity we all have in the gospel, and not distract from our mission in the inner-city.

    Calvinism hasn’t become less important to me. The Gospel has simply become more important to me.

  8. paulharris says:


    I am an alumunist of clear creek(sad to say).

    I am a pastor in Georgia and have been teaching reformed theology without using the theological words that so often cause controversy; So I believe that we as Christians can teach our doctrines without revealing ourselves as Calvinist’s as such. Not to say that if I am asked if I am a Calvinist; I would proudly respond YES!!!

    I’ve read some of your blogs about the 5 questions that need to be asked to prospective pastors and I want to comment;

    The five questions are not so much to find out their theology but to see if they are Calvinist or not. You need to understand that this school does not believe in a monergistic form of salvation; furthermore for the most part they are “opentheist” because they say if God truely knows all things then we don’t have “free will”

    So the problem I see at the school is not so much about Calvinism as it is about free will/Sovereignty of God and the absolute knowledge of God!!!

    You need to understand that the school is more concerned with love and unity than they are about true Theology of the Bible.

    And for the questions: what would they ask:

    Do you believe in the Sovereignty of God?

    Do you believe God knows all things?

    Do you believe we are saved by “grace alone” in “faith alone” by “God alone” by “Scripture alone”?

    Do you believe that Christ’s dying on the cross was a complete success? (a professor at the school taught in class that Christ’s death was NOT a 100% successful because everyone is not saved; because they misinturpret 2 Peter 3:9; and teach that God wants ALL people to be saved)?

    Do you believe that in order for one to be saved they must be born again and drawn by the Spirit before you can repent and excercise faith?

    your brother in Christ
    Paul Harris

  9. Bradley says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts brother Harris.

    So … are you saying that the leadership of Clear Creek, and those who put on the conference openly Open Theist’s?

  10. Bradley says:

    i meant “insert”

  11. paulharris says:

    They will not confess it but their teaching says other wise.

    The school use to be conservative; with both Calvinist and non-Calvinist teachers.
    However since then they have weeded out the conservitives (Calvinist/non-Calvinist) alike.

    Most recently they wanted a professor to denounce his whole Calvinistic belief and he could stay and teach. Other wise he would be asked to leave; Thank God he took the stand as Luther did and said I cannot with good conscience deny my beliefs in the true Scripture.

    At another meeting between the president and the faculity; the school wanted the faculity to sign off to teach what was contained in a doctrinal package…in which they had to sign without READING IT…this in turn was the final straw that confirmed and ultimately caused the last consertive professor (non-CALVINIST) to leave the school.

    One of the professors even confessed to me that he would rather be called a pelagian than a Calvinist.

    And when asked by a student if everone was welcome to the school except calvinist; the accademic dean replyed YES…

    They even have new students that come into the school sign a contract that they will not not be or promote Calvinism.

    So I would ask why wouldn’t you put on your website that you are not true historical baptist and that you will not permit Calvinist at the school; and I believe the reason they don’t do that is they may loose money (which I believe is the true love of the school).

    And when they outwardly make comments such as God does not exaustively know the future.

    And even teach in the class that salvation is brought on by both man and God(synergism) however they will not say what percentage each one contributes. But they feel it necessary to defend the free will of man.

    At the school they are more concerned about unity, love, and free will than to just teach the Scriptures.

    I believe the reason that they don’t openly admit to open theism is that they are in fear of losing contributions from the KBC.

    Within the last few years they have backed open theist such as; Boyd and Pinnock.

    The theology teacher that was there when I attended the school was an open theist; and because of pressure from the KBC they gave him the choice to leave or be dismissed.

    Your brother in Christ

  12. By Calvinism, i take it you mean Sovereign grace, predestination, etc. When you say you keep the focus on the Gospel; i find that to be contradictory. If a sinner hasn’t faced that he is in the hands of a Sovereign God who saves whom He wills; then that sinner has never been humbled and cannot glory in the mere goodness of God. This is the problem with this camp of Calvinism, so called. You talk about it if asked…what does that mean. There is no unity between a false gospel of Arminianism, which tells sinners they can be saved when they feel like it’s necessary and true biblical sovereign grace dispensed by an almighty Lord who alone does all according to His own pleasure and counsel. Did anyone read The Bondage of The Will, lately? Arminianism is the false road of Humanism and Papal heresy.

  13. If you mean the gospel that saves when believed, shame on you for thinking only Calvinists are going to heaven. If you admit that people are saved without believing in Calvinism per se, then you should understand my distinction.

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