Voddie Baucham

who knew? he seemed so normal. So passionate about the gospel. wow. Just can’t ever tell about some people.

Here let him tell you himself:

However, neither of these constituted fatal infractions. I co-sponsored an education in 2004, but preached at the SBC in 2005. I stood against Y[outh]M[inistry] for years and while many were uncomfortable, I was still part of the gang. That is, until I came out of the closet. No… I’m not gay. It’s far worse than that. I’m a Calvinist! That’s right, I’m a fire-breathing, TULIP believing, five-point Calvinist. That, my friends, is the unpardonable sin in contemporary Southern Baptist life (unless your name is Al Mohler and you’ve been President of the flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since you were in your early thirties and happen to be the most intelligent, articulate, winsome public face the Convention has).

I was ‘outed’ in 2006 when I preached at the Desiring God National Conference. Prior to that I had preached at Alistair Begg’s conferences, but Desiring God was the fatal blow. After that the questions began to swirl. After preaching a message in a Pastor’s conference in 2006 a dear friend approached me (he is a well-known Calvinist whose name I won’t mention… TOM ASCOL …and I was going to be preaching in his church the next day). He was laughing about a debate he overheard between two pastors. The issue? Whether or not I believed regeneration precedes faith! These brothers had begun to put two and two together but they just knew it couldn’t be four. It was as though I had contracted AIDS. These guys were actually mourning! “I had him in my church!” one of them lamented. I could have done a lot of things and been just fine. However, the dreaded “C” word has become a death sentence in “mainstream” Southern Baptist life.

Timmy Brister adds:

Here is yet another leading voice of the past decade of the younger generation of Southern Baptists that has been marginalized by the anti-Calvinist agenda of the SBC. Perhaps someone should warn Matt Chandler who is scheduled next year to speak both at the 2009 FBC JAX Conference (Feb. 6-10) as well as the 2009 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference (Feb. 2-4). In any case, one should take note that the anti-Calvinist leadership of the SBC–from the Executive Committee to the John 3:16 Conference–is unplugging the microphones of the voices attracting younger Southern Baptists today.

you have to believe that the Southern Baptists are in serious [demographic] trouble going into the future. why in the world they would want to go out of their way to antagonize passionate and serious young Bible students in the convention is not immediately obvious.

I was a late arrival to the SBC (following law school at around age 26) and I left early this year (age 40) because of my belief that too many people in the Convention are unwilling or unable to take the Bible as it is rather than as they wish it to be. It appears to me that there is far too much attention and reverence paid to the traditions of men rather than the word of God.

Just my opinion. But reading about the recent John 3:16 conference. Reading Steve Lemke’s paper and Timmy Brister’s rebuttal. Listening to messages against Calvinism by the likes of Dr. John Compton and the rebuttal thereto by John Mark.

and comparing all of the free willers and their arguments to those of John Piper from the text of scripture I am left to wonder if there is a principled scriptural argument to make against Calvinism. I sure haven’t heard it and I have been looking pretty hard.

from the free willers I hear a lot of human logic. I hear a lot of versions of this type of argument “believing that would mean ______ and therefore, the Bible can’t really mean what it appears to say.” I also never hear a coherent and cogent response to the question about how salvation actually occurs in the free will context. In other words, if we are dead in our trespasses and sins like Paul says we were in Ephesians 2, then how do we become alive and responsive? Do free willers think that dead doesn’t mean dead? does it instead mean “mostly dead”. Do free willers accept that God makes us alive before we accept Him? Why not? Based on what scripture? Do free willers believe that Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement on the cross was effective for everyone’s salvation? then why isn’t everyone saved?

if it depends on human choice in the last instance, then why did charlie say yes and sammy say no? is charlie smarter than sammy? Is charlie just luckier? If charlie starts thinking he was smarter and made a smarter choice, wouldn’t that be a “work” about which he could “boast” even though Paul makes it clear that regeneration, grace, and faith for salvation are all from God and that we have nothing whatsoever to boast about? Ephesians 2:1-10

Why not just believe what Paul said and accept whatever consequences derive from that? why work so hard to explain it away?

Why would any group of churches and pastors run off passionate Bible believing younger people because they dared to accept the Bible’s teaching on these points for what they are?

I really don’t understand the thinking here.


4 Responses

  1. Yet another disappointing example of the bigotry of leaders of my own denomination. The only reason I’m a part of it is because I love my church (and unlike many SBC churches, it is quite diverse). That is why their membership is declining. Like you said: too much theological banter and politics, not enough gospel

  2. i think we need to super-cede the notion of “free-willers” or “calvinists.”

    Are we not first and form-most Christ-followers? And can’t we be for both Calvinists and free-willers?

    I feel stuck in the middle of this argument.

    Good post.

  3. Hey Chris,

    good word. I think you are right in the sense that all of us need to be spending more time proclaiming the gospel than fussing about this stuff.

    On the other hand, it seems like the SBC sort of picked this fight by having a one sided “john 3:16” conference calling names and making straw man arguments. My post is intended to express wonderment at the tactics taken by a denomination that appears to be doing great harm to itself by not keeping its eye on the ball you mention that all of us are Christ followers with a job to do.

    when I saw that Voddie Baucham was getting the cold shoulder because of this, it got to me a bit. Voddie’s preaching spoke to me several years ago when I was first questioning what the church is and how should we be doing church together. He had a perspective on the topic that I had never heard before and he advocated it in a most powerful way.

    Partially as a result of his preaching, I started a new sunday school department that was “unclassified.” single or married and regardless of age, anyone was welcome. We had a lot of fun not being bound by demographic categories and getting some very excellent cross generational discussions going.

    None of that would have happened if I hadn’t been influenced by Voddie Baucham to try something unusual.

    I think all of us are “stuck in the middle” of this particular argument. I started out as a run of the mill Arminian. as I read and studied the Bible for myself over the last tweny years, I have become increasingly Calvinist. The reason for this is because the Bible shows me a God who is sovereign over everything.

    In addition, as a lawyer and as a person who is always trying to learn, I love to hear sound arguments in opposition to one another. The thing that is driving me absolutely batty about all this is that it seems like the Arminians don’t argue fairly. In other words, they don’t address Calvinism’s real points head on from scripture. They build nice pretty straw men and pound the heck out of them with great glee.

    as a person who struggles with the notion of limited atonement and irresistible grace, I would very much like to see the best scriptural arguments from both teams. Then with prayer, self study, and the help of the Holy Spirit, I could settle in my own mind what I believe on these topics.

    I am already all in on the other three points and have been for a long time. I see how these last two follow naturally from those three, but I don’t want to believe what flows, I want to believe what the Bible says.

    Anyway, you are correct that the pursuit of those arguments is secondary to living on mission in the world here and now. However, it seems to me that how we argue with each other as Christ followers should be an example of well managed loving conflict to the world around us.

    thanks much for stopping by. I appreciate your word to stay on track.


  4. Keith,

    Yes i agree…I’m also stuck in the middle of all this. My fear is we spend hours upon hours in debate yet we can barley find time to serve those outside the church. Of course the debate side is vital and I don’t think it’s one or the other but both.

    My one concern with many of my reformed friends ( I”m also becoming “more” reformed.” is how much time they spend debating these issues. (not saying you do this) I know I’m generalizing…but it’s just a thought.

    How do we strive for balance and yet not become theologically lazy?!?!

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