These three documents are related to the story: How To Smoke Out A Calvinistic Pastor In Your Church
DOCUMENT 1: REFORMED RED FLAGS
Things to look for
· Lack of passion in the public invitations for the lost to repent and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior or no gospel invitation is extended.
· Lack of salvation sermons or evangelistic (revival) preaching.
· Use of the ESV study Bible
· Lack of participation with other churches in evangelistic campaigns in their city, county, or region.
· Adding other belief statements or confessions to what their church believers, such as 1st London Baptist Confession (1689), 2nd London Baptist Confession (1644), New Hampshire Confession, and Abstract Principles.
· Moving the church to become under Elder Rule.
· Focused on creating the “true” church.
· Strict Church discipline is sought to grow the church down to the “true” church. Most SBC congregations can use a dose of church discipline; however, what is the true motive? Is it to help the straying Christian or to legalistically bring about the “true” church?
· Member of the Founders Movement and attends their annual meeting.
· Look for the men they quote in their sermons; do they mainly quote Calvinists such as John Piper, R. C. Sproul, James White, Jonathan Edwards and others?
· They will call other Calvinists to join them on their church staff as they reform the church.
· They will methodically employ a strategy of “converting” members to the Doctrines of Sovereign Graces or Reformed Doctrine. As the circle enlarges, the movement grows bolder within the fellowship.
· Tendency toward a highly logical systematic theology where all the questions about life and God have answers and fit nearly and nicely in a theological box.
· They love to write and blog about their reform theology and can form a theological swarm on the internet “blogging” against anyone who speaks or writes against their reform theology.
· Tendency to use their pastoral authority against any member that questions their reform theology or their direction.
· Tendency to be evasive about their theology during the pastor search process. They will say things like: “I believe and preach the historic doctrines of Southern Baptists just like many of the great Baptist preaches or the past.” Many laymen will be satisfied in hearing the statement, “I believe and preach the Bible”. Without more intense questioning, the committee will not be fulfilling the sacred duty their church entrusted to them.
DOCUMENT 2: Theological differences between Traditional Southern Baptist and Extreme Calvinists
Concerning the Sovereignty of God and Predestination – Traditional Southern Baptists and Calvinists agree that God is sovereign. Traditional Baptists hold to a belief that God exercises His sovereignty in which those created in His image have the God-given gift and capacity to make real spiritual and moral choices. Man has this freedom because God initially gave it to him; therefore, God takes the initiative in all his acts, even in salvation.
Traditional Baptists believe our sovereign God has chosen to provide for forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ and it is for all who will accept his offer of grace through repentance and faith. Extreme Calvinists believe that God has decided in advance to save particular people and to damn the non-elect.
Some extreme Calvinists translate John 3:26 as, “For God so loved the elect, that he gave his only begotten Son….
Traditional Baptists believe Election is God’s initiative in salvation and God has an eternal plan for mankind. God has always sought the sinner. He sent Jesus to make salvation possible and through various spiritual agencies (the Word of God, preaching, the work of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Church, the gifts of the Spirit), he calls (draws) men to salvation.
Concerning God’s Knowledge – Traditional Baptists believe in an all knowing God, but they are not determinists, because they do not believe God has planned everything that happens. Through His eternal foreknowledge, He knows what is going to happen, but He doesn’t override man’s freewill.
Concerning Freedom – Traditional Baptists believe in a creator God that made man in His image and they are free moral agents. The consistent Biblical appeal for man to repent, believe, receive, etc. presumes the fact that man must make a choice. Paul said, “Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Cor. 5:11). If man was not free to make moral decisions, then why would Paul seek to persuade? Paul said concerning Israel, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). Why would Paul submit himself to continual travel, danger, and suffering, if their destiny was already fixed before the foundation of the world?
Concerning Sin – Traditional Baptists believe we are made in God’s image and all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Mankind is totally depraved due to sin; every area of our life has been corrupted by sin.
Extreme Calvinists believe in man’s total inability to see, hear, and respond to the truth. They believe that a person has to be regenerated (born-again) before they even believe. They believe a spiritually dead man can’t hear or see or respond.
Traditional Baptists believe while we were dead in our sins, we are still able to hear, understand, and respond to the gospel by repenting of our sins and trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Traditional Baptists believe saving faith comes by hearing God’s Word as they Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin and convincing the lost person of their need for receiving God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Concerning Grace – Traditional Baptists believe in a Holy God that freely offers His grace and salvation to all people as they hear the good news and through the work of the Holy Spirit they either accept God’s offer or reject it. Extreme Calvinists believe that an irresistible grace brings salvation only to the elect. Traditional Baptists believe God’s Word teaches that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
Traditional Baptists believe in a God that is love and this motivates his desire for the maximum number of souls to be saved (II Pet. 3:9).
DOCUMENT 3: Belief Statement and Pastor’s Pledge
I, ____________________, state that my theological beliefs and practices are in accord with ________________ Baptist Church. I wish to state that I do not hold to a reformed or Calvinist doctrine and the Pastor Search Committee has questioned me comprehensively in this area of concern.
With integrity of heart, I have heard the statements of the Pastor Search Committee and can say with certainty that if my theology ever changes to a Calvinist doctrine, I will share with the Deacons my new beliefs and work with them and the personel committee in transitioning me and my family to a new place of ministry that is more in line with my new theological stance.
Signed by Pastor: __________________________________
Signed by Chair of Pastor Search committee: _____________________
Signed by Chairman of Deacons: __________________________