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Location: Grayson, Kentucky, United States

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Caners continue mis-characterization knowingly...


(pic at right- me on missions trip teaching First Nations children (Dene, South Slavey) of NWT Canada about Jesus in Ft. Providence, 2004. What a shame that "hyper-calvinists" like me don't believe in preaching the gospel!?!?!?)

Dr. Ergun Caner recently published an article attempting to further pontificate on why he views "hyper-calvinism" as the greatest threat to Evangelical (SB) church-life today. Check it out at http://www.falwell.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=1

I wish the Caners and other fundamentalist-type detractors of the Doctrines of Grace would at least be intellectually honest about the issues at hand. They are too smart to continue to pretend that they don't know the difference between historic reformed evangelicalism/ evangelical calvinism, and true "hyper-calvinism."

I pastor in one of the unique areas of our country (Eastern KY, Appalachia) where TRUE HYPER-CALVINISM still exists, and I battle it daily. It is NOT however, among Southern Baptist brethren, but rather in rural Appalachian "Holler-churches" known as either "Old Regulars" or "Enterprise Baptist Churches". They have little to no influence, except over small handfuls of faithful elderly folks and their children, and they are dying out by and large because of their refusal to evangelize or cooperate with other churches. One particular group in my area travels each Sunday to one of four different "church buildings", all of which USED to be independent churches, but which now do not have crowds even big enough to open the doors. Their leaders are EXTREMELY anti-intellectual, uneducated, and think that "liberal" Southern Baptists like me (tongue in cheek...Im a 1689, Abstract, and 2000 BFM supporter) are the scourge of the earth.

I recently was asked to speak at a funeral for a man whose son is a member of my church. I had visited him in the hospital before death, and the family honored me by asking me to read scripture, share the obituary, and pray at the beginning of the service. I gladly obliged. The lions-share of the service though, including the "preaching" was done by one of these "hardshell" preachers. On the night before the funeral, while calling on the family and viewing the deceased, I was verbally accosted by this preacher who wanted to set me straight for having a visitation and outreach program and for supporting missions. He mocked me and spoke in very perjorative terms about SBC missions life.

The next day during the "sermon" (he preached for 45 minutes on Romans 8:28-30), instead of preaching Christ and offering hope, he decided to set straight the crowd (and presumably me) by giving the TRUE ordo salutis of salvation. He actually stated (pay close attention sports fans...) that "faith in the heart of the elect precedes either the preaching or the hearing of the gospel!" I know this because I wrote it down. It shocked me that much. To be fair, he was at least logically consistent with his hardshell beliefs. Because he believes faith is supernaturally just "there" in the heart of the elect at birth, he sees no reason for the preaching of the gospel to the lost.

This is true hyper-calvinism. I deal with it every day in Eastern KY. I abhor it. I also resent the fact that Ergun and Emir (and others) continually mischaracterize my beliefs by using the term "hyper-calvinist." They are being intellectually dishonest when they do so, and I believe that they know this. They are steadily achieving their goal however, which is (through slander) to create a ripple of fear throughout the ranks of mis-informed SB preachers so that they will cringe at the very sound of words like "sovereign grace," "Calvinist," or "election."

What they continue to do is dishonest and unethical, and it should be called such. Hyper-calvinism still exists, but not among Southern Baptists. They know this. They and others in their ranks should be honest about it. I am open to fair and honest debate about the doctrines of Grace. I am even willing to call a brother one who does not fully agree with me on these doctrines.

What is unacceptable however, is attempting to create a new vernacular and completely redefine well established theological terminology in order to curry favor with the misinformed masses.

By the way...has anyone been able to find the "article" that Ergun referenced as having seen in a recent paper that lamented "another church splits over Calvinism!"??? I would really like to see this article documented. If it cannot be, one must question whether or not such an article exists and if it does not, then a whole different set of issues arises.

2 Comments:

Blogger thekingpin68 said...

Because he believes faith is supernaturally just "there" in the heart of the elect at birth, he sees no reason for the preaching of the gospel to the lost.

Hi Terry

That is a good article. It seems to me that God through the Holy Spirit will use human preaching, and other means to lead an elected person to belief in Christ and repentance of sin. For some Hyper-Calvinists to say otherwise is to miss the point of Matthew 28:18-20.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Floyd said...

good post. thanks so much. i deal with this all the time. for those i deal with, it seems that this type of argumentation is a cop out and a cover up for really not understanding the true nature of calvinism. but the caners should know better.

8:55 AM  

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