Friday, September 10, 2010

For the SBC, Arminianism = Falling from Grace?

Following up on my Baptist Chronicles post, here's a quote from David Docery in Calvinims: A Southern Baptist Dialogue:

We must recognize that there is a need for boundaries to say that some things do not fit in Baptist life.  We need to say that hyper-Calvinims (involving the rejection or neglect of evangelism and missions) does not fit.  We need to say that consistent Arminianism (involving the rejection of eternal security) does not fit.  Pelagianism, open theism and process theology do not belong.  (p. 42)

Docery does not like the label Arminianism because of its association with the rejection of eternal security providing another example of why non-Calvinist Southern Baptists don't call themselves Arminian.   

9 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Greg said...

I am an Arminian who believes that a believer could apostatize, but I agree that it's a shame that "non-Calvinists" who disagree with me feel that they cannot accept the label "Arminian". Even worse are the 1-point Calvinists, who believe that 'P' is what makes the TULIP a flower.

Godismyjudge said...

Greg,

Yep. Many non-Arminians have a mistaken notion of Arminianism, as do many Arminians. I hope the Society of Evangelical Arminians will help in this regard.

God be with you,
Dan

Greg said...

btw, I'm not sure that you got my third message: Could you point me toward a good list of non-Wesleyan/Holiness Arminian denominations? (or any good list of Arminian denominations, really?)

I am also a non-perfectionist, not believing in their idea of 'entire sanctification', but most of the churches around that are obviously Arminian are Methodist or Nazarene. I'd especially like help wading between Calvinist and non-Calvinist Baptist conventions and conferences.

Any help would be appreciated!

A.M. Mallett said...

Dan,
I've read through the "White Paper" and I am astounded by the lack of knowledge on the part of general Baptists regarding what classical Arminians hold to. I sit in the middle of the fence regarding the eternal security issue insisting that all faithful believers in Christ are secure. I might also affirm Arminius' notion of election reflecting those true believers who do persevere. There is certainly an education issue in front of us. Additionally, contrary to the author's assertion, open theism is not an Arminian distinctive.
While I appreciate our Baptist brethren's zeal for Christ, the paper certainly did not represent them as the sharpest tools in the shed (removing tongue from cheek).

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Trav,

I understand your concern although I can see both sides of the issue. Wesley Wong pointed out to me that no Wesleyan Arminian held to eternal security. And they were the ones owning the name Arminian. At the time the SBC was mostly Calvinistic.
Even today in SEA, I am prohibited from advocating Eternal Security on the SEA site and I am called a 4-point Arminian (as if there were some tenate of Arminianism I don't hold to.) So I suppose I can see a bit of where these SBC theologians are coming from.

Open Theism is more cut and dry but I don't believe they said Open Theism is an Arminian distinctive or associated with classical Arminianism.

God be with you,
Dan

A.M. Mallett said...

There are some aspects of polemical Arminianism I think are best left on the table but out of the decision. Arminius did not publicly hold to the idea that the elect of God lose their salvation but he did hold there there is some scriptural evidence that believers can fall away. As I have previously noted, he makes a distinction between the elect and believers in general. In a strong sense, he was not at all distant from the Presbyterian position of perseverance of the elect. I think the major point of contention would be defining the believer as distinct from one who is elect of God.
Perhaps I misread the paper but it seemed to me it suggested open theism was a tendency of Arminians yet most Arminians I know disavow open theism.
I can understand Baptist reluctance to embrace the label of Arminianism. When I see an ever growing "big tent" being erected under the banner of Arminianism, I am inclined to move to a safer ground. It is getting to the point that among the academics in modern Arminianism, theologically conservative evangelicalism is becoming a dirty word. I think at some point "orthodox" might become the qualifier that distinguishes true Arminianism from the "big tent" umbrella associations ranging from conservative to liberal to outright heretical.

Godismyjudge said...

Greg,

Sorry for the delay. I don't know a whole lot about this; other members of SEA know more about this than me. Free will Baptists are of course Arminians. From a study I read about the SBC about 10% of SBC churches are Calvinist. I have also heard that the Free Methodist Church is good.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Trav,

I agree. Your last paragraph really made me think. Hum... I feel a post coming on.

God be with you,
Dan