Myth #5: The GCR is actually a grand Calvinist plot to infiltrate the SBC and gain control or at least greater influence in the Convention.

This may be my favorite of all the myths. The wild imaginations that have produced it are a wonder to behold. I mean, you have to stay up late and work really hard to come up with something like this. These brothers ought to write science fiction or mystery novels! There are millions for the making. Now, what are the facts?

First, the “Axioms Message” has only one passing and playful reference to Calvinism. The point was made that we do not have to agree on the specifics of Calvinism to work together in obeying the Great Commission. Anyone who has a heart for the nations and affirms the BF&M 2000 is welcomed to engage the battle for the souls of men.

Second, the GCR Declaration has no mention or reference to Calvinism. None. Why? Because the GCR is not about Calvinism.

Third, I am not a classic Calvinist and there is no Calvinist agenda. On a personal note my track record is pretty clear here. If anyone would like supporting evidence they can go to http://apps.sebts.edu/president/?p=41 and listen to my message, “The Danger of Loving a Theological System More Than the Savior” or they can go to http://apps.sebts.edu/president/?p=527 and read the article, “Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: How Should Southern Baptists Respond to this Divine Mystery?”

Fourth, Johnny Hunt is not a Calvinist.

Fifth, Ronnie Floyd is not a Calvinist.

Sixth, of all the members of the GCRTF that was appointed by Johnny Hunt, I know of only one person who is a Calvinist. Who that person is, is not a mystery. However, to honor full disclosure, I must acknowledge there has not been a roll call vote on this issue!

Now, is it the case that some members of the GCRTF have at different times and in different ways reached out to Calvinists in the SBC inviting them to join us in a GCR that by God’s grace will get the gospel to the nations? Yes. Is it also true that many, maybe all, members of the GCRTF believe there is a place in the SBC for Calvinists who have the heart of David Brainerd, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Luther, Rice, John Broadus, James Boyce, and Charles Spurgeon? Yes! Absolutely!

Does the GCRTF want a “Calvinist SBC?” Not at all. Do we want to work with fellow orthodox evangelical Baptists of varying theological stripes to get the gospel to the nations? Yes we do. The great danger to the SBC getting after the Great Commission with greater fervency and passion is not Calvinism. Carnality, on the other hand, is most certainly our real enemy. Of that I have no doubt. Why? Because it is the danger my own heart must deal with every single day.

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  13Comments

  1. Jerry   •  

    I thought that we Calvinists weren’t evangelistic?

  2. Brent Hobbs   •  

    Thanks again for this series.

  3. Ivan Schoen   •  

    Thank you, Dr. Akin. A good word needed for today. We are one in Christ. Let us follow Him!

  4. Wayne Roberts   •  

    Come now Dr. Akin you know that Dr. Mohler will soon have you and the other task force members under his control. Who knows what he learned reading all of those books about war over the summer?

    I am kidding of course. I thank God for you and all of the task force members. You guys have so much work to do it gives me a headache just thinking about it!

  5. Doc B   •  

    Oh, that it were true. I would certainly support it if there were any hint of the doctrines of grace in it. I just don’t see anything remotely Calvinistic about it, and being a Calvinist, that disappoints me. But if it were Calvinistic, I think I could see that. I don’t.

    (And I DO want a Calvinist SBC!!)

  6. Carl Poole   •  

    I couldn’t agree more. Anyone is welcome in our church who believes in the Great Commission regardless of their calvinist persuasion. The only plot I know of is one held by a like-minded group of Southern Baptists whose hearts’ desire is to reach people for Christ and help them grow in the knowledge of Who He is. I am proud a proud signer of the GCR declaration and wish to join others in this divine calling.

  7. Joel Rainey   •  

    Hadn’t heard this one, and honestly, its pretty incredible that some people actually think Johnny Hunt would move to create a Task Force that would secretly advance a Calvinist agenda . . .and that Frank Page would agree to serve on it. That’s a good one! :)

  8. Bart Barber   •  

    Thank heavens there is no grand Calvinist plot to take over the SBC. A great next post would be one refuting the idea that there is a grand anti-Calvinist plot to drive all Calvinists out of the SBC. I’ve had people try to bend my ears with both of these myths at one time or another, although not with regard to the GCR (I’m with Joel on that one…never have heard it).

  9. Lyle   •  

    Suure, that’s just what a bunch of undercover Calvinists would WANT the people to think about the “resurgence”. haha j/k.

    Thanks for the article Dr. Akin. I’m still praying for the GCR and the task force.

  10. Paul   •  

    I think SB’s need to ask the question why the number of Baptisms does not coincide with the active church roster. Building on shifting sand is in big contrast to the Solid Rock.

  11. kamatu   •  

    “The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”-C. H. Spurgeon

    I’ll take Paul. Works for me. Even if it means you will call me a “hyper-Calvinist” for thinking that God has a sovereign will and do as He wishes for His glory.

  12. Logan Paschke   •  

    @kamatu

    I agree.

    Let the name-calling continue, the SBC is only getting more and more irrelevant to the new reformation. When you guys want to stop stereotyping us and man up then I will come to the table until then, thanks but no thanks.

  13. Dr. James Willingham   •  

    The original liberalism which allowed for differences started with Calvinists. Consider how Jonathan Edwards took George Whitefield to task for the latter’s attacks on the unconverted ministers and Harvard and how he changed and later provided money to help Harvard replace a library that had burned up. And then there was his effort at reconciliation with Wesley. Then we have the Regular and Separate Baptists uniting in Va in 1787, and agreeing that the preaching that Christ tasted death for every man would be no barrier to communion. Practically all of the Baptists in the South, with the exception of some General Baptists were strong Sovereign Grace Believers who were evangelistic and missionary from the get-go. Their theology was the dynamic of the First and Second Great Awakenings and of the origin of the Great Century of Missions. Now we are beginning to see a resurgence of this theology. Could it be in answer to the prayers for another visitation, another Great Awakening, even one that might win the whole earth and every soul on it in one generation and then for a 1000 more? After all three things are involved in Awakenings as is evident from the Primary Sources, namely, the theology, the Presence, and the humility. Having done research in the period and having studied it in Graduate School and in Seminary, I think it can be said, if Sovereign Grace and the Presence of God, and the attitude of Humility were the key factors in the three events mentioned, then they will likely be the same key factors in another visitation of the same nature as the three mentioned. No one wants any coercive demand; that was not how it worked in the period from 1720-1820, and it will not work at any time. God does not bless coercive methods. That is why Baptists believe in liberty and in persuasion as the only way to true success. I would want people to come to believe the truths of Sovereign Grace, because the evidence supports them and because they truly work, and because God blessed those teachings to produce the Awakenings and the beginnings of missions. Luther Rice who led Baptists into initiating the missionary movement had this to say about predestination, if I may summarize it succinctly, “Predestination is in the bible, and you had better preach it.” The Sandy Creek Committee of 1816 which produced the Confession of that year was chaired by Rice, and it is clearly a calvinistic confession. What more could one expect from a Puritan who had become a Baptist? The Great Commission Resurgence will come, and people of varying degrees of theological commitment will be involved, but the so-called calvinist who really knows his Bible and Southern Baptist History will be foremost in his support of the effort. Like Rice, the calvinists should be leaders as well as followers. Like the Marines, Sovereign Grace believers should and must be gung ho in advancing the cause of Christ in the world. After all, they were with Rice and Manly and Boyce. They were with Thomas and Carey. And they were with those few (at that time) who believed Christ tasted death for every man. There are those who like the woman of Canaan need to hear Jesus say, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” for, like her, they will be brought to worship Him at His feet by such declaration of Sovereignty. They will do so, for they will see the paradoxical intervention in the implied invitation of the very statement of such sovereignty as was the case in Nineveh which only heard that their city would be destroyed. Jonah, contrary to popular opinion, did not say, “If you repent, God will spare your city.” He did not want God to spare the enemies of his people, but he expected God would spare them. The king’s statement, “Who can tell?” lets us know that there was no invitation to mercy given. That bleak statement of judgment was the only invitation they would have. Job summed up the matter well, when he said, “Though he slay me, yet shall I trust him.” The leper appealed to God’s sovereignty, when he said to Jesus, “Lord, if you will, if you please, you can heal me.” Jesus answered, “I will. I please,” and He healed him. David begged for pardon on this basis, “forgive my iniquity, for it is great.” Forgiveness due to the greatness of one’s sins??? How strange! The missionary movement began with those who were seeking to win the elect. The first missionary lost his sanity in the act of winning the first convert. Hyper-calvinist as some called him back then, Dr. John Thomas, who had been in India seven years longer than Carey, won Krishna Pal while setting his broken arm. When he realized, Pal would go all the way Thomas who had been in an up and down cycle of thinking he would win some Indian of India lost control on the up-side. That is why Carey baptized Pal. True he had had dealings with Pal and had witnessed to him prior to the event, when Thomas did the actual work. That hyper-calvinist had to be locked away. I have read that he was in one building raving in exaltation and Mrs. Carey was in another raving in her depression, when Carey baptized Pal. We have little conception of the power of our founding theology, when it is at its best. My studies suggest that it will make us balanced, flexible, creative, magnetic, charming, attractive, mature, winsome, compelling in best sense of the word. As the convert of a friend of mine said when he aked her why she responded so readily, “O, it was so wonderful,that I could not resist it.” That friend was named Spurgeon, and apparently he is kin to C.H., and he took 40 years to decide that he agree with the lady (a 20 year old) he had won and with his more noted relative. Yes, I think the Gospel is so wonderful, so awesome, one runs to Jesus. He is so winsome. When I saw Him, I ran the other way, ut He followed me, opened the door of my heart in a way that brought me to freely ask Him to forgive me of my sins. A burden was lifted off my heart that night, and I literally for the first time in my life cried tears of joy. That was Dec.7,1957. Not bad for an atheist who was making converts to atheism to have Jesus show up and change all of that unbelief. My theology of Sovereign Grae came from the pastor of my granparents and from my ordaining pastor, Dr. Ernest R. Campbell, the only man named in Dr. R.G. Lee’s will to preach his funeral, and from various other Southern Baptist ministers and writers. HE WAS THE PERSONIFICATION OF WINSOMENESS THAT I HAVE MENTIONED. My Sovereign Grace leads me to believe it is proper to seek nothing less than the conversion of every last soul on th face of the eartH. After all there are verses that suggest this possibility and Jonathan Edwards cited them in his Humble Attempt and William Carey and others pleaded them in their prayer meetings for the spread of the Gospel among the peoples of the earth.

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