Anatomy of a Church Split Part 1

Part1: How Discord Within the Southern Baptist Convention is Setting Local Churches Up for Heartache

 

Introduction

If you’re a member of a church that is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention you might already be aware that there is a big problem with churches splitting due to conflicts between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. What you might not know, is that these local conflicts are symptomatic of a larger conflict surrounding the resurgence of Calvinist theology within the convention. These types of splits have become so common that most people reading this article are likely aware of a church in their area which has endured a painful split due to this issue.  In fact, as far back as 2012 the issue had escalated to the point that a 19-member committee was convened at the annual meeting to “address the role of Calvinism in the SBC.” The committee, which included both Calvinist and non-Calvinist individuals, issued a statement one year later titled “Truth, Trust, and Testimony in a Time of Tension.

This statement called for Baptists to remain united in spite of our theological diversity, and reaffirmed the Baptist Faith and Message as the SBC’s statement of faith. The Baptist Faith and Message is indeed broad enough in its language to accommodate both sides of the theological aisle. Recognizing that the key to cooperating together despite theological differences does not entail ignoring that such differences exist, but treating one another with respect, and establishing appropriate boundaries while uniting to achieve our common goal, the committee included the following guidance:

“…We must celebrate the unity we share together in our common Great Commission purpose, while acknowledging and celebrating variety among us. We must clarify the parameters of our cooperation where necessary but stand together without dispute. […] We should expect all leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention and all entities serving our denomination to affirm, to respect, and to represent all Southern Baptists of good faith and to serve the great unity of our Convention. No entity should be promoting Calvinism or non-Calvinism to the exclusion of the other. Our entities should be places where any Southern Baptist who stands within the boundaries of The Baptist Faith and Message should be welcomed and affirmed as they have opportunities to benefit from, participate in, and provide leadership for those entities.”

While I agree with the spirit of this statement, I have one point of contention. Specifically, the following sentence:

“No entity should be promoting Calvinism or non-Calvinism to the exclusion of the other.”

Since Southern Baptist Churches hold to a congregational form of governance, meaning that each local Baptist church is an autonomous body operating through democratic processes, it is my personal opinion that each church has the latitude to decide if they are a Calvinist or non-Calvinist church. This seems to have been the case historically.  In those cases, I believe it would be wrong for a Calvinist individual to join with a non-Calvinist body for the purpose of altering that church’s historical soteriological (pertaining to the doctrine of salvation) distinctions , or vice versa.

However, in churches where the membership is comprised of individuals of both doctrinal persuasions, I believe the committee’s statement is indeed a valuable guide for promoting unity. This unity is not something that will fall into place on its own. On the contrary, in these cases, the pastor shoulders the responsibility of committing himself intentionally, with practically applicable strategies designed for the express purpose of promoting unity. Neglecting to do so will inevitably result in failure.

The committee was also compelled to address a particularly alarming and increasingly common scenario in which a pastoral candidate conceals or obscures his Calvinist doctrinal persuasions when seeking a position at a majority non-Calvinist church, the committee’s statement includes the following guidance:

“In order to prevent the rising incidence of theological conflict in the churches, we should expect all candidates for ministry positions in the local church to be fully candid and forthcoming about all matters of faith and doctrine, even as we call upon pulpit and staff search committees to be fully candid and forthcoming about their congregation and its expectations.”

Unfortunately, the committee’s statement has failed to achieve the unity it was drafted to encourage, largely due to the scenario described above.  A decade later, this Calvinist/non-Calvinist conflict has reached epidemic proportions. The aim of this article is to help vulnerable congregations avoid falling victim to this type of pastoral candidate.

 

Stealth Calvinism

Even while the SBC leadership was drafting a document of unity and calling for pastoral candidates to practice doctrinal transparency, some Calvinist organizations were publishing how-to guides detailing strategies for “reforming” unwitting churches. For example, the well-known Founders Ministries published A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of the Beginnings of Reformation in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Some of their goals are laudable indeed: upholding the Baptist focus on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, actively carrying out the Great Commission, encouraging pastors to boldly preach the word despite the fact that its truths are growing in unpopularity in secular and some liberal-leaning Christian circles. I don’t know about you, but I can certainly get behind all of those! But, there’s a catch. Founders Ministries believes this can only be achieved by converting the SBC to Calvinism:

“Make no mistake about it. Southern Baptists are at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. The choice is between the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical Calvinism and the man-centered, unstable theology of the other perspectives present in the convention.”

The following steps are included in the section titled, “Practical Suggestions for Local Church Reformation”:

Spiritual credibility. Don’t try to reform a church until you have first earned spiritual credibility. This means you have to live what you teach in terms of holiness before you can even begin to teach it.”

Leighton Flowers (former Calvinist, Director of Evangelism and Apologetics for Texas Baptists, seminary professor, and founder of the immensely valuable podcast Soteriology 101) helps to read between the lines: “In other words, don’t tell them about your distinctives, don’t try to reform the church. You have to earn their approval first. Earn credibility first.”

Planning. Three questions should be asked, and carefully answered, before implementing change: What is the right, biblical thing to do? How should change be implemented? When should change be implemented? My advice is that you not try to do too much too soon. Many mistakes have been made by doing the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time.”

Priorities. The principle of priorities must be applied. You can’t change everything at once. Start with the major doctrines of the faith: God, Christ, and salvation. Don’t get hung up on secondary matters such as eschatology. Find the essentials that must be changed in your situation, and focus on those.”

Restraint. Remember the principle of restraint. Don’t tackle the whole church at one time. Choose a few men who are sincere, teachable and spiritually minded and spend time with them in study and prayer. They will help you to reform.”

These three can be discussed at once. Flowers notes, “Certainly don’t tell the pastor search committee [your doctrinal views]. You can’t reform them all at once. Get hired first…In other words, get your posse. Reform them first so they can help you reform the rest.”

Clarity. In the pulpit, don’t use theological language that is not found in the Bible. Avoid terms such as Calvinism, reformed, doctrines of grace, particular redemption, etc. Most people will not know what you are talking about. Many that do will become inflamed against you. Teach your people the biblical truth of these doctrines without providing distracting labels for them.”

Flowers cites Richard Coords’ response, “But why avoid those terms? If they accurately describe your theological beliefs, why conceal it?” In response to the fact that some may become “inflamed against you” if they recognize the terms, Flowers counters, “And why wouldn’t they, if their church doesn’t believe that historically?” In response to the last sentence about teaching “the people the biblical truth of these doctrines without providing distracting labels,” Flowers points out, “In other words, don’t provide your distinctives. It almost sounds like he’s instructing the new pastors to be subversive.”

Leighton Flowers’ full discussion of this Founders document is in the Soteriology 101 episode titled, Pastor Search Committees and Stealth Calvinism.

Another ministry aimed at aligning churches with Calvinist doctrine is Mark Dever’s 9Marks organization. Originally called “The Center for Church Reform,” 9Marks provides resources aimed at helping pastors reform their congregations. Their 2019 article titled, Calvinist Pastors and Non-Calvinist Churches: Candidating, Pastoring, and Moving On, provides an excellent example of mixed messaging in guidance provided to candidate pastors. Under bullet point number one, “Trust in God’s Sovereignty,” the author writes:

“If you’re a pastoral candidate, trust God for his placement and don’t hide your doctrinal convictions. If the church doesn’t have the theological acumen to ask you about it, bring it up with gentleness and patience. Show them how you will teach these doctrines and how important they are to you. (This will vary with each candidate and will show why one Calvinist can lead a non-Calvinist church and another cannot). Far better to ‘disqualify’ yourself in the candidating process than to receive a call to a place where theological debate will follow immediately.”

However, under bullet point number 3, “Limit the Language of Calvinism, Not the Language of Scripture,” the author instructs:

“In this article, I’ve used the term Calvinist pastor and non-Calvinist church throughout. That said, my personal encouragement would be to avoid labels whenever possible. Because labels are so freighted with misunderstanding, it rarely helps to fly the banner of Calvinism unless you’re willing to accept all the stereotypes that come with it. This is not to deny the value and need for confessionalism; it’s to say that confessionalism depends on the chance to explain from Scripture the doctrines we confess.”

Which is it? Are they instructing candidate pastors to be so clear about their beliefs that they ensure even search committees who don’t have the theological chops to know the right questions to ask understand, or are they instructing prospective pastors to avoid all tell-tale labels and wait for an opportunity to explain his distinctives from Scripture after he has been hired?

Is this an indictment against all Calvinist pastors everywhere or even Calvinism itself? Absolutely not. Reputable Calvinists roundly denounce this type of behavior.

In Pastor Ron Hale’s document, Questions and Answers for Pastor Search Committees of Non-Calvinist Congregations, he distinguishes between two types of prospective Calvinist pastors:

“There are two types of Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention. Some are Calvinists with a little ‘c’ in that they have no agenda to ‘convert’ others to Calvinism. Others are Calvinists with a capital ‘C’ and possess an agenda to turn the Southern Baptist Convention toward Calvinism.”

Under the paradigm espoused by the “capital ‘C’ Calvinists,” Southern Baptist churches are being taken unaware left and right. Calvinist pastors who are able to slip past pastor search committees begin to enact the strategies outlined above in order to “reform” historically non-Calvinist or mixed congregations. Before they begin to introduce overtly Calvinist doctrine, they endear themselves to the membership. These individuals are often incredibly winsome and garner a very devoted following. Later, when he begins to introduce Calvinist doctrine from the pulpit, it is done is such a way as to avoid detection if possible.

These pastors are often very skilled communicators and are able to keep a toe close enough to the line so that, if challenged, he can easily and plausibly retreat and claim “misunderstanding.” Instead of being transparent about his beliefs with the congregation, which he knows would result in an uproar in which many would leave or call for his resignation immediately, he “nudges” the congregation toward his doctrinal direction by degrees. This shrewd strategy all but ensures that when some members of the congregation inevitably catch on to what is occurring and attempt to blow the whistle, those loyal to him will become angry. Those who caught on may be labeled as divisive individuals. At this point, the formation of factions is unavoidable, and previously strong interpersonal relationships suffer irreparable damage.

While most of us find this strategy repugnant, many of these “capital ‘C’ Calvinists” believe wholeheartedly that they are doing the right thing in bringing a non-Calvinist church into alignment with what they believe is a Christianity that is more true to Scripture. For this reason, these men will often view those who resist their efforts to reform as engaging in persecution. This can result in the pastor doubling down and digging in, which usually serves to deepen the rift between the factions the pastor has created.

To illustrate this point, I refer to the 9Marks article cited above. The article, which doubles as this Calvinist pastor’s testimony of his failed attempt to reform a church, is also valuable for the insight it provides into his perspective of what happened at his church.

Similar to the two types of Calvinists Ron Hale described above, this pastor identifies two types of non-Calvinists: non-Calvinists and anti-Calvinists. Non-Calvinists are generally respectful of theological differences and willing to unify, focusing on doctrines where we agree and the shared goal of the great commission. Anti-Calvinists, he seems to indicate, are the exact opposite: not willing to put aside soteriological differences and unite.

The author then lists the following three sources of “anti-Calvinists.” First, he lists the internet. He seems to indicate that anti-Calvinists arise due to sources of misinformation online which misrepresent Calvinism. I’m sure that can and does happen, and I’d agree that it’s unfortunate.

However, he seems not to consider that there are also numerous ministries online which charitably and accurately represent Calvinism. Some individuals who attend historically non-Calvinist churches may simply avail themselves of these resources, find that they still believe that Calvinism does not faithfully represent the teachings of Scripture, and decide that they’d prefer attend a church pastored by a non-Calvinist. Such an individual is perfectly within their rights to make such a decision, and may very well do so without any animosity toward Calvinism as a whole or Calvinist pastors as individuals.

His statements under this heading may shed light on a factor that he’s missing in the “making” of an anti-Calvinist:

“In general, pastors need to appreciate the way our heroes of old preached, prayed, loved, and stayed in congregations that were not impacted by the information age. By faithful exposition of the Scriptures, they led their people into a greater understanding of biblical truth without the intrusion of internet hotheads. Today, however, circumstances have changed, and the internet may force Calvinist pastors in non-Calvinist churches to give an account for their doctrine.”

“This doesn’t mean the internet has ruined the ‘subversive’ operations of Calvinist pastors sneaking into non-Calvinist churches. It does mean that Calvinist and non-Calvinist Christians alike will have a far more difficult time sitting under the Word of God together when both sides appeal to the nuclear arsenal of the World Wide Web.”

He seems to be lamenting the advent of the internet due to the fact that it has made it far more difficult for Calvinist pastors to take non-Calvinist churches unaware, and convert them by degrees. He appears not to consider a Calvinist pastor’s goal of moving a non-Calvinist church to accept Calvinist interpretation of Scripture discreetly over time, in such a way that many will not notice, to be subversive.  So far, it appears that one root disagreement may be that non-Calvinists and Calvinists have a different definition of the word “subversive.”  Calvinist pastors who agree with the view presented here would do well to respect a non-Calvinist’s view of subversion. Those unwilling to do so should look to their own responsibility in creating anti-Calvinists.

The author lists external leaders as his second source of anti-Calvinists. In this section he appears to object to individuals reaching out to former trusted pastors for information. He writes:

“In my own situation, however, these outside ‘experts’ often fed the false narrative of Calvinist pastors and their hidden agendas.”

Admittedly, I find this section difficult to sympathize with considering his own admissions under the previous heading. His objection to individuals reaching out to pastors and leadership whom they have previously known and found to be trustworthy is very troubling to me. This could easily be seen as a strategy to isolate individuals from outside support systems, which seems manipulative.

The author’s final factor is weak relationships, which results in the loss of relationships between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. He regrets that he had not built relationships strong enough to withstand what he calls an “onslaught of internet-fed accusations.” Here the non-Calvinist may counter that if the Calvinist had been forthcoming and transparent about his beliefs from the outset, the non-Calvinist member may not have felt the need to research the Calvinist belief system independently. It should also be noted that Calvinism itself is not a monolithic group. An internet search yielding results indicating a particular Calvinist belief may not apply to a particular Calvinist, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an accurate assessment of other Calvinist’s beliefs. Again, the onus rests on the pastor to clarify his views to the congregation. He can hardly blame weak relationships for a loss of trust born of his failure to adequately disclose and/or clarify his beliefs.

Let me be clear, non-Calvinist Southern Baptists are generally not objecting here to a pastor unapologetically teaching or preaching what he believes to be Biblical truth. Rather, we object to behaviors which we find unethical: obtaining a pastor position via deceptive means with the intent to covertly “reform” a historically non-Calvinist or mixed congregation, claiming he’s being “misunderstood” while continuing to fail to provide real clarification, vilifying and labeling those who object as “divisive,” facilitating the damage that occurs to personal relationships in this process, and ultimately causing a church split. If a congregation is clear that they do not want to hire a Calvinist pastor, that boundary should be respected. If a mixed congregation is open to hiring a Calvinist pastor, he should be devoted to transparency from the beginning and committed to facilitating unity in the body.

Where Are All These Calvinist Pastors Coming From?

The answer to this question revolves around the current state of our Southern Baptist seminaries. Both Southern and Southeastern require their faculty to sign the Abstract and Principles, which is a Calvinist confession. Others only require the Baptist Faith and Message, but it appears non-Calvinist professors are still outnumbered in those institutions. It stands to reason that those individuals graduating from seminaries with all or mostly Calvinist faculty may leave Calvinist regardless of how they entered.

In Flowers’ video What Should SBC Churches Do to Combat Calvinsim?, he notes that Al Mohler, leading Calvinist and former SBC president:

“…has single-handedly done the most within the SBC to Calvinize it…because I think he has a lot of influence as to who the presidents and key leaders of the seminaries are, and the seminary presidents are the ones, obviously, who are key in appointing professors. And so when you have a key president able to appoint the theology professors in the schools, they have a huge amount of influence… Southern being the biggest, key seminary in the SBC, he [Mohler] being the president of it since the early 90s has had a lot of influence on the placement of other presidents in the other seminaries when they become vacant… That’s not to say all the seminaries have only Calvinists, but it’s becoming more and more so that that seems to be a criteria to become a theology professor in a Southern Baptist seminary… And therefore, you have a lot of young, Calvinist pastors who are going to churches who traditionally aren’t Calvinistic, and there are splits taking place throughout the nation. It happens in Texas on a weekly basis, it seems.”

A 2010 article in Christianity Today titled, The Reformer, outlines Mohler’s accomplishments and serves as testimony corroborating Dr. Flowers’ assessment of his impact. Mohler certainly made a number of positive changes, including reversing the trajectory of the Southern Baptist Convention from liberal-leaning to decidedly conservative, and cementing a high view of Scripture by re-establishing the convention’s commitment to the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. However, none of these reforms require a focus on Calvinist doctrine to the detriment of non-Calvinist doctrine. Former dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Seminary, David Allen, is quoted pointing out that, “The early church affirmed inerrancy long before Calvin set foot on the planet.”  Nevertheless, Mohler’s staunch Calvinism came part and parcel with many of his actions resulting in the curtailing of non-Calvinist views as a side effect.

 

Why is Calvinism Resurging in the Southern Baptist Church?

Back in 2015, Dr. Rick Patrick, a pastor in Sylacauga, Alabama published an article titled, Demoralizing Doctrinal Discrimination, describing his feelings after attending the Southern Baptist Convention that year. He said he “felt out of place in” his “own denomination,” and listed four reasons why. First, 80% of pastor’s conference book promotions were Calvinist, some of which weren’t even Southern Baptist. Second, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) leadership posts were 100% Calvinist. Third, Send North America Conference Speakers were 100% Calvinist, and while none were Southern Baptist, they were all members of The Gospel Coalition, which he aptly notes, “excludes Southern Baptists like me by means of a doctrinal statement that is far more restrictive than The Baptist Faith and Message.” Last, LifeWay curricula promotional hype was 95% Calvinist. Patrick ended his article by stating the following:

“The usual response from Calvinists when I gingerly raise my hand and point out these glaring examples of doctrinal bias is to be scolded for my feelings of discrimination and alienation as if I were the problem. ‘Stop being so divisive!’ ‘Quit stirring up trouble and unite for the gospel!’ ‘It’s all about the Kingdom!’ ‘There is no “us” and “them.”’ ‘Who cares about this when lost people are dying?’”

I don’t think I misunderstand Dr. Patrick when I say that I doubt his problem is that he intends to be divisive. It seems to me that he’s merely pointing out that more equal representation would be helpful for unity: a goal we’re supposed to be trying to achieve. My own experience asking respectfully for such steps toward unity in my own church seem to mirror Dr. Patrick’s.

Dr. Leighton Flowers addresses this subject in his video, Where Did All These Calvinists Come From?, which I highly recommend. Flowers notes that in the 70s, 80s and 90s, Calvinism occupied a small, fringe corner.  He turns to Calvinist, Tim Challies, who has also weighed in on this question in his own short video. Challies explains that the church growth movement of the 90s and early 2000s led to the rise of a model for church growth that focused predominantly on being seeker-sensitive. While this was certainly a good goal, some of the methods employed had negative side effects. Flowers agrees, saying:

“Sometimes churches can become a mile wide and an inch deep because a focus on exegetical preaching, and theological concepts and ideas are sometimes neglected for the sake of trying to be more conducive to the lost. And there was a backlash from that movement.”

This over-emphasis on programs, entertainment, and sometimes even a watering-down of the Gospel message to the neglect of investing in the spiritual maturity and Scriptural knowledge of believers prompted Calvinist John MacArthur to publish his rebuke of this phenomenon in his book Ashamed of the Gospel. Flowers notes that it was, indeed, primarily Calvinists such as MacArthur, Sproul and Piper “leading the charge to fix this.” Flowers continues:

“…in with this deeper theological construct, came Calvinism. And that was very attractive to people like myself and others who were not wanting to be so focused on being user-friendly/seeker-sensitive, but really being deep, theological/exegetical, because I think that’s necessary within the church body. We need balance.”

It is also true that Calvinism as the dominant theological perspective has a cyclical pattern historically:

“…Calvinism, over the last 500 years has re-surged about once every century, and it inevitably dies back out. Phil Johnson, who is a part of the Grace to You ministry with John McArthur, a well-known Calvinist, talks about this as well, and even talks about how Calvinism, historically, tends to eat its own because as Calvinism rises in popularity among the mainstream, it attracts more hyper-type Calvinists, what some might call consistent Calvinists…Could it be that the movement itself is not sustainable because it’s not practically applicable? It’s not a tenable way of living life? And possibly not very defensible once people become well aware of the arguments and the scholars from both perspectives? Once people become more versed in how to defend their doctrines of God’s grace and mercy for all people, and actually understand why the proof texts that Calvinists use don’t teach what Calvinists think they  teach, then it’s only a matter of time before people…[realize]…there are actually very robust, deep, scholarly arguments to the Calvinist proof-texts.”

To sum up, not only does Calvinism historically surge about once a century, we are currently reaping the consequences of a decades-long, seeker-friendly paradigm often too shallow on the theological teaching to equip non-Calvinist believers to adequately respond to the arguments of the Calvinists. By contrast, these Calvinists tend to be well-studied in their doctrinal distinctives (TULIP). When Calvinist challenges come knocking on our door, we may not even detect it until it’s too late.

How Can We as Laypeople Impact the SBC?

 I believe we as laypeople have a responsibility to let our voices be heard if we are dissatisfied with Calvinist domination and an epidemic of church splits due to attempted and/or successful Calvinist take-overs.

The first step is creating awareness about the current state of the SBC. Next, we must become educated on what Calvinism, sometimes referred to as “Reformed” theology, teaches. The next article in this series aims to give an overview of Calvinism’s TULIP acrostic as well as some hidden terms and conditions that, while generally not clearly disclosed, certainly apply. Reforming churches via “stealth” strategies requires uninformed membership, and cannot take place without that integral factor.

Next, I believe that we need to avail ourselves of the many non-Calvinist resources available in order to equip ourselves to properly articulate what we believe and why we believe it. Calvinist laypeople are generally better equipped to defend their interpretation of Scripture than their non-Calvinist brothers and sisters. Calvinist theologians churn out books by the dozen, and host a myriad of online resources which Calvinist laypeople buy and/or promote boisterously. We need to support our non-Calvinist theologians and scholars in the same way. Doing so will not only make “stealth” Calvinism a thing of the past, it will promote healthier, more edifying conversations, and unity by fostering a better understanding of each other as individuals.

Go to Part 2

 

Non-Calvinist Resources

Websites and Youtube Channels:

Soteriology 101 : Dr. Flowers has hundreds of videos ranging from short clip overviews to hours-long, deep dives into every aspect of soteriology (doctrine of salvation), to debates,  to responding to Calvinist arguments, and basically addressing any topic related to Calvinism in any way, shape, or form. This is usually my starting point for any Calvinism related query.

The Provisionist Perspective

The Bible BroDown

Trinity Radio

Bible Thinker

The Narrow Path

The Naked Bible Podcast

Ask Dr. Brown

 

Books

Popular Level Resources

The Potter’s Promise: A Biblical Defense of Traditional Soteriology by Leighton Flowers

God’s Provision for All by Leighton Flowers

Determined to Believe by John Lennox

Why I Am Not a Calvinist by Walls and Dongell

Why Does God Allow Evil by Clay Jones

Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist by Ronnie Rogers

Does God Love All or Some by Ronnie Rogers

Once Saved Always Saved by Claybrook

Grace, Faith and Free Will by Picarilli

Christ Centered Predestination by Stephens

The Spiritual Condition of Infants by Harwood

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

 

Systematic Theologies/Multi-Volume Sets/Scholarly Level Resources

Christian Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Systematic by Dr. Allen Harwood

Systematic Theology, Volume 1, Fourth Edition by James Leo Garrett Jr

Classical Arminianism: A Theology of Salvation by F. Leroy Forlines

Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans by Brian J. Abasciano (4 vol. set)

World Pictures in the New Testament by A.T. Robertson (6 vol. set)

An Exposition of the Four Gospels by Herschel Hobbs

The Atonement by David Allen

 

Leighton Flowers’ List of Non-Calvinist Scholars/Pastors

AW Tozer

Howard Marshall

Doug Stuart

NT Wright

Gordon Fee

Scott McKnight

David Baker

William W. Klein

Grant Osborne

Robert Shank

David A. DeSilva

Bill T. Arnold

John Oswalt

Brian Abasciano (he helped with this list)

Ben Witherington III

Thomas Oden

C.S. Lewis

Craig Blomberg (not A or C, but probably leans slightly more A)

Craig Keener

Jack Cottrell

Gerald O. McCulloh (edited * “Man’s Faith and Freedom: The Theological

Influence of Jacobus Arminius”)

James Luther Adams (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)

Russell Henry Stafford (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)

Geoffrey F. Nuttall (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)

Roger Olson

Dale Moody

Paul Copan

James D. G. Dunn

Jerry Walls

Joseph Dongell

Clark Pinnock

Donald M. Lake

William G. Witt

Skevington Wood

Vernon C. Grounds

Terry L. Miethe

Richard Rice

John E. Sanders

Fritz Guy

Klyne Snodgrass

Robert Picirilli

Leroy Forlines

Matthew Pinson

Stephen Ashby

Chuck Smith

George Bryson

Greg Laurie

William Lane Craig

Billy Graham

Adrian Rogers

Michael Brown

Leonard Ravenhill

David Wilkerson

Bruce Reichenbach

David J. A. Clines

William G. MacDonald

James D. Strauss

Stephen Evans

Paul R. Eddy

William J. Abraham

Philip Brown II

Derek Prince

Jack Hayford

Gene L. Green

Gareth Lee Cockerill

James Leonard

John Wesley

Chrarles Edward White

Anthony Chadwick Thornhill

Aaron Sherwood

B.J. Oropeza

David Lewis Allen

Steve Lemke

Adam Harwood

Jerry Vines

Paige Patterson

Richard Land

Malcolm Yarnell

Bruce A. Little

Robert W. Wall

Walter Hansen

Philip H. Towner

Adam Clarke

Ravi Zacharias (?)

Paul Ellingworth

William G. MacDonald

James Strauss

Philip Towner

John Wenham

Gary Habermas

Nigel Turner

Max Turner

Peter Cotterell (?)

Dave Hunt

W. MacGorman

Y. Mullins

Herschel Hobbs

T. Conner

Frank Stagg

Fisher Humphreys

Bert Dominy

Ken Keathley

Norm Geisler

Alister McGrath

David Bentley Hart

Mike Licona

Michael Heiser

Mike Winger

Steve Gregg

 

 

 

3 Replies to “Anatomy of a Church Split Part 1”

  1. Thank you for the informative post. I will share it. A deceptive Calvinist takeover happened at Southern Baptist church I used to go to.

    For what it’s worth, I have found that conservative Calvinists have the same definition as non-Calvinists of “subversive” when it comes to critiquing how liberals take things over.

    Again, thanks for this great post.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Paul! You make an excellent point. It is certainly revealing that we’re often operating from the exact same dictionary when it comes to secular politics, but not in our own church politics.

  2. Thank you so much for this very informative and telling series! It is truly shocking how some Calvinists can be so deceptive!

    Due to Calvinism creeping into the First Baptist Church that I had been attending in my area, I had to leave after having been there for 5 years. First there were books written by Calvinist authors being presented in women’s “Bible” studies, then I found out that many of the Bible study teachers at the church were/are Calvinists, and the worship pastor is also a Calvinist.

    Presently I am still without a church to attend due to so many churches in my area either being Calvinistic in their doctrine, or because they are more about entertaining the people instead of preaching God’s Word in context and precept upon precept, line upon line. Thankfully I have found some good teachings online!

    I am looking forward to reading the rest of your articles in this series!

    God bless you and your ministry!♥

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