Tom Ascol Responds to the Anti-Calvinism in the SBC

Last week, I directed you to read the words of Voddie Baucham on the anti-Calvinism in the SBC. This week I want to turn your attention to the response of Tom Ascol who addresses three recent happenings: Steve Lemke’s article in NOBTS journal (which I have addressed), David Allen’s 34-page review of Building Bridges book, and the John 3:16 Conference. Ascol has not, to this point, responded to the escalating rhetoric and tactics of the anti-Calvinist movement in the SBC, predominantly located within SWBTS, NOBTS, and Jerry Vines and Co.  Some of the notable points by Ascol include:

1.  The “study” which Lemke again quotes to argue that Founders-friendly churches was not only methodologically flawed, but, should the same standard applied to the churches Lemke himself pastored, they would be in worse shape than the Founders churches.  The same goes for David Allen.  Perhaps a “study” should be done on the churches pastored by “seminary administrators.”

2.  Allen criticizes Building Bridges for partnering with Founders Ministries because it was a non SBC entity, while, within weeks after publishing this article, partners (and participates) with a conference that is a non SBC entity (Jerry Vines Ministries).  The ability of Allen to discredit himself is no less alarming than his hypocrisy on this point.

3.  Allen is deeply concerned about Dr. Nettles article “Why Your Next Pastor Should Be a Calvinist” while apparently not concerned by the dozens of denominational “servants” telling churches why your next pastor should NOT be a Calvinist. Different standards for different people.

4. David Miller, a conservative statesman and evangelist in the SBC, attended the John 3:16 Conference and shared his disappointment to Jerry Vines in a letter, part of which was summarized in Ascol’s article.  Miller writes,

“The brethren (presenters), not only contradicted each other but themselves as well” while building “straw men” and “knock[ing] them down with Scripture verses taken out of context…with measured sarcasm and no small dose of arrogance.”

Ascol concludes with a personal appeal for gospel-centered consensus by Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike while distancing from the agendas that seek to divide and create factions in the SBC.  He concludes,

Now is the time for Southern Baptists of all stripes to stand up and hold those who misrepresent brethren with whom they disagree accountable for their words and actions. Speak the truth in love and leave the consequences to God. The anti-Calvinists (as opposed to non-Calvinists) are becoming, as one seminary student put it recently, “increasingly irrelevant,” especially to younger SBC leaders. While they are writing and preaching to themselves, more and more Gospel-centered Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike are showing a genuine willingness to link arms in order to move forward to make disciples of the Lord Jesus.

In the comments of his article, Dr. Malcolm Yarnell has responded (eight times) to Tom Ascol, mostly pertaining to his admission that Servetus was a Baptist (when he was not).  The conversation is worth reading.  More later.

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7 Comments on “Tom Ascol Responds to the Anti-Calvinism in the SBC”

  1. Timmy,

    I have a lot of sympathy for what you and Ascol have to say. There are many in the SBC who don’t understand Calvinism or the larger issues at stake within Reformed Theology.

    You’re probably aware by now, too, of Lumkins’ post, entitled, “HyperCalvinism: Professor David Allen Responds to Critics” ( It’s interesting, to say the least.

    Blessings in Jesus,

  2. Hughuenot Says:

    With all due respect, the Yarnell / Ascol stuff is not all that worthwhile, and far too much is made of the strange “love” the purported SBC Calvinists show toward the anti-gospel bunch in their midst. If Spurgeon was right that Calvinism IS the gospel, and if the rejections and ejections by the synodists at Dort were prudent, and if Rom. 16:17-19; 2 Thes. 3:6, 14f; & Titus 3:10f apply, why are we directed to READ the likes of Yarnell, Lemke, ad nauseam, and not rather, reprove these (and, barring their repentance) be done with them?

  3. Jery Says:

    The comments to that post are very revealing.

    I had to chuckle concerning the veiled comments a to what a “bad boy” Timmy has been.

  4. Greg Alford Says:

    The SBC Calvinist are: “Young, Restless, and Reformed!”


    The SBC Anti-Calvinist are: “Old, Angry, and Arminian!”

    From the comments I am reading on many blogs… the John 3:16/Anti-Calvinist are loosing ground in the SBC fast!

    Grace Always,

  5. […] way. So Phil Johnson responds to Allen (again). For other issues, Timmy Brister has a summary post here, writing: Last week, I directed you to read the words of Voddie Baucham on the anti-Calvinism in […]

  6. George Craggs Says:

    Hi Timmy,

    Do you have any comments on the ‘former Calvinist saved out of Calvinism’ who gave his ‘testimony’ at the John 3:16 conference?

    At James White’s blog I have just seen this chap give his testimony, and David Allen’s response.
    Would love some comment from you, and from anyone who was at the conference.

    In Christ.

  7. BMurray Says:

    Am looking for the text of David Miller’s open letter in response to the John 3:16 conference. Did have a copy on my computer, but it ate the file . . . . Anyone have a URL or link for this letter? Thanks for the help.

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