Dr. Tom Nettles was the speaker last week at the 2012 Founders Breakfast (at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the SBC). The title of his message is “The Southern Baptist Convention: Retrospect and Prospect” and I highly recommend it, especially in light of the current discussions about “traditional” theology in the SBC. The first half of Nettles’ provides numerous facts, figures, and direct references to pastors, churches, and institutions who held Reformed doctrine prior to the new traditionalists, while the second half focuses on the chiastic structure of SBC history. It is a fascinating look at the ebb and flow of theological trajectories, and the last nine minutes of the talk gives you Nettles’ direct interaction with the current attempt to marginalize Calvinists in the SBC.
Posted tagged ‘Baptist History’
In my third and final post (see Part 1 and Part 2) on Morris Chapman’s recent comments on Calvinism, I want to focus on what Baptists have historically said on the issue of the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation and more specifically saving faith. Before I do, however, I want to comment briefly on how Chapman used (1) Packer’s antinomy and (2) Spurgeon on saving faith—both of which do not stand in his corner.
Packer v. Chapman on Antinomy
Personally, I am not a fan of the idea of antinomy. Like Paul Helm, I am inclined to believe that antinomy is too permissible and “could be a license for accepting nonsense” (Paul Helm, The Providence of God, 66). It is along these lines that I believe Chapman has brought the employment of antinomy in question. Assuming Chapman is referring to J.I. Packer’s explanation of antinomy, one should note that Packer and Chapman have very little in common when it comes to understanding God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. For instance, Packer writes,
“God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are taught us side by side in the same Bible; sometimes, indeed, in the same text. Both are thus guaranteed to us by the same divine authority; both, therefore, are true. It follows that they must be held together, and not played off against each other. Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent” (J.I. Packer, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God, 22-23).
Chapman indeed plays God’s sovereignty (“sovereignty alone”) against human responsibility and uses antinomy to justify doing so. However, the principle proponent of antinomy says it is incorrect to do so. Furthermore, Packer agues that “it is God who saves” and “God’s prerogative to give results” because “only God can give faith” (Ibid., 27). While Packer holds that man is divinely controlled and yet morally responsible; Chapman does not. Packer believes that God is sovereign in salvation and that faith is a gift from God; Chapman does not. Therefore, I find it curious that Chapman would employing the idea of antinomy when the very ones who argued for it have done so on completely different grounds and in completely different ways.
The topic of “Baptist Identity” has been hotly debated among Southern Baptists in recent years, and there is no one more competent to bring historical acumen with contemporary application than Dr. Tom Nettles (see his three volume series Baptists (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3) for instance). Tom Ascol, director of Founders Ministries, recently sat down with Dr. Nettles for a lengthy conversation about Baptist Identity, and the audio has now been made available via the Founders Podcast.
Interview with Tom Nettles Part 1 (MP3)
– Inerrancy Controversy, Baptists and the Bible, personal account
Interview with Tom Nettles Part 2 (MP3)
– History of Landmarkism, Baptists vs. Presbyterians
Interview with Tom Nettles Part 3 (MP3)
– Examples of Keatch, Booth, outline for defining Baptist Identity