Posted tagged ‘Morris Chapman’

Morris Chapman, Calvinism, and Saving Faith (Part 3)

July 21, 2009

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.

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Morris Chapman, Calvinism, and Saving Faith (Part 2)

July 20, 2009

In Part 1, I sought address specific comments by Morris Chapman from his convention “report,” nothing also a few areas of duplicity.  In Part 2, I want to interact with his “Clarification of Intent,” especially as it concerns the doctrine of saving faith.

Chapman’s Charges

Quote #1

“I have heard and read with increasing frequency of the belief that . . . the response of faith is given by God and is not the free response of the human heart to the saving initiative of God.”

Notice what Chapman is doing here.  He is saying that either if (A) faith is a gift from God, then (B) a person is not a free, responsible human agent.  In other words, Chapman seems to be saying that for a person to be morally responsible, faith must be self-engendered (not given by God).  If God supplies the faith, then a person’s freedom is violated.  Chapman expounds on this idea in the second quote.

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Morris Chapman, Calvinism, and Saving Faith (Part 1)

July 16, 2009

Morris Chapman, president and CEO of the Executive Committee, has up until this time chosen not to address the pressing issue of the forced resignation of Clark Logan; however, he has taken up another topic stemming from his convention “report”—Calvinism.  His strange and categorically inaccurate views of those who hold to the doctrines of grace have been slightly edited in his most recent article entitled “Clarification of Intent.”  What I would like to do is revisit what he originally said, interact with his “clarification”, and offer the correct view of Calvinists using exclusively Baptist sources from both historical and contemporary advocates to make my case (in three separate posts).

Chapman states,

I have been accused of creating a caricature or a “straw-man” of Calvinism with the phrase, “without a faith response on the part of man.”  It has been said that no Calvinist in the Southern Baptist Convention would affirm the idea as I stated it.  The background of my comments comes from a lifetime of ministry among Southern Baptists.

In almost breathtaking manner, Chapman defends his caricature of Calvinism with a postmodern epistemological construct (“my lifetime of ministry among Southern Baptists”).  Not facts, not objective truths, not biblical warrant, but personal or existential testimony.  The veracity of his assertions extends no further than his commentary of Southern Baptists in general–quite a slippery slope no doubt.  The concluding remarks in my third post, I believe, will show that biblical exegesis and historical attestation expose Chapman’s personal analysis as severely lacking in substance and tainted with incredulity.

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The Executive Committee Form Letter and Appropriate Action

July 14, 2009

Last week, I wrote about the questions and concerns Southern Baptists are having about the Executive Committee and encouraged them to contact them, sincerely expressing their thoughts, concerns, and questions in particular about the forced resignation of Clark Logan. Since last week, the link to the Executive Committee members has had nearly 250 click throughs, and some who wrote letters were kind enough to send me carbon copy.  The letters I read were thoughtful, careful, and respectful, and I appreciate those who took the time to write in such a praiseworthy manner.

Unfortunately, the Executive Committee has drafted a form letter with a generic response that I am posting in its entirety.  Read it, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Is the Executive Committee providing such a response for legal cover?  What are we to think when even their own members were unaware of what happened to Clark Logan?  Is this another disappointing move in the wrong direction in order to avoid being accountable, transparent, and forthright with Southern Baptists? Is this generic response indicative that the Executive Committee officers are listening to the voice of Southern Baptists and giving appropriate attention to such an important (and public) matter?

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Addressing the Morris Chapman Controversy in the SBC: A Call for Accountability, Transparency, and Unity

July 8, 2009

Morris Chapman has served as President and CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention since 1992.  During the 17+ years that he has served in this position, he has undoubtedly done some great things for Southern Baptists, and his role in advocating the Conservative Resurgence is one to be remembered, including being a past president of the SBC from 1990-1992.  However, Chapman’s actions over the past couple of months have spiraled downward to a point where many Southern Baptists are deeply concerned about his actions, not the least of which are the following:

1. Within a few weeks after the formal and public announcement of the Great Commission Resurgence document, it was being reported that Chapman was having serious disagreements with the two leading architects of the GCR–Johnny Hunt (president of the SBC) and Danny Akin (president of SEBTS).  At one point, Hunt wondered if the differences were because “he’s [Chapman] sitting as an executive director and I’m out there with the pastors every week.”  At this point, the Chapman and the GCR was no private or personal matter, and Chapman was just beginning his counter-GCR campaign.

2. Two weeks later (a month after the GCR document is released), Morris Chapman utilizes the denominational online “news wire” of which he is CEO to publicly express his grievances over the GCR document, in particular Article IX (for a detailed response to Chapman, check out Tom Ascol’s interaction).  At this point, Chapman had clearly positioned himself with an opposing vision than that of GCR advocates.  Ironically, the second reason why Chapman did not sign the GCR document was because of his belief that it would cause division, which leads to the third development–SBC Louisville.

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Reflections on My First SBC Annual Meeting: 10 Lowlights

June 30, 2009

At the SBC 2009 in Louisville, there were far more highlights than there were lowlights, as seen in my previous post.  However, there were some significant moments and observations I came away with from my first SBC Annual Meeting that were rather discouraging.  Here are some that I jotted down:

1.  Morris Chapman

What Morris Chapman did as a part of the Executive Committee report should be enough to bring about his resignation.  It was that bad.  Seriously.  Whether he claims ignorance or spoke with such ill-informed knowledge, the level of incompetence and grandstanding for political agendas as the most influential bureaucrat in the SBC is appalling. There is too much power and pulpit for one man among a convention of autonomous, local churches to continually say such things without accountability to the convention he is positioned as the Executive Committee CEO.

2.  Motions & Moralism

It has been pointed out already by several that motions can be made by any credentialed messenger at the SBC and that the motions do not necessarily represent the common voice of the SBC populace.  While that is true, I do believe the motions reveal a lot about the ongoing need for the recovery of the gospel in the SBC.  The Pastor’s Conference centered a great deal on gospel unity, passion for mission, and a commitment to seeing renewal in our local churches.  The motions, however, focused on education, boycotts, homosexuals, drinking, cussing, flags, etc., all of which leads me to the next lowlight.

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