Posted tagged ‘Saving Faith’

Faith is the consequence, not the cause, of the new birth.

February 27, 2010

John Piper (and John Stott) on 1 John 5:1 . . .

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.


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.


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.


Book Alert: Faith Comes By Hearing

January 17, 2008

Title: Faith Comes By Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism
Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson
IVP Academic
Release Date: March 2008
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
ISBN 13-digit: 978-0-8308-2590-5
Retail Price: $23.00
Table of Contents: Yes
Intro: No
Sample Chapter: No

From IVP:

The debate swirls and feelings run deep. What is the fate of the unevangelized? The traditional position–that apart from an explicit faith in Jesus no one is saved–seems to have fallen out of favor with many evangelicals. Here is a passionate but irenic response to the arguments of those who believe that the unevangelized can (or might) be saved apart from knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Building on the insights of others, nine scholars introduce readers, even those with little background, to the ongoing discussion. Key questions–Is general revelation sufficient? Are other religions salvific? Do holy pagans exist? Must faith be explicit? Is exclusivism unjust?–are probed and answered from a biblical, theological and historical perspective.

The book’s positive thrust is summed up by editors Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan : “God is passionately engaged in gathering people to know, love and worship him from every tribe, language, people and nation. And he has called us to join him on this mission.”

Buy @:

InterVarsity for $18.40
Amazon for $15.64
CBD for $16.99

Table of Contents:

1 Introduction by Robert A. Peterson
2 Inclusivisms and Exclusivisms by Christopher W. Morgan
3 General Revelation: Sufficient or Insufficient? by Daniel Strange
4 Exclusivism: Unjust or Just? by William Edgar
5 Other Religions: Saving or Secular? by Eckhard J. Schnabel
6 Holy Pagans: Reality or Myth? by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
7 Saving Faith: Implicit or Explicit? by Stephen J. Wellum
8 Inclusivism versus Exclusivism on Key Biblical Texts by Robert A. Peterson
9 The Gospel for All Nations by Andreas J. Köstenberger
10 God’s Zeal for His World by J. Nelson Jennings
11 Answers to Notable Questions by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson

Initial Thoughts:

The issue of inclusivism is one that I have invested a great deal of time and study, and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to read the essays from the contributing authors. Undoubtedly, there will be some essays stronger and more substantive than others, but that is the nature of an edited work. I will go ahead and tell you now, however, that the price of the book is redeemed in Dr. Wellum’s essay alone. It is superb. Also check out Strange’s essay as I believe he has the most convincing critique of inclusivism, in particular Clark Pinnock’s pneumatological inclusivism. The issue of “holy pagans” (also called noble savages or pagan saints) is a key argument for inclusivists, so I am intrigued to see whether Kaiser can definitively address the arguments posited by proponents of inclusivism. Whether you are an exclusivist or inclusivist, this book will certainly be a resource you will refer back to for years to come. Hopes are that there will be continued scholarship and treatment on this subject matter as the perennial debate is one found on the lips of skeptics and scholars alike.


“The fate of those who have never heard the gospel is one of the great mysteries of our faith. Christians have long speculated about whether and how God may have spoken to those who have not been exposed to the church’s preaching of salvation through Christ alone. This book deals respectfully with the different views of the subject which are found among evangelical believers while seeking to remain faithful to the teaching of Jesus himself. It is a model of how we should discuss such a delicate matter and come to a decision which upholds the uniqueness of the one and only Savior of mankind.”
—Gerald Bray, Research Professor, Beeson Divinity School

“A helpful, scholarly critique of inclusivism by various evangelical authors.”
—Donald G. Bloesch, Professor of Theology Emeritus, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa

“No greater challenge faces the church of Jesus Christ than religious inclusivism–the belief that sincere people of many religions have enough truth to be saved from spiritual ruin. In an age of tolerance for all that does not seem to hurt or inhibit, no note sounds more discordant than an exclusivistic requirement of faith in Jesus Christ. Yet–with patience, respect and biblical rigor–Morgan, Peterson et al. show such an exclusive claim is in the Bible. Nothing could be more insensitive and arrogant than repeating this claim–unless it is true. Then, nothing could be more gracious and necessary than this book’s message.”
—Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary

“For those who are more interested in faithful alignment with what Scripture says than in sentimentality on this extraordinarily challenging subject, this is now the book to read. Courteous in tone yet thoroughly engaged with those who take contrary positions, the contributors lead us with exegetical care, theological poise and pastoral sensitivity through a thicket of common objections. I warmly recommend this book.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“These thoughtful, irenic and informed essays provide an important response to more ‘inclusivist’ perspectives on the question of the destiny of the unevangelized. This is a helpful contribution to a complex and controversial set of issues.”
Harold Netland, Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism is a refreshing voice in an increasingly confusing evangelical literary output on matters pertaining to human religions. This timely book is a very helpful guide to Christians who want to seriously examine the biblical and theological issues for themselves. Useful to specialists and nonspecialists.”
Tite Tiénou, Dean and Professor of Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Additional Related Resources:

The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism by D.A. Carson
The Possibility of the Salvation of the Unevangelized: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology by Daniel Strange
Is Jesus the Only Savior? by Ronald Nash
Who Will Be Saved? Defending the Biblical Understanding of God, Salvation, and Evangelism edited by Paul House and Gregory Thornbury
Is Jesus the Only Way? by Phillip Graham Ryken
The Population of Heaven: A Biblical Response to the Inclusivist Position on Who Will Be Saved by Ramesh Richard
What of the Unevangelized? by J. Oswald Sanders
“Restrictivism” by Ronald Nash in What About Those Who Have Never Heard? edited by John Sanders
“A Particularlist View: An Evidentialist Approach” by R. Douglas Geivett and W. Gary Phillips in Four Views of Salvation in a Pluralistic World edited by Dennis Okholm and Timothy Phillips