Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rob Bell? Rob Who?

It is now well over a year since Rob Bell overplayed his wolf like hand with his book "Love Wins". Bell's universalism did not surprise those of us who knew it years ago when he wrote Velvet Elvis. But it seems that the majority of evangelical commentators were reluctant to cry wolf until Rob fully disrobed from his sheep suit.

Bell had been getting away with teaching outrageously unbiblical things for years and this may have bred overconfidence to the point where he was willing to "out" himself. The controversy that erupted over Love Wins certainly granted Rob Bell his fifteen minutes of fame. But it also paved the way for us to be blessed with his absence over the last year. It did not take long before Bell resigned as "pastor" of his "church" and left the pulpit for the far loftier heights of producing a television series about himself (I guess that is one way of channeling your immense humility). We all thought he had disappeared until this video recently surfaced displaying the winning kind of love that Rob has for those who voiced legitimate biblical concerns about his teaching:

Could you feel the love? Rob Bell seems to forget that child like faith includes trusting what God has clearly taught in His word and rejecting anything that contradicts it. That is - having right doctrine! This video does serve as a timely reminder of what we have been missing since Bell went underground. I just feel like the recipient of a bad trade when Rob Bell resurfaces so soon after Phil Johnson's departure from cyberspace. Fortunately Phil lives on in reruns and here's a great one of him reviewing Bell's book "Love Wins". Let's just say he takes no prisoners:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scandinavian Psychiatric Stupidity

The western world is reeling in horror once again as the reality of the recent Denver shooting sinks in. Lot's of questions are being asked and lots of outrage is being vented. As I am currently visiting the Scandinavian country of Denmark it has been intriguing to watch the angle taken on these events by the Danish media.

Comments of concern have been made regarding the way the American police and justice system have been treating the perpetrator of the crime. They seem to have great concern for the fact that his feet are shackled and the fashion persecution of wearing a prison jumpsuit in court. All his friends seemed to think he was a nice guy. Is he getting the right medication? Is he getting the best psychiatric treatment to ascertain his illness? This is the retarded psychobabble of a culture that thinks it is "advanced"!

I am reminded of this story recounted by the late Chuck Colson after a visit to the country of Norway:

I can’t help but think of a visit I made to a maximum-security prison outside of Oslo back in the 1980s. I tell this story in my book How Now Shall We Live? I was greeted by the warden, who was a psychiatrist. She gave me a tour of the place, which seemed more like a laboratory than a prison. We met so many other psychiatrists that I asked the warden how many of the inmates here were mental cases.

She replied, “All of them, of course.”

I was stunned. Really? “Well,” she said, “anyone who commits a violent crime is obviously mentally unbalanced.” 

This was the ultimate expression of the therapeutic model. People, the reasoning goes, are basically good, so anyone who could do something so terrible as this must be mentally ill. And the solution is therapy. It is a tragically flawed and inaccurate view of human nature. And, as I learned just a few days later, a very dangerous one.

During that visit I preached the Gospel to the prisoners. They were completely numb to the message. But as I was leaving, a young correctional officer, a Christian, came up to me. She said she had prayed for someone to confront the prisoners with the message of sin and salvation. She was frustrated by the corrections system in Norway, where there was no concept of personal responsibility, and therefore no reason for prisoners to seek personal transformation. 

Only days later, I learned the tragic news: The young officer I had met was assigned to escort an inmate out to see a movie as part of his therapy. On the way back to prison, he murdered her.

Theology matters in all spheres of life. None more so than in the Bible's assessment of the human condition. All men have taken on Adam's sinful nature and have a continual propensity to evil. It is more surprising how rare these mass murders are than how often they take place. The irony that atheists enjoy the relative comforts of ordered western civilization is not lost on me. They benefit from this all the while ignorantly unthankful for the fact that God has blessed this fallen world with civil government (fallible though it is)  For all the shortcomings of western governments, they still generally enforce some sort of law and order that we might live peaceable lives. We should also be thankful for God's restraining grace that often limits the extent of evil that we could otherwise do.

But when the default shifts from all men being evil (biblical truth) to the unrealized goodness of all men through therapy (secular lie) this is what you get:

I will close with Al Mohler's insightful words on "Denver's Dark Night". It is a lengthy quote but it is too good to cut any shorter:

The same vexing but inescapable question comes every time a Columbine happens or an Anders Behring Breivik attempts to justify his mass homicide. How could such a thing happen? How could a human being do such a thing?

There is no easy answer to this question. The easy answers are never satisfying, and they are often based in the confused moral calculus of popular culture. We assume there must have been a political motivation, a psychiatric disturbance, a sociological pressure . . . anything that will offer a satisfying explanation that will assure us. Wave after wave of analysis is offered, and sometimes some horrifying clues emerge. But the moral madness of mass homicide can never be truly explained. Christians are driven by instinct to think in biblical and theological terms. But, how should that instinct be guided?

The Reality of Human Evil

First, Christians know that the human heart is capable of great evil. Human history includes a catalog of human horrors. The twentieth century, described by historian Eric Hobsbawm as the century of “megadeath,” included a list of names such as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, and Charles Manson. But those murderers did their killing from a distance, at least usually. Those who carry out the murders themselves are even more haunting to us. The young man arrested in this case, 24-year-old James Holmes, looks disarmingly normal.

The Fall released human moral evil into the cosmos, and every single human being is a sinner, tempted by a full range of sinfulness. When someone does something as seemingly unthinkable as this, we often question how anyone could do such a thing. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to this when he lamented, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]

Human beings are capable of unspeakable moral evil. We are shocked by such atrocities, but only because we have some distance from the last one. We cannot afford to be shocked when humans commit grotesque moral evil. It tells us the truth about unbridled human sin.

The Grace of Moral Restraint

Second, we must be thankful for restraints on moral evil. Christians must not underestimate the potential of any human being — ourselves included — to commit moral horror. We know ourselves to be sinners, and we know ourselves to be capable of sins we do not actually commit. Why do we not commit them?

God restrains human sinfulness. If the fullness of human sin was set loose, humanity would destroy itself. God restrains human evil by several means. First, he has created us in his image, and at least part of this image is what we call conscience. The moral conscience is a powerful restraint on human evil, and for this we must be exceedingly thankful. At the same time, the human conscience is also warped by the Fall and no longer fully trustworthy. We have developed the capacity to ignore the conscience, torture the conscience, and even misdirect the conscience by moral rationalization. Nevertheless, the restraint of the conscience is fundamental, and for that we must be very thankful.

God has also established institutions and orders that restrain human evil. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 13, God gave us the institution of government in order to restrain evil and to punish the evildoer. He has also given us the institution of marriage and the family and the larger order of society in order to restrain evil. We are surrounded by a complex of laws and statutes and social expectations and civic associations. All these function to restrain evil. At the foundation of these restraints is the fear of God, which, even in an increasingly secular society, still retains a more powerful force than is often acknowledged.

Evil Answered at the Cross

Third, we must admit that there will be no fully satisfying answer to these questions in this life. Christians know that God is sovereign, and that nothing is outside of his control. We also know that he allows evil to exist, and human beings to commit moral atrocities. We cannot allow the sovereignty of God to be denied and evil allowed its independent existence. Nor can we deny the reality of evil and the horror of its threat to be lessened. We are reminded that evil can be answered only by a cross.

Theologian Henri Blocher explains this truth vividly in these words:

“Evil is conquered as evil because God turns it back upon itself. He makes the supreme crime, the murder of the only righteous person, the very operation that abolishes sin. The maneuver is utterly unprecedented. No more complete victory could be imagined. God responds in the indirect way that is perfectly suited to the ambiguity of evil. He entraps the deceiver in his own wiles. Evil, like a judoist, takes advantage of the power of good, which it perverts; the Lord, like a supreme champion, replies by using the very grip of the opponent.”

We must grieve with those who grieve. We must pray for Gospel churches in the Denver area who will be called upon for urgent ministry. We must pray for our nation and communities. And we must pray that God will guard ourselves from evil — especially our own evil. And we must point to the cross. What other answer can we give?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Spicy Q&A With Macarthur, Sproul, And Lawson

I have to confess that I have become a bit of a Q&A tragic in recent years. I just love it when the theological heavyweights get together and speak frankly about hot button issues. And I, for one, am thrilled that this session from the recent Ligonier Conference with RC Sproul, John Macarthur, and Steve Lawson was captured on video and made available for public viewing. This session is loaded with good stuff. They answer questions ranging from the salvation of ethnic Israel to the importance of an historical Adam and a heap of stuff in between. It opens with a question on how they stand together considering the areas where they differ.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another Successful Reformation Resurrection Conference

Our annual Reformation Resurrection conference concluded just last week and what a joy it always is for Scandinavian believers to come in from the Reformation wasteland and drink from a fire hydrant for a week. Many of us were disappointed at the late withdrawal of Phil Johnson as our keynote speaker due to serious health issues.

To make matters worse, I was notified of this jolting news at the Master's Seminary while waiting to enter the classroom for my final Hebrew exam. Ancient Hebrew is challenging at the best of times but it was even more difficult to focus during the two hour exam as my mind was flooded with the thoughts of how to break the news to the brothers in Denmark and how to find a replacement at such short notice.

Nonetheless Henrik Mortensen, an elder at Kristuskirken in Denmark, put out some feelers in the UK for a replacement. Now I have to admit that I generally find English preachers to be a bit too polite and conciliatory when it comes to contending for the truth. However my exposure to the teaching of Carl Trueman has softened my resolve on this front and given me a new optimism for combative Gospel warriors being raised up in the "mother land".

Henrik was able to gain the recommendation and, more importantly, the services of one Jeremy Walker from Maidenbower [Reformed] Baptist Church.

Jeremy, it turns out, is a passionate and uncompromising young preacher who's influence and respect is very much on the rise. Though these accolades are of little interest to Jeremy, they are nonetheless encouraging to see in a land that often suffers from believers who tend to err on the side of cowardice. His two books, "The Broken Hearted Evangelist" and "A Portrait of Paul" carry endorsements by people like John Macarthur, Steve Lawson, Paul Washer, and Conrad Mbewe. And he has endeared himself to me by the fact that Pastor Walker also happens to be an open air preacher following in the footsteps of his predecessors Whitefield and Wesley.

We, the conference organizers, were very pleased to see that, in spite of Phil Johnson's absence, we enjoyed a record attendance and genuine enthusiasm for the teaching on offer. Reformation Resurrection 2012 has been the most diverse in attendance thus far with strong representation from Norway, Sweden, and Germany as well as a smattering from other surrounding countries. 

Aside from Jeremy Walker as our keynote speaker, Henrik Mortensen, Rene Vester, Mikael Thomsen, and myself filled the remainder of the preaching roster. This challenge of making so many adjustments at such short notice really helped to bring out the best in all the preaching. We soon hope to have most, if not all, of this online in the coming weeks. It was especially helpful to hear Jeremy expound the Scriptures on a biblical understanding of "working out our salvation" and the correct relationship between faith and works. This issue is something that causes major confusion among many church goers and it is also something that the Catholics have been getting wrong since they invented purgatory. I hope many others will take advantage of the teaching once it becomes available on the world wide web. Also, of great interest to many of us was Jeremy's controversial teaching on "The New Calvinism". If you enjoy a spicy theological read then this will not disappoint and it can be viewed here on Jeremy's blog.   

It is also tremendously encouraging to see the growing conviction among Scandinavian believers of the need to abandon apostate churches and support biblical churches. This provides me with great hope of a growing collective voice for the Gospel and biblical authority in these "post-Christian" lands.

I am also pleased to announce that Voddie Baucham will be our our keynote speaker at Reformation Resurrection 2013 from July 23 to 26, 2013 in Denmark. Stay tuned for more information. Space will be limited so email Carsten ( if you want to book early.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dumb And Dumber 2 Starring Ed Young Jr.

My old rugby league coach used to call an act of inexplicable stupidity on the sporting field a "brain explosion". I think he would have to ratchet that phrase up several notches to describe the recent "rant" by Ed Young Jr. against Calvinism. This may well be dumber than anything I have ever heard Jesse Duplantis say. "Not possible" I hear you say? Your skepticism is entirely understandable but wrong nonetheless . . .

Calvinism is clearly in the firing line right now. But why would any Arminian need an enemy when you have someone as unqualified and incompetent as Ed Young fighting for your cause?

In all fairness to "Pastor Ed", when your schedule is packed with providing fashion tips for pastors, producing bad rap music for sensitive seekers, scouring the world for superficial novelties to amuse undiscerning church goers, and polishing your private jet; it is entirely understandable why he cannot find the time to make an appointment with a Bible. And having such "creative flair" would certainly seem to eliminate the need for such an old book.

But it is hard to hide your stupidity when you get something wrong on so many levels. This is full of so many errors, straw men, delusions of grandeur, and false accusations I just don't know where to begin. Reformed theology is about digging wells in Africa? Phariseticalism? Calvinists have built in election detectors? Calvinism is sexy and cool? Has RC Sproul been getting around in skinny jeans? Well at least Ed can speak with a great deal of authority about "deformed ecclesiology" as he is certainly an expert in that field. I do have James White's phone number - why don't you give him a call Ed so you can straighten him out on all that Hebrew and Greek stuff you know so much about? Nonetheless there is one question that does intrigue me concerning this whole Ed Young brain explosion on steroids. As the Calvinist debate takes front and center stage in the Southern Baptist Convention and since Ed Young Jr. is a part of that convention - will he be disciplined by the SBC for using the pulpit for lying and slandering? Just wondering . . .

PS In a desperate attempt to defend the ridiculous claims he made, Ed Young Jr. has just submitted what he calls "Exhibit A"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

John Macarthur's Journey Through The Calvin Arminian Divide

John Macarthur is categorized as a Calvinist but prefers to call himself a biblicist. Here are some wise words from Dr. Macarthur during a Q&A session:

One of the benefits that I had, is I grew up in an environment where my dad was the preacher and it was basically a Baptist kind of environment. And what I learned growing up was sort of a middle ground. In my upbringing, we didn’t like the Calvinists and we didn’t like the Arminians; we sort of had that Baptist middle ground. That’s probably what a lot of you…you grew in the same kind of environment. You didn’t talk about predestination or election--that was kind of a frightening thing and that was for dead Presbyterians, and there were only about 30 of them in the whole city of Los Angeles--at the time, and they were over in a room somewhere contemplating their navel and reading John Calvin. You know, it was very introspective and they were thrilled with their theology, but they were a small little group and we weren’t into that.

I went away to college and essentially I went to two colleges, the roots of which were both Methodist. So, they were steeped in Arminian theology. One was sort of a Revivalist environment, and the other was a more traditional Wesleyan environment, where we read Wiley and Miley and all of that, and we had to imbibe all of this Arminian theology. I got out of that; I went to a seminary that had Presbyterian influences. So, I went from the Arminian kind of side to the Reformed side, and there I was in the middle of this mix and I just decided I’d go to the Bible and find out what the Bible said. I think, in a sense, all of that experience sort of canceled each other out, which was good for me, and I went back to the Word of God and in the Word of God, without all the presuppositions cast in stone, I was able to let the Bible speak. Through the years, the Bible I believe speaks very clearly about what the truth is.

But, I think if people could divest themselves of their presuppositions and if they could be willing to eat a little humble pie and say, “It’s possible that I might be wrong,” and take another hard look at the Word of God, they would come to the right answers. It’s a very simple point to make, and it is this: if two people take two opposing views of something, they cannot both be right. Somebody is wrong. And it’s not us, right? Well, I mean, I don’t say that in a proud way. I just believe that we are where we are because we believe this is true.

As many of us immerse ourselves in this debate, we would do well to immerse ourselves in Scripture and abandon the turbulant sea of subjective emotionalism of taking a side based on studying the behavior of advocates from either side. I was once rebuked by someone I found to be obnoxious - and with good reason. By the grace of God I managed to evaluate his rebuke in the light of Scripture rather than his behavior. Good thing too - because he was right!

Friday, July 6, 2012

When Not To Be Divisive

There's a lot of heat out there in the evangelical world right now over the centuries old debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. So much could be said about this and how foolish would I be to think that I could resolve the conflict. If you want to hear a strong case for each side of the debate then I recommend Robert Shanks's book Life In The Son for the Arminian case and John Macarthur's teaching series The Doctrines Of Grace for an overview of Calvinistic theology.

My post today is intended to be of a more conciliatory nature. The assaults on the Gospel in this present day demand that true believers don't end up shooting at the wrong targets. Consider the following conversation (paraphrased by John Piper) that occurred in the 18th century between Calvinist Charles Simeon and Arminian John Wesley. The conversation is instructive about how we should deal with people we disagree with, and about how sometimes moderates from both sides of a theological debate are closer than we realise.

Charles Simeon - Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?

John Wesley - Yes, I do indeed.

Charles Simeon - And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

John Wesley - Yes, solely through Christ.

Charles Simeon - But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

John Wesley - No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

Charles Simeon - Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?

John Wesley - No.

Charles Simeon - What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?

John Wesley - Yes, altogether.

Charles Simeon - And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?

John Wesley - Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

Charles Simeon - Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree.

Now this conciliatory approach in no way suggests compromising the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news is that the Holy Just, Righteous, and Loving God created man. Man rebelled and all of humanity has the sin nature. People are radically depraved and exceedingly sinful. They hate God and are deserving of His wrath and eternal condemnation. God's character demands that he must judge and punish all sin to meet the requirements of His justice. But to demonstrate His great love He sent His Son, fully God/fully man to fulfill the requirements of His law and then die under the punishment of God's Holy Wrath in the place of sinners. That the sins of the sinner would be imputed to Christ's account, and the rightoeusness of Christ would be imputed to the sinner's account. God now calls on all men everywhere to repent from sin and put their trust in Christ that they might be saved from the wrath to come. This is the major theme woven throughout the whole of Scripture - God's plan of redemption and being glorified by saving sinners. Many Arminians and Calvinists would preach this Gospel side by side.

I have been mailed by the odd angry Arminian and the odd hyper Calvinist only to hear them rail about the twisting of Scripture in the "opposing camp". But church history is littered with genuine Christian scholars who practised sound hermeneutical principles and yet arrived at different conclusions on difficult points of theology. Good theology involves harmonizing all of God's Word and that has proven difficult throughout church history on the issue of Calvinism v Arminianism. God speaks of predestining every soul and knows all the names written in the Lamb's book of life, yet He takes no delight in the destruction of the wicked desiring that he would repent. Repentance is a gift from God and yet God holds all men accountable to repent of their wickedness. These truths coexist in Scripture. We should be comforted in the knowledge that God can resolve what is beyond our grasp. All who are saved see the scarlet thread of redemption woven through the entirity of Scripture, but to scale the heights of God's election and man's responsibility is to search out the unsearchable - we all look into this glass darkly. There are tensions in Scripture that are beyond human understanding and different scholars throughout church history have developed theology that attempts to reconcile these tensions. We need to have the grace to recognize that no two people agree on every single point of doctrine and that we can live and serve God within that tension.

There are doctrines that are so important salvation depends on them (these are life and death and must be fought at all costs).

There are doctrines that cause us to fellowship at different local churches but we still extend the hand of fellowship to our genuinely born again brothers who differ on these doctrines.

There are also doctrines which we can differ on but still attend the same fellowship and sit down and lovingly reason from the Scriptures.

Please be big enough to do that for the sake of Christ's great Name and the furtherance of His glorious Gospel.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Southern Baptists And Pelagians Together

A key question as to how we understand the Gospel concerns our doctrine of man. Are we sinners because we sin or do we sin because we are sinners. Think carefully about this. Is it our sinful actions that make us a sinner or is it our sinful nature that causes us to sin. The former requires a gospel that persuades bad men to change their behavior. The latter requires a gospel that is about resurrecting men who are dead in sin. The former sounds very much like Charles Finney's heretical view of humanity:

Moral depravity cannot consist in any attribute of nature or constitution, nor in any lapsed or fallen state of nature. . . . Moral depravity, as I use the term, does not consist in, nor imply a sinful nature, in the sense that the human soul is sinful in itself. It is not a constitutional sinfulness [Finney's Systematic Theology, 245].

Finney's view echoes that put forward by Pelagius in the fourth century AD:

Pelagius was a monk from Britain, whose reputation and theology came into prominence after he went to Rome sometime in the 380's A.D. The historic Pelagian theological controversy involved the nature of man and the doctrine of original sin.

Pelagius believed that the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (the Fall) were restricted to themselves only; and thereby denied the belief that original sin was passed on (or transferred) to the children of Adam and thus to the human race. Adam's sin merely "set a bad example" for his progeny and Jesus "set a good example" for mankind (thus counteracting Adam's bad example). Pelagianism teaches that human beings are born in a state of innocence with a nature that is as pure as that which Adam was given at his creation.

As a result of his basic assumption, Pelagius taught that man has an unimpaired moral ability to choose that which is spiritually good and possesses the free will, ability, and capacity to do that which is spiritually good. This resulted in a gospel of salvation based on human works. Man could choose to follow the precepts of God and then follow those precepts because he had the power within himself to do so.

The controversy came to a head when Pelagian teaching came into contact with Augustine. Augustine did not deny that man had a will and that he could make choices. But, Augustine recognized that man did not have a free will in moral issues related to God, asserting that the effects original sin were passed to the children of Adam and Eve and that mankind’s nature was thereby corrupted. Man could choose what he desired, but those desires were influenced by his sinful nature and he was unable to refrain from sinning. (courtesy of Theopedia)

The strongest repudiation of Pelagian theology is reserved for the clear teaching of Scripture itself:

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19)

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)

With this Pelagian view of man considered it is interesting to see that this heresy, defeated by Augustine many centuries ago, still lives on in a variety of forms. I have been reluctant to bring to light the surprising emergence of this doctrine from an unexpected place. I was hopeful it would be internally resolved by the many capable theologians in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). However, it has now been broadcast far and wide so I wanted to take this opportunity to weigh in and comment on a recent document called A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation which had high profile signatories including Paige Patterson (President of Southwestern Seminary and a key figure in driving liberalism out of the SBC) and Jerry Vines (former SBC President and fellow hero of the "conservative resurgence"). Their aim, as staunch Arminians, in this document was to make a critical response to the rise of Calvinism within the SBC. Unfortunately, in their efforts to distance themselves from Calvinism they veered in to the land of Pelagianism. Though I am a Calvinist and disagree with much of what is on this document, I can respectfully disagree and understand why they arrive at some of the conclusions they do. But one conclusion in particular has caused the ire of many, myself included. That there are Calvinists and Arminians alike who are making the same objection to this document, should be cause enough for performing major surgery on such a significant statement. This key contention with the SBC statement on salvation is with article two. Article two, in its entirety, reads:

We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Even Roger Olsen, who is an unabashed high profile Arminian apologist has said:

Leaving the statement as it stands, without a clear affirmation of the bondage of the will to sin apart from supernatural grace, inevitably hands the Calvinists ammunition to use against non-Calvinist Baptists. It doesn’t matter what “most Baptists” believe or what is the “traditional Southern Baptist understanding.” For a long time I’ve been stating that most American Christians, including most Baptists, are semi-Pelagian, not Arminian and not merely non-Calvinist. Calvinists and Arminians stand together, with Scripture, against semi-Pelagianism. (Romans 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 4:7 to name just two passages.) (online source)

Both Vines and Patterson have a legacy of destroying liberalism within the SBC for which I owe a deep level of gratitude. Calvinists like Al Mohler would not have taken the Presidency at their flagship seminary (Southern baptist Theological Seminary) without their years of dedication to the cause of conservative biblical Christianity. This makes their latest labor all the more surprising because those who signed this document are either Pelagian (or some might say semi-Pelagian) or ignorant of what they signed. Both possibilities are disturbing and I sincerely hope that such a large and significant Christian movement will move rapidly to rectify errors of this caliber.