This is what was said by David Allen at the recent highly controversial conference conducted by the Southern Baptist Convention called the “John 3:16 Conference” last November 6-7, 2008. The conference was described by organizers as a biblical and theological assessment of and response to five-point Calvinism, was held Nov. 6-7 at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga. About 1,000 pastors and laypeople attended.
TULIP, the acronym used to describe the central five doctrines that Reformed folk, or those who stand on what is more popularly called “Calvinism” hold on to—total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement or particular redemption, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints. Each point was supposedly addressed by individual speakers in the conference.
From an article from the Baptist Press concerning the conference it was said:
“I want to help our people understand the issue,” Jerry Vines said in a phone interview prior to the conference. “I don’t expect to change a whole lot of minds; my primary interest is to bring balance to the issue.”
During the conference, Vines and other speakers emphasized that the event was intended to address theological issues and provide information rather than attack Calvinists. “I’ve never felt that disagreeing was attacking,” Vines said, adding that he has many friends with different views.
It’s interesting that those in the Southern Baptist convention can say these things with a straight face, and yet totally misrepresent Dr. White as being a hyper-calvinist because of a misunderstanding or misreading of Phil Johnson’s “Primer on Hyper-Calvinism” concerning the “Two Wills of God” (i.e. Revealed will and Secret will). It is more interesting to me, how the SBC can claim to “help their people understand the issue” and “address theological issues and provide information” while at the same time ignoring what the reformed position really is from our perspective. Puritanic writers that are staunch Calvinists were labeled otherwise in the convention. How? Writings taken out of context and misinterpreted. No meaningful amount of study was made to fully understand what the reformed position is. No meaningful exegetical work. From what I have seen I doubt they did any true and honest exegetical work at all. Well Jerry Vines “tried” to exegete John 3:16 word for word from the greek text, but still failing to do it in honesty of what the text actually says. So much iesegisis, “he says”, “she says”, but so little of the Bible. No work whatsoever concerning John 6:37-44. No work whatsoever concerning the claims in the book of Hebrews concerning Christ’s intercession for the saints. In short no working at all of the key texts that the Reformed position holds on to. That raises the question, what then are they addressing? Are they truly making clear the theological issues, addressing them and providing information? Or are they simply expressing their own point of views and opinions as it is understood from their perspective?
I am frightened to conclude, as many others say, the camp of the Arminians, the SBC, all they want is a monologue, they don’t want a dialogue. They just want to say what they want to say without being challenged in any way to be consistent both in representing the Reformed Position and being consistent in their Arminian theology. Why is it? I am convinced that they won’t because they can’t. They can not be forced to be consistent because it will make clear the contradictions they hold in a lot of facets of their theology. The most they can do is redefine their theology including all the theological terms, but even that won’t do any good in a meaningful debate under Biblical scrutiny.
Check out what was recorded by the live-bloggers:
Andrew Lindsey – guest live-blogger for Challies.com
“johnMark” from the Sweet Tea & Theology Blog
A quote from Phil Johnson’s article clearing up the issue that just wont die down:
Evidently, Dr. Allen isn’t buying my explanation of my own position. He has a totally different interpretation of my notes on hyper-Calvinism, and he says he’s going to “wait to see what Phil Johnson says” after I read his exegesis of my words. For those who have wondered: No, he didn’t actually write me with any questions before undertaking to explain my views—or afterward, for that matter. Unless he used a pseudonym, he didn’t comment on my blogpost here, either. (That would probably have been the best place to interact with me about the issue if he had been so inclined.) But I’ve heard nothing from him directly. If a friend had not pointed out that Dr. Allen had posted that response on another blog, I would have had no way of knowing that he is “wait[ing]” to hear from me at all. So I gather he is not exactly waiting with bated breath.
Nevertheless, Dr. Allen’s “defense” demonstrates conclusively that he doesn’t understand my definition of hyper-Calvinism. He relentlessly ascribes to me a position I have frequently refuted. He insists on paraphrasing my opinion in precisely the kind of ambiguous language I have emphatically repudiated. And (most frustrating of all) he utterly ignores everything I said in my earlier response to his lecture that might have helped shed light on the very things he misconstrues so badly.
Read the rest of the article here.
And finally a video by Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries concerning the John 3:16 Conference, more specifically on David Allen citing John Owen.
Oh yeah, I would like to add that right after David Allen’s talk, Steve Lemke, the next speaker, in his talk said:
In fact I’m not sure there is such a thing as a living Hyper-Calvinist.