A Southern Baptist seminary president said Nov. 29 that Baptists who adopt Calvinistic theology and practice ought to consider joining another denomination.
“I know there are a fair number of you who think you are a Calvinist, but understand there is a denomination which represents that view,” Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said at the close of Tuesday’s chapel service. “It’s called Presbyterian.”
“I have great respect for them,” Patterson said. “Many of them, the vast majority of them, are brothers in Christ, and I honor their position, but if I held that position I would become a Presbyterian. I would not remain a Baptist, because the Baptist position from the time of the Anabaptists, really from the time of the New Testament, is very different.”
Patterson, co-engineer of the so-called conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention in the final two decades of the 20th century, commented immediately after chapel speaker Rick Patrick finished the morning sermon.
Patrick, executive director of Connect316 — a group formed in the summer of 2013 to counterbalance a number of new organizations promoting the New Calvinist perspective — argued that debate in the Southern Baptist Convention over Calvinism isn’t about just the single issue of how people are saved.
“Because Calvin’s Institutes address a broad spectrum of theological categories, we are actually debating much more than just the single issue of salvation,” said Patrick, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Sylacauga, Ala. “If we are not careful a myriad of related beliefs and practices will enter our camp, hidden within the Trojan Horse of Calvinism.”
Patrick said the New Calvinism and the “traditionalist” position advocated in the past by former SBC leaders such as Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers are “two competing systematic theologies” with disagreements as basic as whether the heavenly Father is a God of love.
“If God has chosen, actively or passively, before the foundation of the world to place the reprobate unconditionally into a category from which they can never possibly escape, then this is, as even Calvin admitted, a dreadful decree,” Patrick said. “I will never forget the first time a Calvinist looked me straight in the eye and said God does not love everybody. I was speechless, and frankly, that doesn’t happen much.”
Here’s the kicker by Patrick:
“Some New Calvinists, even pastors, very openly smoke pipes and cigars, just as they drink beer, wine,” Patrick said. “They may even home brew the beer themselves, attempting to use it as an outreach to identify with other smokers and drinkers.”
“Sin is not a form of outreach,” Patrick commented.