I guess I’m just about full to the top with ‘Baptists’ bashing ‘Calvinists’ when nine times out of ten, if you take a moment to talk to them, they generally agree with each other on most points of doctrine. I won’t bother to list the links. Just Google ‘calvinist resolution baptist’ and watch what comes up. The counter is sitting at about 90K right now on that search and I can only expect it to go up. The other thing that bothers me that many of the folks participating in these disagreements appear to be arguing past their reading. What I mean is that if you’re going to argue that ‘election’ is a Calvinist doctrine, and it is, then you must be brushed up enough on your Church History to know that he was the one who originated it in the first place. He wasn’t, but that’s beside the point.
The fact of the matter is that most of the Southern Baptists that I talk to don’t really care either way. That’s the problem in this part of the world. They don’t care to take up their bible and their books to study it out. They’re addicted to the candy shop lessons in the quarterly from Lifeway. They’re easy to use and all laid out so that anyone can teach a lesson. And just about anyone can teach those lessons—as long as they don’t go outside of the lines. As long as they don’t want to go deeper into the Word of God, it works just fine.
How do I know? I taught Sunday School for a long time with an hour or so of prep and leaning heavily on the teacher book. It’s addictive. It’s simple. You get to be a teacher without very many sacrifices. It’s a nomination committee dream. “Oh, it’s pretty easy really, here’s a teacher’s quarterly…” poof! You’re a teacher!
But I think that’s at least part of how we got to this point in the first place. I think the blame lies squarely at the feet of those pastors and leaders who allowed the lay leaders of the church the luxury of not really having to dig deep in the word to teach their lessons or counsel their new conversions. There is always a book, or a plan, or a little reference card that can help and make sure you have a prayer when you’re done: just to be on the safe side.
It’s not that I’m not grateful for all the cookies and punch and little macaroni Jesus-craft activities in VBS or Sunday School when I was a kid. I’m just a little confused as to why they didn’t expend a little more effort. If it was such a bother, why bother? Where’s the passion? Where is the craving for God’s Word?
I know a great number of these men involved in these disputes are my betters in many ways when it comes to serving the Lord, which is really scary. I mean, when a guy like me can see that the gears just aren’t matching up in some of the things they’re saying someone has a problem.