Friday, September 07, 2018

Baptist bullies, boycotters, and babies

I have a great interest in history, and, as a Baptist, a great interest in Baptist history. On Facebook I am a member of a History of Baptists group.[i] For most of the time of my membership, it has been a quiet place. Members post biographies of Baptist people, history of churches, and such. Into the quietness recently roared the rancor of the good ole “Calvinism, Arminianism, and all-points-in-between” debate. Now it is clear that this topic has a legitimate place in the discussion of Baptist history. Moreover, you might assume that adult Christians who are interested in it from the vista of Baptist history might be able to discuss it decently. But no!

Were the 1689 London and 1742 Philadelphia Confessions of Faith “Calvinistic” in their soteriological perspective? Yes, no, maybe. Maybe we’ll never know![ii] After enough instigation and reaction, berating and complaining, the moderators have had enough and are considering taking the topic of “doctrine” off the Baptist historical table!

After pushback on some posts, some of the “Calvinists” apparently decided to “poke the bear.”[iii] Among the “Traditionalist” majority, a range of bullies, boycotters, and babies came to the fore.[iv] The bullies blustered and bragged. The boycotters gestured pulling their support from the group. The babies just whined and cried.

I doubt you have much interest in reading this rambling.[v] I wrote it to vent some feeling. I wish Baptists had fewer bullies, boycotters, and babies trying to get their way, and more advocates who acted like adults in whom the Spirit of God abides.[vi] Rather than demanding, manipulating, or whining, why not be ready to give a good answer based on the Bible (or history in this case, since the discussion is about Baptist history)?

[i] The name has been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.
[ii] But of course they were. E.g. “Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto.”
[iii] The majority of the membership appear to non-Calvinists, with a strong tasting of rabid anti-Calvinists.
[iv] Bullies: blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing persons who badger and intimidate smaller or weaker people. Boycotters: those who combine in abstaining from buying or using, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion. Babies: immature or childish persons.
[v] But if you have gotten this far I guess you have!
[vi] To be clear, all Baptist bullies, boycotters, and babies are not “Traditionalists,” but in this case they were.

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