I’ve written frequently recently about the debate surrounding Calvinist soteriology in the Southern Baptist Convention. I’ve been encouraged that much of the discussion has been charitable. That’s not always (or even usually) the case.
Take, for instance, the sermon clip below from Ed Young, Jr, given two days ago at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX (which is technically an SBC church, but they distance themselves from that association). This is the epitome of a “straw man” argument, as he berates Reformed/Calvinist believers, saying that Reformed theology leads to “deformed ecclesiology”. (Ironic, given some of the stunts he’s pulled.)
In his 12-minute rant against Calvinism, Young manages to avoid interacting with any of the actual theological positions held by Calvinists, instead resorting to a lot of name-calling and claims that Reformed people don’t evangelize (don’t tell that to Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, C.H. Spurgeon, John Piper, etc). Notice also how he nicely protects himself against criticism by portraying folks like myself as “guys in their underwear sitting in their mother’s basement” (Note: I’m currently fully clothed and in my right mind). Obviously no one else would ever dare take issue with Pastor Ed!
Beyond just showing this as an example of how not to have a theological debate, I do want to point out one area of agreement. Young says, “When they say ‘the gospel’, they don’t mean the same ‘gospel’ that we do. It’s different.” I couldn’t agree more. Young refers to Calvinist churches as “gearhead” churches. It’s a reference to fishing, where “a gearhead is someone who is so into the gear that they hardly ever fish.” He then goes on to compare the 2000+ baptisms at Fellowship Church last year with the meager 26 baptisms at a nearby Reformed Church (a method of argument that should unsettle the many millions of Christians who attend small churches, whatever their doctrinal bent).
Here’s the real problem, Ed: You’re fishing with the wrong bait.
The full sermon (entitled “Cool-Aid — Part 4) can be found here.
Disclaimer: I don’t know what’s going on with the weird dancing happening during part of this video, which was cobbled together to go with the audio clip.