As many know, I am adamantly against Calvinism’s soteriology and have written numerous articles and three books laying out my reasons. I am an Extensivist, which means I believe God’s salvational love extends to every person. Accordingly, he has provided salvation for every person, which they can receive by faith, something that he desires every person would do. Nevertheless, I heartily support Dr. Tom Ascol for President of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Before giving my reasons in support of Dr. Ascol, a well-known Calvinist, let me briefly summarize some of the problems we as a convention are facing: Some leaders are too accommodating of the sin of homosexuality; some are seeking to weaken biblical complementarianism; there have been moderate and liberal actions by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Some leaders send unclear signals by denouncing ideas like critical race theory (CRT) while covering for those who endorse or teach it; Resolution 9, which pretends to neutralize CRT and Intersectionality (IN) by calling them “analytical tools,” was passed at the SBC Convention; others attach social justice to the gospel. Some in the SBC accept or speak favorably of liberation theology, embrace or accommodate standpoint epistemology, and use critical theory developed by neo-Marxist Max Horkheimer to evaluate the church, race relations, and America. Some leaders promote women preachers/pastors and women’s ordination. Others trivialize the sin of plagiarism and seek to weaken the Grammatical Historical Method. There has been mishandling of concerns regarding sexual abuse charges. Some leaders use unbiblical gender pronouns, and others classify the SBC as pervasively racist. Some of these leaders have now left the SBC and affiliated with churches that practice pedobaptism, while others promote radical feminism under the guise of soft-complementarianism. These corruptions can be found at both the national and state levels.
Some of these issues are common knowledge. Others have been spoken and written about by men like Dr. Tom Ascol, Dr. Russell fuller (former Hebrew professor at SBTS), Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez (former professor at SWBTS), Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jon Harris, seminary students, and others who share their conversations or classroom experiences with those that promote one or more of the issues mentioned above. I have written about some of these issues as well. And yet, the current leadership continues to deny these problems exist and say or imply that the only problem is those of us who say there are problems. This denial is prevalent, even though many of the issues mentioned have been quite public, and the rest have been well-documented.
On more than one occasion, the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) or I have been accused of misrepresentation, participating in slander, and creating problems when none exist. However, when I offer my writings that document my concerns, which the CBN shares, the person moves on without considering the evidence. Now, a person may not consider these issues important. They may even think it is good to embrace or accommodate CRT and soften the biblical stance on transgenderism and homosexuality. That is a person’s choice. But to deny this is happening and being taught is contrary to the evidence that has been sufficiently marshaled.
As a founding member of the CBN, I can confirm that the CBN was founded by people who love the SBC and were concerned with such erosions of the gains made in the Conservative Resurgence (CR), as I mentioned above. Along with thousands of others, we are still gravely concerned about the direction some leaders seem resolutely intent on leading the SBC family. Yet, regardless of how many point out and document the scope of this theological downgrade, the response is that there is no liberal drift, no problems in the SBC other than those who claim there are problems.
Nevertheless, we will not leave, nor will we join those who say we see problems where none exist. Instead, by God’s grace, we will seek to strengthen the many wonderful aspects of the SBC while facing head-on the erosions of biblical fidelity and corruption of the simple gospel. Remember, before and during the CR, the voices of the citadels in which the biblical infidelity was persistently occurring denied any problems.
Here are seven reasons why I, an Extensivist (one who rejects Calvinism), am supporting Dr. Tom Ascol, a five-point Calvinist, for president of the SBC.
Calvinists and Extensivists worked together in the Conservative Resurgence because we believed in inerrancy as the bedrock of everything, and those leading the SBC at the time did not. Similarly, the continuum of coddling to fully embracing Marxian critical theory, CRT, and liberation theology will destroy our proclamation of God’s message in Scripture, the gospel, and the SBC, and, if further successful, it will eradicate all public forums for the propagation, discussion, and practice of biblical faith in America. Yes, I believe the stakes are that high.
Although those of my soteriological perspective have disparate views on omniscience and free will and many other topics than our Calvinist brothers and sisters, Calvinists and Extensivists both love God and his inerrant and sufficient Word, and Calvinism is not heresy. In stark contrast, cultural Marxism (or neo-Marxism), liberation theology, Black liberation theology, CRT/IN, standpoint epistemology, critical theory (Marxist oppressor vs. oppressed dynamic), and their correlates are absolutely godless heresies.
Extensivists and Calvinists can stand together for the cause of Christ and make contributions to Christ’s kingdom. This is compared to Marxian latent philosophies that do not and cannot stand for Christ nor make any contributions to his kingdom.
Tom Ascol has been very supportive of the CBN, which was not founded by Calvinists, although some now belong.
Tom and many other known non-woke conservative Calvinists in the SBC strongly supported and voted for Mike Stone for SBC president even though he is not a Calvinist. And they would do so again for a non-woke conservative who is not a Calvinist. We are in this battle together, and if not, we shall surely lose.
Our foe in this battle does not coexist with Calvinism, Extensivism, or any other form of biblical Christianity; thus, we stand together, and together we must stand!
No one has stood more bravely and suffered more loss in our battle against cultural Marxism and CRT/IN in our convention over the last few years than Tom Ascol. We will need someone with his understanding of the issues and indomitable fortitude to take the reins of the SBC and lead her in the right direction. If elected, he can do just that.
In 2021, I supported an Extensivist, Mike Stone. In 2022 I endorse Tom Ascol, a Calvinist. My support of these men is based on our shared common theological beliefs, love and devotion to God and the things of God, and a deep resolve to stand against the invasion of godless corrosive compromises that have crept in over the last several years, which will ultimately destroy the SBC.
By God’s grace, we will stand together to stop the rollback of gains from the CR by these new acidic philosophies and theological attacks. Lastly, whereas some of the issues we face today are topically different than those in the Resurgence, they are essentially the same. These new threats undermine the inerrancy and sufficiency of the objective Scripture and the simple gospel just as past threats did. This truth must be remembered and fought for at all costs!