THE TULIP: The Petals and The Sepals (leaves)

Before you make the TULIP your flower of choice, consider it in full bloom.

TULIP is used acronymically to succinctly point out the major emphases of Calvinism. I well understand that the use of the TULIP does not fully illustrate the depth and breadth of Calvinism. I do understand that some believe the acronym has outlived its usefulness. However, it still enjoys ubiquitous usage among Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike. I find this to be particularly true among those seeking to explain Calvinism to people who may demonstrate some interest in understanding Calvinism or as a simple tool to convince young people of its biblical and systematic cogency. I am not considering this acronym in order to either portray Calvinism simplistically or inaccurately. Rather, I use it in the manner described by Roger Nicole when he said, “the five points provide a classic framework which is quite well adapted for the expression of certain distinguishing emphases of Calvinism.” ((David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented from the preface written by Roger Nicole (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co, 1963), 7.)) Continue reading →

Think About IT: Calvinism Confuses the Issues

Recently, a Calvinist asked me the following question in an all too  common fashion.

He asked, “Are you saying that for God to be the perfect sum of love He must offer the gospel to all men equally? To give each and every man ever born equal access to the Word?”

Here is my answer. To me, your question conflates two different issues. It conflates the issue of whether God grants to everyone who hears a real choice to believe the gospel or reject the gospel with whether everyone gets the same opportunity. Calvinism rejects the former (which I believe is biblically unwarranted), and I believe that places Calvinism in a position of inadequately demonstrating how that is perfect love, which opinion I base on their writings in systematic theologies and individual books on the subject. I believe that if Calvinism is true, if in eternity we are to stand on the precipice of hell, all could see how God was always perfectly just in not letting any sinners into heaven, but I do not see how that demonstrates that He is perfect love since He withheld even the opportunity to come to heaven.

With regard to whether everyone gets the exact same opportunity, my answer is no, since this is an actual impossibility in a time and space continuum. However, because everyone may not get the same opportunity does not equal some receiving an inadequate opportunity or no opportunity.

One Man’s Suggestions for Calvinists and Non-Calvinists

This article appeared in two parts on April 4th & 5th on SBC Today.

Although I no longer don the Calvinist label, I do continue to recognize the system of thought as an option within historic Christianity as well as Southern Baptist life. Further, I have no interest in personally attacking my Calvinist brothers’ and sisters’ devotion, piety, or love for God and His word, for I do sincerely believe that most Calvinists are truth seekers. I do not wish to expel Calvinists nor to be expelled by them from SBC life, but rather to suggest and take some substantive steps to help all of us know God better. I assume that is what the vast majority of those of us in this discussion truly desire; although, there is obvious disagreement in how to accomplish this quest.

In order to continue to move our discussions toward lucidity in both articulation and understanding of our various theological perspectives, I would like to suggest implementing the following ideas within Southern Baptist life. My suggestions are drawn from my life as a Southern Baptist, which includes both the perspective I gained in my years as a Calvinist and now my post Calvinist reflections. While I view my suggestions as necessary, I also view them as partial and modifiable. I believe that some of the steps should be implemented immediately, while others are clearly long term goals that may take years. I offer my suggestions with no more credentials than being a rather obscure but concerned Southern Baptist.

I trust that if we speak with grace and listen with humility, we can learn from each other. I do genuinely believe that if the following suggestions are not implemented, the future of the SBC may not be as bright as it could be; although, one may easily find sufficient grounds to view my suggestions dismissively since I do seem to have an extraordinarily unimpressive record as a prophet. As a Calvinist, I loved, respected and worked with those who were not, and now that I am no longer a Calvinist, I hold that same love, respect, and desire to work with those who are.

Please consider the following suggestions: Continue reading →

Think About IT: A Calvinist creates his version of my position, and then responds accordingly!

Read the following carefully. It is supposed to be a critique of my theological position found in my book Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist. Please note, this Calvinist and my brother in Christ says all of this without having read my book—this all comes from an interview of my testimony on sbctoday.com —and please note what he says I said, then go back and read the exact thing I said, and then if you want a lesson in rapid-fire ad-hominem arguments well, look no further. Enough said.

The following is an excerpt, and his full “critique” from Tuesday, July 17, 2012 can be found here. Continue reading →

An Apology to Dr. John Piper

The following is a copy of the letter that I sent to Dr. Piper regarding one of the quotes I used from him. I used the quote in a public way, and so in like manner is my apology.

Dear Dr. Piper,

My name is Ronnie W. Rogers, and I am writing to you in order to apologize and ask your forgiveness.

I most regretfully and inadvertently misrepresented a statement of yours in my book Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist. Please see quote at the close of this letter. Continue reading →

A Response to bloggers on SBC Today

As noted earlier, SBC Today published an interview with me regarding my book, Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist, as well as a four part series on my chapter entitled “The Lamb’s Book of Life: who’s in and who’s out?

As you can imagine, there were many responses. The editor of SBC Today has been kind enough to allow me to respond to several bloggers comments that I think need a word of clarification or correction.

The site indicates that my responses will be published Saturday July, 27 2012.

Go to sbctoday.com

Think About IT: When a Critique is NOT a Critique

Recently, James White, a very strong Calvinist presented what he packaged as a critique of Reflections of A Disenchanted Calvinist on his Radio program. He spent an hour “critiquing ” it. I was hopeful for a serious review from the Calvinist position, but I was disappointed.  I am grateful to Peter Lumpkins, who operates sbc tomorrow, for posting a critique of White’s critique. Below is the link to his  post yesterday.

http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2012/07/james-white-critiques-ronnie-rogers-book-reflections-of-a-disenchanted-calvinist-by-peter-lumpkins.html

Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism

My latest book has finally reached the point of publication.  Although I do not think that reading the introduction of a book, including my other two, is critical to understand it, this book is an exception. To fully understand the format, terms used, and the spirit in which I wrote the book, it is essential to read the introduction.

“Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism engages one of the classical strands of Protestant thought with the classical strength of Protestantism—shedding the light of the Scriptures on the questions of the faith. This book leads readers through the intricacies of Calvinist thought, touching on such topics as the sovereignty of God, predestination, unconditional election, the origin of evil, free will, and faith and works. The intent of this journey is to provide a critique of Calvinism and to present readers with a clear picture of the ramifications of subscribing to Calvinist doctrines. Chapters address particular theological topics by stating both affirmations rooted in the Scriptures and disaffirmations drawing their support from the Scriptures as well. The lines of thought do not shy away from complex theological questions, but instead rely upon the riches of theological reflection to assure the critiques of Calvinism are fair both to the doctrines and to the Scriptures. If you are a part of the Calvinist tradition and want to explore the nuances of your background, or if you locate yourself outside of that tradition but have deep curiosity about the questions the Calvinist tradition raises, then Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The  Disquieting Realities of Calvinism offers a rigorous guide to exploring the depths of the tradition and critique of the tenets of Calvinism.”

Copies are available in hardback or paperback at Trinity Baptist Church or in hardback, paperback, and electronically at Amazon.com.