[UPDATE]: “davethepastor” wrote yesterday in the meta, “I got a 4 DVD copy of Jerry Vines sermons against all the evils affecting the SBC in today’s mail, free of charge. Paid for with CP dollars? From the exec director of the Florida Baptist Convention. And yes, Calvinism is one of the evils.”  Well, Tom Ascol has just verified that Dr. John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention, has indeed mailed Dr. Vines’ messages to every pastor in the state convention – paid for with what?  Yes, God’s money!  Talk about cooperation!  Unprecedented?  You would think.  But Dr. Roy Fish preached a message at Cottage Hill Baptist Church (Mobile, AL) on August 11, 1997 called “The C-Word” which was distributed at the 2005 Missouri State Pastor’s Conference.  Watch, my friend, the desperate tactics of SBC politicians.  And they wonder why my generation have no heroes in the SBC . . . [/UPDATE]

Some of you may remember last year in Greensboro a motion was made to Bobby Welch requesting that “Calvinism’s current impact on SBC churches as well as its implications for the future of the great Convention.”  The man who made this notion is Dr. John Connell, pastor of Calvary Baptist Temple in Savannah located in Savannah, Georgia.  Dr. Connell is also superintendent of Calvary Day School, the k-12 private school of Calvary in Savannah.  Statewide, Dr. Connell is also an influential Georgian Baptist as he has written Sunday School lessons for The Christian Index (GA’s Baptist state paper) and will also be one of two “tellers” for the state of Georgia at the 2007 Annual Meeting in San Antonio. 

Like other influential Georgian Baptists, including the likes of Nelson Price (Evangelical Calvinism Is an Oxymoron) and Johnny Hunt, Connell has developed a strong anti-Reformed agenda.  Last year (copyright 2006), Connell wrote a 73 page book essay which he entitled “The TULIP in the Garden: Pruning the Petals of Calvinism” which he gives to his students who attend either Presbyterian or Reformed Baptist churches.  In summary, Connell blasts Calvinism at every point while offering an alternative view of God which he calls “Connellism.”  So what exactly does “Connellism” teach?  Let me first share with you some quotes from his book against Calvinism:

“Calvinists see man as totally depraved. I see man as mostly depraved.” – page 8

“I vehemently decry the thought that God, in any way, chooses some to be saved and some to be lost.” – page 9

“[T]he Bible is clear that Jesus died for everybody in the world, for all ages, for all time…” – page 10

“That is, Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for all human sin in all human ages.” – page 18

“I reject irresistible grace […] Choice is what God wants. If you’ve got a problem with that, then talk to God, not me.” – page 12

From these quotes, Connell appears to reject Calvinism at every point.  In fact, Connell’s alternative acrostic to TULIP, which he calls “Connellism” goes like this:

A – All encompassing love
C – Creative purpose
C – Choosing autonomy
E – Evangelistic initiative
S – Security of the believer
S – Separation of the unbeliever

Now, if that is not bad enough, let me provide a smattering of his ad-hominems: 

“Calvinism can lead to arrogance and elitism.” – page 37

“Calvinism naturally leads to depression and despair.” – page 38

“[Calvinism leads to] a life void of evangelistic fervor.” – page 38

“My experience with many five-point Calvinists is that they are militant, that they are more concerned about you becoming a Calvinist than they are about their neighbors coming to Jesus. […] Large numbers of five-point Calvinists aren’t interested in discussion but only in doing battle with the hopes of making another convert to the TULIP.” – page 64

After having read these quotes, let me remind you who is “pruning the petals” if you want to call it that.  The same man who wrote these words is not only the superintendent of the Calvary Day School, one of two “tellers” for the state of Georgia this year at SBC’s Annual Meeting, a writer for GBC Sunday School material, and the one behind the motion to examine the impact of Calvinism in the SBC.  If it doesn’t make sense and clear things up, allow me to have Connell speak for himself.  He writes,

“Twenty-five years ago we had some courageous men to stand up and lead the way in preventing the Southern Baptist Convention from being swept away at the hands of moderates/liberals. […] I predict that in the next 10-20 years a group of men will have to do it all over again – not with moderates/liberals, but with Calvinists. I detest convention politics, but the greatest mission program in the world is at stake. Calvinism will ultimately destroy that mission program.”

There you have it.  Calvinism destroys the mission program, therefore the Great Commission is at stake unless we eradicate Calvinism from the SBC.  I suppose the dozens of Calvinists I know on the mission field didn’t get that memo, neither did the NAMB church planters.  So this leads me to turn his alarming statement into a question.  “Who in the next 10-20 years will fight to keep the Convention from being swept way at the hands of Calvinists?”  Who are the leading Arminians of this younger generation of Southern Baptists?

Well, I guess I have to go and update my chronological compilation now.  While 2007 has been a relatively quiet year for wild and crazy rants against Calvinism, I suppose we will just have to wait and see what San Antonio will “tell” us.  Till then, let us Calvinists be about serving God’s people and reaching our world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.