No Turning Back Now…I Told My Pastor That I Am Now Reformed

I have been plannning to talk to my Pastor concerning my new theological understanding for a little while.  Tonight I had the opportunity to tell him so I did. I was unsure how he would react.  He told me once that he had studied Calvinism in seminary and rejected it and that he had not thought about it since. I told him that in most cases I would not have bothered to tell him anything because I would have simply considered it to be differences in interpretation.  But, considering the growing conflict in the SBC over the growth of Calvinism I felt it was important the he know.

He basically had two primary concerns.  First, evangelism and second, double predestination.  If I believed either of these then he would have some major concerns and might have to consider whether he could allow me to continue in my teaching responsibilities.  As for evangelism, he said that Calvinism tends to diminish evangelism.  I explained that was only true for someone how was a Hyper-Calvinist and that I did not see it as diminishing my, or our churches, evangelistic efforts.  I explained that I was not a Hyper-Calvinist.  Next, he mentioned double predestination.  He felt that if I believe that God creates some people who can’t respond to the Gospel then that would be a problem.  I explained that I once believed in predestination and free will but did not know how to reconcile them and that I no longer believed in free will.  I told him that I did believe in predestination and that any belief in predestination almost requires a belief in reprobation.  I feel they are two sides of the same coin.

I also explained to him that whenever these issues come up I have tried (and will continue) to teach both sides.  It is not always possible but I try.  In the end he said that unless someone in the church made an issue of things he did not see any reason for taking any actions.  He said he was open to the discussions and said as long as we agreed on the essentials (the Gospel) then everything else (non-essential doctrines)  could be debated and discussed.  This was good news to me….he could have decided to remove me from my teaching responsibilities.

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17 Responses to No Turning Back Now…I Told My Pastor That I Am Now Reformed

  1. Longing for Holiday says:

    Thanks for the post. Re evangelism, it’s made me better at it, cause I trust God with the outcome. See JIPacker’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.
    For me, if I had to choose sovereignty over responsbility, there’d be no question. But when we get beyond our four dimensions in eternity, I think it’ll all make sense. Turn your pastor onto Piper — I’ll bet he’s truned many a Baptist into a reformed Baptist!! Desiring God is great if you haven’t read it. Wait! I see the T. I live in T territory…!

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  2. krislinatin says:

    so does he consider the ‘5 points of calvinism’ unessential doctrine?
    good job in speaking what you believe now.
    Kristina

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  3. Tom says:

    krislinatin,

    He, as do I, considers only the Gospel as essential doctrine. After that there is room for interpretation and discussion and sometimes even disagreement.

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  4. Tom says:

    Longing for Holiday,

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I have not read either one yet but I have seen both recommend in other places. I do listen to Piper sometime (I get his podcasts).

    Yes, I live on Rocky Top. You might even say that “my blood runs orange”.

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  5. Robert says:

    Tom, You wrote..….he could have decided to remove me from my teaching responsibilities.

    Oh, I so wholeheartedly disagree. By your teaching responsiblilities, I assume you mean your sunday school and youth classes. It’s not the pastor’s place to remove you from these positions.

    Besides, you know me & you know that if I disagree with your sunday school teaching, I’ll let you know.

    Robert

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  6. wordsseldomsaid says:

    well…for one the evangelism objection your pastor had is out, because if one is among those predestined to and in HIS grace, part of the package is to evangelize…no way around it…one cannot be an apple tree…a full grown apple tree in good soil and not produce apples…

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  7. Longing for Holiday says:

    Well, I don’t know what my blood runs, having lived all over the place. But when you live in K-town, well, you BETTER root for the Vols! (though if it comes down to T vs my alma mater Duke, well, so sorry!!)

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  8. wordsseldomsaid says:

    you see if i may continue…this type of thing bugs me…because it is like someone saying they really don’t understand the teaching of predestined grace yet they have objections…

    but i guess if they truly did understand it, then those objections would not be there…

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  9. wordsseldomsaid says:

    and something else that bugs me…all you orange heads are nerve racking…i should know…my wife was born in knoxville and both parents and grandparents…vols…

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  10. elVacío says:

    I don’t even give it much thought anymore. Its such a human arguement. Preach the gospel to the lost. Its so much simpler and needed. But thanks for the post. God Bless.

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  11. Tom says:

    Robert,

    You said:

    Oh, I so wholeheartedly disagree. By your teaching responsiblilities, I assume you mean your sunday school and youth classes. It’s not the pastor’s place to remove you from these positions.

    As overseer, it is the pastor’s responsibility to make sure that everyone who teaches in the church is teaching in conformity to the Bible. If he decides that someone is teaching something to the contrary then he has to remove that person. In our church I think the pastor would also work with and through the other leaders in our church but the ultimate decision is his and only the entire church can over-rule his decision.

    I know that we disagree over the authority a pastor has in the church but that is okay. Truthfully, if he had told me that I could no longer teach in the church I would not have been happy with the decision and I would have considered my options but I would have complied.

    For the record, I don’t mind a bit when you or someone else disagrees with me in class. Those disagreements will usually lead to a discussion that is well worth having and the others will learn from.

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  12. Tom says:

    Wordsseldomsaid

    RockyTop (aka East Tennessee) = God’s Country

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  13. Longing for Holiday says:

    Well, sorry to tell you, though I live in TN, was raised in MD, lived in WI when the GREEN Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, and am a BLUE Devil all the way…, my mother (who hails from Richmond) always told me (said with southern accent): “Vahginia is God’s country.”

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  14. JP says:

    I was interested in what you had to say Tom, and would love to find out more about what your Pastor truly objects to in Reformed Doctrine.

    Being Reformed, ex-SBC/ex-any denomination, I have found that many who claim to disagree with ‘calvinist’ doctrine really only disagree with what they think that doctrine is, or some grotesque caricature of the scriptural truths that John Calvin expressed.

    The ideas of ‘hyper-calvinism’, ‘double-predestination’, etc., are not calvinist doctrine, or reformed doctrine, by any means.

    I really want to know what your Pastor meant when he referred to evangelism, and how he thinks the foreknowledge of God, the idea of predestination, or any other aspect of reformed doctrine would have any bearing on our mandate to preach the Gospel and to go out to all nations making disciples.

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  15. JP says:

    He, as do I, considers only the Gospel as essential doctrine. After that there is room for interpretation and discussion and sometimes even disagreement.

    Tom, I don’t fully agree. We are commanded to do two things, as I mentioned in my first comment; to preach the Gospel of Christ, and to make disciples.

    There absolutely are essential points of doctrine if we are to make disciples – salvation is only part of God’s plan, sanctification and the Kingdom of God are the other parts, and essential doctrine is vital to the fruition of that plan

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  16. Longing for Holiday says:

    Hi, all: I just located a fantastic piece I read years ago. It’s an awesome discussion of the topic at hand:
    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/packer_intro.html

    Like

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