John 3:16 Conference 60 minute Q&A

John 3:16 Conference live blogging links in order
Part 1
Part 2 (T)
Part 3 (U)
Part 4 (L)
Part 5 (I)
Part 6 (P)
Part 7

And the downloadable handout from Dr. Allen with updated cleaner charts thanks to Tony Byrne.

UPDATE: James White and Phil Johnson have answered David Allen concerning the charge that James White is a hyper-Calvinist according to Phil Johnson’s definition.


Paige Patterson had to leave early so Malcom Yarnell is sitting in for him on the panel.

The format is one question for TULIP from a Calvinist and a non-Calvinist.

1. Total Depravity

Non-Calvinist: Author of Christianity vs. the God of Calvin from Rome, GA asks the first question.  Question for Dr. Patterson.

*Yarnell answers that we are affected by sin.  We’ve inherited a sin nature from Adam.  We will bear the burden of sin until we are out of this body and in glory with God.

*Questioner rejoins asking about depravity moving us away from God.

*Yarnell – There is a battle that goes on within us.  The sin nature has been put to death, but like a dead chicken with its head cut-off it continues to run around and affect us.

Calvinist: Another guy from Rome, GA Michael Smith.  About Ephesians 2 and being dead about Patterson conflating spiritual vs. physical death.

*Yarnell – Question has to go with anthropology and how we spiritually relate to God.  The monist position is what we should be shooting for.  He finds it difficult to separate our spirit from our soul or body in being dead.  Paul is not dividing the human being.  Patterson means that when we are dead in our sins that we can respond to God.  Romans 10 in describing the word of God being living and active.  Scripture doesn’t tell us how Scripture is alive and active.  Our exegesis of Scripture must precede our systematic theology.

2. Unconditional Election

Non-Calvinist: Dwight McKissic from Cornerstone Baptist in TX. If a person believes they’re saved by accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and they are saved by Jesus, but if you believe there is another way outside of Christ even if you personally believe in Christ are you saved?  He used Barack Obama as an example of someone who professes Christ yet believes there are other ways to salvation.

*Richard Land: We have compartmentalized attitude structures.  He tells a story about someone, Mr. Cook, who proclaimed Christ, but was a racist.  He thinks Cook was saved though he had an anti-biblical view of race.  He thinks of Jimmy Carter (though he tries not too) who had a view of human nature that is in conflict with the Bible.  He defaults to Romans 10:9 that confessing Christ saves a person regardless of any unbiblical doctrines you may believe.  He goes on to explain the WHO of Jesus one is believing in this explanation.

Calvinist: Jason Starkey, pastor of Donalds Baptist in SC.  How does Land reconcile to Romans 9 and individual salvation and damnation because nations are made up of people.

*Land refers back to Ironside that eternal salvation is not in play.  It’s nations not individuals.  He goes back to his distinction between Abrahamic election vs. individual election.  Two apostles in two epistles that foreknowledge is intertwined with election in the NT, but not in the OT.

Non-Calvinist: David Hagan pastor in Claxton, GA.  Question about not being saved by his faith?

land says he is not saved by his own personal faith, but by the faith God gave him.

3. Limited Atonement

Non-Calvinist: Mark Melton NOBTS student.  Got into a debate with a staff member at church on Romans 10.  The staffer told him that Christ did not die to save a person who is not the elect such as Hitler.

*Allen says that Christ died for all men including Hitler.  The atonement is extrensically sufficient to pay for the sins of the world.

Calvinist: Brian Jolly, layman at North Central Baptist, Gainsville, FL.  He wants an answer to the double payment argument.

*Allen: The key argument for limited atonement is the double payment argument.  This is Owen’s argument and Calvin doesn’t use it because Calvin didn’t hold to limited atonement.  The argument is that if Jesus paid for sins of those who go to hell then those sins are paid for twice.  He gives some names of Calvinists who disagree with Owen on this position.  Salvation is conditioned on faith not upon one’s election.

Keathly steps in that in law double-jeapardy must be “received” to be realized.

Non-Calvinist:  Thomas Dickerson, Atlanta, GA.  Grew up Presbyterian church.  He was a full five point Calvinist.  He took men at their word and study Scriptures this way.  After serving as a minister in the reformed faith he had no power of Christ in his life.  He met his future wife at Johnson Ferry while in a leadership position.  She told him that Jesus died for all.  They were married and he was still a Calvinist.  His wifes family started praying for him.  God told him that he was serving against Him.  And he had never really been born again.  He finally embraced Christ as he understoon that whoever believes can love Christ.  He prays for his Calvinist friends.

What is the SBC going to do about Calvinism?  He couldn’t walk away from the conference understanding the SBC would kick out the Calvinists.  The Lord made it clear to him that He has no association with Calvinistic doctrines.

*Allen: SBC via their ecclessiology cannot kick people out due to these beliefs.  This is as it should be.  We need to come together and talk about these things as we did at the Building Bridges Conference.  It would be a mistake in the SBC if we decided to tell all Calvinists to get out of dodge.  On the other hand, it is a mistake to make Calvinism as an SBC cause.  We need to come together as baptists.  This will be the watershed issue for the next five years.

4. General Questions (Not sure why)

Non-Calvinist: Al Andrews, Macon, GA.  Problem on church staff.  They have Calvinists and non on staff.

*Steve Lemke: It is a serious issue.  We need to be careful and look at the right fit for congregations.  Who would be the people who fit best into the needs of a particular setting.  We also have people who come in and don’t answer honestely about their theology.

Calvinist: Todd Burris.  He addresses about Hitler not being able to be saved.  That’s legalism not Calvinism.  Question is about free grace theology.  How do know that we believe?

*Keathly: Edwards Freedom of the Will and Ware on determinism being the prevailing view.  We know just like we know our spouse loves us.  Faith is something very basic and very simple.  Faith is a spiritual gift.

*Burris: Someone can have a mental exercise such as “I believe” then we’re done.  Why don’t we have confidence in the “I believe” type of statements.  Should our trust be built on our mental acts.

*Keathly: Loving our spouse is not simply a mental act, but a volitional act.  We know what we are doing.  Works are not our basis.

Non-Calvinist: Mike Chambers, pastor in NC.  Had young staff members who became Calvinists, but didn’t tell him.  They started spreading their doctrine around.  He finally had a talk with them and they left.  He became a Christian in 1986 and watched the Convention.  At what point is it iron sharpening iron getting in the way of evangelism?  At what place to we reconcile our differences and get on with evangelism?

*Yarnell: Paul said preach the word and he determines to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.  We need to focus on preaching the word and the cross of Christ.

Thanks for reading.


tagged as , , , , , , , in Arminianism,Baptist,calvinism,Church Issues,Gospel,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thomas Twitchell November 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Thanks Mark for doing this. In the next couple days weeks months there will be I suppose more complete texts and commentary written. There is so much that went down here that I’ll wait to make any more comments except to say that from all that we knew from these men before this conference, we could have scripted it and saved them the time and effort…

2 ABClay November 7, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Now this is certainly ironic…

Allen, the self proclaimed de-calviniser of all the historic calvinists, said this:

We need to come together and talk about these things as we did at the Building Bridges Conference.

Funny “Let’s forbid the Calvinist from speaking and supporting their beliefs through biblical exegesis, and then say that they should be here so we can come together.”

This is even better than God’s three plans of salvation that was birthed there at the conference.


3 Tony November 8, 2008 at 8:37 am

Hi John,

I made a pdf copy of the chart I created for Dr. Allen, so here’s the link to obtain that, if you’re interested:

Conference Chart

It’s higher quality and the shading is visible, unlike your scan.

4 johnMark November 8, 2008 at 10:15 am

Well, Tony. I’m sorry my scan doesn’t meet your sniff test. You sure come across condescending for something as simple as a scanned document.

You can thank my rush in and out of Kinko’s for that. Had I been in my office I’d have a much better quality scan to offer.

Low quality scanner,

Mark 🙂

5 johnMark November 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

P.S. The reason I added an “s” on your last name is because that is how it sounded when Dr. Allen pronounced it. I didn’t have much time to check as he spoke very quickly and the connection wasn’t so fast.


6 ABClay November 8, 2008 at 1:24 pm

I find it more helpful when I , through the grace of God, rescue rank and file Southern Baptists from their man-centered theology by teaching God’s sovereignty in all things teach Sunday School to distinguish between the order of the decrees of God instead of the type of chart that is posted here when these questions are asked.

This method (order of decrees), in my opinion, adequately shows the differences between the Calvinists and Non-Calvinists (and the various subsets thereof) and it has less appeal to the emotion and more to the intellect which is why it may not have been the preferred method for the conference in question.

For instance, which presenter went to the stage and said, “I believe that God created some people knowing that they would not eventually believe”? While all of them believe this, (I hope), it doesn’t sway the audience to your side because we don’t want to think about these things.

Of course, this is just my opinion.


7 Tony November 8, 2008 at 4:35 pm


When I tried to scan my original copy myself, it came out the same way, i.e. without the shading visible. It wasn’t a criticism of you at all, so sorry if it came across that way. I’m sincerely trying to be helpful with the chart in supplying you and others with a good quality version.

I understand about the “s” thing 😉 It’s happened to me since I was very young. I’ve seen Burn and Burns as well. So, even with that, I wanted to help to make things as accurate as possible.


8 Les Puryear November 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Sorry to come late to this party: been out of town. Please forgive me if you’ve already answered this question, but how many attendees were at the conference?


9 johnMark November 8, 2008 at 11:45 pm


Last I was told the attendance was right at 800. I thought there were more, but that number is alleged to come from Jerry Vines.


10 Thomas Twitchell November 24, 2008 at 10:31 pm
11 Dr. James Willingham January 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm

The nice thing about these conferences is that they get people to thinking, investigating, thinking, reflecting, thinking, examining evidence, thinking, discussing, thinking. One of these days, the burning fuse is going to reach the powder keg and we are going to have an explosion, the greatest awakening the world has ever seen. The whole earth is to be converted in one generation and, who knows, perhaps a thousand generations. After all, Mr. Spurgeon prayed for just such thing. And with a Gospel message that is so wonderful that one cannot resist it, we need to start praying that others, like the woman of Canaan in Mt.15:21-28 will see Jesus not being sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel as an opportunity to come and fall down before Him in Worship and who will see His word regarding the casting of bread to dogs not being meet as the truth but willing to take that remark and use it as a basis for arguing with the Son of God that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their little masters table. Who ever saw a kid give his dog under the table a mere crumb of his bread? He is more likely to give the animal the whole loaf. AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO THINK JESUS NEVER USED HUMOR. Wisdom is jutified of her children.


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