Neither Calvinist nor Arminian; but, I’m not sure I’m Baptist either.

I have been spending some important and prayerful time working through my worldview when it comes to Christian belief. On many aspects I love much of the preaching that Calvinism offers; but, I recoil in horror and cannot take ownership, nor do I find their five main sola’s have much biblical support. At the same time, I am not truly Arminian; though again I enjoy and love much of the preaching and teaching that I find in classical Arminianism. I am not Roman Catholic, though once again, I do find some pastoral support in some of their doctrines and practices – such as the confessional. I’m not a quaker, though some of my favourite authors are quakers. I am Charismatic / Pentecostal in regards to experiencing the fullness of the Spirit, which includes speaking in tongues – though, I don’t hold to the belief that speaking in tongues is the main sign of the Baptism of the Spirit.

This afternoon I discovered a nice essay titled “Neither Calvinists nor Arminians but Baptists.”   It’s a paper from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the U.S.A. I was extremely impressed and encouraged to read this paper; even though its now four years old. I enjoyed reading how the authors stood firm on their own belief structures, without being apologetic about it. Its my own experience that Calvinists can be extremely dogmatic in their push and zeal to evangelise the brethren to hold to their particular doctrinal beliefs. In many ways I find this ironic, as Jesus calls us to go out into the world to make disciples. However I digress.

I think its important for every Christian to know what they believe, and why they believe it. And not just believe it because someone has taught them this is the way it is. I have to say that I am nearly a Baptist in my world view – except for the fact that I’m not a cessationist and have a different interpretation of what the gift of tongues is, to that of most Baptists. I’m also hold to the position of annihilationism when it comes to the doctrine of hell. And when it comes to end times, I am a Panmillenialist, which means that it will all pan out in the end. (Though in saying this, I dislike with a passion left behind type theology.) So as you can see, I don’t think I fit into the Baptist camp either.

However, this I do know. Christ has redeemed me from the hold of sin. I stand before God the Father, confident in his work for me. And this confidence is enough for me.

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About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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9 Responses to Neither Calvinist nor Arminian; but, I’m not sure I’m Baptist either.

  1. I keep tellin’ ya, mate… you’re pretty close to Anabaptist. 🙂

    Go find the book “The Naked Anabaptist” by Stuart Murray. I’m sure Dave Black would approve. 🙂

  2. Craig Benno says:

    Hi Rob that was quick. I thought Anabaptists held a reformed theology. Thanks for the book suggestion. I’ll check it out.

    • Anabaptists when it comes to some things run Protestant and some things run Catholic and some things run Eastern Orthodox… it’s really hard to nail us down in one of those “camps” because one of the core items that started the whole Anabaptist thing was seeking to follow Jesus in a more “concrete”, boots-on-the-ground sort of way rather than an institutionalized church.

      We really consider ourselves neither Protestant nor Catholic because they BOTH spent a lot of time killing us back in the 16th century. 🙂 We’re a “third way”.

      As to the more specific “reformed” stuff… I think Anabaptists run more towards Arminian rather than Calvinist when it comes to the whole free-will vs. predeterministic thing.

      If you want more information from some more recent Anabaptists,

      http://mennonerds.com/about-anabaptists/ is one resource to go to.

      MennoNerds also did this recently

      http://mennonerds.com/special-blog-series/mennonerds-on-anabaptist-convictions/

      And, finally, Bruxy Cavey spent a lot of time this summer going through what his own congregation/denomination (Brethern in Christ) believes as an Anabaptist community. you can find the video series/podcasts at http://www.themeetinghouse.com/teaching/archives/2014/we-believe/

      • Craig Benno says:

        Thanks Rob. I follow the menno nerds blog. you have some deep thinkers there. you have given me heaps to go and ponder.

        Btw Dave Black rocks when it comes to Southern Baptists. He nearly has me becoming one :}

  3. Craig,
    Been there, done that, hated not belonging, was proud of it as well at times.
    Do I choose the glass that is half full, or the glass that is half empty position? That is what it seemed like. Then I realize the beer in the mug is not purposed for discussion, it is purpose is to be poured into my mouth. Or for that matter, the wine/blood in the chalice it to be drunk, while one knows Christ and the work of His crucifixion.
    The problem with basing your theology on a person, or a podcast, or even their excellent blog is that it is second and third hand and it is not discourse. You can’t ask questions, you can’t clarify – and in our bi-polar society you are asked to accept or reject it all.

    Well that and the loudest are usually the reformed and arminian- who are basically the same. 🙂

    • Craig Benno says:

      Well said Dustin.
      While I don’t adhere; I still appreciate the work and service of many. While belonging is important; I have found that strength comes from knowing to whom I belong.

      A Pentecostal preacher drummed it into me, “All word we dry up. All Spirit we blow up. 100% of both, we grow up.”

      I have found his advice very useful in my own walk. One of the things I love about the Pentecostal church we fellowship at (among others) is its love for service in the community and its weekly practice of communion.

      My theology is ever changing. For a number of years now I delved into a variety of theories of the atonement, and have am settled in my heart and mind that Jesus is the atoning sacrifical lamb for all sin.

      While I am settled in that theology; I also recognise that the early church never outrightly taught that in the Scriptures, and so I am happy for others to believe other atoning theories and I can still call them family if they profess Jesus is Lord in all his glory.
      .

  4. Aussiejohn says:

    Craig,

    Another weird Aussie? I don’t feel so alone anymore.

  5. Pingback: Am I an Anabaptist? | Trinitarian Dance

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