Now, all of the lectures have been edited and collected into a single volume called Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, edited by Brad Waggoner and Ray Clendenen. You can pre-order the book for under $14 and it should be available in the late summer/early fall.
The table of contents will include the following (with my remembrances of the lectures):
THE CURRENT CLIMATE
- Ed Stetzer, “Calvinism, Evangelism, and SBC Leadership” - Stetzer provided a look at recent statistics from Lifeway Research's surveys of pastors and recent seminary graduates. The numbers have been rehashed multiple times but the main point made was that while Calvinists are nowhere close to challenging the majority view, Calvinism is increasing in the SBC, especially among the newly graduated. Only ten percent of current pastors agreed with the statement "I am a five-point Calvinist." That is good news because all the doom and gloom of recent days cannot be laid at the feet of the Southern Baptist Calvinist. There's just no way that 10% of the pastors of 42,000 churches can be blamed for the lack of baptisms and decrease in growth. However, if I remember correctly, around 30% of recent graduates from all six seminaries between 1998-2004 did agree with the same statement.
- David S. Dockery, “Southern Baptists and Calvinism: A Historical Look” - Dockery was extremely amiable and I thoroughly enjoyed his lecture, even though he admitted he was "the leadoff hitter on the 'Akin Amyraldian team.'" He went with the "Two Streams" theory of Baptist History, which has been revealed to be slightly revisionistic (go about 2/3 of the way down this post).
- Tom J. Nettles, “A Historical View of the Doctrinal Importance of Calvinism among Baptists” - I love Tom Nettles but I had a very difficult time making it through this talk. My notes are very sparse. He spoke of the issues of inerrancy, Trinitarianism, substitutionary atonement, religious liberty, missions and evangelism, Christ-centered preaching, holiness of life, and regenerate church membership. He told us that these are inherently Calvinistic doctrines but I imagine truly conservative Christians of all stripes would adhere to these.
- Malcolm B. Yarnell III, “Calvinism: Cause for Rejoicing, Cause for Concern” - Yarnell, along with Noblit below, provided the two most provocative lectures (sermons) of the conference. Yarnell upset the Calvinists in the crowd by redefining the label. He said that within the SBC there are classic Calvinists like Bucer and Calvin and Beza. He referred to this as a philosophy and a dangerous one at that. He mentioned that the traditional Baptist finds this position to be "reprehensible." The second category is Baptistic Calvinism. The third is Hyper-Calvinism. The main point of all this was his statement that "Hyper-Calvinists and Classical Calvinists are unwelcome." (I want go back and listen to the MP3 but that is what I wrote and circled in my notes.) Near the end, Yarnell told a ridiculous anecdote of a man leaving his wife and kids after turning to Calvinism - I had forgotten that but can still feel my hackles rising over that sensationalistic and manipulative point. He ended with the statements that "Classic Calvinism is unwelcome!" and "Baptist Calvinists must refute Classical and Hyper-Calvinism."
- Jeff Noblit, “The Rise of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention: Reason for Rejoicing” - If Yarnell upset the Calvinists, Noblit probably upset the non-Calvinists just as much. He did not lecture; he preached. In fact, he did not preach; he went to meddlin'. He said that we should rejoice in the Calvinistic resurgence because (1) it helps us overcome our inerrancy idolatry and helps us move to biblical sufficiency; (2) it produces better church splits; (3) it exposes and removes covert liberalism, (4) it restores true biblical evangelism; (5) it seems to grasp the new wine of biblical church ministry; and (6) it is supremely God-focused.
- David P. Nelson, “The Design, Nature, and Extent of the Atonement” - A very well done and even-keeled presentation by both Nelson and Waldron, especially after the heightened emotions of the previous two. Nelson argued that the atonement is unlimited because of the design, nature, and extent of the atonement. He referred to John 3:16, 2 Timothy 2:1-6, Hebrews 2:9, and 2 Peter 3:9.
- Sam Waldron, “The Biblical Confirmation of Particular Redemption” - Sam Waldron is a great writer. As a speaker, he is a great writer. He offered four proofs: (1) the substitutionary nature of the atonement, (2) the restricted recipients of the atonement, (3) the guaranteed effects of the atonement, and (4) the covenantal aspect of the atonement. He also dealt with the "problems" of the Calvinistic view (universal terms such as "all" and "everyone" and "world," the free offer of the Gospel to all men, and the apostasy passages in Rom 14:15, 1 Cor 8:11, 2 Peter 2:1, and Heb 10:29).
- Chuck Lawless, “Southern Baptist Non-Calvinists—Who Are We Really?” - Issues covered by Lawless include the common stereotypes such as non-Calvinists are more interested in numbers than good theology, they promote pragmatic church growth, they use faulty approaches to evangelism and are unconcerned about regenerate church growth, and finally, the incorrect assertion that they do not like Calvinists.
- Nathan A. Finn, “Southern Baptist Calvinism: Setting the Record Straight” - Finn covered five myths about Calvinists (perhaps calling on Olson's book). He dealt with the stereotype that Calvinists are a threat to evangelism, are opposed to altar calls and invitations, are really Hyper-Calvinists (or "extreme Calvinists"), deny free will, and that an authentic Baptist could never be a true Calvinist (contra Yarnell).
- Ken Keathley, “A Molinist View of Election, or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian” - I was looking forward to these two lectures more than any other. Welty did not disappoint but I was sorely disappointed in the choice to bring Keathley to the stage. He did not present the common non-Calvinistic views of election(elect according to foreknowledge, elect in Christ, conditional election) but instead championed the seldom-heard position of Molinism. I suppose the chief redeeming feature of this (from my perspective) was that Keathley admitted that both non-Calvinism and Molinism posit that libertarian free will is the prima facia view.
- Greg Welty, “Election and Calling: A Biblical Theological Study” - Welty did a phenomenal job (a little biased but I believe all would agree). He did not come close to covering all he wrote but the book will take care of that. He was one of the few that actually dealt exegetically with the biblical passages instead of merely reading them or, even worse, merely listing the references. He covered Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 9. He also dealt with expected objections, a la Paul in Romans 9. If you only listen to one lecture from this conference, listen to this one.
- Daniel L. Akin, “Answering the Call to a Great Commission Resurgence” - We ended the conference with these two heavyweights. Akin, the president of my alma mater (SEBTS) told us that we needed the following: sound theology, to let biblical theology drive our systematic theology, a revival of authentic expository preaching, a balance in our Great Commission theology, and to love and respect those with whom we are not in complete agreement. Well said.
- Tom Ascol, “Working Together to Make Christ Know: Considerations for the Future” - Tom Ascol spoke on the five points (imagine that?) of bridge-building. We must agree on what is the gospel, what is a Christian, what is a church, what does it mean to obey truth, and what does it mean to live in love.
- James Merrit - a sermon on Ephesians 1 that spoke of the emerald of election, the pearl of predestination, the ruby of redemption, and the gold of grace. As I listened, I wrote a prayer in my notes: "God, please deliver me from cliche'-driven preaching!"
- Al Mohler - a sermon on Romans 10:8-17 with a lengthy overview of the first nine chapters of Romans.
- J.D. Greear - a sermon on Romans 9:11-23.
- Don Whitney - Dr. Whitney filled in at the very last moment for a sick and absent Voddie Baucham. While extremely disappointed in Baucham's absense, Whitney delivered one of the best sermons I have ever heard. It was on the "Clarity of the Gospel" and dealt with the doctrine of hell from Matthew 25:31-46.