A Demonstration in Contradiction- What the John 3.16 Conference Says about Itself

November 26, 2008

As you all know by now, this blog has been firmly entrenched in the lead-in, execution, and aftermath of the John 3.16 Conference earlier this month at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA. I am not in the business of beating a dead horse, but because I couldn’t resist I thought I might share with all of you a quote that I found online earlier today.

The quote comes from the non-Calvinist friendly Baptist Press and is part of their article in review of the John 3.16 Conference. Speaking about the point of the conference, here is what conference organizer Jerry Vines had to say:

“I want to help our people understand the issue,” Jerry Vines said in a phone interview prior to the conference. “I don’t expect to change a whole lot of minds; my primary interest is to bring balance to the issue.”

Balance? The point of the John 3.16 Conference was to bring balance? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that majority of the SBC was running around spouting a belief in Calvinistic principles while the non-Calvinists sat back trembling in fear. Besides, what could be more balanced than a bunch of like minded people gathering together to present their views unopposed while systematically misrepresenting their opponents position left and right?

I’m sure Dr. Vines would defend his statement by saying that it is balance against the (evil) Calvinist conferences such as Together for the Gospel, Ligonier, and Desiring God. However, this is blantantly false, as one, I can testify as someone who went to the DG conference this past year and heard not a word spoken that was propagandizing for Calvinism, and two, there are plenty of Calvinist unfriendly conferences in the SBC already, in particular the Pastors Conference at FBC Jacksonville.

Honestly, and this is a point I have tried to hammer time and again and again and again: the pinnacle of balance was the 2007 Building Bridges conference, and the cherry on top of this was the sermon on unity and understanding delivered by (non-Calvinist) Dr. Danny Akin. Thus, instead of providing balance, what the John 3.16 Conference did was to represent a step back into ignorance and avoidance of the fact that both Calvinism and non-Calvinism have a legitimate claim to acceptance within SBC life.

This is the type of attitude (arrogance? ignorance?) which is going to lead to the split of the SBC. Anyone who was able to go to the John 3.16 Conference and see that as a move towards balance has already decided in their mind that they can’t be in communion with a 5-point Baptist Calvinist, and that my friends, is a crying shame.

Here is a link to the full article if you are interested.