Audio for Mohler / Patterson debate…err…discussion

26 09 2006

The audio is available here for the discussion between Al Mohler and Paige Patterson surrounding Calvinism. The discussion seemed to be directed at achieving common evangelistic ground rather than outlining and debating doctrinal distinctives, which apparently is pretty denominationally necessary at this point. Anyway, I was under whelmed but I know that some folks have been looking for this.

A couple of points to note:

-Patterson unabashedly states that he is a universalist in terms of the atonement’s potential.

Mohler chastises Calvinists who drive across the state to debate an Arminian but won’t walk across the street to evangelize their neighbor. <amen!>

-Patterson says that he and Mohler essentially agree “although we differ a little bit, when we get down to the nitty gritty…”

The whole thing seemed strangely ironic. The men fundamentally disagree about God’s design in the atonement and the way in which he applies it (in other words the gospel) however they came across as if they were on the same page in regards to the gospel. I wish they would have interacted a bit on the disagreements and let the text talk, however this apparently was not the intention.

(HT: Tim Challies)




2 responses

26 09 2006
Pastor Steve


There are a few things that you probably need to understand about the SBC and this debate. Al Mohler will never make waves in a convention format because I believe that he wants to affect change through the training of future pastors in the convention. Therefore, he will never hammer his theology out bluntly in this format. He would much rather have his influence over those that would one day shepherd others than to draw attention to himself and what Southern Seminary is doing.

Secondly, I think that Dr. Mohler understands that the convention itself is fragile enough that it wouldn’t benefit a full blown debate over Calvinism & “closet” Arminian theology. (I put that there because Paige Patterson denies the label but is a card carrying member) I think Dr. Mohler is afraid that more media attention would be focused on two leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention fueding, instead of debating.

Do I think this is truly a healthy debate? NO!!!!!!!!!!!
If the Southern Baptist Convention wants to hold to it’s moorings on the Bible, then place the debate on a thoroughly Biblical discussion of theological truths. But, unfortunately as a SBC pastor, that is often where too many leaders don’t want to focus their attention. I can tell you that too many SBC pastors that I have known personally would rather discuss the latest church growth strategy or book, than go deep into the scriptures. (Maybe that is a product of most SBC seminaries not requiring much study in the original languages?)

One final irritation: Paige Patterson seems to do a great job wrongly characterizing and defeating straw men in his debates. He may well be an intelligent man. However, his debate/discussion style towards those he disagrees with is somewhat moronic.

In the Sovreignty of Christ,
Steve T.

27 09 2006

Steve T.

Thanks for the thoughtful insight. I really enjoy Dr. Mohler and his ministry and am greatly encouraged by the way God has used him to effect change in the SBC.

The straw man point you made was dead on.

I was suprised to hear so much resistence to the doctrine of irresistable grace by Patterson. He made this one of his main points.

take care Steve.

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