Connecting the Dots . . .

                  In-Depth Bible Teaching - Acts 17:11

"...in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily,

whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

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The Fruits of Calvinism - Continued Page 2

Second Fruit: Calvinism Instigates Bitterness and Division

So number 1, Calvinism incriminates the nature of God. Number 2, it instigates bitterness and division. William MacDonald said this: “It is the practice of many Calvinists to press their views relentlessly upon others, even if it leads to church divisions. This theological system becomes the main emphasis of their conversation, their preaching, their prayers, and their ministries.”18 William MacDonald to Dave Hunt (marginal note in review copy). On file, cited in Hunt, 384.

Let me encourage you, don't be naïve enough to thing that you can put a Calvinist in leadership in your church and say, “Don't talk about Calvinism.” That is like telling Michael Jordan not to talk about basketball. That is like telling Bill Gates not to talk about money. It just consumes their very being. They have no concept that they are hurting the cause of Christ and dividing the boy of Christ. Calvinists are not builders; they are destroyers.

In forty-two years of ministry, I have been in thousands of churches. I have never been in one that was built on Calvinism. I have been in many that have been divided by Calvinism, but never one that was built on Calvinism. I told my wife that the only thing that is attractive to me about Calvinism is that if I were a Calvinist, I would never have to go through a building program.

Le me talk to you from my heart and let you know what Calvinism did to this institution. Ambassador Baptist College came within one year of being totally ruined. About 1993, we began to have a little impetus of Calvinism start, and it kept growing until 1997. I'm going to be honest with you.

I came to the place, and my wife knows this, when I dreaded to come in the doors of Ambassador Baptist College. There was such oppression, tension, and division in this school because of Calvinism. During those years, I was on the phone trying to get somebody to be my successor. If Mickey Mouse had said that he would have succeeded me, I would have thought about it because of what Calvinism was doing to this institution. For three years, I would get up in the pulpit to preach, and this group of Calvinists would tear me apart. I remember preaching right before we left the other property in December before the kids went home. That day the Calvinists were up in arms. Brother Surrett came to me after I preached in December 1996, and said; “I think you're going to get some feedback from that message.” It was like that constantly.

From day one, I have said that no student or faculty member can criticize a chapel speaker. Why do I say that? When I was in college, I would go to chapel and God would deal with my heart. Then I would go to the classroom, and some professor would snatch away the good seed of the Word of God. I made up my mind that was not going to be characteristic of Ambassador. Dwight Smith and Alton Beal can tell you that day after day the chapel speaker was dissected in the classroom. I have had married men tell me that when they would come home from work, some of these Calvinist married students would come to their door and say, “What did you think about the chapel message today?”

They had some signals. Whenever that speaker said something they did not agree with, they would close their Bible and put it on the floor beside them. That was the sign that the chapel speaker was not worthy to listen to. Dwight Smith told me he had been challenged by a message by Brent Snook on revival. After chapel was over, he went to the restroom, in which there was a professor, and said; “God spoke to my heart about revival.” The professor said, “Young man, don't you know that's the kind of preaching that is wrong with fundamentalism?”

Week after week, I had students sit in my office and try to make my calling illegitimate. They would tell me time after time there was no Scriptural validation for an evangelist. Didn't they know that an evangelist started this school? Didn't they know that in two years, an evangelist raised $400,000 and got his friends to become his enemies to start this school? They tried to invalidate my ministry and make it illegitimate. I had young men sit in my office and say, “this stuff about revival is garbage.” We were in that atmosphere day after day after day.

Finally, the thing came to a head. Many times you will make a decision in the will of God, and you will wonder, “Is this really in the will of God?” And you'll make the decision because you believe it's right. Then years later, you'll look back and say, “Boy, that was of God. No question about it. That was of God.”

In the summer of 1997, I said we were not going to let the Calvinist crowd come back. We included in our statement of faith two statements concerning Calvinism. One pertained to irresistible grace and the other to limited atonement. When we sent that out in July 1997, we lost thirty students who would not sign that statement. In 1997, thirty dormitory students made up a large amount of the budget of this school. Though it was an expensive surgery, it was the most wonderful thing that has ever been done in the history of this school. If we had not done that, I am convinced that this school would not be in existence right now.

1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” Where there is division, there is carnality. Proverbs 6:16, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him…” What is the first one? “A proud look.” Verse 19, “And he that soweth discord among the brethren.” Proverbs 6:14, “Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.” Proverbs 16:28, “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”

Here is my advice to you, young man, if you are an assistant in a local church. God did not call you to determine the direction for that local church, but rather, He called the pastor. If you are in a local church, and there is a philosophical or doctrinal disagreement that makes it so you cannot stay there, graciously go to the pastor and thank him. I have not had one thank-you not from a Calvinist in my entire ministry. I remember so vividly what Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., said: “When the flower of gratitude dies on the altar of a man's heart, he is well-nigh hopeless.” So you go to that pastor and say, “Thank you for giving me a place to serve, but I believe it's come to the place where I need to leave. I'm not going to stay around and sow discord. I'm not going to try to get a following or go across town to start a church. I'm going to leave town so I will not be a cause of division in this local church.”

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