In Reply to Issues Etc. Article
“The Spirit Blows Even at Harvard” – by Brent McGuire
I wish to take issue with Brent McGuire’s article in the Vol.4, No.2 issue of your journal. As a Reformed Baptist I find that the Issues Etc. radio program and journal are excellent resources for defending the faith and I find an article of this sort to be wholly uncharitable toward fellow citizens of God’s Kingdom because of its misrepresentation of Baptists.
Firstly, Mr. McGuire seems intent on maligning Baptists in the eyes of readers by poisoning the well toward Baptists in general. He does this by attributing to them the beliefs and actions of former President Clinton and mixing beliefs of various denominations to paint the worst possible picture. While McGuire may have been quoting a Newsweek article in regards to Clinton, it would behoove him to rebut that article rather than quote on the basis of what Baptists truly believe and not support the mischaracterization therein.
This brings us to my second point, Mr. McGuire presents several, even contradictory, beliefs held by different branches of what has come to be called the ‘Baptist’ denomination, thus painting a truly dreadful picture of Baptists without regard to the truth of what we actually believe simply by using the word “many”.
Would it be proper for me to write an article about Lutherans condemning them on the basis of what the ECLA holds to or to what groups such as ‘herchurch.org’ believe? Surely it would be dishonest and disrespectful for me to toss out such accusations and condemn Issues Etc. on the basis that “many Lutherans believe in worshipping the goddess”. You can’t trust that Todd Wilken… he’s one of them.
So-called “Reformed” Baptists or Calvinistic Baptists, who indeed hold to the seemingly dreadful doctrines misrepresented in the latter half of the first portion (Limited atonement and Sovereign predestination), would deny the “once saved always saved” irresponsibility of those who hold to a “once saved always saved” position. Likewise, those who hold to said belief would certainly deny the Calvinistic distinctive of the others.
It find it also irresponsible of Mr. McGuire to attempt to explain the Reformed doctrine of predestination in two sentences without any explanation of the concepts therein and then attempt to lump all the aforementioned ‘Baptists’ into the same camp. Finally, most Calvinistic Baptists reject the ‘age of accountability’ as well as the aforementioned concept of ‘OSAS’, and do see the sacraments as being means of grace similar to other Reformed. The 1689 London Confession states:
Q. 98. How do Baptism and the Lord’s Supper become effectual means of salvation?
A. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in him that administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in them that by faith receive them. (1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 3:6,7; 1 Cor. 12:13)
It is quite sad to see such a wonderful article (positively quoting many non-Lutherans such as Michael Horton) followed by this attempt to scandalize other Christians in such a demeaning manner. It seems Mr. McGuire is following the current trend of those who convert to another theological position in caustically misrepresenting those of his former belief. These are the tactics of our enemies, not fellow Christians.