You Might Be a Centrist IF…

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By Ken Hamrick

You might be a Centrist IF

  • You’re flabbergasted by all the fuss over the Calvinist/Traditionalist “thing;”
  • You affirm what Scripture affirms, whether or not you can fit it all into a neat, logical system;
  • You find in Scripture that God ultimately determines destinies AND that men must freely choose to reject or believe;
  • You see unconditional election not as a limiting factor in whom may be saved, but as a mysterious correlation to the efforts we expend in the “fields white with harvest;”
  • You believe that the Holy Spirit bears witness of the truth to all whenever the gospel is preached;
  • You hold that unbelief is always sinful and never mere unfortunate ignorance—that God’s truth is not without a testimony even among the unreached who have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie…”
  • You hold that God must generate faith in the sense that He must persuade the averse sinner, but biblical regeneration is rebirth, and no one is born again until they first believe;
  • You affirm that men are as naturally able to believe as to disbelieve, and that their moral inability, while figuratively referring to their unwillingness, makes it certain that no one will come to Christ without the Father’s drawing;
  • You affirm that all things go with certainty according to God’s eternal plan, but that no man perishes of necessity;
  • You find in the Bible a universal warrant, that applies even to the nonelect, to believe on Christ and be saved—that “there’s room at the cross for you,” no matter who you are.
  • You hold that any man who perishes has only his own free rejection of God to blame, and his own sins to be punished for.
  • You stopped reading before this line because you have more important things to concern yourself with.
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The 3rd Rail: Can a Loving God Determine to Save So Few?

By Ken Hamrick

This is the last post in this series, and concludes my attempt to provide a compelling articulation for the middle ground on which so many Southern Baptists stand—holding that God is the ultimate Determiner of destinies and that men have free will in the matter (but without going to the lengths of Calvinism or Traditionalism).


An important question, which goes to the heart of the Calvinism debate, was asked by Dr. Eric Hankins, at the 2017 Connect 316 Banquet:

On Calvinist principles, God could have foreordained the salvation of all just as easily, just as righteously, as He foreordained the salvation of only some. What else can such an act be called except “evil”? This is not a misrepresentation of Calvinism. I see no way around this implication. If there is one, Southern Baptists are going to need to hear it.[1]

There is a Biblical solution to this supposed implication, but it’s found only in the middle view. As we’ve already seen in this series, in issue after issue, Calvinists and Traditionalists have chosen a divisive simplicity over a deeper complexity. Any time that a doctrine is stripped of an inherent complexity by two opposing arguments, the dispute will not end until the complexity is restored. This issue is no different. Continue reading

The 3rd Rail: Unconditional Election is Not Restrictive

KH LogoBy Ken Hamrick

See all the posts in the series, ‘The 3rd Rail’

The posts in this series are not in any particular order; but it may be helpful, before reading this one, to read the following posts: “The 3rd Rail: Inability of the Will is Never Literal,” and, “The 3rd Rail: The Fallacy of a Restrictive Foreknowledge.”

As we have seen in previous posts in this series, God’s knowledge of all events from outside of time does not in any way restrict man’s freedom to freely act—that, in fact, we retroactively write God’s foreknowledge with every decision we make. Many may balk at this because it sounds so foreign to our linear, temporal thinking; but we cannot expect a timeless God to interact with our world in ways that we comfortably understand. If we dare to ask tough questions, then we ought not to be satisfied with pat answers, but should strive beyond comfort to glimpse the truth, even if it be unexpected. But this is not to say that God is not in control. Middlers affirm that God determines the destinies of men—we simply deny that He does this against or in spite of their free will. Continue reading

The 3rd Rail: The Fallacy of a Restrictive Foreknowledge

KH LogoBy Ken Hamrick

See all the posts in the series, ‘The 3rd Rail’

One fallacy in the debate between Calvinists and Traditionalists is the idea that God’s foreknowledge makes all events necessary. Such logic insists that, since God already knows what you will decide on a certain occasion, then it “would be impossible” for you to decide otherwise (since it is “impossible” for God’s foreknowledge to fail). Like most arguments provided by either side of this debate, it is overly simplistic and fails to consider the full reality.

God & Time

Time, like space, is part of the world that is transcended by its Creator. God is outside time—beyond its limitations and in full knowledge of events throughout the past and future. God created this world to be both temporal and spatial. Each moment is its own exclusive reality, but inseparable from the order and progression of events. In other words, the now of any moment is reality, past moments are no longer reality and future moments are not yet reality. Continue reading