Justin Taylor and Timmy Brister have written very good responses to Steve Lemke’s article, “What Is a Baptist? Nine Marks that Separate Baptists from Presbyterians”, in The Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry. Dr. Lemke, provost and professor of philosophy at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, is one of the speakers at the John 3:16 conference, which is, in essence, aiming at providing a counter to Calvinism in the SBC.
It is unfortunate that caricatures abound in the SBC. I am not a Presbyterian. I am a Baptist. But my disagreements are no warrant for misrepresentation. I’ve noticed that there have been many misrepresentations of Presbyterianism and Calvinism in particular in the SBC. What are we to make of these?
One could be gracious and call them misunderstandings. Perhaps someone does not fully understand the tenets of a different position and needs to do further research. But how can I believe that theological scholars have not actually read the other positions?
What, then, do you call a deliberate misrepresentation of a differing position, with the assumed intent of attacking people’s perception of that position? I believe it is called slander. Such misrepresentations should have no place in the SBC or in the larger body of Christ. Should not people who worship the One who is the Truth be about the truth as well? This is not just about preserving the truth of the Scriptures, but it is even about integrity in our arguments and our words. For those who believe that Calvinism is damaging to the cause of the gospel (which is yet another inaccurate statement), how can you not also see that misrepresentation and deception is equally damaging to the cause of the gospel?