Point – Counterpoint :: Baptists, Baptism and Calvinism


In keeping with Baptist’s historical love of invigorating dialogue, Drs. Steve Lemke (of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) and Mark Rathel (my former Theology prof. from The Baptist College of Florida) prove to be both more than capable historians and extremely competent theologians in this example of “Point – Counterpoint” that they engaged in over at the website for The Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry. Dr. Rathel, I think, does a fabulous job of pointing out the strengths of Lemke’s position while maintaining enough distance from Lemke to be able to adequately refute the fallacious positions that Lemke posits. His arguments concerning both historical Calvinism as well as biblical baptism are particularly worth the read. I would recommend that you check it out.

Read Lemke’s article here.

Read Rathel’s response here.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He's Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he's a debtor to grace.

6 thoughts on “Point – Counterpoint :: Baptists, Baptism and Calvinism

  1. Micah,
    Thanks for the remarks and direction for Point-Counterpoint;B,Bsm & Calvinism…. and I agree that Rathel does a commendable job of “response’! Hope things went well with your trip to assist in the “Heartland Church” work!

  2. Micah,
    Thanks for pointing to these articles. Honestly, I’m having a very hard time with Lemke’s description of the various “Calvinisms.” While I agree and from my own experience have witnessed different “types” of Calvinists, I believe his categories require a great deal of revision to be accurate.
    Also, concerning Rathel’s reference to “alien baptism,” I confess that I have not yet read the entire document, but does he anywhere in the paper define what he means by this term? I certainly believe in “alien baptism,” but not in the Landmarkist sense of “if it didn’t happen in a Baptist church, it is alien.” I’m concerned if its alien from the Scriptures, but could care less if its alien from a Baptist church.
    Other than these rather mild points of contention, I appreciate the thoughtful “back and forth” between these two men. Thanks again for calling our attention to them

  3. Dr. Lemke needs to get out of his ivory tower and take a field trip to Florida and rub elbows over coffee with Tom Ascol and Roy Hargrave.

  4. Micah, thanks so much for highlighting this and linking the two articles. I printed them and read them this evening.

    I find myself in general agreement with Lemke’s premise about Baptist identity, but in disagreement with some of his points. I think his “architectonics” of Southern Baptist Calvinists are a helpful start, but needs a lot of work. While “age of accountability” and “decisional conversion” may separate Baptists from PCA/conservative Presbyterianism, I found them strange as points of Baptist identity (I think most Baptists agree on the other seven marks given by Lemke).

    Rathel’s response was good, though short. He correctly points out some mistakes of logic, misreading others, etc. in Lemke’s piece. I wonder, though, about his reference to nine points on which some Baptists and Presbyterians agree. Did I misread Lemke? Isn’t it the five points of Calvinism of which they agree?

    There are also some good articles linked in the footnotes, etc. Thanks again, Micah, for pointing us to this.

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