Christianity,  Podcast,  Theology/Bible

SBC Debates on Tongues and Calvinism

The gift of tongues and Calvinistic theology are two hot topics in Southern Baptist life right now. Criswell College President, Dr. Jerry Johnson, moderated two fascinating debates on these topics at the Southern Baptist Convention just this week. Both debates are available for download from the “Jerry Johnson Live” podcast or from the podcast’s website.

In the first podcast, Jerry Johnson moderates a debate between Dr. Russell Moore and Pastor Dwight McKissic on the issue of speaking in tongues. In the second podcast, Jerry Johnson moderates a dialogue between Dr. Danny Akin and Dr. Mark Coppenger on the issue of Calvinism.

I was very pleased to be present for these debates and to see the great interest they generated. I think there is a hunger among many Southern Baptists for substantive theological discussion. Criswell College sponsored these debates on the floor of its exhibit, and they were not a part of the official program. Yet they were hugely successful as evidenced by the aisle-clogging crowd that gathered. I hope the success of these discussions will encourage future SBC organizers to plan such conversations for the pastor’s conference and other venues during the convention.


  • Barry

    OK, I’ll start this thread. I think McK lost the debate when he argued 1) that he “just believes the Bible” and 2) when he said that if you don’t believe like he does about tongues, then you don’t believe in inerrancy.

    It was like skew lines listening to McK and RDM.


  • Barry

    PS – I love these kinds of discussions, but I wish all involved could stop saying “Well I just believe the Bible.”


  • Bryan L


    It seems the 2nd point you brought up, the argument of innerrancy, is the same argument that complementarians use against egalitarians. I thought it was funny to see it used that way toward cessaionist(I knew it was only a matter of time).

    McKissic did a lot better than I expected him to. I really like his taxation without representation comment and how he compared what’s going on with racial discrimination of the past.

    Truthfully I thought Moore started off good but didn’t finish as strong. Also some of his analogies were kind of odd or easy to see how they really didn’t fit.

    Bryan L

  • Matt

    In the discussion regarding Calvinism, Coppenger, says “Christian culture creates the rule of law, research and development. I mean, Muslims can blow up a car–they just can’t build one.” After the comment, Johnson laughs and says “that’s good.”

    When I heard this comment, my heart dropped into my stomach. It troubles me that it is acceptable for the “elect” to poke fun at those not chosen. It troubles me even more that this is acceptable for our “leaders” (theological professors and heads of Bible colleges).

    The irony here is steep. A discussion where all parties agree that we are totally depraved and wholly incapable of securing God’s salvation of ourselves erodes into making fun of those who aren’t fortunate enough to experience God’s grace.

    Am I in the wrong, or should the revolutionizing grace of Jesus demonstrate that only by his grace are we, the elect, not a Muslim, Jew, or Animist? Shouldn’t this drive us to our knees in humility instead of a state of arrogant moral elitism that allows us to jokingly classify Muslims as car bombers?

  • Luke Britt


    Good response.

    I listened to both, but was mostly encouraged by Dr. Moore’s approach to the tongues discussion. I know Pastor McKissic and have respect for his ministry, especially in his love and passion for African Americans.

    However, I could not believe the tone he used in the conversation. He seemed like he felt attacked by the disagreement and most probably is still aggressively upset about the SWBTS episodes.

    Innerrancy is not continuationism. They are two separate ideas. Sure, good interpretation must come from the basis of a valid text, but the validity of the text cannot be the proof of every interpretation. Some interpretations are invalid, but that does not negate a belief in inerrancy.

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