After watching the following video at James White's youtube channel, I had a few thoughts. James has turned off his youtube commenting ability, so I'm just going to have to post my thoughts here.
First up, the man who stands to ask a question but gives testimony first, tells everyone that based on a feeling, a personal experience of God's overwhelming presence, and a direct message from God, he finally realized he wasn't saved, as a Calvinist. Now, I would suspect that there are possibly people out there who can repeat the words of a Calvinist, but are truly not regenerated. That much I can believe, only because I think we've all known people in our lives that claim to be Christians and might even sound like one for a while, but that are truly not born again. However, this particular man wants folks to understand that based solely on a feeling, and a very moving personal experience, he came to understand that a.) he was not even saved and b.) God has nothing to do with Calvinistic theology.
Which brings me to my next thought. God has nothing to do with Calvinistic theology. If God Himself revealed this to this man, and he said He did, then every single professing Calvinist on the planet, is unsaved. That means me, that likely means you, and that also means every single Calvinist you know. None of us are saved. Not a one of us. We know this to be true because God Himself revealed it in a personal experience to this man, at the John 3:16 conference - and what's more - is that not ONE of the panel speakers corrected this man. Not one of them.
Why did none of these men interject and said "whoa, hold on there pardner"? Do they also believe like this man, that Calvinists are not saved and that God must save us all out of Calvinism? Similarly, why did none of them speak up and address his "personal experience" and direct revelation from God on these matters? Do they likewise believe that personal, emotional experiences are valid and authoritative? This is a question I might have stood to ask them myself. It's a question I'm asking now, but somehow I doubt any of them will be along to answer. It's certainly not the first time I've heard someone testify that they were regenerated by God's Holy Spirit and base their affirmation of that on an emotional experience. Not broken by their sin, not seeing themselves as a sinner in need of a savior, not acknowledging either of these things or in at least one case I know of, not even knowing that Christ had risen from the dead. Just a powerful, highly charged emotional experience of "Jesus LOVES you" combined with what some claim to be either a direct audible or direct revelation from God Himself, about His love and plan for them, and that was that. Yes, I 've heard this kind of testimony before, and if you've ever been in a pentecostal/charismatic type of church, you have too. Oddly enough though, I've also heard it from those professing to hold to the five points of Calvinism. I'll let someone else do the math on that one, since from where I sit it just doesn't add up.
Another thought I had, was on why this man was frustrated with Calvinism to begin with. He felt that there was no power in it anyway, since he was not able to overcome sin in his life. That was his initial struggle he claims, with a Calvinistic worldview; the lack of power in it. My question to that is simply this - how many non-Calvinists are there walking around that have in fact overcome sin in their lives, and are living a sinless life? None that I know of, and none that Scripture speaks of. Now I know that we all grow and become more mature in our faith and that we do become stronger as it pertains to battling against our own personal inclination toward sin, but I don't care what your theological bent is, while we are in the flesh there is not a single human being that is EVER going to completely overcome sin. It's simply not possible, as we are living in a body OF sin, and we cannot be seperated from that. Sin is always there, the temptation to sin is always there, but so is the grace and the guidance and wisdom of God to give us the direction and the power we need to avoid it - IF - we rely on Him. This man in this clip didn't know of this power. Why is that? I would suggest that it's entirely possible he truly was not saved to begin with, as he suggests, and that would explain why he could easily talk the talk but felt alone when it comes to walking the walk. Genuine Christians know where their help comes from, and we humble ourselves and turn to Him, daily! We must confront the sin in our own lives head on, be honest before God about it and humbly and desperately turn to Him for the wisdom and the guidance to overcome that. If we do not do this, if we do not take responsibility and own it ourselves, but just expect God to do some kind of parlor trick every time sin pops up, we're fooling ourselves about what our own responsibility is, as it pertains to living out our Christian faith.
Finally, the man who stood to deliver his testimony and ask a question, asks the panel what they (the SBC overall) plan to "do" about this horrendous theological nightmare of Calvinism. He didn't say it that way, but it was pretty clear such a horrible theological worldview is thought of this way if it's something God must save His people from. One of the panel speakers (David Allen, the same one that declared James White to be a hyper-Calvinist) answers and in part says that one thing the SBC should not do, to address this issue is to hold conferences where Calvinism is the main focus. Well, I haven't seen all the dvds or heard all the messages (they're not free, and I don't have that kind of money to pay to get them), but from what I have heard, and based on what I have read, it seems to me that whatever their purpose was for this John 3:16 conference certainly turned into a conference where Calvinism was the main focus. I found that just a little bit ironic.
And with that, I leave you to watch this video and come to your own conclusions.