The Kind of Dialogue We Need

Last night a fascinating exchange occurred on, of all places, Twitter.  I believe it exemplified the kind of frank and humble dialogue that needs to take place between those Baptists who might identify more with either the Reformed or the Anabaptist traditions.  Both Dr. Haykin and Dr. Yarnell demonstrated the ability to recognize the flaws and strengths of the historical groups with whom they may identify more or less strongly.  Take note at the end of the dialogue for a special announcement. Dr. Haykin:

@myarnell: last few days have been thinking much about Calvin's legacy: so much theol brilliance...but:

@myarnell: those who embrace his soteriological legacy must ask forgiveness from Anabaptist brothers. And why?

@myarnell. Because of his advocacy of the sword as a curb on heresy, esp Anabaptism in both its heretical and orthodox forms.

@myarnell: reading Eamon Duffy's recent revisionist history of Bloody Mary's reign has convinced me that some Protestant forebears erred.

@myarnell: they erred by being willing to use the sword to repress error. Like our 18th c forbears who were slave owners, they are flawed.

@myarnell: flawed models. But in so far as they followed Christ soteriologically they are safe guides. But their views of church & state:

@myarnell: the bottom line is still this: I am sorry that some of my Calv. forbears ever used the sword against Anab. brothers.

Dr. Yarnell:

@MAGHaykin Some brilliant thoughts here. Thank you for sharing them.

@MAGHaykin Shall we conclude that some of our Calvinist brothers have acceptable (though not necessarily always correct) soteriology?

@MAGHaykin And that our Anabaptist brothers perceived the doctrines of the church & the ordinances more clearly than our Calvinist brothers?

@MAGHaykin And, finally, that Calvin and the Calvinists were absolutely wrong when it came to the doctrine of religious persecution/liberty?

Dr. Haykin:

@myarnell: I think so: I am a Calvinist soteriologically but the ortho. Anab. saw more accurately NT church life.

@myarnell: And they were spot on re persecution. Calvin failed to reform the horrific legacy of relig persec from the Middle Ages.

Dr. Yarnell:

@MAGHaykin Don't tell anybody but I actually find much in Calvin that is brilliant too!

Steve Weaver:

Wow, great dialogue between @myarnell and @MAGHaykin! May I suggest an open late night discussion re these matters at the AFCBS conference?

Dr. Yarnell:

@steveweaver Some of the best theology is formed in dialogue, as 1 Cor 14 implies: Anabaptists called it Sittzenrecht or Lex Sedentium.

Dr. Haykin:

If Malcolm is up for it during the Fuller conference in August it would be great to do something re Calvin and the Anabaptists on state-ch.

Problem: is when to do it, we have full schedule. Maybe Wed morning if Malcolm can stay over.

@myarnell and @steveweaver: let me see if we can arrange a mid-morn event. Give me early next week. It would focus on Calvin & the Anabap.

Dr. Yarnell:

@MAGHaykin I have not made my flight plans yet so let me know if you want me through Wed morning.

Since this dialogue ended last night, both Dr. Haykin and Dr. Yarnell have agreed to a late night dialogue along these lines after Dr. Yarnell's presentation on Tuesday night at this year's AFCBS conference on Baptist Spirituality.  This dialogue will be open to the Southern Seminary community and the general public and will hopefully model the way two people with differing perspectives on some matters can yet recognize the strengths and weaknesses of one another's positions.

When: Tuesday, August 25th at 9:00 pm

Where: TBD on the campus of Southern Seminary (probably Heritage Hall or the Legacy Center)

What: An open dialogue with Drs. Yarnell and Haykin on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Reformed and Anabaptist traditions.

This event will be open and free of charge, but you can register for the conference on which this dialogue will piggy-back here.  There is a great line-up of speakers, a Monday evening banquet meat and there will be several free books given away to those who register for the conference.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.