by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pryor, OK
and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
This is the beginning of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child.
The Bible teaches that whosoever will may come to Christ in repentance and faith. As we will see, Scriptures related to this doctrine are numerous through all the genres of the Biblical text. This article will address the references from the Old Testament through the book of Acts.
A Psalm of David teaches that the Lord responds to all who call upon Him in truth (Ps. 145:18) and that the Lord hears the cry of those who fear Him and promises to save them (Ps. 145:19). Jeremiah recorded God’s words when He said that even heathen nations who repent and turn to Him can become His people (Jer. 12:16). Joel registered God’s words when He said that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be delivered (Joel 2:32). These Scriptures accurately summarize the testimony of the Old Testament regarding “whosoever will.”
Then, the New Testament champions this doctrine unmistakably, providing a plethora of scriptural testimony which harmonizes perfectly with the Old Testament witness. The words of Jesus declared that God says to no person “seek in vain,” but “seek and you shall find” (Matt. 7:7). He promised that all who ask receive (Matt. 7:8). Notice that asking precedes reception. Man clearly has a role in the salvation event, and it is requesting the Lordship of Jesus Christ by faith coupled with repentance. Jesus guaranteed that He would confess before His Father in heaven everyone who confesses that He is the Christ (Matt. 10:32). Jesus also averred that all humans are more valuable than any animal (Matt. 12:12). He asserted that whoever humbles himself or herself in childlike faith to Himself is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4). Jesus also taught that everyone who abandons all for Him, making Him his or her top priority, shall inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:29). Further, we read that the invitation to join the bridal feast is issued to all (Matt. 22:9). And, finally, in the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matt. 23:12).
Article Ten: The Great Commission
We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.
We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5
While many things can be written about the Great Commission (GC), Article Ten of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” relates the GC specifically to salvation and the gospel. What does the good news of salvation (gospel) have to do with the Great Commission? This article intends to show three areas in which the GC should impact the “church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth.”
First, the gospel is for every person and every person is responsible to respond to it (John 3:16, Acts 17:30, 1 John 2:2), but not all will. Never the less, Jesus is the only name “given among men by which we must be saved.” The gospel is open to all who would call on the Name of Jesus for salvation (Rom 10:13). An example of this is Paul preaching on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34). Paul preached to an open crowd for everyone to respond to the message. He even declared that it was every man’s responsibility before God to repent of his sin (Acts 17:30). This part of Paul’s ministry is a perfect illustration that the gospel is for every person and while many did not respond at the preaching of God’s Word, some men did join Paul and believed (Acts 17:32-34).
Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article 9: The Security of the Believer
in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
“A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” authored by Eric Hankins and others, has drawn strong interest in many social media and news outlets. The statement and the discussion of it have been accessed over 60,000 times and over 150,000 pageviews in SBC Today the last few weeks, and have evoked thousands of comments. At this point, over 800 persons have signed the document, including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life. You cansign it also by following these directions.
To structure the discussion, we are focusing the comments on the affirmation and denial statement of one article of the statement at a time. Today’s discussion will address the Southern Baptist doctrines of grace in Article 9: The Security of the Believer. Keep in mind that each of the affirmations and denials in the articles complement each other, just as they do in the Together for the Gospel statement signed and/or affirmed by some Southern Baptist leaders who embrace Reformed views.
Please confine your comments to the article being discussed each day, not general comments about the statement. If you want to comment on other things, follow the links to other discussion threads:
Thank you for your comments on these important theological issues!
– The Editors of SBC Today
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A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf
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Discussion of Article Nine: The Security of the Believer in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
Note: As we discuss each article of the statement, today’s comments should focus on the affirmation and denial in Article 9. Please limit your comments here to Article 9.
Article Nine: The Security of the Believer
We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.
We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.
John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25