Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
“A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of the 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 50,000 times and over 100,000 pageviews in the last two weeks. The discussions in SBC Today have evoked thousands of comments, with over 700 persons signing the document (including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life). You can sign 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 7: The Sovereignty of God. 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 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 Seven: The Sovereignty of God 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 7. Please limit your comments here to Article 7.
Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.
We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.
Genesis 1:1; 6:5-8; 18:16-33; 22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Joel 2:32; Psalm 23; 51:4; 139:1-6; Proverbs 15:3; John 6:44; Romans 11:3; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:13-15; Hebrews 11:6, 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17
In an interview with SBCToday.com, Florida pastor Dr. Tommy Green related why he signed “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.”
“First of all, I signed the statement not because of any political or divisive reasons. Nor did I affix my signature in an effort to be argumentative or elitist,” said Green, pastor of FBC Brandon, Fla.
Green also serves on the Florida Baptist Convention’s State Board of Missions, is former president of the Florida Baptist Convention, and has concluded in 2012 two consecutive terms as a trustee of Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, Ky., where he served as chairman for two years.
“I signed the statement because I believe it is representative of biblical salvation,” Green said. “It is consistent with my preaching, my teaching, and my personal faith and practice in ministry as I understand the Scripture, and is also consistent with the leadership I try to exert as a pastor.”
A Commentary on Article Five
The Regeneration of the Sinner
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
Article 5: The Regeneration of the Sinner
We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.
We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.
Luke 15:24; John 3:3; 7:37-39; 10:10; 16:7-14; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 6:4-11; 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 6:15; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18
One of the most difficult topics in the Scriptures is a clear understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvific process. It is clear that the Holy Spirit effectuates salvation; what is not so clear is the role the Holy Spirit plays in performing that process, especially where conversion is concerned. At the heart of this issue, is a term called regeneration. Regeneration itself is not an issue in question. The question with respect to regeneration is how it takes place, what it accomplishes and when it takes place. Article 5 addresses these questions.
The Gospel Is Available to Anyone
Statement 5 begins, “We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit.” This sentence is very insightful in and of itself. There are two very important aspects emphasized in this statement. The implication is clear; first of all, “any person” may respond to the gospel message that is secondly, available to anyone and everyone. (Mt 24:14; Mark 13:10, 16:15; Gal 3:8; Romans 1:16) Any person, who hears the gospel message, may respond. This statement also eliminates any question with respect to an individual’s ability to come to God on his own. Salvation is always an individual’s response to God’s initiative. The word “response” by definition is passive to the initiative or invitation of another. In conversion, the initiator of this invitation is always God.