A Commentary on Article 10 of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

June 29, 2012


By Robin Foster, Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Perkins, Oklahoma


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).

Second the GC is the mission of the church in order to bring glory to God.  From its inception at Pentecost (Acts 2:14ff) until today it has been and still is the responsibility of the local New Testament church to carry the good news to all people so they may fulfill the essence of the commission itself: “Becoming disciples in order to make disciples.”  Nowhere is it found in the New Testament that any other organization is commissioned to fulfill this mandate.  While individuals may be commissioned by the local church under the leadership of God’s Spirit to carry the gospel beyond the local church’s context (like Paul and Barnabas Acts 13), it is still the church that does the sending.  It is not the duty of a convention (state or national), local association, or seminary to fulfill this mandate.  The center of operations in God’s plan to make disciples is the local church.  While para-church entities are important and sometimes crucial in helping the local church to fulfill the commission, they are no more called to fulfill the Great Commission than a butter knife is called cut down trees.  Conventions or denominational structures are to serve the local church in her mission in planting churches through the proclamation of the gospel.  The church is to proclaim in her own Jerusalem (locally) and send others to proclaim the gospel in Judea, Samaria, and the remotest parts of the earth (moving beyond the local culture to the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8).

Finally, salvation is only possible by a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13-17) as one is touched and drawn by the Holy Spirit through the gospel.  Salvation is offered to all, who may hear the gospel, by no other means other than the person and sacrificial death of Jesus (Acts 4:12, John 14:6, 1 Tim 2:1-6).  It is denied that good works or religion practiced outside of faith in Jesus alone may save anyone.

 


Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article 10: The Great Commission
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 10: The Great Commission. 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


Click this link to see the full statement of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
Right click to download
A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf
Click this link to see the list of signers of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” or to see how to sign the statement.
We welcome the signatures of all Southern Baptists who would affirm this statement. If you would like to add your name in affirmation of the statement, please emailsbctoday@gmail.com, with the following: 

Your Name, Ministry Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example:
John Doe, Pastor (or Associate Pastor, Youth Minister, Deacon, member, etc.), 
First Baptist Church, Anytown, TX
or
Joe Doe, Professor (or DOM, Evangelist, etc.), Seminary/College/Association, 
Anytown, NC

We will be glad to add your name to this list of those affirming the statement!


Discussion of Article Ten: The Great Commission 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 10. Please limit your comments here to Article 10.

 

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

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Ron Hale

Pastor Robin,
Thank you for for your biblical commentary on the Great Commission – it for all people – every where! I have the joy of sharing the gospel in Peru in a couple of weeks. Blessings!

    Robin Foster

    Ron

    Thanks

rhutchin

This is a good Calvinist description of salvation. So, why the antagonism over Calvinism in the preceding articles if the bottom line is a Calvinist view.

Shane Dodson

“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).”

I hope this isn’t supposed to be a response to Calvinism, as Reformed theology agrees with these points completely.

God has chosen before the foundation of the world to save some for His glory. He has given fallen and redeemed people the immense responsibility and wonderful privilege to call all people to repentance and faith in order the elect would be drawn in.

Praise God He commands us to communicate His glorious Gospel to others!

    Robin Foster

    Shane

    As Dr. Mohler and many others have said, there are points from this doc upon which we can agree. Just because we can agree doesn’t necessarily mean it is Calvinist theology. It might mean we agree biblically. :)

      rhutchin

      To agree biblically is to agree with Calvinist theology as Calvinist Theology is Biblical theology. There is disagreement when non-Calvinists go off on non-biblical rabbit trails.

        Cb scott

        Calvinist theology is biblical theology?

        By making such a statement are you prepared to defend infant baptism as biblical?

          rhutchin

          Yes, as long as we both understand that infant baptism has nothing to with salvation (as we both understand that believer’s baptism has nothing to do with salvation).

          Cb scott

          We will agree that baptism is not regenerative in nature or in application.

          Let me rephrase my question. Do you believe infant baptism is a sound and biblically identifiable practice?

          Matt

          Belief in infant baptism does not qualify or disqualify anyone as a Calvinist. Affirmation of Calvinist theology does not mean that we affirm all of Calvin’s theology. The term Calvinist refers to someone who affirms the five distinctive points of Calvinism not someone who agrees with everything Calvin believed or did. I am a Calvinist and a Baptist just as the founders of the SBC were. I do not agree that infant baptism is Biblical, although many other Calvinists do. I whole heartedly claim that Calvinist theology is Biblical theology; if I did not believe it this, what kind of Christian would I be? I understand that non-calvinists also believe thier views to be Biblical, if they claimed thier beliefs were based on anything else what would be the point of debating the proper exegesis of scripture with them? I see nothing wrong with article ten of this statement or Mr. Foster’s explanation of it except maybe that the denial seems to imply that Calvinists believe “that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” This is not true of Calvinists, and is bearing false witness against Calvinist brothers if this implication is intended. I am not saying that Mr. Foster is bearing false witness because I do not know what he believes, but from the many anti-calvinist writings of the author of this statement, Eric Hankins, I do believe he is guilty of this.

          God bless

          Cb scott

          Matt,

          Calvinist theology does actually constitute far more than soteriology. I think you should revisit some of the terms you used in your comment.

          You say you are a Calvinist and a Baptist. That may be a lot to put in one skin.

          Maybe you would do better in self identification if you described yourself as a Baptist who adheres to a Calvinistic soteriology. This is actually true of a great number of Baptists — always has been.

          Calvinist ecclesiology is not the same as Baptist ecclesiology. Nor is it as as close to biblical ecclesiology as is Baptist ecclesiology.

          BTW, I am glad you do not adhere to infant baptism. Such a theological adherence is neither biblical or Baptistic.

          Les Prouty

          Cb,

          You continue to hurt my feelings on the baptism thing. :)

          Seriously, I did post something on my “not dormant anymore” personal blog about Baptism.

          But I also linked to another article about Reformed theology. You may find it and the other link embedded interesting. Maybe Reformed is a better term than Calvinist. There is certainly precedent for non-paedo Reformed folks.

          My link is here.

          http://faithandlife.posterous.com/calvinistic-congregationalists-reformed

          Matt

          Cb scott,

          I must disagree with you here. The term Calvinist refers to someone who believes in the five distinctive points of reformed soteriology. Ofcourse, reformed theology goes much further than this, but since the five points of disagreement were identified by those in the Armenian remonstrance, these five points have been the distinctive identifiers that differentiate between Calvinists and non-calvinists.

          I’m sure the founders of the SBC had no problem identifying thierselves as both Baptists and Calvinists just as those in Reformed Baptist churches and many SBC curches today have no problem with it.

          Just because there are differences in ecclesiology among Calvinists doesn’t mean that those who don’t believe in infant baptism arn’t Calvinists. You might have trouble finding a Calvinist today who holds to all of Calvin’s views on eschatology. So who are the real Calvinists the pre, post, or amillenial? They all are if they believe in the five distinctive points of soteriology. The same is true with adult dunkers and baby sprinklers, They can both be Calvinists. The same is true with Calvinists and Armenians, they can both be Baptists.

          God bless

        Les Prouty

        “By making such a statement are you prepared to defend infant baptism as biblical?”

        I don’t know about rhutchin, but I will. :)
        Not on this thread though.

          rhutchin

          I agree. We need a different forum. I like Theologyweb but am flexible. So, if someone starts a discussion on a nice forum that allows for an orderly discussion, that’s fine with me. I will take the position explained here (http://www.reformedtheology.ca/infant_baptism.htm); it’s short and direct. So, I am looking for something original to discuss where someone has put some thought into the issue and thinks they have it figured out.

          Les Prouty

          Any and all,

          As I have said here and other posts, I can affirm both the credo and paedo baptism positions. I know, horror! on a Baptist blog.

          Anyway in light of Cb’s and rhutchin’s short exchange about Calvinistic theology and baptism, I have put up a short post outlining the biblical rationale for infant baptism. Come on over and fire away. It might be fun, remembering that evangelical paedobaptists deny baptismal regeneration as do credos.

          http://faithandlife.posterous.com/the-case-for-infant-baptism

          Cb scott

          Les, my Auburn fan friend,

          I kinda knew that I would find the WCF when I went to your site.

          I think maybe we will have to meet at a neutral field of battle somewhere between Auburn and Tuscaloosa and have a duel to the death over baptism and the Lord’s Supper with coffee as the weapon of choice.

          Les Prouty

          Cb,

          The WCF. Well, it’s a jumping off point. But I’d love to meet on neutral ground. How about Toomer’s Corner drugstore, lemonade is on me?

          I’ll be down for a game sometime this coming season. Or, you come to Columbia, MO and I’ll get you a ticket to the midwest massacre.

          Lydia

          “The term Calvinist refers to someone who believes in the five distinctive points of reformed soteriology”

          Historical redefining that has taken place and folks pick and choose which parts. His name still is the “brand”.

        abclay

        Rhutchin,

        As a Calvinist myself, I find some of the implied characterizations of Calvinism (denials) in the document to be wholly offensive to the nature of what I believe due to their inaccuracies.

        Furthermore, I personally find some of the affirmations made in the traddoc a case of eisegesis from a poor hermeneutic.

        That being said, there are affirmations and denials that I agree with and I feel that your comment does nothing to add to the discussion. Rather, your comment feeds the frothing mouth of the Anti-Calvinists who wish to make an issue of the continuing Traditional Calvinistic Heritage of the SBC.

        Do you not believe that the author(s) and signors of the Traddoc believe that they are being true to the Word of God as they understand it? Did you come to your understanding of the Bible on your own or did you have some other, maybe supernatural help?

          rhutchin

          Find another forum for these issues, start a discussion, and let me know and I will join in.

          Cb scott

          abclay,

          Robin Foster’s post defines Baptist ecclesiology as it relates to Article 10: The Great Commission of the TradDoc.

          rhutchin’s and Les Prouty’s comments relate directly to ecclesiology specific to the baptism, its candidates and its mode.

          Their comments were not beyond the scope of Robin’s post.

          In addition I am most certainly not an “anti-Calvinist” and my mouth does not “froth.”

          It is my opinion that Baptist theology and Calvinist theology as a whole do differ, especially as they relate to ecclesiology. Soteriology is not the only component of Calvinism.

          My engagement of rhutchin regarding baptism was as it relates to ecclesiology.

          His response to me, along with Les Prouty’s comment reveals that some in Baptist life today seem to embrace infant baptism as biblical and incorporable into Baptist ecclesiology.

          I greatly differ with that opinion.

          Nonetheless, both Les and rhutchin are right. This discussion would probably be more suitable in another blog thread or context than to engage it here on Robin’s post and comment thread.

          Although, I would certainly like to have Robin in on the discussion due to the fact that he is well able to define Baptist ecclesiology.

          And lastly let me state for old time sake:

          1). Baptist ecclesiology is closer than any other theological system known in human experience to biblical ecclesiology.
          2). Calvinist ecclesiology is nowhere near as close as is Baptist ecclesiology to biblical ecclesiology.
          3). And all true Southern Baptist said, A-Men!

          abclay

          C.B.,

          My comment was a reply to the comment by rhutchin:

          To agree biblically is to agree with Calvinist theology as Calvinist Theology is Biblical theology. There is disagreement when non-Calvinists go off on non-biblical rabbit trails.

          There was quite some delay in my posting this which may have cause some confusion. It seems you thought that I was taking issue at the direction that you were taking the conversation (infant baptism).

          As for the “foaming at the mouth” Anti-Calvinists phrase, I cannot apologize. I have read enough of your comments (of which I find reasoned and balanced) to know that you are not one. Non-Calvinist doesn’t equal Anti-Calvinist. They do exist, however, and I still feel that comments like the one I responded to are ammo for their squirt guns.

          God Bless and have a jolly weekend!

          Cb scott

          abclay,

          My apology is in order toward you for I did, as you have taken it, think you were addressing me.

          And you are right. There are “anti-Calvinists” roaming around who are rather hostile. As for “Non-Calvinists”…….well, I am still trying to figure out what one of those folks look like in Southern Baptist life. I do not like that term and feel that one reason so many of the folks have gravitated toward the term “Traditionalist” is because the term “Non-Calvinist just does not identify a Southern Baptist of any acceptable soteriological leaning very well.

          Anyway, thanks for being willing to address my error and giving me opportunity to apologize. May your tribe increase.

          Robin Foster

          CB,

          Again, thanks for the Kudos. I’ve been extremely busy here today. I believe you discovered an essence of what this post is about, Eccesiology. Not just salvation or baptism, but even our understanding of those two doctrines as they interject with our understanding of the church’s mission and practice. You got it bro., thanks.

          volfan007

          CB,

          Amen!

          David

        Lydia

        “To agree biblically is to agree with Calvinist theology as Calvinist Theology is Biblical theology. There is disagreement when non-Calvinists go off on non-biblical rabbit trails.”

        How did the people who lived before Calvin systemized Jesus for us, know the real biblical truth?

        You equate a man who persecuted Christ as knowing real biblical theology? How did he miss the part in the NT that persecuting believers was the same as persecuting Christ?

          Patrick

          “You equate a man who persecuted Christ as knowing real biblical theology? How did he miss the part in the NT that persecuting believers was the same as persecuting Christ?”

          And who were these Christians that were persecuted? Servetus? Hardly a Christian.

          rhutchin

          Real Biblical truth can be systematized. This was done in coining such terms as “the Trinity,” “the rapture,” and “total depravity.” None of these terms appears in the Bible, but people looked at all the verses in the Bible that speak to these issues and concluded systematically that these concepts are taught in the Bible. This was not a process that Calvin created.

          As the document under discussion addresses only the issue of salvation, then I will limit my earlier claim to salvation.

          If you are non-Calvinist, then we know that you have difficulty in certain areas. First, you have no idea how to deal with God’s omniscience. Second, you have subscribed to the imaginary problem of evil which was foisted on believers by non-believers. Third, you have this notion of “libertarian free will” which simply does not exist. If it did exist, God would have to have extended it, equally, to all people and all people would either accept Christ or all would reject Christ. If libertarian free will works then you cannot have one person choosing opposite to another without one person not having that free will.

          If the non-Calvinist disagrees and knows some good books where a smart non-Calvinist has sorted out these problems (especially omniscience), tell me because I would love to read them. Only books that you have actually read count. I get tired of reading books that people make claims about (like the Bible) and have not read.

          Lydia

          “And who were these Christians that were persecuted? Servetus? Hardly a Christian”

          Well then, I guess it is ok since Servetus was not a real Christian. But Patrick, you have neglected your history. Perhaps you have simply read sanitized Reformed history?

          You know the really sad part of it? Many who were persecuted are simply in the archives listed as: Child beheaded for striking parent. Many times there were no names at all but the act/punishment was recorded in the Council archives.

          But my question is how we know anyone in Geneva during that time was a true believer since they were compelled to act like one or receive a visit from the magistrate? Do you not see the cognative dissonance in Calvin’s very thinking?

          The Geneva Council declared in November of 1552 that Calvin’s Institutes were a “holy doctrine which no man might speak against.”

          Sounds eerily familiar to some things I have read on this thread.

          Try reading some Zweig, Durant, Martyrs Mirror, Verduin, etc. You will find plenty of names.

          Calvin had believers who disagreed with him imprisoned and tortured. And when a professing believer does such things, we should question every word from his pen.

          Lydia

          “If you are non-Calvinist, then we know that you have difficulty in certain areas. First, you have no idea how to deal with God’s omniscience. Second, you have subscribed to the imaginary problem of evil which was foisted on believers by non-believers. Third, you have this notion of “libertarian free will” which simply does not exist. If it did exist, God would have to have extended it, equally, to all people and all people would either accept Christ or all would reject Christ. If libertarian free will works then you cannot have one person choosing opposite to another without one person not having that free will.”

          Please tell me you are not an SBC pastor.

          I especially found this illuminating:

          “Second, you have subscribed to the imaginary problem of evil which was foisted on believers by non-believers.”

          ooookaaaay.

          Matt

          Lydia,

          Do you ever have anything to say that does not include an ad hominem attack on John Calvin or Augustine? These attacks have nothing to do with the actual discussion. The term Calvinist refers to people who agree with Calvin on the doctrines of grace, not people who agree with everything Calvin believed and certainly not everything he did. By the way, Calvin opposed Servetus in the hearings before the Council of Geneva, but Calvin was not on the council at the time when servetus was condemned to burn at the stake. I don’t think that Calvin was at all right in many things he did, but does it logically follow that he was wrong about everything he believed? He was a fallable man who made many mistakes, but I thank God for the contributions he, and the other reformers, made toward returning to the Bible from the Roman Catholic lies of the middle ages. As Calvinists we worship God, not Calvin, and believe that scripture is the only infallable special revelation of God. I look forward to discussing the real issues of disagreement between us with you and others in the future.

          God bless

          Les Prouty

          I just rediscovered this quote from Spurgeon. I needed to re-read this. I think Calvinists and non-Calvinists need to read, ponder and apply this word from Spurgeon.

          As we grow in grace, we are sure to grow in charity, sympathy, and love. We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards
          our fellow Christians. Bitter spirited Christians
          may know a great deal, but they are immature.

          Those who are quick to censure may be
          very acute in judgment, but they are as
          yet very immature in heart.

          He who grows in grace remembers that he is
          but dust, and he therefore does not expect his
          fellow Christians to be anything more.

          He overlooks ten thousand of their faults,
          because he knows his God overlooks twenty
          thousand in his own case. He does not expect
          perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he
          is not disappointed when he does not find it.

          When our virtues become more mature, we shall
          not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more
          tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people
          of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.
          Charles Spurgeon. Ripe Fruit, sermon #945 on Micah 7:1

          And if you are tempted to go find a quote from Spurgeon which may paint him in a light inconsistent with this quote? Well he was just a man after all. And, if you do that, then this quote is especially for you.

          God bless.

          Shane Dodson

          “Calvin had believers who disagreed with him imprisoned and tortured. And when a professing believer does such things, we should question every word from his pen.”

          What utter nonsense.

          It would serve you well do study your history, Lydia.

          Here is a good place to start…

          http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?457

          Calvin had no such power.

          Do you hate these doctrines so much that you are willing to smear the names of men who the Lord used so mightily to continue the spread of the Gospel?

          That is truly tragic.

        Michael Vaughan

        Rhutchin,

        Your post is needlessly hostile. Don’t play into the stereotypes. Recognize that thy are trying to faithfully exegete scripture, even when we disagree. We agree on the most important points, and these men are brothers.

        -Michael

          Lydia

          “By the way, Calvin opposed Servetus in the hearings before the Council of Geneva, but Calvin was not on the council at the time when servetus was condemned to burn at the stake.”

          Matt, Calvin’s own letters betray this “Reformed rewritten history” of his role in Servetus’ burning. Not to mention the archives opened after WW2.

          Ok, I will stop as I know you guys have been steered toward “Reformed history” sources only. But I do find it ironic your religion bears his name. :o)

          Matt

          Lydia,

          Like I asked before:

          “Do you ever have anything to say that does not include an ad hominem attack on John Calvin or Augustine?”

      Shane Dodson

      The motive that synergists carry out evangelism differs greatly than the motive for which monergists carry it out.

      Theology defines methodology.

      Example: Synergists typically feel the need to tell people in general “Jesus loves you and died for you.”

      Monergists typically call all people to repent and believe in Christ, proclaiming that Christ died for the sins of those who would repent and believe.

      What I’m unsure of is why synergists pray for the souls of the lost. If they believe God doesn’t actively take out hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh that are able and willing to cry out to Him in repentance…then it is man who makes the final decision to “accept Christ.”

      Wouldn’t they–in order to be consistent with their theology–stop praying to God that the lost would be saved and pour all of their energies in pleading with people to choose Christ?

        Don Johnson

        Shane,

        The reason a non-Calvinist can say “Jesus loves you and died for you” is because “the Gospel is for everyone.” If it wasn’t for them, then yes, Jesus doesn’t love them and Jesus didn’t die for them.

        Praise God, Christ loves and died for everyone!

        By the way we also believe God takes out hearts of stone and replaces them with a heart of flesh. The difference of course is Calvinism teaches this somehow happens before faith, but the Bible shows it’s after faith.

          Shane Dodson

          “The reason a non-Calvinist can say “Jesus loves you and died for you” is because “the Gospel is for everyone.”

          The Gospel isn’t “Jesus loves everyone and died for everyone.”

          Please cite book/chapter/verse in which the apostles preached such a Gospel.

          The Gospel is that sin has been atoned for by Jesus Christ.

          “Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” – 1 Tim 1:15

          Christians should preach the Gospel in the manner after the apostles…not denominational tradition.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          I’ll be happy to answer. However, before I do I want to make sure we’re talking about the same thing.

          Is the Gospel “for” everyone? Now I did not ask if it was to be proclaimed to everyone. If it’s “for” everyone, then Jesus died for everyone. If Jesus did not die “for” everyone, then the Gospel is not “for” everyone.

          With this understanding, is the Gospel “for” everyone?

          Shane Dodson

          “Is the Gospel “for” everyone? Now I did not ask if it was to be proclaimed to everyone. If it’s “for” everyone, then Jesus died for everyone. If Jesus did not die “for” everyone, then the Gospel is not “for” everyone.

          With this understanding, is the Gospel “for” everyone?”

          Let me start with rejecting your “understanding.”

          The Gospel is “for everyone” in the sense that it is to be preached to everyone (Mark 16:15).

          The Gospel is NOT “for everyone” in the sense that everyone will benefit from it; you would, of course, agree with that.

          You incorrectly believe that Jesus died for everybody who ever lived and who will ever live in the entire world…but even if were true, it still wouldn’t follow that the Gospel is “for everyone” in the understanding you presented, as many have rejected the One True God and will continue to do so until Christ returns to judge the world.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Since you brought up Mk 16:15 we’ll start there.

          Jesus said to preach the Gospel to every creature. As you are well aware Gospel means good news.

          First of all how does one tell someone good news knowing there’s a good chance it was never intended for them in the first place?

          Second, how does a Calvinist preach the good news without being deceptive? Maybe you have an example from Scripture.

          Shane Dodson

          “First of all how does one tell someone good news knowing there’s a good chance it was never intended for them in the first place?”

          The Gospel is intended to be preached to everyone; that is the standing command from my Lord.

          I don’t understand…is this supposed to be an objection? Does the fact that not everyone will repent and believe the Gospel a good reason to not preach repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

          You’ll have to explain the reasoning behind your question. Frankly, it makes no sense to me.

          “Second, how does a Calvinist preach the good news without being deceptive? Maybe you have an example from Scripture.”

          Hold up there, friend. What “deception” are you talking about? So just presupposed your own conclusion and then asked me to explain your presuppositions.

          That’s YOUR job…not mine. ;-)

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Do you think Paul considered himself chief among just the elect sinners?

          Or do think think he considered himself chief among all sinners?

    Bob Hadley

    Shane,

    For the record your statement, “God has chosen before the foundation of the world to save some for His glory. He has given fallen and redeemed people the immense responsibility and wonderful privilege to call all people to repentance and faith in order the elect would be drawn in.”

    Personally, I find the bold statement reprehensible. The mere idea of fallen people having the privilege of calling people to repentance and faith so that the elect would be drawn in is incredulous. For the record, that is NOT part of the Great Commission as I see it presented in the Scriptures.

    Rhutchin, your comment is equally reprehensible as well; “To agree biblically is to agree with Calvinist theology as Calvinist Theology is Biblical theology. There is disagreement when non-Calvinists go off on non-biblical rabbit trails.” This statement is an example of arrogance on steroids.

    ><>”

      Cb scott

      ‘Bout time you showed up.

        Bob Hadley

        CB…. been in and out… just tryin to be nice… but it is getting increasingly more difficult by the minute!

        ><>”

      Shane Dodson

      “Personally, I find the bold statement reprehensible. The mere idea of fallen people having the privilege of calling people to repentance and faith so that the elect would be drawn in is incredulous. For the record, that is NOT part of the Great Commission as I see it presented in the Scriptures.”

      Allow me to help you out, Bob.

      “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
      (2Co 5:18-20)

      “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?”
      (2Co 2:14-16)

      You deny that God uses redeemed sinners (like you if you’re truly a Christian) to call sinners to repentance and faith in Christ?

      Do you practice evangelism?

      rhutchin

      Bob Hadley says, “Rhutchin, your comment is equally reprehensible as well; “To agree biblically is to agree with Calvinist theology as Calvinist Theology is Biblical theology. There is disagreement when non-Calvinists go off on non-biblical rabbit trails.” This statement is an example of arrogance on steroids.”

      When the non-Calvinists deal with the elephants in the room (particularly God’s omniscience) and develop a system that is cohesive and logical, then comments like this can mean something. If I were a non-Calvinist, I would be as frustrated with the non-Calvinist system as your words indicate you are.

      If you know some good books where smart non-Calvinists have sorted out these problems, tell me because I would love to read them. Only books that you have actually read count. If you don’t like the conclusions Calvinists have drawn from the Scriptures, then help us out out by addressing the elephants in the room. Don’t complain because the Calvinists have done what you cannot do.

        volfan007

        Wow….its statements and attitudes like this one that has led to “Traditional Baptists.”

        David

          rhutchin

          Guys, The non-Calvinist position has problems. If not, give us some meat to chew on.

          volfan007

          Wow.

          David

          Shane Dodson

          “Wow.”

          There’s your meat.

          Perhaps a better description is “fat.”

Cb scott

Robin,

Thank you for a refreshing review of biblical ecclesiology and the purpose of the assembly in the fulfillment of the Great Commission as it is related to the Triune decree to save sinners.

Robin Foster

CB

I appreciate the kind words.

Ron Hale

Ten Articles have been presented along with the Introduction to the Tradition Statement by Dr. Eric Hankins (over 900 comments alone)… and I have enjoyed reading the papers and the comments.

Our BFM 2000 (p.5) says, “That any group of Baptists, large or small, have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.” As a signer of the Traditional document, along with many others, we thought it advisable to do so at this time. This statement simply seeks to share a belief concerning God’s great plan of salvation that is common to many Southern Baptists.

Just reading the thousands of comments (or even those on this thread), it is very evident there is more than a “difference” in SBC life, there is a “divide.” I was pulled from the pagan pool over 35 years ago in responding to the gospel in a SBC congregation. I have lived and served through the Conservative Resurgence. There is more ill will in our ranks today, than ever in my time in this denomination. I have my days of doubt, and days of hope as to our future together.

Probably our only hope is joining together in Great Commission work – in other words, stop trying to convert each other and focus on reaching a lost world that knows not Jesus.

I think we can continue this conversation, I plan on continuing to write along my convictional lines, but I will seek to do it without “name calling” and hatred. I think we can be straight forward without being sinful or honest without being hostile.

    Max

    “Probably our only hope is joining together in Great Commission work – in other words, stop trying to convert each other and focus on reaching a lost world that knows not Jesus.”

    Amen Ron! Go with me into a dream. An Arminian & a Calvinist are transported in a time machine to a first century camp fire where a group of believers are sharing Christ with a lost soul they encountered on their journey that day. The Arminian inserts his “Daisy” theology into the conversation, by pulling petals out of that flower “He loves me … He loves me not … He loves me …” The Calvinist draws from his vast intellect to introduce the complexities of his flower, the “Tulip”, wondering all the time if the poor soul has been elected or not. The first century believers look at the two guests like raccoons caught in the beams of a headlight. They move to another campfire with the lost soul in tow to share the simplicity of finding and knowing Jesus. A sinner’s prayer takes place. There is rejoicing around the campfire! I wake from the dream.

      Ron Hale

      Good dream … Max. Dreams do come true.

        volfan007

        Max,

        I like your dream.

        David

Patrick

““And who were these Christians that were persecuted? Servetus? Hardly a Christian”

Well then, I guess it is ok since Servetus was not a real Christian. But Patrick, you have neglected your history. Perhaps you have simply read sanitized Reformed history?

You know the really sad part of it? Many who were persecuted are simply in the archives listed as: Child beheaded for striking parent. Many times there were no names at all but the act/punishment was recorded in the Council archives.

But my question is how we know anyone in Geneva during that time was a true believer since they were compelled to act like one or receive a visit from the magistrate? Do you not see the cognative dissonance in Calvin’s very thinking?

The Geneva Council declared in November of 1552 that Calvin’s Institutes were a “holy doctrine which no man might speak against.”

Sounds eerily familiar to some things I have read on this thread.

Try reading some Zweig, Durant, Martyrs Mirror, Verduin, etc. You will find plenty of names.

Calvin had believers who disagreed with him imprisoned and tortured. And when a professing believer does such things, we should question every word from his pen.”

While I’m not surprised that such drivel is posited from here, my mind is blown by the complaints raised against Calvin. Particularly given the beliefs of those raising the complaints. Do you not see that it was Luther and Calvin who actually understood the difference between law and gospel….the very thing you’re complaining about? Clearly not.

    Lydia

    “While I’m not surprised that such drivel is posited from here, my mind is blown by the complaints raised against Calvin. Particularly given the beliefs of those raising the complaints. Do you not see that it was Luther and Calvin who actually understood the difference between law and gospel….the very thing you’re complaining about? Clearly not.”

    Do you not realize that Luther wrote about how depraved Wittenburg was AFTER the entire episode of the Reformation…all they went through….. and Luther lamented the people were actually worse! Where was the life changing Gospel, friend?

    You forget that Luther just wanted to “reform” the Catholic church. The Theses are all about the indulgences being sold. Seriously, how could they really understand the difference when they both went along with “compelling” belief even to the point of imprisoning/torturing people…. which you call “drivel”? Do you not see the cognative dissonance in that?

      Patrick

      “Where was the life changing Gospel, friend?”

      And that will forever be your problem. The gospel isn’t about “life change,” it’s about Christ dying as a sacrifice for our sins.

        Max

        “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor 5:17)

        “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom 6:4)

        “Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.” (Eph 4:24)

        “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20)

        etc.

        Lydia

        “And that will forever be your problem. The gospel isn’t about “life change,” it’s about Christ dying as a sacrifice for our sins.”

        It is not both?

        No new creature in Christ for you?

        No “new birth” for you?

        No indwelling Holy Spirit for you?

        No growing in Holiness for you?

        Then I will keep my hand on my wallet when we meet.

          Cb scott

          Lydia,

          I do agree. That is a somewhat problematic statement, you think?

Jeremy Crowder

This is a statement that all Christians should have agreement. Traditonalists, Calvinists, Arminians, and even non-Baptists should all be for this statement. This is what it is all about spreading the Gospel and making disciples this is the primary purpose of the Church. We along with that are also called to care for widows, Orphans, and our neighbors but we best do that along with sharing the Gospel. I believe all Baptist groups historicaly have done good in this area but all of them today (I know of no exceptions right off) seem to be lacking today thus our decline among Baptists in general including Southern Baptists. This is also true among Non-Baptists from Methodists to Presbyterians everyone seems to be lacking in taking the great commission seriously.

volfan007

Robin,

In spite of all the Negative Nellies and Sour Sam’s, who come into these comment threads, you wrote a great post,here, Bro. It’s very good, and I’m glad you wrote it.

May we all rally around the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Not Calvin….not Arminius…not Wesley…not Piper…but Jesus, and Him crucified and exploding out of the grave…..

David

    Robin Foster

    Thanks David!

volfan007

Also, to all of those people, who want to re write history, learn that Calvin did rule with an iron rod. You either believed like him, or else you felt the wrath of the govt. That’s just a fact.

David

    Cb scott

    Yep

    Mike Davis

    Yeah, Calvin was sort of a brat toward the end. But the real culprit was Hobbes. He kept throwing those snowballs when Calvin wasn’t looking.

volfan007

CB,

I just named my 12 gauge shotgun “Irresistible Grace.”

David

    Darryl Hill

    Yes and sadly that is the picture you have of that doctrine. Straw men. Gotta love it. :-)

    Lydia

    “I just named my 12 gauge shotgun “Irresistible Grace.””

    You owe me a keyboard, buddy!!!!

    Randall Cofield

    David,

    I always find it amazing that some do not find the grace of God irresistible. Reminds me of a line in a hymn that is rather popular in most Baptist Churches:

    ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved.
    How precious did that grace appear,
    The hour I first believed.

    I wonder if God knows when we are offering to him as praise that which we do not actually believe?

    Soli Deo Gloria for amazing, irresistible grace!

      volfan007

      You know, I’m beginning to think that we have some people, who are anti-Traditionalist.

      David

      Don Johnson

      Randall,

      The song doesn’t say “twas grace that regenerated my heart so it could fear.” If it did, I wouldn’t sing the song.

      There no such thing as “irresistible grace”!

      I think by now even you have come to realize, faith precedes regeneration. If you are not quite there yet, I’ll be happy to supply more texts.

        Shane Dodson

        Don…

        Can anyone in the flesh please God?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          One can’t keep the law, therefore he can’t please God. In fact there are no works one can do to please God. Only faith pleases God.

Lydia

“Lydia,

Like I asked before:

“Do you ever have anything to say that does not include an ad hominem attack on John Calvin or Augustine?”

Matt,

LOL! This would be like me asking you when you are going to stop being an angry YRR. :o)

We do come from different places. I am more of a free church person where mentioning uncomfortable facts about a historical person in Christianity would not be considered an attack. And I know there are uncomfortable facts about non Calvinists, too. I don’t shy away from them when they are being “iconized”, either.

As to “ad homenim”, not sure how that applies since your doctrine goes by the same name as the person. :o)

I realize those free church days are fast coming to an end. I just hope that I would not be “disciplined” for such words and you are the powerful discipliner who is allowed to accuse according to what you would label as sin. I am a bit worried about that aspect of NC, elder rule and power in the hands of young men who lack discernment and wisdom. Or even older Reformed icons like Mahaney and Driscoll who ‘disciplined’ people for much less according to the surivors of SGM or Mars Hill.

Lydia

“What utter nonsense.

It would serve you well do study your history, Lydia.

Here is a good place to start…

http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?457

Calvin had no such power.

Do you hate these doctrines so much that you are willing to smear the names of men who the Lord used so mightily to continue the spread of the Gospel?

That is truly tragic.”

Shane, I must have missed this earlier. Sweetie, You need to get out of your Reformed bubble. I have read a ton from Banner of Truth which is mostly sanitized Reformed history. Always read “around” every subject in history. Read both sides (Political, theological, etc), delve into archives that are available. Ironically, many Reformed archives as such were not available until after WW2 and it took a while for scholars and researchers to get to them and write. Never EVER trust one source even if they are “Christians”.

After one cursory glance at your link, I spotted 2 items presented as facts that can be proved wrong by documented archival history if one cared enough to delve in. I can give you a hint. If Calvin was NOT involved as the link presents it then why did he write a letter to his friend lamenting his treatement by people for his role in the affair? The letter is in archival history. And documentation that Calvin was directing the affair through his emissary.

If I relied on Banner of Truth, I would think John Knox was a persecuted cuddly teddy bear not the fact he was a man who plotted murder against Lord Darnely, wrote a sermon justifying it and married a 16 year old when he was in his 50’s that even creeped out his parishoners. Nevermind the monsterous regiment of women. :o)

    Shane Dodson

    “If I relied on Banner of Truth…”

    Well, it’s obvious you don’t practice what we like to call “interaction of ideas,” so I’m not entirely sure what you rely on…other than what justifies your traditions.

    I’m pretty certain your traditions don’t inform your rudeness, though.

    You’ve clearly shown you’re not interested in dialogue.

    Moving on…

Shane Dodson

“I realize those free church days are fast coming to an end. I just hope that I would not be “disciplined” for such words and you are the powerful discipliner who is allowed to accuse according to what you would label as sin. I am a bit worried about that aspect of NC, elder rule and power in the hands of young men who lack discernment and wisdom. Or even older Reformed icons like Mahaney and Driscoll who ‘disciplined’ people for much less according to the surivors of SGM or Mars Hill.”

Wow…bitterness much?

t.r.

Author of the “traditional statement”, Eric Hankins, denies even the need for prevenient grace, making him the new Pelagius:

“Nothing in Scripture indicates that humans have been rendered “totally depraved” through Adam’s sin. Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith, a condition which then required some sort of restoration by regeneration or prevenient grace.”
-Eric Hankins in part 4 of his series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism” found here on the SBCToday archives in April.

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