An Introduction to “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

May 30, 2012


by Dr. Eric Hankins
Pastor of First Baptist Church
Oxford, Mississippi


A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf
(Right click on link to save a pdf version of this document).


The following is a suggested statement of what Southern Baptists believe about the doctrine of salvation. Compiled by a number of pastors, professors, and leaders in response to the growing debate over Calvinism in Southern Baptist life, it begins with a rationale for such a statement at this time, followed by ten articles of affirmation and denial.  The goal was to create a statement that would accurately reflect the beliefs of the majority of Southern Baptists, who are not Calvinists. The concern of the developers of this statement was that the viewpoint of this majority was not well-represented by the term “non-Calvinist” and that an instrument was needed by which that majority might articulate positively what they believe vis-à-vis Calvinism. There is no thought that this document reflects what all Southern Baptists believe or that it should be imposed upon all Southern Baptists. We believe that it does reflect what most Southern Baptists believe for good, biblical reasons. Its purpose is to engender a much needed Convention-wide discussion about the place of Calvinism in Southern Baptist life. If this Statement is reflective of your understanding of the doctrine of salvation in the life of the Convention, we would love for you to add your endorsement. To do so, see the instructions at the end of the statement and list of signers.


A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of
God’s Plan of Salvation

Preamble

Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusively Calvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.

While Calvinists have been present in Southern Baptist life from its earliest days and have made very important contributions to our history and theology, the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism. Even the minority of Southern Baptists who have identified themselves as Calvinists generally modify its teachings in order to mitigate certain unacceptable conclusions (e.g., anti-missionism, hyper-Calvinism, double predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The very fact that there is a plurality of views on Calvinism designed to deal with these weaknesses (variously described as “3-point,” “4-point,” “moderate,” etc.) would seem to call for circumspection and humility with respect to the system and to those who disagree with it.  For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but “non-essential” theological matters. The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this long-standing arrangement.

We propose that what most Southern Baptists believe about salvation can rightly be called “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology, which should be understood in distinction to “Calvinist” soteriology. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is articulated in a general way in the Baptist Faith and Message, “Article IV.” While some earlier Baptist confessions were shaped by Calvinism, the clear trajectory of the BF&M since 1925 is away from Calvinism. For almost a century, Southern Baptists have found that a sound, biblical soteriology can be taught, maintained, and defended without subscribing to Calvinism. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is grounded in the conviction that every person can and must be saved by a personal and free decision to respond to the Gospel by trusting in Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord. Without ascribing to Calvinism, Southern Baptists have reached around the world with the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Baptists have been well-served by a straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.

New Calvinism presents us with a duty and an opportunity to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation. It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism. While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.

Below is what we believe to be the essence of a “Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” We believe that most Southern Baptists, regardless of how they have described their personal understanding of the doctrine of salvation, will find the following statement consistent with what the Bible teaches and what Southern Baptists have generally believed about the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Articles of Affirmation and Denial

Article One: The Gospel

We affirm that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person. This is in keeping with God’s desire for every person to be saved.

 

We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.

Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:1-12; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Luke 19.10; Luke 24:45-49; John 1:1-18, 3:16; Romans 1:1-6, 5:8; 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 4:4-7; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9

Article Two: The Sinfulness of Man

We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6; Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15

Article Three: The Atonement of Christ

We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.

We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will. We deny that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.

Psalm 22:1-31; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 12:32, 14:6; Acts 10:39-43; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 10:1-18; I John 1:7; 2:2

Article Four: The Grace of God

We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.

We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.

Ezra 9:8; Proverbs 3:34; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 19:16-30, 23:37; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24, 27-28; 5:6, 8, 15-21; Galatians 1:6; 2:21; 5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:2-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 4:16; 9:28; 1 John 4:19

Article Five: 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

Article Six: The Election to Salvation

We affirm that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.

We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.

 

Genesis 1:26-28; 12:1-3; Exodus 19:6; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 24:31; 25:34; John 6:70; 15:16; Romans 8:29-30, 33;9:6-8; 11:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2:11-22; 3:1-11; 4:4-13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 7:9-10

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

Article Eight: The Free Will of Man

We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

Genesis 1:26-28; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 8:1-22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; Esther 3:12-14; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:20-24; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-24; 13:34; 15:17-20; Romans 10:9-10; Titus 2:12; Revelation 22:17

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

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


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 email sbctoday@gmail.com, with the following:

Name, Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example:
John Doe, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Anytown, LA
or
Jane Doe, member, First Baptist Church, Anytown, LA
or
Jamie Doe, Professor, Some Seminary, Anytown, LA

 

 

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Jeff Douglas

While you are investing untold hours in compiling this statement and fighting against the calvinists with whom you obviously feel at enmity, those calvinists are out telling people about Jesus and inviting them to repent and believe on him alone for the forgiveness of their sins. I pray that God would deliver us from your divisive efforts, so no more precious time is wasted. Your effort to “identify the place of calvinism in Southern Baptist life” simply serves to identify your misplaced priorities. I have seen nothing similar from calvinists trying to identify the place of arminianism in Southern Baptist Life. All the calvinist I know are too busy making disciples of ALL nations to bother with such trivial matters as how they are viewed among Southern Baptists.

    Tim Rogers

    Jeff,

    Keep up the good work. Praying for you as you witness and offer the Gospel to all.

    Lisa Brown

    I couldn’t have said it better.

    whomhewill

    I’m glad you stated: “calvinists trying to identify the place of arminianism in Southern Baptist Life,” It gives those who want to research the topic something to go by. Jacob Armenius is to non-calvinists as Calvin is to calvinists. So why are the Calvinists labeled as following a man and the Armenians are seen as being opposed to following Calvin or any man? Is it so that Calvin can be opposed rather than the doctrines of grace and the verses used to support them? Holding to the sovereignty of God through the doctrines of grace is not Calvinism. In order to be a calvinist you would have to hold to all of his teachings which includes infant baptism among other things that have nothing to do with election. Luther was a Calvinist if it just means believing in sovereign grace.
    I went to a fundamental baptist church when Jesus saved me. I would get a “Sword of the Lord” every Sunday because I particularly liked the C.H. Spurgeon sermons that were in it. I finally bought a whole book of his sermons. To my surprise I discovered that the Sword of the Lord had edited out the parts on election and sovereign grace. That is when I became a “Spurgeonite” or “Spurgenian.” See? It’s ridiculous. Before Armenius tried to reform the reformation around 1604 almost all theologians preached predestination. Calvin was already dead. And Arminianism didn’t take hold until John Wesley founded the Methodist movement in the late 1700’s. Arminianism itself has become one of the dominant theological systems in the United States, thanks in large part to the influence of John and Charles Wesley.
    So is this what it comes down to if we are to label each other as anything but Christian: If I say “When I got saved,” I am an Arminian. If I say “When Jesus saved me,” I am a Calvinist.

      Josh Rusev

      Well said. Thank you for making this distinction. It’s important that we not say that some of us are of Paul and some are of Apollos.

        Andrew Silver

        What a difficult issue since so many Calvinist are in the SBC. “But when he the Spirit of truth shall come, he shall guide you into all truth.” God did this for me on this issue, pray that he reveals the truth! No lie is afraid of the truth! When I got saved, I learned God “so loved” the world, not the elect. I am grateful to the God I serve, a God whose grace is in all the earth for men to believe.

    Pastor Josh Buice

    Jeff – I appreciate your words and I agree. My response – A Response to “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” – The Religious Version of the Hatfields & McCoys: http://deliveredbygrace.com/?p=3010

      krista sander

      excellent and grace-filled response!

    Mark Payton

    Jeff during those untold hours you are referring please tell me how many people you pleaded with to repent. And why is it every time we disagree with you all we are at enmity

      Jeff Douglas

      I plead for repentance from all those to whom I am privileged to proclaim the gospel, without exception. The authors of this document expressed the enmity, not me.

    Tom Short

    Jeff
    I pray that God would deliver us from your divisive efforts.

      william detzel

      Tom,

      Jeff is not the one being divisive. The BF&M has already delineated what they believe. The author and signatories of this suggested statement are espousing what amounts to semi-pelagianism. Everything that the Southern Baptist Convention (regardless of where one stands on Calvinism) abhors. As Jeff has already stated, he’s not the one being divisive. This ‘suggested statement’ has already done that.

    Steve Vines

    While I agree, to a point, with the untold hours of work put into these and other statements. They can be helpful. Also, it’s funny that you say “All the calvinist I know are too busy making disciples of ALL nations to bother with such trivial matters…” when my experience has been the opposite. On a side note Al Mohler’s response to this was killer..http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/06/06/southern-baptists-and-salvation-its-time-to-talk/

    Mike

    Apparently one of them wasn’t.
    ; ) And what would it matter anyway?

    Matthew McClellan

    I affirm your thoughts and statements. Furthermore, I contend that the majority of Southern Baptists do not even contemplate this and other weightier doctrinal positions unless prevailed upon to do so after receiving some distorted view of Reformed Theology. Moreover, I do not believe that any statement produced in favor of or opposition to Calvinism or Arminianism will ever produce as much unity as it will division.
    LET IT REST and let’s stay busy sharing the gospel!

      Wayne Myrick

      Very well put thanks for adding this to the discussion.

    David Perry

    Jeff, I’m surprised you took time away from making disciples so that you could ward off this divisiveness.

    I just love irony.

    Brady Hardin

    Though I agree with the majority of your statement, I think we would be wise to avoid arguments based on experiences with people. I encourage all of us to look at the facts with grace.

    Todd

    Jeff, if it was a waste of time for this group to put together their statement, is it possible that it was a waste of time for you to respond? Personally, I don’t like seeing a lot of time and energy expended on these types of endeavors, but there are times when a precise theological response is necessary. I applaud the work of the group who put this statement together and plan to add my signature ASAP. Now let’s all get about kingdom business. It might surprise each of us to find how many folks God has elected unto salvation if we’ll actually get out and tell others about Jesus.

    Jim Hanratty

    Even if you believe Acts 2 was the start of the body of Christ, the church, you must agree that the church had not even started yet. The *great commission* was NOT to the body of Christ, the Church, it was to Christ’s disciples during t…he Kingdom program for Israel.

    Our commission is fund in 2 Cor. 20:19, 20:
    19. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    20. Now then **we are ambassadors for Christ,** as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

      Simon Hodgman

      Hi Jim, with respect, I would have to disagree with you here. Explicitly within the great commission is the command to teach *all things* that Christ has commanded:
      ” Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
      Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt 28:19-20)
      *All things* will of course include the great commission itself – it is an example of, in the terminology of Douglas Hofstadter, a “strange loop”. The self-referential nature of its formulation means that it perpetuates itself as an unavoidable mandate for each and every christian disciple until our master returns in His glory.

    Dr. Shelby Delaney

    Ephesians 1:5-6 “5 Having predestinated children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted [born again] in the beloved.”

    To deny that God had predistened those who would be saved is to deny Paul’s writing to the Ephesians. By stating ” We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.”, the framers of this Doctrinal Statement has denied the Holy Scriptures. Have these framers read the book of Romans about the potter and the clay? Can these framers interpret this Scripture?

    Why are these writers so intiminated by “The New Calvinists?” I am in total agreement with Jeff Douglas. Haven’t Southern Baptists more to do than cause divisions between those in their own group. I am a Southern Baptist who used to be Arminian and am now Calvinist. This change has been fostered by a thorough study of the Scripture. SBC leaders – get with the real program — SPREADING THE GOSPEL !!!!!

      Chris Donahue

      There are two views on how “predestined” and “chosen” are used in these cases. Keep in mind that when “predestined” and
      “chosen” are used, the focus subject is always a believer. Thusly the typical tulipean (5 point Calvinist) view
      of how these words are used is given by this summation: God, a gagillion years ago, decided that John Doe born in 1904 would
      become an adopted son, and would be conformed to the image of Christ. Sally Smith, born in 1948 would become…. etc, etc,
      etc. The non-tulipean (typical Southern Baptist) view is this: God, a gagillion years ago, decided that all who repented and
      believed in Jesus, would become adopted sons/daughters, and would be conformed to the image of Christ. For this viewpoint,
      the “predestined” and “chosen” only applies to a person’s identity in Christ and not otherwise. The tulipean viewpoint of
      predestination is in conflict with many verses given above in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist…” The
      non-tulipean viewpoint of predestination does not conflict with any bible verse. The typical Southern Baptist agrees with Paul below:
      Acts 26 (New International Version)
      28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can *persuade* me to be a Christian?” 29Paul replied, “Short time or long-I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

      earl simmons

      So what do Calvinists tell their children..I’m sorry but I do not know if you will be going to heaven or hell,but we will keep having babies!!!!!

    Chris Donahue

    (((((((A Summary of the New Testament)))))))
    [>] God wants all to be saved:
    2 Peter 3:9 (New International Version)
    9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    1 Timothy 2:1 (New International Version)
    1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
    be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (related see also Heb 12:14-17)

    John 3:16 (New International Version)
    16″For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    ….So to make possible
    [>] Christ died for all:
    2 Corinthians 5:15 (New International Version)
    15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

    1 Peter 3:18 (New International Version)
    18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

    1 John 2:2 (New International Version)
    2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    1 Timothy 4:10 (New International Version)
    10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

    1 Timothy 1:15 (New International Version)
    15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

    …thusly:
    [>] God commands that the Gospel be spread to all:
    Matthew 28:19 (New International Version)
    19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

    Acts 13:47 (New International Version)
    47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
    ” ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

    Acts 1:8 (New International Version)
    8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    ……..Why spread the Gospel to all?
    [>] The Gospel is the power of God for salvation..:
    Romans 10:13 (New International Version)
    13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are
    the feet of those who bring good news!”

    Romans 1:16 (New International Version)
    16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

    Acts 11 (New International Version)
    13He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’

    [>] Warning to those who reject or disobey the Gospel:
    2 Thessalonians 1:8 (New International Version)
    8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

    1 Peter 4:17 (New International Version)
    17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    Acts 13:46 (New International Version)
    46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

    Romans 2:8 (New International Version)
    8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

    Acts 7:51 (New International Version)
    51″You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

    2 Thessalonians 2:10 (New International Version)
    10and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

    Jason Mahill

    Jeff,

    The only unfortunate thing is no one was willing to call out the Calvinists or “Reformed” preachers on the real problem until. This statement summed up the problem very diplomatically by saying that in the past the TULIP preachers were once content with being a part of SB life without imposing pushing for a takeover meant to exclude all others including Free Grace and Dispensational teachers. While I would love nothing more than to see SB Convention exclude and revoke the ordination of any a group like the irritating and annoying KJV Onlyists that are still a small minority in SB life, that’s simply not how Southern Baptist’s do things. Unfortunately, the TULIP preachers are clearly pushing for the exclusion of all others while pushing for seminaries to be places of “Reformed” indoctrination.

    The relational problem is this. Many of the non SB “Reformed” pastors here in California and those that come from the midwest and south that come to serve in SB churches are abrasive and divisive. My opinion is that they generally look up to Mark Driscol and are trying to mimic his style and personality because it appeals to Driscol’s crowd. The problem is that Driscol has charm to go with it that I have not seen in any other pastor or teacher. So either acquire the charm Driscol uses or do what my close SB TULIP and “Reformed” friends do here in CA, have some humility.

    Also, the “we’re out there saving souls and making disciples” argument is only used by Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, KJV Onlyists, JAck Hyles Fans, and cult followers like Mormans, JWs, and Apostolics. In short, it’s the argument made by ignorant fools.

Debbie Kaufman

How long would you guys have kept this under wraps if it had not been exposed by Tom Ascol? Unwrap it at the Convention?

Debbie Kaufman

This is dirty politics plain and simple. I respected all of you till now.

    volfan007

    Wow, Debbie. unbelievable.

    David

      Debbie Kaufman

      No David, this document is unbelievable.

        kyle.mullaney

        Agreed! Point two is simply unbiblical! It is just the opposite of what the bible teaches!
        Half of their cited verses have nothing to do with sin and judgement. Those that do if taken without the context given by Paul would support their point BUT scripture, ALL relevant portions, interperates scripture. We must take the whole council. Article two denies what Paul teaches in Romans and it denies what Christ says in John 3:17,18, 19, AND 20. which is the context that Jesus gives to 3:16. That demonstrates the limitlessness of God’s grace and under scores what Paul says, for while we were yet SINNERS Christ died for the ungodly. Paul’s says we’re saved not from sin but the wrath of God due us, we are saved from the wages of our sin!

    Jack Maddox

    Debbie – it has been to long! Although I am still reading and digesting this article/affirmation and have not weighed in, and in no way am ready to affirm it in its entirety, I must correct you in two areas concerning your un – Christlike statement. #1) It is not dirty politics – it is a doctrinal affirmation and statement. #2) You never respected us.

    I am glad you mentioned Tom Ascol – you would do well to learn from him concerning grace and disagreement with your brothers and sisters in Christ. He is a gentleman and a scholar. As for you, well you’re just mad.

      Debbie Kaufman

      Yes Jack I am angry. You are right on this. If you remember I did not want one person excluded over secondary and lower issues, I still don’t. But it seems when I think unity is within site, things like this during Convention time crop up. Let’s see 20 years and more now of infighting? Yes, I’m angry.

        Brady Hardin

        Debbie, I feel your angry is merited. Your anger is not mutually exclusive with respect. I felt you needed to hear that.

          Lou N

          The SBC is losing members, and what better way is to bring in the old standby, free will as an entertainment issue. What a bunch of Show people.

      Ted Frazier

      Jack, we already have a “doctrinal affirmation and statement” it is called the Baptist Faith and Message.

Clark Dunlap

“There is no thought that this document reflects what all Southern Baptists believe or that it should be imposed upon all Southern Baptists.” And, “While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family…” both of these statements are important and, I hope, adhered to, because this looks a lot like a creed. It seems to me the BF&M is quite sufficient to articulate what we believe without this statement.
The fact that the clarifications above have to be stated implies a desire for this to be accepted in some official capacity by the SBC.
What is really troublesome to me is the clear acceptance of decisional regeneration/salvation without any enabling from Christ. Of course that follows to a certain degree if you deny that the fall has affected man’s will. It seems these people might as well be Free-Will Baptists as Southern Baptists.
Knowing some of the people on this list to be people of good character (not implying that any aren’t I just don’t know them personally) I have every reason to believe that they do not intend to make this a creed. But, I don’t know about the primary authors. What is their motivation? Is it all spelled out in the document? Or is there more?

    Tim Rogers

    Clark,

    What you see is what you get. This is the most transparent document that has come out in a long time.

Bill Mac

Surely no one is surprised by this? I would encourage my Calvinist brethren to not spend time engaging this. It is futile.

    Tim Rogers

    Bill,

    Yea, that is exactly what you and your Calvinist brethren need to do.

Bob Hadley

May God bless the future of the SBC. As some have well said, God does not need the SBC; the SBC needs God. America and the world need a healthy SBC. There are those who maintain the answer to a healthier SBC will be found in a Reformed future. I respectfully disagree.

Make no mistake about it, the soteriological position of Southern Baptists is vitally important. I do not believe anyone would disagree with this statement. There is serious disagreement on the essential elements of salvation that needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed today.

While we, the non-calvinist Baptist and the Calvinist Baptist may BOTH be wrong, it needs to be understood that we cannot both be right. Calvinists have brought this issue to the forefront in the entities of the SBC and because of the deliberate efforts of a few, this issue is now an issue for all concerned Southern Baptists. If we as non-calvinists sit back and let things take their natural course, the SBC of the future will be of a reformed brand. If that is fine with you, that is fine. If it is not, then now is the time to stand up and speak out and this document is a great place to make your position clearly known.

I have a full formal response to this document at my web site. May God bless the churches of the SBC; may God bless America and the world for His glory and our benefit. May God bless each of us so that we can be a blessing to those around us as well as to those around the world.

><>” Bob Hadley, Pastor, Westside Baptist Church, (SBC) Daytona Beach, FL

    Christian

    In my opinion you have stated the truth in this matter, very gracefully, I might add. Thank you so much for representing the majority of Southern Baptists. How can two walk together unless they be agreed? Of course they can not. As a contributing member of a local SBC church I don’t want my offering supporting any calvinism. Is it so wrong to feel that way, when our theology is so different? Not at all. I want to support ministries who agree with my understanding of the scriptures. New calvinism certainly doesn’t represent me as a Southern Baptist.

    James H

    I must press you to read Article V and the BF&M concerning those things found in Article V. If you agree with this document as is, you must also disagree with the very document that you affirm as a Southern Baptist. I, for one, hold to the BF&M. It is the uniting umbrella of doctrine for all Southern Baptists. To deny part is to deny the whole. Please reconsider your statement in light of this. To the glory of God and unity of His people -James H

      Christian

      I would rather have division with truth than unity with error!

      Timothy

      To deny part is NOT to deny the whole.

        Sam

        When we are talking about Statements of Faith and clear deviation from the stated position then to deny part is to throw out the whole thing. The statement becomes arbitrary. We have to be in consensus with the entire document and not hold contradictory positions. If we hold contradictory positions then we need to reject the entire document and propose a new one.

    J

    If God unconditionally elected everyone and no one went to hell,would you still be unhappy with Calvinism? Now you made the right decision for God with a fallen nature and Adam made the wrong choice with a holy nature. Have you ever considered how remarkable that is? Who controls the distribution of the gospel message? Since your free-will gained God’s favor and your redemption,how much of the glory are you due? Have you ever prayed for God to save someone who was not interested in Salvation? That is a no-no for your theology. Do you do it anyway?Do you tell God to His face that you praise yourself for responding to His grace. Why not? It’s what you claim.

Brad Whitt

Eric, thank you for your leadership, thoughtfulness and wisdom. This statement clearly expresses what I, and many other Southern Baptists, believe about the doctrine of salvation. Great job! I look fwd to seeing, and voting for you in NOLA.

    Concerned Layman

    God have mercy. Eric Hankins will serve to divide this convention as his father is serving to rid Louisiana of Calvinists. May God give us non Calvinist leaders NOT antiCalvinist leaders.

      Mike

      “May God give us non Calvinist leaders NOT antiCalvinist leaders.”
      Well said Brad!

    Timothy

    Amen

Andrew Wencl

Is this to be presented at the convention meeting?

Also, I can see some churches adopting this statement as one of their statements of faith. Will the non-Calvinists denounce this practice as they have denounced SBC churches that affirm a Calvinist soteriology in their faith statements?

    Adam Harwood

    Andrew,
    Hello, brother. As one signer of the document, I’ll be happy to contribute my two cents. I would oppose the idea of churches adopting this as a statement of faith. I would be surprised if anyone signing it has that intention. It’s far too narrow. It is only addressing one doctrine, soteriology (and some other doctrines tangentially).
    And for what it’s worth: Please count me as a non-Calvinist brother who does not denounce any SBC church for its choice of doctrinal statements. Some churches adopt the BFM (various years) and others like to reach back into previous centuries for other historical doctrinal statements. Other SBC churches draft their own doctrinal statements. By participating in SBC polity, I agree to allow other churches to function as autonomous bodies under the Lordship of Christ. No church answers to me for their doctrinal statement. If those statements are unorthodox, then associations of churches may choose to disfellowship the church, but that is a different matter.
    I hope my comment addresses your concern.
    Blessings, brother.
    In Him,
    Adam
    PS) I am not logged in to this page–and cannot figure out how to do so. Duh. If I don’t reply, then it’s because I didn’t know you wrote and didn’t see it in these 400+ comments. If interested, then you can reach me through Facebook.

Steve Gaines

Very good document. Not divisive. Truth spoken in love. Calvinists should welcome this statement of beliefs from brothers and sisters who differ from their views regarding “the doctrines of grace.” This document represents what the vast majority of Southern Baptists believe, and it is a VERY welcome statement. I encourage people to share it in their churches and through every avenue possible. I believe Herschel Hobbs would be proud. 3 John 2, Steve Gaines

    Chris Roberts

    Two points in regards to your comments:

    1) Not divisive? The whole document is “We affirm” and “We deny.” That naturally divides. Religious leaders (specifically we Protestants) have long been dividing ourselves based on various issues.

    2) “Herschel Hobbs would be proud.” That’s not who I’m concerned about.

      Tim Rogers

      Chris,

      The whole document is “We affirm” and “We deny.” That naturally divides.

      So, if that is a fact it seems you believe this group is divisive as their statement is a “we believe”; “we do not believe” as seenhere

        Chris Roberts

        Acts 29 != SBC. Acts 29 is clear on their theological position and they are intentionally Reformed whereas the SBC is intentionally neutral.

          Leslie Puryear

          No, we’re intentionally biblical.

          Chris Roberts

          And some of us think the bibical teachings are reflected in Calvinist theology, and some do not, and we have room for both.

    Kyle Thomas

    With all due respect, Dr. Gaines, Herschel Hobbs was a consensus-builder. He worked to bring Baptists together.

    I seriously doubt he would have put his name to a document with language so narrow it would exclude “traditionalists” like E.Y. Mullins, W.A. Criswell and R.G. Lee.

      Adam Harwood

      Kyle,

      Good to meet you, brother. I agree with you on two points: Dr. Hobbs was a consensus-builder and Dr. Gaines is due respect.

      I do question, though, the basis of your claim that Mullins and other Baptist statesmen would not have signed this statement. Take EY Mullins, for example. He rejected the doctrine of inherited guilt, which is precisely the claim of this document. Mullins argued that man is not guilty because of his nature (Mullins, Studies in Ephesians, 62-63). Also, according to Mullins, man is not guilty because he was represented by Adam in the Garden or because we were seminally present in Adam. Rather, man “is guilty when he does wrong” (Mullins, The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression, 294). For Mullins, Adam’s guilt is not imputed to humanity. Mullins explained, “Men are not condemned therefore for hereditary or original sin. They are condemned only for their own sins” (Mullins, The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression, 302). I have cited for you reasons why I think that even including the most controversial point of this document, denial of imputed guilt, Mullins would affirm the document. I’m curious to know the basis for your claim that Mullins would not sign the document?

      Blessings, brother.

      In Him,
      Adam

      PS) If I do not reply immediately, it is because I am unable to figure out how to sign into this web page so that I receive notifications. Simple, right? Ha. I can’t do it.

        Kyle Thomas

        Hi Adam,

        You might be right on Mullins regarding original sin, but the BF&M 1925 which he helped draft implies (at the very least) inherited guilt.

        Still, Mullins would not have been able to sign the Traditionalist document because of its affirmation of “corporate” as opposed to “individual” election.

        For example:
        Article 6: We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation…

        Mullins in his systematic theology: “Does God choose men to salvation because of their good works or because he foresees they will believe when the gospel is preached to them? … The Scriptures answer this question in the negative. The gospel is efficacious with some and not efficacious with others because God’s grace is operative in the one case beyond the degree of its action in the other.”

        Just my take!

      Adam Neel

      Not only that but the man that Dr. Gaines (Adrian Rodgers) replaced was instrumental in writing the BF&M 2000 that included both the monergists and the synergists in the SBC umbrella.

Jack Woodard

Where in the Bible is strict Calvinism or strict Arminianism taught? I believe that most Baptist’s, whether Southern or otherwise believe the Bible teaches a mixture of both views and not a strict adherence to either view. I would guess that is what this Statement is actually saying.

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Jack,

    You are spot on!

    Pastor Bill Swartz

    The truth must lie in the middle for both exsist in God’s word.

Alan Cross

Your denial in Article Two says,

“We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

Are you sure you want to put it that way? That strikes dangerously close to Finney’s perspective and paves the road to Pelagianism, in my opinion. I see your affirmations there, but Psalm 51:5 asserts: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

I am not a Calvinist, but this statement does not speak for me. It should lean more heavily on God’s grace and initiative, it should clarify the language on our sinful state from conception, and it should place us more clearly at God’s mercy.

This is just an opinion from someone that you are trying to speak for. And, I have no problem with you trying to articulate a theological position on salvation that is clear. Calvinists have done this for years and are fine with it. Being a “non-Calvinist” is not a descriptor of a theological position. It just says what you are not. An atheist is technically a “non-Calvinist.” But, I think this document should move more towards the initiative of God in salvation and away from such a strong focus on human will and decision. Both are in play and there is mystery there.

Calvinists have added a lot to the SBC in just getting the focus off of us and getting it back on God. We are indebted to them, even if we do not fully ascribe to their perspective.

    Bart Barber

    Alan,

    Do you think that’s a good translation of Psalm 51:5? I think that’s a prime example of the worst feature of the NIV—their willingness to “smooth” and “simplify” a verse by rewording it in a way that eliminates alternate interpretations and locks in the one that they have favored (with little regard for the structure of the underlying Hebrew or Greek).

    Looking at this in Hebrew, David does not explicitly say that the sin at his conception and birth was his own. He doesn’t say that he was sinful at either of those times. Rather, he says that his conception was “in sin” and his birth was “in iniquity.”

    Perhaps he’s saying that his father and mother were sinners when they conceived and delivered him? That he’s lived in nothing but a sinful world since he was born? Clearly in the second clause “my mother” is the subject of the sentence, and the act of conception is that which took place “in sin.” That’s just the grammar of the phrase.

    One can interpret that to be a statement about David’s own guilt from birth. I’m not trying to rule out that interpretation. Rather, I’m trying to show what I think is the clear plausibility of another interpretation of Psalm 51:5.

      Brian Daniels

      I think Alan’s concern is right on the money: there are some serious theological problems in this denial, not least in the obscuring of God’s grace. As a seminary student who has been observing this debate in the SBC for some time, I must say that much of what goes under the rubric of “non-Calvinism” (or whatever moniker one is comfortable with) seems to be little more than semi-Pelagianism. Even John Wesley–obviously no friend of Calvinism–believed that man’s freedom was lost in the fall of Adam, only to be restored through God’s universal prevenient grace. Such a perspective is perfectly orthodox–and does not entail in the least that one must go on to accept conditional perseverance–so why should Southern Baptists be so reticent to accept it?

      As to Bart’s contention that Psalm 51:5 need not refer to original sin, I can do no better than refer to a point Wayne Grudem has made concerning this passage. To say that v. 5 refers to anything other than David’s sin is to ignore the psalm in its entirety. The whole chapter is about David’s sinfulness, not his mother’s and not the world’s. Alan’s reading of this text is thus far more contextually warranted than are Bart’s suggestions. With regard to Bart’s comments on the grammar of the verse–well, even he says that the original-sin interpretation is a possibility, grammar notwithstanding. When one takes context into account, it seems that this interpretation moves from simply possible to highly likely.

      Alan Cross

      Bart,

      Before I debate you on the interpretation of Psalm 51:5, am I to assume that the perspective of this document is that we are not totally depraved? That we are not imputed with guilt from Adam as our federal head of humanity or that we were not born with original sin? I just want to ask that first, because I was not under the impression that the varying camps were in disagreement on that point. I thought that the primary disagreements were in regard to Limited Atonement and Irresistable Grace.

      My perspective on Total Depravity is that we are born sinful and in bondage to sin and frustration and decay as part of the Creation that was affected by sin because of Adam’s sin and the resulting curse, and even moreso as image bearers of God who had lost relationship with Him. But, like I think this document is trying to get at here, the Total Depravity that we have encounter means that we were separated from God, cannot get back to Him, and have been affected by sin in all aspects. We should not take that too far, however, and take it to mean that no one can desire God, seek after Him, be aware of His working, or respond to Him without being regenerated first, despite how some read Romans 3:9-18 or Ephesians 2:1-3 as being total and complete. We would have to rewrite the entirety of the Old Testament to really get at that perspective, I think, and throw out Cornelius in Acts 10-11 as well. So, I think I see the thrust here, but when it seems to abandon the idea of original sin and locate sin/guilt in our first sinful actions, then I think it moves towards Pelagianism. I am not saying that the document intends that. I am saying that that is how it reads at that point and a clarification would be helpful if that is not intended.

      Just asking that first before I dive into Psalm 51:5 and the other passages that seem to indicate that we are indeed sinful and under Adam’s curse from birth.

        Bob Hadley

        Alan,

        Allow me to comment on something you wrote; I am sure Bart will share his thoughts to your questions. I wanted to highlight the following statement you made:

        “But, like I think this document is trying to get at here, the Total Depravity that we have encounter means that we were separated from God, cannot get back to Him, and have been affected by sin in all aspects. We should not take that too far, however, and take it to mean that no one can desire God, seek after Him, be aware of His working, or respond to Him without being regenerated first, despite how some read Romans 3:9-18 or Ephesians 2:1-3 as being total and complete.”

        I do not believe the Bible teaches Total Depravity and I can find NO direct references to anything even close to it in the OT. I agree with Bart’s rendering of Psalm 51. In saying this, it is not that man is not depraved that I believe anyone has a problem; it is the extent of that depravity that is cause for concern.

        Your statement is indeed interesting where you caution against taking depravity “too far” but without the distinction of total inability, calvinism fails its own position and that is the problem. As for any road to “pelagianism” that is not the case because no one here is advocating a position where man has any possible potential in and of himself to please God; the problem is with respect to regeneration being the necessary element from God that enables the unregenerate to be able to respond positively to the gospel. This is the heart and soul of calvinism and is the primary point of contention for me.

        ><>”

          Bob Hadley

          In re-reading my statement, the following was not well written: As for any road to “pelagianism” that is not the case because no one here is advocating a position where man has any possible potential in and of himself to please God; God is the initiator of salvation and the giver of salvation and apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and the revelatory work of the Word of God, salvation would not be possible at all.

          The primary problem is with respect to regeneration being the necessary element from God (which is more than simple conviction of one’s lost position) that enables the unregenerate to be able to respond positively to the gospel for the counter position has to be true, that apart from the regenerating work of God Himself in an individual’s heart, no one will be saved. This is the heart and soul of calvinism and is the primary point of contention for me.

          ><>”

          tug erwin

          What about the holiness of almighty God??

          Robert Vaughn

          Bob, you wrote, “I do not believe the Bible teaches Total Depravity…” I respect your straightforward and clear statement, though I disagree. My question, though, is do you believe your statement is in keeping with “the traditional Southern Baptist understanding of God’s plan of salvation?” Or put another way, haven’t “non-Calvinist” Southern Baptists traditionally or typically stated their belief in “Total Depravity”? Thanks.

          Bob Hadley

          Robert,

          Thank you for your response. My theological perspective has nothing to do with the traditional view of anyone. Now, with respect to your question, my problem with total depravity has more to do with the meaning associated with the terminology than the terminology itself. So as I answer your question about what I believe the traditional or mainstream position of SB on total depravity, my answer would be as follows:

          First of all, most SB’s probably have any idea what total depravity even means. With that being said, explain the term asking if men are depraved… or sinners in need of a Savior and incapable of saving themselves, 99% hands go up in affirmation.

          Now.. explain total depravity in a total inability framework and 90%+ I believe vote “NO.”

          ><>”

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Do you believe bones rejoice?

        Do you believe hyssop purifies?

        Is there a chance that David is being hyperbolic?

        Do you believe sin is a “substance” in the womb that gets all over humans and (no doubt) needs to be washed off by dunking babies in water?

        I do not claim to fully know what David intends to say about his mum, but I know what he isn’t saying…

        Sin is breaking the law of God. It is not “icky-icky goo” or whatever.

        I affirm federal headship of Adam, in the sense that he was humanity’s representative. But Ezek 18 makes sense to me on whether or not we are “imputed with Adam’s guilt”.

        Rather, if there is an “imputation”, (to use that language) we are “imputed with Adam’s consequences”.

        Not all theology must be done between Calvinism/Arminianism and Augustinian/Pelagian frameworks…This is part of what the statement is about. Moving away from useless categories.

        Here is what I know on the subject. Augustine made up a lot of extra-Biblical conjecture regarding this (and other things no doubt).

        Here is what the Bible teaches explicitly:

        We inherit a death nature (1 Cor. 15:22) and that sin reigns in death (Rom. 5:21), causing all to sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 5:12).

        As a consequence of the fall, all humans are born completely separated from the immediate presence of God (namely, the Holy Spirit, otherwise, I can not make ANYTHING out of what people mean by “spiritually dead”, unless they mean “without the (capital S) Spirit), and thus “totally depraved” with everyone needing God’s grace prior to faith, to use that sort of language.

        God consigned all to disobedience because God’s judgment RESULTED in condemnation for everyone (Rom. 5:16, 11:32), BUT God did not create all disobedient (i.e. sinful) inherently. There is a difference.

        As such, all are born in a state that constitutes them as sinners because of the death nature they inherit anthropologically (Rom. 5:15-19), and the fallen environment where sin and death reign.

        The original death view covers all that needs to be affirmed (no “Pelagianism here…try again elsewhere), but without the speculative, extra-Biblical conjecture that leads to either impugning God directly or bringing in gnostic baggage.

        The term “original death” is simply a term to distinguish the view from what is normally called “original sin”, which is a misnomer anyway, since Satan, not Adam, was the original sinner (1 John 3:8).

        I believe that we all sin because we inherit a death nature (which thus “constitutes” us as sinners because we all sin, because sin reigns in death…Rom. 5:19). I don’t believe physical matter is sinful, nor do I believe the spirit God gives us is initially sinful either. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

        Unless someone can convince me of Traducianism without me ripping the arguments for it to pieces as I usually do, and until someone can demonstrate that either physical matter is morally sinful (gnosticism) or that the spirit God gives us is inherently sinful (making God the author of our sin), I will continue to affirm the Biblical view of “original death” as taught in places like 1 Cor. 15 and Romans 5 and continue to reject “original sin” where it involves traducianism, seminal headship, exegetical problems with the Psalms and elsewhere, and ontological and metaphysical problems of what sin is and isn’t.

        I can’t say I speak for everyone who signs the document on their understanding of original sin (or original death), but this is my view on the matter.

          Lydia

          “Rather, if there is an “imputation”, (to use that language) we are “imputed with Adam’s consequences”.”

          Exactly!

          “The original death view covers all that needs to be affirmed (no “Pelagianism here…try again elsewhere), but without the speculative, extra-Biblical conjecture that leads to either impugning God directly or bringing in gnostic baggage.”

          Yes!

          Jim Gifford

          Hi Jonathan,

          I happen to agree that the original death view is a much better way to see this issue than Augustinian categories. I also think that seeing human nature as inherently sinful creates some real christological problems.

          I think traducianism is a pretty good way to see the transmission of humanity, but I don’t think it MUST explain the transmission of sinfulness. I prefer a traducianism that does not include the transmission of sin.

          Good thoughts.

          Jim G.

          Robert Vaughn

          Johnathan, I don’t want to side track the discussion by asking you to answer here. Have you already written elsewhere your arguments against Traducianism that can be found online? Thanks.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        So when can we expect the debate on Psalm 51:5 to start up?

        Can we throw in Psalm 58:3 in there as well and discuss how those wicked, evil, detestable, God-hating newborn infants somehow literally speak lies?

        Maybe that is why we should baptize infants before happily dashing their heads against the rocks (Ps. 137:9) like the Spanish Catholics coming to the New World thought…

        Or maybe we let sound hermeneutics, and sound interpretations have their day…I dunno. ;)

        I know I am being facetious here, but we need to think about how we formulate doctrine in light of what Scripture says and doesn’t say, and what Scripture means in context (and literary genre, especially the Psalms), and what it doesn’t mean.

        I hear a lot of talk about how babies exhibit “sinful behaviors”, but I am skeptical of this (since I think babies act on instinct rather than reason), and then must then ask what kind of baby was Jesus (did he ever cry wanting to be held even if not hungry? etc. etc.)…and how we can relate the behavior of babies to what James says in 1:14-15 and whether infant instincts and evil desires are synonymous.

        This line of thinking opens up too many cans of worms that people apparently have not thought through.

        Looking forward to this discussion.

        Bart Barber

        We have documents that have been around for centuries, and people are still debating what was the intention and perspective of the document. This one has been around for a day. I didn’t write it. I haven’t signed it. So, it’s going to be very difficult for me to answer that question! ;-)

        The Baptist Faith & Message says that man inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. It is, according to the BF&M, when we become capable of moral action that we become transgressors. The BF&M states that we are condemned at that point. It does not state clearly that we were not condemned prior to that point, but it explicitly allows for the possibility that we were not condemned until then.

        This wording was adopted in the 1963 revision of the BF&M. Prior to that time, the phrase “are under condemnation” appeared earlier in the sentence suggesting that guilt of sin (condemnation) preceded transgression.

        And so, for about 50 years, one influential point of view in Southern Baptist life has held that human beings are tainted by sin from their very conception and birth but are not actually guilty and condemned before God until they commit an actual transgression for themselves (as soon as they become capable of moral action). It seems plausible to me that this statement is defending that point of view.

        I do not think that Psalm 51:5 disproves that concept. Brian’s (and Grudem’s) argument is not very convincing. I’d take the contextual point a bit further: The Psalm is not just about David as a sinner; it is about David’s PARTICULAR sin regarding Bathsheba and Uriah. If we want to get serious about context, let’s really get serious about context. David’s conception and birth appear in the Psalm only as they are connected to David’s murder of Uriah in order to cover up adultery and steal Bathsheba. We all (Brian, Alan, Grudem, and Barber) believe that something that goes back all the way to David’s conception and birth was instrumental in making David the kind of guy who would do such a thing. What is that something? It is that David had a nature inclined toward sin and lived in an environment inclined toward sin. He had possessed such a nature since he was formed in the womb, and having been conceived in sin by his mother and born in sin, he certainly never lived in anything but an environment inclined toward sin. Accompanying that nature and environment may or may not have been actual guilt and condemnation for sins that he himself did not commit. But either way, with or without, Psalm 51:5 makes perfect sense.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Technically, Psalm 51:5 reads “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

    Anyway, Pelagianism’s main offense is believing that grace is not required for salvation prior to faith, it has little to do with how one understands the doctrine of “original sin” (or “original death”…however one understands the fallen-ness of man).

    Anyone finding Pelagianism in that portion in particular, or in the statement as a whole, is someone on the hunt for something not there.

      Alan Cross

      I am not on the hunt for Pelagianism, but I do believe that if we see humanity in a state that is less than completely corrupted, we begin to move down a road where we think that we can merit the merit of Christ or that we have something to add. Again, I am not accusing anyone here of that. I was asking for clarification of language. I am a non-Calvinist and you are claiming to speak for me. If you are going to make assertions that we are not totally depraved or subject to Original Sin, that is something that you will have to explain, because I am betting that the view articulated here is actually in the minority of Southern Baptist life and not the majority.

      It is Limited Atonement and Irresistable Grace where you will gain your consensus, not Total Depravity – at least without a good deal of explanation.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        I pastor a church of about 45 people in Arkansas. I didn’t write the document, nor claim to speak for anyone.

        I articulated my personal view on “original sin” above. I even used the words “total depravity”.

        I am so non-Pelagian, that I don’t think that Adam could have boasted if he did not sin. If he stood, it would have been all of grace.

        By the way, Thomas Schriener, a die hard Calvinist, articulates a view close to mine in his Romans Commentary from Baker (see his comments on 5:12-21).

        Kevin Burden (Rev Kev)

        If man were “totally” depraved there would be no cause or reason to redeem him. God sees something in man worth redeeming, therefore man is NOT “Totally” depraved. He is not capable of redeeming himself, therefore God has made a way for “ALL” men to be saved. Keeping it simple!

          volfan007

          I think the issue here is that total depravity means total inability to respond to God, as espoused by the Calvinists; which is rejected in this document. Man is looked upon as still being born in a fallen, sinful condition….has a sin problem in thier heart….has a bent towards sin….will sin when old enough to know what he’s doing and can really choose….in no way will come to God on his own, nor can he….must have the calling and the convicting of the Holy Spirit to be saved….salvation cannot be earned, etc.

          I believe this position, Alan, would say that man is not guilty of Adam’s sin….Adam is. But, all men have been badly affected by Adam’s sin, and are fallen due to Adam’s sin….and need to be redeemed….and will die due to Adam’s sin. But, man is not unable to respond to the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit, as Calvinsts would say.

          David

          Andrew Wencl

          I see nothing in Scripture that even hints at the notion that “God sees something in man worth redeeming.” Actually, Scripture shows that God saw nothing in man worth redeeming and He did it anyway.

          Chris Roberts

          “God sees something in man worth redeeming, therefore man is NOT “Totally” depraved.”

          I vehemently disagree. Grace means God redeems us not because we’re worth it, but even though we’re not worth it. The entire language of the Bible regarding our salvation is how amazing it is that God would take his enemies and turn us into his children. This is not because there is one iota in us that God sees as worth redeeming, but because God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loves us (so if there is anything he sees in us, it is his love, not our worthiness), made us alive together with Christ. We are unworthy, unworthy, unworthy. God is gracious, gracious, gracious. And thanks be to God for his grace.

          Anyone who argues that there is one iota of worthiness in man, something in us that God sees as worth redeeming, has strayed from the glory of the gospel. It is not amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved someone with my worth; it is amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.

          One of the ways that Christianity today has fallen so far is we have bought into this notion of self-worth before God. We have none. Any value, any worth, any glory, any reason for salvation, is found in God himself, and thanks be to God for his grace.

          Rant over. I get a little agitated whenever I see someone say that we have within us something that merits salvation, something that makes us worth saving. No, no, no. It is all God’s grace, nothing of our worth.

          Jim Gifford

          Andrew and Chris,

          There IS something in us that makes it worth God’s while to save us…his investment of his image in us. I tried to word this carefully in order to satisfy your concerns that it is intrinsically something that is ours. It is the image of God we possess, as well as his own desire to bring about his end to his creation (not to mention his overpowering love) that motivates his saving work.

          Jim G.

          Pastor Josh Buice

          Rev Kev,

          Seriously? God looked down from Heaven and saw something good in me – so he sent His Son to save me?

          Romans 3:10-11 uses language such as “none righteous – no not one…none that seek after God” to describe us prior to our salvation.

          Isaiah 64:6 describes our works as “filthy rags” or a “polluted garment” as it relates to our sinful state before salvation.

          Romans 5:8-11 describes us as “sinners” and “enemies” of God. However, God still choose to save us.

          I think it’s clear in Titus 3:5-7 – he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, [6] whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, [7] so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

          God chose to save us – not because He saw something good in us, but because He saw sin in us – filth – and nothing good at all. It was based merely upon His choice of mercy and for His glory that He saved us – not according to our “free will” or anything in us (John 1:12-13).

          This article is riddled with doctrinal errors that need to be exposed!

          Robin Jackson

          keeping it simple … man IS totally depraved, hence the term GRACE which means UNMERITED FAVOR.

          It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

          volfan007

          Robin,

          I also believe salvation is by the grace of God…unearned favor of God.

          DAvid

          Johnathan Pritchett

          There are issues being confused here between grace and value (worth).

          That God saves by grace is to say that there is nothing from creation that compels God to act on its behalf.

          That is a separate issue entirely as to what “reasons” God may have to extend grace.

          That it is undeserved is a different thing altogether than the value God places on something to extend the grace in the first place.

          So, while nothing is merited from man or creation to cause God to act, I think the Bible gives us the “value” (or worth) reasons why He would extend grace.

          1. His glory.

          2. Because He thought His creation was good, good, good, good, good, good, and very good and probably worth overall redeeming.

          Johnathan Pritchett

          Also, just so no one misunderstands. I am not saying God thinks we are good by referencing Genesis. All I am saying is that God thought what He did was good, not what we did with it is good. And He probably estimated that what He had done was worth redeeming for His glory.

    Nancy A. Almodovar

    No. this IS Pelagianism. Pelagius taught that we do not become sinners in danger of God’s judgment and justice until we actually commit a sin.
    This one article brings the SBC into straight up, unadulterated Pelagianism and therefore apostasy (in spite of the fact that one of the other “articles” states a person cannot apostatize).

    What saddens me even more is that a beloved professor and friend, a colleague of mine, as well as a respected Pastor and Head of a Seminary, have both signed this.

    I wonder if the early Reformers felt this way when the Council of Trent anathemized all those who held to justification by faith alone based upon God’s sovereign Election of some sinners because of HIs Free Will.

      volfan007

      Nancy,

      So, you believe that little babies go to Hell?

      DAvid

        Robin Jackson

        That is not what the doctrine states, if you think about it God’s election extends to babies…Read Roman 9:10-13, Malachi 1:3.

        Why do you resist God’s sovereign will to do what He wills over all His creation, including man?

          volfan007

          Where does it say that God’s election extends to babies? I dont see it. And, to hold to Calvinism, then you’d have to say that its anybodies guess whether babies are elect, or not.

          David

          Johnathan Pritchett

          Why do Calvinists resist God’s sovereign will to save those who respond to His grace in salvation and conviction though the ministry of the Spirit those who repent and put their faith in Jesus?

          No need to think about it, if you read Roman 9:10-13 and Malachi 1:3, you will notice that while election indeed has to do with babies (God elected a special nation in Jacob but not Esau…i.e. Israel and Edom…Malachi CLEARLY means Edom in those verses when using the corporate head Esau) neither text has anything whatsoever to do with salvation or damnation of babies, which is exactly what David asked you about.

          If you think election and salvation are always synonymous terms, you just turned Paul’s argument in Romans 9 against unbelieving Jews on its head.

          Sheesh…

          Adam

          I personally find the argument for Infant Salvation (elect infants) somewhat washed by the fact ANY mention of an infant being “elect” in Scripture later grew up unto faith. Never do you read an “elect” infant died in infancy. I think Romans 8:29-30 speaks indirectly to the fact that all “those” whom God has “predestined” to be conformed to Christ will be conformed, that is, they will be “called”, “justified”, and “glorified”. The doctrine that concerns the call unto salvation carries with it the word of Christ and life expressions of faith. I find this very intriguing actually.

        Nancy A. Almodovar

        David, do we really need to go there?

        ONLY the elect are saved. Whether God chooses every infant or not is, as my husband says, “NUNYA” None ya bizness. It’s God’s business.

        So, since those “infants” didn’t ahve a chance to hear the gospel and respond, they go heaven automatically? In THAT scenario, all those living who didn’t have a chance to hear the gospel and respond go to heaven automatically.

        why would you proclaim the Gospel then to those who never heard it? You just condemned them to Hell automatically (oh wait, that’s where they are already headed from conception).

        ridiculous. Face it the SBC has swum the Tiber.

          Jay

          The only election with Arminians is those that elect themselves. It is a no no for God to intend to save you and to cause you to believe and regenerate you without your permission. This would make him-according to Roger Olson- worse than the Devil. Others would call him a pagan idol,ect.. As Calvinists,we get used to this frenzy. In John Six,Jesus got a bad reception when He said the Father decides who will be saved. They just expressed their hostility by walking away,so He was spared the vile comments. Just say the words God,not man,determines who will be saved and watch mild-mannered reporters turn into wild beasts.

        Lou N

        Babies are created in the womb with the sinful nature. Does not God have the right to elect a baby to hell??? Is not God, God. Please read Job chapters 38 to 42. I would not worry about babies destined for hell as I would be worried about me. Make sure your election is for certain, not to worry about someone else.

      Braxton

      Nancy, by your own definition this is not Pelagianism. Because of the sin of Adam no one can have a relationship with God without the grace of God. I would refer you to Pritchard’s comments on the imputed death of man. The charge of Pelagianism has become cliche in these discussions. What is so striking is that too many commenting on this page and blogging elsewhere seem either unaware of what Pelagianism is or unwilling to thoroughly examine what is being said here. This becomes clear when one’s own definition does not represent what they are attempting to associate with that definition. Moreover, the lack of sober minded dialogue on some posts here is unwarranted. Can believers not clearly define and discuss what they believe without such slander? Think before posting folks. Think hard before charging others with apostasy.

        Bill

        Braxton, we understand who Pelagius was and we also see the clear connection of his doctrine to your Arminian doctrine that’s being published in this letter. It’s not so much the “new Calvinism” that’s to fear – it’s the “old Semi-Pelagianism” that we should fear in the SBC!

        Total depravity simply means that the totality of the person (mind, emotions, and will) has been affected by original sin. No human has the possibility of living out the law of God in a “free” way as Adam enjoyed. We are born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5).

        I find it humorous that you are reigning people back from judgmental ways when you are one who throws out the “h” bomb (heresy) for Calvinists.

          Johnathan Pritchett

          You believe that had Adam not sinned, he could have boasted?

          Wow…that is just terrible…

          Again with Psalms 51:5 (rethink your hermeneutics, this has been thoroughly addressed above)

          No one disputes that the human race has been affected by Adam’s sin (it wasn’t that original though…Satan sinned from the beginning per 1 John 3:8) and are totally separate from God, can not do anything but sin, and can not take a single step towards God outside of grace and the Holy Spirit.

          ALL of those points are AFFIRMED in the statement presented above.

          Calvinist terminology does NOT regulate proper interpretation of Scripture.

          Not at all. Go somewhere else with that sort of nonsensical thinking.

          No one here is interested in fighting over who has more correct non-Biblical vocabulary…

        Nancy A. Almodovar

        finally found your comment Braxton. Actually, i did a paper on Pelagius for School (I’m sure you can look that up or the published version on Amazon). Pelagius believed that we are born neutral, like Adam. This statement says that by saying we’re not really sinners until we actually sin. That, my friend, IS Pelagianism.

    Frances

    Well put! (from a sister who is a member of an Acts 29 church)

    Al Pihringer

    I am not a Calvinist by any stretch of the imagination, but when glancing over this document/statement, I had the same concern over that particular statement. I had to read it over and over, because it just didn’t sit well with me.

    To me this flies in the face of the book of Romans (especially chapters 5-7). We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. We inherit the fallen nature of Adam (from the moment of conception as I believe Psalm 51:5 is saying), a nature opposed to God, a nature that enslaves us to sin, a nature that by its very nature engenders death (both spiritual and physical). Yes, God’s grace extends to children who die at an early age; but the nature we receive is already judged and condemned (Rom. 5:18). But the free gift of salvation is available to all men (same verse).

    I believe the burden of proof is upon those who made the statement “We deny that Adam’s sin … rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

      Johnathan Pritchett

      I’ve met that burden in these comments…I am happy to discuss this civilly if you like.

      I think the burden is on those who assert “The GUILT of Adam is imputed to all his progeny.”

      Please show us where the Bible says this (not where you personally infer this)

      Romans 5:18 says “THROUGH one trespass there is condemnation for everyone.”

      AMEN! No one disagrees.

      Problem though…

      I see nothing about a nature being judged…sinners are judged, not natures.

      No one here denies that Adam’s sin resulted in death and sin for every single human. So barking up that tree won’t avail you of anything, since we already affirm that.

      Worse for you is that if you think “nature” is the problem, and not rebellious sinners, and the verse speaks of “everyone”, then the second half of the verse forces your “direct causation” interpretation, if you are consistent in applying it through the whole verse, to universal justification for everyone.

      Are you a universalism then? That would not be good…

      Maybe, you should rethink how you interpret the passage. Following your interpretation, your method of reading it causes verse 19 to contradict verse 18, because instead of “everyone”, it is just “many”, so did Adam’s sin affect “everyone” or just “many”?

      See the problem with how you read these texts?

      Since I know you don’t believe in those contradictions and universalism, I am encouraging you to simply think about how you interpret and apply those passages.

    Adam Harwood

    Alan,

    I signed the document above, brother, and would be happy to engage you in thoughtful dialogue about its content. I will not attempt to defend only one line because the document is constructed as a set of affirmations and denials. If you consider only what is denied, then nothing has been affirmed. If you consider only what is affirmed, then there are still possibilities which remain (some orthodox but others heterodox). To answer your question, then, I affirm the entire set of affirmations and denials in article two, which can be found in the document above. That includes the sentence you quoted.

    I addressed the possible charge of Pelagianism in another post on this page. I’ll be happy to e-mail it to you if you are unable to locate it among the 400+ comments. This is an accusation I take seriously and to which I am compelled to respond.

    You raised a key verse when you mentioned Psalm 51:5. May I share some observations with you gleaned from my study of this passage? (Full disclosure: The paragraph below, although losing the original italics when copied and pasted, is directly from a revision of my published PhD dissertation on this topic.)
    – –
    Many scholars who comment on the meaning of Ps 51:5 refer to the sinfulness of humans from their origins but not their guilt. Franz Delitzsch, for example, writes that “the meaning is merely, that his parents were sinful human beings, and that this sinful state (habitus) has operated upon his birth and even his conception, and from this point has passed over to him” (Delitzsch, Psalms, 137). In his study of Psalm 51, Edward Dalglish observes that “the psalmist is relating his sinfulness to the very inception of life; he traces his development beyond birth (chuwl) to the genesis of his being in his mother’s womb–even to the very hour of conception (yacham)” (Dalglish, Psalm Fifty-One, 121). Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke writes that it “supports the notion that at the time of conception man is in a state of sin” (Waltke, “Reflections from the Old Testament on Abortion,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 19 [1976]: 12). In his commentary, Mitchell Dahood writes, “All mean have a congenial tendency toward evil” (Dahood, Psalms II: 51-100 in The Anchor Bible, vol 17, 4). In his detailed study of David’s prayers, Michael Goulder notes that “critics are almost unanimous in taking v. 5 to refer to the universality of human sin, transmitted from generation to generation” (Goulder, The Prayers of David, 53). In his commentary, Hans-Joachim Kraus writes, “Avon and chata have from the hour of birth been the determining forces under who signature life began. The petitioner wants to say that the primordial cause, the root cause of my existence, is interwoven with corruption” (Kraus, Psalms 1-59, 503). None of these Old Testament scholars glean from the text that humans are guilty of sin from birth. Instead, they affirm that sinfulness is present at the first moment of life.
    – –
    Although most of those men were not Southern Baptists (although Dalglish, in addition to chairing the committee that established the Evangelical Theological Society and serving on the translation committee of the NASB, also taught for a period of time at Baylor University), they have all published biblical studies and commentaries for a broader Christian audience which comment on the verse in question.

    In summary, my claim is that David in Psalm 51:5 made a statement about the presence of sin (not guilt) in his life from the earliest possible time. This is significant for the discussion because if this is the case, then Psalm 51:5 does not require an affirmation of imputed guilt.

    Blessings, brother.

    In Him,
    Adam
    PS) If I do not reply immediately, then please send me a note on Facebook. I have been unable to figure out how to sign into this web page so that I can receive notifications. Perhaps I should ask my 12-year old son to help me. ;-)

Fred Johnson

This is so sad and divisive the heart of God must be grieved. I cannot believe so many are willing to continuously stir the pot of dissension to hurtful ends. As telling for the SBC will be the ones whose names will not appear on this list.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    So a response to divisiveness is divisive?

    God grieves when people articulate what they believe the Bible teaches?

    How is speaking for the majority of Southern Baptists stirring the pot of dissension?

    Is it not the YRR that stirs the pot and their rhetoric that keeps it stirred?

    I am always amused when a group of people toss grenades all day long, and when a grenade gets tossed back, they cry, and moan, and whine, and act like they are the victims…Reminds me of Nazis defending their actions in war tribunals. (Don’t be sissies and get overblown by the analogy above…I am not actually calling Calvinists’ Nazis) :)

    Finally, whoever does not add their name tells that they didn’t add their name. I.e. It tells nothing about them or the SBC other than that their names are not signed to the statement.

Rick Patrick

Finally! It’s about time traditional Southern Baptists made ourselves clear. Thank you for doing so with eloquence and a tone that is neither combative nor yielding. This is what we believe. It is such a joy to be able to affirm my salvation doctrine without any reference to a system I deny. Rather than being a “Non-Anything,” I am the kind of Southern Baptist who can in good conscience affirm this statement of our traditional understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation. I am a Traditionalist.

Rick Patrick, Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama

    Jared Moore

    Rick, do you really affirm the preamble of this document? If so, you and I are further apart than I realized.

    Lydia

    Rick, I read your excellent piece on Voices. Thank you for your devotion to openess and transparency in the SBC priesthood.

    Robin Jackson

    Ummm, Rick, you really need to examine your tradition…because you are not following it (unless of course you’re a Methodist).

      Rick Patrick

      Robin,

      The term “Traditionalist” as I am using it is drawn from the word “Tradition” in the title of the statement. The refreshing part is not having to define my salvation doctrine using the Frenchman’s five points, but rather using the ten points in this statement written by Southern Baptist scholars, professors and pastors.

      (By the way, I am not a Methodist, just as I trust that you, my Southern Baptist friend, are not a Presbyterian.)

        David

        If that terrible statement is what the leaders of the SBC believe the PCA and the Westminster Confession are like a beacon of light in a dark sea. That document is evil and heretical.

Michael

Here we go again. Keep pushing this nonsense and you will see the decline of the SBC. Keep picking the same old tired fights and treating people as if they don’t belong and there will come a day when they won’t belong. If these second class “calvinist” Christian get tired of being picked on and leave or stop supporting the SBC with their CP dollars and man power then what kind of witness will that be? Keep it up, keep playing these silly games and the future of the SBC will look darker and darker and when the blame starts to go around, SBC Today needs to get in the front of the line!

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Oh yeah, because all the Calvinists in the SBC (and their blogs) are just so soft and cuddly towards everyone who disagrees with them…

    You think this came from a vacuum?

      volfan007

      Jonathan,

      Amen.

      David

    Robin Foster

    Michael,

    I am sorry that you see things this way. I believe there has been a growing sentiment of disagreement and disappointment among many concerning ongoing statements of Calvinists dealing with the superiority of Reformed Theology. Thinking that the reformed way is the only viable option for young pastors or accusing me of using a superstitious prayer when I lead someone to Christ is not helping in creating unity. This document is a rebuttal of sorts that says there are other viable options other than the reformed view and that we don’t believe a “superstitious” prayer is in use when we lead someone to Christ. I for one want unity, but I would appreciate it if so called leaders in our convention would tone down their own rhetoric.

Jamie

My initial reaction is to wonder why the BFM2000 is not enough. Why does it have to be narrowed. The signatories of this document consistently denigrate the TULIP as a man-made system which narrows the BFM. Now they have followed suit. It makes no sense.

Then there’s the question of “what purpose does this serve?” are we getting to the point where Calvinist brothers & sisters will have to wear lapel pins of the tulip to the convention? Is the goal to turn the SBC into a two-party system? Thats really working well in DC.

Finally, please explain why something that you admit is not a majority view is so important to decry in this manner. What’s the concern? Because at the root of the asset to that question is either jealousy or arrogance. It puzzles me that many of your churches will work and partner locally with our Presbyterian brothers at the same time you conduct a witch hunt in your own denomination against those who actually agree with your historic creed.

This is a very troubling stance from many men I still respect and hold in high regard. I pray this document does not usurp what might have been a mostly positive annual meeting next month. I guess we can’t have a meeting without a fight. That is a sad but true statement.

Kyle Thomas

I like the clarity of this statement and the full disclosure of its motivation.

I do find it odd however to cast it as “Traditional” when it’s so narrow that even a traditional SBC pastor like W.A. Criswell wouldn’t have been able to sign it.

    Robin Jackson

    Who is this Criswell character? I bet he’s like that Spurgeon character. How dare we include them as part of our tradition? ;)

    In reading these comments, I’m beginning to doubt my dictionary skills actually. I don’t think a traditionalist is someone who follows tradition, but rather picks and chooses.

    God bless….this is such a disappointing but festering wound….we need LOTS of prayer (per another tradition E.M. Bounds)

Tony Arsenal

“We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

You are all aware that this is flat out and unashamed Pelegianism… right?

    Johnathan Pritchett

    It is nowhere close to that. Do you even know what “Pelagianism” is?

    If you think Pelagianism is any affirmation of free will and any denial of the imputed guilt of Adam, then you have no clue what you are talking about. Sorry mate.

      Brendan

      A definition of “Pelagianism” from Wikipedia: “It is the belief that people are not born with original sin and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid.”

      Compare that to the SBC statement: “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

      Denial of original sin + free will to choose good = Pelagianism. Any questions?

        Johnathan Pritchett

        So Wikipedia is scholarship now? I have read the wiki article and found it wanting.

        Any further questions?

        In any case, you fail to make proper distinctions. Atheists can do “good” in the sense that they can choose to not to beat their kids and starve them to death. However, this good merits nothing and counts for nothing with God. It is often called “common grace”.

        That is divine aid. Nothing stated in the second article denies this. So, it is not Pelagian.

        Denying original sin is not even Pelagianism, but rather denying the need of grace for salvation and pleasing God.

        I deny “original sin” as normally formulated from the Augustinian tradition, but I affirm “original death” and posted the view here in these comments. It affirms all that the Bible affirms about humanity’s fallen condition, but leaves out the un-Biblical, Augustinian gibberish.

        I welcome any refutation of that alternative I posted that you can muster. Given that my formulation heavily quotes Biblical phrases, be careful not to reject the Bible. ;)

          Tony Arsenal

          If a person’s will is not bound or incapacitated… they can exercise that will to resist the causal pressure of their nature. They are therefore able to resist the causal pressure of their sin nature, and could therefore conceivably not sin (This denial is at odds with the affirmation of the same article). If a person exercises their will (which is unbound) to resist the sin nature, and not sin… what need is there for them to have redemption or grace? This is EXACTLY the argument that Pelagius makes… the human will is unbound and guilt is not inherited, therefore a human does not sin of necessity… but by following bad examples.

          Canon 1 of the Council of Orange:

          If anyone denies that it is the whole man, that is, both body and soul, that was “changed for the worse” through the offense of Adam’s sin, but believes that the freedom of the soul remains unimpaired and that only the body is subject to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and contradicts the scripture which says, “The soul that sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:20); and, “Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey?” (Rom. 6:16); and, “For whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved” (2 Pet. 2:19).

          Can you tell me how what article 2 denies can possibly NOT be what this is?

          Canon 2

          If anyone asserts that Adam’s sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

          Sin itself passes onto the descendants of Adam… not just a propensity to sin… sin itself. I’m not going to lie Mr. Pritchitt, before you start accusing people of not knowing what Pelagianism is… you should probably read up a little. This is clearly Pelagian.

      Nancy A. Almodovar

      Jonathan, might want to read my work on Pelagius Back in the American Pulpit.

      this article # 2 states that we are not sinners till we actually sin.

      If you’d actually read Pelagius you’d know that to be his and his disciple Coelestus’ teaching.

      Now, if ya’ll really want to see “semi-pelagianism” maybe you should be reading the Remonstrants five point.

      And for men who are “edumacated” ya’ll do know the Five Points didn’t come from Calvin, right but rather from the Council of Dordt in Holland…Calvin was not present.

    Jim Gifford

    Not even close to Pelagianism. Have you looked at the first 400 years of the church, or anything out of Eastern Orthodoxy in the last, oh, 1000 years?

    Jim Gifford

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Tony:

      Clearly, Canon 1 has human anthropology totally inconsistent with that of the verse in Ezekiel that it quotes…LOL.

      In any case, the affirmation in Article II clearly states “every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin.”

      This by no means “but believes that the freedom of the soul remains unimpaired and that only the body is subject to corruption,”

      What it does mean is as it explicitly says, that all will sin due to the nature and environment.

      The denial says:
      “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.”

      Canon II contradicts what the Apostle says in Romans 5:12, but that is neither here nor there.

      In any case, nothing in Canon II contradicts anything in Article II above. You are getting hung up on the authors’ intent by the word “incapacitated”. No one is saying that the only punishment of being born of Adam is simply physical death. The intent is to reject philosophical determinism, not to affirm that someone could conceivably go through life without sinning, SINCE THE ARTICLE ALREADY DENIES THAT.

      Now, I am more than happy to offer some criticism of Orange (of which I am not bound as a believer…least we overturn the Reformation), and some of the errors in the above, but this is about the Statement’s article II and its consistency with Orange.

      There is none. The Article does not teach for any particular view of original sin, but it does state a position (like the BFM, go read Article III of it) rejecting the notion of the imputed guilt of Adam. Rejecting the imputed guilt of Adam is not identical to rejecting the consequences of Adam’s sin to all his descendents.

      As to the philosophical question (a separate issue), of whether or not anyone could, born of Adam, in some logically possible world, not sin…My answer is “I have no idea”…

      But, A BIG NO in this actual world because God has consigned all to disobedience under the reign of sin and death (what Romans 5:12-21 and 11:32 actually teach).

      Would you like to try again?

        Johnathan Pritchett

        In the third to last paragraph, I meant to say “inconsistency with Orange” and there is none.

        In the third from the top, I meant to say “This, by no means, means”

      Nancy A. Almodovar

      actually, the battle of original sin didn’t take place in the first 300 years of the Church b/c they were battling the Humanity and Deity of Jesus. However there are plenty of quotes from early church theologians and pastors which speak of their recognition of original sin and its effects on our ability to respond to God.

Barry King

I am thankful the signers have clearly stated their beliefs on this important issue. I don’t share a number of their conclusions as I view them as based on either a misunderstanding of Scripture or a misrepresentation of the views of others. I don’t, however, question their motives and think that ultimately the release of the statement will work for good as it will draw us back to the Scriptures to make certain we have understood them correctly. May it also cause us to redouble our efforts to preach the gospel to all men everywhere.

    Robin Foster

    Bro. King

    I follow you on face book. I appreciate your a lot of what you say. I especially appreciate your sentiments here. You are exactly right. The people I know do not wish further division, but only a recognition that other beliefs have been and are in SBC life. Again, I believe your statement here is spot on for the majority of us.

      Robin Foster

      Of course the part on misunderstanding scripture I would have to respectfully disagree with. :)

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Which conclusions are misunderstandings of Scripture? Let us draw back to the Scriptures and discuss. :)

Kenneth Roark

Interesting,, in view of what the bible really says about salvation. The bible is our only guide.. What does it say. Mark 16:15-16.He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved.. IPeter 3:21. Baptism doth also now save us”.. Paul was told to arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins. Acts 2:38. Peter told those present when they asked what they must do. “Repent AND be baptized for the REMISSION of your sins”I go to the bible for what to do to be saved,, not some Article,, written by man.

Terry Doss

Dr. Hankins, thank you for this clear, precise and well written document that I believe truly describes the traditional view of Soteriology of the SBC in my lifetime. There are some beliefs that we can agree to disagree and other beliefs, when imposed upon the convention must be confronted. The continued surge of Calvinist beliefs in the SBC necessitates a loving, but firm defense of our traditional, but more importantly, our biblical view of salvation.

Eddie Wren

Michael.
I’m sorry you feel as if this document labels some as “second class.” I don’t believe that was the intent. Neither do I believe a statement on the understanding of God’s plan of salvation is nonsense. I am sure you do not either. I am not sure anyone is picking a fight. Was another leader picking a fight when he stated Calvinism was the only option if one is committed to the Gospel or if they want to connect? I don’t mind if you are Calvinist. I don’t mind if others within the SBC are Calvinist. But I don’t have to be. Understand, there are many, many, many in the SBC who are not Calvinist and who hold to a different understanding of God’s plan of salvation. That is what this statement is about.

    Chris Roberts

    Eddie,

    The issue is not that people disagree, that’s fine. The issue is that this document intentionally seeks to drive a wedge between non-Calvinists and Calvinists in the SBC, and in the process it presents a kind of Calvinism that is held by, as far as I know, no one in the SBC, and claims the existence of movements that do not exist.

      Eddie Wren

      Chris,
      Thanks for responding. You said something very interesting: “it presents a kind of Calvinism that is held by, as far as I know, no one in the SBC.” Can you explain the kind of Calvinism that is held by those in the SBC?

        Chris Roberts

        That would require more than a brief blog comment. :) I did, however, write (never quite finished) a series of blog posts about this a while back: http://www.seektheholy.com/2011/08/04/life-as-a-calvinist-in-the-sbc/

        In the statement, the denials they make are things that, for the most part, Calvinists would also deny, and yet the document is presented in such a way that one is led to believe that what the statement denies is what Calvinists affirm. In most cases, the denials are misrepresentations of Calvinist beliefs, and in at least two of the points, the denials have nothing to do with Calvinism at all.

      Bob Cleveland

      Chris: You said: “The issue is that this document intentionally seeks to drive a wedge between non-Calvinists and Calvinists in the SBC, and in the process it presents a kind of Calvinism that is held by, as far as I know, no one in the SBC, and claims the existence of movements that do not exist.”

      I could not agree with you more, and I have been a Calvinist in the SBC for 31+ years (after 11 years as a Presbyterian who actually studied what we believed). Your statement nails it.

      But, inasmuch as most Baptists don’t know what Baptists believe, I don’t think they’re going to take the time to learn what Calvinists believe, which leaves them with the half-truths and inaccuracies that are being hurled about in innuendos such as this latest document.

    Michael

    Eddie,
    Forgive my passion in my statement, but I am sick of all of this. We are debating things that only God knows. We are told to “go” and “tell” and both “camps” are doing that. I don’t disagree that this issue as well as all issues of truth need to be addressed, however, this issue has been beat to death and I see no fruit in keeping it going on and on. People disagree on this, ok, let’s move on. I am telling you that I believe this is going to be the death of my beloved SBC. We are in decline as it is and this doesn’t help. I see this as nothing more then someone trying to pick a fight at the next convention in N.O. Oh, how the press will love to write about that. We have thousands of churches that hold both positions, find one you agree with and get to work and stop trying to make a name for yourself by beating up the “other side” and yes, that goes for both sides.

      Eddie Wren

      Michael,
      Perhaps this discussion (from both sides) of salvation will not lead to the death of the SBC, but maybe this will spark a renewed interest in evangelism and theology. Maybe even a revival among us.
      By the way, i appreciate your passion, its apathy that will lead to our demise.

David R. Brumbelow

Dr. Eric Hankins,
Thanks to you and the others who had a part in writing this statement.

I’ve added my name to the list of those who affirm it. After all, it is just a statement of what I’ve believed all along, and what my dad believed before me.

I predict the list of those who affirm this statement will be long.
David R. Brumbelow

Lydia

Bravo!

Contrary to what an influential SBC “employee” said on a video, we DO want to see the nations rejoice for Christ.

peter lumpkins

Dr. Hankins,

This document is overdue, frankly. Its articles represent sober, sound thinking about what will become at least one viable, theologically nuanced and biblically informed way for plain-vanilla, unscholarly “non-Calvinist” pastors such as myself to succinctly state what I both “affirm” and “deny” in my admittedly awkward “non-Calvinist” branding. You are to be commended, brother, one and all.

In addition, to those who’ve pooh-poohed this confessional project the moment it goes public–not to mention some who apparently felt obliged to pooh-pooh it before it went public–surely must be forgetful of the historic record Baptists have consistently held toward the formulations of confessional faith and subsequent public expressions of those confessions. Indeed Southern Baptists have expressed the classic Baptist position on confessions in all three of her adopted confessions (1925, 1963, 2000), a position toward which you alluded in the opening line of the Preamble–“Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry.”

I do not know this for sure, but it surely seems that your foregoing statement was, at least in part, inspired by words contained in the Preamble to all three editions of The Baptist Faith & Message (1925, 1963, 2000). Number 3 under the Preamble reads:

“(3) 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” (http://sbc.net/bfm/bfmcomparison.asp)

By drawing up this confession, you were only doing what free church Baptists have always done–exercise their Baptist right–indeed Baptist conviction–to express themselves.

Hence, that anyone would log on pooh-poohing the confessional process the brothers went through to frame this statement and subsequently publish it either is unschooled in Baptist history, unmindful of Baptist history, or unappreciative of Baptist history–none of which, unfortunately, presents a positive contribution to the discussion.

Grace.

With that, I am…
Peter

SAGordon

When I first saw this document, the disclaimer at the top of this post did not exist. I am thankful for that clarification. I also wish to put it to the test. Would any of the signatories or commenters here be willing to vote for the resolution I have submitted to the SBC Resolutions Committee (as posted at SBC Voices here)?

peter lumpkins

Scott,

To inquire on this thread whether anyone would vote for your resolution is absurd–and that’s a nice way of saying it. It also comes across as narcissistic since you ignore the obvious intention of this post as a thoughtful presentation/introduction of a document these men have compiled and turn around and self-promote your own statement. How more hokey another request could be I cannot presently imagine–“Come on, everybody! Ya’ll come over to my place and read and consider signing my document.”

In addition, attempting to inject one’s own personal work into the introduction/presentation of another’s work at best is presumptuous and at worst smacks of blatant arrogance. Instead of encouraging them in their effort (apparently, at least in your estimation, similar in scope and quality to yours), you advertise your work on their nickel. What a West Georgia double-hoot!

With that, I am…
Peter

    Chris Roberts

    Peter,

    I think you miss Scott’s intent. If this document is not intended to cause division but rather to clarify the views of one camp, then it is helpful to know whether or not the signers of this document would also support a resolution affirming room in the SBC for both Calvinists and non-Calvinists. It is a question about the kind of unity being sought by those who sign this statement. Scott is not trying to draw attention to himself, he is trying to find the intent of the signers when it comes to affirming room in the SBC for both themselves and Calvinists.

      volfan007

      Scott,

      I can work and worship alongside Calvinists all day long, as long as they dont look upon me and my kind as if we’d lost the real Gospel, or were semi Pelagians, or Pelagians, or intellectual buffoons. Of course, I know that I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. But, I dont like to be looked upon as a sub par Chrsitian, or as being “poor, little, ole David….poor thing, he’s so stupid, he just cant get Calvinism.”

      But, I love Calvinists! I have many, many Calvinist friends. ANd, I can get along with them all day. But, the New Calvinists….not so much.

      David

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Scott,
        I’ll sign it, e-mail me a link. I work alongside plenty of Calvinists in the SBC. I am having two SBC Calvinists (very dear friends of mine) come in and preach for me while I am doing my residency this summer at Biola for two weeks.

        I work with those who are about the Gospel.

        On the other hand, I don’t like working with jerks, and many SBC Calvinists have acted like jerks, plain and simple. They make reasonable dialog unattainable with their rhetoric.

        Blah, blah, the other side has jerks too, yes. That is true. But seriously, a lot of Calvinists in the SBC have acted like jerks…this statement is the fruit of their jerky labor.

        And many decent Calvinists, probably like yourself, can admit as much.

          Brady Hardin

          Brother,

          Do you feel your response of calling people jerks could do exactly what you set out not to do? I would encourage more graceful talk and dialog. I feel your intentions are right, but we have to control our tongues (or typing fingers) carefully.

        Lydia

        “I can work and worship alongside Calvinists all day long, as long as they dont look upon me and my kind as if we’d lost the real Gospel, or were semi Pelagians, or Pelagians, or intellectual buffoons”

        While I have many Calvinist friends, even they are weary of the Driscoll and Mahaney (who is moving to Louisville to be near SBTS) clones in the SBC and trying to work with them. The sinning by questioning, blindly following celebrities, shepherding cult tactics and latching onto Acts 29 when Driscoll’s problems have been obvious for years. I am seeing a small crack with some Calvinists in the SBC no longer willing to follow our Calvinist leaders. There is a tiny backlash growing as more is known about these men and their problems.

      SAGordon

      Chris,

      You have well stated my intent.

      Peter,

      You have missed my intent.

        Tim Rogers

        Scott,

        Your intent is clear. You speak over at Tom Ascols blog about this being a divisive statement. You then allow for Ascol to post a private email and say nothing about the ethics of openly calling those within an email he had not business having as being divisive because we were signed onto a statement of confessional unity. Now you come over here and comment about how some opening statement calls clarity to this so you can agree with what we are doing. Let me see if I get what you are doing. ARe you now saying that Tom Ascol has released a false document? Or are you saying that Tom Ascol has intentionally mislead people with his post because he did not have the opening statement. Or are you just being hypocritical?

          SAGordon

          Tim,

          You have missed my intent as well.

          I have and will likely continue to be wary of the divisive nature of this statement. It having caused such rancor for being ‘outed’ gives me pause for concern. I have no problem with the affirm-deny approach. The denial is what is highly problematic. The descriptor of ‘New Calvinists’ is but a variation on an old theme—We’re against “those Calvinists.” Not you—forgive me for not wanting to go down that road again, because that last one was a slippery slope which has led to the emergence of crusadering anti-Calvinists (against all Calvinists) raising up in the midst of our convention.

          Once the creators of this document sent it via mass e-mail, they could not expect that it would not be shared…unless told to keep it under wraps, etc., etc. (AND then I would wonder why that would be). Was this to be an “October surprise” at the convention…a highly unfortunate distraction from what will be a historic time in SBC life (now possibly for two reasons).

          The opening statement to which I refer is the author’s disclaimer at the head of this post regarding the document…not the document itself. I do not believe Tom Ascol to be doing anything other than amicably responding with his disagreements and concerns to the statement. I had received it before he posted it and before it was posted here. All three versions are identical. The only difference being the opening clarification here at SBCToday.

          My intent was and is to test that clarification. If this is merely a position statement defined by affirmation and negation, then I would like to know if the statement’s authors, signatories, as well as commenters here would be willing to affirm the resolution I have submitted regarding soteriology and cooperative ministry. Could the ‘New Traditionalists’ work with the ‘Old Founders’? Would the ‘Five-Pointers’ be willing to minister alongside the ‘Biblicists’? Rather than being engaged in beneficial discussion, I am being castigated for seeking clarification.

          SolaGratia.

Carl Peterson

“We propose that what most Southern Baptists believe about salvation can rightly be called “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology, which should be understood in distinction to “Calvinist” soteriology.” hmm so what most Methodist believe now can also be labeled “traditional Methodist teaching?” How can this be called the Traditional view when many Baptists have been Calvinists down through the centuries. I really do not understand why thre is so much fighting between Calvinists and non-cavinists in the SBC. Baptists have always been both. Why not keep that as a stregnth? Is it for power in the convention? This fighting is really troublesome. I could understand the fight against liberalism or moderatism in the convention. But these are two groups of conservative christians that have lived together in one denomination for a long time fighting. I can’t see how this fighting is helpful to the cause of spreading God’s kingdom and loving God and enjoying Him forever.

    SAGordon

    Carl,

    I had the same thought. My biggest problem in this discussion is finding a term, or descriptor, which accurately and positively describes my friends who are not Calvinistic. It is not fair to simply label them in the negation (‘non-Calvinist’), but Arminian is not right…Traditional, especially in this case, seems to target only a specific segment of our history…Biblicist seems to cast aspersions toward Calvinists…most others are a string-of-modifiers-interlaced-with-hyphens that are too cumbersome to be functional. I am at a loss.

      Carl Peterson

      Okay. i can understand possibly wanting to define a good label for those who are not Calvinists. That is fine but this document seems to be going much further. By stating this is what Traditional Baptists believe it is making a case that this was and is what Baptist believe. I contend that it would be better to accept the diversity in the denomination as a atregnth and a weakness. But I contend that Baptist should keep the more traditional diversity in thought. The attempts that I have seen to produce a Baptist soteriology in opposition to Calvinism (and ARminianism) in the end have been Armininian when one unpacks what the author realy is saying. But oh well.

Jerry

If Baptist have been around since the 1600s, yet the SBC did not begin to shift toward non-Calvinism until 1925 then how can this statement be deemed ‘traditional’?

    Dave Cline

    My thoughts exactly, Jerry!

    The oldest SBC seminary (SBTS) has founding documents that are clearly from a reformed perspective….many of the founding and early leaders of the SBC were reformed. Was this understanding of the sovereignty of God a majority view….I’, really not sure but, its nonsensical to pretend that a reformed view of salvation just popped on the SBC scene recently. This document is disingenuous, at least on that front. (The assertion that this document is the “traditional view”).

    This is amazing to me. It mind boggling that many of you on this comment line are referring to those of a reformed perspective in ways that for years people in the SBC spoke of African Americans, Saying things like “I have lots of Calvinist friends”. This type of palpable disdain is saddening.

    Then there’s the “we did not mean it to be divisive” and “we are just clarifying our position, not attacking others” pretences. Well, if that’s the case….then why did you make such obvious effort in your statement to marginalize those who hold to different views?

    I am truly saddened and angered by this. However, and more sadly, I’m not surprised.

    Maybe some friends and I should get together and do a list of affirmations and denials and speak to the ‘traditional” SBC stances regarding the health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel being preached by some of the signers of this document….if not that maybe regarding some of their Pelagian leaning views.

      Lydia

      Maybe some friends and I should get together and do a list of affirmations and denials and speak to the ‘traditional” SBC stances regarding the health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel being preached by some of the signers of this document….if not that maybe regarding some of their Pelagian leaning views.”

      Don’t forget the affirmation of slavery by the Calvinist “Founders”. :o)

        Robin Jackson

        Oh, great, throw in a bigoted dart that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. You need to apologize, seriously. The traditions being discussed are theological, and timeless, and tying them to bigotry is reprehensible, unscholarly, and the typical hateful tripe that is spewed towards us who hold to a more reformed view.

        Shame on you.

          Lydia

          “Oh, great, throw in a bigoted dart that has nothing to do with the issue at hand.”

          Robin, Are you suggesting that doctrine does not influence behavior? Have you read Broaddus’ bio of Boyce?

      Jerry

      I remember from my Baptist history class at Southern with Dr. Nettles (the most notable living Baptist historian) that to be a Southern Baptist in the 1800s was to be a Calvinist. We read the earliest Baptist confessions and all of the pre-20th century confessions were clearly Calvinistic. I’m not saying this makes Calvinism right (the Bible does that !), but it does seem like a real stretch to argue that this new document somehow represents ‘traditional’ Baptist views on soteriology. It comes across as disengenious and misleading.

        volfan007

        Jerry,

        Dr. Nettles is a fine fella, but he is definitely very biased towards Calvinism. I also had him for Christian History, and we heard a lot…a lot…a lot….about Calvinism….seemed like every, single day.

        David

volfan007

I believe this document. It fits my theology very well. And, since I am not anti Calvinist, and I would be against trying to kick Calvinists out of the SBC; I appreciate the parts which read…

“There is no thought that this document reflects what all Southern Baptists believe or that it should be imposed upon all Southern Baptists.”

“While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.”

I love my Calvinists, Reformed Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I can work alongside of them, and worship with them, in the SBC. I do not want them to be kicked out, or left out of SBC life. But, I do agree with this document, and I think its a step in the right direction for SBC life. We need to move beyond Calvinsim and Arminianism…and embrace what Baptists believe about the Bible. We should be Christians, who are Baptists….and leave wiggle room for minor points of theological differences.

David

    SAGordon

    David,

    I agree. My question previously stated in reference to my resolution reamains: Will any signatories to this position welcome any Calvinists (on the spectrum from five-pointers to Almyridians to modified to partial…) within positions of leadership within the convention and affirm them as co-laborers under our Great Commission to make disciples of all nations on the basis of the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

      volfan007

      Scott,

      As far as I’m concerned, I would. Also, I believc history bears out the fact that Calvinists were appointed to places of leadership by Traditionalist SB’s….ie, Mohler at Southern; Akin at Southeastern; Ezell at NAMB; and all the missionaries of the past, who’ve been Calvinists appointed by a mostly Traditional Baptist IMB and NAMB and respective boards. Is that not true? Our history has been one of getting along.

      But, the New Calvinists that I’ve run into…that I’ve had dealings with…dont look at it that way. And, I dont like the idea of SBC leaders taking us into a more Reformed position.

      David

Tim

As a former pastor at a SBC church, I’m grateful for a place at a nondenominational church right now. We have pastors from all over the spectrum in regards to this topic, and we work alongside each other closely to accomplish what matters. And this, my friends, is not an area that matters. I’m thankful for the differing views I see every day. I adds perspective and wholeness to our ministry. Praying for the Convention.

Jay

I am not a Calvinist, but in fairness to Scripture (what should be predominant in any discussion on correct, if not traditional, Baptist beliefs) there is a whole lot of text in support of predestiation. Also, when you say that Article IV of the Baptist Faith and Message on Salvation doesn’t speak of Election you are correct. Article V is the section on Baptist’s belief IN Election.

Dr Rodger whorton.....Friendship baptist

I’m not a calvanist nor a arminist but a Baptist..Article 2 is borderline hersey…to imply that man comes into the world without sin is wrong…rom 5:12..rom 5:18-19 proverbs 20:9.Isa 64:6…after gen 3 gen 4 is nothing but death to all because of the sin of Adam not because they sinned personally but corporately were born in sin.Take two babies and put them togather and one bottle of milk and see how good they are????This is very divisive…Wonder how many souls could have been saved in the time it took to write this article..

    Johnathan Pritchett

    I see nothing borderline heretical about it.

    What do you think sin is? Ontologically speaking.

    Is two babies competing for a bottle of milk non-rational infant instinct or sinful desire? (James 1:14-15) Did baby Jesus ever cry wanting to be held even if He didn’t need to be held? Would that be deceitful behavior? We need to be cautious here in what we say, since there is no way of knowing how baby Jesus behaved as an infant. It wasn’t as if He was doing long division in the cradle (Luke 2:52), nor not ever crying or whatever…come on…

    Also, what part of the baby is inherently sinful? See Ecclesiastes 12:7. Is it the dirt (gnsoticism) or the spirit God gave him or her (effectively calling God the author of sin…but see James 1:13)?

    Is. 64:6 says all have become unclean…not born unclean.

    Not sure the reference to Pro. 20:9 since we all agree that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

    As for Romans 5:12-21, please see my post above (which includes 1 Cor. 15:22 as well) for a Biblical explanation minus all the Augustinian nonsense or bad interpretations of Psalms regarding “sin juice” getting all over babies in the womb, that no doubt needs washing off by infant baptism…LOL

    People really need to rethink their categories and doctrinal formulations in light of proper Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis.

    The Bible predates Calvin and Arminius, and Augustine and Pelagius.

    Part of the purpose of this statement is to MOVE AWAY from doing Biblical theology somewhere on the spectrum between Augustine and Pelagius or Calvin and Arminius.

    Those are practically useless categories of thought for proper Biblical theology. Time to get away from scholasticism and reactive theology and more towards a 1st century Ancient Near East and ancient Hebrew understanding of theological categories.

    Affirming free will and denying the imputation of Adam’s guilt is neither heresy nor Pelagianism.

      Lydia

      “Time to get away from scholasticism and reactive theology and more towards a 1st century Ancient Near East and ancient Hebrew understanding of theological categories.”

      Exactly! Thank you!

      Tony Arsenal

      “Also, what part of the baby is inherently sinful?”

      The part that does not seek God. (Rom 3:11)

        Johnathan Pritchett

        In the context of the Psalms Paul quotes, the verse speaks of “evildoers” (14:4, 53:4)The babies are these evildoers?

        Are we absolutely sure that Paul has zygotes, or even infants, in mind here?

        Is Paul the gratuitous proof-texter the Calvinist is, or does the OT echo of broader context matter in interpretation?

        Do you seek God? Regardless of your born again status, the answer is yes.

        So, is Romans 3:11 therefore qualified, or was Paul himself not seeking God even though the Holy Spirit inspired him to quote David?

        So, yes, it is already qualified.

        Thus, is it hyperbolic? Yes.

        Now, before you get too excited, I am not denying that anyone can seek God without being prompted by God Himself, but what I am saying is that Paul (nor David) did not have infants or zygotes in mind when it says “no one seeks God.”

        That a baby will grow up, sin, and not seek God without God’s assistance and grace is neither here nor there to the issue under discussion here.

        When my wife and I had our first child, I never once thought to myself, “God, why did our obeying your creation mandate result in this tiny, wretched, wicked, God-hating, God-ignoring, filthy enemy of yours I am holding in my arms.” And if you are a father, you never said that either.

        Get real son…

          Tony Arsenal

          No, but I bet that you prayed that your child would grow up and recognize his sinfulness and seek Christ to be justified, sanctified, and ultimately glorified? Is it all that different? If what you are saying is true, then we should kill all our children before they have a chance to bring their own guilt upon themselves.

          volfan007

          Tony,

          Not only is it a sin against God to murder, but it also goes against the natural love that a parent has for their child to murder thier baby.

          Life belongs to God.

          And, let me ask you….do you believe that babies go to Hell?

          David

      Robin Jackson

      Wow, your argument is almost as compelling as the pastor I know is looking forward to hunting in heaven.

      Of COURSE we know how Jesus acted as a baby, and infant and even an adolescent teen….HE WAS WITHOUT SIN! Unlike any other man…remember?

        volfan007

        We all believe that Jesus was sinless…even as a baby. And?

        David

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Agree with David.

        I think the point passed you right by…We all affirm that Jesus was without sin, and we all affirm Jesus was 100% human as well as 100% divine.

        How do 100% human zygotes and babies act? Can you prove zygote Jesus and baby Jesus acted differently than other zygotes and babies (was Mary sinless on your view to prevent zygote Jesus from being formed in a “sin-infected womb” or whatever…)?

        No one disagrees that Jesus did not sin. What we do disagree on is whether babies, in acting on instinct rather than thought and desire, actually sin when they cry, want to be held, etc.

        If so, you have to prove babies and fetuses and zygotes are sinners even before they can reason, think, have knowledge, and have evil desires (which is the corrupting of the innate good desires).

        There is more here than you are apparently willing to think about. I understand if you aren’t on that level…no harm, no foul. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

        And, in response to what someone said above…woe to the jerk who would put one bottle between two hungry babies to fight over.

        That says more about that person who would do that than it does about babies.

        Sheesh…

Bob Cleveland

If it is true that Baptists had made disciples of the 16 million people God has sent us, and;

If it is true that Baptist soteriology is true and differs from reformed soteriology, and;

If it is true that there were a movement afoot to “convert” Baptists to the reformed way of thinking, then:

I wouldn’t think anyone would have anything to worry about. Well-grounded disciples in the Baptist churches would not be tossed about by that wind of doctrine and would stay true to the things Baptists tout, and not fall for the reformed doctrines decried in this document. However, I, for one, don’t believe #1, above, as witnessed by the fact that I have yet to find an SBC member, teacher, deacon body or pastor who correctly answered my question as to why we have to be baptized to join an SBC church.

If we had been fulfilling the Great Commission .. if we had been making disciples .. we’d have no reason for the document. As it is, Baptists do have a lot to fear. And not from Calvinism or any other reformed theology.

Max

“The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists.”

With all the chatter on various blogs today related to this, I think it’s important not to lose sight of this key consideration which led to the preparation of this document. Many of us who consider ourselves grassroots, mainstream, traditional (or whatever you prefer to call the 90+% SBC non-Calvinist majority) are becoming increasingly aware of (and some personally affected by) a new breed of young, restless and reformed pastors who are aggressive and militant about their Calvinist belief and practice. While the majority has co-existed with “Old Calvinism” in its ranks, this new thing is cause for concern. Thus, I agree that it is high time to address this issue with a clear articulation of “God’s Plan of Salvation” as the majority know and profess it to a lost world. The BFM2000 revision allowed too much theological wiggle room and expectedly led to this current controversy.

    Robin Jackson

    New Calvinist is an oxymoron.

    Calvinist is a misnomer.

    We hold to God’s inerrant word and believe in it’s absolute authority and His absolute sovereignty.

    We do not follow Calvin.

    We follow Christ.

    Truthfirst

    It appears to me that the Old Guard is worried about losing it’s political power within the SBC to the younger generation coming up in the ranks. This has been coming to a head since the Pastor’s Conference in Orlando a couple years ago when many of the Pastor’s preaching at it are known Calvinist. I believe that it made a lot of folks uncomfortable, and they made up their minds that they needed to do something about stopping it.

    As a believer in the “Doctrines of Grace” our commission by our Lord and Master is to share the Gospel with the lost and leave the results up to Him. Remember, it is not for our Glory, but His.

Michael Stovall

I don’t have a problem with a person or group of persons outlining their specific positions regarding the doctrine of salvation. I actually think such an exercise can be very fruitful for personal growth. My disappointment with this resolution effort is that a group of Southern Baptists that do not represent all Southern Baptists desires to more narrowly define the doctrinal position of the Southern Baptist Convention beyond the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. When did the BF&M 2000 become an insufficient doctrinal guide? Why the need for a non-binding resolution?

Chris Roberts

It is striking to me that on the same day that an appeal’s court strikes down the DOMA, a group in the SBC release a statement which, intentional or not, can only deepen lines of division within the convention. The first is one reason why the second should never have happened – there are far more important things going on that need our focus, our prayer, and our ministry. At a time when there is such a great need for unity, why is there so much effort to cause division?

    Bob Hadley

    I suppose you are trying to say those who are causing the division are those here who disagree with those that agree with you?

    Come on Chris! You are smarter than that.

    ><>”

      Chris Roberts

      Bob,

      And you are smarter than that. You know that’s not what I meant.

        Bob Hadley

        So are you admitting that you and your side are part of the problem?

        ><>”

          Chris Roberts

          Bob,

          Please note that your responses are neither clever nor helpful, particularly since I’m sure you know they also have nothing to do with the point I was making.

    Lydia

    “At a time when there is such a great need for unity, why is there so much effort to cause division?”

    Chris, You are ignoring the fact that an SBC employee said on a video that if one wants to see the nations rejoice for Christ, New Calvinism is the only place for them to go. THAT is divisive. Especially when a lot of people who do not consider themselves New Calvinists are paying part of his salary and his ability to promote T4G and GC which are both Calvinistic.

    http://youtu.be/T6lRMMvNCn8

    Why is it not divisive to you when a paid employee of a convention that is about 80% Non Calvinist says such things? I am genuinely curious how that computes with logic. That video is ONE example of what we have been hearing for years out of the New Calvinist camp.

      Chris Roberts

      Lydia,

      How can you equate what an individual says of his own views in a non-SBC forum with what a group of individuals are trying to do across the SBC? Mohler stated his views of the Bible, but this statement does more than articulate personal views: it seeks to divide the SBC into camps of us-vs-them.

        Lydia

        “How can you equate what an individual says of his own views in a non-SBC forum with what a group of individuals are trying to do across the SBC? Mohler stated his views of the Bible, but this statement does more than articulate personal views: it seeks to divide the SBC into camps of us-vs-them.”

        Chris,

        Let me get this straight….

        So what he said in the Gospel Coalition video, a non SBC forum, means he does not believe these same words when he is at work in an SBC capacity? Seriously? It is not divisive because as an SBC entity president he said it at the Gospel Coalition?

        How can I equate it? Should I not assume Mohler is the same person with the same beliefs no matter where he is? And no matter where he is he represents SBTS? Right? Or Wrong?

          Chris Roberts

          What I mean is Mohler was not attempting to shape the theology of the SBC when he said those words.

        Bob Hadley

        Chris,

        Here you go again… “this statement does more than articulate personal views: it seeks to divide the SBC into camps of us-vs-them.”

        Come on dude… we are ALREADY divided and the divide was created by those who have made calvinism a front row issue or we WOULD NOT BE HAVING THESE DISCUSSIONS!

        Either you simply do not get it or you are in some serious denial! This document is a response to what is taking place around us in the SBC… so if in your eyes us calling attention to things that we do not like is divisive then I suggest you get used to it; it is going to get worse.

        ><>”

          Chris Roberts

          The only people who have made Calvinism a front-row issue are people like yourself, non-Calvinists who do not like the fact that a growing number of Southern Baptists have embraced the theology of Calvinism.

          Robin Jackson

          The only ones I see making Calvinism a “Front Row” issue are those offended by it. If they would keep their opinions to themselves and let God bless their ministries according to their faithfulness to His word then the rest of us could (and are) move along…the problem is that it irritates them…the question is WHY?

          Bob Hadley

          Robin,

          I am sure you are kidding right… “If they would keep their opinions to themselves”

          This is one of the poorest statements on this blog. If I disagree with the theology I will voice my disagreement, that is WHY this discussion is taking place.

          ><>”

    Leslie Puryear

    It’s amazing to me that the originators of divisiveness. Calvinists, accuse traditional Southern Baptists of divisiveness. We have watched you challenge the beliefs of our convention, and when we rightly respond with clarification of traditional Southern Baptist beliefs, you cry foul. It sound like your definition of divisiveness is anything that doesn’t match your beliefs.

    I will say that Calvinist has done one good thing. You have prompted us to more clearly define true Baptist soteriology. This is what traditional Baptists believe. Just because it is not what you believe does not make it divisive.

      Chris Roberts

      And I would say that the best thing about this statement is it allows us to drop the lie that Calvinism is dividing churches and the convention. Look at who in the convention is calling for unity, and look at who in the convention is trying to draw battle lines.

        Tim G

        Chris,
        As one who signed the document I can assure you that it is not my intent to draw a “battle line” as you imply. It is a fact that this is an expression of what every SBC church I have ever been involved with for over 43 years has believed. I find it difficult why this statement affirming that is being labeled as divisive.

        I thought we aas SBC people were free to state what we believe? Why can some do so and others not?

        Trying to understand the bearing false witness that is taking place.

          Chris Roberts

          Because (1) this document does not present an accurate picture of any form of Calvinism within the SBC, (2) this document claims the existence of movements that do not exist, (3) this document implicitly, if not explicitly, moves Calvinists in the convention to the sidelines, and (4) this document drives a wedge between Calvinist and non-Calvinist Southern Baptists – we disagreed before the existence of a document of this sort, but this document does not leave the matter at simple disagreement but breaks the SBC into camps of us-vs-them.

          I have zero problem with people disagreeing with me, I have zero problem with people who disagree with me writing documents and statements and confessions that articulate their views, I do take issue with attempts to push Calvinists to the sidelines of the convention, and I’m surprised that people do not recognize how this document accomplishes nothing but division and marginalization.

      Bob Cleveland

      I’ve only been a Baptist for a bit over 31 years, but I do have 11 years’ experience as a Presbyterian as well. It is so simply obvious who is divisive in all this, it has been since the whole “Calvinism is the problem” thing came up, and I assure you the handwriting is on the wall. There have been enough lies told about Calvinism to make me want to upchuck.

      “Anti-Missional”? I have yet to see or hear of a Baptist church as committed to missions as the last PCA church we belonged to .. one in which we formed part of the founding membership.

      Aggressive? I teach now, and did when I was a Presbyterian, what’s in the Bible. When the Bible speaks of election and predestination … which my pastor mentioned in his sermon this past Sunday by the way … that’s what I teach. When it speaks of Jesus’ dying not only for those to whom the book was addressed, but the sins of the entire world, that’s what I teach. That’s all I’ve ever heard, even in Presbyterian churches.

      This is the straw man of all straw men, and I think it’s coming from people who may be realizing that the SBC churches have, as a whole, failed at making disciples, and have to have something to blame the ills of the SBC on. Well, it reminds me of the boss, who said to an underling:

      “I didn’t say you were at fault .. I said I was blaming you”.

      Amen.

      Robin Jackson

      again, you need to study your traditions better, you haven’t a clue, sorry. Unless of course you are a Methodist.

      Branton Burleson

      This statement is NOT what “traditional” Southern Baptists believed. By “traditional,” I mean 19th century! The founders of the convention like John Dagg who was the first writing SBC theologian whose text, “A Manual of Theology” has been linked here by me represents the “traditional” SBC doctrine of salvation. John Dagg, James P. Boyce, John Broadus, Basil Manly Jr., P.H. Mell, W.B. Johnson and on and on I could go would not only NOT have signed this document, they would have vigorously opposed it, if for no other reason than that most of the things denied don’t even represent historical Calvinism! This document leaves me wondering who is even being targeted because it is so poorly written that it only further confuses and distorts what Calvinists actually believe and teach. This document lacks integrity and is, frankly, dishonest.

Jason

I have been spending my lunch reading these comments and I must say that there are quite a few of the “over-educated” here. I don’t know much about Calvinism. I have never heard of Pelagianism or any of the other -isms referred to by many. All I know is that I was a sinner, I believe that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins and rose again on the 3rd day, and that because of that belief I am now a child of God and on my way to Heaven someday (Romans 10:9 says that all I have to do is believe). I was baptized, not for my salvation but because of it; to tell the world how I was changed. With all of that said, I 100% agree with that the document is Biblical and it is definitely what is taught at the church I attend.

Jamie Rogers

Guys,
I do not, nor have not identified myself as a “Calvinist.” The divisiveness though that I have witnessed has not been from the side of those who are the “calvinists” but rather from those who aren’t. Why keep bringing up this mess? I realize things are changing in our SBC, but why are we against that? Things have not been good ACROSS our convention for a while. For years we have preached baptism numbers, but I have pastored churches that have all been filled with a majority of baptized folks, who if they were to die today would be in Hell because they have never responded to THE gospel. I am all for clarifying the gospel, but not at the cost of simply fighting against changes that are occurring, and from my perspective need to occur. Let’s not sing “Onward, Christian Soldiers” again, nor let our congregations do so, because these types of endeavors are unlike any army I’ve ever heard of. Let’s stop alienating ourselves from one another. Want to know why guys are thinking about leaving the convention? It’s because of this kind of stuff.

Martie

I have decided to reply with my thoughts and disagreements with the affirmations or denials. Make all the statements you want, I’m totally cool with that. The problem will arise when/if it goes to the convention. The BF&M is open enough to have both stances/positions (not sides, we are on the same side) included and unite for the spread of the glory of God to all nations. Here is how I understand it:

Gospel
I too deny “only a select few are capable of responding…” I don’t believe any are capable. Will is free, but apart from the work of God will only choose contrary.

Sinfulness of Man
I’m not sure I fully understand what is being communicated

Atonement
Free will that is bound to choose sin

Grace
Effectual calling cannot be resisted, General calling can be resisted

Regeneration
Hmmm. I agree that it happens in association with hearing and responding to the Gospel, but I would state that a response of faith will only come as a result of Regeneration.

Election
Predestined certain people for salvation…Yes, condemnation…No

Sovereignty
I’m not sure how would agree with what is denied

Free Will
Decision is the persons own choice, but enable by God.
Effectual Call Romans 9, different from General call

Great Commission
Agreed except where is discipleship…lost? The great commission is more than “bringing any person to salvation” it is making them a disciple through teaching and instruction of the Word of God.

Donald Holmes

I have eagerly anticipated such a statement. Thanks to all who contributed.

J.D. Arnold

I am a 34 year old SBC pastor and I am not a Calvinist nor am I an Arminian. I hate it that we try to put parameters around things that God did not. I believe in total depravity. I was dead in my trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Something that is dead can do nothing. God had to do it. With that said, no one will be able to blame God that they were not saved. The Bible teaches us that “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

I read through all of the comments and I am thankful that I am already saved. If I was a lost person reading through this it would cause me to want to stay away from the Baptist churches. Baptists seem to be more concerned about debating one another than we are about engaging the lost with the Gospel. It is time we stop fighting one another and partner together to do together what none of us can do on our own. We are called to make disciples not win debates. Instead of trying to get people to look like us, focus on helping them to look like Jesus!

J.D. Arnold, Pastor
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Jane, Missouri

Stuart Houston

Dr. Hankins,

Wonderful, theologically sound document that all Southern Baptists can rally around. Thankful for your leadership and look forward to your service in the SBC.

Stuart Houston

    Tony Arsenal

    “Wonderful, theologically sound document that all Southern Baptists can rally around.”

    Except the Calvinist ones…

Bryan Daniels

I think the Preamble itself presents a few too many issues before even approaching the meat of the articles.

I don’t read the BF & M (especially the most recent one) as a “clear trajectory away” from Calvinism. It has quite inclusive and vague language that a Non Calvinist and Calvinist could both affirm.

The preamble calls out and shuns a group of “New Calvinists”, yet there is no explanation of what such a label entails. Does that mean the group listens to too many Matt Chandler or John Piper Podcasts? I’d like to know some of the organized “aggressive” tactics SBC’s have experienced at the hands of this subversive movement. Specifically, what “radical alteration” is this NC group calling for in Southern Baptist life and mission?

To say the “Traditional” view is the one with young tender roots formed in 1925 is a stretch of semantics. With the clear reality that the most ancient Baptist confessions (1600s) were more Reformed, wouldn’t that make Calvinism “more traditional” than a non Calvinist view?

Others can tackle the theological implications of the articles better than me.
Just my initial thoughts as a layman who desires unity in mission.

Bear Reed

One thought comes to mind reading “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”: no one, not a single solitary person, is saved “by repentance & faith” … referring to the action of the person in repentance & the expression by the person of faith.
Any who are saved are saved by the grace of God in expressing mercy to the damnable & in giving spiritual life to the spiritually dead. Salvation can be rightly said to be “by faith” in that Jesus Christ faithfully (by faith) was obedient to the Father & thereby accomplished the works necessary for the salvation of those the Father had given Him. Nothing less than this perfect faithfulness is sufficient for the salvation of any.
When God graciously sends the Holy Spirit to bring a person into spiritual life, at the proclamation of the Gospel there is that response in the person because of this spiritual life which is called “faith”. Faith, in this framework, is the spiritual response which results in belief then trust then repentance.
Thus said, it is NOT our faith which saves, but our faith which is evidence of our salvation. It is not our repentance which saves, but our repentance which is evidence of our faith which is evidence of our salvation.
Those spiritually dead cannot respond to the Gospel with faith anymore than a rock can respond to the kisses of a maiden. The dead can imitate spiritual life because we are still encumbered by sin in the flesh & are deceived and deceiving in that fleshly nature. Looking like the living & being alive, however, are two VERY different things.

Max

This statement would be a good addition to the “What We Believe” section of traditional SBC church websites. It is a much clearer articulation of God’s Plan of Salvation than that presented in the salvation section of BFM2000.

smithbaptist

Is anyone confused about why eager pastors and growing churches are leaving or inactive in SBC life?

Paul Taylor

I believe the BF&M2000’s statement on salvation is sufficient for all. Obviously this statement does not reflect all of Southern Baptist thought on the matter.

Tim G

Dr. Hankins,
Thank you for making this available. Being raised in a SBC church and having served 5 SBC churches for over 22 years I can say without any hesitation that this is indeed what I and the people were I have served and was raised believe. I am thankful that the effort has been taken to put it in writing!

Well done!

Jeremy Freeman

Two of the greatest evangelist/preachers the world has ever known would not sign this statement: Jonathon Edwards and Charles Spurgeon. This is unnecessary and divisive. I personally agree with much of what is said, but I completely disagree with the reasoning behind such a document. If Calvinists did such a thing, there would be tremendous outrage. Baptists need to remember that Calvinism and non-Calvinism are not the Gospel…Jesus is the Gospel! How about an affirmation of the Gospel? We need, more than ever, to be about Jesus…proclaiming Him to the ends of the earth! The worst thing that could happen at the convention would be for this to be presented. Please, don’t make us a joke again to the watching world. Let’s make much of Jesus and rally around Him!

Dave Cline

“Affirming free will and denying the imputation of Adam’s guilt is neither heresy nor Pelagianism.”

You’re right!

Its, both!

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Do tell how, good sir?

    I affirm free will. People who affirm free will are heretics and Pelagians?

    I deny the imputation of Adam’s guilt (mind you: this is totally different than rejecting that humanity receives the consequences of Adam’s sin). People who deny the imputation of Adam’s guilt are heretics and Pelagian?

    Tell me how this is either heretical or Pelagian.

    You are saying all the signers of this are Pelagian and heretics?

    This is why dialog with Calvinists is impossible…

      Shelby

      No Johnathan, dialogue with Calvinist is not impossible. I have experienced the pleasure many times in my short life. What you meant to say was “dialogue with Calvinist is improbable.”

        Johnathan Pritchett

        I am having two dear friends of mine, who are Calvinists, come preach in the pulpit while I am away doing my residency this summer.

        What I think I should have said is “dialog with Internet Calvinists is impossible.”

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Genesis 3:14-19 says nothing about Adam’s offspring being imputed with his guilt.

    Romans 5:12-21 says nothing about Adam’s offspring being imputed with his guilt.

    Psalms 51:5 and 58:3 certainly say nothing about Adam’s offspring being imputed with Adam’s guilt.

    Seriously, while we all have 1,846,867,246,853 or so of our own sins to answer for, crying about being held guilty for Adam’s sin is superfluous, I grant that, but still, where does the Bible actually state this?

    Oh…right…it doesn’t…

    Where does the Bible say people don’t have “free will”…why does the Westminster Confession and the LBC 1689 have sections on free will. Those sections, by the way, contain nothing that the above Statement ACTUALLY conflicts with, mind you. Weird, I know… ;)

      Bob Cleveland

      Even if man has free will, he’s only free to do that which is within his nature. Man isn’t free to float 3 feet off the ground like a hummingbird, or breathe water like a fish. That’s important to know, as the Bible states that the natural man cannot comprehend things of the Spirit, no one can say Jesus is Lord but by the Spirit, etc.

      We’re free to do a lot of things, but getting saved isn’t one of them, unless God intervenes via the Holy Spirit.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Amen, and neither that statement, nor anyone here defending it say otherwise.

          Bob Cleveland

          “We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.”

          That seems to indicate that the Spirit need not intervene before salvation. Need not work in the person to enable comprehension of the Spiritual.

          Johnathan Pritchett

          Bob, that is because the Holy Spirit operates in tandem with the presentation of the Gospel. (see John 15:26-27, John 1:8, the book of Acts, etc…

          You think that regeneration is required in order to exercise faith. Fine, except the Bible nowhere teaches that this regeneration (new birth) happens prior to faith.

          So, the work of the Holy Spirit includes more than just regeneration. It includes conviction. It includes the prevenient grace of enabling.

          Sometime, people respond with repentance and faith (Acts 2), and sometimes they respond by stoning the preacher (Acts 7)…

          Les

          Jonathan,

          If you are still reading way up here, you said,

          “So, the work of the Holy Spirit includes more than just regeneration. It includes conviction. It includes the prevenient grace of enabling.

          Sometime, people respond with repentance and faith (Acts 2), and sometimes they respond by stoning the preacher (Acts 7)…”

          This is not an attempt at a “gotcha” question. So what is the difference in the two responses? Why is one given this “enabling” and the other not given it?

    Les

    Dave,

    I think you have crossed the line in essentially referring to these men as heretics. If Michael Horton’s definition of heresy is correct, “any teaching that directly contradicts the clear and direct witness of the Scriptures on a point of salvific importance,” then these views, while not orthodox in my view, do not qualify as heresy.

    Les

Michael

“Its purpose is to engender a much needed Convention-wide discussion about the place of Calvinism in Southern Baptist life.”

This is good, a statement like this is good. The Barna Group conducted an exhaustive poll to determine that the majority of Southern Baptists are non-Calvinists, but God love ’em we need to know where to put these folks. This statement allows the Calvinists to stay in the family as the red headed stepchild but warns guests at the front door that, “Our family is normal, really, but we can’t kick him out of the house just because he wears adult diapers and listens to his music too loud.”

I love it.

    John Casey

    We aren’t the stepchildren. That’s so divisive.

    Lydia

    Michael,

    To borrow from your metaphor: Your “daddy” is the president of the SBC flagship seminary and has been since he was 33.

John Casey

It is my opinion that the writer of the article needs to apologize to those like me and stop this now. Please understand that we must stand for what we believe in. Most of us don’t want the discussions or proposals like yours because we believe it just simply divides.

Look, I know not all Southern Baptists agree with everything in Sovereign Grace, and that is perfectly fine. But, those that don’t aren’t making a proposal like your proposal. Look, that statement of yours is ok on a personal level, but should be kept that way. The BF&M provides the best middle ground for us as Southern Baptists. Your proposal, if adopted, would kill the SBC as we know it to be. Even those that do agree with you would leave because of the divisive language that is harsh against those that don’t agree with you.

So, I implore you to please write an article of apology and keep such matters to yourself.

Dwight Schrute

Where are all the Southern Professors Signatures?

    Michael

    Their sound theology prevents them from signing such a straw-man filled, theologically incorrect, self-serving statement like this.

Dave Cline

I meant to specifically say that a denial of the imputation of Adam’s sin is both Pelagian and heretical.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Which is it? The imputation of Adam’s sin, the consequences of Adam’s sin, or Adam’s guilt?

    Romans 5: 12 we have one sin from one man, then more death because more sin (for all). Makes sense, Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:22.

    Romans 5:17 death reigns…

    Romans 5:21 sin reigns in death.

    It all makes perfect sense.

    Now the in between triumphantly highlights Christ’s amazing act that overpowers Adam’s amazing act.

    The problem: if someone injects direct causation into the passage, consistently throughout the passage, the result is far worse than Augustine’s formulation of the doctrine of original sin (misreading verse 12 as “in whom all sin”). The result is universalism in verses 5:16-18, especially given how much more powerful and victorious Christ’s act is presented here.

    FAIL…

    Maybe, in light of Scripture, we need to rethink certain doctrinal formulations. Don Garlington was on to something with the “original death” view, and even Thomas Schreiner knows it, at least to some extent. See his Baker commentary on this passage.

    It is also worth noting that the word imputed (not exactly the same word as Logizomai, but close enough) is used here in verse 13, and it is used in the sense of negation regarding the idea…and no where used in affirming the idea in this passage. So, how “not impute” means “impute”…well…

Dave Cline

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Les

A bright spot. I comprehensive list of Arminianistic pastors/churches is fast developing for access by all. A Calvinistic person can maybe more easily know where they exist. That’s sort of a bright spot in my view.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    You know what? I actually agree.

    I think because the SBC (rightly so) is a big tent, it is unified around missions, but for people looking for a church body, it is helpful for people to know whether they are walking into a church they align theologically with or not. Since any given First Baptist Church can be Calvinist, non-Calvinist, Arminian, Dispensationalist, Covenant theology, semi or full blown charismatic, etc., having some sort of public identity for churches would be helpful.

    I enjoy Reformed Baptist churches, I enjoy Reformed theologicans and their works, but I doubt I would join a Reformed Baptist church since my views would cause internal problems and I wouldn’t want to do that.

    I don’t mind a Calvinist joining my church, (I am having two Calvinists preach in my church while I am doing my residency), but I think if they are going to cause more division than unity, I wold simply ask them if they are going to serve, or stir up disagreement.

    I like discussion, but getting too divisive and argumentative in SS classes is not healthy for a church.

    I like churches that put their views in public plainly. It is helpful. If I meet a Calvinist living in the community, I have no problem pointing them in the direction of some wonderful friends who pastor Reformed Baptist churches. I imagine they would rather be there than my church anyway.

    This isn’t a problem.

      Robin Jackson

      Thank you, that is the most refreshing comment I’ve read in this whole mess. If only it were that easy. You see, people like those that wrote this statement are perturbed by our reformed beliefs without out cause and without purpose.

      Thanks again…I pray for more brothers like you ;)

    volfan007

    Les,

    We are not Arminianistic. We are not Calvinistic. But, of course, when someone is totally committed to a certain philosophy, then they find it hard to believe that there can actually be something beyond Calvinism and Arminianism.

    David

      Les

      David, I’m not committed to a certain philosophy. I’m committed to what I see the scriptures teaching, as I’m sure you are.

      I’m no longer going to use Arminianistic. Henceforth I’ll refer to non-Calvinists as Synergists. The reason is really that is the centerpiece difference. Calvinists such as I are monergists in reference to regeneration or the new birth. Non-Calvinists are Synergists. And that because of our differing views of the man’s natural state spiritually. Everything else in the Calvinist system falls apart if one is not a monergist on regeneration.

Alan Cross

So, after reading through all of this and the responses (I skimmed, honestly), it seems that Article Two is a mess. I would recommend you address what seems to be a denial of original sin and total depravity, which would cause any majority that you have to fall apart, in my opinion. It could very well be that you did not intend to say it that way. I will give the benefit of the doubt. However, many have come on and have defended a view that we are not guilty before God until we commit our first sin and that we are capable of responding to God because we have some inherent worth. That is a view that seems to move in a Pelagian direction and I cannot believe that that is intended here. Our problem is not sins, as in acts committed, but SIN – a predisposition toward rebellion against God that is inherent within us and that is native to the human experience. When it expresses itself in individual acts, those are sinS, but SIN is our biggest problem. Jesus came to forgive us of our sinS and to deliver us from the power of SIN. That is how I have always read Scripture, anyway. Of course, I am willing to be corrected here if I have missed something.

I think that you can affirm Total Depravity and Original Sin while still maintaining that man is capable of responding to God before regeneration. The way that you do this is to fully recognize that God takes the initiative in salvation (as you state elsewhere) through the work of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the proclamation of the Word and that the ability to respond is granted through the proclamation/demonstration of the gospel as a witness to Christ’s saving work (faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God). When the gospel is displayed, the ability to respond or reject is also inherent within. It is God who enables all to hear and to respond – or to reject and have their hearts hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Apart from God’s gracious initiative through the Good News of Jesus, we are all eternally damned. This is why we must preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. But, it is still God who draws – not us. We are just His servants.

At any rate, I am grateful for getting this out there so that we can discuss it. Unlike others in this thread, I don’t think that having a charitable theological discussion is a hindrance to gospel. Perhaps it will cause some of us to work together who would not have otherwise.

    Alan Cross

    And, if I have read any of this wrong, I will happily be corrected.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    “However, many have come on and have defended a view that we are not guilty before God until we commit our first sin and that we are capable of responding to God because we have some inherent worth.”

    I affirm the first bit and defend it, but not the second bit.

    I think the original death view is more Biblical and superior than the original sin view.

    There is a difference in being born guilty before God and being born separate from God.

    I agree that SIN is the problem. That is exactly how Paul and the original death view talk about sin. Sin is a reigning power in death (also a reigning power) which ultimatly leads everyone into sins.

    It is not a “stuff” like the original sin view ultimately has it.

    “a predisposition toward rebellion against God that is inherent within us and that is native to the human experience.”

    What do you think is meant by “every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin.” in Article II?

    It says the same thing…

    My argument (not the framers of this document) says that “inclination and environment” has everything to do with being born separate from God (“totally depraved” in that sort of terminology), under the reign of sin and death, and nothing to do with the spirit God initially gives us (which would mean God causes our sinfulness) or the dirt we are made of (which is gnostic thinking).

    And, of course, I am speaking in that terminology of “totally depraved” in its proper theological sense. I.e. no one can do anything to step towards God without grace, and not in the sense that everyone is a Hitler or eats their babies…you know what it is.

      volfan007

      Alan,

      The view teaches that men are sinful, and born that way….that men have a bent towards sin due to their sin nature…that sin has caused men to be separated from God….that sin has brought death to men…

      The ONLY differences that I see is that men are not incapable of responding to the call of God for salvation; that the sin of Adam didnt make them unable to respond in repentance and faith. AND, the other thing is that men are not guilty of committing Adam’s sin….Adam is guilty of committing his sin. But, Adam’s sin still affected men…all men….in making us sinners, who will die. It doesnt make men dead like a corpse, who cant even respond to the calling of God, as the Calvinists teach.

      I do not believe that men are capable of responding to God, due to some inherent goodness in the heart of man. Men are sinners, but they can still choose….

      David

    abclay

    Alan,

    It’s bordering on the ridiculous. In an effort to show that Calvinism is from the devil, the explanation of the sinful nature of man in article 2 has gone so far to the other side of the spectrum as to be heretical.

    And on top of this, you have the scores of eager ANTI-Calvinists in the SBC who have signed their affirmation of this statement.

    Now, how can they change it???? It can’t be changed! All that can be done is a futile defense of the heresy in light of biblical truth.

    If it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable.

      volfan007

      AB,

      You’re not divisive; are you? lol

      Wow.

      David

      PS. I dont believe I saw anywhere in this document where Calvinists were called “of the Devil.” Also, I believe its you, who is throwing around the heresy label.

      Les

      ablay,

      I think you have crossed the line in essentially referring to these men as heretics. If Michael Horton’s definition of heresy is correct, “any teaching that directly contradicts the clear and direct witness of the Scriptures on a point of salvific importance,” then these views, while not orthodox in my view, do not qualify as heresy.

      Les

Brian Murphy

– I am a member at Westport Road Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I’m sad this has come out. I do not think this is helpful in any way – why can the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 not be the end of the discussion – the one statement on God’s plan of salvation with which all in the SBC can rally around? Why is this statement needed?

I’m afraid the release of this statement will simply “stir the pot” and raise controversy and for that reason, this deeply saddens me.

    Lydia

    “why can the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 not be the end of the discussion – the one statement on God’s plan of salvation with which all in the SBC can rally around? Why is this statement needed? ”

    Because, if you notice even in this thread and in the broader NC movement, well known terms are not defined the same way by the two camps.

    Eddie Wren

    are you sad when other leaders say Calvinism is the only legitimate option? Did that stir the pot? Did that raise controversy?

    Max

    ” … why can the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 not be the end of the discussion … ?

    Brian, in order to get a better perspective on BFM2000 concerns as expressed my certain commenters, I refer you to an analysis of the BFM revision prepared by Russell Dilday … particularly the section on “Troubling Factors” http://www.baptiststandard.com/2001/5_14/pages/dilday.html

Drew Tucker

Even if this “statement” was well-written…
Even if this “statement” came close to accurately portraying what “new calvinists” believe….
Even if this “statement” wasn’t misleading…
What does it accomplish?

Heath Lloyd

Having looked over this comment thread, and following links to some other weblogs, I have just about lost all enthusiasm for going to New Orleans.

I guess I can look forward to electing Fred Luter.

sigh . . . .

Ray

Friends,

A while back Shorter College/University in GA was searching for a President. Dr. Nelson Price, I think the head of the search committee, indicated in his statement that the President could not subscribe to calvinistic theology. I was thunderstruck by that. Really? How many heros of SBC history would not be considered under that criteria? Most of the founders of the Convention could not meet the anti-calvinistic standard. Nor could Dr. Al Mohler (and many other godly SBC leaders and scholars) today. Amazing…Dr. Mohler, if he wanted to, is deemed unqualified to serve as President of Shorter. Your statement will have the opposite effect of unifying Southern Baptists I am afraid. It exlude thousands of Southern Baptists past and present.

Lydia

“What I mean is Mohler was not attempting to shape the theology of the SBC when he said those words.”

Chris! This is incredible thinking. Of course he is attempting to shape the theology of the SBC. He is the president of our flashship seminary and young minds full of mush hang on his every word. What he says at GC has implications for the SBC young minds full of mush who follow him. (And they do follow him)

He does not have to articulate a statement like this one. Actually, it would be more honest if he did. Instead he has T4G, GC, Acts 29 partnerships from his guy Ezell, SGM coming to Louisville and sending indoctrinated YRR guys out of seminary to be pastors. I mean it is brilliant. He does not need a statement.

So, once again, we see the Calvinists 2 step. Because Mohler did not devise a statement like this one, his words at GC were not divisive. What it does is make him inconsistent according to his defenders and we should ignore what he says….anywhere because his beliefs change according to his audience. I don’t think you are helping him.

He said several astonishing things in the video one such as this, “New Calvinism is the only place to be if you want to see the nations rejoice for Christ”. If he believes this at the GC, shouldn’t we assume he believes them as president of SBTS? How is that not divisive toward 80% of the people in the SBC who make his position with SBTS, T4G and GC possible with their offerings?

    Chris Roberts

    Mohler is going to advocate his beliefs, no one is saying that should not be permitted. But Mohler is not seeking to make Calvinism a wedge issue in the SBC, and that’s exactly what this statement is seeking to do.

      Lydia

      “Mohler is going to advocate his beliefs, no one is saying that should not be permitted.”

      Permitted? How about some basic wisdom and discernment? His comments on the GC video make it clear he does not think we (non Calvinists) are the “real thing”. Only New Calvinists want to see the nations rejoice for Christ. He thinks this about people who PAY HIS SALARY and make it possible for him to spend a lot of time on his Calvinist non SBC activities like T4G and GC and all the other conferences.

      Chris, y0u are doing what all YRR guys do in parsing the obvious into something it is not. It is down right delusional. It is one reason why many of us do not think this divide can be repaired. Everything is fine if we never question. This is a typical Calvinist tactic that is getting old. It is straight out of the shepherding movement that Mohler has become so fond of. Now, it seems it is being taught to young minds full of mush in seminary. You guys try to make it some sort of sin to point out the obvious. Some of us are just not willing to ignore the elephant in the room and pretend he is not there. Remember Mohler also said we did not have the “mental structures or processes or whatever, to understand Calvinism”. I mean this stuff is right out of Orwell with a Kafka twist.

      And he expects us to pay him to disrespect us. Incredible.

      ” But Mohler is not seeking to make Calvinism a wedge issue in the SBC, and that’s exactly what this statement is seeking to do”

      He already has. You just choose not to see it. Or perhaps you can’t because “Calvin” is your life.

    Michael

    You called young Calvinists “mush” minds. You’re so clever and your words are a soothing balm over this fissure.

Branton Burleson

This is what the signers of this document call the “traditional” understanding of salvation by Southern Baptists? 20th century traditional maybe. Try hearing from 19th century Southern Baptists! Try John Dagg, the first writing SBC theologian and try quoting his “Manual of Theology” and then come talk to me about the “traditional” understanding.

http://www.founders.org/library/dagg_vol1/bk7c4.html#sec1

Tony Arsenal

One more thing… this declaration is all good and well, but you need to stop calling yourselves Baptists if you adopt it. From the First London Baptist Declaration (a document linked on this very site in fact).

Article III – God had decreed in Himself, before the world was, concerning all things, whether necessary, accidental or voluntary, with all the circumstances of them, to work, dispose, and bring about all things according to the counsel of His own will, to His glory: (Yet without being the [chargeable] author of sin, or having fellowship with any therein) in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, unchangeableness, power, and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree: And God hath before the foundation of the world, foreordained some men to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of His grace; [having foreordained and] leaving the rest in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His justice.

Jeremy Freeman

Two of the greatest evangelist/preachers the world has ever known would not sign this statement: Jonathon Edwards and Charles Spurgeon. This is unnecessary and divisive. I personally agree with much of what is said, but I completely disagree with the reasoning behind such a document. If Calvinists did such a thing, there would be tremendous outrage. Baptists need to remember that Calvinism and non-Calvinism are not the Gospel…Jesus is the Gospel! How about an affirmation of the Gospel? We need, more than ever, to be about Jesus…proclaiming Him to the ends of the earth! The worst thing that could happen at the convention would be for this to be presented. Please, don’t make us a joke again to the watching world. Let’s make much of Jesus and rally around Him!

    Tim G

    I am trying to understand how stating what we believe to be the Gospel is divisive? It is a statement that does just that and no more or less. I was thankful for the work and opportunity to sign it. Why is this bad?

      Jeremy Freeman

      This is not the Gospel! The Gospel is 1 Cor. 15:3-4.

        Robin Jackson

        Galatians 1:6-9;

        6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

    Rev. Jose R. Ruiz

    And don’t forget Rev. George Whitefield, who had to correct John Wesley on these same doctrines. What impresses me is the lack of understanding of what Calvinism really is. It seems that what fuels this argument in the statement are the doctrines that our carnal nature would reject anyway. Which is the natural response to the revealed word of God. Arminius’ refusal to publicly proclaim his personal beliefs when asked to give an account for them should encourage us to look into the historical debate of the Remonstrants at the Synod of Dort 1609 and see the falseness of their claims.

Matt

this is just sad….

    Jeremy Freeman

    It’s sad…unhelpful…frustrating…divisive…and on and on! And the SBC wonders why so many young pastors are leaving our convention??? This kind of attitude is why!

      Tim G

      How is stating what we believe and putting it in writing sad and bad? I must be missing something? Why can one group do such and yet other people cannot?

        Jeremy Freeman

        What other group has done something like this in the SBC?

          Tim G

          Is this not the same as those who say we are Calvinists? Or we believe as the Abstract… states?

        John Casey

        look at this page and see how much division this article has already caused! Arminianistic Views have always caused division! Which proves to me that Arminianism is wrong. Satan loves to distort Scripture and destroy the church; the release of this article is doing just that, destroying our unity as Southern Baptists.

          Johnathan Pritchett

          Yeah..non-Calvinist views of soteriology are always wrong because they make Calvinists angry and thus it is the non-Calvnists who are the divisive ones…THAT makes them so wrong.

          I could just as easily say I know Calvinism is wrong because Calvinists always sought to murder non-Calvinists as if they were Rome Part II, and those Calvinist Puritans always like to own slaves while hanging witches and committing genocide against almost the entire population of Native Americans…Satan loves to distort Scripture and cause Christians to murder other Christians and indigenous populations that don’t care to own and mistreat.

          Nothing about any of that would strike anyone as wrong…

          Get real friend.

        Matt

        It’s divisive because of the way it has been done. It points fingers at some unnamed Calvinists who are allegedly attempting to move that Calvinism be the official SBC doctrine and uses this to justify itself. Its tone is condescending. It also totally misrepresents Calvinism to begin with. The whole “this is the traditional SB view of Calvinism” is also rather insulting, and minimizes the many who have faithfully preached the gospel and Jesus Christ while holding to the doctrines of grace. I just don’t see the benefit to something like this. Dialogue is a good thing, putting a petition up on the web inviting Southern Baptists who hold to “traditional” baptist belief to sign it…not so good.

          Jeremy Freeman

          Well said Matt! Can you imagine the outcry if the tables were turned?

          Tim G

          and yet Founders states: “Founders Ministries takes as its theological framework the first recognized confession of faith that Southern Baptists produced, The Abstract of Principles. We desire to encourage the return to and promulgation of the biblical gospel that our Southern Baptist forefathers held dear.”

          Hmmmm. “we desire to encourage the return…” and yet this statement says only this is what we believe.

          Where is the division?

          Tim G

          Matt,
          See the comment I made below. The tables were already turned. This document forces nothing on anyone. it is simply a statement of what a vast many of of us believe.

Jeremy Freeman

What i’m saying is that there is no such need for a document like this. If a pastor wants to write something like this for his own church, that is fine…but for the SBC, its divisive. This is why our denomination has the Baptist Faith and Message! That document provides room for both camps. We already defined this and do not need to redefine it. All something like this does is stir the pot and polarize.

ALSBC623

To those that feel this paper is divisive:
Would you consider the following quote as being equally divisive:

”…If you’re a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical; if you’re committed to the gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ; if you want to see gospel-built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up basically being reformed; basically being something like this “New Calvinism”, or you’re gonna have to invent some other label for what’s just gonna be the same thing…”

If you don’t know who said this, it can easily be found. My guess is that this paper is a response in some part to comments and attitudes such as the above.

I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. I am not a theologian. I am simply a follower of Christ that realizes that I don’t know, nor will I know most of the answers until I see Him face to face. One thing I DO know; that would be who enjoys all this divisiveness and in-fighting more than anyone;

Satan…

With statements and attitudes long coming from some reformed thinkers (not all, but some, and certainly not all Baptist) like the the one above, can you blame those that don’t subscribe to their same viewpoints for being upset and defending their beliefs when their conviction, commitment, intelligence, and desire to see the Nations won to Christ are called into question?

A Christian is called to defend their faith; unfortunately very often one has to defend against “friendly” fire. Old Scratch is laughing with delight…

Both sides of the debate should find common ground (there is plenty), and work together, writing the following scripture on their hearts. (Phil.2:2-4)

    Tony Arsenal

    To those that feel this paper is divisive:
    Would you consider the following quote as being equally divisive:

    ”…If you’re a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical; if you’re committed to the gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ; if you want to see gospel-built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up basically being reformed; basically being something like this “New Calvinism”, or you’re gonna have to invent some other label for what’s just gonna be the same thing…”

    Eye for an eye now? Didn’t realize that it was “Do unto others as you have perceived them doing unto you.”

Jim Drake

The “vast majority” of Southern Baptists realize that the place for such a document, if needed or desired, is in the local church. The BF&M is a sufficient theological umbrella under which our local autonomous churches can cooperate.

Ron Hale

Thank you Dr. Hankins your time and work on this document. Maybe this discussion is overdue in Baptist Life.

Dr. James P. Boyce published the Abstract of Systematic Theology in 1887, as the guiding document for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It’s been well noted that he was converted to Reformed Theology while he attended Princeton by the great Presbyterian professors: Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge. While there he was influenced greatly by the works of Francis Turretin. These men helped shape his theology as he helped found SBTS.

Some in our day have assumed that most Baptists were reformed in the late 1880’s; while it was true among the founders and funders of SBTS; it was not always true among “traditional” Baptists of that day.

In the book entitled Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, on page 36 (chapter written by Dr. David S. Dockery) … it states concerning Boyce’s time at SBTS, “It was often said that the young men were generally Arminians when they came to the seminary, but few went through Boyce’s course in theology without being converted to his strong Calvinistic views. Just as we see changes taking place among those who have been recently educated at our Southern Baptist seminaries, so apparently that also was the story of young men who came to Southern Seminary during the last decade of the nineteenth century.”

With the aggressive work of the Founders movement since 1982 and especially SBTS flying high the Reformed flag for some years … it is only natural and normal that an open discussion would be called for in SBC Life. Baptists will become much more informed on these issues.

Thanks Dr. Hankins for your work and for the many discussions that will ensue on and in … blogs, coffee shops, associational meetings, Bible Study classes, Pastor conferences and such over the next few years.

Jeremy Freeman

And for the record, I am all about open dialogue and discussion…just not in this way! There is better way to do such things.

Jeremy Freeman

The only thing S. Baptists need coming to the floor of the convention, is our faces…in brokenness and surrender to God! May God forgive us with being consumed with the trivial!

    Eddie Wren

    Jeremy, this is not a resolution for the SBC. Just a statement of belief by some like minded people who believe there is another option beyond Calvinism.

James

“We deny…any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

This should cause us all to weep. It is an outright denial of Adam’s Federal Headship. Regardless of your denomination, theological slant, or person agenda this is a sad, sad day.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    If by “Federal Headship”, you mean to say Adam was humanity’s representative, I can fully affirm that.

    If you think Adam’s representation entails that not only the consequences of his sin (separation from immediate presence of God, born under the reign of sin and death), but his guilt, is passed to his posterity (how does that work? Do you believe there is guilt juice in the semen?) then you are mistaken as the Israelite people in Ezekiel 18 (Deut. 24:16)…

    What is even more sad is our believing Scripture must take a back seat to believing Augustine these days. Uh, no thanks. I’ll keep rocking the Bible and sola scriptura, you all can keep the scholastic windbags.

      Lydia

      “If you think Adam’s representation entails that not only the consequences of his sin (separation from immediate presence of God, born under the reign of sin and death), but his guilt, is passed to his posterity (how does that work? Do you believe there is guilt juice in the semen?) then you are mistaken as the Israelite people in Ezekiel 18 (Deut. 24:16)…”

      This has been a problem for me concerning Mary. If she had this icky goo imputed sin/guilt in her, how could she carry a Holy God in the flesh in her womb? Was it removed for 9 mos and then put back in?

        Johnathan Pritchett

        It is worth noting that the prevalent Augustinian view of formulating original sin perpetuated infant baptism (I think Tertullian, long before Augustine argued against it, though that shows it was being practiced in some circles), and gave rise things like sinlessness of Mary and so forth…

        …just saying.

        There is a lot to be desired by a lot of the church fathers, but Augustine was no exception to that. Among many other things, his interpretations of parables is as laughable as the Reformed historical revisionist attempts at salvaging Augustine from being the true blue pope-loving Catholic that he was.

      James

      Johnathan, did I make a claim about Augustine or the like? It was simply an observation. BTW, Happy belated birthday!

        Johnathan Pritchett

        ;) About two months belated, but thank you.

        May we have your views on why this is a sad, sad day and how this rejects Adam as humanity’s federal (corporate) head?

        I would like to know your view on the issue of what that entails and how it is fleshed out from Scripture.

          David Oestreich

          Jonathan,

          How did Levi/the Levites participate in the paying of tithes to Melchisedek when he/they had not yet been born?