by Ronnie Rogers
Non-Calvinism’s challenge is to develop systematic theologies and comprehensive systematic interpretive approaches that seek to explain the soteriological perplexities of Scripture biblically, consistently, and comprehensively.
This suggestion is not intended to depreciate nor ignore works in this area (particularly some superb individual books addressing various aspects of Calvinism), but rather to draw attention to the need for considerably more to be done. I am primarily thinking of theologies that can be used in SBC theological training of students and pastors who, when aware of the disquieting realities of Calvinism, reject Calvinism.
by Ronnie Rogers
Although I no longer don the Calvinist label, I do continue to recognize the system of thought as an option within historic Christianity as well as Southern Baptist life. Further, I have no interest in personally attacking my Calvinist brothers’ and sisters’ devotion, piety, or love for God and His word, for I do sincerely believe that most Calvinists are truth seekers. I do not wish to expel Calvinists nor to be expelled by them from SBC life, but rather to suggest and take some substantive steps to help all of us know God better. I assume that is what the vast majority of those of us in this discussion truly desire; although, there is obvious disagreement in how to accomplish this quest.
In order to continue to move our discussions toward lucidity in both articulation and understanding of our various theological perspectives, I would like to suggest implementing the following ideas within Southern Baptist life. My suggestions are drawn from my life as a Southern Baptist, which include both the perspective I gained in my years as a Calvinist and now my post-Calvinist reflections. While I view my suggestions as necessary, I also view them as partial and modifiable. I believe that some of the steps should be implemented immediately, while others are clearly long term goals that may take years. I offer my suggestions with no more credentials than being a rather obscure but concerned Southern Baptist.
Does Regeneration Precede Faith?
*As this is a summary of Dr. Allen’s manuscript, some footnotes that would normally appear may have been omitted.
“Most Calvinists believe that regeneration precedes faith,” said David Allen at the March 21-22 John 3.16 Conference held at North Metro First Baptist Church outside Atlanta, Ga.
Allen cited Boettner, Pink, Sproul and Piper to support his statement, but he later cited other Calvinists who hold a different position, or are ambivalent on the issue – even Calvin himself in his commentary on Eph. 2.
Many Calvinists base their view of regeneration preceding faith on their view of total depravity as equivalent to total inability and on interpretations of verses including John 1:12-13; 3:1-16; Eph. 2:1-10, e.g.
“The phrase ‘regeneration precedes faith’ is fraught with ambiguity,” Allen said, asking “what is meant by the words regeneration, faith, and precede, and whether precede means to precede logically or temporally.”