Category Archives for BF&M

Distinctive Baptist Beliefs:
Nine Marks that Separate Baptists from Presbyterians
Distinctive Baptist Belief #2—
The Age (or State) of Accountability

August 25, 2011


By Dr. Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, occupying the McFarland Chair of Theology, Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry, and Editor of the
Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


Introduction

All denominations that broadly share the Reformation heritage share more beliefs in common than beliefs that differ. This is true of Baptists, Arminians, and Presbyterians/the Reformed tradition – we agree on many more points than we disagree. Like most evangelicals, we largely share the same affirmation of orthodox Nicean Christianity, along with other key beliefs accented in the Reformation — Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, the sovereignty of God over all His creation, the security of the believer, the perfect omniscience and complete foreknowledge of God, and the imperative of the proclamation of the Gospel by the Church.

Despite these many points of agreement, it is the points of agreement on which theological discussions tend to focus. In an earlier post entitled “The Middle Way,” I asserted that we centrist Baptists are “the middle way” between Arminians, on the one hand, and Calvinists/Presbyterians, on the other. Since our book Whosoever Will was a critique of five-point Calvinism, I balanced that by listing twelve points of doctrinal disagreement between centrist Baptists and many Arminians. In this series, however, I would like to point out nine points of difference between centrist Baptist beliefs and the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition.

Given my involvement in the John 3:16 Conference and in writing Whosoever Will, some readers might expect me to begin listing the five points of Calvinist soteriology as the main points of difference between Baptists and Presbyterians. It is true that centrist Baptists such as me may disagree on several of these points with persons who imbibe in the Reformed tradition, but it would be inaccurate to say that the five points as popularized in the “TULIP” were the main points of difference between Reformed and Baptist theology, or that these beliefs are foreign to Baptist theology. In fact, the Particular Baptist tradition plays a long and deep role in Baptist theology, and many Calvinistic-leaning Baptists are in good standing with and hold high positions within the SBC.

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Distinctive Baptist Beliefs:
Nine Marks that Separate Baptists from Presbyterians
Distinctive Baptist Belief #1—
Soul Competency, the Priesthood of Believers, and Religious Liberty

August 24, 2011


By Dr. Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, occupying the McFarland Chair of Theology, Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry, and Editor of the
Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


Calvinists, Arminians, and Baptists Together for the Evangelical Gospel

All denominations that broadly share the Reformation heritage share more beliefs in common than beliefs that differ. This is true of Baptists, Arminians, and Presbyterians/the Reformed tradition – we agree on many more points than we disagree. Like most evangelicals, we share the same affirmation of orthodox Nicean Christianity, along with other key beliefs accented in the Reformation:

Sola Scriptura – Scripture is the ultimate plumb line for all Christian truth claims.

Soli Deo Gloria – God alone deserves glory.

Sola Gratia and Sola Fide – Salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

Solus Christus — Salvation is available only through Christ because of His substitutionary atonement for our sins.

The Sovereignty of God over All His Creation – This is our Father’s world.

The Security of the Believer – God secures the salvation of the believer (not affirmed by some Arminians).

The Perfect Omniscience and Complete Foreknowledge of God – God knows all things – past, present, and future.

The Imperative of the Proclamation of the Gospel by the Church – The Great Commission must be obeyed.

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Harmony…Unity…Fellowship in the SBC

April 27, 2010

A conversation I had the other night, a good and productive conversation, got me to thinking about something.  It got me to thinking about disagreements on doctrines in the Bible.  And, I just wanted to let all of you know that I believe that  it’s okay to disagree on minor issues; on the finer points of theology.  In fact, I’d bet you a Krispy Kreme doughnut that none of us, Baptists,  agree on every point of doctrine and theology, and that’s okay.  We don’t have to agree on every jot and tittle.  We can still love each other, and worship together, and fellowship with each other, and serve God together; even if we disagree on the minor, finer points of theology. 

 Now, on the main things, we must agree.  On the main truths of the Bible, we must believe the same.  On those things that are clearly spelled out in the Bible, there must be conformity.  We must all surrender and yield our hearts and minds to the foundational truths of the Christian faith.  We must all believe the fundamentals of the faith.  Things like the virgin birth; the atoning death of Jesus; salvation by grace thru faith; the Trinity of God;  etc.  These are the things that would mean whether we’re even truly a Christian, or not.  If someone denied the foundational truths of Christianity, then I wouldn’t even consider them to be a true Believer.  But, those people that do hold to the main doctrines of the faith, I call my brother, or sister in Christ; even though they may not be Southern Baptist. 

And, as Baptists, we must agree to the doctrinal distinctives which we hold dear; that we believe the Bible clearly teaches; in order to really be considered a Baptist Church.  There are things that we must believe; doctrines that  make us a Baptist Church.  Theology that makes us a Baptist kind of Christian.   Things like Believers baptism by immersion; the Lord’s Supper being a symbolic act; once saved, always saved; congregational polity, or governance; etc.   If a Church can’t even agree to the BFM2K, is it really a Baptist Church?  Is it really a Church that holds to what we consider to be the clear teachings of the Bible?  that holds to the doctrines that would make us consider them a good, sound church?  I would contend that churches must…in the least…hold to the BFM2K, in order to considered a cooperatiing, Southern Baptist Church.

But, on many, many other things, we can disagree on them all day long; and still worship and serve God together.  My friends, there are many, many, finer points of doctrine that we can not see eye to eye on, and it’s okay.  We can just have fun trying to convince the other fella that we’re right!  Lol.  But, these minor things should not cause separation, nor should they cause us to divide.  They should not cause strife, nor should they be the source of contention.  On the finer points of the major doctrines, we should allow for freedom; even while not agreeing with the other person.  Amen?  Amen!

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