Category: Calvinism

THE FUTURE OF BAPTIST THEOLOGY
WITH A LOOK AT ITS PAST

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THE FUTURE OF BAPTIST THEOLOGY
WITH A LOOK AT ITS PAST


By James Leo Garrett, Jr., Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Historical and Systematic Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first in a series of three articles by Dr. Garrett on “The Future of Baptist Theology with a Look at Its Past,” which was presented at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at an event. Part 1 reflected on the past in Baptist theology; Parts 2 and 3 anticipate its future.


Part 3: Looking to the Future of Baptists

From my studies of the four-century history of Baptist theology I have come to the conclusion that the principal differentiating issues among Baptists during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries were the Calvinistic-Arminian difference, or to be more specific, the issues that differentiate the Reformed Synod of Dort (1618-1619) and the followers of Jacob Arminius who framed the five Remonstrant Articles (1610). I looked at this issue in the first part of this series. In part 2, I began looking at what issues would likely surface in the future. In this final part, I will continue my look at future issues, focusing on issues important to church and the Southern Baptist Convention

My proposals, of course, do not constitute a complete list even as we acknowledge the difficulty of speaking about the future. I would ask seven questions. The first four questions dealt with hermeneutics, evangelism, and eschatology. I will now continue with three questions that surround church and denominational issues.

5. Are many Baptist churches to adopt ruling elders? Will Baptist megachurches retain a residue of congregational polity?

Although the Philadelphia Association for a time in the eighteenth century had the practice of ruling elders, such has been almost totally absent from Baptist churches in the United States until recent years. Perhaps as a consequence of the neo-Calvinism among Southern Baptists and or the influence of Dallas Theological Seminary, not a few Southern Baptist churches have established ruling elders, sometimes so as to produce major division in the congregation. Some have argued that elders are almost identical with “church staff,” but the crucial issue is whether the elders alone make decisions that according to congregational polity are normally to be made by the congregation. Some insist that all elders be ministers of the church, but to be decided is the question as to whether all elders are equal in authority or one elder, the pastor, has unique leadership. New Christians in Baptist churches or members who have come from other denominations often are quite amenable to ruling elders, whereas traditional or lifetime Baptists tend to be opposed to such. Few seem to realize that this is one of the marks that historically differentiated Baptists from Presbyterians.

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THE FUTURE OF BAPTIST THEOLOGY
WITH A LOOK AT ITS PAST

">

THE FUTURE OF BAPTIST THEOLOGY
WITH A LOOK AT ITS PAST


By James Leo Garrett, Jr., Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Historical and Systematic Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first in a series of three articles by Dr. Garrett on “The Future of Baptist Theology with a Look at Its Past,” which was presented at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at an event. Part 1 reflected on the past in Baptist theology; Parts 2 and 3 anticipate its future.


Part 2: Looking to the Future of Baptist Issues

From my studies of the four-century history of Baptist theology I have come to the conclusion that the principal differentiating issues among Baptists during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries were the Calvinistic-Arminian difference, or to be more specific, the issues that differentiate the Reformed Synod of Dort (1618-1619) and the followers of Jacob Arminius who framed the five Remonstrant Articles (1610). In the part 1 of this three part series, I took a look at the Calvinistic-Arminian debate. In this part let’s look at issues that will likely surface in the future.

Will the Chief Differentiating and Characterizing Issues of the Past
Have a Significant Bearing on the Future?

First, because Baptists closely connect salvation with church membership, it is likely that soteriological concerns about the relationship between humanity and the divine will continue to resurface in Baptist life.

Second, likewise the issues surrounding revelation and the Bible, Christology, human origins, and eschatology are likely to resurface among Baptists.

Third, although some of the Baptist distinctives will continue to be strictly less distinctive of Baptists as other Christian denominations and nondenominational indigenous movements embrace some of them, Baptists may continue to be less than effective in teaching and fleshing out these historic distinctives amid their own people.

Fourth, Baptists may continue to rediscover their debt to the patristic consensus and to recognize their debt to the Magisterial Reformation as well as the Radical Reformation.

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THE FUTURE OF BAPTIST THEOLOGY
WITH A LOOK AT ITS PAST

">

THE FUTURE OF BAPTIST THEOLOGY
WITH A LOOK AT ITS PAST


By James Leo Garrett, Jr., Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Historical and Systematic Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first in a series of three articles by Dr. Garrett on “The Future of Baptist Theology with a Look at Its Past,” which was presented at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at an event. Part 1 reflects on the past in Baptist theology; Parts 2 and 3 anticipate its future.


Part 1: Looking Back on Four Centuries of Baptist Theology

The Chief Differentiating Theological Issues among Baptists

From my studies of the four-century history of Baptist theology I have come to the conclusion that the principal differentiating issues among Baptists during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries were the Calvinistic-Arminian differences, or to be more specific, the issues that differentiate the Reformed Synod of Dort (1618-1619) and the followers of Jacob Arminius, who framed the five Remonstrant Articles (1610). I have also concluded that the chief differentiating doctrinal issues for Baptists during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were the liberal-evangelical issues. Now, let’s first take a look at the Calvinistic-Arminian debate.

These differences were initially manifested in the separate and distinct origins of the General and the Particular Baptists in England. They are essentially soteriological, dealing with the relationship of the divine and the human in our salvation. I have challenged the accuracy of the commonly used acronym to specify the Dortian doctrines, the TULIP, for it was not so much total depravity that separated these two theological systems from the Arminian viewpoint as it was the nature of repentance and faith— whether they are the gifts of God or the responses of human beings. Each of these Dutch-derived theological stances was capable of spawning extremes, notably Hyper-Calvinism from Dort and neo-Pelagianism from the Arminians. I have offered, possibly for the first time, five distinguishing marks of Hyper-Calvinism: the supralapsarian order of divine decrees; the pre-temporal covenant of redemption made by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Sprit; eternal justification somewhat separated for the exercise of faith in time; rejection of offers of grace to the non-elect; and antinomianism. Hyper-Calvinism plagued the Particular Baptists during the eighteenth century, and Pelagian positions can be detected among the liberal and modernist theologians in the Northern Baptist Convention in the early twentieth century.

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 5: An Argument for the Perseverance of the Savior

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 5: An Argument for the Perseverance of the Savior


By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary.


This article is the fifth in a series that offers an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series by Hadley is available at
http://www.transformedtheology.com
The previous articles are:
Total Lostness
Unconditional Love
Limiting Atonement
Irrefutable Gospel


The fifth plank of Conversionism is the Perseverance of the Savior as opposed to the Calvinist plank of the Perseverance of the Saints. The author of Hebrews says, “Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep His promise” (Heb. 10:23). Man’s hope is not in his own perseverance, but in Christ’s perseverance that is rooted in the promises and the character of God. Man’s hope will be found only in what God does in His Son, Jesus. Salvation is based on the person and work of the Lord Jesus and not based on man’s works. The believer’s security is for eternity. Salvation is kept by the grace and the power of God and not by the self-sufficiency of the believer.

According to the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics website,

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God’s hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with Him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God’s stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in His elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that He will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the “last day” (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ’s promise that He will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect.[1].

 

One of the Baptist distinctives can be seen in the phrase, “the Eternal Security of the Believer.” There is a marked difference between the Perseverance of the Saints and the Eternal Security of the Believer – they are not at all synonymous. For the Southern Baptist, the concept of the Eternal Security of the Believer assures the individual who has placed his faith in the promises of God and his trust in the claims of Christ that He (Christ) will hold onto him (the believer) forever. This is the basis for the fifth plank of Conversionism, the Perseverance of the Savior. This is what Paul says in Rom. 8:38-39: “38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus says of those to whom He gives eternal life, “28b and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). When an individual comes to Christ and is adopted into God’s forever family, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his heart and becomes God’s guarantee of that individual’s hope in eternity (see also 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5; Eph. 1:14).

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The Answer to Freedom and Predestination is Found in Christ


By Bob Williford, former director of the Hope Migrant Mission Center at the Migrant Farm Labor Center near Hope, Arkansas (a ministry of the Arkansas Baptist Convention), and author of Fence Post Digest blog.


Someone has said that the issue of Predestination is only an issue for those of us who are NOT in the Reformed camp. However, this is an issue that is seen almost on a daily basis somewhere and is an important discussion.

This sort of reminds me of the issues on the political horizon that deal with socialism, homosexuality, drugs, illegal immigration, freedom of religion in the United States, etc. Some have the idea that if we look the other way that each of these ideologies will simply go away. I believe that we have neglected these and look at what has happened in our nation…..look the other way and the movement of Predestination will flourish.

Remembering the so-called Conservative Resurgence of the last quarter of the 20th Century and I am thankful for those who took the ‘Bull by the Horns’. Liberalism did not go away, but the roots were taken somewhere else. Let us not forget our history, but rather rise to the occasion and be faithful to the Truth of the Gospel message….

Christianity is not established by men and cannot be taught as truth as we understand truth. The Truth that Christians hold is found only in the Person of Jesus Christ.

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