We now present the second sermon delivered by Dr. David Allen, Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, to the Pastor’s Conference at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Both sermons were from the book of Hebrews, which Dr. Allen has studied for many years.
In the first message, Dr. Allen argues for Lukan authorship of the book and makes a strong case against modern charismatic practice of sign gifts. In this second sermon, Dr. Allen further develops his case for Luke as the author of Hebrews, then makes an exegetical case against the central petal of the TULIP, limited atonement.
We are privileged to bring you today an interview with Dr. Jerry Vines, Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville Florida, and founder of Jerry Vines Ministries. He currently resides in Georgia where, he assures us, he has not taken to riding Harleys (the picture above was used for a special event during his ministry at FBC Jacksonville).
He is a gracious man to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. His faithfulness to the Lord’s call to minster to His people, to lead his family to honor God, and to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are lost, is a worthy example for us all to emulate.
In the course of this interview, Dr. Vines shares his thoughts and convictions regarding why he is Southern Baptist, the impact of the current trends of Calvinism in our convention, our response to the challenge of postmodernism, and other issues.
Tim Rogers was planning to interview Dr. Ergun Caner while he was in Jacksonville, but flight schedules changed, and they weren’t able to meet up. So today, I was able to visit with Dr. Caner by phone from his Virginia home.
This interview runs about 17 minutes. You can listen to the interview directly from this page, you can download it by following the instructions below, or you can access it along with all of our other interviews by visiting our “Interviews” resource page. Tomorrow we will be presenting another interview, as Tim was able to sit down today for a visit with Mac Brunson.
I am hopeful that last week’s Building Bridges conference on Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention will be the beginning of an important and helpful conversation about how we can work together as Baptists, Calvinist and non-Calvinist, without any negative effects resulting from our differing viewpoints. There is so much on which we agree that it is utter foolishness to divide over these issues. Baptists who are passionate about the missionary task must never be excluded from service and leadership in our convention simply because they are in the Calvinist minority when it comes to their views on soteriology.
Unfortunately, there are some in our convention who would use this issue to create fear. They suggest that if we allow for a robust Baptist identity by defining certain secondary doctrines as being outside the mainstream among Southern Baptists, that somehow we are on a slippery slope toward the exclusion of others based on soteriology, eschatology, and the like. This is absolute nonsense, as should be obvious to every thinking person who has ever heard of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Recently, we approached Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Paige Patterson and asked if we could publish an article by him addressing the relationship between Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC. You can read Dr. Patterson’s essay by clicking here.
In this essay, Dr. Patterson points to the fact that when Baptists in England, General and Particular, separated from one another, both suffered. Many General Baptists slipped into universalism, while Particular Baptists developed a decidedly anti-missionary bent. They had, by their separation, eliminated the balancing tendency of the other, and the separation was unhealthy for both groups.
The lesson for our convention could not be more clear. As one who does not identify myself as a Calvinist, I am immensely grateful to my evangelistic Calvinist brothers in the SBC. They have caused me to be careful to present with clarity the Gospel of Jesus Christ each time I stand before God’s people. Because of the influence of these brothers, I am careful to explain that it is believing in the heart that results in a sinner’s justification, and not walking the aisle or reciting a canned prayer. My ministry has greatly benefited from these folks with whom I have clear disagreements, such as on the extent of the atonement. But that disagreement would never preclude my cooperation with them, nor in my learning from their zeal for the Gospel.
It is time for clear understandings to develop regarding these issues, in an environment free of the fear of exclusion that some would use to further their own agendas. I’m grateful to Dr. Patterson for allowing us to publish this piece, and it is my hope his contribution will help lead us in that direction.