Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we ran Rick Patrick’s sermon preached in chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary last week on “So Great a Salvation”. At the conclusion of the message, Dr. Patterson made a few comments regarding Calvinism, Calvinists, and himself. It caused quite a little uproar within some circles. Dr. Patterson released a statement late last week regarding his comments, and giving a little more context for those of us not there, we are sharing his statement below.
Recently, a speaker in chapel at Southwestern dealt in a portion of his message with the subject of Calvinism (link to original chapel message). He presented his views on the subject, as would be expected at a Southern Baptist seminary in view of the current discussions in our denomination. At the close, the president responded to rude behavior on the part of a few students who had not agreed with the speaker and had stood up during the message and walked out to show their displeasure.
In my reported statements, let it be clear that I asked no one to leave the SBC! Let me go further and say that I am fully aware that Baptists have historically been divided into two camps (at least)—namely, Calvinist and non-Calvinist. I do not anticipate that this will change, though historically, one observes an ebb and flow within these positions, just as in the doctrine of eschatology. I must also acknowledge that as long as the heart is hot for the winning of men and women to Christ, as long as the passionate evangelism exhibited in the New Testament is the major commitment, as long as the Calvinism on display is like that of Spurgeon, who even wrote a book specifically on soul-winning, I am content—no, I am elated to work with these brethren for the cause of Christ.
What I did say was about myself. I said that if I held Presbyterian beliefs, I would be a Presbyterian. If I held charismatic beliefs, I would probably affiliate with the Assemblies of God. If my only difference with Presbyterians were that I favored only baptism of adult believers rather than the baptism of infants, I would probably be conflicted, but I might affiliate with Primitive Baptists. I asked no one else to respond this way. I expressed what I would do just as every Baptist is free to do and especially as is our custom in the academic world.
My own theological roots are with the Anabaptists and with the early General Baptists of England. That, too, is a position well represented in Southern Baptist life. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is a document written as purposefully as possible to allow for both views. I appointed the committee that drafted the revision. Purposefully in my appointments, I included representation from the diversity within Southern Baptist life. The members of that committee had a variety of views, among them being Calvinists and non-Calvinists. My perspectives have not changed.
On the other hand, the whole Conservative Resurgence was really always about one thing—reaching men and women for Christ. My unalterable fear for our denomination today is that baptisms will continue to plummet, giving a certain indication of loss of evangelistic concern and fervency. Southern Baptists prospered by being the most effectively evangelistic among all denominations, and we will only prosper again if we honor God in that way.
Again, I expressed in chapel my personal commitment. I did not mandate anyone else to do anything. Believing as I do that some good can come from even our most severe misunderstandings and human faux pas, wishing that I had been more precise, maybe from all of this can come a new determination to present the Gospel to every man and woman, boy and girl! At least, that is what I am going to attempt for whatever remains of my life. After all, Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And any fisherman knows that you do not catch fish by sitting in a boat discussing fishing or by arguing incessantly about the nature of fishing.
By : Kyle B. Gulledge, Associate Pastor
Southview Baptist Church Rosharon, TX
On this past Tuesday, November 29, Dr. Rick Patrick (Pastor of First Baptist Church Sylacauga, Alabama; Executive Director Connect 316; and Managing Editor of SBCToday) preached in chapel at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. Concerning Dr. Patrick’s sermon, Dr. Barry McCarty, Professor at the School of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “It would be a good introduction to share with people who want to understand the Calvinism issue. While I love, respect, and have worked with many of the Calvinist leaders in the SBC (and will continue to do so) the traditional Baptist “whosoever will” view of salvation is one of the key ideas that led me to become a Southern Baptist.” If you have not had the opportunity to watch or listen to Dr. Patrick’s sermon you can do so by clicking here.
We are very grateful to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for allowing us to link to and use this sermon.
If you do not wish to watch the entire video but would like to read the manuscript of Rick’s message, you may click on the pdf link here.
For those of you who might be new to SBCToday, please know that this is a break from our usual format. However, I made the decision to share this link and promote this message because it is a great explanation of who we are and what we are about at Connect 316 and SBCToday.
***Editor’s Note: Doug is the author of “Chosen or Not?” which is available for purchase HERE.
Historic Christianity has always insisted on a Final Judgment Day. It is a biblical no-brainer. Many of Jesus’ lessons and parables ended with a final separation of those who are rescued and those who perish. There will be a “settling of accounts” based on God’s eyewitness record of every private (and public) thought, word, and action. I can bear witness to the biblical claim that this truth was written on my young heart, even as one who was not raised in a Christian home. I knew that God saw everything… and some nights it was hard to fall asleep. (Rom 1, 2) The very thought of being subject to this kind of perfect scrutiny is enough to make you want to put on some fig leaves, run, and hide. It may even lead to a feeble and truth suppressing denial that there is such a God and day of reckoning. But, alas, there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4:13) Continue reading