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Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusively Calvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.
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If sharing the good news with the non-elect is a vacuous offer (cannot actually be received or worse yet, add to that Christ did not even die for their sins), and such reality is intentionally elided by guarded language so that the listener consistently leaves with a different understanding of the offer than that which truly exists. And such understanding is not due to the ineptness of the listener, but rather to the esoterically sophisticated presentation, and this to the point that the conclusions of the hearer are irreconcilably contrary to Calvinism’s full understanding of the gospel including precisely what options actually lie before the non-elect lost and what they can really do about them, then it seems to me something far less noble than a good faith offer is present. Continue reading
Calvinists’ commitment to unconditional election along with believing in obeying the Great Commission to evangelize and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) necessitates certain auxiliary concepts in order to harmonize these two; the good faith offer is such a concept. The simple explanation is that while the Calvinist is to preach the gospel to all so that God can call out His unconditionally elect, every Calvinist is well aware that much of his gospel proclamation will fall upon the non-elect, who have no more chance of receiving the good news than a beaver does of being happy in a petrified forest. Continue reading