by Dr. Rick Patrick, pastor
FBC, Sylacauga, Ala.
Almost two years ago A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation was released. You may still view and sign the document today at the Connect 316 website. This Christmas, just try to decorate your sanctuary with tulips! When you see the beautiful poinsettias, let them remind you of these truths—God loves every single person on earth unconditionally and desires for all to be saved.
by Eric Hankins, Ph.D.
Eric Hankins is pastor of FBC, Oxford, Miss.
He is the primary author of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.”
Article 6 (of the Traditional Statement) rests on the reality that election is clearly taught in the Scriptures and is an essential component of the doctrine of salvation. Election emphasizes the fact that salvation is accomplished through the Father’s initiative, guaranteed by the person and work of Christ alone, and actualized in the lives of sinners through the power of the Holy Spirit. Election, therefore, communicates that salvation is completely gracious. It signifies the lavish generosity of God, who will save not just a few but an innumerable multitude. Election’s announcement of God’s sovereignty in salvation includes the role of the sinner’s repentance and faith. God has chosen to bring into existence a people who belong to Him by faith in a world where their decisions for or against Christ really matter. Rather than determining these choices Himself, God has gloriously and sovereignly decided to accord to each sinner the responsibility of surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the preaching of the gospel. Since gospel proclamation is the means by which God brings His elective purposes to bear, election cannot be understood apart from the plan of God to bring salvation to the world through His chosen people and their sharing of the gospel with the lost.
by Ronnie Rogers, M.A., pastor
Trinity Baptist Church
Ronnie has served in various denominational roles,
including president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
This chapter summarizes the Traditional Southern Baptist view of the relationship of faith and regeneration—being born again. Most Calvinists teach that regeneration precedes faith, which will result in a free but determined act of faith. Non-Calvinists believe that faith precedes regeneration or that regeneration occurs, as stated in the TS, “at the moment he believes.” I will also point out how some of the harsh realities of Calvinism are contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture. I call these “disquieting realities.” Although they are unsettling, one must accept them if he is going to be a consistent Calvinist.
The Scripture affirms that faith precedes and is the prerequisite for regeneration—being born again (John 1:12–13; 3:3, 15–16, 36; 5:24; 6:40; 7:37–39; 12:36; 16:7–14; 20:31; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:1, 4). These and other Scriptures show that spiritual life follows the sinner placing his faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John gave as his reason for writing his gospel “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). It seems clear that “you” includes anyone who reads or hears John’s gospel. If salvation is monergistic and man is totally passive, then why would God inspire John to write his gospel in order for people to read, believe and be saved? According to Calvinism, God knows the non-elect cannot read and believe and the elect cannot believe prior to regeneration.
by Brad Reynolds, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Services
Professor, Christian Studies
The following assumptions are held regarding the affirmations: First, most Southern Baptists would agree with the affirmations in Article 4 (of the Traditional Statement). Second, some who agree with the affirmations think they do not go far enough. Instead, they would add to them. Third, many who would deny them would do so on the basis of the phrase “any person.” Thus, the affirmations concerning the grace of God are a minimal statement. Some of the supporting biblical passages will be considered below.
“But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are” (Acts 15:11 NASB).
John Polhill states regarding this passage, “God’s acceptance of the Gentiles has drawn a basic lesson for the Jews as well. There is only one way of salvation – ‘through the grace of our Lord Jesus.’” One could never earn one’s way into heaven. Our greatest works are filthy rags to a Holy God. Amazing grace is the sole vehicle God uses to offer life to man.
Allen Rea, pastor
Dunn Memorial Baptist Church
Yesterday morning, a family of four walked down the aisle during our altar call. The parents expressed their desire to move their letter to join our growing congregation. Their two children had been led to concern over their sin and need for a Savior at a VBS last year. The joy in such an event as this is simply phenomenal. Their father helped lead them to Christ in the Sinner’s Prayer and had been encouraging them to follow in believer’s baptism.
I feel joy inexpressible to see a family take discipleship so seriously. However, my cup indeed runneth over, for on March 30th, I will have the pleasure to baptize four born again children. One of which is my oldest daughter. All four were led in a Sinner’s Prayer by their father. All four will be discipled by our church and their parents.
What happened yesterday morning was simply the icing on the cake. The church spent two full days this weekend at the “Peaches to Beaches” yard sale. We were raising money for one of our college students to spend the summer in Asia. We are never content to remain idle. In the hustle and bustle of God tripling our goal, we gave away 1,000 tracts. We looked everyone in the eye and said, “Jesus died for you.” The tracts carried names like W.A. Criswell and Adrian Rogers. Some of the tracts we passed out were simply index cards wit the Roman Road written on them. Every tract was accompanied with a card noting the address and worship times of our congregation.
We are also blessed with an understanding of service. Therefore, we handed out 500 ice cold bottles of water. and told people the gift was “in Jesus’ Name.”
I cannot speak to results. However, there is a Traditional Southern Baptist pastor in Atlanta that has always spoken of concentrating on obedience and not results. I believe he is right. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”
Will they come to our church? Will we ever see them again?
I am thankful to pastor a church where the Great Commission has not become the great omission.