Category: Salvation

Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article 9: The Security of the Believer
in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

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Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article 9: The Security of the Believer
in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” authored by Eric Hankins and others, has drawn strong interest in many social media and news outlets. The statement and the discussion of it have been accessed over 60,000 times and over 150,000 pageviews in SBC Today the last few weeks, and have evoked thousands of comments. At this point, over 800 persons have signed the document, including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life. You cansign it also by following these directions.

To structure the discussion, we are focusing the comments on the affirmation and denial statement of one article of the statement at a time. Today’s discussion will address the Southern Baptist doctrines of grace in Article 9: The Security of the Believer. Keep in mind that each of the affirmations and denials in the articles complement each other, just as they do in the Together for the Gospel statement signed and/or affirmed by some Southern Baptist leaders who embrace Reformed views.

Please confine your comments to the article being discussed each day, not general comments about the statement. If you want to comment on other things, follow the links to other discussion threads:

Thank you for your comments on these important theological issues!

The Editors of SBC Today


Click this link to see the full statement of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
Right click to download
A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf
Click this link to see the list of signers of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” or to see how to sign the statement.
We welcome the signatures of all Southern Baptists who would affirm this statement. If you would like to add your name in affirmation of the statement, please emailsbctoday@gmail.com, with the following:

Your Name, Ministry Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example:
John Doe, Pastor (or Associate Pastor, Youth Minister, Deacon, member, etc.),
First Baptist Church, Anytown, TX
or
Joe Doe, Professor (or DOM, Evangelist, etc.), Seminary/College/Association,
Anytown, NC

We will be glad to add your name to this list of those affirming the statement!


Discussion of Article Nine: The Security of the Believer in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

Note: As we discuss each article of the statement, today’s comments should focus on the affirmation and denial in Article 9. Please limit your comments here to Article 9.

 


Article Nine: The Security of the Believer

We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.

John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25

A Commentary on Article Eight of “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation ”


SBC Today mistakenly posted an earlier version of Dr. Hunter’s article. Now posted is his completed article. We apologize for our inadvertent mistake.

–The Contributing Editors of SBC Today


By Braxton Hunter, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana, and former President of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists


Article Eight: The Free Will of Man

We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

(Genesis 1:26-28; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 8:1-22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; Esther 3:12-14; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:20-24; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-24; 13:34; 15:17-20; Romans 10:9-10; Titus 2:12; Revelation 22:17)


Of the utmost importance for discussions relevant to the entirety of the document in question is what is meant by the authors when they use the term “free will.” It is not uncommon for laymen and theologians alike to misunderstand the terminology and philosophical implications of this central subject. As is the case with so many of the elements comprising a proper biblical worldview, one cannot merely rely on the vernacular of the 21st century to grasp the concepts with which thinkers have grappled throughout the ages. Moreover, in an effort to limit one’s own bias, it is prudent to step outside of the understanding of free will that has been fostered by his preferred doctrinal stance. It is also not enough to settle this issue by merely defining terms. The truth of man’s free will and the reality of God’s sovereignty are in symphony with one another in Article 8. The charge that non-Calvinists deny, limit, or reduce the sovereignty of God has been answered. Indeed, if the intention of Article 8’s affirmation is properly understood, the charge has been laid to rest.

Commentaries on previous articles have briefly addressed the question of what free will actually is; yet here we will flesh it out in greater detail. Typically, Calvinists deny that they are what philosophers refer to as “hard-determinists.” On this view, most common among philosophical naturalists, free will is merely illusory. One may experience the various events and actions of his life as though they represent genuine choices; however, this is a byproduct of living in a closed system of cause and effect. No choice, of any kind, actually exists. Conversely, many non-Calvinists hold to what is known as “libertarian free will.” According to this model, man has, as a special gift from God, the ability to transcend cause and effect and actually make real decisions. These decisions may be influenced by outside factors, but not to the point of coercion. “Libertarian free will” is consistent with the language of Article 8 in the phrase “actual free will (the ability to choose between two options).”

Read more ...

A Commentary on Article Eight of “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation ”


NOTE: a revised version of this article has been posted.


By Braxton Hunter, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana, and former President of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists


Of the utmost importance for discussions relevant to the the entirety of the document in question is what is meant by the authors when they use the term “free will.” It is not uncommon for laymen and theologians alike to misunderstand the terminology and philosophical implications of this central subject. As is the case with so many of the elements comprising a proper biblical worldview, one cannot merely rely on the vernacular of the 21st century to grasp the concepts with which thinkers have grappled throughout the ages. Moreover, in an effort to limit one’s own bias, it is prudent to step outside of the understanding of free will that has been fostered by his preferred doctrinal stance. It is also not enough to settle this issue by merely defining terms. The truth of man’s free will and the reality of God’s sovereignty are in symphony with one another in Article 8. The charge that non-Calvinists deny, limit, or reduce the sovereignty of God has been answered. Indeed, if the intention of Article 8’s affirmation is properly understood, the charge has been laid to rest.

Commentaries on previous articles have briefly addressed the question of what freewill actually is, yet here it becomes necessary to flesh it out in detail. Typically, Calvinists deny that they are what philosophers refer to as “hard-determinists.” On this view, most common among philosophical naturalists, free will is merely illusory. One may experience the various events and actions of his life as though they represent genuine choices, however, this is a byproduct of living in a closed system of cause and effect. No choice, of any kind, actually exists. Conversely, many non-Calvinists hold to what is known as “libertarian free will.” According to this model, man has, as a special gift from God, the ability to transcend cause and effect and actually make real decisions. These decisions may be influenced by outside factors, but not to the point of coercion. “Libertarian free will” is consistent with the language of Article 8 in the phrase “actual free will (the ability to choose between two options).”

Read more ...

Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

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Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of the Plan of Salvation,” authored by Eric Hankins and others, has drawn strong interest in many social media and news outlets. The statement and the discussion of it have been accessed over 50,000 times and over 100,000 pageviews in the last two weeks. The discussions in SBC Today have evoked thousands of comments, with over 700 persons signing the document (including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life). You can sign it also by following these directions.

To structure the discussion, we are focusing the comments on the affirmation and denial statement of one article of the statement at a time. Today’s discussion will address the Southern Baptist doctrines of grace in Article 7: The Sovereignty of God. Keep in mind that each of the affirmations and denials in the articles complement each other, just as they do in the Together for the Gospel statement signed and/or affirmed by some Southern Baptist leaders who embrace Reformed views.

Please confine your comments to the article being discussed each day, not general comments about the statement. If you want to comment on other things, follow the links to other discussion threads:

Thank you for your comments on these theological issues!

The Editors of SBC Today


Click this link to see the full statement of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
Right click to download
A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf
Click this link to see the list of signers of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
We welcome the signatures of all Southern Baptists who would affirm this statement. 

If you would like to add your name in affirmation of the statement, please email sbctoday@gmail.com, with the following:

Your Name, Ministry Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example:
John Doe, Pastor (or Associate Pastor, Youth Minister, Deacon, member, etc.),
First Baptist Church, Anytown, TX
or
Joe Doe, Professor (or DOM, Evangelist, etc.), Seminary/College/Association,
Anytown, NC

We will be glad to add your name to this list of those affirming the statement!


Discussion of Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

Note: As we discuss each article of the statement, today’s comments should focus on the affirmation and denial in Article 7. Please limit your comments here to Article 7.


Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God

We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.

We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.

Genesis 1:1; 6:5-8; 18:16-33; 22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Joel 2:32; Psalm 23; 51:4; 139:1-6; Proverbs 15:3; John 6:44; Romans 11:3; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:13-15; Hebrews 11:6, 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17

A Commentary on Article Five
The Regeneration of the Sinner
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

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A Commentary on Article Five
The Regeneration of the Sinner
of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”


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


Article 5: The Regeneration of the Sinner

We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.

We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.
Luke 15:24; John 3:3; 7:37-39; 10:10; 16:7-14; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 6:4-11; 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 6:15; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18

The Affirmation

One of the most difficult topics in the Scriptures is a clear understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvific process. It is clear that the Holy Spirit effectuates salvation; what is not so clear is the role the Holy Spirit plays in performing that process, especially where conversion is concerned. At the heart of this issue, is a term called regeneration. Regeneration itself is not an issue in question. The question with respect to regeneration is how it takes place, what it accomplishes and when it takes place. Article 5 addresses these questions.

The Gospel Is Available to Anyone

Statement 5 begins, “We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit.” This sentence is very insightful in and of itself. There are two very important aspects emphasized in this statement. The implication is clear; first of all, “any person” may respond to the gospel message that is secondly, available to anyone and everyone. (Mt 24:14; Mark 13:10, 16:15; Gal 3:8; Romans 1:16) Any person, who hears the gospel message, may respond. This statement also eliminates any question with respect to an individual’s ability to come to God on his own. Salvation is always an individual’s response to God’s initiative. The word “response” by definition is passive to the initiative or invitation of another. In conversion, the initiator of this invitation is always God.

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