Speaking of the incarnation of Jesus, Martin Luther said that there were three miracles involved. “The first, that God became man; the second, that a virgin was a mother; and the third, that the heart of man should believe this.” Many hearts do not believe this. While we evangelical Christians are celebrating the entry of divinity into the world through the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ, the world is filled with those who object to this classic Christian doctrine.
Even the idea of believing refers to individuals since only individuals can exercise faith; I do not see anything in the passage that would indicate that this “all” is restricted to something like all people groups, including some who can be saved. I do not think the passage even hints that this “all” is different from “all” including each person previously spoken of as under sin; of which “there is no distinction.” This understanding corresponds precisely with its usage before and in the following verses.
Calvinism claims men are totally depraved in that they have no ability to respond to God unless and until God regenerates them or gives them spiritual life to THEN be able to repent and believe and be converted or saved. It is one thing to claim “no man come to God unless the Spirit draw him” and claim the necessity for regeneration for man’s response to God.
New Calvinism presents us with a duty and an opportunity to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation. It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism. While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.