Category: Salvation

It Is Time To Discuss The Elephant In The Room


By Dr. Jerry Vines, President of Jerry Vines Ministries,
Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL, member of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Committee, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention


I was interested to read Dr. Mohler’s response to “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” which statement I gladly signed. His response was thoughtful, kind and forthright. I consider Dr. Mohler a friend. It has been my privilege to fellowship with him on many occasions through the years. I had him preach often at the Pastors’ Conference in Jacksonville, and he used to have me speak at Southern. In the same spirit he has demonstrated, permit me to offer a response.

When I was sent the statement primarily authored by Dr. Eric Hankins, assisted by other notable Southern Baptist theologians, I was pleased with it. So much so, that I gladly added my name to it and emailed a number of my friends suggesting they might also like to be an original signatory. Indeed, many of them did sign. The growing list of signatories includes past SBC presidents, current SBC seminary presidents, denominational ministers, pastors and lay people. This is an impressive list and should not be taken lightly, as Dr. Mohler has not.

In that email I stated that I was in general agreement with the statement and would not attempt to nuance its content. As I view it, this statement is intended to start a much needed debate and, like the BF&M, is not intended to be the final word on all things soteriological. I strongly disagree with Dr. Mohler’s assertion that “some of the statements appear to affirm semi-Pelagian understandings.” I wonder if Dr. Mohler thinks some of us aren’t theologically astute enough to recognize semi-Pelagianism when we see it! My response is not intended to engage this, however. I understand that the primary authors of the statement will submit a response to Dr. Mohler’s blog. So, in a spirit of brotherhood and a humble search for truth, let the discussion begin.

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Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article Four: The Grace 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 Four: The Grace 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. It has been referenced in a recent Baptist Press article, multiple blog posts, and many dozens of posts in Facebook and other social media. The statement has been accessed over 20,000 times in the last few days. Nearly 1,000 comments have been posted in SBC Today about the statement, and over 350 persons have signed 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 4: The Grace of God. Keep in mind that each of the affirmations and denials in the articles complement each other, not unlike 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 that 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”
Email sbctoday@gmail.com to join the movement and sign “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” as follows: 

Name, Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example: John Doe, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Anytown, LA or
Jane Doe, member, First Baptist Church, Anytown, LA or
Jamie Doe, Professor, Some Seminary, Anytown, LA


Discussion of Article Four: The Grace 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 4. Please limit your comments here to Article 4.

Article Four: The Grace of God

We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.

We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.

Ezra 9:8; Proverbs 3:34; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 19:16-30, 23:37; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24, 27-28; 5:6, 8, 15-21; Galatians 1:6; 2:21; 5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:2-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 4:16; 9:28; 1 John 4:19

Roger Olson is Correct; “Traditional” Southern Baptists are NOT Arminians


A Commentary
by Dr. Adam Harwood on Article 2 of
“A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”


Dr. Olson,

Thank you for considering “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” Your comments in your June 4 post [1] have alerted Christians outside of the Southern Baptist Convention to this important discussion on soteriology that is emerging within the SBC.

I have read, and hold a deep appreciation for, two of your books surrounding this topic, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities and Against Calvinism. They are careful, thorough works. Thank you for your contribution to this field of study.

Your post attempts to link the Statement in question with both Arminianism and Semi-Pelagianism. In this reply, I will address the significant challenge facing your post, which is your faulty assumption concerning the group of Baptist signatories.

Before proceeding, I request a clarification. If you are linking this Statement with Semi-Pelagianism (a heterodox view) and if the Statement reflects the views of the majority of Southern Baptists (which is the claim of the signers), then several questions emerge: Are you claiming that the document does not reflect the majority of Southern Baptists? If so, what is your evidence for such a claim? Are you claiming that the signers of this Statement (hundreds of Baptist pastors, professors, and denominational leaders) have attached their names to a heretical document? If so, then please be clear in your remarks because that would be an astounding claim. Perhaps you have in mind another possibility. Please clarify.

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Is Salvation Available to Every Sinner Who Hears the Gospel?


A Commentary
by Dr. David Hankins
on Article 1: The Gospel, from
“A Statement of the Traditional
Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”


Article One: The Gospel

We affirm that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person. This is in keeping with God’s desire for every person to be saved.

We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.

Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:1-12; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Luke 19.10; Luke 24:45-49; John 1:1-18, 3:16; Romans 1:1-6, 5:8; 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 4:4-7; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9

 

I expect no objections to Article One for its centering the Gospel in the person and work of Jesus. But the further point of this affirmation and denial is that the salvation proclaimed by this Gospel, though not finally received by all, is in fact available to all. The Scriptures cited support this declaration and argue against the assertions that only some sinners (those elected by God in eternity past) have the opportunity to respond affirmatively to the preaching of the gospel. Below, I cite two noted Baptist Calvinists of the past with differing opinions on the question.

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

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Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article Three: The Atonement of Christ
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. It has been referenced in a recent Baptist Press article, multiple blog posts, and many dozens of posts in Facebook and other social media.  The statement has been accessed over 18,000 times in the last few days.  The comments on the document in SBC Today alone are now over 750 posts, and over 300 persons have signed the document (including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life).  You can sign it also by following the directions below.

In order 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 Article 3: The Atonement of Christ. 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 that 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”
Click this link to see the list of signers of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”
Email sbctoday@gmail.com to join the movement and sign “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” as follows: 

Name, Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example: John Doe, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Anytown, LA or
Jane Doe, member, First Baptist Church, Anytown, LA or
Jamie Doe, Professor, Some Seminary, Anytown, LA


Discussion of Article Three: The Atonement of Christ 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 3. Please limit your comments here to Article 3.

Article Three: The Atonement of Christ

We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.

We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will. We deny that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.

Psalm 22:1-31; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 12:32, 14:6; Acts 10:39-43; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 10:1-18; I John 1:7; 2:2