I was born and bred a Southern Baptist. I was saved in an SBC church, committed to ministry in another SBC church, educated in an SBC college, trained for ministry in an SBC seminary (tuition paid, in large part, with SBC dollars). I’ve been a pastor who was involved in SBC work from the association to the state convention to the national denomination. My church consistently gives hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for SBC causes.
So, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists agree that God chooses individuals to be “in Him.” Calvinists believe the individual is unconditionally chosen before he/she is “born or had done anything good or bad,” based on their erroneous interpretation of Romans 9:11. While the non-Calvinist believes God’s choice is intimately personal because God is choosing to save someone who is admitting how bad they really are right in the midst of their shame and guilt…
Here is the grand perplexity in all of this. Why are Calvinists so adamant about the superiority of their understanding of God’s plan of salvation and equally devoted to obscuring such superior qualities in gospel presentations? To respond that the Calvinist is simply following the command to preach the simple gospel begs the question.
Based upon a Calvinist understanding, God has eternally and unconditionally elected some to be the recipients of His loving salvation and has equally determined (one’s perspective regarding the order of decrees is impertinent to this reality) those for whom there is no hope, even if they heard the gospel from God Himself and also could recite the gospel in every language in the universe.
Three historic confessions of faith have shaped the theology of many Southern Baptists since 1845 — the inaugural year of our convention in Augusta, Georgia. The intent of this article is to demonstrate that many early Southern Baptists were not solely and singularly rooted in Reformed theology as some so solemnly swear today.