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.
The book is a collection of papers delivered at the 2008 John 3:16 Conference held at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA. Each paper dealt with one of the letters of the acrostic TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. In addition, several other chapters were added to address specific topics related to Calvinism.
The Particular Baptists, as Calvinists historically seem to do, slipped the other direction into so called “hyper-Calvinism.” What that means, essentially, is an overemphasis on the sovereignty of God to the point of the loss of human freedom, and an eventual loss of any missionary motivation.
I don’t think I would have enjoyed being around John Calvin. I think I’d probably feel that, behind his polite smile and bulging eyeballs, he was sniffing the scent of free-thinking upon me. In a democratic society that would be fine, of course, but in a Calvinocracy like Geneva, that would mean trouble for me.
For Calvin, if a practice wasn’t prescribed in the Bible you didn’t do it. On the question of the relation of faith to reason, Luther came down heavily on the side of faith. Calvin came down on the side of reason. Since this partition between the dominance of faith or reason has been one of the great dividing lines of the history of the Church, it’s no surprise that it made a difference between them.