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.
Sometimes God will fulfill His promises by showing Israelites mercy, but His Word will never fail. Sometimes God will fulfill His promises by hardening Israelites, but His Word will never fail. Note: Those judicially hardened or cut off are not born in this condition, but have “grown hardened” over years of rebellion (Acts 28:27), they are cut off for unbelief (11:20) and the hope of the apostle is that they may be grafted back in and saved (11:11-32).
The fulfillment of God’s Word has never relied upon the faithfulness or morality of the individuals chosen to carry it out (Rom. 3:3-4). Neither brother would be justified apart from grace through faith in God, even though they are direct descendants of both Abraham and Isaac. Salvation is by the covenant of grace through faith in the call of God, not the covenant of law through works.
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.