Connect 316 Ministry Fellowship Launches

October 11, 2013

by Dr. Rick Patrick, pastor
FBC Sylacauga, Ala.

We are excited to announce the launch of a theologically driven ministry fellowship in Southern Baptist life that is not Calvinistic. Connect 316 is committed to promoting the doctrines and principles of the Hobbs-Rogers theological tradition. Our goal is the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We aim to help fellow Christians who embrace our doctrinal convictions to connect with one another as we share God’s unconditional love with everyone all over the world. While this article is designed to answer many of your questions, for more information, check out our website at www.connect316.net.

Why is there a need for a ministry fellowship such as Connect 316?
For years, Southern Baptists in the Calvinistic wing of our convention have enjoyed the networking and resources provided by various ministry fellowships. For a preaching conference, they attend Together for the Gospel. For a website with resources, they check out The Gospel Coalition. For information on ecclesiology and church polity, they turn to 9 Marks. For church planting assistance and training, they look to Acts 29. For a younger generation’s broadly evangelical view, they turn to Baptist Twenty One. For a Calvinistic perspective on SBC history, they have The Founders Ministries. With so many different organizations resourcing the Calvinistic wing of our denomination, we feel that Connect 316 is able to provide at least a measure of theological balance.

How did Connect 316 come into existence?
A group of five fellow Southern Baptist ministers from four different states came to recognize the need for such fellowship, organization and networking. We had been talking for a number of years about the need for such a group, but finally decided if no one else was going to start one, then we would. We began meeting in July and went through all the processes of forming a non-profit corporation, establishing bylaws and a Board of Directors, acquiring 501(c)3 status, raising funds and developing a website. Southern Baptists from six different states have already joined in the effort. People want to be a part of a ministry fellowship that is committed to the principles they hold dear.

Why did Connect 316 form so much later than all the Calvinist fellowships?
Most of us think of ourselves as holding to the majority view in our convention. Years ago, while the minority Calvinistic Christians banded together, we were preoccupied with simply being Southern Baptists. Why bother to form a wing within a larger group when your position is clearly leading the larger group anyway? Such is no longer the case in SBC life. It takes an organized majority to balance an organized minority.

What kinds of activities and events will be sponsored by Connect 316?
We will sponsor a breakfast, host a website and invite like-minded Southern Baptists to avail themselves of our books, articles, conferences and resources. We will feature book signings and promote Traditionalist authors. We will invite Southern Baptist schools, organizations and publishers to sponsor booths at our Connect 316 SBC Breakfast. In other words, we will network and fellowship in the very same manner that our Calvinistic Southern Baptist friends have been doing for years.

What is the best way to describe the theological position of Connect 316?
Perhaps our beliefs can be most easily understood by appealing to the “Hobbs-Rogers theological tradition” in Southern Baptist life. For this reason, and because of the Traditional Statement signed by many Southern Baptists in 2012 (which is, by the way, once again available for signing at our website) many Southern Baptists will prefer to call us Traditionalists. Of course, we certainly do not claim to represent the only tradition in Southern Baptist life. If, for some reason, you find this term offensive, then please call us Savabilists instead. In a spirit of brotherly love, and to avoid unseemly and divisive name calling, let us agree to stick to these two respectful descriptors.

How can I find out more about Connect 316?
The best way to learn more is to visit the website at www.connect316.net. We look forward to partnering with like-minded Christians as we carry the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth. God so loved the world. Everyone needs to know.

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Leslie Puryear

Rick,

Thank you for your leadership in the construction of the Connect 316 website. I am looking forward to reading the books and connecting with like-minded Southern Baptists. I think you are correct in your assessment that the majority of pastors and lay people in the SBC are represented by this effort.

LesliePuryear

Ron F. Hale

Our great universe was born out of chaos with “darkness within darkness” permeating nothingness. Our great nation was born in utter chaos and conspiratorial confusion. Our Southern Baptist Convention was born in time of division and chaos. And, in these confusing theological days for Southern Baptists, Connect 316 proposes that we do not have to remain in the confusing and chaotic impasse that Calvinism and Arminianism has brought into the Church for almost five hundred years. Those systems have failed us and the struggle over them has left a martyrs trail – but the Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. Going forward as Southern Baptists, we must forge a new Baptist consensus centered on Jesus Christ, His Word, and faithfulness to the Great Commission! It is my hope that something good can and will come out of chaos and confusion. Thanks Rick for your leadership! Blessings!

David R. Brumbelow

Just posted a link to Connect316 at Gulf Coast Pastor.
Look forward to your information and resources.
Both sides certainly have a right to be heard in the SBC.
David R. Brumbelow

Christian

It’s about time! :). I love it! Many thanks to these pastors!

Brandon Caudill

I’m excited to see this fellowship taking place. C316 is a ministry that has been needed now for some time. I’m thankful for the leadership of this ministry and their decision to take a stand for their convictions in the present theological landscape of our convention. They give a voice to those of us who are most often marginalized and ignored when it comes to our theological convictions. I, too, am looking forward to the information and resources C316 will provide. Good stuff!

Lydia

Your site is well done, guys. May His Name be Glorified as LOVE.

Pam Knight

Rick, thank you and everyone else who helped, for creating this much needed resource within the SBC. My husband and I believe that a whole lot of confusion, strife, division, and Church Families being divided and torn apart could have been easily avoided if there had been more transparency among our Pastors and SBC Leadership and Authors within the SBC, if they would have just been clearly up front about who they are, what position they hold, and where they stand on Doctrine, especially the 5 Doctrines of Grace, better known as the TULIP. I know that the people in the pew also need to be more informed about these issues and it is up to each individual to know what they believe the bible teaches and then to ask their Pastors, and leadership where they stand on these issues, but my husband and I both believe the bigger part of the responsibility for making sure people know where they stand is on the Pastors and Leadership and the Authors of books and literature to do that. So thank you again and we will be sure to share as much from your site as we possibly can with as many as we can.
In Christ
Pam Knight

Michael Maschenik

For the last few years we as Southern Baptist have been using our resources to convert the lost and spread the Gospel. The Reformers use their resources to convert the Christian to become a Calvinist. Fortunately for them they can now use our resources, Lifeway, to convert Christians. I thought I had fellowship with the SBC web site but now I have to find fellowship with connect316.

Adam Pace

One thing that would extremely beneficial is if C316 would be very aggressive in promoting a network of bloggers in the HRT (Hobbs-Rogers Tradition). One of the primary modes of influence for the YRR crowd is through the constant hammer of the blogosphere. Look at the Gospel Coalition. Their wide availability creates an air of credibility and authority. The packaging has a powerful impact on people looking for authoritative answers to tough questions. SBC Today is great, but there isn’t really a “network” or “coalition” of SBC-Today branded bloggers. What are our alternatives to Mohler, to Wax, to Piper, etc.? I find myself reading these blogs even though I disagree with a lot of their theology, just because they are available and often engage relevant issues. C316 could be equally if not more effective. I would be glad to do anything I can to help.

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