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.