The editors of SBC Today would like to take this opportunity thank all of those who have supported “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” with their signatures. Your willingness to publicly affirm the Statement in this way greatly assisted in communicating to the SBC that there is a soteriological point-of-view that needs to be heard and engaged, and this is exactly what has happened. A robust discussion of these matters has ensued, culminating in Dr. Frank Page’s commitment to create a special committee to study these issues and bring back a report to the Convention.
Because the Statement has been heard and has received such a significant response, we have made the decision to close the signature list. The list has served its purpose well. A great cross-section of Southern Baptists, from Sunday School teachers, to small church pastors, to significant leaders, were able to say clearly, “These are our beliefs, and these are our concerns. Let’s talk.” There was never a “magic number” of signers in anyone’s mind and there was never any organized campaign to enlist signatories. It seems to us that to leave the list open further unnecessarily shifts attention to who has or has not signed the document, which is not the point. We never assumed we were speaking for all Southern Baptists. We do not intend for the document to be a “test of fellowship” for all Southern Baptists. We never insisted that it was to be the final word on all things soteriological. Without a doubt there are numerous Southern Baptists who have no idea that this discussion in going on, others who affirm the Statement but don’t like to sign things, others who like the theology but don’t like the debate or affirm most but not all of it, others who are waiting for further clarification of content and intent, and still plenty of others who just think it’s dead wrong. The discussion has started, the major contributors to Southern Baptist life and thought are engaged, and that was the point in giving people the opportunity to sign.
Now, this is not to say that we think the Statement has served its purpose. It was written because of a firm conviction that most Southern Baptists have a distinct view of salvation that is categorically different from Calvinism. The Statement was an attempt at articulating that viewpoint, and it is our hope that it continue to be a point of reference both for the present discussion and the future understanding of Baptist identity.
So, thanks again to the signers who greatly assisted in placing the Statement before the SBC in a way that could not be ignored. We look forward to a process of discussion in the proper spirit that will result in a greater passion and conviction about the sufficiency of and need for salvation in Christ alone for every person.