Framers of TS remove signatory list

July 14, 2012

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.

 

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Jonathan S. Jenkins

As a supporter of the traditional statement on soteriology, I appreciate yall’s hard work. I would however ask that as it is discussed further, that you would refrain from using differentiating phrases, such as “to small church pastors, to significant leaders…”

I believe this presents a false comparison among Christian leaders, as if the number of followers or position you have, makes you successful or more important, instead of humble obedience whether in obscurity, or the spotlight of the SBC.

Just a thought.

    Cb scott

    And a good thought it is. Yes indeed.

      Norm Miller

      Jonathan & CB:
      Today’s post did not mean to draw the apparent distinction you have noted. We know of that role’s singular significance.
      Another way of looking at this citation would be to see that we were simply trying to show the broad ministry gamut of the list’s signatories, and that list includes a segment of SBC ministry that is too often overlooked — pastors of smaller churches. God bless all of our pastors, and especially you two, today. I pray God will bless you and your flocks tomorrow.
      Thx for championing small church pastors.

        selahV

        Norm: “like” as if there is a button! selahV

        Cb scott

        Norm Miller,

        I want you to understand something. I was not championing “small church pastors.” I am not one, so there was no ax to grip of a personal nature.

        I was challenging a mentality that has become far to problematic in SBC life in the past 15 or so years.

        I believe Jonathan Jenkins is right in stating:

        “I believe this presents a false comparison among Christian leaders, as if the number of followers or position you have, makes you successful or more important, instead of humble obedience whether in obscurity, or the spotlight of the SBC.” Frankly, I know he is.

        In addition, I have noticed that Eric Hankins and Michael Cox do not interact with these guys in the comment threads. Yet, they write bold posts of a declarative nature. That is fine with me. But an open blog is not the territory to roam if you are an elitist or do not want to be mistaken for one.

        Cox and Hankins should have interacted on these threads. In my opinion, it was an error of judgment for them not to have done so.

          Norm Miller

          Duly noted, CB. But as mentioned previously, any distinction of relative importance among the Lord’s servants was most assuredly inadvertant. I am certain that the editors — whose thoughts and words comprise today’s post — value the Kingdom contributions of all involved in the Lord’s ministry, whether accomplished in the backwoods of ‘Sleepy Holler’ or from the pulpits of First, Mega-Church, or from the top floor of denominational offices. God is no respecter of persons. Neither should we be. After all, for one godly minister to intentionally demean another thus demeans all of us.
          Thx much for your understanding, for your interest in the blog, and your commitment to the Lord’s work. — Norm

          Adam Harwood

          CB,

          It was good meeting you in NOLA. You have a sharp wit and we see many things the same way.

          I wanted to respond to your view that Drs. Cox and Hankins should have responded in the comment sections of their posts.

          I will not attempt to speak for them but I can speak as one who has posted 3 articles on this site in the last 6 weeks. (I don’t blog; these are the ONLY articles I have ever posted on a web site.)

          1. Although you have a long history in the SBC blogosphere, most of us do not. Stepping into this venue can be intimidating.

          2. Perhaps they think: I had my say in the article. Now it’s their turn to talk.

          3. Hankins interacted heavily in the 4-part series posted earlier this year on this site. Perhaps he has reasons for sitting out these discussions.

          4. Cox has already written a book on the topic. Perhaps he thinks he has already written everything on this topic the way he wants to say.

          5. Pastors are busy. Both of these men are pastors. Perhaps their duties prohibit them from dedicating the time necessary to watch the comments all day for 2-3 days in order to provide a timely response to the questions or criticisms that roll in after an article is posted.

          6. It’s tedious. I don’t know if other people have a better system for tracking replies but I find myself scanning the same set of replies throughout the day to find follow-up comments which might require my reply. I interacted on the introductory post in June until it reached about 600 comments and then stopped looking at it. Most of the comments on the articles related to Calvinism exceed 100 comments and the conversations become hard to follow.

          More could be said on this topic but I’ll close with this thought: I don’t know why Hankins and Cox chose not to post replies in the comment sections of this site in recent weeks. But I am thankful for their input in the conversation through their posts. And I appreciate reading through the replies even if I don’t see the comments of those men.

          In Him,

          Adam

          PS) Due to other commitments today, I probably won’t revisit this page to see if you replied. Please don’t take any non-reply personally. I probably won’t see it. When I look at SBC Today again, there will likely be another article on the front of the page and I typically don’t review previous articles to look through for new comments. I guess that is the nature of internet conversations. Blessings, CB.

          Cb scott

          Adam,

          I have a high opinion of you. Let’s clear the board on that before anything is stated between us. I have a high opinion of your boss. Let’s clear the board on that before anything is stated.

          I also am busy today and will not have much time, but I will address two statements you have made here.

          1). You stated: “I don’t know why Hankins and Cox chose not to post replies in the comment sections of this site in recent weeks.”

          My response: I have a pretty good idea as to why, but we will leave that to another time.

          2). You stated: “Pastors are busy. Both of these men are pastors. ”

          My response: I will bet the farm they are no more “busy” than me (and probably not as…) and a lot of guys I know, but maybe they do sleep more.

          Norm Miller,

          As I stated to your co-worker, I have a high opinion of you. So let’s clear the board on that also.

          As I stated to Adam, I am tied -up in high fashion today, but I would like to address this “championing the small church pastor” at some point.

          Suffice it to to be stated at the present; I do not think they need to be “championed.” I think, as I shared with Les Puryear when he was on his crusade for small church pastors, they just need to cowboy-up, be focused on their calling, and not be so suspiciously concerned with the calling of other guys in churches of a larger size. Frankly, I don’t much believe there are any “small” churches. Yet, there are many “small” pastors. Therein lies the problem.

          There is more I would like to say if time permitted. But there has been and still is a real problem in the SBC with “star gazing” and “star worship” and “star” “envy.” Some of the problem has to do with the “gazing” and the “worship” of the “so-called stars” themselves when they pass a mirror. So guys in the SBC just simply “never meet a mirror they do not like”, to paraphrase Will Rogers.

          Lydia

          “There is more I would like to say if time permitted. But there has been and still is a real problem in the SBC with “star gazing” and “star worship” and “star” “envy.” Some of the problem has to do with the “gazing” and the “worship” of the “so-called stars” themselves when they pass a mirror”

          Absolutely true on both sides and a lot of it is on the NC side at this time with T4G stars and others who have become very influential in the SBC. It is why 2009 would be my last convention. Too much adoration of man for my taste. Too much mega. Too much elitism. The sarcastic and insulting tweeting that went on during and after this convention was a pox on our house.

          With that said, after reading the comments on all threads over the last few months, I am not sure I blame Hankins for not responding in comments. Every single word, punctuation mark would be picked apart, analyzed for some proof of heresy by those who are so angry with him. I have no proof but I get the feeling he is the guy to be “marginalized”. No answer would satisfy as Hankins has to prove he is not a heretic and it would go on ad nauseum as we have seen. Every answer would have to be repeated over and over for questions phrased another way. I have never seen anything like it and that is “without” Hankins commenting. Actually, I think he is wise.

          This thread so far is a perfect example. We are seeing that the interpretive Augustine/Calvin paradigm is just too strong to penetrate for many. And our NC friends will not be happy until the statement is written in a way “they” accept.

        Jonathan S. Jenkins

        Norm,

        I am a small church pastor and I do not stand to champion anyone but faithful pastors.

        The reason I said anything at all is because I believe that we all are guilty of not being careful enough to shy away from the idea of differentiated importance among ministers. This I feel is also an elephant in the room of the SBC.

        I do not believe that we prescribe more acclaim, and importance to those pastors of larger churches purposefully but I think that we quietly endorse it by our inattention to how we turn our phrases and lack of effort to include all types of ministers in leadership of the SBC.

        Once again, let me say that I love y’all in Christ, and greatly appreciate yall’s hard work on developing the statement, just implore us all to be more careful in the way we write and speak so as not to differentiate between FAITHFUL servants.

          Norm Miller

          Points well-taken and identified with, too. Thx for the clarity and encouragement, Brother. — Norm

Scott Walker

The list has served its purpose well. A great cross-section of Southern Baptists, from Sunday School teachers, to small church pastors

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

Which is it? Did it serve it’s purpose or not?

Norm Miller

Scott: A more careful reading will reveal that the list has served its purpose, but the Statement has purposes yet to fulfill. Two differing things are cited. Thx for your interest. — Norm

    Scott

    Where can we see this list of signatures?

keith sanders

Looking at the headlines across the page on the BP newsfeed, I pray that Southern Baptists will redirect their zeal away from this internal battle. The removal of this list from SBC Today is a good move in that direction.

Tom Fillinger

If I may remind the gracious participants in this exchange. Dr. Vines, one of the signators, wrote on this BLOG and I quote – -“We need to have a discussion of these issues.” I drafted an irenic and theologically substantive post related to the content of the statement. When I attempted to post this on his BLOG I received a message that said – – COMMENTS CLOSED. I find this duplicitous and counter-productive to our primary objective; discovering through gracious, accurate, compassionate and precise exegesis “what the text says”. I suggest that we all honor the decorum of true Christian Statesmanship or we do not enter the dialog. Seems reasonable to me.

    Cb scott

    Tom Fillinger,

    Jerry Vines blog has rarely been open to comments. it is his blog and his right to not open his threads to comments.

    SBC TODAY has historically been an “open” thread blog. There is a difference, in my opinion, between the Vines’ blog and SBC TODAY. Cox and Hankins should have responded to the comments on an open thread. Again, that is my opinion.

      Tom Fillinger

      CB,

      You are correct – it is his BLOG. He may do what he chooses there. However, and I repeat, it is DUPLICITOUS to invite the reader to a discussion and then close the comments. That is simply a fact in a real world perspective. Thanks for your comment.

    Tim Rogers

    Tom,

    Your charge of Dr Vines and his comments closed being “duplicitous and counter-productive to our primary objective” falls on deaf ears. Why? You fail to make the same charge of Dr. Mohler. Go over there and try to interact with him. You will not get him you will get one of his researchers. That researcher is paid with CP funds from an entity that is supported by all Southern Baptists. Dr. Vines does not have access to the funds to have his researchers answer multiple questions that have already been answered, where Dr. Mohler does. Thus, if you want to make such a charge against Dr. Vines where is your charge of non-transparency for Dr. Mohler?

      Tom Fillinger

      My brother I did not attempt to post to Dr. Mohler’s BLOG. To my knowledge he did not invite us to a discussion and then close the BLOG. Dr. Vines did what I stated. I do not have anyone responding to my post but i honor the decorum that honors Christ. All I am asking is that others in this BLOGOSPHERE do the same. Thanks for your comment.

        Tim Rogers

        Tom,

        Dr. Vines explained how we were to discuss it, and it was the same way that DR. Mohler said it needed to be discussed.

        Thus, your duplicitous actions has now been exposed. You hold one to a standard that you are not holding the other.

          Tom Fillinger

          Tim,

          You seem to be on a vendetta. If in fact Dr. Mohler invited me to a BLOG and then closed the comments I would view that as duplicitous as well. You apology is accepted.

          In Grace,
          Tom

          Brad Reynolds

          Tom
          I think Tim’s point was they both said we need to discuss this. To be upset that one does not allow comments for the discussion and not be upset that the other does not allow comments for discussion appears biased (whether it is or not).

        Lydia

        “My brother I did not attempt to post to Dr. Mohler’s BLOG. ”

        Why would you? He never allows comments at all. You have to email him and as Tim said he has many assistants who manage that function for him paid by some CP dollars.

        And as I recall, Mohler wrote a blog post called “It’s Time To Talk” but there was no talking allowed on the blog post. So, I would have to assume the “talking” Mohler had in mind would be very controlled from his vantage. He has also called for marginalizing some. Who?

        So to call Vines “duplicitous” in all caps is not really very fair, friend. Has Vines called for “marginalizing” anyone? I am no Vines fan or respector of persons but let us at least try to be somewhat fair and just. Your accusation does come off as a double standard.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Lydia: Really? Then what was the John 3:16 conference to name just a few things from Jerry Vines? You do have a legitimate complaint about Al Mohler. He should allow comments and emailing just isn’t talking to Al Mohler but his assistants who write for him paid by all of us aka CP dollars. But to say Jerry Vines is not calling for marginalizing is to not see things too clearly or accurately.

          Lydia

          Debbie, I am not following you. You seem to be adding events that are not part of what Tom was referring to concerning blog posts. But thanks for your input.

          Lydia

          Sorry Debbie, I meant to add that if Vines is publically calling for people to be marginalized, I think a link to the actual words such as we have with an entity employee, Mohler, would be helpful.

Jeremy Crowder

Good I’m glad and honored to have signed the statement.

    Adam Harwood

    Ditto on Jeremy’s comment.

      Norm Miller

      Ditto on Jeremy and Adam’s comment.
      (I’m starting a new ‘list.’ A little help? [JK])

Tom Fillinger

The current post says in part –

“It was written because of a firm conviction that most Southern Baptists have a distinct view of salvation that is categorically different from Calvinism.”

I remind all participants in this dialog that ultimately it matters not one wit what any particular ‘ism’ may posit. What matters is “What Does The Text Say?” It matters not if we agree with one another. This perspective seems to have gained the ascendancy in this arena. What matters is not do we agree with one another but does what we embrace as sound doctrine agree with what God says in His Word about any given issue. I pray that we all keep that in focus. Exegesis not Polemics must be the final arbiter in this and all other doctrinal considerations. Thanks for hearing this appeal.

    Norm Miller

    I hear your heart, Brother Tom. If the truth of God is what matters — and ultimately, it is all that matters or ever will matter — then ‘Exegesis v. Polemics’ becomes subservient to God’s truth in that perspective.
    But what moves us into the areas of discussion we find ourselves on this and other blogs is that, we — with our pea-sized, fallen, finite brains — have lit upon differing understandings of that Truth resulting from exegesis (I trust). When that happens ‘polemics’ will result. However, if polemics take prominence over exegesis, then, necessarily, we have in some manner cast our gaze toward each other and away from the Truth.
    What you have expressed, Tom, relates in no small part to my post on Tuesday, Discussion v. Debate. Let’s discuss the Truth of God with each other and shy away from pointed polemics. I believe the latter is sometimes interpreted as excessively aggressive, but the former expresses a genuine search for Truth. As we all know, fratricide is the ugly (and I would say, ungodly) antithesis of fellowship.
    I would reiterate this, however, that two opposing truth claims cannot both be true. Shall we all debate or discuss?
    Thx for your insights, Tom. I appreciate them. — Norm

      John

      Norm,
      “I would reiterate this, however, that two opposing truth claims cannot both be true.”

      I agree with this statement of course, but we also must remember that two opposing truth claims can both be False. It is good if we all remember this as we discuss.

      I think the direction you are taking this site has a great chance of productive discussions. Best to you brother Norm.

        Norm Miller

        Very interesting and accurate perspective, John. To push this a bit further, do any of our claims hold truth, without any mixture of error? Thx for the observation, and for your encouragement. I am grateful. — Norm

          John

          Norm,
          I think we can hold at least on truth to be true without error.
          God is most powerful.
          Second truth we may chose to affirm is: Man is weak.

          May God Bless you Norm as you are tested in perseverance and endurance.

      Tom Fillinger

      Norm,

      Thanks for the kind words. My great grief is we NEVER get to the Exegesis. I believe we must post a passage in two columns diagrammed in the original language. We each take 15 minutes or so to demonstrate what the passage says, means, etc.

      Having done so there are several possibilities.

      1. You are correct and I am incorrect.

      2. I am correct and you are incorrect.

      3. Both of us are incorrect.

      4. We CANNOT both be correct and hold different interpretations.

      The Holy Spirit had/has one and only one correct meaning for each portion of God’s Word. We seem to be abandoning this principle for the sake of making nice. I AM NOT IN ANY WAY appealing for ‘making nasty’ but the fact remains that the Law of Non-Contradiction applies; A cannot be non-A etc.

      I hope this adds in a positive way to the goal of irenic Christian Statesmanship and honest scholarship among brothers.

      In Grace,
      Tom

Mike Davis

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.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be the point, and I think the decision to discontinue the signature list is a good one. There are many TS signers among the names I recognize for whom I have a great deal of respect, and I appreciate the fact the signature list showed a significant number of people stood behind it. But a common argument from the Traditionalist side whenever questions were raised about some of the more problematic statements in the TS was to cite the high offices and positions of a number of the signers followed by the question of whether those opposed to the TS really thought all those signers with their impressive (and many of them do have genuinely impressive) credentials could be mistaken. That really never should have been the point. Instead, the point is about what is actually written in the TS.

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, …

I won’t argue the point that most Southern Baptists have a view that is different from Calvinism. But I do not believe the TS articulates the majority vew (I’m not convinced there is a majority view) and the number of signatures does not support your opinion that the TS represents the majority. I believe most Southern Baptists would not agree with Article Two, and I believe most Southern Baptists do not believe human will is so free that it would choose to come to Christ apart from drawing grace, either prevenient or irresistible. But then that puts you back on the Calvinist/Arminian grid. This is not to say that there are not a significant number, perhaps even a plurality, of Traditionalists in the SBC. But I don’t think they have shown they are the majority.

    Tim Rogers

    Mike,

    The latest LifeWay Research reveals interesting numbers. Dr. Ed Stetzer said;

    “It is fascinating how much debate is occurring right now on this topic when most pastors indicate that neither end of the spectrum correctly identifies their church,”

    Thus your statement

    “I do not believe the TS articulates the majority vew (I’m not convinced there is a majority view)”

    appears to be misinformed. The TS articulates a statement that is neither Calvinists nor Arminian as it has joined Dr. Mohler (a Calvinist) and Dr. Olsen (an Arminian) to speak against the statement. Both have charged us with semi-Pelagian thought when both systems they are arguing from is a system of thought from Augustine. We have said there are other philosophical systems and none of them has the inside grasp of Scripture. Thus, that is where the majority of Southern Baptists sit, squarely on the Scripture not some philosophical system.

      Tom Fillinger

      Tim,

      The FACT REMAINS – the statement as written and posted is by all serious scholarship, precise exegesis and church history a SEMI-PELAGIAN perspective. That is an indisputable fact. Saying it is not, as Dr. Vines did, does not make that a true statement. I hope we all value the three issues I mention in this post: Scholarship, Exegesis and Church History. That said, it is spurious and illogical to accept a disclaimer when all the facts say other wise. Men are entitled to believe this statement and to post it, but, they are not entitled to re-write exegetical precision and history in doing so. The statement is what it is and what it is is SEMI-PELAGIAN!

      In Grace,
      Tom

        Bob Hadley

        Tom,

        I challenge your statement: “The FACT REMAINS – the statement as written and posted is by all serious scholarship, precise exegesis and church history a SEMI-PELAGIAN perspective.”

        Serious scholarship… really… only those scholarly folk who tout TD/TI will make such an assumption… because their own philosophical position requires some response to a non TD/TI position… while it is most certainly true that a Pelagian position would certainly deny TD/TI… the denial of TD/TI does not automatically posit a Pelagian conclusion. You are simply incorrect.

        I own a Corvette. A corvette is not a ford. But to conclude that anyone else who does not own a ford also owns a corvette is totally incorrect. You are basically proffering the same argument.

        Exegetically incorrect… really… that is an interesting comment for certain. As I have stated in a number of places, to take the statement as a whole it is most definitely NOT Pelagian nor semi-P; which for the record are virtually the same where conversion is concerned; the primary difference in the S-P position is that it allows for God’s grace to bring about sanctification…

        Now to take a simple statement aka #2 and say that can be interpreted as semi-pelagian as most contend, can be said of the Bible itself. I can take some of your statements in and of themselves and I can make you sound ridiculous. (Which I know you are not.) You cannot take a couple sentences and omit the context and make a multitude of claims.

        Now… historically… pelagianism has been declared heretical… by reformed theologians… none-the-less but even the historical aspect does not apply to this statement because the historical addresses the charge itself and not this particular document.

        So I will end this response with your own comment: “Saying it is not, as Dr. Vines did, does not make that a true statement.”

        Saying it is, as YOU did, does not make that a true statement either.

        ><>”

          Chris Roberts

          Bob,

          No one said what you said. When I looked at the Statement, I did not think, “Well, it’s not Calvinist or Arminian so it must be Pelagian or semi-Pelagian!” Rather, I read what it said and realized, “Wow, this is exactly what a semi-Pelagian would say!” The Statement is not semi-Pelagian because it is not Calvinist or Arminian; it is semi-Pelagian because it is arguing what they would argue: that human beings retain a natural ability to respond to God without first having to be changed. And Tom is right, simply insisting that it is not semi-Pelagian does not change reality. Solid arguments have been raised (often by me, so I’m quite familiar with them) showing why the Statement is semi-Pelagian. None of the arguments challenging this have been convincing.

          I realize we disagree and I’m content to disagree, but I would prefer that the argument be presented in the way it was made. No one argued what you said we argued.

          Brad Reynolds

          Chris (or should I say to the author of the unity resolution)

          We shall point out the error in conflating the Traditional Statement (TS) with a heresy condemned at the 2nd Council or Orange. The problem seems to be the Calvinists’ inability to look at our statement without the presuppositions of Calvinism. Let’s try to remove those presuppositions for a moment and try not to define our words in ways we do not define them.

          In showing the error of conflating the two it is important to note that the T.S. has never been shown to be in direct conflict with the Canons – to do so would require something like this: “The 2nd Council of Orange states “If anyone…does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the working and infusion of the Holy Spirit…” and the T.S states “our will to be cleansed does not come to us through the working and infusion of the Holy Spirit””

          Obviously, this has not, nor can it be done.

          Second Council of Orange:
          Canon4: “If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself…”

          T.S.
          Article Two:”we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.”

          My comments
          Note we deny a sinner is saved without the Holy Spirit’s drawing – while some may deny that the drawing by the Holy Spirit of God is God’s grace, we do not. Nor do we deny that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. In fact, we kindly highlight that.

          Second Council of Orange
          Canon 5: “If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles…”

          T.S.
          Article Two: see above
          Article Four: “We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative…in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit…”

          My Comments
          Notice we affirm that it is by God’s grace and through the Holy Spirit that a sinner comes to Christ. We do not accept the Arminian or Calvinist definition of Prevenient or Irresistible grace – We ARE NOT ARMINIAN OR CALVINIST. If one chooses to change the term Prevenient to Resistible I imagine both Methodists and Traditionalist would rightly object.

          Second Council of Orange
          Canon 6 “If anyone…does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought.”

          T.S.
          Article 2: see above
          Article 4: see above
          Article 8?We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.”

          My Comments
          Notice we define free will as the ability to choose between two options but we do not state the will was not affected by sin. Further, notice we affirm God’s call is a call given through Grace (Gracious call) and by the Holy Spirit.

          Second Council of Orange
          Canon 7 “If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life…without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit…”

          T.S.
          Article 2 See above
          Article 4 See above
          Article 8 See above
          Article 7 “We affirm God’s…sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.”

          My Comments – Not sure what others think we meant by “Sovereignty over” but what we meant is that God is Sovereign over every person’s salvation.

          Now can we cease the unChristlike name-calling?

          While we as Baptists claim “Scripture Alone” and not “Council’s Alone” we as Traditionalist nevertheless reject the idea that our statement was condemned at the 2nd Council of Orange

          However, something that was condemned at the 2nd Council of Orange which I expect all Baptist Calvinists will join me in affirming is “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.”

          Bob Hadley

          Chris,

          For the record, I did NOT say people looked at the statement and thought… “Well, it’s not Calvinist or Arminian so it must be Pelagian or semi-Pelagian!”

          I said… those who demand a foundation of TD/TI turn around and label anyone who does not begin there as Pelagian.

          Even your own assertion proves my point… “that human beings retain a natural ability to respond to God without first having to be changed.”

          This is a modern application of the pelagian argument. The Pelagian position gave man the ability to come to God apart from His initiative, call it grace or whatever. Pelagianism has NOTHING to do with man’s response to God; it states that man has the innate ability to approach God on his own. There is a profound difference in the two views.

          As I have stated on several comments, Semi-P and P are virtually the same where conversion is concerned… the primary difference in the two is that the S-P attributes sanctification to God’s grace where the Pelagian position did not really address that issue.

          I believe you are taking very broad liberties in your assertion of what the semi-pelagian position actually states.

          Now… you ignore the contention that the statement as a whole is everything BUT Pelagian. Are going to attempt to assert the WHOLE statement is Pelagian or simply a statement or two taken by itself COULD BE INTERPRETED as being P or S-P?

          Let me ask you to clarify your position.

          If you will acknowledge that the statement in its entirety is NOT S-P but a single statement COULD be interpreted as S-P…

          Then will you not also acknowledge that the same argument that you are attempting to make here can be said of the Bible itself… if you take a verse by itself?

          ><>”

        Brad Reynolds

        Tom,
        Either stop making your unsubstantiated unChristlike and disunifying accusations or show exactly from the statement where we state man does not need God’s grace to initiate salvation.

          Tom Fillinger

          Brad,

          What I said was that viewed by Exegetical, Sound Scholarship and Church History the statement is Semi-Pelagian. It in fact is that.

          Blessings to you my brother.

          Brad Reynolds

          Tom
          The way it sounds you are saying “the church calls it Semi-Pelagian but I am not.” This is no more endearing than you calling it such. Now please either show where it is or stop the name-calling.

          No ill-will on this end. Just wishing the name-calling would stop so conversation could start.

      Mike Davis

      Hi Tim,

      You are interpreting the phrase “most pastors indicate that neither end of the spectrum correctly identifies their church” to support the idea that most pastors identify their church as holding to the views of the TS, but the LifeWay survey itself points to a different conclusion. A 60% majority in the poll gave a response that showed they were on the Calvinist/Arminian grid with 30% in each category. The “neither end of the spectrum” phrase refers no doubt to the remaining 40%, and certainly that would include whatever portion of the 40% represents Traditionalists (which is not indicated). But it also refers to those Calvinists and Arminians in the 60% who don’t adopt all 5 points of their respective systems. For example, 94% believe in eternal security, indicating many SBC Arminians broke ranks on that issue. 16% in the survey agree with the view of Limited Atonement but 50% agree with Irresistible Grace, which shows there are a lot of Calminians, and also indicates at least 50% accept at a minimum two points of Calvinistic soteriology (Irresistible Grace and eternal security). I also think most in the SBC hold to Total Depravity/Total Inability, although this does not appear to have been on the survey. I think this conclusion can be drawn from the fact that 50% believe in Irresistible Grace and an additional unknown number hold to prevenient grace. Thus, a central tenet of the Traditionalist view, libertarian free will apart from irresistible or prevenient grace, does not appear to be a majority view.

      It looks like Southern Baptists are all over the place, both on and off the grid, and I don’t think any group can claim to hold a majority view.

      Thanks for the interaction. Blessings.

        Jeremy Crowder

        It is correct to use the term Arminian and hold to Eternal Security. Jacobus Arminius didn’t oppose Eternal Security and was neutral on the issue. If I had taken the Lifeway study I would be in the 30% Arminian camp and I hold to prevenient grace. That being said if given the option of Traditionalist as to this statement it also fits me and many other people. The importance is for people to be given the right to define themselves off the Calvinist-Arminian grid which people have that right. This statement has many postive things in it though one article likely could be given strength to be clear to avoid the Semi-P. accusation which is pathethic but sadly a reality. It is pathethic that people claim this document is Semi-P. as those that authored it and signed it have repeatly said it isn’t which should have long ago ended the accusation.

Scott

“There was never a “magic number” of signers in anyone’s mind and there was never any organized campaign to enlist signatories.”

The Statement was available at the Truett-McConnell booth at the Annual Meeting and people could sign the statement at the booth. I saw posts online encouraging people to stop by the booth and sign the statement. That sounds organized to me.

    Brad Reynolds

    Scott
    Fair observation. But a group of individuals getting together at the last minute and saying let’s make this available for anyone here to sign and let’s get the word out it is available is not quite as organized as SB entities promoting a statement from seminary campuses and websites months in advance to the convention. When compared to youth ministers it may look organized (I say that as a former one and I say it in jest) but when compared to the organization of the GCR it was not.

      Tom Fillinger

      Brad,

      In response to your earlier post. Words are symbols. We are all proscribed by our use of words/language. My referring to the Statement as Semi-Pelagian is not more or less the same as others who say that it is not. As I posted to Norm – we never get to the Exegesis side of this process. Please read my post to him for the sake of brevity I will not reproduce that here.

      Appreciate your response.

      In Grace,

        Brad Reynolds

        Tom,
        Those who say it is not Semi-Pelagian have responded to those who have accused that it is. However, the burden of proof was never on us – the burden of proof is on those who accuse it of such. If I say John is a heretic and he says “I am not,” the burden of proof does not lie with John but me.

        Moreover, if you read my response to Chris I SHOW that it is not Semi-Pelagian.

        You have yet to show that the statement is Semi-Pelagian and thus to say it is a heretical statement (ie Semi-Pelagian) without evidence is equivalent to calling us heretics without evidence which of course is minimally unChristlike.

        Ron Hale

        Tom,
        Thanks for the link to your website at IGNITEUS, here is your statement on the sinfulness of man:

        ?We believe that man was created in the image of God; that he fell into sin; that he is born with a sin nature; that he is spiritually dead, separated from God, and totally unable to save himself. (Romans 3:22-23; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-12)

        I would say that many of our Reformed brothers and sisters on this post would have to say that your statement is not very strong or forceful. No words like … original sin, condemned, inherited sin, Adamic-sin, guilt???

        Can you explain?

      Scott

      What happened during the GCR is beside the point in this discussion. This article says that “there was never any organized movement to enlist signatories” when there was a booth at the Convention providing a place for people to sign the statement. People were alerted via social media that they could come to the booth and sign it. A website repeatedly offered people the opportunity to sign it and there was plenty of high-level signatories when the statement first appeared. It seems like there was an organized attempt to enlist signatories and I don’t understand why this article denies that.
      For what it’s worth, I don’t think there is an issue with there being an organized campaign. If you want to advocate for something, advocate for it. Just don’t say that you weren’t organized in the way that you did it.

        Brad Reynolds

        Scott,
        My point was that there are levels of organization. What one person calls no organized effort another might call an organized effort. If by organized effort you mean at the convention a few of people met and decided to find a place and offer others the opportunity to sign, then yes no one denies that. If by organized you mean entity heads of SB getting together and planning a movement then there was no organized effort.

        I think we can all agree that there is no such thing as “no organization” when it comes to asking people to sign something. If you and I asked everyone to sign right here on the this blog that Jesus is Lord many could say “organized effort” because you and I decided to do so. So I think the point was “no official entity or organization or long range planning effort went into this…it was truly grassroots.” However, if that language is offensive, I as one of the signers, want to apologize.

    Lydia

    “The Statement was available at the Truett-McConnell booth at the Annual Meeting and people could sign the statement at the booth. I saw posts online encouraging people to stop by the booth and sign the statement. That sounds organized to me”

    I have been thrilled they have been so open and transparent about the whole thing and willing to take the hits. We have had enough back room decisions, going around messengers and secret locked boxes.

C. M. Sheffield

You say,
“We never assumed we were speaking for all Southern Baptists” and yet the preamble to the statement does give that impression: “The majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism”
“The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself”
“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.”
This statement has endeavoured to represent itself as speaking at least for the “vast majority of Southern Baptists” if not all. So which is it?

Job

Tim Rogers:

The claim that Calvinism – or at least Calvinism in a Baptistic context – is a philosophical system that lacks the inside grasp of scripture is false. And the claim that traditionalism is totally absent philosophical presuppositions and constructs is equally false. Evidence of the former falsehood is the fact that every Southern Baptist Calvinistic belief (as opposed to Presbyterian, Lutheran, Anglican and other Calvinistic/Reformed systems that rely more heavily on covenant theology and paedobaptism) is based on exegesis. Evidence of the latter is the artful devices that traditionalists use to get around the many texts whose literal interpretation is predestinarian.

A good example of this is when Dr. Jerry Vines in his “Theology For Today” systematic theology book advocated redefining the terms “predestined” and “elect” from what those words have always meant, from what they meant when the original texts were translated, and what the original terms that they were translated from have long historically been understood to mean. Vines was advocating eisegesis in order to shoehorn scripture texts into his theological system.

So, enough with the claim that one side is philosophically driven and the other is exegetically driven. It is simply untrue, and is only being made for no good purpose other than the “neither Calvinist or Arminian but Baptist” propaganda slogan. At some point, the traditionalist movement is going to have to rely on positions that can’t be so easily refuted by perusing 400 years of Baptist history and reading the theology books written by your own leaders.

    Tim Rogers

    Job,

    No, you are absolutely incorrect. Calvinists will go straight to Romans 9 and then take the scripture and interpret it completely depending on Calvin, Piper, Sproul, or some other Calvinistic theologian. So, yes it is philosophically driven.

    Also, I did not say the T.S did not use philosophy I said we did not use only Augustinian philosophy.

      Debbie Kaufman

      Tim: That statement might be a great slam but you know that isn’t true. No more than it would be true to say that “Traditionalists” interpret scripture by Finney, Caner, Patterson, and Norris.

        volfan007

        Debbie,

        Calvinism and Arminianism are based a lot on Augustinian philosophy.

        David

Dale Pugh

I’ve ever so slightly dipped my toes in the water of this debate. I came to the discussion only recently, while many of you have been fully invested in this for quite some time. I’ve read, pondered, and contemplated much of what has been said and how it has been said. After weeks of wrangling over all the issues surrounding the TS, I have to say that I would ask, “Where’s the beef?”
What difference does it make that Dr. Know-It-All or Pastor Big Shot or Rev. Small Town signed it? The signatories on the document are affirming their assent to and agreement with the Statement itself. Who signed it is of far less significance than is what it says.
So in asking, “Where’s the beef?”, I’m asking if the Statement itself has really had the same strength and import that earlier confessions, abstracts, or Baptist Faith and Message documents have had. It is attributed to Hankins, so I’m sure it’s being preached in his church and possibly in his region. But beyond that is it really having a significant impact?
Who here is using it as a guiding principle for ministry? Who here finds it to be worthy of use as a teaching tool? How are those of you who support it and may even have signed it actually putting it into your preaching and/or teaching curriculum?
I doubt that anyone is abandoning other confessions in favor of this one. I’m no Calvinist, but I certainly hope that no one has jumped other ships to set sail on this one. I would venture to say that those who signed it had good reasons for doing so, but I wonder if it can be considered a singularly significant contribution to Baptist theology or even to theology as a whole (As my old religious education prof in the mid-80’s said about Saddleback and Rick Warren, “The jury’s still out on that one.” I still chuckle at that. Time has told the tale there, and I’m sure time will tell the tale here). The fact is that this question is answered by what the Statement says, not by who signed it.
So, I ask again, “Where’s the beef?” What difference is the TS making in any practical sense?

    volfan007

    Dale,

    I really like Wendy’s….try the double baconator. That has a lot of beef, and it has bacon on it. It’s a tremendous sandwich. Also, here where I live, we have a restaurant called Wimpy’s. The Wimpy burger is a pound of meat. It’s good, and it has a lot of beef.

    David

      Dale Pugh

      Thanks for the suggestion! And the chuckle! My cholesterol is a tad high, so I guess I should have requested chicken….lol!
      Dale

    Jeremy Crowder

    I expect when Eric Hankins or others write books or studies based on the concepts in the Traditional Statement that me and others will read them and consider teaching it. Right now what we have to my knowledge is blog posts which though well written are hardly teaching material.

T.R.

For the record: Refering to this movement as “Neo-Pelagian” (i.e. a new breed of Pelagianism) is far more accurate than refering to this movement as “Traditional”.

T.R. This is your third post with such an egregious charge sans proof. The previous two have been removed since you attached someone’s name to Pelagianism. While you are absolutely welcome to engage in cordial, sincere, and even robust discussion on this blog, remember, please, that such is a privilege extended to you and others not without restriction.
As moderator of this blog, I would adjure you and anyone else to refrain from such name-calling. If you believe that the TS is as you say, then present the proof. But before doing that, I would suggest that you read Dr. Reynold’s post (July 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm) citing extensive documentation from the 2nd Council of Orange.
I appreciate your enthusiasm, Brother; exercise it judiciously in the Spirit of Christ.

Norm Miller, SBTC moderator

    T.R.

    Where is the evidence that “traditional” in anyway represents this document? It is deceptive.

    T.R.

    @Norm Miller,

    You delete my comments mentioning the word Pelagian. And yet you publish an article and several comments by Tim Guthrie accusing Calvinists of having a different Gospel! You realize, don’t you, that there are countless Calvinists in the SBC? His charge is far worse than the Pelagian charge and yet far less substantiated. So why do you chose to include his outrageous comments? The bias is clear.

      Norm Miller

      T.R. I removed two posts in which you essentially accused someone by name as being s-P. I left your third post using the term, so it’s not entirely accurate to say that your “comments mentioning the word Pelagian” have been removed. The word appears in your posts, now, twice.
      If I recall correctly, Rev. Guthrie didn’t call anyone by name. When pressed in that thread for evidences, he repeatedly refused out of deference, but eventually noted a church that has split over these matters.
      Also, please note that, in my comments within your post, I addressed my concerns to all and not only you.
      Please be patient with me, T.R. I’m not infallible. — Norm

        T.R.

        Thank you for your graciousness, brother Norm. And I”m sorry. I don’t mean to be harsh toward you or with anyone here.

          Norm Miller

          Ur welcome, TR, and thx for your apology. If I offended you, I am sorry, too. — Norm
          “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!” Ps. 133.1

Eric Carpenter

More of the same SBC in-house fighting. When will you all come together to focus all your energies on the Great Commission? That was the reason for the founding of the SBC in the first place.

    volfan007

    Eric,

    How many people did you witness to last week? Also, I cant speak for all Traditionalists, but we didnt want this fight. We just want to give a voice to all the SB’s out there, who are not into Calvinism, to say that there’s a bunch of us out here, who are not Calvinists, too.

    David

Dave

Is it possible that one reason it came down….is that despite much chatter on the blogesphere, great effort at the convention, and I’m sure more than a few “join us” phone calls and emails…the statement that purported to be “the majority view” couldn’t muster but a small fraction of signatories outside of the originals and thier personal recruits?

Not making a statement, just posting a query for consideration.

    Norm Miller

    Dave:
    The reasons the list was removed were stated in the post. One may posit other theories, but the post is complete in its reasons. — Norm

    volfan007

    No, Dave, you are trying to make a point….a point which goes against what the OP states for why it’s being taken down. Are you calling the writers deceptive, or liars?

    David

      Dave

      No, y’all do just fine with the name calling. I leave that to the TSers. ;-)

      Seriously though….based on the number of signers…it begs the question.

      If, in fact, it’s the majority view, shouldn’t there be more signatories?

        volfan007

        DAve,

        Name calling? Have I called you anything?

        800+ signers surprised me. I didnt think we’d have that many sign. And, the ones, who signed the Statement, was amazing to me. A lot of people just dont sign things for a number of reasons. Also, a lot of the people, who do believe like this, are not into blogging. Take my Association for example….I’d bet that only 2% of the Pastors and members of the Churches ever even read a blog, or know that the Statment is even out there.

        I think sometimes, some bloggers think that the whole world reads blogs, and hang on every word written. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

        David

        Brad Reynolds

        Dave
        Are you speaking of the low number of signatures in comparison to the GCR’s number? Seems that document should provide a plumline. Just a question for clarity

Dear SBC Today and "Traditionalists," I Just Don't Get It | Jared Moore

[…] Today announced on July 14, 2012, a few months after they released "A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist […]

Dave

I wonder if these questions will be answered…they seem unite reasonably and humbly posed.

http://jaredmoore.exaltchrist.com/2012/07/15/dear-sbc-today-and-traditionalists-i-just-dont-get-it/

Dave

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