Have You Heard of Connect 316?

November 20, 2014

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Who We Are
We are a ministry fellowship celebrating the Hobbs-Rogers tradition in Southern Baptist life. That’s a fancy way of saying that we believe in the kind of salvation doctrine one might hear at a Billy Graham Crusade. God loves you. He has a wonderful plan for your life. He sincerely wants you to be saved. Jesus died for your sins and the sins of the whole wide world. If you are willing, then you are certainly able to respond to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the gospel. Jesus has already said, “yes” to you. You can say “yes” or “no” to Him.

Connect 316 strives to strike the proper tone as we distinguish ourselves from brothers and sisters in Christ who hold opposing views. Although we disagree on certain issues with our Calvinist friends on the one hand, and our Arminian friends on the other, we truly love, respect and appreciate them as part of God’s family. Our situation can be compared to the arrangement of churches in the small town where I serve. The Baptist Church is located midway between the Methodists and the Presbyterians. Theologically, this is where we find ourselves as well—and we are committed to maintaining this stance, especially as the pressures of New Calvinism inch us ever closer to the Presbyterians.

We do realize our ideas will often clash with the ideas of others—just as certainly as theirs clash with ours. For this, we make no apology, for it is good when Christians share what we believe and engage in discussion. On principle, we resist any suggestion that unity can only be fostered if we will press the mute button, muzzle our conversation or simply go away! No one can justify, under the pretense of fostering unity, any effort to stifle the voices or shame the concerns of the loyal opposition. Such tactics, by their very nature, are disruptive of the sweet unity sought by all people of good will. We believe in making peace through open, honest and transparent conversation.

Be assured our engagement is a family discussion among brothers and sisters in Christ whom we love, respect and appreciate. It is not our desire to drive anyone from the family, but merely to make certain we ourselves continue to have a place setting at the dinner table. We respectfully disagree with the New Calvinist notion that our denomination needs to grow more reformed theologically. During our very best years, in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, Calvinism had little influence in our convention as the Hobbs-Rogers tradition clearly prevailed. During this time, we grew into the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, developed the most extensive seminary system in the world, established the largest religious publishing house on the planet and formed the greatest missionary sending body in history. Southern Baptists do not need to be reformed. We need to be restored.

How We Came to Be
On July 15, 2013, Connect 316 was launched by five original Board Members, each of whom were faithful Southern Baptist ministers. Founding Executive Director Rick Patrick of Alabama was joined by Ron Hale of Tennessee, Eric Hankins of Mississippi, Tim Guthrie of Tennessee and Tim Rogers of North Carolina. Although many theologically driven ministry organizations existed for the support of reformed pastors and theologians, no such network existed to assist Traditionalists in the task of connecting with one another. Connect 316 was formed as an organization rooted in the theology of the Traditional Statement. In the Summer of 2012, after hundreds of Southern Baptists had declared their affirmation of Traditionalist theology, it seemed beneficial to find ways to bring them together in an ongoing manner rather than simply relying on the one-time signing of a single document.

The Traditional Statement itself was launched after a community of Southern Baptist ministers from across America began voicing their mutual concerns by means of social media. By April 13, 2012, this group was talking about a proposed document. Eric Hankins mentioned the idea of a “Statement on Southern Baptist Soteriology” or perhaps the “Houston Statement on SB Soteriology.” Others in the group gladly endorsed the idea. The following day, Adam Harwood wrote, “I nominate Dr. Eric Hankins to begin working on a first draft of this document immediately.” Working from an original document that was provided by the group, Dr. Eric Hankins, the primary author, began crafting the statement. A draft of the Affirmations and Denials section was presented to the group later in the day, with Eric soliciting their input. The authors consulted regularly with Theology professors at several SBC seminaries and colleges.

Once completed, the Traditional Statement was released and soon made history. Southern Baptists have affirmed many confessions through the years, but this one was different. Rather than addressing theology comprehensively, this one focused like a laser on soteriology alone. Rather than coming from some formal convention organization, it came from grassroots Southern Baptists. Within days, hundreds of pastors, professors, denominational leaders and lay leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention registered agreement with its doctrines. These Southern Baptists had spoken clearly to distance themselves from the New Calvinism sweeping through the denomination.

To summarize, Connect 316 is an organization taking its theological cues from a statement stemming from the concerns of a group. The strength of this ministry clearly lies in the mutual commitment of rank and file Southern Baptists to a view of salvation doctrine handed down to us by Mullins and Hobbs and Rogers—one which we now proudly refer to by the name Traditionalism.

For more information please visit www.connect316.net

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Jerry Chatham

Please add me to your list.

    Kyle Gulledge

    Greetings Jerry,

    You can sign the statement here: http://www.connect316.net/sign

    Blessings!

    Jon

      Jerry Chatham

      I can’t sign it at this time. I am on the fence. Being a layman and not a theologian, I understand both points of view. I lean towards Calvinists point a few and would say I was if you pinned me against the wall with a gun in your hand and telling me I had to make a choice.

      My reason for choosing the Calvinists point of view, if forced to make a choice, is because of the apostle Paul. There is no way Paul, on his own, would have become a Christian. God chose him- Paul did not choose to be a Christian.

        Ron F. Hale

        Jerry,
        Read Acts 22 again. He was told this in verse 16 “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord”
        Did Paul choose to call upon the name of the Lord as the Holy Spirit spoke to him through His servant? Did he profess Jesus through Baptism? Yes Paul “became” a believer when he called upon Jesus. Now … he could fulfill what God had in store for him. We see the sovereignty of God and the free will of man at work here. Glory!

          Jerry Chatham

          Ok, but if the HS had not confronted Paul, would he ever on his own want to become a Christian? I don’t think so.The HS initiated the transaction….not Paul .

            Ron F. Hale

            Jerry,
            If the Holy Spirit did not convict us and convince us– no one– could be saved. The Holy Spirit must work in the hearts of everyone who comes to Jesus in faith — even Paul. For without faith, it is impossible to please God.

            Blessings!

            Rick Patrick

            Jerry,

            The Traditional Statement totally agrees with you that the Holy Spirit initiated the transaction…not Paul. In article 2: “we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.” He draws. We respond. That is precisely our view. Also, in article 4: “grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative…” All the initiative is God’s.

            Traditionalists do not deny God’s initiative. We simply affirm man’s responsibility (Response Ability) to say “yes” or “no” to God’s initiated grace.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Ron: Christ himself appeared to Paul. “Paul, Paul why persecutest thou me?” If Christ himself appeared and said those words in Acts 22 along with the words you stated, it would be pretty hard to deny that Christ was real wouldn’t it?

            Ron F. Hale

            Debbie,
            I am not trying to be flippant, but I do not understand your point.

            Blessings!

              Debbie Kaufman

              First I must correct a mistake I made. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me.” Paul/Saul respectfully addressed the heavenly being as Lord. “Who are you Lord?” “I am Jesus Christ who you persecutest.”(If you do it to one of these you do it to me.”). Paul/Saul then knew it was Jesus Christ himself. He was blinded. Paul/Saul never said “I believe you are the Christ.” but he was forever changed.

              If none of this had happened, we would not have many of the books in the Bible Paul wrote. Everything God does is for a specific purpose. In this case the absolute conversion of Paul/Saul.

                Debbie Kaufman

                Do you think it was coincidence that Paul/Saul witnessed Stephen’s death before this and saw how Stephen died(read that account). Paul/Saul was blinded to show his bankrupt spiritual condition. Not as punishment. God does nothing without a purpose.

        Robert

        Jerry,

        Ron made the point already, that Paul must have had faith when he came to Christ for salvation.

        Your line “My reason for choosing the Calvinists point of view, if forced to make a choice, is because of the apostle Paul. There is no way Paul, on his own, would have become a Christian. God chose him- Paul did not choose to be a Christian.”

        Leaves out the importance and role of faith in our being saved. We do not become Christians when we are forced against our wills to believer: we become believers when we freely choose to put out faith in Christ alone to save us.

        It should be noted that Paul wrote both Romans and Galatians where he clearly and well argues that salvation is through faith. Paul knew all about faith being the way as he had lived many years trying to be saved through his keeping of the Jewish law. Only after his Damascus Road experience and being personally instructed by the Lord did he understand that salvation is not through works, and not through being forced against your will to believe, but is through faith, a freely made choice to trust the Lord alone to save you.

        Robert

Frank Eckenroad

But what does Scripture say about how someone is saved is all that needs to be addressed.

    Andy

    Frank,

    It is being addressed, and has been addressed for at least 2,000 years. However, good and pious men and women have disagreed about the details of soteriology for just as long, Sometimes living and ministering the Gospel side-by-side in peace, sometime being at war with one another.

    I’m convinced that the best of these discussions can come when, on the one hand, we admit that these issues can be interpreted differently by good and Godly people, and we join with such people for the sake of the Gospel…such is the history of the SBC, and a uniqueness that sets us apart from Presbyterians and Methodists…..On the other hand, it is also helpful and encouraging for those with similar views to have venues to come together, find encouragement, and further clarify those views and how they affect Gospel ministry. TGC, T4G, and hopefully 316, can be some of those venues.

    For some, the local church fits this second category, where there is agreement on these issues..and that’s fine in many cases. For others like me, there is a broad DISAGREEMENT, but also a unity that is maintained by a common love for Christ and his Gospel, and desire to spread that Gospel to our community.

    I would be interested in hearing you flesh out your thoughts a little bit more…because with such short posts, your clear intent is a little difficult to determine.

    -andy

Max

“The strength of this ministry clearly lies in the mutual commitment of rank and file Southern Baptists to a view of salvation doctrine handed down to us by Mullins and Hobbs and Rogers—one which we now proudly refer to by the name Traditionalism.”

I have the deepest respect for Mullins, Hobbs, and Rogers … their contributions to Southern Baptist belief and practice are immeasurable. My parent’s pastor was Adrian Rogers – I know firsthand the impact he made on their lives and countless others. As a 50+ year Southern Baptist, I identify myself with the message preached by Mullins-Hobbs-Rogers-Graham … their view of God’s plan of salvation agrees with the whole of Scripture which has been deposited in my spirit. I am humbled to be counted as a whosoever in the multitude of whosoever will Believers who have come to the Cross of Christ freely and willingly. However, I believe we need to move past name-dropping to describe the majority of Southern Baptist members. There is only one Name above all names and we need to lift Him up in all that we do. My view of salvation was handed down to me by the Cross of Christ … not the teachings and traditions of mere men. Having said that, I pray that God will raise up a new generation of mere men who will preach Christ and Him crucified for ALL, with no labels attached. When we see holy fire back in the pulpit again, with a pew energized and engaged in the Great Commission, names won’t matter. Why not just be Christians?

Connect316 is a noble effort for such a time as this and I pray that God will bless your work. But, I keep waiting on a Connect714 (2 Chronicles 7:14) outbreak in SBC life which will right this old ship. Now, that’s a movement I can get behind!

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