Southern Baptist Calvinism Debate: We Have the Resources You Need

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.  It’s fair to say that  the SBC’s theological discussions have a ripple effect throughout the greater evangelical world.

Back in May, a contingent of SBC leaders signed a statement intended to realign the denomination with the “traditional Southern Baptist” view of salvation and move away from a perceived trend towards Calvinism. You can read A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation on SBCToday.com.

While the statement has generated a lot of support, there has been pointed criticism as well. Critiques have included challenges against the proposed traditional Baptist view of salvation, suggestions of poor exegesis, and even claims of semi-pelagianism (a soteriological teaching suggesting that although humanity is tainted by sin, we still have the ability to cooperate with God’s grace of our own volition).

A Google search for A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation returns over 30,000 hits full of discussion and opinion from all over the theological spectrum. These include thoughtful analyses from leaders like Albert Mohler and academics like Roger E. Olson. The discussion is deep and complex.

Logos has the books you need to clarify and deepen your understanding of Baptist history. Research Calvinist and Arminian theology and draw your own conclusions regarding the traditional Baptist understanding of  salvation—head to our Baptist history page to see our discounted Baptist resources and to get the coupon codes!

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With more than 25,000 resources, Logos has the titles you need for cutting-edge theological research. Check out our amazing collection of Baptist resources today!

Comments

  1. Tom Franseen says:

    Michael, what is ‘free’ about “as they come most freely, being MADE willing by His grace?” (sure… anyone can come ‘freely’ if they are made at gunpoint) That statement is an oxymoron. God designed the plan of salvation in total sovereignty – as part of that plan, He over and over stated that men must repent and ‘turn’ to Christ. That ‘act’ of repentance no more ‘cooperates’ with the Holy Spirit in the ‘work’ of salvation than a person does who receives a free gift from me by reaching out and taking it. God still gets all the glory…

    I think all Christians would do well to realize that Calvin, Luther, and other Reformers were just men, such as you and I are. They should never have been put on a pedestal in the first place (Paul would roll over in his grave :)). Calvin was a bright and intelligent person and that clouds the issue as well. While he wrote some profound things, I would never want to incur his wrath nor would I want to live in his ‘Geneva’ where his theology was fleshed out!

    • mark a. fischer says:

      Amen & amen Tom, “the Pope of Geneva”!!!!!!!! Also have you all ever read Geisler’s “Chosen But Free,” excellent book.

    • Mike Gregg says:

      Tom,

      The historic doctrine of predestination is that God predestines what man freely chooses. But to say that man is free is not to say that he is autonomous. He is not in a tug-of-war match with his creator. Yet our freedom is not just an illusion or apparent “freedom” either, it is real. This is not a logical contradiction, but it is the way of an infinite God who is “unsearchable” to finite creatures. The 20th Century theologian/philosopher Cornelius Van Til called this the “full bucket difficulty.”

      http://reformedperspectives.org/articles/joh_frame/PT.Frame.VanTil.Glossary.pdf

      The bible teaches many doctrines that are apparently contradictory to us (though they are not): God is both three and one, Jesus is both fully God and fully man, God exists both in and outside of time, etc.

      As some further supportive evidence that this is the historic view, consider some more examples from the Westminster Confession:

      Chapter 3:1, Of God’s Eternal Decree: God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

      Chapter 5:2, Of Providence: Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

      By the way, I am Presbyterian, hence the quoting of the WCF, though these doctrines are also expressed in the London Baptist Confession, and I believe they are, of course, thoroughly biblical.

      Regards,

      Mike G

  2. Slick Douglass says:

    Is it possible that “regeneration” is the manifestation of “predestination” in one’s life and that those who are regenerated now have the choice to accept/reject Jesus’ offer of salvation? Further, they must persevere to the end (cooperate with the Holy Spirit) and not apostacizes in order to achieve glorification?