Friday, August 17, 2012

Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention

Dr. Frank S. Page has named an advisory group to help the SBC navigate the issues surrounding Calvinism. I know many of the fine people he has appointed to the team. His goal is for these folks to "help him craft a strategic plan to bring together various groups within the convention who hold different opinions on the issue of Calvinism" and then to "develop a strategy whereby people of various theological persuasions can purposely work together in missions and evangelism." This is most welcome, IMHO.

I hope that some of the State-level SBC officials and others who have been attempting to wage an exclusionary campaign against Calvinism in the SBC will re-think their activities in light of what Dr. Page is so graciously doing here. Dr. Page is in print critiquing Calvinism but he also understands that some of the best and brightest (and a significant proportion of the younger generation) of the SBC are Calvinists, and that they are in complete accord with the historic Baptist tradition and the Baptist Faith and Message, and that they are aggressively committed to the Great Commission, evangelism, missions and church planting.

As a Bible-believing Presbyterian (PCA), I am so thankful for the SBC. Of course I love that many SBC Baptists have rediscovered their historic Calvinist roots, but I value the SBC for profound reasons other than that. I rejoice in the SBC commitment to inerrancy. I treasure the SBC's fidelity to the Gospel. I admire the SBC's focus on the Great Commission. I revel in the SBC's warm embrace of complementarianism. SBC Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike embrace these theological priorities. I revere Dr. Paige Patterson and love Dr. Albert Mohler too. I respect Dr. Malcolm Yarnell and Dr. Russell Moore. I appreciate Dr. Chuck Kelley and Dr. Danny Akin as well. I esteem Dr. Mark Dever and Dr. Johnny Hunt. And I could go on.

Friends, the SBC is hugely important to the rest of evangelicalism, and the vitality, unity and theological fidelity of the SBC is strategic for the well-being of robust Gospel witness here in the increasingly pagan Western world. I count you as a friend and ally, brethren of the SBC. Even if you think me to be suspect and dangerous because of my Calvinism and Presbyterianism (and, tell it not in Gath, my paedo-baptist convictions!), I love you still. And I pray for you. And I want you to prosper. And I thank God for you at every remembrance.


Wesley said...

I have not really understood why the SBC (vast sections anyways) have been so hostile towards Reformed soteriology. I'm not saying you have to be Reformed in your understanding of the Bible to be saved, but it makes no sense to have this division amoung brothers and sisters in Christ ala. Spurgeon's quote about Calvinists and Arminians and not needing to "reconcile friends."

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Steve Finnell said...


The proponents of "FAITH ONLY" salvation like to present the paralytic as an example of one who had his sins forgiven without being baptized in water. Their position is, since Jesus forgave the paralytic without being immersed in water; so then, baptism is not essential, for those living today, in order to have sins forgiven.

PARALYTIC SALVATION: Luke 5:18-20 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and set him him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus . 20 Seeing their faith , He said , "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

PARALYTIC SALVATION: Jesus forgave his sin because of the faith of friends.

Can men today be saved like the paralytic? No, they cannot!

The paralytic was saved without FAITH.
The paralytic was saved without REPENTANCE.
The paralytic was saved without CONFESSING Jesus as the Son of God.
The paralytic was saved without being BAPTIZED.
The paralytic was saved without BELIEVING that God raised Jesus from the dead.
The paralytic was saved without CONFESSING Jesus as Lord and Christ.


The paralytic was saved before the New Covenant was in force. Jesus had to die before the New Covenant was available.

Men today have to meet the terms of the New Agreement, that is the New Covenant.

NEW COVENANT: Hebrews 9:15-17 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For were a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who lives made it.

The apostle Peter told all men how to be saved under the New Covenant. (Acts 2:22-41) A.D. 33 The Day of Pentecost.

New Covenant terms of pardon.
FAITH: John 3:16
REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Luke 24:47
CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37
BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 22:16, Colossians 2:12-13, Titus 3:5, John 3:5, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3-7

Was the paralytic saved? Yes, so was the thief on the cross, Enoch, Abraham, and many others before the New Covenant was in force, however, it was the blood of Jesus that washed away the sins of those who died under the Old Covenant.


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