Southern Baptists Divided Over Calvinism; Debate ‘Salvation’ Document – by Lillian Kwon

While there are and have been Calvinists in the SBC, the statement points out that the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism and even the few who do tend to modify its teachings.

 

 

Hundreds of Southern Baptists have signed a statement that rejects Calvinist views on the doctrine of salvation and outlines the “traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.”

 

The statement – which denies that God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation, among other beliefs – has stirred wide debate within the Southern Baptist Convention with some affirming it fully and others arguing that it is causing an unnecessary division.

 

“Why are we headed down the broken road of schism over Calvinism today?” asked Josh Buice, pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Ga.

 

“Have we forgotten our history as Southern Baptists where we had Calvinists such as Lottie Moon, James P. Boyce, John L. Dagg, A.T. Robertson, John A. Broadus, and many others who served in our convention along with those who were less Calvinistic (Reformed) in their doctrine? They didn’t fight over it, throw mud, and pull out the heresy sword to use on one another.”

 

“Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” was authored by Pastor Eric Hankins and several other Baptist leaders who expressed concern over the increasing role and influence of the “New Calvinism” – characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints) – within the denomination.

 

While there are and have been Calvinists in the SBC, the statement points out that the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism and even the few who do tend to modify its teachings.

 

The majority of members, it adds, have also “fellowshipped happily” with its Calvinist brethren, as most Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard.

 

“We would be fine if this consensus continued,” the statement says, “but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this long-standing arrangement.”

 

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