On 30 May 2012 SBC Today published An Introduction to “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”(here) that was sent to leaders in the SBC soliciting signatures. It’s an interesting document to say the least, and was responded to by Arminian scholar Roger Olson (here), and Tom Ascol Founders Ministries (here), among others. Dr. Olson’s single article expressed concerns with the Statement from a classical Arminian perspective while the Founders Ministry series of articles expressed, in detail, concerns from the perspective of leaders in the SBC who hold to Reformed theology. Both responses, from different perspectives, expressed identical concerns about the Statement.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention Calvinism Conference (here) was held in August of 2012. Both audio and video for that conference can be accessed from the link provided above. I have listened to the entire conference and did not hear a reference to the SBC Today Statement, nor do I know at this time who signed the Statement.
Suffice it to say that the issue of Calvinism in the SBC has been an issue of note for several years at least, and will continue to be an issue. Exactly how ‘hot’ an issue remains to be seen. The ‘temperature’ seems to vary depending on who is delivering the ‘weather report’. There are Southern Baptists who desire unity with respect for differing positions, and those who remain adamant in their respective positions.
I’m not going to express my personal opinion about all this. It’s not important to the discussion. Others have done a lot of research and commenting already, some of whom are represented in the links below. A special thank you to my friend Ed, who expressed his opinion quite clearly on this blog and prompted me to a bit more research.
Other sources of interest:
The truth is, most SB’s are so theologically and biblically ignorant they don’t know what they are. They just know they don’t like what those wretched Calvinists believe and teach. Most of them don’t even understand that the Baptist Faith and Message, although weak as water, presents what is essentially a Calvinistic view of salvation. If one’s goal is to build big churches as opposed to biblically sound churches, it is almost inevitable that sound doctrine will take a back seat. O thought Olsen’s observations were right on the money. Most Southern Baptists are Semi-pelagians at best.
I am inclined to agree with you. The ‘we don’t want either label’ attitude I found in some of the material smacked a bit of wanting to ‘ride the fence’ rather than take a stand. At any rate, it was a good exercise for me to do some research. If the issue comes up I can at least talk about it intelligently. As usual, thanks for stopping by!
I’m saddened to see how some have made Calvinism to be some kind of Boogeyman in SBC circles
I think the bottom line ends up back at the state of the human will after the fall and the inherent ability/inability of fallen men. That of course goes to the topic of original sin, and human depravity. Are we sinners because we sin, or do we sin because we are born sinners? If we believe we are born completely innocent, it stands to reason that something that refutes that (Reformed theology) would become a sort of Boogeyman.
Ed, I did read your last two comments from about 7:00 AM my time this morning and will not approve them. As muh as I wouldn’t really mind approving them so you could once again embarass yourselves in front of thinking adults, it would not be very Christian of me to do so for that reason. that would be my sinful self, and I need to instead be praying tht one day we might be able to discuss things in an intelligent and civil manner.