Southern Baptist Leaders Sign a Statement Affirming the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation
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The statement was posted May 31 at SBCToday.com and includes a preamble and 10 articles, along with signatures from two entity presidents (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Paige Patterson and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's Chuck Kelley), five state executive directors (Georgia's Bob White, Florida's John Sullivan, Mississippi's Jim Futral, Louisiana's David Hankins, Alaska's Mike Procter), and in addition to Patterson, five other former SBC presidents (Bailey Smith, Jimmy Draper, Jerry Vines, Morris Chapman and Bobby Welch).
The document was titled, "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation." (Read the entire document at the bottom of this story.)
"For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but 'non-essential' theological matters," the document reads in the preamble. "The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this long-standing arrangement."
The document further asserts that the "vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life."
"We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology," the statement reads. Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation.
Each of the 10 articles includes a statement of what the signers affirm and what they deny. For instance, on the article about the Grace of God, the document says:
"We affirm that grace is God's generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith."
Source: Baptist Press | Michael Foust
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