Home > Free Book > Free Ebook- Traditional Theology and the SBC: An Interaction with, and Response to, the Traditionalist Statement of God’s Plan of Salvation

Free Ebook- Traditional Theology and the SBC: An Interaction with, and Response to, the Traditionalist Statement of God’s Plan of Salvation

by Tom Ascol

Introductory Remarks

On May 30, 2012 I had a document emailed to me (from two different people) that was sent out to what looked to be a list of all the executive directors of state conventions in the Southern Baptist Convention. The title of the document is “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” (TS). One of the pastors who sent it to me prevailed on me to review and respond to the document.

After reading the document carefully I quickly came to two conclusions. First, I realized that it is a serious doctrinal statement and therefore worthy of serious evaluation. I determined to give time to studying its affirmations and denials in light of the authors claims of being both biblical and representative of the “traditional” Southern Baptist view of salvation. The second conclusion I reached is that this TS, more than anything else that I have seen written on the differences that characterize many Southern Baptists on the doctrines of grace, has the potential seriously to disrupt the fragile unity that exists in the SBC. The Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) that has been led by Southern Baptist statesmen like Johnny Hunt, Danny Akin and Thom Rainer has encouraged SBC churches to unite and rally around our common commitment to make Jesus Christ known throughout the world. Though at times tentative, and not being without its dissidents and detractors, the GCR has helped foster genuine cooperation around the gospel. My fear is that the TS will be used to revive old suspicions and misrepresentations that too often have characterized past debates over the doctrines of grace.

The list of original signers included Jerry Vines, Jimmy Draper, Paige Patterson, Malcolm Yarnell, David Allen, Eric Hankins, Emir Caner, Adam Harwood and David Hankins—men highly esteemed by Southern Baptists as pastors, SBC presidents, seminary and college administrators and professors. Since its publication, the TS has, to date, garnered over six hundred signatures, including the presidents of two of the six Southern Baptist seminaries (along with several of their faculty members). Though this number represents only .0000375 percent of all Southern Baptists, it is nevertheless significant because of the prominence and influence of many of the signers.

I have no interest in participating in any unnecessary quarrels with my fellow Southern Baptists. Neither do I care about denominational politics. But I do care about truth and especially the purity of the gospel. It is out of this latter concern, and with deep respect for many of the signers of the document that I have responded. Many of the issues that they raise are of vital importance. It is time for Southern Baptists to address them plainly and thoughtfully. It is my hope that the chapters in this booklet (which originally appeared as blog posts at the Founders Blog, http://www.blog.founders.org) will help serve that purpose.

Please join me in praying that the inevitable theological conversation results from the TS will not degenerate into personal attacks or be carried out in a way that dishonors our Lord. Rather, may He grant us humility born of submission to His Word that will enable all who engage to speak the truth in love. And may He in that process be pleased to grant us genuine spiritual and theological renewal that will empower us to preach the gospel and live out of the power of its resources with such joy and zeal that we cannot help but spend and be spent to make Christ known to the nations.

Download the ebook here. (Pdf)

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