Posts Tagged ‘SBC’

Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability

March 14, 2017 2 comments

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the second post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Andrew Fuller’s belief in the duty of all moral agents has led some to think that he, therefore, rejected the historic Calvinist doctrine of the bondage of the will. This betrays a regrettable misunderstanding not only of Fuller but of the historic Calvinistic doctrine and is at the root of many bypasses in the discussion between these hopefully fraternal parties in Southern Baptist life. In his confession of faith presented at his installment at Kettering, Fuller reflected on Adam’s fall as that covenant relationship in which we fell, and “became liable to condemnation and death, and what is more, are all born into the world with a vile propensity to sin against God.” Affirming this as the teaching of Romans 5, Fuller further explained….




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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, 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)

Jesus is the Answer: Joel Osteen

by Tom Nettles

“A Tattered Vestige of a Formerly Robust Faith”

Recently I found an evangelistic appeal that closed a book by a well-known American pulpiteer. He always, according to his nomenclature, wants to “provide the audience an opportunity to make Jesus the Lord of their lives,” and, as in his spoken medium, suggested the need of his reader and a prayer as a fitting response to his message.

“Are you at peace with God? A void exists in every person’s heart that only God can fill. I’m not talking about joining a church or finding religion. I’m talking about finding life and peace and happiness.” Having established the need….




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Partial Recoveries Encourage Relapses

by Tom Nettles

I have tried to establish a narrative illustrating the factors that have altered American evangelicalism in the last two centuries and the way in which Baptists in the South experienced the change. The purpose of this series has been to give an interpretive background to the differences of doctrinal perception presently experienced between Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention.

We began with the conversion of Ann and Adoniram Judson to Baptist views. We viewed their commitment to truth, to the doctrines of grace, and to the glory of the triune God as expressive of evangelical commitments in general and Baptist ideals in particular in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. These views, given fullest confessional expression in the Charleston Association Confession of Faith, were shared by most writers, teachers, and preachers among Southern Baptists until the waning of the nineteenth century and the dawning of the twentieth.




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“Traditional” Baptists Under the Microscope of History

Founders Journal 89 · Summer 2012 · pp. 7–33

“Traditional” Baptists Under the Microscope of History

Tom Nettles

The following is an expanded version of an address delivered at the Founders Fellowship Breakfast on June 19, 2012 at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, LA.

Recently, a group of anti-Calvinist Baptists claimed that they have exclusive rights to the term “Traditional Baptist.” Calvinists, therefore, should resign themselves to the status of a distinct minority among Southern Baptists and be willing to receive the grace of mere toleration. With that they should be happy, and be content to expect little else. Perhaps a bit of historical perspective can serve to amend this strange perception.

A Doctrinal Profile of Baptist Identity

When Baptists emerged out of seventeenth-century English Separatism, they already were identified with several specific marks inherited from the Reformation. The Theological Orthodoxy of the early church, received by the Reformers, they claimed as their own. Like their fellows Protestants, they revolted from the sacerdotalism that dominated Roman Catholic soteriology and developed a more highly purified evangelicalism than even their Protestant brothers. The confessional stewardship that had thrived in early Christianity and that was renewed in sixteenth-century Protestantism became an important and strategic part of Baptist witness. Confessions operated at three levels for Baptists, as indicated by a confession adopted by the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Louisiana. First a confession….




Read the entire article here or download the journal here.

Keep a Close Watch . . . On the Teaching: Tom Nettles Responds to Trevin Wax’s Post

By Tom Nettles

I think there has been a misunderstanding. Trevin Wax is concerned that I am writing off my non-Calvinist brethren as “on the same plane of theological degeneracy as man-centered liberals.” He then compares that to the non-Calvinist argument that all Calvinists have the seeds of hyper-Calvinism ready to blossom in their breast. Both types of argumentation are then chastised. Wax gives advice that we recognize how good for each other we actually are. Perhaps in another post, in a different context, I would argue exactly what he presents me as arguing here – that Arminianism and other types of non-Calvinism do harbor a philosophical stance that more easily invites a humanistic/naturalistic approach to religious studies, biblical studies, and doctrinal development.

That was not this post, however. His concerns about any purpose to “chase out brothers and sisters who are not of the same theological persuasion,” I would suppose, are more aimed at the non-Calvinist than the Calvinist. They certainly have more experience at that in the Southern Baptist context than do the Calvinists and exercised that option, in my opinion, in confessionally sound ways during the decades of the Conservative Resurgence. Even now, unless we want another situation of sign but don’t believe culture on our hands, by-laws at Southern Baptist institutions require certain confessional commitments; to ignore these would be a failure of stewardship before God and Southern Baptists. J. P. Boyce’s discussion of the three-fold level of confessional knowledge and responsibility that he proposed in his Three Changes in Theological Institutions has genuine relevance on this issue.




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A Response to Trevin Wax: Does Moving Away from Calvinism Necessarily Lead to Liberalism?

by Guest Blogger

[The following is a guest post by Jared Longshore. Jared is a pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL, a PhD candidate at SBTS, and blogger at]

***I sent this to Trevin before posting, and he in turn has sent me a very thoughtful and brotherly response. Trevin’s response has helped me to express myself more clearly and refine my critique of his post. May such a spirit continue to mark our conversations about these things in the SBC.

I thank God for the work of Trevin Wax on the Gospel Coalition blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading his posts and will continue to do so. I believe his recent post, “Does Moving Away From Calvinism Necessarily Lead to Liberalism?” in which he questions Dr. Tom Nettles’ post “Here’s The Point: Calvinists and Non-Calvinists in the SBC” provides an opportunity to consider the place of theological dialogue in our cooperative mission. I stand in whole-hearted agreement with Trevin when he says his aim is “strengthening our ties of cooperation for mission.” But I think there are certain principles in his response that, if adopted, might stunt both our theological growth and cooperation for mission. Since Trevin has offered his thoughts, I offer my own in four principles that I believe he has overlooked in his response to Nettles. These principles are, I think, essential to strengthening Southern Baptist ties for ministry and missions.




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