The Wolves aren’t the Calvinists

Since last year’s debacle, I’ve taken some time off of writing and thinking about the issue within the Southern Baptist Convention to which the Economist’s recent article brings attention: are Reformed Baptists even allowed in the SBC?  Sounds funny to put it that way, but it’s true. Many Southern Baptists believe that the doctrines of grace have no place in our denomination.

Puritan John Bunyan, the founders of the Southern Baptist Seminary, and the Founders movement would disagree.  All are Baptist Calvinists.

Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says that Reformed believers have never had a place as Baptists.  He tells The Economist, “That is demonstrably false.”

From that point of view, Land “says Calvinist seminary graduates keep their beliefs below the radar when they’re out applying for work, only to uncover them once safe in a job.”  

There’s the problem.  Land is already labeling Calvinists – believers in the same Lord Jesus, holders of same doctrines of Trinity, Christology, sin, salvation, church, mission, baptism, etc. – as aliens to Baptist life.  It’s namecalling cloaked in traditionalism.  

Land is saying that Calvinists are wolves in sheep’s clothing when they come into Baptist churches.  He’s wrong, and he only typifies what many churches believe.  It leads to questions like one church leader asked me last year: “How many of the five points do you believe?”  

Let us note how quickly this kind of gossipy troublemaking leads to flogging the sheep.  Pastors flee, members exit, and whole churches divide because people believe the lie that the doctrines of grace have no place in the SBC.  We ought to watch our words more carefully, dealing with the issues instead of the ad hominem.

(HT: Justin Taylor and Matt Brown)

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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