I understand the seriousness of the situation that has made these days decidedly difficult to be a Southern Baptist. i responded to a blogger who poured her heart out over the frustration she is experiencing with all the tension that is presently being felt by many in the SBC with respect to the issue of the influence of Calvinism in the Convention. Here is my response to her, and to all who share her frustration. (In reading over this post, I have made a couple grammatical changes here from the original response.)
Thank you for sharing your heart and your frustrations. Your sentiments are probably shared more than you realize on BOTH sides of the isle, even though they may or may not be so easily visible. The problem as I see it, is not really aimed at individuals as much as it is aimed at ideologies. This is the difficult part to this whole process, at least for me. I believe with all my heart, the majority of folks who are participating in the process have as a primary mindset ministry and reaching people for Jesus and being about the business of bringing glory to God. I think we all get that to one degree or another, especially the more mature ministry minded individuals. However, it is often difficult for many to separate the issues from the personal. That is where I believe most of the problems stem in these kinds of discussions and that is what leads to most of the frustrations for all concerned, as you have rightly expressed.
Now, to the ideology. It would be nice for everyone to “get along and go along together for ministry” after all, that is what I believe has made the SBC great and that is the spirit of cooperation in spite of the theological differences. Calvinists and non-calvinists have worked together for decades and the SBC has moved forward. The problem for me is the Calvinist influence that has now taken over the entities of the SBC and continues to grow by the minute. That is my problem. I do believe the Bible teaches that the gospel is the gospel these guys are clearly proclaiming; I do not believe that God and God alone decides who is and by default who is not saved.
Now, it is entirely possible that we may all be wrong but one thing is absolutely clear, we cannot both be right. So, when it comes to how a lost person passes from death unto life and goes from being lost to being saved, there is a MIGHTY gulf that separates me and the 5-point calvinist. And here is the real caveat in this; the 5-point calvinist is as adamant in his position against mine as I am firm against his and he does not like my position any better than I like his. Some in that group want to return the SBC to what they deem its theological roots; I want the convention to preserve its current state, which is decidedly and overwhelmingly non-calvinist. We all have a right to lead and that is what we are all doing and it is painful and will continue to be so until there is some kind of resolution.
So, what is the correct thing to do? My answer is to be as diligent as I can to stand by what I believe by conviction is what the Bible says about conversion and I believe those on the other side of the issue should and will do the same. I hate what is happening; I hate the conflict. I hate the division but I had nothing to do with the issue overtaking the entities and only wish I had seen it coming sooner.
Thank you all for your continued love for the Lord and the lost and His kingdom!
May God continue to lead and bless the SBC and all of our respective ministries for His glory and the benefit of those we are privileged to impact with the gospel message that Jesus has come to seek and to save the Lost!