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From the Southern Baptist Convention, Statement of Faith:

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Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

Is this an Arminian or a Calvinist confession?

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This is Calvinist, regeneration is first in order,offered freely to all,I think this means a gift.

But then I'm not really a learned person to answer this

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It really depends who is interpreting it. SBC does have a Reformed branch called Founder's Ministries, a loose fellowship of pastors, church leaders, and others interested in reforming the SBC (great organization). Most subscribe to The Baptist Faith and Message as interpreted by the Abstract of Principles, and/or The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is reformed for the most part.

On the other hand most SBC churches are Arminian.


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I would disagree that the SBC is for the most part Arminian. The general view in the church is that salvation is a gift, freely offered to all that would recieve it, but that's about as far as it goes. I would even argue that this is less Arminian that most would see it; the vast majority within the church would say those saved were responding to the calling of the Spirit. I think the difference is largely semantics. I still wouldn't call the mainline SBC Calvinist (as I am), but I think to label it Arminian goes too far. The heritage (Second London) is firmly reform, and by and large the mainline church holds to most of Calvin's TULIP.

I think it very hard to apply the term "Arminian" to a church that holds to salvation by faith alone and the eternal security of the believer. It's not as Calvinist as we may like, and certainly many of us feel she's slowly abandoning her heritage in favor of a seeker friendly (quasi-Arminian) agenda (Adrian Rogers, Rick Warren, Jerry Vines), but the core of her heritage does remain, and I cannot bear yet to call the SBC Arminian.

Take it for what it is. I may be biased <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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Except for the fact that people like Adrian Rogers (who has a huge following) have publicly spoke against the doctrines of grace.
Although officially the SBC still holds to the LBCF, much of it in reality stands against it. Yes there are many who still cling to it (1689 LBCF), such as Founders and men like Dr. Albert Mohler. But by and large they have become the minority.
Also, with the latest scandal (see theology forum thread titled: Extremely sad to hear this!!!! Fri Jul 09 2004 06:30) and the fact that the SBC has defended Dr. Mark Seidfrid, I think they have fallen further away from their Reformed roots. This last part of course is based on the latest information that I have heard at www.aomin.org.
One thing that is not known by many is that Dr. Mark Seidfrid has used a well know Reformed Catholic (sorry can’t remember his name, will provide if asked) as someone as a character reference against James White's claims.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Tue Oct 26, 2004 2:51 AM.
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From the responses, it appears that the SBC is an association of churches that agree on a non-fundamental doctrine (mode and age of baptism) and disagree on a fundamental doctrine(justification). There is nothing wrong with that. Religious organizations form for all sorts of reasons. But, let me ask the forum regarding two possible pitfalls.

1. If a confession is intentionally written to give the appearance of unity where there is no unity, is that not a false confession?
2. If an association involves Calvinist congregations in supporting missions, preaching, revival, etc. led by Arminian preachers, are those Calvinist congregations guilty of false teaching?

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I echo much of what Joe and Andy have commented on the SBC and its theology. I have discussed this some with Andy and I have observed the many SBCs who are friends of mine, and here is what I see. The statement is somewhat generic in its intent as it tries to keep all the SBC constituency happy. In a way, the SBC disdains formal systematic theology in its vocabulary. The use of the word, doctrine, makes them run the other way. They have this sense that it is just the Bible, which it is. But, there is nothing wrong in formulating doctrines from the Bible; in fact it is very helpful. Instead of emphasing the teaching of the Bible from an expository approach to understand the text more deeply, they prefer topical teaching. In a way the SBC is a mile wide and only a few feet deep. They believe strongly in soul competency whereby each Christian is capable of understanding what the Holy Spirit is teaching (or something to that affect). For instance, I visited a SBC Sunday School class and the teacher went around the room with everyone answering the questions from a study guide. People in that class answered completely opposite from one another, and the attitude is one of 'oh, that's nice'. Most SBC churches use the denominational study material for SS and other studies, which are geared in going through a topical program, instead of learning Scripture.

There are solid Christians in the SBC who have an excellent understanding of the Bible, but it is easy to get caught up in the programs of the church without experiencing much spiritual growth. In a way the way grace is taught is distorted, in that a lot of emphasis is on legalisms. Which is ironic in that I surmise that they have a weak understanindg of Lordship salvation, but they have no problems seeing some as just being carnal Christians.

Last edited by John_C; Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:59 PM.

John Chaney

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Is the SBC Arminian, Calvinist, or Both?

The answer is, yes! I've heard preachers in the SBC say from the pulpit that we don't need theology, we just "gotta love Jesus," and I've heard some of the most excellent sermons on Eph. 2, or Rom. 8&9 where if you totaled up the points made in the sermon, there were 5 of them everytime (no numbers required, just the letters TULIP)! I went to a small SBC college, and learned in the classroom (Old Testament) that because God gave law against incest, there had to be people on earth besides Adam and Eve, and their children in Genesis, and that Job never happened, it's just an allegory, so on, and so forth. Then on the other side of things, I've heard wonderful things about the classroom experience at Southern Baptist Seminary in Al Mohler's stomping ground. The Baptist Faith and message leaves room for all of this. The difference, it seems, is the approach to writing such a statement. IMHO, the Baptist Faith and Message was written with a view of keeping the church together, whereas the London Baptist Confession, and Westminster Confession, where written for Biblical accuracy. The truth is shown, though, that there is no such thing as a completely Christian institution when it is run by sinful men!
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Glory is but grace perfected!
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Speratus,
Just to help you clear it up the SBC follows congregational government. The SBC is more of a cooperative of churches formed to leverage certain aspects (materials, financial accountability, missions, etc.) and not a governing body. Churches are completely autonomous and have the decision to adhere to different confessions. If your reference to confession is the 1689 LBC, it is a misconception that most recognize it but do not follow it to the letter. Most churches no longer recognize it, rather the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Some even prefer the 1963 BFM, but it is completely up to the local church. Directives passed at convention, unless administrative in nature, are non-binding to the local body and individual church member.

Not saying that I agree with what is happening in the SBC today, just giving a little background on the system. I've actually left the SBC in a one man revolt. (Plus I'm starting to agree with you paedos John_C)

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I've actually left the SBC in a one man revolt. Plus I'm starting to agree with you paedos John_C)

Andy, don't blame me. Although I prefer the paedo view, I have never taken a strong stand in its advocacy. My point has always been that there is just as much evidence in the Bible to support it, and the arguments for the credo position have just as many weaknesses. It is not clear cut as other doctrines. But, I guess some do not see a clear teaching of a doctrine such as justification. However, I would defend my position on justification to the upmost.

Last edited by John_C; Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:38 PM.

John Chaney

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Just giving you a hard time John. I think if you look hard enough you can prove or disprove either side of baptism. I believe that both sides have valid arguments and I do not believe baptism essential to salvation. I do believe grace by faith (alone) in Christ is essential. That's why I cannot remain in a church that cannot stand up against a vocal minority.

Oh, and for everyone else; I don't want to start another baptism argument. If you all want to, have at it, but count me out. John and I are friends and my statements are just a little fun among friends. No intention to take this thread down that road intended.


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