I’ve written a thorough response to the Statement on the Tradition Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation. You can download my full response here.
The most important part of my response, though, is the end. Here’s the bottom line, in my opinion:
How should Calvinistic Southern Baptists respond?
First, we need to repent of arrogance. This does not mean we no longer think we are right. It does not mean that we give up teaching God’s word according to our theological convictions. It does mean that we spend lots of time in prayer, killing the flesh that would have us deal with our brothers and sisters in puffed up, impatient ways.
We must respond in love and humility. Our theology assumes as much, and our Lord demands it. After all, everything we’ve received was given to us by God. Our theological positions do not make us smarter than those who disagree, or more devoted, or more sanctified. We don’t love the Bible more. I know people who hold to all five points and never crack open God’s word. It’s by God’s grace that we are what we are. That truth demands we show love and humility.
We must respond not by drawing theological boundaries of our own, but by reaffirming the sufficiency of the Baptist Faith and Message. The understanding of salvation expressed in that document creates a platform plenty wide and plenty narrow on which Southern Baptists can stand together as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Let’s not answer tribalism with tribalism, but overcome tribalism with gospel unity.
Finally, we must stand on our convictions with joy. I do believe the doctrines of grace. I believe they articulate what the Bible teaches. I believe they maximize the glory of God in salvation. I want others to stand in awe of God’s grace like I do. But we must always remember that these treasured truths are for our great joy! To be bitter, nasty, or spiteful dishonors the gospel. So let’s be courageous, strong, and clear, happy and hopeful with confidence in our God.