Guest / Limited Access /
As Baptists Prepare to Meet, Calvinism Debate Shifts to Heresy Accusation
As Baptists Prepare to Meet, Calvinism Debate Shifts to Heresy Accusation

A statement by a non-Calvinist faction of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has launched infighting within the nation's largest Protestant denomination, and tensions are expected to escalate Tuesday as church leaders descend on New Orleans.

While the election of the denomination's first African American president in its 167-year history will dominate the meeting's headlines, water-cooler talk is sure to be fixated on a theological dirty word that, for the past two weeks, has spiked the blood pressure of theologians as much as it has Baptist visits to Wikipedia.

The May 30 document, "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation," aims "to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation." But both Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler and George W. Truett Theological Seminary professor Roger Olson, in separate blog posts, said that parts of the document sound like semi-Pelagianism, a traditionally heretical understanding of Christian salvation.

One sliver of the document's second article particularly drew their ire. It reads, "We deny that Adam's sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person's free will."

Even though the two scholars represent opposite ends of the evangelical spectrum on salvation, both made essentially the same allegation: the wording seems, at best, theologically careless and, at worst, represents a heretical understanding of sin, human nature, and the human will.

"This is what many laypeople believe that they shouldn't, and pastors and theologians should be correcting," Olson said. "My surprise is that the framers of this statement didn't immediately go back and rewrite it because it is so obviously ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWhen God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
Subscriber Access Only
When God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
The patience of the Lord can be a heavy burden.
RecommendedChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
TrendingTrump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Trump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s ERLC.
Editor's PickUrban Mix-and-Match Religion Didn't Start with Nick Cannon
Urban Mix-and-Match Religion Didn't Start with Nick Cannon
Why this 'new spirituality' is really just old-fashioned syncretism.
Christianity Today
As Baptists Prepare to Meet, Calvinism Debate Shifts to Heresy ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.