Thursday, May 31, 2012

Calvinism Conference Questions, Part 3

This is the third post in this series.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention will host a Calvinism Conference in August. Speakers include David Dockery, Steve Lemke, Frank Page, and Hershael York. It looks FASCINATING to me. Color me intrigued.

Paul Chitwood, KBC's Executive Director, is the mastermind behind this conference. He has agreed to participate in a Q&A session here on my blog regarding this conference. His answers will post sometime next week, probably. In the meantime, before you see his answers, I've decided (with his permission) to post some of the more pertinent and vexing questions and let my readers have at them in advance of Chitwood's reply. I'll stretch this process out among multiple posts.

3. Among the denominations from which Southern Baptists are divided are at least some denominations for which the cause of division is Calvinism (I'm thinking in particular of the Free Will Baptists). One of the five points of Calvinism—Perseverance—has been a part of our Southern Baptist statement of faith for as long as we've had statements of faith. Is Perseverance the most important of the five points of Calvinism? If not, why should we divide over this point of Calvinism but over none of the other four? If Southern Baptists should cooperate despite differences over Calvinism, then should we seek union with Free Will Baptists?


volfan007 said...


In SB life, I believe we'd all agree on "once saved, always saved." But,the difference would be "perseverance" and "preservation;" would it not? I mean, Calvinists would lean more towards perseverance; while SB like me would lean more toward preservation.

What do you think?


PS. My security word here is very interesting and little bit spooky....would you believe that its "yworlys?" lol

B Nettles said...

It's interesting that you would pick up on the perseverance idea. The FMB/IMB has, and still does, cooperate with various European Baptists, mostly in formerly communist countries, who hold that salvation can be lost. They cooperate because they have "Baptist" in their name, and conveniently ignore this doctrinal difference. Thankfully, this is slowly changing. The background for this comes from people in the church recanting Christianity under communist persecution. Those who remained faithful didn't want to say that those who fell away never were believers, so they adopted a Wesleyan (sp?) viewpoint while remaining Baptistic in their church polity.

In response to volfan007, I believe most Calvinists would say that the perseverance is a consequence of the preservation. Perseverance is an outward demonstration to the world, as well as an inward encouragement to the person, that God has wrought a new birth and they will cling to the hope that the author of Hebrews preaches about. I don't accept that it is an either/or situation.


Bart Barber said...

Very interesting information, Bill, about the European Baptists.

Jonathan Melton said...

I agree with David. The truth is in the PRESERVATION of the saints, not in PERSEVERANCE. Perseverance ties is WORKS.

A true Baptist can never cooperate with an Arminian. Yes, thanks for the info on European "Baptists."

volfan007 said...

B Nettles,

I know that perseverance is the other side of the coin of preservation. But, many believe that some Calvinists hold to perseverance to the point that they really cant be 100% sure that they're truly saved, until they see that they've "Made it to the end." That's the way it seems...that's it's almost a belief that, yes, those who are saved, will persevere. But, if you dont persevere, and you might not, then your hope was a false hope. You might live for the Lord for a long time, only to find yourself a castaway later on.

On the other hand, those people, who emphasize preservation, say that if you're sure of your salvation now, then you can know for 100% sure that you're going to Heaven when you die. In other words, our hope is a sure and certain hope....I am saved right now, and I WILL go to Heaven when I die. I know that beyond the shadow of a doubt, because God will finish what He has started in me.

I believe that's the distinction in the emphasis....however small it may seem...