Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Traditionalist Troublemakers? The Truth

On May 30, 2012, Dr. Eric Hankins introduced what he called "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation" in this post. In response, the dormant Southern Baptist blogging world shook itself awake. Hundreds of Southern Baptists signed the document. I did not. I gave my own reasons here.

In conversations online and offline with people from many segments of SBC life, I've heard so many people say, "This timing isn't an accident. They're going to do something at the convention. These people are up to no good. You know they're planning to take some divisive action against Calvinists at the SBC."

Well, the convention is now halfway over, and we've had a chance to see who's being divisive. The proponents and signatories of the "Traditional Statement" have, to my knowledge, done NOTHING with the statement at this convention. They haven't made motions related to it. They haven't submitted resolutions related to it. They haven't made speeches about it from the convention floor. They haven't hosted after-parties to debate it or discuss it or rally support for it.


That's not to say that the statement hasn't come up. There has been at least one motion AGAINST the statement. It has been mentioned multiple times from the convention platform in philippics decrying division among the brethren. Every side has had its say about the statement—directly or indirectly—except for the people who are actually behind the statement.

I just thought that these facts ought to be entered formally into evidence. Maybe some people owe an apology to Dr. Eric Hankins and a host of other signatories to the statement. They said that they were just putting out a statement to articulate their views. As it turns out, they have been true to their word and will leave New Orleans with their integrity intact.


Anonymous said...

What happened to the motion against it?


Anonymous said...

"I just thought that these facts ought to be entered formally into evidence."

So you are saying you are trying Calvinist leaning christians in the court of public opinion? Is that what the purpose of Traditionalist Baptist statement is?

Bart Barber said...


It has only been introduced. Its disposition has not yet been determined.

Bart Barber said...


I didn't author the statement. I didn't participate at all in its development. I didn't sign it. I posted reasons not to sign it.

What makes you think that I would have some secret knowledge of the purposes behind it?

Here's what I think might befit Christians: Let's hear what the authors and signers have SAID was the purpose behind it, and let's take them at their word unless we have good reason why we cannot.

Calvinists were not the only ones who questioned the intentions of these brothers and sisters. They've been vindicated in the face of many accusers from many quadrants.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that can not be denied of some of the Bloggers and commenters over this issue is many broke the 9th commandment:
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Of course no one will get away free:
Mark 9:42
And whosoever shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it were better for him if a great millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Sorry if I do not see any victors in this. Maybe you can enlighten me Bart.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bart. Though I am not there physically, I have been watching over the net. As I have told many of my friends, this is not some sort of movement to remove Calvinists from the convention. It was only a statement of what we believe. We wanted a voice to be heard.

Robin Foster

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Calvinists will stop breaking the 9th by all these caricutures about "easy believism"

hariette petersen a.k.a. SelahV said...

Bart, thanks for recording this for posterity. :)

As far as what others have said about those who have signed the statement (and I am one), I can only say that "One's perception is often their only reality." Somebody said that somewhere. Maybe Adrian. selahV

Tim G said...

And once again Bart Barber speaks objective truth with clarity and precision!

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

All of us are against bearing false witness. Though it could have happened outside of my hearing, I must confess that I never heard any of that directed at Dr. Hankins. I did hear plenty of genuine concern which seemed appropriate to me given the timing of the release of the statement,the fact that Dr. Hankins was being nominated for a high SBC office and ,most importantly, the genuine theological concerns that many pastors and theologians had with the wording of the statement. Given the results of the election, it seems that many in the SBC shared those concerns. An evaluation of the election and the lack of signatures on the statement seems to indicate that the authors overestimated their position among the SBC rank and file. The overall disposition of te SBC seems to be that the BF&M makes room for Calvinists and non-Calvinists to work together in harmony, and we would rather work toward fulfilling the Great Commission that revisitig old battlefields. I take it as a victory for cooperation and came away from the convention very encouraged about the future.

Chris Roberts said...


I was pleased there was (little) anti-Calvinist action, and was overall quite pleased at the enormous call for unity.

Also, I'm curious - which motion was against the Statement? I don't remember one. I only remember one statement that touched on Calvinism at all, and that was on the study of the history of Calvinism in the SBC. Don't remember any that mentioned the Statement. But I have a bad memory.

As for any motives and intentions and integrity, etc, the suspicions have not yet been alleviated. What would alleviate suspicions are statements like some we heard from the leaders of the SBC: let's disagree, let's agree to get along, let's encourage one another, and as Dr. Patterson said, let's leave the door wide open for Calvinist leaders of SBC entities.

Bart Barber said...

The motion to research the REAL traditional position on soteriology is the one I had in mind.

Anonymous said...

I could never really get worked up about the statement because to me it just seemed like the kind of discussion that ought to go on in religious denominations.

I would have gotten worked up if anyone tried to put the statement into denominational policy, so to speak, but that never happened, nor do I think it will happen.

Great to see you at the convention.