The Southern Baptist Convention has certainly seen a mellowing out of what came to be quite a heated debate once again over Calvinism after the publishing of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” in May 2012. Of course, Dr. Frank Page’s appointment of the Calvinism Advisory Committee the next month in June 2012 and the unifying document they crafted and published in June 2013 called “Truth, Trust, and Testimony in a Time of Tension” (aka, T5) has had a great deal to do with the mellowing out we are now enjoying, or at least I am.
Nevertheless, there are those still in the convention that are really concerned about the “problem of Calvinism.” In fact, I recently overheard a group of men eating breakfast before attending the Tennessee Baptist Convention discussing the issue of Calvinism in the SBC. One of them declared about Calvinism, “Why if I believed that, I’d never go out and share the gospel because it would already be decided who’s going to be saved!” Apparently this man understood SBC Calvinists to believe that people are saved apart from hearing and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ, which tells me that there’s still work to be done in communicating what SBC Calvinists actually believe. I thought to myself and almost chimed in across the aisle, “No, SBC Calvinists believe too that we’ve got to share the gospel if anybody’s going to be saved.” Unfortunately, that fellow had a misunderstanding of what SBC Calvinists believe.