Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Required reading for the Calvinist and Traditionalist tribes

This is courtesy of Bryant Wright. This is from the Baptist Press convention blog:

"My concern is that we can have Christ-centered, Bible believing Christians so engaged in trying to correct one another's view when it comes to election, that the next thing you know the devil is standing over to the side, because we have taken our focus off of what Christ tells us our clear mission is, and that is the Great Commission. And [the devil] is going to be laughing and he is going to be mocking and he is going to be rejoicing that we're no longer interested in rescuing the captives that God calls us to rescue with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

"Let us understand that these two views on election and salvation can co-exist as long as we stay Christ-centered and biblically based in our theology."

Wright delivered "a word" to each group.

"To our Calvinist friends: A bit of humility would be most welcome. Any time there is pride, whether it is spiritual pride or intellectual pride or theological pride, it is always a sin. And we need to recognize that an attitude of superiority with those who may disagree over the finer aspects of theological belief is never going to build up the church of Jesus Christ."

After several centuries of debate, the issue is not going to be resolved in the first few years of the 21st century, Wright said.

"To those who call themselves traditional Southern Baptists: The time for judgmentalism is over, because judgmentalism quickly moves into slander. And to lump all those who have a strong, solid, biblically based theology that is a more Calvinist theology" with hyper-Calvinists "is not only misguided but it winds up causing you to break the Ninth Commandment on false witness.

"It is time to show some respect for those of differing views when it comes to election and when it comes to salvation."

Wright referenced the 2006 dialogue between R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Paige Patterson on the subject of Calvinism.

"That is the spirit that we need today."

"If we pride ourselves more on being a traditional Southern Baptist or more on being a Calvinist or a Reformed theologian, more than we are thankful that we are Christ-centered and biblically based ... then it is time to repent of theological idolatry. Our calling is to be centered on Christ and grounded in the Word while agreeing to disagree on the finer points of theological issues, may we all agree that Christ ... has given us a very clear message and mission for the church."
Wright has for years had radio spots in the Atlanta area where he offers brief, concise, pithy messages aimed at secular topics from a spiritual perspective.

This excerpt from his convention address looks like one of these spots aimed at his fellow Southern Baptists. I like it.

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