Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has released a statement concerning the movement of a group of Southern Baptist Pastors. On May 31, 2012 a statement entitled, “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” was released to the public. This statement was formed by a group of pastors that were concerned the majority of Southern Baptists were not represented well with the term “non-Calvinist”. We desired to positively express our position and begin a convention-wide conversation where our viewpoint would be listened to and affirmed. As Dr. Eric Hankins said to me in one specific conversation; “if we find out that it is only you and me then we step back acknowledging we are wrong and begging the forgiveness of the convention.” We desire to have a conversation and see this conversation produce amenable ends that will move forward the Great Commission.
A few observations concerning Dr. Mohler’s statement seem to be in order at this time. First, Dr. Mohler’s words certainly are music to my ears. For many years we were told there was nothing to talk about because the BF&M says all we need to say on this issue. Dr. Mohler even states as much in his response when he says;
“This means that every single Southern Baptist should be ready to work gladly with every other Southern Baptist who stands within the Baptist Faith & Message.”
It is this type of response that we are used to. However, Dr. Mohler goes further than just hinging everything on the BF&M. He acknowledges our concerns and even affirms our position in expressing these concerns.
Second, Dr. Mohler appears to desire a sit down. But, whom does he desire to sit down and discuss the differences? Dr. Patterson? Dr. Moore? Dr. Akin? This is a group of Pastors that began this movement. If Dr. Mohler truly desires to sit down and discuss this issue, it needs to take place, at the least, with the pastors whose names are on the document.
Third, Dr. Mohler is very affirmative in his acknowledgment of the rights we posses as individual Baptists to place our convictions on paper. Thank you Dr. Mohler because we have seen statements from others questioning our motives in placing this before the convention. You have not questioned our motives and for that I do thank you.
As to my position on Dr. Mohler’s statement, I would affirm him in a positive way. He truly seems to try and acknowledge our position. However, it is that very issue that brings a halt in my spirit in his assessment. I hesitate to heap too many accolades on his statement for three reasons.
First his warning against “theological tribalism”. Read more