Dave Black links to an article regarding the recent statement on the traditional Southern Baptist understanding of the doctrine of salvation. Craig Benno comments further. You may well wonder what a United Methodist is doing commenting on this particular issue. Is it any of my concern whether Southern Baptists accept Calvinism or not, or which view is more traditional?
No, not at all. What’s interesting to me is the process of looking at “distinctives” and essentials (and you must read at least the first article to understand what I mean here), and distinguishing them. Dr. David Allen lists a number of items on which Southern Baptists can agree generally, but then explicitly places the Calvinist/Traditionalist split outside those boundaries, and thus a topic on which Southern Baptists can disagree.
Many of us might disagree on these items. I’d see the distinction between Calvinism and other views of salvation as much more important than the distinction between inerrancy and other views of biblical inspiration. But, again, I’m not a Southern Baptist. But making these things explicit is a healthy process, I believe. Knowing what we consider essential is important.
The United Methodist Church can often tend much too far the other way. It’s hard to tell precisely what it means to be a United Methodist. Certainly we have statements of belief, but there is really no expectation in most churches that the members actually believe any portion of those statements. Of course, the idea of “essentials” is not itself an essential, at least as I see it.
I actually wrote all this mostly to link back to some previous posts I wrote on this topic:
I’d say the first of these is the most important statement of my views.