A former SBC president says “a new kind of Calvinism” is causing division in the Southern Baptist Convention, and the time has come to talk about it.
By Bob Allen
A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention called the rising influence of Calvinism “the elephant in the room” that must be addressed in order to preserve unity in the nation’s second-largest religious body.
Jerry Vines, the retired long-time pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and SBC president in 1989-1990, wrote in a blog June 6 that he has long enjoyed fellowship with Calvinists including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler, regarded a leader in the rising theological movement described with terms like the “New Calvinism” and “Young, Restless and Reformed.”
But Vines said he is now concerned about “a new kind of Calvinism among us.”
“[T]here are some, not all, new Calvinists who are hostile, militant and aggressive,” Vines said. “This kind of Calvinism is troubling our churches, hindering evangelism and missions and disrupting the fellowship of our convention. I would hope that men of good will, whether Calvinist or not Calvinist, would repudiate that kind of Calvinism.”
Vines is one of six former SBC presidents who signed a statement posted May 31 on the SBC Today group blog affirming a “traditional Southern Baptist understanding of God’s plan of salvation.”
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