An Important Post from Bart Barber: A Statement of Southern Baptist Soteriological Unity

by Dave Miller on February 15, 2013 · 34 comments

Bart Barber has published a post, “A Statement of Southern Baptist Soteriological Unity.” It contains, if my count is correct, 33 affirmations, acknowledgements and denials concerning how Southern Baptists can find common ground in the Soteriological wars. I only have one problem with the document:

I wish I’d written it. 

Go, read Bart’s statement and think about it. Do we not all agree on these issues? Can we not unite around these things.

Is there anyone within the SBC who cannot affirm that document? Doesn’t it show that we have MUCH more in common than we do in distinction, even in our Calvinist/Non-Calvinist/Traditionalist divides?

1 Bill Mac February 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I suspect there are some Cals who won’t affirm everything but I certainly can.

2 Dave Miller February 15, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I think it would be interesting to see who, on either side, would not or could not affirm this.

3 John K February 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

I think there are a couple points that need clarity that you might expect considering it was put together in 30 min. If only my brain could put something like this out that quick. Heck I wish I could type that fast.

4 Dave Miller February 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Yeah, that was pretty impressive, wasn’t it?

It would take me hours to put something like that together.

5 Jess Alford February 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I’m on board with this statement 100%. I love it. Not one thing liberal about it. Where do I sign?

6 Jess Alford February 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I would not change one thing in the document.

7 Dale Pugh February 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Just the fact that Bart would have the courage to post something like this off the top of his head is truly impressive. I’d like to have the ability to put something together like that after about a week’s worth of thought, much less a half an hour.
(If this becomes a movement, could we please have four points so that we could call it the Barber-shop Quartet?)

8 Dave Miller February 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I hope Bart reads that.

9 Dale Pugh February 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

It could be SATB.
Now we just have to come up with the corresponding words for the four points.
Sorry, but I just have to put this in here:

10 Greg Buchanan February 15, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I think those points already have corresponding words:



11 Dale Pugh February 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Yeah, but they lack theological gravitas. We need more substance than that!

12 Greg Harvey February 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

But Dale: the goal is to sing in harmony, isn’t it?

13 Dale Pugh February 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Point taken. Good thought!

14 Christiane February 15, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Pastor BART always seems integral . . . ‘pulled-together’ in his thinking.
That he could write something like that in half an hour is an affirmation of his integrity in what he believes.

I don’t agree with many of his statements, but I look forward to seeing how his work may be able to help Southern Baptists think through where they are at in a more ‘defined’ way . . . less need for ‘name-calling’ and useless labeling and more attention to examining closely areas of agreement and disagreement with one another.

In that way, he has provided some assistance to folks where it was needed for sure.

15 Bart Barber February 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I sang in one of those for a while. We did the hackneyed “My Wild Irish Rose” skit.

16 Dave Miller February 16, 2013 at 10:15 am


17 Doug Hibbard February 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

He used his free will to erase, I’d imagine.

18 Bart Barber February 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thankfully, I lived out my childhood before the days when every move you made was captured for all eternity on video.

19 Dave Miller February 17, 2013 at 12:56 am

Yeah, in my day we had experiences, not photo ops.

20 cb scott February 17, 2013 at 10:40 am

Bart Barber and Dave Miller,

I too would have hated to have lived my younger years with cell phones having the capabilities they do now. Had that been the case, my latter years may have lacked greatly in the absence of incarceration.

That being said; Thank you for the post you have written Bart Barber. It is an excellent work and pregnant with the possibilities of peace in SBC Land. May it come sooner than later.

21 Bart Barber February 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

Thanks, CB, and amen!

22 Greg Harvey February 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I sang Tenor in high school with my senior quartet. I surprised most of the nursing homes we went to with hitting a rather high note on “Rose” at the end. No longer…no longer…

23 Bart Barber February 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm


24 svmuschany February 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

The only ones that I “might” have a problem with are the 7 (or so) points that deal with conversion. While I agree in principle with each of those, so long as those points are not intended, or subsequently used to promote a specific order of conversion, I would be fine. I personally believe that regeneration precedes faith, in a logical order (though in linear time the two are almost always simultaneous). I know that holding to that view, I am in the minority even among Calvinists in the SBC. That said, if I, who holds to such a view, can with that small asterisk agree with such a document, then maybe there is hope for our convention as a whole.

25 Chris Roberts February 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm

See the comments Bart’s post, I discussed that very matter with Bart.

26 Bill Mac February 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm

“I know that holding to that view, I am in the minority even among Calvinists in the SBC.”

Really? I wouldn’t have said that. Don’t most Calvinists hold to regeneration prior to faith? I do.

27 Joshua T February 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I am also in agreement that regeneration precedes faith. However such a distinction between logical and historical order is a matter worth setting aside for broad agreement.

28 Greg Harvey February 17, 2013 at 1:49 am

“Setting aside” might be reworded “assigning to still-veiled mystery”.

29 Nate February 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Granted, there may be differences between Calvinists and Traditionalists, but last time I checked, for the most part, both sign off on the Baptist Faith and Message. So why do we need another statement?

30 Bart Barber February 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm


I’m not trying to create a movement or a binding confession of faith. I was just trying to see how many things I could list about soteriology that would be points of agreement among most Southern Baptists.

And so, with regard to this statement, what if the only need I was seeking to address was my need to say it? Would you feel better about it on those terms?

31 Dave Miller February 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

It is my hope that the task force will publish something like this – a statement of soteriological agreement that demonstrates that our commonalities are greater than our differences.

32 Dale Pugh February 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

Will we hear from them before June?

33 Nate February 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm


Thanks for the clarification. My only point of concern is your statement regarding your need to write it out “say it.” While I can understand a desire to write it out (for personal reasons), once it is published, it is no longer private and then appears (at least to me) to be an alternative to what is already on the table (BF&M).

Thanks again for your clarification, but that is where I’m coming from, and I just don’t see much benefit from either Calvinists or Traditionalists trying to come up with new documents (even though I understand you to be saying yours was not intended to be one).

Have a good day, brother…

34 Bart Barber February 19, 2013 at 12:00 am


I think we’ve already lost if we’ve reached the point where we have to shut down theological writing and discourse because we’ve adopted the BF&M.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: