At the 2006 SBC Pastor’s Conference, Albert Mohler listed ways that all Southern Baptists are Calvinists:
- A belief in the inerrancy of Scripture – “It is not by accident that there are no great Arminian testimonies to the inerrancy of Scripture. We really do believe that God can work in such a way that the human will wills to do what God wills that will to do. And that is exactly why we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. We do not believe that the Apostle Paul was irresistibly against his will drawn to write the Book of Romans.”
- A belief in the substitutionary atonement – “The logic of this doctrine fits only within the umbrella of a Calvinist scheme. The entire worldview in which substitution makes sense is a worldview in which the sovereignty of God and the righteousness of God and the saving purpose of God are vindicated in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Affirming the omniscience of God – “At the very least … God created this world knowing exactly who would come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of us believe more than that, but certainly none of us here believes less than that. If that be so, then the precise identity of all the persons who would come to faith in Christ was known by the Father before the world was created.”
- A belief in the eternal security of the believer – “Once this work of salvation is accomplished in the life of a sinner, and that sinner is transformed by the grace and mercy of God, He can never fall away.”
Interesting thoughts from Dr. Mohler. As far back as we can see in Baptist history, there has been a rather strong divison between Arminian (General) and Calvinist (Particluar) Baptists. Calvinism is typically identified by the belief in unconditional election and those who oppose this doctrine lump all of Calvinism in with it.
The fact is, Baptists to a man (or woman) will affirm “once saved, always saved” without hesitation, yet blast Calvinists for their interpetation of predestination. We must be careful not to enter into a Calvinist/Arminian debate without truly realizing all parameters. Those who claim Arminianism must be clear on exactly what areas of Arminianism they confess. Agreeing with conditional security, for example, will certainly remove you from Baptist doctrine in and of itself. If you believe in eternal security, at some level you are a Calvinist.
That said, I pray that we would ultimately hold fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At times, we tend to go too far with our theologies and end up like the Particular Non-Evangelists or the General Universalists. A bit of sarcastic stereotyping, of course, but these early divisons gave Satan room to work and indeed he works through the same divisions today.