See if you recognize any of these quotes or have read similar ones:
…a book that seeks to recover the Gospel heritage that has been vastly lost since the last century.
…look back at the first generation of Georgia Baptists, filtered through the biblical Gospel…
…our labors in this book have been to show the confessional faith of the first generation of Georgia Baptists as a whole.
…how our Baptist forbearers in Georgia came to these convictions biblically…
Many Baptists in the twenty-first century have lost their way.
…capitulated to…pragmatic notions and humanistic philosophies of Pelagius, Arminius, Amyrald, and Finney (not to mention…E. Y. Mullins)
We pray that what is called , “The Five Points of Calvinism,” would not appear as something alien, foreign, or cursed by Baptists – but only a nickname for what the Bible clearly teaches: “Salvation is of the Lord.”
These are quotes from the free book that has just been sent to all Georgia Baptist pastors. I noticed a copy on the desk of my successor who just arrived to pastor the church from which I retired. He was busy getting settled and loaned it to me.
The book is The Gospel Heritage of Georgia Baptists 1772-1830 by Brandon F. Smith and Kurt M. Smith, Introduction by Dr. Thomas J. Nettles and published by Solid Ground Christian Books located in Birmingham. I assume this is one of the Calvinist publishers. Apparently, some Calvinist churches donated the money to send the books to all GBMB churches.
I’ll not review the book (haven’t ploughed through all of it) but note that it is a Calvinist tract with emphasis on early figures like Daniel Marshal, Abraham Marshall, and Jesse Mercer. The classic five points of Calvinism each have a chapter.
The authors are pastors of Georgia churches, although I am unsure if these are GBMB churches, and there is an official Calvinist affinity group in my state, The Georgia Association of Confessional Baptists which lists seven member churches. I’ll let some historian assess the accuracy of the two authors’ (both lack graduate degrees) treatment of the historical figures in the book.
The authors have a “how I came to Calvinism testimony,” always an interesting read in my opinion.
A few observations:
- Just when I begin to think that we have Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC and that we can generally co-exist with only a modicum of rancor, we get a mass mailing whose stated purpose is to “recover Gospel heritage,” an undisguised way of asserting that all but perhaps seven GBMB churches have lost something that needs to be recovered.
- I appreciate a free book and am not unappreciative that these guys are unafraid of reaction in a state that, denominationally, is generally unfriendly to their type of Calvinists.
- It looks pretty simple to me that if a search committee finds a candidate who is a member of the GACB they should politely move to the next resume, unless they want a crusading Calvinist pastor.
- No, I don’t think Jesse Mercer will save 21st century Georgia Baptists.
I don’t hear near as many stories of Calvinists blowing up churches while recovering Gospel heritage as I did ten or twenty years ago but I guess there are still brethren who would do so if given a chance.
My suggestion is that the Alabama publisher of this book get up funds to send it to all Alabama Baptist churches and let one land on Rick Patrick’s desk…it would probably burn a hole through it clear to the ground.