Here is a post that I read this morning that I found intresting, as well as thoughtful. Enjoy. It comes from a blog called Passion for Preaching. Use the link and check out their many great articles!
With so much talk about who Southern Baptists really are historically and what theological stream we fall into (or are birthed from), I am inclined to remind us all that we are neither Calvinist nor Arminian nor even are we all somewhere in between. Emir Caner’s recent essay that can be found in the Christian Index on Daniel Marshall and Kiokee Baptist Church (which I have visited) traces the Sandy Creek tradition from North Carolina into Georgia and essentially makes the argument that from the beginning, Southern Baptists have been descendants of Anabaptists and have been a theological hybrid who’s only ardent theological perspective was the perseverance of the believer. Though well written and done so specifically for the Georgia Baptist Convention, all (including Caner I have no doubt) know and agree that Southern Baptists are and have been formed not only from the Sandy Creek tradition, but from the Charleston tradition as well. The fact remains that we as Southern Baptists are an eclectic blend of staunchly reformed stiffs and free wheeling almost Arminians. We cannot be packaged into a neat theological box, but we must find the things upon which we can agree, and that must be evangelical faith. To be Southern Baptist is to be more than our Theological perspectives, but it must never be less. Certainly, there is room in our tradition for varying theological convictions, but must there continue to be room for theological wars. There is room for Baptist churches who extend an alter call and there are multitudes of people who have been saved in this kind of tradition, but there is also room for churches who have no alter call. After all, tons of people have come to know Christ without an alter call as well. Timothy George’s presentation from the Union University Baptist Identity Conference in 2007 has been referenced on this site before and I will point to it again as a great place to begin a conversation for reconciliation in SBC circles. Further, I wonder what could be accomplished if we of different theological stripes spoke to one another rather than about one another or if we could focus on our agreements rather than our differences. Spurgeon is always a safe model to look to. He was an ardent evangelist, a strict biblicist, an advocate for church autonomy, a scholar, and (gasp) a Calvinist. Spurgeon didn’t practice an alter call, he prepared his sermons on Saturday nights (and didn’t preach through books of the Bible), he smoked cigars, and impacted the world with the gospel. Spurgeon was the Prince of Preachers, yet his reformed theology did not some how make him less evangelical, nor did it cause him to separate from godly preachers who held to different theological convictions–he even opened his pulpit to D.L. Moody and had a great friendship with the fiery evangelist. Could Spurgeon have been a Southern Baptist? I hope so, but I’m not sure he would be welcomed in many circles–Small church pastors would be weary b/c the Tabernacle is too big, traditionalists would be offended because he is too animated, academics would call him crass, non-Calvinists would have called him unevangelical, and many Calvinists would question his passionate pleading to lost sinners (we better not even speak of the cigars). Seriously folks, if Spurgeon wouldn’t fit in, are we really where we ought to be? May we come together for the sake of the gospel and in so doing let us not be arrogant about what the gospel is (see Bill Streger’s blog, Gospel-Centered Legalism). The gospel is a historical fact and event that we can all agree upon. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, was killed by evil sinful men and suffered that death for our sin, was buried in a borrowed tomb, rose on the third day, and ascended to the right hand of the Father where he sits as our advocate today. The world is lost and dying and the SBC is not making an impact. Let’s wake up and rally around the gospel for the sake of the lost world around us. Spurgeon did, and the world is better for it.