Editorial Introduction -- By: Adam Harwood

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 09:2 (Fall 2012)
Article: Editorial Introduction
Author: Adam Harwood

Editorial Introduction

Adam Harwood

Adam Harwood is Associate Professor of Theology, occupying the McFarland Chair of Theology; Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry; Editor, Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The essays in this issue and the next issue of the Journal of Baptist Theology and Ministry (JBTM) comprise a two-part series. These journal issues were prompted by the inimitable response to a soteriological statement drafted by Mississippi pastor Eric Hankins titled “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” Hankins authored the document, also known as the Traditional Statement (TS), in consultation with a group of pastors and professors. After being affirmed by several past presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and other denominational leaders, the TS was circulated among the SBC state executive-directors in May of 2012. Within the first few weeks of its release, the TS elicited online replies from Roger Olson and Albert Mohler, an e-book from Founders Ministries, and two articles in Christianity Today. The website featuring the statement, sbctoday.com, was ranked in June 2012 by Technorati as the #2 religion blog in the world.

Most articles and books which critique Calvinism do so while remaining committed to particular commitments shared by both Calvinists and Arminians. For that reason, most soteriological discussions employ theological definitions and categories informed by the Canons of Dort (1618–19). Most of the contributors in this series reject as unhelpful the theological commitments distinctive to the Calvinist-Arminian debate. Instead, the essayists attempt to construct a doctrine of salvation from the Bible alone while appealing to statements from the Baptist Faith and Message, and consciously rejecting the Calvinist-Arminian presuppositions that have framed this debate in Western theology for centuries.

These essays provide a detailed, article-by-article explanation of this statement of “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology. As explained in introduction to the TS, the word “Traditional” is not meant to imply that this is the only theological tradition in the SBC and among Baptists. Rather, the word “Traditional” refers to that theological tradition which might also be called the General Baptist or the Sandy Creek or the Mullins-Hobbs-Rogers tradition.

The essays in this issue defend the TS and its unifying presupposition that any person who hears the gospel can be saved. In the opening essay, David Allen, Dean of the School of Theology and Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas,

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