Editorial Introduction -- By: 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.
This issue is the second part of a series exploring the document penned by Mississippi pastor Eric Hankins titled “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” or simply the Traditional Statement (TS). These essays reflect a desire by certain Southern Baptists to provide a positive articulation for the non-Calvinist Baptist tradition which might be called the General Baptist or the Sandy Creek or the Mullins-Hobbs- Rogers tradition. An assumption that unifies all of the advocates of the TS is that any person who hears the gospel can be saved.
Steve Lemke, Provost and Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, demonstrates that the claims in Article 7 regarding God’s sovereignty and knowledge of future events are consistent with the freedom of individuals. In his essay on Article 8, Braxton Hunter, Evangelist with Trinity Crusades for Christ and visiting Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana, advocates for a model of soft-libertarian rather than compatibilist freedom. Steve Horn, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lafayette, Louisiana, affirms eternal security as stated in Article 9 and distinguishes this view from perseverance of the saints. Preston Nix, the Roland Q. Leavell Professor of Evangelism and Director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, focuses his attention on the affirmation in Article 10 of the Great Commission. I address whether the TS is Semi-Pelagian. Steve Lemke identifies five models for understanding the various approaches to divine determinism, divine sovereignty, and human freedom. Nathan Finn, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, provides “friendly reflections” on the TS from a Calvinistic Southern Baptist perspective. To conclude the series, Rhyne Putman, Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, explains why he, a non-Calvinist Southern Baptist, does not affirm the Traditional Statement.
I am thankful for the work of the eleven contributors to this two-part series, especially David Allen and Eric Hankins, who served with me as co-editors on this project. May God be glorified as we continue this discussion of God’s work of saving lowly sinners through the matchless person, work, and name of His Son, Jesus Christ....
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