Predestination or free will? Irresistible Grace—or grace for all?
A perennial debate among Baptists heated up when a group of prominent Southern Baptist leaders signed and published “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” on May 31. The document addressed a major point of discord between Baptists who hold Calvinistic views and those who do not: Baptists who disagree, that is, on election.
Election, defined as “God choosing a person or people group for a specific purpose, mission, or salvation,” is historically connected to the concepts of predestination, foreknowledge, and free will. The non-Calvinistic viewpoint (often associated with Arminianism) asserts that election is conditional and that any man can, by free will, choose to receive the grace of God. Calvinism, however, emphasizes the total depravity of man and the inability of the individual to receive the grace of God—and, thus, salvation—on his or her own.
Where is the intersection of Calvinism and Baptist history? What are the major differences between Arminianism and Calvinism? Within Baptist thought, where does Calvinism live today? What was the role of Calvinism in the Reformation? We want to weigh in on some of these issues, so we’ve asked two terrific writers to do just that. Contributing to this miniseries are Jim West and Michael DeWalt.
Jim West is an adjunct professor of biblical studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology and the pastor of Petros Baptist Church in Petros, Tennessee. He has written numerous book reviews, articles, and books (one of which, Christ our Captain: An Introduction to Huldrych Zwingli, you can find within the Works of Zwingli).
Michael DeWalt is a tutor at Granite Classical and a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute, Baptist Bible College, and Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He is a member of The Evangelical Theological Society and a regular contributor to Calvin500. See all his posts here.
Follow us on Calvin500.com for this short series. We’ll dig into the history of Calvinism and Arminianism within the Baptist Church—and, at the end of each post, feature a unique deal from Logos Bible Software so that you can follow along in the research for yourself. Do you have other questions? Want to know more? Leave us a comment!
Regular Price: $999.95
Coupon Code: Baptist01
Calvin was a theologian, pastor, exegete, and tireless apologist for Reformed Christianity. His theological works, biblical commentaries, tracts, treatises, and letters helped establish the Reformation as a legitimate, thriving religious movement. This is the definitive collection of his works.
 Thornhill, A. C. (2012). “Election.” In Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.