This morning, Dr. David Allen, Dean of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, published a post on SBC Today calling for unity and charity in the SBC as the days and years move on. The unity Allen advocates is based on rallying around essential doctrines that all Southern Baptists find themselves in agreement.
The first place to begin, it seems to me, is with our common ground. As Southern Baptists, what we agree on far outweighs what we disagree on: 1) We agree on the BFM 2000. 2) We agree on the Lordship of Christ. 3) We agree on the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. 4) We agree on the exclusivity of the gospel and the lostness of humanity. 5) We agree that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, not to mention a host of other issues on which we agree. Virtually all of us recognize that Southern Baptists are not going to agree on Calvinism. However, that does not mean that this discussion should not happen! While the debate about Calvinism is necessary, it is absolutely essential that all involved desire, speak, and work for unity.
While I disagree with quite a few statements Allen made in his post, especially his explanation of how the “denials” section of the Trads Document is structured and written, his exhortations of peace and unity among Southern Baptists is to be commended and hopefully heeded.
My interactions with Dr. Allen have always been cordial and his kindness toward me in various ways has always been genuine. I am thankful that Dr. Allen is rising above the more hostile and shrill crowd of self-professed “Traditionalists” and calling any agenda to marginalize Calvinists in the SBC unhealthy and wrong.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from Dr. Allen’s post:
Third, we need to love and respect one another even though we are not in complete agreement on every theological point.
It is incumbent on all of us to engage the concerns and questions that come our way in a straightforward manner, rather than appearing to evade and dissimulate.
… we need to be reminded that the truth of a given position is in no way related to who or how many hold that position. Positions should be evaluated on their merits and ultimately according to their comportment with Scripture, not because high profile leaders and/or churches or groups hold them or don’t hold them.
…it is crucial that we avoid misrepresenting someone’s theology. I have found that when this happens, it is usually the result of a lack of understanding the specifics of a position, or of overzealous rhetoric.
When people think, speak, and act in ways that seek to promote their theological convictions with an agenda, stated or unstated, to marginalize those who differ with them theologically, this kind of division is unhealthy.
You can read the full post here.