An important distinction in semi-Pelagianism is the timing of when grace is given. Semi-Pelagianism usually asserts that men move first and then grace is given. Article II is vague in the timing of grace, but one could see that the phrase “we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel” is intended to convey such a concept.
Nevertheless, this is why it is important to consider and weigh heavily the arguments and implications regarding wording. It is also important to note that the warning from Turretin remains regardless of whether the Semi-Pelagian moniker is deserved.
Second, you explain that for us to defend against the charge of semi-Pelagianism, we must affirm the “cardinal biblical truth” of “the necessity of the prevenience of supernatural grace.”
Our reply is simple: No, we don’t. What obligates us to borrow a view (prevenient grace) from another group (Arminians) to defend against a philosophical-theological framework which we don’t accept? We reject the precondition that all doctrinal formulations must be placed into a philosophical-theological framework comprised of only these three categories: Calvinism, Arminianism, or Heresy. We consciously reject that framework. And we refuse to place over our eyes the hermeneutical spectacles which demand that we read the Bible in that way.
Dr. Harwood also stated his justification for rejecting the Calvinist/Arminian framework because, “We’re not classical Arminians. We’re ‘Traditional’ Southern Baptists.”
Claiming the historicity of being ‘Traditional’ Southern Baptists while disclaiming the need of the historicity upon which the Southern Baptists originally framed their distinctions seems to be a bit askew. But, more concerning is that Dr. Harwood seems to reject the need to escape the claim that the view is semi-Pelagian by clarifying the article’s position on the grace of God.
Read the entire article here.