Jul 12 2012
Outgoing SBC Head Calls on Southern Baptists to Repent of Theological Idolatry [Excerpts]
In his last message as SBC president, Bryant Wright denounced the pride that was creeping in as Southern Baptists debate the doctrine of salvation and election.
"If we pride ourselves more on being a traditional Southern Baptist or more on being a Calvinist or a Reformed theologian than we are thankful that we are Christ-centered and biblically-based, then it is time to repent of theological idolatry."
His remarks come weeks after the release of a statement by a group of Southern Baptists rejecting what they see as a push by New Calvinists to have their views adopted. Hundreds have signed "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation," affirming a certain set of beliefs on the doctrine of salvation and denying Calvinist views, including the belief that "Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved."
Only a minority of Southern Baptists are Calvinists, but a new study shows Calvinism is on the rise. According to a LifeWay Research survey released Tuesday, 16 percent of Southern Baptist pastors say they are five-point Calvinists, up from 10 percent in 2006.
"Any time there is pride, whether it is spiritual pride or intellectual pride or theological pride, it is always a sin," Wright asserted. "An attitude of superiority with those who may disagree with the finer aspects of theological beliefs is never going to build up the Church of Jesus Christ."
Addressing the latter group, he continued his rebuke, saying "judgmentalism quickly moves into slander," and warned against breaking the Ninth Commandment on false witness.
[TBC: In Wright’s admonition for peace, we believe he has misdiagnosed the problem as “theological idolatry.” In truth, the bottom line remains what do the Scriptures say?]