Dr. Jerry Vines, Pastor Emeritus of Jacksonville First Baptist Church and former two-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention, speaks out on his signing "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation" >>>
In a prepared statement on his blog, Dr. Vines writes:
I was interested to read Dr. Mohler's response to "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation," which statement I gladly signed. His response was thoughtful, kind and forthright. I consider Dr. Mohler a friend. It has been my privilege to fellowship with him on many occasions through the years. I had him preach often at the Pastors' Conference in Jacksonville, and he used to have me speak at Southern. In the same spirit he has demonstrated, permit me to offer a response.
When I was sent the statement primarily authored by Dr. Eric Hankins, assisted by other notable Southern Baptist theologians, I was pleased with it. So much so, that I gladly added my name to it and emailed a number of my friends suggesting they might also like to be an original signatory. Indeed, many of them did sign. The growing list of signatories includes past SBC presidents, current SBC seminary presidents, denominational ministers, pastors and lay people. This is an impressive list and should not be taken lightly, as Dr. Mohler has not.
In that email I stated that I was in general agreement with the statement and would not attempt to nuance its content. As I view it, this statement is intended to start a much needed debate and, like the BF&M, is not intended to be the final word on all things soteriological. I strongly disagree with Dr. Mohler's assertion that "some of the statements appear to affirm semi-Pelagian understandings." I wonder if Dr. Mohler thinks some of us aren't theologically astute enough to recognize semi-Pelagianism when we see it! My response is not intended to engage this, however. I understand that the primary authors of the statement will submit a response to Dr. Mohler's blog. So, in a spirit of brotherhood and a humble search for truth, let the discussion begin.
Dr. Vines goes on to conclude:
It is now clear that this is not an issue that is going to go away. I have no stomach for a battle. I have been in enough battles for two lifetimes. I have no desire for a battle with friends I love. But, the time has come to admit we have a problem, seek God-honoring solutions and move forward to do our part as Southern Baptists to fulfill the Great Commission... . It is no longer possible to deny the elephant is in the room. Let's talk about it.
On the heels of Al Mohler's recent acknowledgment about the much needed conversation, Dr. Vines now goes on public record not only describing his reasoning for signing the document, but also insisting it is no longer possible to deny that aggressive Calvinism is the "elephant in the room." Consequently, it now appears that some who seemed to ignore the statement of faith perhaps did so prematurely.1
CLICK HERE TO READ DR. VINES'S ENTIRE PIECE. If you'd care to discuss it, you may come back here...
UPDATE: already the criticism is leveled by some implying Dr. Vines is disingenuous in his call for a discussion given he does not allow comments on his blog. I will tolerate no despicable, petty criticisms like that in the thread. If one has a real point, make it. But do not insult us here--nor Dr. Vines there--by suggesting such a mundane criticism is worthy of public record. Neither Al Mohler nor James White allows comments. Enough said...
1So much for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary ignoring the statement of faith. They now have posted, on their blog, Dr. Mohler's response to the statement of faith. Unfortunately, there will be neither unity nor healthy consensus among Southern Baptists as long as so many of us are rhetorically identified with heretics. Nor will unity take place as long as Dr. Mohler remains amaurotic to his personal leadership role in the New Calvinism resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.