Dr. Mark Rathel is Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida. Rathel is a graduate of William Carey (B.A.), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div, Ph.D), and Biola University (M.A.) >>>
The Florida Baptist Witness plans to publish a 12 Part series by Dr. Rathel the purpose of which, in its words, is "addressing the always controversial theological issues surrounding how Southern Baptists understand the doctrine of salvation". Dr. Rathel adds his own vision he possesses for the series in his first installment of the dozen pieces:
During 2012, I will write a series of twelve articles discussing Calvinism and Arminianism. It is important for readers to understand the purpose, nature, limitations, and spirit of the author. My purpose in the article series is to contribute to a healthy, irenic dialogue in terms of this Baptist fault line. Ten of the articles will discuss the five points of disagreement between Arminians and Calvinists. Since Arminians were the first group to summarize their understanding of theology in five points, I will discuss first the Arminian position then follow with the Calvinist position. Rather than detailing the numerous Arminianisms and Calvinisms that exist, I will focus on the Remonstrance and Canons of Dort and supplement these documents with Baptist confessions. Finally, in terms of the spirit, readers need to understand that since I am neither Arminian nor Calvinist, my goal is descriptive rather than prescriptive; that is, I am not advocating Arminianism or Calvinism (//link)
One of Dr. Rathel's academic predecessors at The Baptist College of Florida was W. Wiley Richards who penned the influential history of the development of Southern Baptist theology, "Winds of Doctrines: The Origin and Development of Southern Baptist Theology." In the book, Richards traces the slow but steady decline of strong Calvinism during the turbulent 19th century, a decline so vivid and even unexpected, that the famed Georgia Calvinist, Jesse Mercer, had dropped the notorious "Limited Atonement" from his forged T.U.L.I.P. by the end of his ministry, a little nugget of information rarely found in Southern Baptist resources on our history during the 19th century.
No matter what view Dr. Rathel embraces, we anticipate a worthy series for our consideration. I'll post links to the series as soon as the individual essay is published.
With that, I am...