« Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidate J.D. Greear refuses interview with Louisiana Baptist state paper | Main | Nineteenth Century Mississippi Baptists not strictly Calvinistic »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Scott Shaver

I read the article by Nettles several hour prior to this posting and amazed at Pete's clairvoyance.

Historical reductionism in all of it's full-robed gory as extremely evidence in the over abundance of distracting terms and language. You are on the money here.

Scott Shaver

According to National Baptist historian, Pious, the best that could mustered in Louisiana was a "mild" Calvinism.


Dr. Lumpkins,

Perhaps I am missing something here. Which part of this confession is at odds with Calvinism? How does this contribute to a disproving of Tom Nettles' thesis? I am seeing more here to support his thesis than to disprove it. What am I missing?

In Christ,

peter lumpkins

Actually I wouldn't know where to start. The differences between the confession above and Philadelphia as well as many shorter confessions based upon Philadelphia that are cited often by Calvinists like Nettles are so pronounced that if you dont see them, I can only conclude you haven't read them carefully enough.


Thanks for your reply. I'm no expert on these statements, but they appear to have very different purposes. The Philadelphia Confession of Faith from 1742 is a lengthy creed and has much of Westminster in it, while this one is a fraction in size and provides mere summaries of major doctrines. While they are very different, both confessions strike me as Calvinistic in emphasis. This one does not seem to go deep enough to warrant a firm conclusion that it either contradicts or reaffirms the Philadelphia Confession. Anyway, that is my impression.

A very interesting slice of Baptist history, in any case.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

In Christ,

peter lumpkins


Sorry for the short reply. I only had my cell late yesterday. A few things.

First, my point concerning Bethel Association's articles of faith wasn't about contradicting Calvinism. Few, if any, of the hundreds of confessions affirmed by 19th century Baptists in the south would.

Rather the point here is Bethel's confession does not affirm strict Calvinism like the confessions Nettles cites in the post linked and other places. The language of Bethel has little resemblance. There's no "particular election" mentioned; no "definite number" for whom Jesus died implied. A very brief statement on election with generic language about election including regeneration and saving sinners. This is very unlike the strict Calvinistic confessions Nettles cites.

Bethel's article on depravity has absolutely no Calvinistic teeth-- man merely "fell from his holy and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are sinners..." Comparing the 2nd London Confession, for example, we find it explicitly states that our first parents fell and “we in them”; consequently, the “guilt of the Sin was imputed” to “all their posterity” whereby as children of wrath, all fallen creatures are “subjects of death” and “all other miseries, spiritual, temporal and eternal.” This includes far, far more in its Reformed outlook on original sin than Bethel’s mere declaration that in consequence of the fall, “all mankind are sinners…”

What is more, the statement concerning freedom of all to receive the Gospel is non-Calvinist to the core: "the blessings of salvation are made free to all people by the Gospel; that all are invited to Christ; that God is no respecter of persons..." something rarely, if ever, in a high Calvinist confession.

Second, given the citations above, the theological backdrop is certainly neither Philadelphia nor Charleston (almost like Philadelphia) but New Hampshire, a confession most historians judge as a diluted Calvinism if Calvinism at all.

Hence, for these reasons, Bethel cannot be cited as evidence that virtually all 19th century Baptists of the south were strictly Calvinist in belief, but must be judged as challenging such a proposal.


With that, I am...

Scott Shaver

"Founders" are not fond of the entire historical picture

The comments to this entry are closed.