Connect316 defends 'traditionalist' doctrines

"Connect316 [is] a coalition of Southern Baptists who advocate what they call a "traditionalist" understanding of the doctrine of salvation and disagree with some points of so-called 'New Calvinism'"

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Bert Perry's picture

....as the relative ages of the "traditionalist" and "Calvinist" doctrines are strongly disputed.  Which is the real tradition?  Good motivation, bad implementation.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JohnBrian's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....as the relative ages of the "traditionalist" and "Calvinist" doctrines are strongly disputed.  Which is the real tradition?  Good motivation, bad implementation.

and referring to Calvinism as New and themselves as Traditionalists. They're not trying very hard to "...to cooperate where we can."

 

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David R. Brumbelow's picture

“Some have objected to the term Traditionalism, misunderstanding it as an attempt to claim the Hobbs-Rogers tradition as the only tradition in Southern Baptist life.

Of course, it is not the only tradition. Finding no record of a single Traditionalist who has ever made such an erroneous claim, we see this as a non-issue. Others have objected to the term on the basis that it must favor old-fashioned forms of worship, dress and ministry. To be a Traditionalist, in their view, is to be an old, washed up fogey whose theology and ministry is out of place in today’s world. Once again, this definition is simply a caricature of the term’s true meaning.”

“Traditionalism is simply the doctrine of salvation described in the Traditional Statement. It refers to the basic understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation espoused by each of the primary confessors of The Baptist Faith and Message—E.Y. Mullins in 1925, Herschel Hobbs in 1963 and Adrian Rogers in 2000. Although we have no data to prove this matter conclusively, we believe Traditionalism is the majority view of salvation doctrine in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

http://connect316.net/

David R. Brumbelow

Donn R Arms's picture

Could it be that they are merely reacting to Calvinists who identify themselves as the "Founders" movement?

http://founders.org/

Donn R Arms

David R. Brumbelow's picture

This term is not used to say Calvinism is brand new and was not present in the 1500s, 1800s, etc.  But simply that there is a new resurgence of Calvinism in the SBC and in Christianity in general.  This resurgence has some old, and new, characteristics. 

In the 1980s you could have had all the SBC Calvinists meet in a phone booth.  But they are a strong, growing group today. 

With the Calvinist group growing, SBC Traditionalists (and Connect 316) are simply saying we also want to speak up for, and stand up for, what we believe. Both sides should have that privilege. 

Since the beginning of the SBC in 1845, there have been both Calvinists and Traditionalists (aka non-Calvinists, Moderate Calvinists) in the convention. 

David R. Brumbelow

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bro. Brumbelow:

I'm not a Southern Baptist and I am a Calvinist, but your comment:

With the Calvinist group growing, SBC Traditionalists (and Connect 316) are simply saying we also want to speak up for, and stand up for, what we believe. Both sides should have that privilege. 

is well taken! Well said. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

If there were both Calvinists and non-Calvinists from the beginning in 1845 (an absolutely correct assertion), why call the non-Calvinists traditionalists?  Why aren't the Calvinists considered traditionalists?  It sounds like the non-Calvinists are trying to occupy the high ground by claiming to represent historic SBC tradition, but Calvinists who understand their SBC history from the beginning in 1845 make a convincing case that Calvinism was the predominant position until the beginning of the twentieth century.

 

G. N. Barkman

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Traditionalist is not the perfect name. 

But then, neither is Calvinist, Reformed, etc. 

Add to that the imperfect terms:  Baptist, Independent Baptist, Southern Baptist, Fundamentalist…  They can all be challenged, yet be helpful. 

You’ve got to call yourself, and your beliefs something. 

And labels do help.  If you don’t believe it, tear off all the labels of your canned goods in your kitchen, mix up the cans, then have fun cooking dinner. 

Also, I clearly understand “non-Calvinist” and “Moderate Calvinist” sound contradictory.  But those are terms I grew up with as well. 

Connect316.com does a pretty good job defending their use of “Traditionalist.”

Brother Tyler, thanks. 

David R. Brumbelow

David R. Brumbelow's picture

We will probably be debating whether the Calvinists or Traditionalists were in the SBC majority in the 1800s until we get to Heaven.  And there were all kinds of variables.  Some were strong 5-pointers, some did not believe in Limited Atonement.  Some may have done a lot of writing, but that does not necessarily prove they were in the majority.  The SBC Baptist Faith & Message (1925, 1963, 2000) leaves room for both sides. 

For example: 

Francis Wayland on Calvinism in 1856

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2012/10/francis-wayland-on-calvinism...

But we agree there were always both Calvinists and Traditionalists (or whatever terms you prefer) throughout SBC history. 

David R. Brumbelow

G. N. Barkman's picture

David, does your reference to Andrew Fuller in your blog indicate that you believe Fuller was not a five-point Calvinist?  I am under the impression that he was.  No question that he was opposed to hyper-Calvinism, and no question that John Gill had tendencies in the hyper direction.  But that's not the same debate as the one you are engaged in between Calvinists and non-Calvinists.

G. N. Barkman

Bert Perry's picture

...is quite simply because it says nothing about what they believe (cue Tevye), but it does suggest that one side is in the historical right, and the other is not.  So I would say that it is not just an "imperfect" description, but rather evades the real issue; whether those with strong views of divine sovereignty can coexist with those with weaker views.  No?

More or less, it translates what ought to be a productive discussion of divine sovereignty and foreknowledge into a struggle over positions and titles.  Count me out--I'll be curled up with a friend's copy of Institutes of the Christian Religiontrying to get what I didn't get the first time through.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“In the former of these views, I find the apostles . . . addressing themselves to sinners without distinction, and holding forth the death of Christ as a ground of faith to all men.”  -Andrew Fuller

Andrew Fuller apparently did not believe in Limited Atonement in his later years, although it has been argued both ways.  Dr. David Allen gives his view of Fuller’s thought here: 

http://sbctoday.com/response-to-tom-nettles-andrew-fuller-david-allen-pa...

Dr. David L. Allen of SWBTS is publishing a book (B&H Academic) this year of over 800 pages entitled, “The Extent of the Atonement.” 

It is an excellent defense of General, or Unlimited Atonement; that Jesus died for all humanity. 

David R. Brumbelow

G. N. Barkman's picture

I believe nearly every knowledgeable five-point Calvinist would affirm the above quote by Andrew Fuller.  Only a misunderstanding of Limited Atonement would find evidence for a General Atonement in this statement. 

G. N. Barkman