Photo source: The Gospel Coalition

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and a Calvinist, answered the question on how Southern Baptists can move forward in unity on the issue of Calvinism.

This is an important question because I don’t see any resolution anytime soon. My hope is that those on the other side of the argument would take the same approach.

Mohler said:

There is no question that we are amongst the last people on earth who can have a decent debate over these issues. Most denominations are so non-theological and have reduced their theological conversation to such minimal principles and affirmations that they couldn’t have a decent theological disagreement.

We should be very, very thankful that as a denomination we have a robust discussion over such things as the doctrine of election, questions of predestination and the entire scheme of Reformed theology and all the conversation around it. We are not debating same-sex marriage. We are not debating adopting a revisionist understanding of scripture to accommodate to the spirit of the age.

And so I am just extremely thankful for the kind of debate Southern Baptists are now qualified to have. And we need to recognize – I think the founders of this denomination would recognize this debate, and what would they say to us? They would say to us, “you need each other. You need a respectful conversation” and we are all called to that – a very respectful conversation.

And we need never to minimize our convictions. I never want non-Calvinist Southern Baptists to be in any way reluctant to make the very best case on the basis of scripture and doctrinal reason for their position. I don’t want them to ever be reluctant to address that to me. Because if I am going to be most faithful as a theologian, I don’t need just the people who agree with me speaking into my ear, I need the people who disagree with me. And I can honestly say I love Southern Baptists. I am Southern Baptist to the core. And what does that mean? That means I am theologically Southern Baptist. It also means to some extent I am tribally Southern Baptist, that always has to be secondary to the theology. But that means I don’t want to be a part of any other, I don’t want to be a part of a Southern Baptist Convention that doesn’t include the people who would have been there from the beginning.

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