Why form an organization promoting a specific type of salvation doctrine?

Our Calvinist friends have many such organizations that have been around for years. (The Founders Ministries, Nine Marks, the Acts 29 Network and The Gospel Coalition all come to mind.) Those of us on the other side of the soteriological aisle are finally catching up and realizing how much we stand to benefit through our own brand of fellowship, scholarship and encouragement in the gospel. A theologically driven ministry fellowship is a great idea, regardless of one’s doctrinal stance, for it sharpens our minds while providing a support network of like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ.

How can Connect 316 build bridges and contribute to SBC unity?

By fostering a deeper appreciation for our doctrinal perspective, we further the dialogue in our convention. This is in keeping with the 2013 Truth, Trust and Testimony in a Time of Tension report encouraging us to advocate in favor of our own theological stream, calling this our “responsibility and privilege.” We do not seek to drive out Calvinism but to promote a resurgence of Traditionalism. While our two positions are in theological conflict with one another, this does not excuse any interpersonal conflict between us. We love and appreciate our reformed friends, but refuse to abandon our theological commitments or stop talking about them. We will not proclaim our convictions with any less fervor than our Calvinist friends display in proclaiming theirs.

I believe like you do but don’t see this as a “big deal.” Why get involved?

If you view this discussion as merely an intellectual exercise or academic debate, you may find yourself  believing Traditional SBC theology but not wanting to stand up for those beliefs publicly. For example, you may not wish to sign the Traditional Statement or attend the Connect 316 Banquet. You may ask, “What is to be gained by developing a coalition on the basis of doctrine?” First, our Calvinist friends have already done so—as evidenced by conferences and seminars, book deals and networking—in such a way that they are very established in the promotion of their views. Some have even described our SBC trajectory as moving toward a PresbyBaptist Convention. An organized minority will exert greater influence than a disorganized majority. Second, a number of cherished Southern Baptist ministry practices are associated with Traditional salvation doctrine—congregational polity, missions and evangelism strategies, the sinner’s prayer and altar calls, just to name a few. Salvation doctrine is the hub of a wheel with many spokes. These implications and applications make this discussion a much “bigger deal” than one might suppose. It really comes down to your vision for the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. If you want to see us become more Calvinistic, then simply do nothing, and you will get your wish. Otherwise, let’s band together (as the Calvinists have) and promote our own vision for the future of the SBC.