Calvinism and Traditionalism

This chart, with the original labels Calvinistic Southern Baptist and Non-Calvinistic Southern Baptist, was provided by Dr. Adam Harwood, McFarland Chair of Theology, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and is meant to illustrate two general theological views regarding Southern Baptist salvation doctrine. There are far more views in common than views which separate these two groups. Also, there are always exceptions to categories and definitions, including those listed below. However, the views below are rooted in historic confessions and the writings of representative theologians.

Calvinism

 

Traditionalism

PROVIDENCE    PROVIDENCE
All that occurs is ultimately caused by God: God is the primary cause and human agents are the secondary causes. All that occurs is caused or allowed by God.
ORIGINAL SIN    ORIGINAL SIN
People begin life guilty due to Adam’s sin, even before they commit a sinful act. People begin life with a sinful nature due to Adam’s sin but become guilty only when they become morally responsible and knowingly commit a sin.
SPIRITUAL DEATH   SPIRITUAL DEATH
Unsaved people cannot respond to the gospel unless God first regenerates them. Unsaved people can respond to the gospel. God desires all people to be saved and, by His grace, enables all people who hear the gospel to freely accept or reject Christ.
ELECTION   ELECTION
From eternity, God chooses certain individuals to be saved; non-chosen people cannot and will not be saved. From eternity, God chooses to save anyone who believes in Christ. Anyone who hears the gospel can be saved.
GOD’S SALVIFIC WILL   GOD’S SALVIFIC WILL
God desires to save only those whom He selected from eternity for salvation; only they will repent of sin and believe in Jesus. God desires to save every person; He will save only those who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus.
ATONEMENT   ATONEMENT
Christ died for the sins of the world, meaning the elect among all kinds of people. Christ died for the sins of the world, meaning all people.
GOD’S GRACE AND HUMAN RESPONSE   GOD’S GRACE AND HUMAN RESPONSE
When God calls people to be saved, they cannot and will not resist that saving call. When God calls people to be saved, they may accept or reject His invitation.
ORDER OF SALVATION   ORDER OF SALVATION
People believe in Jesus because they were saved. People are saved when and because they believe in Jesus.
GOSPEL INVITATIONS   GOSPEL INVITATIONS
All people should be invited to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus because: we are commanded to do so in the Great Commission and we do not know who is elect. All people should be invited to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus because: we are commanded to do so in the Great Commission and anyone who hears the gospel can be saved.