Calvinists & Arminians: Just the Facts
Dec 6, 2012
From the time frame of the 1970’s to early 1990’s, Southern Baptist engaged in a “Battle for the Bible.” The debate centered on the inspiration and sufficiency of God’s Word. The resurgence of conservative theology within the SBC coincided with a resurgence of Calvinism. From the late 1990’s to the present, Southern Baptists appear to be engaged in a “Battle for the Doctrine of Salvation.” Throughout the calendar year 2012, I attempted to offer irenic discussions of this battle without advocating either position, except for perseverance of the saints. In this concluding article, I hope to offer suggestions for going beyond the impasse.
Nov 12, 2012
Calvinists and Arminians agree on many points of theology. Both groups affirm the necessity of God’s grace for the salvation of humans. Regrettably, Arminians and Calvinists depart company in understanding grace beyond the common agreement of the necessity of God’s underserved grace. Arminians affirm God extends grace to every individual, a grace that enables the believer to respond to the Gospel invitation, while humans may resist God’s gracious call to salvation. Calvinists, on the other hand, distinguish between two kinds of grace: a general call to salvation that humans resist and an irresistible grace, or efficacious grace, that actually brings an individual to salvation.
Oct 5, 2012
One of the distinguishing features of contemporary Arminianism is the doctrine of conditional security. Conditional security denies that salvation is an unconditional gift from God and affirms that salvation is conditioned on the continuing willingness of a believer to remain in a relationship with God. Furthermore, contemporary Arminianism affirms that a believer may commit “apostasy” and forfeit the gift of salvation. Rather than affirming conditional security, James Arminius expressed humbleness regarding this issue. “Though I here openly and ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can either totally or finally fall away from the faith, and perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of Scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect….”
Sep 6, 2012
Both Arminianism and Calvinism are frequently misunderstood today. For example, James Arminius and classical followers of his system of theology affirm as robust a doctrine of total depravity as Calvinists. Arminians affirm two corollaries of total depravity: total corruption and total inability. Further, both Calvinists and Arminians affirm that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. What then separates the Calvinistic and Arminian understandings of salvation? A major demarcation between the two groups is how each group understands the nature of God’s grace.
Aug 9, 2012
The doctrinal systems of Calvinism and Arminianism are a historic divide within the evangelical world and Baptist life in particular. Yet, the doctrinal perspectives are closer at some points than many people realize.
Jun 27, 2012
Recently, a group of Baptist leaders released a document, “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” Perhaps opponents have criticized no statement in the document as much as the statement on “The Sinfulness of Man.” Some of the authors of the document claim that Baptists are neither Calvinists nor Arminian. In the sense that the document’s statement on “The Sinfulness of Man” fails to set forth either a Calvinist or classical Arminian view of human sinfulness, then the adherents of the statement are correct that the view expressed in the document neither affirms Calvinism, Arminianism, nor semi-Pelagianism. The statement denies two aspects of the classical Arminian understanding of human sinfulness. “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.” First, contrary to classical Arminianism, the statement denies that Adam’s sin resulted in the destruction of human free will. Second, contrary to classical Arminianism, the statement denies the guilt of all humans because of the natural connection of the human race with Adam.
May 24, 2012
In the nineteenth century, Calvinists developed the acrostic T.U.L.I.P. as a tool to summarize their theological convictions. The “L” in the tulip acrostic stood for “limited atonement.” The phrase “limited atonement” is problematic for two reasons. First, Arminians also affirm the atonement of Christ is limited in that Arminians deny universalism. Second, according to Baptist Calvinist Timothy George, “limited atonement” may imply some lack or deficiency in Christ’s atoning work. A more appropriate tem to describe the Calvinistic view is “particular atonement,” the belief that Christ died only for the elect. Timothy George proposed the alternate phrase “singular redemption” and defined the term as follows: “singular in the sense of having to do with particular individuals, not just with a general class or group of people.”
Apr 25, 2012
The followers of John Calvin and James Arminius disagreed on the nature of election. The two sides further disagree on the extent of the atonement. The central question in the disagreement on this issue is how representatives of each viewpoint answer the question, “For whom did Christ die?” Did Jesus in his death bear the sins of the elect alone (particular atonement) or did He bear the sins of all humanity (general atonement)?
Mar 8, 2012
As John Calvin himself recognized, election is a divisive issue. Calvin wrote, “The human mind, when it hears this doctrine [election and damnation], cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if aroused by the sound of a trumpet.” The followers of James Arminus [the Remonstrances] disagreed with the doctrine of election as set forth by the Dutch Reformed Church. In response to the Arminians, the Estates-General convened in 1618 a council at the city of Dort charged with the task of determining the orthodox adherence of the Arminians to the Calvinist confessions of faith. The council condemned the Arminians, resulting in the removal of 200 Arminian pastors, and issued the Canons of Dort. The Canons responded to the five point doctrinal summary of the Arminians.
Feb 9, 2012
“I do not believe in election,” the man said with anger.

The doctrine of election is a dividing point in the sometimes-heated discussion between Calvinists and Arminians. Calvinists affirm that God chose to save some individuals based on unconditional election. Arminians affirm that God chose to save individuals based on His foreknowledge of a faith response to Christ’s redemptive action.
Special Reports
Religious educators to meet in Lakeland on Nov. 10
LAKELAND (FLBaptist)—As small-group pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Tom McCormick led the church’s growth of small groups to more than 200 with 3,000 people on the rosters, from the 30 Read More
Recordings of FBSC, Pastors' Conference sermons will be available for purchase
JACKSONVILLE (FLBaptist)—Recordings of sermons delivered during the annual Florida Baptist State Convention Nov. 10-11 at the First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland will be available online in Read More
650 attend first-ever women's retreat at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center
LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—The Women’s Retreat at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center was more than the opportunity to hear two leading Christian recording artists and two nationally known speakers, said Read More
Volunteers help feed 600 people a week in DeFuniak Springs
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS (FBW)—More than 600 people in DeFuniak Springs receive food every week because of the efforts of volunteers from Southwide Baptist Church and ministry partners of other Read More
Florida Campers on Mission have nationwide impact
MAYO (FBW)—Campers on Mission are often on the move and always looking forward to their next project, according to veteran members. The tales of COM adventures are as varied as the people who tell Read More
Teen leads Gainesville church's bicycle ministry
GAINESVILLE (FBW)—Pine Grove Baptist Church in Gainesville is using bicycles to help win its neighbors to the Lord. The ministry, which refurbishes used bikes to give away to needy children and Read More
Hispanic churches in Miami team up to fight hunger through food festival
MIAMI (FBW)—On a bright, hot October Saturday morning, nine Hispanic churches sold popular Latino dishes during the Festival de Misiones in Primera Iglesia Bautista de Coral Park’s parking lot. Read More
Florida Focus: Announcements from Baptist churches around the state
One-time announcements are provided free by the Witness to Florida Baptist churches. Please email materials at least three weeks before the date of the event to Information Read More
Houston Mayor Annise Parker to drop subpoenas of pastors
HOUSTON (BP)—The subpoenas will be withdrawn, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced Oct. 29. The word "subpoenas" grabbed national attention after it became known that five Houston Read More
SBC President Ronnie Floyd: Stand up for Houston pastors
NASHVILLE (BP)—Baptists must let their voices be heard, said Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd. Floyd is one of several speakers from across the nation slated to speak Read More
Texas AG to Houston city attorney: Drop pastor subpoenas
HOUSTON (BP)—Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott called on Houston city attorney Dave Feldman Oct. 16 to withdraw subpoenas requiring five pastors to submit their sermons to his office in regard to Read More
Hillsong big winner at 45th Dove Awards
NASHVILLE (BP)—Hillsong United, a worship band at Australia's Hillsong Church, was the big winner at the Gospel Music Association's 45th annual Dove Awards Oct. 7. The band was named Read More
Gay marriage left standing by SCOTUS
WASHINGTON (BP)—Same-sex marriage is on the verge of becoming a legal reality in 60 percent of America's states. The U.S. Supreme Court paved the way Monday (Oct. 6) for marriages between people Read More
Churches encouraged to take '1% Challenge'
NASHVILLE (BP)—October is “Cooperative Program Emphasis Month” on the Southern Baptist Convention’s calendar. Churches are challenged to study the Cooperative Program—to learn about it, see what it Read More
S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A founder, dies
S. Truett Cathy, founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain famous for closing on Sundays, died Sept. 8. He was Read More
David Platt elected new IMB president
David Platt was elected president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board Aug. 27 by board trustees. Platt, 36, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham... Read More
Adrian Peterson scandal renews debate about spanking children
Christian parents across the country have been quietly talking about what role corporal punishment should play in the discipline of their kids following the indictment last month of pro football Read More
First Baptist Naples’ car care ministry changes oil, lives
NAPLES (FBW)—For most people, maintaining their car is not a life-changing experience. But for Mary Hickman, her life changed dramatically when she attended the car care clinic sponsored Read More
Panama City church revitalized through merger
PANAMA CITY (FBW)—For years, members of Westview Baptist Church in Panama City feared for the future of their once-thriving congregation. Membership dipped to 12 and efforts by local and state Read More
A testimony to what God can do
CLEARWATER (FBW)—Unfortunately, it’s not every week that a church invitation makes news. But that happened recently at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater. About a month ago, more than Read More
'Left Behind' movie stirs end-times discussion
NASHVILLE (BP)—Despite negative reviews by some secular and Christian film critics, the end-times thriller "Left Behind" starring Nicolas Cage grossed nearly $7 million at Read More
God uses collegiates to bring change ‘through them and to them’
Amber walked through the streets of Bruhl, Germany, praying for the physical and spiritual needs of the German people. Olivia taught English classes to university students in East Asia, Read More
Florida Baptist mission teams share the Light in darkness of Eastern Cuba
SANTIAGO, Cuba (FLBaptist)—It was mid-afternoon in mid-July when the lights went out in Eastern Cuba and stayed out for about five hours, even as the sun set. With skies growing darker, Read More
Military veteran's new mission extends Cuba partnership
How much difference can one mission trip make in a person’s life? Just ask Peter Vega Jr. When he went on his first mission trip to Western Cuba in November 2011, Vega had no Read More
Giving hope to the homeless through clothes, food, faith and fellowship
Lem Simmons is not your typical pastor. In fact, most people would not identify him as a member of the clergy just by looking at him. With his cap turned backward and a body covered with Read More
The Cooperative Program Factor: Mandate, Missions, Ministries
Following the Great Commission Mandate, the Florida Baptist Convention has set as its priorities to reach people for Jesus Christ, start new churches and strengthen existing churches. The summary of Read More
Nov. 2 Bible Studies for Life: Overcome being forgotten
Joseph’s life began with high prospects. His two dreams indicate the time when all of his siblings and parents would bow before him. Then things went wrong, and he spent more than two years in Read More
Nov. 2 Explore the Bible: The good things that have come
Some English versions translate Hebrews 9:11 in terms of Christ as high priest of good things to come in the future (NASB, KJV, NKJV). The majority of English versions, however, translate the verse Read More
Oct. 26 Bible Studies for Life: Overcome Temptation
One of the most quoted Scriptures concerning temptation is 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be Read More
Oct. 26 Explore the Bible: I shall be their God
The author of Hebrews described his work as a “word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22), in other words, a sermon. Psalm 110 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 function as the primary Scripture passages for this Read More
Oct. 19 Bible Studies for Life: Overcome betrayal
Joseph is one of the most intriguing men named in the Old Testament. The Bible shows a major shift with the phrase, “These are the generations of Jacob.” Previously, the phrase was used in regard to Read More
Oct. 19 Explore the Bible: Our priestly Savior
The major theme of Hebrews is the High Priesthood of Jesus. No other biblical book directly mentions this precious doctrinal truth. Apparently, Christian maturity is necessary to understand the Read More
Oct. 12 Explore the Bible: Grow in Christ!
Hebrews describes the Christian life as a pilgrimage. Pilgrimages have several key characteristics. First, pilgrims have a leader. For Christians, Jesus is our pilgrim guide. Second, pilgrims travel Read More
Oct. 12 Bible Studies for Life: Connected through prayer
In our studies in the Book of Ephesians, we began with a presentation of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in chapter one. As we progressed through the other chapters, we were challenged to honor God Read More
Se jubila John Sullivan, después de 26 años como líder de los bautistas de Florida
LEESBURG, Fla. (BP) – John Sullivan ha anunciado su jubilación después de servir a los bautistas de Florida como director ejecutivo-tesorero por un cuarto de Read More
La Convención Bautista de la Florida esta “confiada” que el fallo de $12.5 millones será anulado
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Abogados de la Convención Bautista de la Florida indicaron el martes que están “confiados” que el fallo por un jurado de Lake County de conceder $12.5 millones a un hombre quien Read More
Junta del Witness elige nuevo editor por unanimidad
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—La junta de directores del Florida Baptist Witness voto por unanimidad el 9 de enero emplear un editor que ha mantenido altas posiciones con publicaciones Read More
EDITORIAL: Dios Con Nosotros
FRESNO, Calif. (BP) -- La rapidez de cambios muchas veces nos sorprenden. He observado las reacciones de muchas personas al enfrentarse con los ajustes que vienen con los cambios. En el trabajo, con Read More
Autista MK ayuda a alcanzar los uruguayos
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay (BP) -- Dentro de un pequeño templo budista en Shiojiri, Japón, el misionero de 23 años Steven Kunkel -- quien es de América del Sur -- se sienta frente a Read More
Missions College apoya la participación de la iglesia
CARY, C.N. (BP)—Con más de dos décadas de experiencia misionera en las Américas, Marty Childers tiene una pasión por ayudar a las iglesias a ser más efectivas en el Reino a través de las misiones. Read More
La convención de Florida ratifica asociación con Cuba Oriental
LEESBURG, Fla. (BP) -- La Junta Estatal de Misiones aprobó una asociación histórica con la Convención Bautista de Cuba Oriental y un presupuesto de $30.5 millones del Programa Cooperativo 2014 que Read More
Ted Traylor de Pensacola el grupo de trabajo para estudiar la declinacion de bautismos SBC
NASHVILLE (BP)—La Junta de Misiones Norteamericanas está convocando a un grupo de trabajo de pastores nacionales tocante al impacto del evangelismo y la declinación de los bautismos para tratar la Read More
Longtime evangelist Freddie Gage, 81, made great impact for the Kingdom
HOUSTON (BP)—Freddie Gage, a Southern Baptist evangelist for more than 60 years whose fervency for souls extended to the SBC's Conservative Resurgence, died Sept. 12 in a Read More
Robert Davis: the Life & Legacy
Former pastor Robert Davis, 70, of Lake City died Monday, August 18, 2014 at Suwannee Valley Care Center (Haven Hospice) following a lengthy illness. Davis was a loving man who served Florida both Read More
Longtime First Baptist Brandon organist Zelda P. Shenning dies
Zelda P. Shenning, 72, died May 26 in Brandon, where she served as organist of First Baptist Church for 30 Read More
FBC Eustis mourns death of Executive Pastor
Longtime First Baptist Church of Eustis Executive Pastor Dr. Hoyt “Skip” Haymans III died on May 22 at the age of Read More
Former ‘first lady’ of First Baptist Church Ocala dies in Virginia
Hilda Johnson, long-time first lady at First Baptist Church of Ocala, died May 21 in Newport News, Va. Johnson was the wife of Ed Johnson, who served as pastor of First Ocala from 1983 Read More
Retired Jacksonville pastor, James Branch, 85, dies
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—James Branch, 85, pastor emeritus of Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Jacksonville, died Feb. 24. Read More
OBITUARY: Charles L. (Chuck) Gray, pastor of Bay Haven Baptist Church, dies at 72
SARASOTA (FBW)--Charles L. (Chuck) Gray, 72, pastor of Bay Haven Baptist Church in Sarasota, died Nov. 4. He was a Vietnam Era veteran of two tours of duty and the recipient of two purple Read More
Babb H. Adams, former FBSC president, dies at 84
INVERNESS (FBW)–Babb H. Adams, past president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, died Oct. 30 in Inverness, his home since 1981. He was 84. Read More