Our Beliefs

Here is a list of articles, statements and resources to help you better understand the “Provisionist/Traditionalist” soteriological perspective:

Why are you called a “Traditionalist?”

Please read this article to better understand the meaning behind the label “traditionalism.” We have also used the term “Provisionism” or “Provisionist” which better captures our soteriological perspective of God’s love and provision for every individual.

We affirm:


(Written by Dr. Eric Hankins. See a list of Southern Baptist professors, pastors and theologians who have signed this statement HERE and the ever growing list of other biblical scholars who affirm the non-Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures in the comment section below.)


Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusivelyCalvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.

While Calvinists have been present in Southern Baptist life from its earliest days and have made very important contributions to our history and theology, the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism. Even the minority of Southern Baptists who have identified themselves as Calvinists generally modify its teachings in order to mitigate certain unacceptable conclusions (e.g., anti-missionism, hyper-Calvinism, double predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The very fact that there is a plurality of views on Calvinism designed to deal with these weaknesses (variously described as “3-point,” “4-point,” “moderate,” etc.) would seem to call for circumspection and humility with respect to the system and to those who disagree with it.

For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but “non-essential” theological matters. The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this longstanding arrangement.

We propose that what most Southern Baptists believe about salvation can rightly be called “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology, which should be understood in distinction to “Calvinist” soteriology. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is articulated in a general way in the Baptist Faith and Message, “Article IV.” While some earlier Baptist confessions were shaped by Calvinism, the clear trajectory of the BF&M since 1925 is away from Calvinism. For almost a century, Southern Baptists have found that a sound, biblical soteriology can be taught, maintained, and defended without subscribing to Calvinism. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is grounded in the conviction that every person can and must be saved by a personal and free decision to respond to the Gospel by trusting in Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord. Without ascribing to Calvinism, Southern Baptists have reached around the world with the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Baptists have been well-served by a straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.

New Calvinism presents us with a duty and an opportunity to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation. It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism. While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.

Below is what we believe to be the essence of a “Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” We believe that most Southern Baptists, regardless of how they have described their personal understanding of the doctrine of salvation, will find the following statement consistent with what the Bible teaches and what Southern Baptists have generally believed about the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.



We affirm that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person. This is in keeping with God’s desire for every person to be saved.

We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.

Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:1-12; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Luke 19.10; Luke 24:45-49; John 1:1-18, 3:16; Romans 1:1-6, 5:8; 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 4:4-7; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9


We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

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. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6;Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15


We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.

We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will. We deny that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.

Psalm 22:1-31; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 12:32, 14:6; Acts 10:39-43; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Col. 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 10:1-18; I John 1:7; 2:2


We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.

We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.

Ezra 9:8; Proverbs 3:34; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 19:16-30, 23:37; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24, 27-28; 5:6, 8, 15-21; Galatians 1:6; 2:21; 5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:2-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 4:16; 9:28; 1 John 4:19


We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.

We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.

Luke 15:24; John 3:3; 7:37-39; 10:10; 16:7-14; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 6:4-11; 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 6:15; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18


We affirm that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.

We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.

Genesis 1:26-28; 12:1-3; Exodus 19:6;Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 24:31; 25:34; John 6:70; 15:16; Romans 8:29-30, 33;9:6-8; 11:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2:11-22; 3:1-11; 4:4-13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 7:9-10


We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.

We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.

Genesis 1:1; 6:5-8; 18:16-33; 22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Joel 2:32; Psalm 23; 51:4; 139:1-6; Proverbs 15:3; John 6:44; Romans 11:3; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:13-15; Hebrews 11:6, 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17


We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

Genesis 1:26-28; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 8:1-22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; Esther 3:12-14; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:20-24; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-24; 13:34; 15:17-20; Romans 10:9-10; Titus 2:12; Revelation 22:17


We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.

John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25


We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Quoted from: www.connect316.net


Who supports the Non-Calvinistic interpretation?

Loraine Boettner, a respected Calvinistic Historian and Theologian, wrote “It may occasion some surprise to discover that the doctrine of Predestination was not made a matter of special study until near the end of the fourth century. The earlier church fathers placed chief emphasis on good works such as faith, repentance, almsgiving, prayers, submission to baptism, etc., as the basis of salvation. They of course taught that salvation was through Christ; yet they assumed that man had full power to accept or reject the gospel. Some of their writings contain passages in which the sovereignty of God is recognized; yet along side of those are others which teach the absolute freedom of the human will. Since they could not reconcile the two they would have denied the doctrine of Predestination and perhaps also that of God’s absolute Foreknowledge. They taught a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will. It was hard for man to give up the idea that he could work out his own salvation. But at last, as a result of a long, slow process, he came to the great truth that salvation is a sovereign gift which has been bestowed irrespective of merit; that it was fixed in eternity; and that God is the author in all of its stages. This cardinal truth of Christianity was first clearly seen by Augustine, the great Spirit-filled theologian of the West. In his doctrines of sin and grace, he went far beyond the earlier theologians, taught an unconditional election of grace, and restricted the purposes of redemption to the definite circle of the elect.”

So, even by Calvinistic scholars own admission the Earliest Church Fathers did not teach the Calvinistic view of election, but in fact taught “the absolute freedom of the human will…a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will.”   These Early Church Fathers include:

-Clement of Rome (AD30-100)
-Ignatius (AD30-107)
-Barnabas (AD100)
-Justin Martyr (AD 110-165)
-Irenaeus (AD120-202)
-Tatian (AD110-172)
-Tertullian (AD145-220)
-Clement of Alexandria (AD153-217)
-Origen (AD185-254)
-Hippolytus (AD170-236)
-Novatian (AD210-280)
-Archelaus (AD277)
-Alexander of Alexandria (AD273-326)
-Lactantius (AD260-330)


Some have asked if I recommend any particular study Bibles. I have not vetted any one fully but I have enjoyed The Peoples New Testament with Explanatory Notes – One Volume Edition (2 volumes in 1) [Hardcover] B.W. Johnson (ISBN-13: 978-0892251414, ISBN-10: 0892251417)


I recommend this Systematic Theology by Dr. James Leo Garrett

Also, below is an ever growing list of modern day scholars who do not affirm the Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures:

AW Tozer
Howard Marshall
Doug Stuart
NT Wright
Gordon Fee
Scott McKnight
David Baker
William W. Klein
Grant Osborne
Robert Shank
David A. DeSilva
Bill T. Arnold
John Oswalt
Brian Abasciano (he helped with this list)
Ben Witherington III
Thomas Oden
C.S. Lewis
Craig Blomberg (not A or C, but probably leans slightly more A)
Craig Keener
Jack Cottrell
Gerald O. McCulloh (edited * “Man’s Faith and Freedom: The Theological
Influence of Jacobus Arminius”)
James Luther Adams (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Russell Henry Stafford (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Geoffrey F. Nuttall (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Roger Olson
Dale Moody
Paul Copan
James D. G. Dunn
Jerry Walls
Joseph Dongell
Clark Pinnock
Donald M. Lake
William G. Witt
A. Skevington Wood
Vernon C. Grounds
Terry L. Miethe
Richard Rice
John E. Sanders
Fritz Guy
Klyne Snodgrass
Robert Picirilli
F. Leroy Forlines
Matthew Pinson
Stephen Ashby
Chuck Smith
George Bryson
Greg Laurie
William Lane Craig
Billy Graham
Adrian Rogers
Michael Brown
Leonard Ravenhill
David Wilkerson
Bruce Reichenbach
David J. A. Clines
William G. MacDonald
James D. Strauss
C. Stephen Evans
Paul R. Eddy
William J. Abraham
A. Philip Brown II
Derek Prince
Jack Hayford
Gene L. Green
Gareth Lee Cockerill
James Leonard
John Wesley
Chrarles Edward White
Anthony Chadwick Thornhill
Aaron Sherwood
B.J. Oropeza
David Lewis Allen
Steve Lemke
Adam Harwood
Jerry Vines
Paige Patterson
Richard Land
Malcolm Yarnell
Bruce A. Little
Robert W. Wall
G. Walter Hansen
Philip H. Towner
Adam Clarke
Ravi Zacharias (?)
Paul Ellingworth
William G. MacDonald
James Strauss
Philip Towner
John Wenham
Gary Habermas
Nigel Turner
Max Turner
Peter Cotterell (?)
Michael Brown
David Jeremiah
Dave Hunt
J. W. MacGorman
E. Y. Mullins
Herschel Hobbs
W. T. Conner
Frank Stagg
Fisher Humphreys
Bert Dominy
Ken Keathley
Norm Geisler
Alister McGrath
David Bentley Hart
Mike Licona

See also the list of Traditional Statement signers at www.connect316.net

80 thoughts on “Our Beliefs

  1. Although theologian Lewis Sperry Chafer was a 4-point Calvinist, the current president of Chafer Seminary Dr. Andy Woods most certainly is not. However it’s unlikely he would make it to the present list, because of a veil of confusion toward, and hatred for classical dispensationalist teaching and rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Reason? It walks hand-in-hand with understanding the sign’s of the times we live in (as opposed to predicting), and that’s a topic I’m afraid we’ll never hear from the lips of Leighton Flowers.
    I have found that any assembly of believers that embarks on serious and consistent study of that 21% of the Bible we know as prophesy, will always draw-in the enemies attention and subsequent persecution – even if it’s from other outsider’s also trusting in Christ. Satan is quite content with our heated debates with Calvinist’s.. it waist’s precious time and he loves the diversion/division within the body of Christ. But come within an inch of talking about Israel and Satan’s final defeat, and you’re in for some serious warfare. I’ll ask one question of Mr. Flowers: Should he wake one morning to reports of Damascus being destroyed over one night as in Isaiah 17, is he likely to do some serious last-minute course corrections based on an eminent “catching away” of the bride? It is worth some consideration..

      1. Exactly, and as far as Soteriology101 is concerned, theologian Dr. Woods knows “the book” cover to cover and for the going concern, he wrote the book, “Ever Reforming: Dispensational Theology and the Completion of the Protestant Reformation”.

        FWIW, Andy was a California legal attorney in the 90’s when the Lord called him into ministry and he ended up as a very close understudy of Dr. Penticost at DTS. As an example to hear him speak, look-up “The book of Revelation: Futurism vs Preterism” on YouTube. He is also the senior pastor SLBC in SugarLand TX.

        I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive my whining over the wide-spread abrasiveness toward dispensationalist’s. – Cliff M.

  2. My only point with my comment….the focus is on Salvation, not dispensationalism, not prophesy, and as such I’ve not heard Dr. Flowers speak much to either topic on their own here.

    I agree with you that MANY who profess a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic, avoid the biblical topics of future things. Many do not see the dispensations in Scripture.

    When I come accross those who do not put signifigance seeing the Signs of the times…. I think about what Jesus said when the disciples asked Him when “these things will take place”….He told them in Acts 1:7,

    “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” He wanted them to focus on being His witnesses.

    What is the last thing Jesus said to his disciples? It was the next thing he said to them in Acts 1:8

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    Jesus has also called us to be faithful witnesses. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us,

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

    Are understanding God’s future plans and our place in them important? Of course they are! They are vital… Again Jesus says..

    “No one knows the day or hour (Matt 24: 36-44; Mark 13:32–37; Luke 17:26, 27, 34, 35; 21:34–36)..So WATCH!”

    We should be ready…BUT…knowing Jesus and making Jesus known is, and should be, our primary concern on this earth…WHILE there is still yet time!

    Blessings from a fellow dispensationalist.

  3. Many of the younger Baptists are rightly rejecting the Dispensational doctrine which John Nelson Darby brought to America about the time of the Civil War. After the doctrine was incorporated into the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible it spread like a virus through the evangelical Church in America. Instead, many younger Baptists are returning to the errors of Reformed Covenant Theology, which are based on the 1689 LBCF. The 1689 London Baptists corrected the error of infant baptism in the Westminster Confession, but ignored other errors. Both documents claim the ten commandments were given to Adam before the fall, no matter what Paul said in Galatians 3:16-29. Both documents claim we are still under the 4th commandment, no matter what we find in Colossians 2:16-17, and Galatians 4:24-31, and Hebrews 7:12, and Hebrews 8:13, and Hebrews 12:18-24. The Apostle Paul kills modern Dispensational Theology in Galatians 3:16, by revealing that the Abrahamic promise was made to the one seed(Christ), instead of the many seeds. Both viewpoints above ignore the New Covenant promised to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is found fulfilled by Christ during the first century in Hebrews 8:6-13, and Hebrews 10:16-18, and specifically applied to the Church in 2 Corinthians 3:6-8, and Hebrews 12:18-24. Until Baptists embrace the New Covenant they will continue to promote “isms”, and claim to be “ists”, in total disregard of Paul’s warning against division in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. The true Baptist faith is much older than 1689. It is a part of the original New Covenant Church, which began on the Day of Pentecost. On that day Peter addressed the crowd as “all the house of Israel”, and about 3,000 Israelites accepted the New Covenant. This agrees with what Paul said in Romans 9:6-8, and Romans 9:27, and Romans 11:1-5. Until the errors above are dealt with honestly, confusion will continue to divide us.

    1. IMHO, Many unqualified assertions brother.
      1) younger Baptists are rightly rejecting the Dispensational doctrine (as presented by those that don’t know its scriptural impact..)
      2) which John Nelson Darby brought to America about the time of the Civil War. (several books have been written proving it has been held – in one form or another – right back to the fist century) See: Watson’s “Dispensationalism Before Darby” etc..
      3) After the doctrine (??) It’s not really a doctrine.. every theologian adheres to at least 2-3 ages, or economies, or dispensations. It’s more like after man has walked for millennia, many factors (such as the enumeration of many basic doctrines – some at odds with each other – and the post enlightenment ability to cross linguistic barriers, man now looks back at how God progressively revealed more of the tapestry of His plan in His Word and it simply does not fit together seamlessly without rightly dividing by asking “is God doing something new here?”)
      4) Scofield and others like Bullinger and Ironside now seem wrong on several positions (most of which were not greatly salvific to the ‘man-on-the-street) especially since we again see God calling the Jew back to the Land since 1948 – albeit in unbelief.
      5) spread like a virus (how generous of you to use the negative inference to black-ball brothers holding another viewpoint..)
      6) YES, younger Baptists are returning to the errors of Reformed Covenant Theology (because it’s being packaged within the horrid social gospel trends pushed forward by the ailing SBC and men who have gone out from among us (like Tim Keller, Jim Wallis et al.).
      7) The Apostle Paul kills (can I ask how old you are?) modern Dispensational Theology in Galatians 3:16, by revealing that the Abrahamic promise was made to the one seed(Christ), instead of the many seeds. (something fishy, I haven’t time to address the context without further study – maybe later)
      8) Both viewpoints above ignore the New Covenant promised to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is found fulfilled by Christ during the first century in Hebrews 8:6-13, and Hebrews 10:16-18, and specifically applied to the Church in 2 Corinthians 3:6-8, and Hebrews 12:18-24. (more later.. but I smell some replacement theology.. or is it Hebrew roots?)
      9) Until Baptists embrace the New Covenant (you can try to embrace a covenant that wasn’t for you, all you want, but that doesn’t make you a Jew, and the testator who died and rose again has not returned to set-up His Kingdom yet..)
      10) It is a part of the original New Covenant Church, which began on the Day of Pentecost… (No, just NO.. I hold a mid-to-late Acts position at present and want to think things through Biblically). Just because we debate, doesn’t mean we are divided, those ‘in-Christ’ are not divided at any great depth.. These are mainly ‘not-so-salvific’ points and worthy of debate.

      My brother, it’s fair to say a modern and rigid group-mentality has been spilling over into the church from the political spectrum, and it has us all standing back in our own corners shouting and accusing each other.. of what great atrocities I’m not so sure.. How is it that we embrace as brothers with the same heavenly Father, and yet we’ve lost the ability to reason away salient scriptural points exchanging them for personal hurt?

  4. I have never understood the fuss about subjects that are not salvic, in this case, dispensationalism. Whether one is an Amillennialist, a Dispensationalist, What bearing does that have on one’s salvation? Absolutely nothing.

    1. It actually does make a difference. It affects one’s whole interpretation of the Bible and the details of salvation—what it is, what are its requirements, and what it promises. For most people, the impact is minimal because there are theologians who do the heavy lifting of interpretation and debate; but to be sure, dispensational/non-dispensational interpretation affects all of the Bible’s content, even salvation. For those who want to know why they believe what they believe about salvation from an exegetical basis, dispensationalism has a huge impact.

    2. Additionally, salvation should not be our only concern when we handle God’s Word since His Word is not about salvation. Salvation is merely one facet of a complex in His program. God’s Word is about His total program for all of His Creation, particularly restoring the physical Creation which Adam and Eve corrupted.

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