Friday, June 01, 2012

Could W. A. Criswell sign A "Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation?"

After reading through some sermons today by the late Southern Baptist pastor and statesman, W. A. Criswell, I could not help but wonder if he would attach his name to the recent statement that Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, David Hankins, Emir Caner and others have issued and signed. Of course, all we can do is speculate, but it might be worth reading his thoughts on some of the very doctrines that these brothers have addressed in their statement. Since I won't be continuing my interaction with the statement until next week, I thought you would enjoy looking at a couple of his sermons that touch on pertinent subjects at hand.

For example, in a sermon entitled, "Doctrine of Predestination," Dr. Criswell quoted Isaiah 46:9-11 and then said,
That’s our God! Now that’s what you call foreordination. That’s what you call predestination! That’s Calvinism! And I am a Calvinist. That’s good old Bible doctrine, and I believe the Bible! These things are in God’s hands, and ultimately and finally, He purposed it and executeth all of it!
He preached a sermon in 1983, in the early days of the conservative resurgence, on Romans 9:15-16. The sermon is entitled, "The Bible Kind of Salvation." It is a masterful piece of homiletical work and includes a lengthy, favorable quote from Spurgeon near the end. Before that quote, Dr. Criswell made following observations:
There is a general call, but there is also an effective call. In the great general call, most of them did not respond, most of them did not hear, most of them did not believe, most of them did not come; but always some came, some heard, some were saved—the effectual calling of God.

I read in Acts 13, verse 48, “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the Word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” I turn the page again, and I read in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, “Brethren beloved, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, whereunto He called you by our gospel.” There is an effectual call. There are those who listen. God opens their hearts. God speaks to them, and they hear their name called, and they respond; the effectual calling of the elective choosing Spirit of the Lord.
It is an interesting study to compare these expressed convictions of this godly, influential Southern Baptist giant with those commended in the affirmation and denials of recently released statement.


PastorJ said...


It appears the sbctoday article may have drawn alot of attention and over ran their bandwidth. The site is showing "Account Suspended". Do you happen to have a copy of the article or know an alternate location?

Jodey Hogeland

Tom said...


Here is the BP article on it that contains the text.


Gregg said...

First, I am not sure whether W. A.Criswell would have signed such a statement; probably not.

Second, I know this, I could not!

Steve Clevenger said...

So after the so called conservative resurgence you still have denominational employees and men serving in the seminaries who openly deny certain articles of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Notice the list of men at the link below.
Will the SBC have these men removed from these positions?
Steve C

Sam said...

Dr. Criswell from "The Doctrine of Election" (link on home page):

If we would see God in His fullness, we would see Him in both lights: the sovereignty of the Almighty and the free will of the man.
And there’s a nomenclature used in the Bible, and it is separate and distinct. There is a nomenclature. There is a vocabulary. There are words used in the Bible to describe the great God who "sitteth above the heavens." Up there there is a celestial and a heavenly language, and it belongs up there. When a man talks about God up there, these are the words that he’ll use: almightiness, sovereignty, foreknowledge, election, predestination! These are the words a man will use when he talks about God Almighty up there.
Then there is another language, another nomenclature that is used talking about us down here. Down here we speak about freedom of choice, moral responsibility, freedom of the will, a commitment, a response. That’s down here. And our trouble would lie if we ever mix, inter-commingle, those words. There are certain words that belong up there. There are certain words that belong down here. And when you mix them you fall into grievous trouble.

Sam said...

From the same sermon, commenting on Acts 13:48:

“As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” He does not say by whom they were appointed. There are those who are extreme Calvinists who would say it is the Lord God who did that appointment—completely, fully, without any discussion—fully appointed of the Lord God. There are those who would say, “But the verb does not carry that extreme interpretation. It allows for a disposition on the part of those who heard the gospel to be appointed to eternal life.” “As many as were disposed to eternal life believed.” So the Lord may have disposed them to believe, but the people themselves may also have disposed themselves to believe.

Well, I think it says both; both. “As many as were willing thus to dispose their souls, hearts, lives, mind to receive the Word of life, they were appointed to that everlasting kingdom.” But those who were not disposed as it says up here, “And Paul and Barnabas said, ... seeing you put this word from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” [v46].