June 19, 2012
New Research Suggests Calvinists Tied With Arminians In SBC
Equal percentages of Southern Baptist pastors identify their congregations as Calvinist (30%) or Arminian (30%), according to LifeWay Research.
A just-released survey by LifeWay Research has found that roughly equal numbers of Southern Baptist pastors identify their congregations as Calvinist/Reformed (30 percent) or Arminian/Wesleyan (30 percent). However, more than 60 percent of pastors are concerned about Calvinism's influence on the denomination.
The SBC debate over Calvinism shifted to heresy accusations shortly before the denomination's annual meeting began today. Baptist Press, which is liveblogging today and tomorrow's annual meeting, reports that several SBC leaders have addressed the controversy.
SBC president Bryant Wright offered a "word" for both Calvinists ("A bit of humility would be most welcome") and traditional Southern Baptists ("The time for judgmentalism is over") as he told attendees to focus on the Great Commission instead of the theology of salvation.
"Let us understand that these two views on election and salvation can co-exist as long as we stay Christ-centered and biblically based in our theology," he said.
Meanwhile, Executive Committee president Frank Page expressed concern about "non-Calvinists who are more concerned about rooting out Calvinists than they are about winning lost to Christ," as well as "Calvinists who view those who disagree with them as unintelligent," according to Baptist Press.
The new LifeWay survey, released today, finds that 16 percent of SBC pastors today identify themselves as "five-point Calvinists," up from 10 percent in 2006 and in 2011. The majority of five-point Calvinist pastors are under 45.
A similar 2007 study of young ministers by the SBC's North American Mission Board discovered that almost 35 percent of SBC ministers that graduated from SBC seminaries in 2004 and 2005 self-identified as "five-point Calvinists."