The Southern Baptist Convention is a diverse convention of cooperating churches. We exist to join with one another in the cause of Christ, doing together what no single individual or single church is able to do alone. By the grace of God, the SBC has been used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all around the world as well as helping to build the saints in churches all over.
Theologically, the SBC embraces diversity in the midst of uniformity. We are uniform, united around core beliefs and convictions generally defined by the Baptist Faith and Message. We are also diverse, with believers and churches being free to deviate within the bounds of the BF&M. We at SBC Focus believe the BF&M provides a starting point for the theology of Southern Baptists. The Baptist Faith and Message encapsulates what we believe to be core standards for cooperation with other Southern Baptist Churches. Beyond the BF&M, churches have reached different conclusions on different issues. On the issue of eschatology, for instance, the SBC includes many who fully affirm what is taught in the BF&M on the return of Christ while differing over particular details such as the timing of the rapture or the nature of the millennial reign of Christ. Individuals and churches have definite views on the issue, yet grant the freedom of disagreement to other Southern Baptists.
One area of significant disagreement among Southern Baptists is the theology of Calvinism. We are convinced that Calvinism falls comfortably within the bounds of acceptable disagreement. One is free to be a Calvinist or not be a Calvinist while fully affirming the BF&M and cooperating with all other Southern Baptists in the work of God’s kingdom. We are concerned that more volume, if not more voices, has been raised against Calvinism in recent years. While some have raised legitimate areas of disagreement with Calvinism, others have sought to warn the church about what they perceive as the dangers of “New Calvinism”. In the process, people are presented with a misleading and distorted picture of Calvinism. Based on inaccurate information, many in the SBC have come to see Calvinism as a threat to the convention.
It is our hope that SBC Focus serves as a way to present people with the face of Calvinism in the SBC. We want to show what it means to be a Southern Baptist who believes the theology commonly referred to as Calvinism. This website is not simply a place to argue for Calvinistic theology, though that will occur; this website is a place to offer a picture of the ministry commitments of Calvinists in the SBC. Along the way, we hope that people will realize that Calvinism is not an insidious evil and Calvinists are not the enemy. We hope to provide people a more accurate look at the theology of Calvinism and the ministry of Calvinists.
This blog exists to fill a void that currently exists in the SBC Blogosphere. Presently, there are two major collaborative blogs serving Southern Baptists. The first, SBC Today, provides a decidedly non-Calvinist perspective on events in the SBC, with a good deal of attention given to opposing Calvinism. The second, SBC Voices, takes a middle-of-the-road approach. On SBC Voices, one will find contributions by Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike. SBC Focus provides something new. Our regular and guest contributors primarily fall on the Calvinist side of the theological spectrum and will help to provide a glimpse into life as a Calvinist in the SBC.
We hope this blog serves as a source of blessing for all in the SBC. Our goal is not to turn people into Calvinists (though we certainly would not object to convincing people of what we believe to be biblical theology!). Our goal is to help equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). One way we will do this is by demonstrating that Calvinists, rather than being enemies, are co-laborers for the cause of Christ. We will also do this by providing devotional material, lessons from history, outreach ideas, ministry updates, Southern Baptist news, and more. We have ambitious goals for this website, and we encourage you to be part of what we are doing.
Chris Roberts for SBC Focus