I love Eric Redmond. He is a brother who has grown dear to me because I find in him a heart for the Kingdom of God and a mind for truth. I admire his vigor for the church and for the redemption of African-American thought and life. His labors encourage me that we really can make a difference now and for eternity. I am thankful that God has brought him into my circle of friends and comrades in arms. I would be even more thankful if God would see fit to place him in the leadership position for which he is currently being considered. As we noted in the previous post, Eric has been nominated for 2nd Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Recently, the candidates were interviewed and asked a series of questions concerning the current state of affairs in the SBC. One of the questions was:
Do you wish to comment on the influence of Calvinism or Reformed theology in light of the LifeWay survey that indicated 10 percent of Southern Baptist pastors are five-point Calvinists?
The issue is not Calvinism, per se. Nor is settling the issue as simple as considering the history of English Baptists or seeing the embracing of Calvinism as a reaction to open theism. At issue is how we speak of God and man: Is God absolutely sovereign in all things, all glorious, and absolutely holy, such that “he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3)? Is man, though constituted in the image of God, naturally soulishly wretched, blind, poor, naked, deceived, suppressing the obvious truth of the existence of God, under the just judgment of God, and completely unable to save himself (Titus 3:3-7)? When we speak rightly of God and man, the gospel of his grace is magnified.
What we need to do is speak about an awesome, magnificent, all-merciful, holy God who, in the most incredible love, gave his only Son to save people unable to save themselves—people who are ignorant of their need for salvation, and self-deceptive about his existence. If we preach of God and man in this way—as revealed in Scripture—God will be magnified by the preaching of the gospel—and that needs to happen in every sermon from every pulpit on every Sunday. Personally, I think the gravitation toward Calvinism is a gracious work of God in the hearts of many who desire to center their ministries around the gospel, and in some cases, it grew out of a reaction to becoming weary of seeing the results of people fed the pablum of self-help, self-centered, gospel-devoid sermons Sunday after Sunday.
On a popular level, many visible, non-Baptist Calvinists have been most vocal about calling pulpits back to the center of the gospel, such that many have answered the call, even within the SBC. But there are many, less-visible Southern Baptists working hard to center their pulpits and ministries on the message of the gospel. I think our seminaries are working hard to prepare future leaders to do the same. (read the rest of the interview here).
Man, I thank God for Eric. I hope the SBC will thank God too, and appoint him to VP.