|NASHVILLE -- (BP) -- An advisory team on the issue of Calvinism met for the second time in Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 5-6, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page reported after members of the 19-member group convened.
Page named the advisory team -- "not an official committee" -- in mid-August to develop, as he told Baptist Press at the time, "a strategy whereby people of various theological persuasions can purposely work together in missions and evangelism."
When he announced the advisory team, Page said at some point in the coming weeks and months he is hoping for "the crafting of a statement regarding the strategy on how we can work together."
The full statement issued Nov. 6 by Page after the advisory team's meeting follows:
"I want to see men and women, boys and girls won to Christ. This is my overriding concern. I think unity helps do that.
"My hope is that this group will help us identify areas of agreement and disagreement in Southern Baptist life concerning how God's redemptive purposes are achieved through Christ. Once these are more clearly identified, we hope to develop some positive strategies that will enhance our ability to work together for the proclamation of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
"Satan delights when he is able to divide and conquer. On the other hand, our Lord is honored when His prayer for us is fulfilled: 'May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me' (John 17:21). I believe our unity -- or lack thereof -- affects our evangelism. The ultimate goal in my mind is that we work together in such a way that more people are won to faith in Christ.
"As I stated before, I have no interest in changing The Baptist Faith and Message. It has been wisely crafted by previous generations of thoughtful, thinking Baptists to allow for a breadth of interpretations about God's purpose of grace. It was written so that Calvinists and non-Calvinists can join hands and hearts for the common cause of world evangelization.
"I truly believe that if we reclaim the principles of respect, honesty, trust and Christlike selflessness in our dealings with one another, our brightest days of Kingdom advance are still before us."
The next meeting of the advisory group will not take place until after the first of the year. Continued...