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God So Loved the World: Traditional Baptists and Calvinism.

By Fisher Humphreys and Paul E. Robertson. New Orleans: Insight Press, 2000. 102 pp.

In the last few years, Baptists in the South have seen a renewed interest in the theology of John Calvin. This is due in large part to efforts by the Southern Baptist Founders Conference, a group of Southern Baptist theologians who since 1983 have met annually in various places to promote the concept that Southern Baptist theology is rooted in five-point Calvinism. Complete with a journal, a web site, and an organizational structure, the Founders Conference has generated a noticeable amount of press and controversy. With God So Loved The World: Traditional Baptists and Calvinism, Fisher Humphreys and Paul E. Robertson have entered into the discussion concerning the true roots of Southern Baptist theology.

The idea for this book came from a telephone call to Fisher Humphreys from a Baptist layman expressing concern about his new pastor who had embraced Calvinism. The layman wanted to know whether Calvinism was consistent with traditional Baptist theology. The purpose of the book, therefore, is to examine Calvinism as a theological system and to compare it with traditional Baptist theology. While acknowledging Calvin's influence on Baptist theology in areas such as total depravity, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints, the authors indicate that Southern Baptists have not traditionally accepted the notions of unconditional election or limited atonement. Therefore, the book concludes that traditional Baptist theology and five-point Calvinism are not consistent with one another.

The genius of this book lies in its simplicity. It is designed for lay people in churches to use for Bible studies, Sunday School classes, Wednesday night studies, or for personal study. This book has become popular for that reason. It easily answers questions posed by the average Baptist lay person. The book is also an excellent resource for anyone interested in studying the theology of Calvin and how it compares with traditional Baptist theology. Pastors will also find it helpful as a simple resource for questions concerning Calvinism that may arise in local church settings.

W. Glenn Jonas Jr., Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Jonas, W. Glenn, Jr.
Publication:Baptist History and Heritage
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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