Paige Patterson stated his personal views on Calvinism in a blog post in light of a chapel speaker's critique of the doctrinal system and “rude behavior [in response] on the part of a few students.”
The speaker, Rick Patrick, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sylacauga, Ala., spoke about salvation in Christ at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in a Nov. 18 message titled “The greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
Patrick, a 1993 Southwestern master of divinity graduate, spoke of his salvation in Christ from a family suffering from alcoholism and divorce, then spent the remainder of his 38-minute message describing the Connect 316 organization and its various resources that openly oppose Calvinism.
He and other traditional Southern Baptists are troubled as parts of the convention “increasingly embrace the Presbyterian view of salvation doctrine, church government, the mode of baptism, avoidance of the altar call, the use beverage alcohol, the approval of societal missions funding and so on.”
Patrick urged the chapel audience to study whether “these Reform practices are making these things better or worse.”
Patterson, in a Dec. 2 blog at the seminary's Theological Matters website, stated that Patrick presented his views on Calvinism “as would be expected at a Southern Baptist seminary in view of the current discussions in our denomination.” Patterson said he responded to students “who had not agreed with the speaker and had stood up during the message and walked out to show their displeasure.”
Patterson then set forth a number of facets of his view of Calvinism. In the blog post, he noted that “Baptists have historically been divided into two camps (at least) – namely, Calvinist and non-Calvinist. I do not anticipate that this will change. …
“[A]s long as the heart is hot for the winning of men and women to Christ, as long as the passionate evangelism exhibited in the New Testament is the major commitment, as long as the Calvinism on display is like that of [famed 19th-century Baptist preacher Charles Haddon] Spurgeon, who even wrote a book specifically on soul-winning, I am content – no, I am elated to work with these brethren for the cause of Christ,” Patterson said.
Patrick, in a statement to Baptist Press, said in part, “I made every effort to speak of issues and not personalities. While I make no apology for my doctrine, holding it firmly, I sincerely desire interpersonal reconciliation with any listener who might have been offended. The SBC is indeed stronger with two healthy wings, and I affirm both the right of Calvinists to share their beliefs and practices contrary to mine, as well as my right to share my beliefs and practices contrary to theirs.”