Calvinism in the SBC: The Building Bridges Papers Appear

Denny Burk writes:

Last Fall, I wrote about the “Building Bridges” conference that was held in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. Featured speakers included Calvinistic Baptists and non-Calvinistic Baptists. The presentations from that conference are being published as a collection of essays, and the book is available for pre-order from

Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue. Ed. Brad J. Waggoner and E. Ray Clendenen. B&H Academic, 2008.

Here is the table of contents:


Ed Stetzer, “Calvinism, Evangelism, and SBC Leadership”


David S. Dockery, “Southern Baptists and Calvinism: A Historical Look”

Tom J. Nettles, “A Historical View of the Doctrinal Importance of Calvinism among Baptists”


Malcolm B. Yarnell III, “Calvinism: Cause for Rejoicing, Cause for Concern”

Jeff Noblit, “The Rise of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention: Reason for Rejoicing”


David P. Nelson, “The Design, Nature, and Extent of the Atonement”

Sam Waldron, “The Biblical Confirmation of Particular Redemption”


Chuck Lawless, “Southern Baptist Non-Calvinists—Who Are We Really?”

Nathan A. Finn, “Southern Baptist Calvinism: Setting the Record Straight”


Ken Keathley, “A Molinist View of Election, or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian”

Greg Welty, “Election and Calling: A Biblical Theological Study”


Daniel L. Akin, “Answering the Call to a Great Commission Resurgence”

Tom Ascol, “Working Together to Make Christ Know: Considerations for the Future”

Join the Conversation


  1. Sirs: I am curious. From what little I have been able to gather about what was said at the Bridge Conference, I wondered: Was there anything said about Sovereign Grace, Tulip, etc., having a direct relationship to the First & Second Great Awakenings and The Great Century of Missions. Many,I have read on the internet & in some journals, etc., seem under the impression that every one had to practically become general atonement and even Arminian in order to have the Awakenings and the Missionary Movement. That seems strange to me as most of ministers, douments, etc., of the awakenings were clearly believers in Sovereign Grace. And Luther Rice stated in his Memoirs that: “Predestination is in the Bible and you had better preach it.” He served as chairman of the Committee of Sandy Creek Association that drew up the Confession of Faith in 1816. The second named member of the committee after the chairman was Elder Hezekiah Harmon, who would later found the Gum Springs Church in 1829, a church I pastored from 1972-83. Another member of the committee was Basil Manley (later Sr.), who would suggest the founding of Southern Seminary, baptize the mother of the first president of Southern , J.P. Boyce, lay his hand on Boyce’s head (a lad at the time & say he would be a preacher). Manley would serve as the first President of the Board of Trustees. When he died (circa 1867-68), Boyce would preach his funeral and call Manley a Calvinist several times during the funeral message. Could it be that this ground swell of Calvinism (I still prefer the term Sovereign Grace due to people dying for these beliefs before Calvin was even born read the history of the Lollards, Waldensians, et. al.) be the precursor of THE THIRD GREAT AWAKENING, the one in which the whole world is awakened & won to Christ be the Gospel by persuasion alone, a prsuasion so wonderful that it is irresistible as the convert of one preacher said whn he evangelized her. He is a relative of Spurgeon, a Southern Baptist. The young lady answered (when he ask her why she responded so readily): “OH! IT WAS SO WONDERFUL THAT I COULD NOT RESIST IT.” That was in 1965 or 1966. About 40 years later, he came to the conclusion that his relative was right about grace being irresistible. After all, as the young lady said, “It was so wonderful.” Yes, it is Amazing Grace, because it is so wonderful. It is free grace, unconditional grace. Speaking as a former atheist, I can tell you that I acually saw Jesus (in either a vision or a hallucination), standing about12-20 feet in front of me, looking at me, his hand up raised like He was knocking at a door (just like Rev.3:20 states). I rejected the knock and ran. Before I got home, He had opened the door of my heart so that I asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins after I got home. That was Dec.7, 1957. A burden I didn’t even know I had was lifted off my heart & I cried tears of joy. As I learned the teachings of Sovereign Grace, I found out that the Lord Jesus Christ preached them as invitations to trust in Him. Yes, as one said, PREDESTINATION IS AN INVITATION TO BE SAVED. My years of research in Baptist History (3000 5×8 notecards covering over 250 sources) also led me into the matter of the great awakenings and the great century of missions and who were the instruments of the Lord in those visitations and what teachings were involved. GLORY, LAUD, AND HONOR WITH JOY OVERWHELMING. The freest of approaches without manipulation, trickery, etc., was the preaching of those sovereign grace leaders in the 1700s. If we would only study our records, we would find THE LOST MASTERPIECE of Presence, Principle, & Practice that leads to a great awakening. We would also find that Baptists were really the leading liberals of their day, while being utterly faithful as possible to the Bible.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *