LifeWay Research polled a random selection of SBC senior pastors to determine their theological leanings and how concerned they are with the impact of Calvinism on the denomination. The report resulting from the survey showed nearly equal numbers of SBC pastors called their churches Calvinist/Reformed as did Arminian/Wesleyan.
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, commented, “It is fascinating how much debate is occurring right now on this topic when most pastors indicate that neither end of the spectrum correctly identifies their church. However, historically, many Baptists have considered themselves neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but holding a unique theological approach not framed well by either category.”
The study also revealed that 61 percent of SBC pastors are “concerned with the impact of Calvinism on our convention.” Nearly 80 percent of pastors said they personally were not five-point Calvinists. Only 16 percent at least somewhat agreed with the statement, “Christ died for the elect, not for everyone in the world,” and half of pastors agreed with the statement “God is the true evangelist, and when He calls someone to Himself, His grace is irresistable.” Twenty-one percent agreed with the statement, “Before the foundation of the world, God predestined some people to salvation and some to damnation.” Only 4 percent of pastors agreed with the statement, “It diminishes God’s sovereignty to invite all persons to repent and believe.” But a huge majority (94 percent) believe that, once a person becomes a Christian, they cannot lose their salvation.
Stetzer concluded the study by saying, “Most Baptists are not Calvinists, though many are, and most Baptists are not Arminians, though many are comfortable with that distinction. However, there is a sizeable minority that see themselves as Calvinist and holds to such doctrines, and a sizeable majority that is concerned about their presence. That points to challenging days to come.”
To read the full results of the survey, click here.