Writes on Baptists and Calvinism
University divinity professor Fisher Humphreys has co-authored
a book on the renaissance among Southern Baptists of Calvinism
and its belief in predestination.
So Loved the World: Traditional Baptists and Calvinism,
co-written with New Orleans Baptist Seminary professor Paul
E. Robertson, was published by Insight Press of New Orleans.
various aspects of Calvinism, the belief that God predestines
some people to be saved and others to be damned. Calvinism
takes its name from 16th-century Christian reformer John Calvin,
an early Protestant leader.
wrote the book to explain clearly what Calvinism is, to assure
readers that Calvinism is not evil, and to say why it is not
necessary for traditional Baptists to become Calvinists,"
said Humphreys, professor of theology in Samford's Beeson
School of Divinity.
did not write a polemic against Calvinism," he added.
"That would have been a very different book, and not
one we would have interest in writing."
position, says Humphreys, is "that God's love for all
the world (as cited in John 3:16) means that God would not
predestine anyone to be damned." This reflects the belief
of traditional Baptists, he says.
"are guided by their convictions that nothing is more important
than asserting the sovereignty of God and that God is fully sovereign
only if everything that happens is God's sovereign will," said
Baptists reject that approach, he says, because of their belief
"that God loves the world so unconditionally and so sacrificially
that God would never will or decree the damnation of a single person."
believe that Calvinism is the primary Baptist tradition, and point
out that such influential Baptist leaders as John Bunyan, Roger
Williams, William Carey, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and others were
first Baptists were not Calvinists, and "the vast majority
of Baptists today are not Calvinists," according to Humphreys
Baptists and Calvinistic Baptists have debated the merits of Calvinism
for more than three centuries. And yet, the discussion remains as
alive in today's Baptist church as ever, say the authors.