The Southern Baptists: A Reckoning Without a Way to Count

Albert Mohler is in sackcloth these days:

Fourth, the world will be watching how Southern Baptists handle this report and the moral burden of sexual abuse as they gather in Anaheim. If there are factual corrections to be made, let them be made. But the weight of truth calls for repentance, broken-hearted concern, and a concerted determination to make things right. We will not get—and will not deserve—a second chance at this.

The central problem, however, is that Southern Baptist theology (such as it is) has no provision for repentance because of their insistence on unconditional perseverance, something I pointed out last year in The Baptists, Their Doctrine and Their Nasty Politics. It’s a trap that has finally been sprung in a big way. They simply have no way to deal with repentance because they have no way to deal with sin after salvation. “If thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For with thee is forgiveness: for thy name’s sake.” (Psalms 130:3-4 Brenton) But how can we seek forgiveness if we’ve been taught we don’t have to count our sins to start with?

For those of us who have suffered the blowback of that idea, that reckoning–if the Baptists can bring themselves to do it–is not a moment too soon, either.

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