Dr. James Willingham

by Stalking John Calvin

“In 1973 in my first pastorate I had come to the conclusion that the Sovereign Grace view (which some have called Augustinian and/or Calvinistic) of biblical texts was the most accurate of the various approaches to Scripture. The reason was simple; that understanding was based on the meaning of the words, not an imposed idea. The view had been preached among Southern Baptists from their beginnings. Indeed, it was the founding theology of the oldest churches and associations which would constitute the Convention. The election of the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention, William B. Johnson, was reflective of that fact. With the passage of time that doctrinal understanding had faded. Some still held to the original views. My country pastor, Rev. George Washington Gray, informed me that such were the beliefs that he had preached in my childhood. Some of the most responsible of people in history have been believers in Sovereign Grace. They were the main instigators, participants, and sustainers of the First and Second Great Awakenings and of the launching of the Great Century of Missions. And, when our New Calvinists, as Time Magazine called them in 2009, finally began to get a handle on the how of their theology (as well as the what) and began to really pray, we might well see the Third Great Awakening, the one in which the whole earth is converted along with every soul for a thousand generations and, perhaps, those on a million billion planets. Gloria in Excelsis Deo!”

– From “Southern Baptists Need Their Sovereign Grace Heritage”

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