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Religion Library: Baptist

Sacred Narratives

Written by: David Buschart

Those Baptists who embrace a Calvinist view of the fall see human beings as so thoroughly spiritually corrupted that we are incapable of participating in any way in the process of salvation; rather, salvation is solely the work of God, purely a gift. Those Baptists who embrace an Arminian view of the fall see human beings as corrupted, but not now so corrupted that we cannot in some measure cooperate or participate in salvation through the act of faith. This capacity is attributed to "prevenient" grace (that is, a grace that is given by God to everyone, enabling everyone to respond in faith), a remnant of goodness remaining after the fall, or some combination of both of these. All Baptists would agree, however, that human beings need God's gracious salvation, that each individual human being is accountable before God, and that salvation comes only through trusting faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Finally, with other Christians, Baptists believe that this overall narrative of creation-fall-redemption comes to its fulfillment not only in the redemption of individual persons but, ultimately, in God's final cosmic acts of judgment and redemption. Again, there is a diversity of views regarding the precise sequence and character of these events. Baptists may disagree on such matters as the nature of the millennium, the nature and occasion of Jesus Christ's return, whether or not there will be a rapture (or more than one), and the relationship (or lack thereof) of "a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1) to the present heavens and earth. Baptists agree, however, that each person will ultimately be held accountable to God and judged accordingly; that God will triumph over sin, death, and the devil; and that ultimately God's good rule and reign will be completely and definitively manifest.


Study Questions:
     1.    How do Baptists understand the origin of creation?
     2.    What is meant by the “fall” of creation? Where does this idea originate? Do Baptists view it as literal?
     3.    What Calvinist theology have some Baptists adopted?
     4.    What is prevenient grace? What is its outcome?
     5.    Describe the Baptist understanding of judgment and redemption.

 

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