(The Southern Baptist Convention has agreed to respond to selected Lutheran doctrines and positions discussed on this blog. Below is the opening statement of Pastor Stephen Cavness of the Southern Baptist Convention who has kindly agreed to respond for the SBC. After his opening statement, I will provide a list of the posts/topics to which he will be responding so that you, the reader, can easily access these responses.)
My name is Stephen Cavness, and I am the pastor of Cave City Baptist Church, in Cave City, Ky. Gary contacted me, through one of the Southern Baptist Convention’s [hereafter, SBC] Executive Committee members, and asked me to provide a response to some of his posts here from a Southern Baptist perspective. I appreciate the invitation and am glad to participate!
Before I begin responding to specifics, I would like to provide some clarity and context for my replies. I am first and foremost a follower of Christ, saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. That is to say, I am first a Christian, by the grace of God, and secondly a Baptist, by choice/conviction.
My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were/are all Southern Baptist pastors. Early in life I decided that I would never be a pastor and I spent the first part of my adult life running in the opposite direction of ministry. But eventually, the Lord had His way with me and since I have relented to His call on my life (not because of any type of family requirement or obligation, but because of His sovereign will and plan for my life) I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Having said that, to be “Baptist”, particularly “Southern Baptist” is somewhat of a mixed bag. One of the pillars of Baptist doctrine is the autonomy of the local church, and as such, there is no official ruling or governing body for all Baptists, nor is there an official or binding confessional document for all Baptists. Even in the SBC, individual churches do not have to have the SBC’s confessional statement [The Baptist Faith & Message (2000)] as their confession of faith. The SBC is, in simplest terms, a network of churches that pool designated money together for missionary endeavors locally and internationally. Those who hold office in the SBC have no ”ruling” authority over any church or individual in the SBC, for there is no authority to command or dictate any action or inaction by any church or individual.
All of that to say, though I have been invited to give the “official” SBC response/ stance regarding some of the issues raised on this blogsite, at most I can appeal to what Southern Baptists have “historically” and “broadly” believed. Among Southern Baptists, there is great diversity in methodology and theology. What I will seek to do is respond according to what, as best as I can tell, is a “consensus” of what SBC churches/ members would believe. Where my own individual views differ, or go further than that, I will seek to make that known and differentiate between the two.
So, sitting at my desk, which is situated under a portrait of Martin Luther and is across the room from book shelves which contain multiple volumes of Luther’s sermons, writings, catechisms, & biographies, I look forward to this endeavor!
Pastor Stephen Cavness
Cave City Baptist Church
Southern Baptist Convention
(Note from blog author on how to access Pastor Caveness Baptist responses):
To read the Southern Baptist responses by Pastor Cavness, follow the instructions below. He will be posting comments to at least two posts/topics on the following list, in order, per week, over the next several weeks. You will need to check back periodically to read all his responses:
1. On the right of your computer screen, scroll down until you come to a heading entitled: Blog Archive
2. Below this heading, click on the year: 2011
3. Below this year, click on the month: October
5. Below this month, click on the following posts and go to the comments section at the end of each post to read Pastor Cavness' responses. Follow the same procedure for posts in subsequent months.
Luther was Not Born Again.
Baptist/evangelical doctrine of Salvation
Dead men don’t make Decisions
How do you know that you are saved?
So how ARE you saved?
Yes! God saves Babies!
The Lord’s Supper
The literal interpretation of the Bible
Does God speak to you personally?
Law and Gospel: Luther’s view of the Bible
Do Lutherans need to "accept" Christ?
By what authority do you interpret the Bible?
An Open Letter to Baptist Pastors
When the Rapture comes, can I have your car?
This Do in Remembrance of Me
Great Analogy on the Lord’s Supper
Baptism is OUR profession of faith
Southern Baptist statement on "How to become a Christian"
Lutheran and Baptist Common Ground
Six Baptism stories (Pastor Cavness will respond to at least one story)
Does God have to make sense to believe him?
The Baptist interpretation of the Bible makes a lot of sense