Building Bridges Conference: Southern Baptists and Calvinism – (The Alter Call)

Clearly a fresh resurgence of Calvinism was causing a stir.  And so desiring to explore the issue in a controlled environment and in a mature fashion, a conference was put together, one sponsored by the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Resembling something like a point/counter point approach, various speakers addressed a range of topics: atonement, evangelism, election and calling, etc.  It was good.  I enjoyed it.  You might as well. 

But I’m not here to talk about the doctrines of Calvinism that were explored.  Rather I want to draw your attention to something that totally surprised me; something that clearly engenders strong emotions among Baptists.  What is it?  Can you guess? 

Yep, that’s right, the alter call. 

The alter call?  Yes, the alter call.  Apparently this is a hot topic among Baptists.  But like I said, I wasn’t aware of this.  So anyway, I was listening to the panel Q and A session, and towards the end, the alter call came up.  The panel members were asked what they thought about it.  I’m thinking, “Um, ok.  Seems like a strange question.”  But when they continued to talk about it, and as they continued to treat it carefully as though it were a touchy subject, I started thinking, “What the?”  About this time one of the contributors raises his voice in defense of the alter call, claiming apostolic roots, citing Acts chapter 2.  Some in the audience clap in support, and I’m totally thinking, “What the, what the!”

If you’re interested in hearing this yourself, go to about the 18 minute mark of part 2.  Maybe a hair before the 18 minute mark.  If you’re like me, you’ll come to better understand this clearly sensitive issue.

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Must Listen Factor: Um, low, I think… unless you’re a Baptist.  In that case it’s probably high.  You’ll have to forgive me for highlighting something like this.  I just thought it was a little strange and fascinating.  And it stuck with me.  So what can I say?        

Further Resources: On a more serious note, there are some good lectures in this conference.  You might want to check them out.  Go here:

As for the panel discussion, go to the above link, or click the picture, and scroll down to “Session, Panel Discussion.”  Go to the 18 minute mark on “Part 2.”  They wrestle with the issue for about 15 minutes.


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