G. B. D. Pepper (1833-1913), professor of church history at Newton and Crozer, said,

“Finally, faith is the Holy Spirit’s fruit. God calls it into exercise by his own efficient acting. It is, indeed, the sinner’s own personal, rational act, conditioned by appropriate knowledge and mediated by appropriate motives, but the sacrifice of the sinful self is not product of the sinful self sacrificed. It is an act of one who is born of God, of the Spirit, from above, Squarely has the denomination asserted this, firmly believed it, earnestly maintained it. This supernatural element of faith involves the doctrine of Election. It presupposes that salvation is by God’s own sovereign will, hence, by his own sovereign act. So have Baptists borne, and deserved to bear, the name of Calvinists, as holding in this capital doctrine with Calvin rather than with those who either co-ordinate the divine and the human, or condition God’s acting on man’s faith, and not man’s faith of God’s acting. Were Baptists to cease, thus far to be Calvinists, they would cease to be Baptists. . . . Baptists maintain it at their centre and circumference, and at every point intermediate.”*

I know a “true Calvinist” would not bear to hear this said, but I like the remark nonetheless.

*”Doctrinal History and Position,” in Baptists and the National Centenary, ed. Lemuel Moss (Lewisburg, Pa.: Heritage Pub, 1976; repr. Philadelphia: American Baptists Publications, 1876); quoted in Tom Nettles, Ready for Reformation: Bringing Authentic Reform to Southern Baptist Churches (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 23 (emphasis mine).

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