While stressing that the discussion between Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention is a family matter, speakers at the 2013 John 3:16 Conference outlined the differences between the two views and what they believe to be the issues hindering unity among Southern Baptists.
Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., which hosted the conference on March 21-22, told attendees that the event would help them "engage in the conversation going on across the nation and the Southern Baptist Convention."
Jerry Vines, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., opened the conference by saying it was not about anger or fighting anyone over these issues....
[Allen quoted Charles Spurgeon, a 19th-century British Calvinist, as saying, that Arminianism (a theological system often seen as the opposite of Calvinism) "marries Christ to a bride He did not choose," to which Allen retorted that if regeneration precedes faith, "Calvinism marries Christ to a bride in a shotgun wedding. She did not have the choice to turn down His proposal."]
John 3:14 KJV 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Thousands were dead and dying, bitten by venomous snakes. The bronze serpent God told Moses to make stood high in the midst. If only those bitten would look up! They would be healed. But alas, the venom had weakened their bodies, they had no strength left. They were on the verge of death. Could not lift their heads. Tom and Dick were looking at Harry, who was face down in the dirt. He'd been bitten. Tom said, "Come on, Dick, let's lift his head up, so that he can look up at the serpent, then he will be healed." But Dick stopped him, "Nah, he won't like it if we help him, you know how proud and independent he is."
Just then, Harry died, with tears in his eyes, in great pain.