- God died for ANY person who will turn to Him under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Calvinism is not taught in any way in this church. We DO NOT believe that God elected only certain people and not others! - People are not outcasts (regardless of actions or lifestyle) - Not everyone is just like us - People are important to us as a church
* The Issue of Calvinism: (The following is from our pastor, Bro. Eric Hodge) As Pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, I am open and honest about the fact that I am a traditional Southern Baptist pastor, and Mt. Olive is a traditional Southern Baptist Church. Because of that fact, in leading this congregation & body, I choose not to preach or teach the doctrine of Calvinism in any way. I understand that there seems to be a small amount of overlap between traditional Baptist & Calvinist Baptist's doctrine, but I feel led by the Holy Spirit to not claim any part of Calvinism. I personally feel God's peace in this decision. Let me share a few points concerning my beliefs about traditional Baptist that may differ from Calvinist beliefs:
* I believe that God elected ALL to be saved. If 'ALL' means 'all' in Romans 3:23, then 'anyone' means just that in Romans 10:13. The 'world' means the 'world' in John 3:16. It can't be both ways. If something else was meant, then God would have divinely had that written in His Holy, perfect word to us. That Jesus endured the cross for only certain 'elected' folks...and damned the others to hell is something I do not believe and I will not preach or teach.
* God predestined ALL to be saved and 'to be conformed to the likeness of his son.' The only way to be conformed to the likeness of the Son is to be saved. God's grace & mercy will allow all people the opportunity to be saved. No one is just an 'afterthought' to God. All people are a part of His plan if they will choose to be.
* I believe in the 'free-will' of mankind. God gave us a choice to choose him or reject Him as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Free-will began early in God's Word at the tree that God told Adam & Eve not to eat from. They chose to disobey... and unfortunately so can we. That battle has raged ever since.
* I believe only God in Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit can save a person. But we ARE NOT depraved to the point that we cannot respond to Jesus Christ under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I believe that God is bigger than our 'lostness' and can call and draw any person on the planet to be saved. Jesus' death on the cross did everything needed to save mankind ("It is finished!").
* I believe altar calls and 'invitations' are ok in God's eyes. People need the opportunity to be saved under the Word of God and the leadership of His Holy Spirit. 'Invitations' and 'altar calls' are simply giving people the opportunity to be saved. It has always required FAITH to believe God is working in someone's life and that a person has been saved. Last time I checked it still does require FAITH! (and yes...every church, everywhere all through history have had folks in their church that weren't truly saved. Unfortunately, it has always been that way and will always be that way)
* A true child of God cannot lose their Salvation. God never intended someone to believe that they can be saved on Monday and then be lost on Wednesday and then be saved again on Friday. God never intended for someone to live with & under that burden. So the issue isn't whether you can lose your salvation, because you can't. The issue is and will always be...'did you truly find Jesus Christ to begin with?'
* I do, without a doubt, believe in the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD! You can't choose Jesus Christ and walk with God and believe anything less. But traditional & Calvinistic Baptists do differ on the point of what does God choose to do with His SOVEREIGNTY? As a traditional Southern Baptist, I believe God in His Sovereignty has chosen, elected, and predestined all people who choose Jesus to be saved and those that reject Jesus to be lost.
* God didn't intend for all things to be figured out. We can't understand everything that happens in our spiritual lives. I personally believe that Calvinism is an attempt by many to make everything 'add up.' They need everything to 'make sense.' But I've got news for us all...everything doesn't add up or make perfect sense. Remember Isaiah 55:8-9? God tells us that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Calvinism doesn't make everything 'add up.' In my personal opinion, it makes things more confusing!
We invite all people to visit with us at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. But I feel the divine leading of God in my life to be very upfront about who I am and what I believe and preach at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. I do my best to respect all people's beliefs and doctrines, but I will not apologize or change my personal beliefs on this specific issue. I feel divinely led of the Holy Spirit of God in this matter. God and His Spirit give me only 'red flags' and no peace concerning the doctrine of Calvinism. If you are looking for specific Calvinistic teaching... Mt. Olive Baptist Church may not be the church for you. But please feel free to visit with us at any time. May God bless you as you continue to seek His perfect will for your life.