Our message, called the gospel, is simply telling people what Jesus did at the Cross and what happens to anyone who receives the truth of that message. I've believed that all my converted life and have delivered the truth of it as a Southern Baptist pastor/teacher for fifty-eight years of ministry.
I'm also a___[boy, how I hate labels, but for the sake of clarity, I'll use one.]___five-point Calvinist and have been longer than most of you have been alive. But I was asked one time how I could believe in "Divine Election" and "Particular Redemption" [which I prefer over limited atonement] and then stand before people and say Jesus died for them! The questioner, following his logic on this issue, then said, "To be honest, you'd have to tell some that Jesus DID NOT die for them."
My response to that questioner and anyone who has the same thoughts is this. I'm committed to standing before every single human being I possibly can and saying to them that Jesus died for sinners. And if they are willing to recognize they are that and are willing to call upon Him, in brokenness and faith, as Lord and Savior, they will be saved.
You see, I do not believe anyone is saved because they are elected or is not saved because they are not elected. [And, as I said, I do believe in election.] But anyone who is ever saved will be so because of the finished work of Christ that is received as a broken, repentent sinner.
Where in the scripture does it say or proclaim that anyone has the right or even the responsibility to stand before anyone and say "Jesus DIDN'T die for you" OR to say or proclaim that "Jesus DID die for you?" Every textual reference I've ever read in the biblical materials that says "Jesus died for you" is said to people after they have experienced His grace.
But we do have both the right and the responsibility to stand before all peoples everywhere and tell them who Jesus is and that He did, in fact, die for sinners and that He has given the command to repent and call upon Him in faith to every person, promising that whoever does that will, in fact, be saved.
Whether they know why they were willing to repent and believe___because it was good thinking on their part or because God caused them to think about it in the first place___ or whether they believe they were chosen before the foundation of the world because God looked down through time and saw they would believe__ or whether God made the choice Himself for His own reasons before time__ or whether they know the faith they've exercised is a gift of God in and of itself__ or the natural ability of fallen people that is of itself without merit__ makes no difference in the presentation of the gospel to them. [You might want to read that again__slowly.]
Those are all things we can study, debate and teach later being true to how we understand them scripturally. But no view one holds on any one of those issues alters the need for the gospel being presented and believed by the hearer. Also, that presentation of the gospel can be done cooperatively as Southern Baptists world-wide unless we start demanding uniformity of doctrines instead of the unity of the Spirit because of our Christ/Cross/Tomb agreement with each other. [To illustrate the point of the last post.]
Now, I could begin to show why I believe God chose of His own will, BEFORE the world began, who would be saved and why I believe faith IS a gift and why I believe regeneration brings about an ability to believe.....ad infinitum. But that is for the instruction and growth of those who are already believers. While it is the instruction of the saints in doctrine and legitimate and needed, it is not the gospel message.
Someone may say, "How do you reconcile the seeming contradiction between the words and point of the third paragraph with the words and statement of the ninth paragraph?"
Ummmmmm...I think I'll just be satisfied with the clear biblical "antinomy" [Two things in theology that appear to be contradictory.] that exists between those two things, and I emphasize only "appears" to our limited understanding to be contradictory.
One day the Father will have to make all our limited understanding of theology perfectly clear when we get home. Until then I'll trust His Word to be true and continue to grow in my understanding of that Word, while all the time, telling ALL the people, "Jesus died for sinners and if you will repent and trust Him you WILL be one of those sinners that will be saved."