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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by 12strings, Apr 10, 2012.
This was in another thread:
Any further thoughts or rebuttals?
Sour grapes comes to mind
Some of the most ridiculous observations I've heard around here...and that says a lot.
Here's my own personal breakdown...based on my time at an SBC Seminary and now 5 years at an SBC Chuch. (I did not grow up SBC):
1. CREEDAL: - Not sure what is meant here. We have a statement of beliefs which is meant to provide a center of beliefs. I'm not sure what the alternatives to this would be. No statement of belief?
2. Soul-Liberty: - The SBC prohibits Seminary faculty & students from imbibing alcohol, so you may have something here.
3. Priesthood of the believer: - I'm not sure what this is getting at here. I guess it depends on how you define this one and soul liberty. Our church definitely believes in the the Priesthood of the believer, but also that one role of the church is to help correct errors in belief or lifestyle. I need no priest to go between me and God, but If I start embezzling money, or teaching that Jesus didn't really rise bodily from the dead, someone should correct me for the good of my soul.
4. Wavering on Autonomy: - See other thread on SBC autonomy and wierd reversion clauses...I had never heard of these before last week, but our church does not operate this way. I would say that some local and state entities are trying to be more involved in local church activities than the national SBC would want them to be.
5. Don't believe in Church-State Separation: - Not even sure what is meant here...perhaps someone can elaborate?
***I can only say that in my own church, we are very autonomous. We do support the CP somewhat, and The IMB directly. We also support other missionaries. We only use Lifeway curriculum in 2 of our 12-15 sunday school classes. And even though the national SBC can make resolutions against alcohol, Disney, and other nonsense that wastes time and effort, we can largely ignore them if we want to.
--SO...I'm pretty sure that my church is a "Baptist" church, since we practice believer's baptism and operate our own autonomous church.
Do SBC seminary professors have to sign any document afirming that they are in agreement with the BFM? If yes, then the Seminaries are creedal, they just avoid using the word.
Think that the SBC is as much a baptist group as IBF, nab, etc...
its just that some here probably have a problem with their "politics" going on at top levels, especially as they tend to be replacing Niv with their HCSB, and bring calvanism back into forefront!
One of the things about being Baptist is you get to decide what exactly you mean when you call yourself Baptist. That means we get people Jack Hyles and Jesse Jackson calling themselves Baptist!?!?!?
I think what the original post was highlighting was the changes seen in the SBC. I guess if I were to recast the question "Is the SBC really Baptist, as it has been historically understood?" or something like that.
The SBC is Baptist because they want to be. They get to define what exactly that means. Now that may not jive with what historically has been understood to be Baptist (the list that was given is a good start) but they are free to make those changes and you and I are free to resist them, that's the way things work in the wild world of Baptists.
Regarding the SBC becoming “creed driven convention that is not Baptist”:
There is a marked difference between a confession and a creed (from a Baptist perspective). The Southern Baptists generally reject creeds. The way that the SBC views creeds is that creeds establish what a church is to believe, but a confession is a statement of beliefs that are held by the church. The SBC does not prescribe a creed, but the churches established a common statement of faith as descriptive. Where creeds are prescriptive, confessions are descriptive.
The Southern Baptist faith and message was designed to address issues contemporary to its environment. It was never regarded as complete or infallible statement of faith. It was not, and is not, an official creed carrying mandatory authority.
For example, Smyth copied the Waterlander Confession almost verbatim for the Second London Confession. Baptist confessions include: Short Confession of Faith in Twenty Articles of 1609; A Short Confession of Faith (1610); Helwys Confession of 1611; Propositions and conclusions concerning True Christian Religion ; The Somerset Confession of Faith ; First London Baptist Confession ; Second London Baptist Confession; The Philadelphia Confession; The Sandy Creek Confession; The Goatyard Declaration of Faith; New Hampshire Confession of Faith; A Treatise on the Faith of the Freewill Baptists; Fulton Confession of Faith (Primitive Baptists); Articles of Faith Put Forth by the Baptist Union. None of these, to include the Southern Baptist Faith and Message, are creedal. Crabtownboy is incorrect in this aspect.
Regarding the priesthood of the believer:
Michael is incorrect in that there is no movement within the convention to dispose of this doctrine. The only thing remotely close to this claim (that I can see) is in the structure of the churches. There are churches that take an anti-Baptist stance in that they adopt a type of elder leadership that is foreign to historical Baptist ecclesiology and probably closer to Presbyterian. But this is a part of being Baptist – Baptist churches are “free church” movements with local autonomy. Each church forms its leadership structure. Interestingly, to deny the right of self government to the local church would also be contrary of the Baptist faith and message.
Wavering on autonomy and Church-State Separation
The SBC has not wavered on the autonomy of the local church (or, for that matter, other organizations within the SBC). If Michael means that the SBC encourages participation in civil matters, then he is correct. The SBC does not seem to shy away from trying to be influential regarding political and moral issues (abortion laws, homosexual marriage, etc.) – but this is not really concerning the separation of Church and State. The SBC has not advocated a Church governed State or a State governed Church. But I do think that many churches become too entrenched in worldly affairs when they should be concentrating on the church.
Soul Liberty – There is a difference between behavior at a Seminary and the convention itself (which answers to the local church) and prescribing behavior to the actual churches. (The SBC can pass a resolution that bans drinking, but this would not prevent a local congregation from having a Friday night keg party).
It is a convention, not a governing body.
Governing what is being taught by seminary professors, having them sign a document of their belief, is not creedal. You are confusing the church with the school.
There is a difference between having a teacher affirm a specific set of beliefs (before being hired) and prescribing a set of beliefs to a church.
That is why I said the school (seminary) is creedal and didn't carpet bomb all Baptist churches with that label. I don't see local Churches as creedal but I do think we see it creeping into some organizations adminstered by the SBC.
I don't mean to come across as "carpet bombing" churches – I’m not sure exactly sure to what label you are referring. I actually reject the notion that the SBC itself is Baptist anyway because it is not a church - it's the churches that are Baptist - the SBC is a convention. It reflects the beliefs of those associated within its members but does not prescribe beliefs. Organizations and Conventions do not hold beliefs, people do. The local church is the people who make up that congregation, so the church holds beliefs. The SBC is made up of churches.
That said, seminaries are not "creedal" because they do not prescribe a specific belief. They employ professors. You can consider it a litmus test (which I believe should be in place). But it is not actually a new idea. For example, Crawford Toy was dismissed, rightfully so, for his liberal theology (interestingly enough, it also ended his engagement to Lottie Moon). He was not expected to submit to the “creed” of the school, but was dismissed because his beliefs did not concur with those of the institution (although Whitsitt did object to his dismissal). Seminaries should have the right to employ those who represent the ideals of the school. But it is not a creed.
I don't disagree...They are creedal. I just fail to see how this is a bad thing. It seems the disagreement is over how specific such a "creed" would be.
We would probably both agree that the seminary should not require professors to hold to a specific interpretation of the Nephilim in Genesis 6...But we wouldn't we also not want a Seminary Professor who was a muslim, or athiest?
Isn't some level of creedalism in the seminaries a good thing?
Now that I think about it, I’m actually not that much against creeds. They may have a purpose depending on how you view or define the term “creed.”
I could say, for example, that I believe:
1. God is the only true and lifting God that exists. He is the Creator of the universe, eternally existing in three Persons – the Father, son and Holy Spirit – each equally deserving of humanity’s worship and obedience.
2. The Bible is entirely true. The Bible is totally sufficient and completely authoritative for all matters of life and faith.
3. All human beings are born with a sin nature and into a fallen world inclined towards sin. Only by the grace of God through the gift of faith in Jesus Christ can they experience salvation.
4. Jesus is both fully God and fully human. He is Christ, the Son of God. Born of a virgin, he lived a sinless life and performed many miracles. He died on the cross to provide forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation. He rose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will return in power and glory to claim His bride, the church, to exist eternally with Him in Heaven.
I do believe those statements, but they are an explanation of my belief (even though I didn't come up with the statements). If presented by a church, is it then a creed? It’s part of the eight core truths of the NorthSide Bible study (Weatherford, TX), so does it make that congregation a creedal people? Shouldn’t the pastor and teachers also share in that “creed” if it represents the belief of the church?
Or I could say that “I believe in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and trust in His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross for the atonement of my sins.” Is that creedal? It is certainly theological and it is not a verbatim text of scripture.
Of course, I could also say that the statement “We do not accept creeds” is a creedal statement in itself.
Motion passed by SBC messengers at their annual meeting in 2007:
“That this Convention adopt the statement of the Executive Committee issued in February of this year and included in the Committee’s report found in the 2007 Book of Reports, page 17, number 4, which reads:
“‘The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed, nor a complete statement of our faith, nor final or infallible; nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and as such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention.’”
p. 57, 2007 SBC Annualhttp://sbcec.org/bor/2007/2007SBCAnnual.pdf
Morris Chapman, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, explained:
"Any practice instituted by an entity in the Southern Baptist Convention that has the force of doctrine should be in accord with the Baptist Faith and Message and not exceed its boundaries unless and until it has been approved by the Southern Baptist Convention.
And secondly, if an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention adopts a confession of faith separate and distinct from the Baptist Faith and Message and it includes a doctrine unsupported by our confessional statement, the entity should request approval from the Convention prior to including the doctrine in its confession."
Emphasis added :laugh:
The Baptist church I am part of is not SBC, but I have no problem with the SBC or any of the the SBC curches I am familiar with.
“These two proposals have to do only with the confession of faith by which employees of an entity of the convention are to abide whether they be missionaries, professors or administrators."
You forgot that part. Doesn't mean a governance of the local churches - but certainly SBC entities should abide by SBC guidance. (Churches are not SBC entities).
Sounds like they are saying that if a Seminary wants to impose some extra-BF&M dogma on its professors, it needs to get permission from the Convention.
think that reformed christians use creeds/confessions, while rest of us use statement of beliefs !
Hopefully the decision to publish the resolution was a lesson learned. I don’t think that the SBC could turn itself around a second time (at least not in this environment anyway).
Since 99% of the members of local churches never went to a SBC seminary, who cares what they think? If a local church does not like the direction or theology of the SBC, they can become Independent with one vote. There is no heirarchy here. I see no evidence in local churches that there is any use of creeds or departure from traditional Baptist beliefs. Some of the counties to the east of us have accepted alien baptisms for membership, but they are in a different association.