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Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Jerome, Apr 19, 2012.
Baptist Press April 19, 2012
I love TTU, am working on my PhD there right now. However, I could not sign the BF&M 2000. The 1963 was cool, and they messed it up by inserting the whole spiritual baptism stuff. BH Carroll could not have signed it either. I am not sure why the faculty must sign the statement. It just seems a little odd to me.
http://www.hiddenhillssgbaptistchur...ism/Baptized in the Spirit, B. H. Carroll.htm
Do all faculty at all SBC school have to sign this new Baptist creed?
Is there any room for churches to disagree?
Why do many Southern Baptist bloggers tear apart parts of the BF&M 2000?
Will the leadership start excluding these congregations?
I left the SBC in 1996, and from these new developments, I am happy to still be unaffiliated. The current leadership seems to be acting less and less Baptist everyday.
How many are "so many"?
I wish I could find all the blogs that were around a few years ago that challenged certain parts of it.
I know that BH Carroll could not have signed this part:
"At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ."
I thought that Dr. York had blogged about this, but could not find his statement on the issue.
But whether they know it or not, every SBC pastor who advocates open communion is in violation of the BF&M 2000.
The BF&M clearly states that baptism is "a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper."
That means, according to the BF&M, that the Lord's Supper should be restricted to only those who have been immersed and that such immersion is a church, not a kingdom ordinance. This has great implications to church practice.
When will the SBC start excluding those churches that do not practice restricted communion? If they don't, then how come they feel they have the right to exclude those who violate other aspects of the BF&M, like homosexuality, etc.
In my opinion, the BF&M is being used as a tool by the power hungry to control and alienate those who offer a different opinion (whether they be Landmarkers, egalitarians, or any other thing that the current leadership opposes).
From a dollars standpoint, TTU is right to have its faculty sign the statement. TTU needs to be more involved in the Cooperative Program if they want to be successful. I just think it is a sad state of affairs on two counts. 1) The SBC has clearly become a denomination instead of a missions agency; 2) Another good fundamentalist school has been silenced from its sincere opposition to some of the practice of the Convention.
I respect Dr. Echols and TTU. I hope they continue to be successful in the work there. However, I can never teach at TTU because I will not be forced to sign a statement like the BF&M. It is the reason I chose to attend TTU over Liberty for my PhD.
Is the faculty at Jacksonville College and BMATS also foced to sign this statement or do they get a pass?
Hello dear brother. In what area are you doing your PhD may I inquire?
"That is all!"
TTU has one PhD program in Leadership Studies. My focus is on the integration of faith and knowledge among member schools of the CCCU. My thesis will look into the effect of leadership on theology.
I apologise in advance for my lack of understanding here (and when you tell me, I'll probably see it was right in front of me) - but, at the risk of appearing that I have not viewed the BF&M's before asking, I'll ask anyway.
What exactly is the issue regarding baptism between the 1963 and 2000 BF&M?
The primary issue is that the 1963 BF&M was not used by the SBC as a creed.
Consider this article from 2002:
BAPTISM IN/BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
When I was a kid, I was raised under the 1963 statement. It allowed latitude concerning the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are several different beliefs held by conservative Baptists on this issue, but the SBC leadership has made one a test of fellowship.
What I was taught back then was that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a historic event that came on the institutional church during the transition of the church from the administration of Christ to the administration of the Holy Spirit. We were taught that such a baptism was not in play in the modern era. As one pastor explained metaphorically, "Once the train gets to the depot, you no longer have to wait for it." His argument was that the church already was baptized with the Holy Spirit and continued that empowerment to the present. This is exactly what BH Carroll taught:
Now then, Mr. Carroll clearly explained his opposition to the BF&M 2000 by those words, since that statement has the Holy Spirit baptizing every believer separately into the universal, invisible body. No such statement appears in the 1963 document.
The 1963 was almost not adopted because it referred to the Universal Church at all. Imagine those brethren looking at the 2000. Those pastors could not have adopted it. Yet, 93% of the pastors approved it. Then Rankin forces missionaries and others to sign the thing with the fear of losing their job. Our local mission director will not place a pastor who does not agree with it 100%.
Funny to me how one can have honest disagreement with a man made document and lose his job...
BAPTISM BEFORE THE SUPPER
This is VERY interesting. How many SBC churches practice restricted communion? Only a handful that I know of. A.H. Strong believed in it, and so did all the old Baptist. Paige Patterson also concurs. But, since most pastors in the SBC preach open communion, why was the wording that baptism must precede the Lord's Supper not challenged by the delegates?
Well, here is my take. Very few actually read this binding creed very closely. As part of the conservative resurgence, they simply voted for it without thinking about what it indicated.
At issue is the consistency in its application. Conservative leaders can use this document to alienate "moderates" and "liberals," but will they use it to alienate those who do not practice the Lord's Supper as a restricted ordinance? If they do not, then the document becomes worthless except as a political football in a convention that is consistently marred with strife between two very different ways of looking at scripture.
To me conservatism is advancing the cause of the churches. As TP Crawford wrote shortly after the death of Lottie Moon, "Churches, to the Front!" Unfortunately, today's SBC has ignored the old Baptist doctrine of the primacy of the local church. It has turned the mission sending agency into a denomination. The convention is yielding more power, etc.
I know I am off topic concerning TTU, but as a TTU student, I am fearful that the open signature of the BF&M at a public ceremony is the equivalent of telling academic theologians to shut their brains down if they have any disagreement with the BF&M 2000. Since the statement is no longer vague, but actually marginalizes a large portion of conservative Baptists, this is a rather dangerous policy.
This is simply not what a missions agency that respects church sovereignty looks like, and exactly why I can not be Southern Baptist.
As a follow up to my previous post, I hope I do not sound harsh about this issue. As far as fellowship on a local level, these secondary issues do not bother me, nor do they bother most Southern Baptists. I am a little passionate about these things because I feel like I was raised as a good and normal Southern Baptist. I did not leave the SBC in 1996 because I had changed my beliefs. I simply wanted to minister in a more placid ministry environment (Texas was a very argumentative place in the middle 90s). Today's SBC seems to have turned a corner by making this (among other things) a test of fellowship. This means that I am no longer welcome to return to the Convention without denying what I was taught as a Southern Baptist. I hope that explains my passion a bit more.
Although I am not at the same place on the theological spectrum as you, I understand and affirm what you are saying about today's SBC.
It should also be noted that the aspect of the universal and invisible church was not as much an issue in the nineteenth century. R.B.C. Howell (2nd president of the SBC) wrote – several times – that regeneration placed the man into the catholic, universal, and invisible church, but that water baptism placed the believer into the visible church. But I think you are right in that narrowing down a belief within a document of common belief will exclude a portion of the denomination (as will adding beliefs regarding contemporary issues/controversies). Perhaps the SBC realized that it was becoming an amalgamation of churches that held doctrines with too diverse a range to maintain a SBC identity. That seems, to me, to be the case when looking at local church beliefs. Anyway, I do see your point.
I think you have a good point with TTU also, although it is an issue with the seminary and not the SBC. I believe that the Southern Baptist seminaries that were established by the SBC certainly should confirm the BF&M as they are there to represent a specific set of common beliefs. (Likewise, Auburn Presbyterian Seminary should require the professors to hold to the beliefs of set forth by the General Assembly). But outside of the six, it would seem that the requirement for professors to sign is internal to the specific seminary.
I went to a Baptist seminary which is affiliated with the SBC (but not a “Southern Baptist seminary” as established by the SBC). They have a doctrinal statement, and to teach at that seminary one must – and should – hold the beliefs that are stated in that doctrinal statement (it was more specific than the BF&M in some aspects). But for me, it was important that I know the beliefs of those who would be my professors. That does not mean that outside speakers were not brought in or other views presented.
So, I can understand why a professor would be disgruntled if they affirmed a position and then the seminary changed their position and expected the professors to follow suit. I can also understand why some would disagree with TTU adopting the BF&M (although I wouldn’t have an issue with it). I’m also not sure that one can hold the BF&M as prescribing belief as a creed to organizations that are not actually local churches. But I do see the potential for abuse, actually either way (with or without the BF&M).
“A church with a little creed is a church with a little life. The more divine doctrines a church can agree on, the greater its power, and the wider its usefulness. The fewer its articles of faith, the fewer its bonds of union and compactness.” 
 B.H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, 1948, (Reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976), http://sglblibrary.homestead.com/files/bhcarroll/BHCarrollContents.htm#contents, (accessed 21 April 2012).
After reading the rest of this thread, I have a few comments:
1. Thought BF&M 2000 is being used to screen Seminary and college professors, SBC Leadership has not (yet) made adherance to the BF&M a test of fellowship/cooperation for SBC churches. A church can write its own statement of beliefs and ignore BF&M 2000 completely...or say it holds to 1963.
2. I agree that the sections on spirit Baptism and Communion should not be so narrow. There is room for disagreement on open/closed communion & on whether there even is a universal church or not. In its defense, the phrasing of the communion section does not absolutely require a closed communion; as a pastor could simply say, any Baptized believers are welcome to partake." I think that would be fitting with the language of the statement...but I"m not sure.
3. Despite these problems...I do believe there SHOULD be some base-line statement of beliefs that must be adhered to be one who is paid at the seminaries BY OUR CHURCHES to teach our future pastors. I think we will all just disagree on how specific it should be.
I know that the SBC resolutions are not binding and are not “tests of fellowship,” and also that the BF&M is not binding on local churches. So far as I know, and as stated by the SBC, there are two restrictions upon local churches in regards to representation within the SBC – that the church contribute to the Conventions work and that it not endorse homosexual behavior (so I can see this as a “test of fellowship” within the Convention itself).
Not to be rude, but BULL. The idea of not requiring adherence to a certain set of doctrines, before one is funded as a missionary, is utterly ridiculous. As an autonomous, local church, we do not send one penny to missionaries who do not uphold Baptist doctrine.
For that matter, you are self-deceived. You are creedal, too. Would you send money to fund Mormon missions? Frankly, spirit baptism as described in the BF & M is a vital doctrine, and though I would not call you a heathen for denying it, I certainly would not want to support such a missionary with my church's money, when there are VAST numbers of missionaries who do believe it, that I support.
Face it: we are ALL creedal. Else we would have Mormons, Catholics, etc. being funded. They NEVER were.
HD, I agree with you
PS - I figured eventually there would be something we could agree on.:smilewinkgrin: If I ever get to your part of the country, I would love to attend your service!
The SBC should follow its creed.
Second, the SBC should stop naming seminaries after men that it disagrees with.
The SBC is drunk with bigism and schizophrenic. It contains folks from liberal persuasions all the way down to extreme fundamentalists. As a body, it can not figure out where it stands on anything.
You are right about my local church and its creed. I am very strict with where my money goes. Most Baptists would not get my money. And it was the fact that there were missionaries from Texas supported by Convention dollars that denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus that sealed the deal for me when I left the SBC in 1996.
Since 1996, the Convention has made great improvements to the way missionaries get to the field. In doing so, it has attempted to maintain fellowship between egalitarians like Burleson while trying to bring in radical conservatives like Thomas Road and Highland Park. The foundation of the SBC is quivering under its own weight.
Most Southern Baptists have rejected their own theological heritage, evidenced by the denial of the teaching by men like BH Carroll. When Baptists like me affirm such doctrines, we are called heretics. This is the strange irony of the Southern Baptists. If I am a heretic, then so was Mr. Carroll. This means that just a few generations ago, the SBC was a denomination steeped in heresy.
The SBC as a whole is looking to a creed instead of the Bible to reinforce Baptist principles and pulling more control from local churches into a denominational system. Didn't the mainline Protestant denominations all try that to no avail? Shouldn't it be painfully obvious that the best way to remain conservative is to connect ministries to local churches? Don't TTU, Criswell College and Liberty all reflect this reality?
The local church, not the convention, is the pillar and ground of the truth. TTU was a fine school without the Convention creed, dare I say, much better than Baylor, which supposedly held to the Convention creed while denying essential truths from the scritpure.
The SBC has always been steeped in diversity in that diversity of belief was always a present among the churches associated together in the Convention. Heretical belief in terms of a denial of fundamental Christian faith (e.g., a denial of the bodily resurrection of Christ), certainly should not have been tolerated.
I think that you’ll find, however, that this objection and expulsion of unchristian belief will also result in the same objection that you are presenting - an acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle would be one example. You mention the wording of baptism in the BF&M as a “test of fellowship” (post #10), but this is not correct. Acceptance of a homosexual lifestyle, however, is now a “test of fellowship.” And this change to the Convention would also exclude churches that may have otherwise remained affiliated with the SBC. Personally, I agree with the SBC on both accounts (baptism and a stance on homosexuality).
You note that SBC pastors who advocate open communion are in violation of the BF&M 2000 – this of course is not true. A local church cannot be in violation to something to which it was never bound (or, at any rate, such a violation would be irrelevant). What you probably should have said was that some local churches do not hold to the BF&M in its entirety – which of course is fine. But SBC institutions should be bound by the BF&M because the BF&M is the result of the Convention as composed of individual free churches and the institutions are subject to this cooperate decision (even if it is the result of compromise).
In short, there is no such thing as the “SBC as a whole” because the “whole” is a collection of autonomous churches. Institutions governed by the SBC have no autonomy and are by necessity bound by the decisions of the collective. A departure from the doctrine of men like BH Carroll would not be a departure from historical SBC doctrine because as a denomination the SBC has never had a monolithic voice.
To borrow from Carroll, a “church with a little creed is a church with a little life. The more divine doctrines a church can agree on, the greater its power, and the wider its usefulness, the fewer its articles of faith, the fewer its bounds of union and compactness.” Does this agreement exclude some churches? Yes, of course it does. But it strengthens the whole. Again, Carroll stated “the modern cry: ‘Less creed and more liberty,’ is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jellyfish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy.” Diversity is necessary, particularly among free church associations. But points of exclusion and definition are also necessary. Your entire post seems to be mixing the association of local and autonomous churches within the SBC with actual SBC institutions and also mixing the requirement of SBC Seminaries to adhere to the BF&M with other seminaries who elect to adopt the BF&M.
I had a response, but I give up.
I am glad I am an Independent Baptist, and I suppose I am just saddened that a good Independent Baptist college like TTU has gone to the Convention.
Nevertheless, I still love TTU, its faculty, and its new president! I want only the best for the school and wish it continued success.