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Use and Importance of the Goodchild Confession

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by rlvaughn, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    In 1921 the executive committee of the Fundamental Fellowship of the Northern Baptist Convention, chaired by Frank Marsden Goodchild (1860-1928), proposed “to restate the foundation doctrines of our faith in the following brief and simple confession which is but a re-affirmation of the substance of the historic Philadelphia and New Hampshire Confessions of Faith.” It is commonly referred to as the “Goodchild Confession.”

    1. We believe that the Bible is God’s word, that it was written by men divinely inspired, and that is has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

    2. We believe in God the Father, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, measureless in power. We rejoice that he concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that he hears and answers prayer, and that he saves from sin and death all who come to him through Jesus Christ.

    3. We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, miraculous in his birth, sinless in his life, making atonement for the sins of the world by his death. We believe in his bodily resurrection, his ascension in to heaven, his perpetual intercession for his people and his personal visible return to the world according to his promise.

    4. We believe in the Holy Spirit who came forth from God to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and comfort those who believe in Jesus Christ.

    5. We believe that all men by nature and by choice are sinners but that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life;” we believe therefore that those who accept Christ as Savior and Lord will rejoice forever in God’s presence and those who refuse to accept Christ as Savior and Lord will be forever separated from God.

    6. We believe in the church—a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and of which all regenerated people are members. We believe that a visible church is a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible confession of faith, and associated in worship, work and fellowship. We believe that to these visible churches were committed, for perpetual observance, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and that God has laid upon these churches the task of persuading a lost world to accept Jesus Christ as Savior, and to enthrone him as Lord and Master. We believe that all human betterment and social improvement are the inevitable by-products of such a gospel.

    7. We believe that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith; that each church is independent and autonomous and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority; that therefore Church and State must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from the dictation or patronage of the other.

    [Source: The Baptist, Vol. II, No. 22, July 2, 1921, Arthur W. Cleaves, editor; Chicago, IL: Northern Baptist Convention, p. 684]
     
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  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    This Confession of Faith was mentioned in another thread, with little discussion about it. Perhaps there are other points that could be made.

    Jerome found this confession reported in The Baptist, July 1921, and gave us a link to it. I have typed it (see above).

    The Goodchild Confession is based on the Philadelphia and New Hampshire confessions.

    This confession would generally be known as the “Goodchild Confession,” because, according to James Leo Garrett Jr., the confession was written by Frank M. Goodchild, who was pastor of Central Baptist Church, New York City (Baptist Theology: a Four-Century Study, Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2009, p. 331). Central Baptist Church is currently a member of the Conservative Baptist Association of America.

    Garrett says that the Goodchild Confession was adopted by Conservative Baptists in 1943 (The Collected Writings of James Leo Garrett Jr., 1950-2015: Volume 1, Baptists, Part I, Wyman Lewis Richardson, editor; Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2017, p. 68). It is not the current statement of CB America.

    The NTAIBC website says that some state branches of the Fundamentalist Fellowship required individuals to sign the Goodchild Confession to join the Fellowship.

    The fundamentalists failed to ever introduce the Goodchild Confession on the floor of the Northern Baptist Convention for adoption.
     
  3. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    It seems as though the Goodchild "confession" is basically a bare-bones doctrinal statement.
     
  4. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Yes. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than I on the NBC controversy will comment, but it seems that might have been the idea -- if you can't or won't confirm this, then you must be really bad off!

    Seems I read somewhere maybe that they had hoped to get teachers in the schools to at least affirm this little bit of truth. Again, perhaps someone more familiar with the controversy can comment on that as well.
     
  5. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Yes, it was a minimal statement meant to be acceptable to all in the convention except rank modernists, but by the time the next Northern Baptist Convention rolled around it was off the table.

    Fundamentalists had second thoughts about the confession they'd approved in Des Moines. W.B. Riley in late 1921 wrote: “The orthodox men came too near a compromise for the comfort of believers. The confession adopted was too brief and omitted too many points of first importance.” source, middle column

    Opponents responded by starting arrangements with the Southern Convention to produce a unified confession of faith: Columbia Conference Suggests a New Confession.

    Southern Baptists ultimately pulled out of the proposal: Southern Baptists Turn Down Proposed Confession.
    I believe Fundamentalists then tried to get the New Hampshire Confession approved by the NBC, but Modernists and compromisers succeeded in getting a "no creed but the New Testament" statement passed instead.
     
  6. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    One of the reasons I had a hard time finding a church to join after I moved was because of doctrinal statements. Some doctrinal statements required complete agreement for membership. More than one church required complete agreement on precise eschatology (think pre-trib and pre-mil). Even if you agree not to advocate different than the church doctrinal statement you can't join unless you agree or lie. I suppose if you're trying to keep out "undesirables" you can do that. At my former church, our doctrinal statement was the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. We didn't require total agreement for prospective members. We required prospective members to agree to advocate contrary to the confession and to be taught from that perspective. Anway, I don't want to hijack your thread, so I'll stop here.
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I believe I read that in 1922 or so that W. B. Riley put forward the New Hampshire Confession as the confession of the Northern Baptist Convention (which, of course, did not pass).

    Brackney divides the Northern fundamentalist leaders into militant and moderate camps. Militant: W. B. Riley, J. R. Straton, T. T. Shields. Moderate: Curtis Lee Laws, J. C. Massee, F. M. Goodchild. These differences probably affected different strategies used, and different roads followed in the end.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=2jA7isW1AI8C&pg=PA233
     
  8. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    1943 would be referring to the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society; the Conservative Baptist Association was not formed until later in the decade. In 1943 they were still operating within the Convention; the CBFMS was conceived as an alternate mission within the NBC. Try as they might, they never secured from the NBC official status for the CBFMS.
     
  9. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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  10. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Right, 1947 I believe. I just thought it interesting that CBAmerica didn't use that confession, or if they did, have adopted another since then.
     
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