IMG_0394Because of my growing love for church history, as I stated in my previous post HERE, I have grown to love and respect the confessions of the church. Confessions of faith are intended to clarify and publish the most basic beliefs that frame our faith, our witness, and our worship. Now, let me say this right off the bat: my love and respect for confessions is in no way in comparison to my love and respect for the Holy Scriptures. In reality, my love and respect for the very Word of God fuels my love for confessions that accurately display the doctrines taught in Scripture. Confessions do not cause me to love the Scriptures. The Scriptures cause me to love confessions. Seeing the doctrines taught in Scripture, the doctrines that change the hearts and lives of sinners, laid out in an orderly fashion is beautiful to me, and I hope this series on confessions (every 4th Monday) encourages you to view confessions in the same light.
I would like to start this series with looking at the 2000 Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) statement of faith: The Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M). I would like for us to understand where the “newest” confession stands before we move to older confessions. As many people know already, the 2000 statement was not the first confession of the SBC. The first comprehensive statement of faith of the SBC was in 1925, when a committee led by E.Y. Mullins presented the BF&M to the SBC. Interestingly, the statement was a revised edition of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith. The 1925 committee brought its report during an era of the fundamentalist/modernist controversy. Then in the 1960’s another period of controversy emerged over the nature and authority of Scripture, and as a result, the SBC revised the BF&M through the recommendation of a committee led by Herschel Hobbs. The 1963 statement added new articles and revised the language and content of the 1925 statement in significant areas. The BF&M was next revised in 1998, adopting an article specifically concerning the family due to the wide-spread societal concern about the breakdown of the family. The next year the SBC called on the president to appoint a committee to review the BF&M and to bring a report and any recommendations to the SBC meeting the following year. The members of the committee included Max Barnett (OK), Steve Gaines (AL), Susie Hawkins (TX), Rudy A. Hernandez (TX), Charles S. Kelley Jr. (LA), Heather King (IN), Richard Land (TN), Fred Luter (LA), R. Albert Mohler Jr. (KY), T.C. Pinckney (VA), Nelson Price (GA), Adrian Rogers (chairman, TN), Roger Spradlin (CA), Simon Tsoi (AZ), and Jerry Vines (FL). During the 2000 SBC meeting, the Convention adopted the report, including the recommended revisions of the BF&M.
In Kelley, Land, and Mohler’s study commentary on the BF&M, a commentary I will be using in this series, they placed a sentence on the Copyright page that states, “We believe that the Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. The 2000 statement of The Baptist Faith and Message is our doctrinal guideline.” As we study the BF&M and other confessions together, let us always remember that the very Word of God is the rock-solid foundation that our faith is built on, not confessions. So, we must come to confessions with a critical mind, unlike how we come to the Holy Scriptures with an open mind. En Cristo Solo!

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