Thursday, May 31, 2007

Resolution On the Role of the BF&M

I think that the most important issue that we face with the longest-lasting implications is the question of the appropriate role of The Baptist Faith & Message in our convention. I have submitted the following resolution out of my related concerns:

On the Role of The Baptist Faith & Message

WHEREAS, The various entities of the Southern Baptist Convention operated for the first eighty years of the convention’s existence according to their own internal theological parameters, including the Abstract of Principles at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and WHEREAS, The messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, May 14-15, 1925, shaped the modern Southern Baptist Convention by adopting The Baptist Faith and Message as ”those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us”; and WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message did not become the statement of faith of any of the various entities of the Southern Baptist Convention until it was adopted as such by the boards of trustees that govern the entities; and WHEREAS, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, upon its adoption of The Baptist Faith and Message, nevertheless retained the Abstract of Principles as a body of additional binding theological parameters for the operation of the seminary, setting the precedent and demonstrating the propriety of individual Southern Baptist entities adopting and following additional binding theological parameters beyond The Baptist Faith and Message; and WHEREAS, Various trustee boards have made the wholehearted affirmation of The Baptist Faith and Message a minimum theological requirement for trustees governing those entities; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 12-13, 2007, regard The Baptist Faith and Message as the “instrument of doctrinal accountability” which we encourage all of our entities to employ as the minimum theological standard by which they operate; and be it further RESOLVED, That we acknowledge the appropriateness of entities adopting and enforcing additional theological standards such as the Abstract of Principles as a part of the unique responsibility of the board of trustees of each entity, operating in conscientious accountability to the convention, to govern the entity in its charge in all matters theological and otherwise; and be it further RESOLVED, That we consider public disagreement with The Baptist Faith and Message to constitute suitable grounds for the removal of trustees from service upon those boards which have made affirmation of The Baptist Faith & Message a minimum requirement for service; and be it finally RESOLVED, That we affirm the unabridged liberty of any individual who has not voluntarily entered a fiduciary or employee relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention or any of its entities to accept or reject, in part or in total, the tenets expressed in The Baptist Faith and Message.


Benjamin S. Cole said...

Ooh boy, Bart.

I can't wait for the chance to amend this one from the floor.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

sbc pastor said...


This is an excellent resolution. I look forward to voting in favor of it. God bless!!!

In Christ,

ckey said...


Right on!


volfan007 said...


my ballot will fly high on this resolution.


Paul said...


I look forward to canceling Jeremy Greens vote and getting a few friends to cancel out the votes of the others as well. ;)

micah fries said...


In all seriousness, in regards to your statement about public disagreement, where would you come down in regards to someone who disagrees with the BF&M but who chooses not to go public with said disagreement?

micah fries said...

I should explain that I am thinking specifically of missionaries who have previously been allowed to sign the BF&M with caveats but who choose to remain publicly quiet with their disagreement.

Benjamin S. Cole said...


I have a serious question...all jokes aside.

The BFM2000 says concerning the Lord's Supper:

"The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming."

Do you think that professors who believe in a "real presence" at communion should be ineligible for employment in Southern Baptist seminaries?

This view is increasingly affirmed by Evangelicals in general, and even by some Baptists. What say ye?


Jack Maddox said...
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Jack Maddox said...
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Bart Barber said...

Ben & Micah,

My opinion of the confessional accountability of employees is best illustrated by my own actions (see here). I believe it displays a lack of integrity for a person to feign agreement with an institutional statement of faith in order to obtain or keep a job or appointment through subterfuge. Furthermore, I believe that one's agreement with the statement of faith in such a situation ought to be without reservation.

I hold these beliefs totally without self-service, in the spirit of Psalm 15:4 ("He swears to his own hurt and does not change"). They are bedrock principles of integrity.

dwm III said...


I'm sure Adoniram Judson would be proud of you! Though his situation was a little different in that his views on baptism changed, thus leading him to resign.


PS- It is too bad I won't be in San Antone, I would have liked to get a chance to meet you. But alas, I'll be in Central Asia for a little while.

Bart Barber said...


I took your second comment as a request to remove the first one. If I erred and you want them back up, just let me know and I will restore them forthwith.

Bart Barber said...


Lord willing, we will get our opportunity to meet someday.

As for Bro. Judson, I'm certainly proud of him!

Anonymous said...

If those who work at SBC institutions can never voice disagreement over any part of the BF&M, then what happens if Southern Baptists decide something in the BF&M is wrong? (Of course, that could NEVER happen, right?) Those employees would be unable to participate in the re-writing of our statement of faith.

I agree we need some level of accountability, but I don't think this is the level we need.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bart,

Would you make the same declaration regarding 'The Abstract of Faith,' the institutional doctrinal standard for both Southern and Southeastern Seminaries?

Do you realize that your very shortsighted view would, if adopted by SBC'rs in conventions past, would have demanded the forced removal and termination of every trustee (including Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler on the IMB) who served under the 1963 BFM but violated the 'Lord's Day' provisions.

This is childish and only peurile people would agree with it.

Bart Barber said...

Anonymous #1:

Employees at SBC institutions already affirm the BF&M as a condition of employment. I've done so about a half-dozen times already just for odds-and-ends adjunct positions. My resolution merely affirms what is already the case with our institutional employees.

Bart Barber said...

Anonymous #2:

We, the childish and puerile, hear your assertion and accord to it all of the respect conveyed to it by your reputation.

volfan007 said...


exactly what do you mean by a "real presence" at the Lord's supper table? would you, or bart, please explain that to me. thanks.


Bowden McElroy said...

We do agree on this: I think that the most important issue that we face with the longest-lasting implications is the question of the appropriate role of The Baptist Faith & Message in our convention.

It will be interesting to see how Ben proposes to amend it.

Bro. Matt said...

Yes, what is a "real presence" at the Lord's Supper?

joerstewart said...

Perhaps Francis Beckwith could chime in.

Paul said...

Now Joe, that was pretty funny!

Les Puryear said...


I guess we'll have competing resolutions on the role of BFM2K. :)

Actually I agree with most of your resolution with the exception of the "minimum" language in the first "Resolved" and the entirety of the second "Resolved". Other than that, it's pretty good. :)

It's really going to be interesting to see what comes out of committee.


cameron coyle said...


Count me among the puerile on this one!


Anonymous said...

From anon #1,

Just because SBC institutions do it now, doesn't make it right and doesn't make it proper to affirm with a resolution.


Anonymous said...

Could it be that some baptists believe in transubstanciation? Ben Cole, want to weigh in on that?