Sunday, July 8, 2007
It Says: "[…The Baptist Faith & Message] is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention."Of course. This is simple historical fact. The Southern Baptist Convention has never adopted any other statement of faith.
It Doesn't Say: "The Southern Baptist Convention has never reached consensus on any other doctrinal beliefs beyond those contained in the BF&M"Of course not. This would contradict simple historical fact. Consider, for example, the resolutions that we adopt every year. These often touch upon points of doctrine. Their adoption adds up to the Southern Baptist Convention expressing a consensus of approval of these resolutions, including the doctrinal beliefs specified therein. These doctrines are not contained within a "statement of doctrinal beliefs", but they are nonetheless items upon which the SBC has expressed doctrinal consensus. Consider, for example, how this resolution goes beyond what the BF&M says about both the doctrine of man (that man has dominion over the earth) and the doctrine of stewardship (that it extends beyond "time, talent, and material possessions" to now include "earth and environment"). Yet the SBC has now expressed a consensus upon these points of doctrine (which is good, because they are clearly biblical). It would be unworkable to have employees required to research and affirm every resolution ever adopted by the SBC. The resolutions are not a part of our "instrument of doctrinal accountability." But they are items of doctrinal consensus for the SBC, and as such, they deserve the notice of our boards of trustees and should guide them in their establishment of policies and practices (as should the BF&M).
It Says: "… is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention."Yes, and Amen! Trustees ought never to make any policy or practice apart from the guidance of the BF&M. Furthermore, I would make a stronger statement even than this—Trustees had better not make any policies or practices that contradict the BF&M. Wherever it speaks, I believe that the BF&M's role is even stronger than that of a guide.
It Doesn't Say: "… is sufficient in its current form to regulate trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention, with the result that trustees ought not to adopt any policies or practices regarding doctrinal matters not explicitly contained within the BF&M unless and until they obtain prior approval from the SBC."See how easy that was? I just made a motion and statement that says precisely what the folks on the other side wanted us to vote on. Simple. Plainspoken. Specific. So, because of what it says and what it doesn't say, even I endorsed this motion and voted in favor of it. If someone who authored this can endorse and vote for the statement (and I did so before the first word of debate and long before anyone cast a vote), then it doesn't mean what folks are spinning it to mean. By the way, just because I posted this, don't fail to comment on my previous post. I really want to hear your opinions.