Dr. David Dockery, president of Union University, is a brilliant theologian and an exemplary Christian gentleman. As I will reveal in an upcoming post, Dr. Dockery was significantly responsible through his published works for instilling within me a passion for the biblical doctrines that define us as Baptists. To his credit, Dr. Dockery realizes the specious nature of claims that a commitment to inerrancy is faith-commitment enough to guide any Christian enterprise. In this Baptist Press article, Dr. Dockery has endorsed an effort by Dr. Ray Van Neste and Dr. Denny Burk to narrow the parameters of cooperation in the Evangelical Theological Society. At present, the only ETS doctrinal statement simply reads, "The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory." Van Neste, Burk, and Dockery (among many others) support the adoption of a more narrow and robust set of theological parameters to govern membership and practice within the ETS. Will anyone question their commitment to the "sufficiency of the scriptures"? After all, these men have apparently concluded that even those who affirm the inerrancy of the written Word of God might misread it and come into doctrinal error serious enough to make them something other than an Evangelical Christian. I do not question the belief of these men in the sufficiency of the scriptures, but perhaps some will. Will anyone question their willingness to cooperate with other believers? After all, the clear outcome of this action would be to make ineligible for participation in ETS those who are currently able to participate. If all current and potential members of ETS were theologically acceptable to the three, there would be no need and no campaign for the stricter theological statement. I do not question the cooperative nature of these men, but perhaps some will. Will anyone label these men as Fundamentalists or Legalists? Probably so. All it takes to earn those labels from somebody somewhere is a commitment to the smallest kernel of biblical truth. I believe that they are neither Fundamentalists (in the pejorative sense) nor Legalists, but perhaps some will make the allegation. Quite simply, here is what has happened—the ETS tried to employ as minimalist a theological statement as it thought would work to bring together Evangelicals for cooperation in a tightly-defined scope of activities. Because only God knows the future and the scope of human depravity, the founders of ETS did not foresee how some might skew the ETS's Doctrinal Basis. Now, with a few years of history under its belt, the ETS has come to see the weaknesses in their minimalist statement. They are narrowing the parameters of their cooperation not to take the ETS away from its raison d'être, but to try to keep it anchored there. It is a common scenario. It is a common need. It is a common-sense solution. Bravo to these men for championing it.