2002 Baptist Faith and Message

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FIRST PERSON: A worthy confession of faith

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--A startling survey by George Barna released last summer demonstrates how desperate the need is for Southern Baptists and other evangelicals to reassert the importance of doctrine in our churches and to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).

FIRST-PERSON: Baptist confessional accountability

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--Sometimes the things we know to be true appear to be so simply because we don't know enough. We have accepted without evaluation what we have been told.

FIRST-PERSON: ‘The Baptist denomination is not a free lance club’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--There has been much recent discussion of Baptists and their relation to creedal statements. We usually prefer the expression "confessions of faith" because in some denominations coercion has often been associated with the creeds of the past. But properly understood a creed with Baptists means simply what we believe. Creed and confession of faith mean the same thing. I invite attention first to some fallacies about creeds.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--The Bible is replete with family imagery as evidenced in the many wonderful verses cited for the Baptist Faith and Message Article 18. We are indeed "brothers and sisters" in Christ, adopted as children by our heavenly Father. The importance of the marriage relationship unfolds symbolically in the Old Testament with God as husband and Israel as wife, and in the New Testament with Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as the radiant bride. Clearly, marriage and family are distinctly theological.

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: Article 17: Religious Liberty

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Religious Liberty sprung fully panoplied from the earliest Baptist writings. Their doctrine of the church assumed that the Spirit, and he alone, used the power of biblical truth, normally through preaching, to produce the new birth. The composition of the church consists only of those born again under such influences; believers only, therefore, should be baptized.

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: Article 16: Peace and War

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--The apex of the Beatitudes is found in these words, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are called the children of God." Peacemaking is described as a fundamental characteristic of believers.

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: Article 15: The Christian and the Social Order

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Shouldn't Baptist confessions of faith focus on matters of faith, not politics? Why can't Baptists address issues such as the person of Christ and the way of salvation, leaving alone such thorny contemporary controversies as abortion and gay rights? Is it really our place as a convention of churches to speak to the fiery debates of the public square?

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: Article 14: Cooperation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--This article speaks to something near and dear to the heart of Southern Baptists -- cooperation. A key concept in understanding Southern Baptists is voluntary cooperation.

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: Article 13: Stewardship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--A full exegesis of Article 13 of the Baptist Faith and Message would consume a lengthy volume and yield fruitful discourse. At least three topics deserve our attention here.

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: Article 12: Education

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Throughout the Scriptures, education has been a major priority. This can be traced from the teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.