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BF&M study committee sees release of report in May

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Seeking to give constituents enough time to “familiarize themselves” with their report, the Baptist Faith & Message study committee plans to release its report to Southern Baptists in May.

Adrian Rogers, longtime pastor of historic Bellevue Baptist Church in metro Memphis, Tenn., and chairman of the BF&M committee, told Baptist Press he anticipates “rank and file of the Southern Baptist family will be very happy with this document.”

Rogers declined to discuss the committee’s progress or findings since deliberations are continuing.

The committee met March 2-3 at the SBC building in Nashville, Tenn., the second meeting of the 15-member group appointed by SBC President Paige Patterson last August. Rogers said the committee will meet one more time, in the spring, and again just before the annual meeting of the SBC in Orlando, Fla., in June.

The committee’s findings will be presented to the SBC annual meeting for a vote by messengers.

“It is a very good committee, with harmony, progress,” Rogers said. “The committee is enthusiastic and anticipates the convention will applaud and appreciate what we have done. We’re not finished yet and it would be premature and inappropriate to give details [at this time] since it is a work in progress.”

Rogers said the May release date for the committee’s report will give “constituents enough time to familiarize themselves with the report and then give an intelligent reaction at the convention.”

Authorized by the 1999 annual meeting of the SBC in Atlanta, in a 2,327-1,963 vote, the committee was given instructions to review the document and report back in 2000.

The BF&M, originally adopted in 1925 and revised in 1963, had its first addition in 1998 at the Salt Lake City annual meeting when a family/marriage article was adopted. Although Southern Baptists have no creed, the BF&M has generally been seen as an objective statement of the beliefs of the nation’s largest evangelical group.

Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., said the committee is represented by members from 11 different states.

Earlier, Patterson said he did “not anticipate even beginning to approximate a rewrite of the BF&M. Most folks feel, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.'” He called the document an “undeniably fabulous statement.”

“However, the messenger making the motion believes, and I concur, that every 30 years or so we need to take a look at the statement of faith, not because our faith changes, but because the issues of the day usually dictate some minor revisions to remove ambiguities or address specific issues,” Patterson said.

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  • Herb Hollinger