SBC Life Articles

Belief That Makes a Difference

In his report to the Executive Committee on September 18, Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer, challenged the proposed plan for the Baptist General Convention of Texas to dramatically cut support for SBC seminaries and other SBC causes. He defended the Cooperative Program's effectiveness in advancing the gospel and concluded with the following doctrinal defense and challenge:

Southern Baptists believe in the autonomy of the local church.

Southern Baptists believe in the priesthood of the believer.

Southern Baptists believe in soul competency.

Southern Baptists believe in the pre-existence of Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, and His glorious return.

Southern Baptists believe in the inspired, infallible Word of God, inerrant in the original manuscripts.

I must say to you, doctrine does make a difference. Contrary to some opinions, doctrine, like faith, is taking God at His Word. In the first church, they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42). Biblical conviction makes a difference, and as a people of faith we are to read God's Holy Word. We are to accept it as God's revealed Word. We are to believe it as God's perfect Word. We are to obey it as God's guiding Word.

The world has changed. Culture has changed. Trends have changed. Values have changed. But Christ has not changed. The Bible has not changed. Absolutes of God's authoritative Word have not changed. The exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation has not changed. God's promise is that His Word … shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11). If we stay the course of our convictions, preach Jesus, reach the unsaved, and send missionaries to the four corners of this nation and to the ends of the earth, God will not forsake Southern Baptists. There is no reason to despair over dollars. God is on His throne and He will pour out His blessings upon His people if they remain faithful.

If you want to know whether a man has the faith of our fathers, ask him these questions:

1. Do you believe in the sacrificial and the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ?

2. Do you believe salvation comes by faith in Christ and Him alone? Is there any other way to be saved?

3. Do you believe in the actual, literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?

4. Do you believe the Bible to be God's absolute truth in all matters to which it speaks?

5. Do you believe the narratives of Scripture to be historically and factually accurate?

6. Do you believe every Christian should be a soul-winner?

7. Do you believe the church of our Lord Jesus Christ is God's plan for reaching the world with the gospel?

8. What is your passion in life?

If a person is truthful, these questions, and others like them, will reveal the condition of an individual's heart before God. The difference is in the belief system.

The difference between most Southern Baptists and minority voices for liberal causes is what they believe and/or what they do not believe biblically. If you want to know what separates the two, ask individuals these questions, and listen closely to their responses.

God has blessed mightily the concept of cooperative literature, Cooperative Program, cooperative missions, and a cooperative spirit among all Southern Baptists. Now after all these years of cooperation, BGCT leaders are saying, "Texas literature, Texas program, Texas missions, Texas spirit." I trust the churches will not be led to this conclusion. When Isaiah saw the Lord as He really is, he saw himself as he really was. When he saw himself as he really was, he saw the world as it really is. His response to God's call was, "Here am I, send me." And the Lord said, "Go and tell this people … until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate."

God's call, God's assignment, and God's promise have not changed. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:19-20). So let it be among all Southern Baptists. Let us not be distracted from Christ's commission and our mission. We ask all Southern Baptists to go with us.

    About the Author

  • Morris H. Chapman