Monday, February 23, 2015

Baptist Confessionalism

Like most evangelical Christians, Baptists have historically been a confessional denomination. Associations, churches, and individuals have issued confessions for many different purposes: teaching, highlighting important distinctives, or calling attention to our common evangelical orthodoxy.

In 1925, with the publication of the Baptist Faith and Message, the Southern Baptist Convention issued the following five principles on confessionalism. They have been included in the preface to each subsequent edition of the confession.

Baptists approve and circulate confessions of faith with the following understanding, namely:

1. That they constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

2. That we do not regard them as complete statements of our faith, having any quality of finality or infallibility. As in the past so in the future Baptist should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.

3. That any group of Baptists, large or small, have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.

4. That the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience.

5. That they are statements of religious convictions, drawn from the Scriptures, and are not to be used to hamper freedom of thought or investigation in other realms of life.

Date: 2/23/2016

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