Moral Contradictions

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Holy Spirit and the Baptist Creed

Rev. Sterling Severns delivered a compelling sermon yesterday at Tabernacle Baptist Church. Being that it was Pentecost, he read from Acts 2 and the world's introduction to the Holy Spirit. He stated that the day is the "Birth of the Church" and it should rank with Christmas or Easter. All too often It's not even mentioned. He also remarked that too often within the Baptist tradition, this pillar of the Trinity is often neglected in favor of God and Jesus. He went on and compared the Holy Spirit to a loud honking goose - It's not always welcome, but It can't be ignored.

Along those lines I found a column by Mainstream Baptist's Dr. Bruce Prescott entitled "Southern Baptists Turning Deaf Ear to God's Spirit". He charges that the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) limits the way the Spirit can move. I urge everyone to read this as the 2000 BFM is completely different from the 1925 and 1963 versions. Southern Baptists are not what they used to be, and here is the proof.

Some highlights from the article about the BFM:

The most obvious restriction is the 2000 BFMs assertion that, “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” The truth is, there are more passages of Scripture that endorse slavery than passages prohibiting women from serving as pastors. There are also numerous passages of scripture in both the Old and New Testaments that speak of women being filled with the Spirit and leading God’s people.

I'd add to that Acts 2:17-18, when Peter addresses the crowd from Joel after the Holy Spirit descends:
17 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy. - NIV

Dr. Prescott also points out the deletion from earlier versions of the BFM of passages denying the document was a creed. Remember, being non-creedal people is one of the bigger bragging points among Baptists.

1963 statement:

“Such statements (confessions of faith) have never been regarded as complete, infallible statements of faith, nor as official creeds carrying mandatory authority.”

That was deleted in favor of a statement that said confessions of faith are adopted “as instruments of doctrinal accountability.” There's more there, so read the column if you're interested. (Links to the BFM are there too).

Lest I remind you, if upon reading this post and the column, you still believe that the SBC doesn't have a creed... all SBC missionaries had to sign this document or else resign their posts.

So much for "priesthood of the believer".


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