With all the talk about where Southern Baptists are on this issue of doctrinal parameters, and curious to see if our newly elected first vice president shared the perspective of our convention president regarding the adoption of the BFM Statement by the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention, we thought we would post the following:
From the SBTexan, June 11, 2007 Edition:
Southern Baptists have an ingenious system through messenger participation. Because of it we were able to make a course correction and avert liberalism. Messengers have the authority directly and indirectly to set the doctrinal positions through their votes.
From the Florida Baptist Witness, June 7, 2007:
To say the BFM provides exhaustive guidelines for our SBC ministries is total nonsense.
From a general letter to all SBTC Pastors from Richards, April 18, 2006:
For over seven years it has been my privilege to explain to literally hundreds of churches the parameters of fellowship in the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. The Baptist Faith and Messages Statement 2000 provides those parameters. It is a well-stated document that helps us to mark boundaries for our cooperation.
The Baptist Faith & Message gives a lot of latitude for interpretations. The wording allows for interpretations relative to Calvinism, eschatology, and many other doctrinal positions. I have often said that it is broad enough for widely differing views to fit within the fellowship…
…The SBTC will not criticize doctrinal beliefs that are within the parameters of our statement of faith.
From the SBTexan, October 23, 2006:
Within the BF&M everyone is welcome on the Old Gospel Train but everyone cannot drive.
From the SBTexan, April 10, 2006:
While the Baptist Faith and Message does not address the tongues issue, the trustees are within their authority to set the parameters. Conventions, associations, ministries or churches are also free to set their own points of fellowship…
…Thankfully the nature of Scripture, the exclusivity of salvation in Jesus Christ, the office of pastor, marriage and the beginning of life at conception are all affirmed in the BF&M 2000. The statement is specific about subjects that need clarification. Individuals and churches are free to believe what they want, but for a collection, network, or convention of churches there must be a minimal set of beliefs for cooperation…
…There is plenty of room for interpretation within the Baptist Faith and Message statement to allow diversity and cooperation.
We at Baptist Blogger would like to thank Vice President Richards for his willingness to provide his affirmation of the BFM2000’s sufficiency throughout the years to guide Southern Baptist trustees in policy formation. We believe that together with our convention president, he will make a fine contribution to our convention as they seek to represent the interests of the messengers who elected them.
We are left with one question, however.
How will Vice President Richards answer churches who partner with the Baptist General Convention of Texas should they seek his counsel regarding increased Cooperative Program participation? Will he advise BGCT churches to increase their giving through the BGCT according to the Cooperative Program definition just adopted by the convention messengers?
The new definition reads:
The Cooperative Program (CP) is Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.