(week 1) (Week 2)

It’s instructive to know why a document is written.  It sets the context and frames the content.  and the preface/preamble will give you that. Knowing the context helps to understand what the document will say,and context helps with the definition.

Consider the word “bond”.  It can be a financial instrument, a movie spy, a promise to return to court, or a glue.  The context is what separates one definition from the other.

So when the Baptist Faith and Message includes the preamble in the official document, it’s instructive to read it as well. The preable asserts that each generation of Christians bears the responsibility of guarding the treasury of truth, and to adopt statements of faith as a witness to our beliefs and a pledge of our faithfulness to the doctrines revealed in Holy Scripture.  New challenges to faith appear in every age, and this document asserts that the church must define, refine and defend its beliefs in that present context.

It addressed the assertion that, as in the past so in the future, “Baptists should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.”

The 2000 BFM recounts its roots.  It quotes the preface to the 1925 BFM, affirming that its paragraphs were not complete statements of  faith, having no quality of finality or infallibility. “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.”

They addressed and paid homage not only to the 1925 committee and the 1963 committee, but also to those who had offered amendments in the interceding years. But in summary, the committee clearly stated the core of Baptist belief, that these statements…

“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 held among us. They are not intended to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.”

(week 3)

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