This morning, Morris Chapman called for Southern Baptist unity around our confession of Faith (the Baptist Faith and Message 2000). Many writers (Baptist Press, Art Rogers Wade Burleson and more) are looking to his message as the watershed moment for San Antonio SBC Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here is the transcript from “LEADING BY EXAMPLE!” by Morris H. Chapman. This is the message from the Annual Convention that has everyone talking – on all sides of every issue. Chapman’s speech was fatherly and pastoral. He called Southern Baptists to pursue peace based on our shared confessional identity. Chapman briefly quoted Dr. James P. Boyce, a co-founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I want to fill in the context around Chapman’s short reference. In 1874, a Baptist state paper had published an anonymous letter criticizing Southern Seminary’s Abstract of Principles. Even Jame P. Boyce dealt with ‘blogger like’ criticism. Boyce wrote:
For newspaper controversy I have no taste, and in it I never wish to engage. And therefore I have written these articles, not in controversy, but because these and other brethren have wished the facts upon these points to be made known.
Boyce’s response was published in Kentucky’s Baptist newspaper The Western Recorder. In it he defends the Abstract and explains the principles behind its creation. Here is the rest of the story:
3 Tests For Doctrinal Unity – James P. Boyce Quote
The Convention then spent the greater portion of its time in revising and perfecting what the committee had suggested. Both in the Committee and in the Convention there were three principles which underlay all of this work. The abstract of principles must be:
- A complete exhibition of the fundamental doctrines of grace, so that in no essential particular should they speak dubiously;
- They should speak out clearly and distinctly as to the practices universally present among us;
- Upon no point, upon which the denomination is divided, should the Convention, and through it the Seminary, take any position.
The doctrines of grace are therefore distinctly brought out in the abstract of principles. . . While, however, it was deemed essential to avow distinctly and unreservedly the sentiments universally prevalent among us, both as to doctrine and practice, it was equally important that upon those questions upon which there was still a difference of opinion among Southern Baptists, the Seminary articles should not bind the institution. . . . It will be seen, therefore, that the wise course of the Convention was to carry out this third principle, by which they refrained from binding the Seminary upon any point upon which the denomination is not agreed. It is to be hoped that the time will come when all Baptists shall see eye to eye upon all points.
You can read more of Boyce’s Letter on this PDF: www.sbts.edu/pdf/tie/2002Summer.pdf
Posted By Tony Kummer