What is the Abstract of Principles? Here is a brief explanation from Founders Journal:
The Abstract of Principles is the first official confession of Faith which Southern Baptists endorsed. As Southern Baptist Theological Seminary opened its doors in 1859 in Greenville, S. C. (later to be moved to its present location in Louisville, Ky), the principal founder and first President, James P. Boyce, was greatly concerned that the professors of the new school believe and teach within acceptable boundaries of recognized Southern Baptist orthodoxy. To insure this (so he thought) Boyce commissioned Basil Manly, Jr., to draw up an “abstract of doctrinal principles” which would be included in the official foundation documents of the seminary.
Who Hacked The Abstract?
Joe Thorn has announced that his new church church plant has hacked the Abstract of Principles. Redeemer Fellowship approved this modified version as their statement of faith. Joe explains the changes on his blog:
The language has been modestly updated, we made some minor adjustments in a couple of places, and – get this – we added Scriptural support to each article. I am not sure why, but I have not seen a copy of the Abstract with Scriptural proofs. I am sure itâ€™s out there, but until we put this together we have not seen it. What many will not like is that we removed the second clause on the article on the Lordâ€™s Day that reads, â€œresting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.â€ I am sure many will not like this, but others may. So here it is: what we use as our confession, or statement of faith.
This seems to be a good development. It should encourage us that pastors are wrestling with these issues and leading their people to clear confessions of faith. I am sure this statement will serve Redeemer well, just as the original Abstract has served Southern Seminary well. The addition of scripture proofs will certainly proof useful for the many supporters of the Abstract. I wonder what they will call the new version. What would you suggest?
What do you think? Is this type of innovation good for historic Baptist doctrine? Or does it somehow diminish its credibility?
Don’t miss Dr. Mohler’s sermon “DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING; Stand There! Southern Seminary and the Abstract of Principles” from the Fall 1993 Convocation at Southern Seminary.
Posted by Tony Kummer