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Sole Membership
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A View from the Other Side
Carter's rift with SBC not a new development
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Exec. Comm. Interacts with BGCT Funding Proposal
The Pastor's Point of View on the BGCT
Feasibility Study for Name Change
Report of the SBC Peace Committee
Doctrine, Cooperation, and Association
Report to the Fellowship of Deacons
Too High a View of Scripture?
The Truth about the SBC and Texas
Christ, The Bible, and Human Experience
Bibliolatry — A Fraudulent Accusation
BFM - Still Thoroughly Baptist!
Texas First, Texas Only - Not the Spirit
Anti-SBC Leaders Threaten Cooperative Program
Southern Baptists and Women Pastors
The Root of the SBC Controversy
Your Church Reaching the World for Christ
Together We're Carrying Out the Great Commission
Doctrinal integrity paramount for Serminary
Have Baptists replaced Jesus with a book?
Why theology matters for the Great Commission task
A survey of the 2000 BFM
Baptists, the Bible and confessions
Southern Seminary and the Abstract of Principles
An Open Letter to Southern Baptists
A Statement About the Baptist Faith & Message
An Example of the Need to Change The BFM
Incredible Vanishing Corporations
Committee on Cooperation - Report and Findings
An Open Letter from Dr. Allen to Dr. Wade
Why Cooperate?
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Letter by SBCEC President to TX Church Leaders
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"There should be an 'Abstract of Principles', or careful statement of theological belief, which every professor in such an institution must sign when inaugurated, so as to guard against the rise of erroneous and injurious instruction in such a seat of sacred learning."

James P. Boyce
from "Three Changes in
Theological Institutions"
- summarized by John Broadus, 1856



President's Journal - Doctrinal integrity paramount for Southern Seminary
by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President

From The Southern Seminary Magazine, November 2000 (Volume 68, Number 4), President's Journal

The debate over the Baptist Faith and Message has been one of the great clarifying events of Southern Baptist history. The Southern Baptist Convention's overwhelming endorsement of the proposals put forth by the Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee is a clear sign of doctrinal solidarity and consensus. Those who reject the Baptist Faith and Message demonstrate how far they now stand from the denomination's mainstream.

The Preamble to the 2000 report states that "Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability." Those last five words have been a focus of controversy. To whom are we accountable? The answer for Southern Seminary is simple—accountable to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Nothing is more dangerous than a theological seminary that is not held accountable. The decay and decline of mainline Protestantism is largely due to the influence of liberal seminaries that undermined the faith of future ministers. Such schools produced generations of preachers and ministers that looked to the gospel with hostility and rejected the historic Christian faith as out of date and out of style.

Theological seminaries do not exist for themselves, but for the churches. These churches entrust the training and education of their ministers to seminaries in order that pastors and other servants will be grounded in the truth, equipped for the task, and encouraged in the faith. This is an incredible stewardship. Unfortunately, many seminaries see themselves as superior to the churches, and accountable only to the academic culture and the scholarly guilds.

The issue of doctrinal integrity is paramount for a theological seminary. An age that holds truth in antipathy will look at confessions of faith as antiquarian holdovers from an oppressive past. On the other hand, an institution determined to remain true to biblical truth must be honest about its boundaries. We must state clearly what we believe, and what we teach.

For nearly 2000 years, Christians have expressed their faith and doctrine through confessions of faith. In many cases, the confession or creed emerged out of the defense of the faith against heresy and error. The believing church said "no" to doctrinal error and "yes" to the truth of the Gospel. This responsibility falls to every generation.

The major revision of the Baptist Faith and Message adopted this year by the Southern Baptist Convention demonstrates that Southern Baptists remain serious about their confessional identity. I pray that the experience of this revision process will help us to learn even more about what it means to be a confessional people against anti-confessional pressure of the age.

There are few threats more perilous for the evangelical church than theological seminaries set adrift from theological accountability. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is unembarrassed in our commitment to require all professors to teach "in accordance with and not contrary to" our Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message.

Furthermore, we expect our professors to hold these convictions as personal beliefs and commitments, not merely as contractual obligations for teaching. This model of robust confessionalism is a critical dimension of our accountability to the churches. Our confession represents a living tradition and it is the structure of our theological integrity. We do not force anyone to accept the confession of faith, but those who accept employment here do so under these terms.

The churches hold the seminary accountable through a Board of Trustees, elected by the Southern Baptist Convention. We are proud to belong to the Southern Baptist Convention, and proud to be The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. We stand together with our churches in the gospel, in our doctrinal heritage, and in the living faith of biblical Christianity.

We have the wonderful privilege of introducing a new generation of young Christians to the full rush of biblical truth and to the full power of the authentic Gospel. I am thankful for an outstanding faculty of world-class scholars who joyfully teach the doctrines we hold precious.

In the midst of theological confusion all around us, our prayerful determination is that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary remain firmly established upon the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ — boundaries we dare not trespass.

This article reprinted by permission from Southern Seminary Magazine, November 2000 (Volume 68, Number 4)

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