Thursday, March 09, 2006
The slippery slope toward credalism
While I have chipped in my two cents a couple of times previously on Wade Burleson's blog, I was able to leave a signed comment today (assuming that he is gracious enough to allow the comment as he has in the past) on his March 8th post about the point being missed yet again by the IMB BoT. The essence of my comment is to agree with him that the BoT is moving beyond the BF&M 2000 in a slippery slope toward credalism, but I would suggest that the earthquake that triggered the landslide down that slope was the BF&M 2000 itself. Its express language about being an instrument of doctrinal accountability, right on the heels of quoting the preface to the 1963 document regarding the place and role of confessions of faith in Baptist life, effectively establishes it as a creed. Point 4 of this introduction to the 1963 document states, "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." The jump from being a guide in interpretation with no authority over the conscience to an instrument of doctrinal accountability that one must sign in order to retain a post within the denominational structure--be that as a seminary professor or missionary--is a major shift. Once the door has been thrown open to denominational incursion into establishing what a local church can and cannot believe and practice in areas where sincere Bible-believing Christians disagree, it will be difficult if not impossible to reverse the trend.