"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Southern Baptist Statement of Cooperation

The gospel is the story about Christ, God’s and David’s Son, who died and was raised and is established as Lord. We as Southern Baptists join together to proclaim the good news that God's Kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah, in fulfillment of the Word of God.

The gospel we declare evokes faith, repentance and discipleship --- its accompanying effects include the forgiveness of sins, justification, reconciliation, adoption, wisdom and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Southern Baptists accompany our proclamation of the gospel with cooperative works of compassion and mercy for those in need or distress.

We strive to advance Christ’s kingdom on earth with the confession, proclamation, and application of the good news. The Bible is undoubtedly central to our cooperation, but Jesus Christ is the center of it. Therefore, we resolve to cooperate with one another, affirming the essentials of the gospel and our Baptist identity in these five doctrines:


(1). We affirm the authority, sufficiency and reliability of God’s infallible revelation to man in both His written Word and the Living Word Jesus Christ.
(2) We affirm both the full humanity and deity of Jesus Christ.
(3). We affirm Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners, His resurrection from the dead, and His gift of eternal life to all who are in relationship with Him by grace through faith.
(4). We affirm the Baptist distinctive of believer’s baptism by immersion for those who have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
(5). We affirm that those apart from a relationship with Christ will face God’s judgment.

The sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Baptist Confessions, including the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, are only guides to interpreting the Bible, and have no authority over the conscience. We Baptists have historically differed in interpretation on finer points of doctrine not essential to Christian faith and Baptist identity. Yet, with all our differences on secondary issues, we as Southern Baptists desire to cooperate in ministry because of our love for the gospel.

Therefore, we intentionally put aside our differences on secondary issues for the sake of cooperative gospel ministry. We desire unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, but charity in all things. This statement of cooperation defines the necessary essentials which must be affirmed in order to participate in the cooperative ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

We desire to send to the world and our evangelical brethren through this statement of cooperation a sure and certain message: It is the gospel that unites Southern Baptists, and what unites us is greater than anything that might potentially divide us.

10 comments:

davidinflorida said...

H O P E........In view of what the Lord has done for us, we should have a hopeful spirit of optimism.

Michael F. Bird said...

Wade, I really hope that this statement has the impact that it needs to have in the SBC: Solum Evangelium!

Wayne Smith In His Name said...

Wade,

Well said and a Great Statement of Faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Well done Grace and Truth, by a Good and Faithful Servant.

In His Name

Wayne Smith

Mac McFatter said...

Is there hope that more Southern Baptists would truly be led to accept the last two paragraphs? Then those who have been dis-enfranchised since the 70's would be welcomed back. Even the church that was dis-enfranchised just this month in Mobile, Alabama for calling an ordained woman to it's staff would be welcomed back. Those who were fired for refusing to to sign the new confession with controversal stipulations added after they were on the field could be reinstated. Do you truly believe those last paragraphs? Then I have no fear that this will make it past moderation.
Mac McFatter

William Madden said...

Wade,

Your most recent postings make your reasons for blogging as you have done very clear, if they weren't already.

Learning of missionaries from your church who were denied appointment by the IMB because of the issues at hand should be a cause of concern for any Southern Baptist. Certainly, I do not consider the reasons cited against their candidacy as having validity within Biblical norms.

As a caveat, I can say that the concept of a PPL is new to me. In my lifetime, I have never personally known a Baptist Christian who had a PPL, and for that reason I have never had much cause to reflect on what qualities that gift would add to the Christian experience. At the same time, I don't deny the existence of the gift any more than I would deny the existence of its Giver.

Blessings to you, your family, your church, and its missionaries.
As you embark on a short sabbatical that combines reflection, celebration, and preparation, I wish to say that
I appreciate what you have done to extend the hand of fellowship to many of us in the extended Baptist family.

Kurt Strassner said...

Wade,

I like the direction you're heading...trying to define 'Mere Southern Baptistry.' And I think the SBC needs to take it seriously.

It seems to me that what we really need, rather than a statement of a few distinctives, is a more bare-bones statement of faith...one that will not spell out every detail of secondary issues (and thus exclude)...but one that is maybe a bit more clear and specific on the essentials than any statement of distinctives could be. See an example of what our church has done here:

http://pleasantridgebaptist.net/Beliefs.html

We are definitely reformed in our teaching...and open about that...but have left our statement of faith intentionally more broad to allow genuine believers who are not five-pointers to be part. Same is true with end-times perspectives, Spiritual gifts, etc.

So we strove to br broad...but specific on the essentials. Sad to say, but unless we be specific and detailed about the main things...people will take advantage of the system in a too-broad way the same way some are now trying to manipulate it in a too-narrow one.

Jim said...

I think this "statement" fairly general and therefore it should be widely acceptable to Southern Baptists across the wide spectrum of that group.

Lee said...

Amen.

Wade Burleson said...

received a couple of comments suggesting that Ron's comment in this comment string was an 'ad hominum' attack. I have refused to post their comments and have removed Ron's comment at their request, even though it was difficult for me to understand their objections to it.

I have received probably one hundred comments favorable for a statement of cooperation similar to the one I posted. There have been four that could be considered critical of it, including the two that did not mention the statement of cooperation, but only focused on Ron's comment.

For the sake of keeping the focus on the issue at hand I am closing the comment section.

Lord willing, I will see you in December.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving season!