"The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed, nor a complete statement of our faith, nor final and infallible; nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention."
This statement is clear, concise and incredibly important.
In essence, the convention said that the agencies and institutions of our convention do not have the right to narrow doctrinal parameters beyond the BFM 2000.
This does not negate agencies establishing policies because of 'moral,' or 'ethical,' or pragmatic concerns -- but it does let the agencies know that no tightening of the doctrinal parameters shall occur without full convention approval. The agencies are children to the mother (the convention), and the children do not tell the mother what is, or is not, a Southern Baptist in terms of doctrine.
It seems to me that trustees of our agencies must take into account the action of this convention before they attempt to narrow the doctrinal standards of their insitution through policies, guidelines, or additional doctrinal confessions.
The mother has spoken.
I would encourage everyone to watch the debate at the SBC.net video archives. There was no confusion over the issue from those debating the motion, and there was no confusion on what the convention was being asked to vote upon. Some people are very upset because they believe the wheels have fallen off the doctrinal bus of the SBC (not true, but that's how they feel).
Some of us are absolutely ecstatic because the children of our convention (the agencies) have been given a little spanking by the mother. They have been told they have no right to say who is, or isn't a Southern Baptist. If agencies draft policies or guidelines that go beyond the BFM 2000, and then exclude otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from participation in missions or evangelism ministry based upon those policies or guidelines that reach beyond the Baptist Faith and Message -- then they are violating the very convention who elected them to serve as trustees.
Now, let's see if the kids listen.
In His Grace,
P.S. The vote was 57% in favor of the recommendation.