Thursday, November 21, 2019

The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message Is Not a Creed

In 1962 and 1999, Southern Baptists formed respective committees to modify the Southern Baptist Faith and Message, the denomination's confession of faith. The results of their respective efforts were the 1963 BF&M and the 2000 BF&M confessions of faith.

Three times in the last century (1925, 1963, 2000), Southern Baptists changed the Baptist Faith and Message.

Confessions are meant to change over time. The 2000 BFM will change within the next decade.

Few people understand that a confession is not a creed

A creed is intended to separate orthodoxy from heresy. A confession addresses specific, practical needs in a denomination.

Southern Baptist leaders have always made this clear.  Listen to what the 1999 Committee said about their work (emphasis mine):
With the 1963 committee, we have been guided in our work by the 1925 "statement of the historic Baptist conception of the nature and function of confessions of faith in our religious and denominational life . . . ." It is, therefore, quoted in full as a part of this report to the Convention:
(1) That they constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us. They are not intended to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
(2) That we do not regard them as complete statements of our faith, having any quality of finality or infallibility. As in the past so in the future, Baptists should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.
(3) That any group of Baptists, large or small, have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.
(4) 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.
(5) That they are statements of religious convictions, drawn from the Scriptures, and are not to be used to hamper freedom of thought or investigation in other realms of life.
Last month, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hired Karen Swallow Prior. Fundamentalists within the SBC have gone on social media, bashing SEBTS and Karen Swallow Prior for her perceived lack of conformity to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Her sin? Karen Prior is deemed a feminist. In reality, Karen Sallow Prior is a smart, orthodox follower of Jesus who is making an impact in our culture. 

Beth Moore has been preaching in Southern Baptist churches on Sunday morning, and is one of  the best known preachers of the gospel in the Southern Baptist Convention. By the way, "I preach" comes from the Greek word kerusso, which phonetically imitates the sound ancient Greeks heard the rooster make while proclaiming the risen sun. To preach is to proclaim the risen Son. Fundamentalists in the SBC have vocally and vigorously condemned Beth Moore. Her sin? She's speaking of Christ to men. Beth Moore is changing lives through her ministry. She's one of the best things Southern Baptists have going for us in terms of reaching people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Dr. Sheri Klouda, a female professor of Hebrew at SWBTS, was removed from her position by the architect of the 2000 BF&M (Paige Patterson) because she was a woman. 15 years ago, just five years after the adoption of the 2000 BF&M, I spoke out about Sheri Klouda's unjust firing. Paige Patterson, the architect of the 2000 BFM, terminated Dr. Klouda. Fundamentalists in the SBC went ballistic when I pushed back on Dr. Klouda's unjust firing. 

A Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina recently advertised their need for a Senior Pastor, suggesting that gifted men and women, called to preach the Gospel, could apply. Fundamentalists in the SBC went crazy

I find it remarkable that in 2007, "local church autonomy" was the reason given by the SBC Executive Committee for their rejection of my request to track sexual predators in the SBC. However, when a local Southern Baptist Church believes that leadership is based on spiritual gifts and not sexual gender, local church autonomy seems to go out the window by Fundamentalists who condemn churches that place women in leadership.

I believe that leadership in Christ's church should always be based on spiritual gifts and never sexual gender. I'm being biblical in my views.

However, when people tell me that "women in leadership" in my church - women pastors, women preaching, women leading, etc... - is a violation of the BFM 2000, I gently respond:
"I believe the Bible. I respect your freedom to only have males in leadership and to send the women home. I would never be a member of your church and you would never be a member of my church. But can we partner with each other in missions, disaster relief, and other cooperative efforts that help our world?"
Of course we can, and of course I will!

For those Southern Baptist churches and church leaders out there who feel the BFM 2000 is used as a club to keep males in authority and to send women home, I remind you that confessions are never designed to be a creed. 

Follow Scripture.

Follow the Savior.

It's time Southern Baptists understood that the 1999 BFM had an agenda.

I get my marching orders from Jesus.


Anonymous said...

For some of us, Pastor Wade, Beth Moore's sin is most definitely not that she is a woman preaching to men. Rather, it is the content of her message. Frankly, I do NOT equate what "God tells her" when she is laying flat out on her back deck in the sun and the heat for a long time as equal to the Scripture any more than a Navajo shaman's visions. Nor do I accept her "God told me" about this or that impulse she may have had as equal to the Scripture any more than I do Benny Hinn's.

I've been through several of her women's Bible studies at various SBC churches, and will not be in another. Joyce Meyer strays from the truth no more than Beth Moore does. Nor do most in the Word of Faith movement. She teaches, preaches, or whatever you want to call it a pentecostalized, subjective, errant in that it is without heart cleansing form, of the old holiness message writ in mall culture.

She takes ecumenism to a strange degree, as though as long as we all "feel Jesus" we can dispense with pesky things like theology and doctrine.

If the SBC continues to embrace her sort of teaching, it may well rack up the numbers in popularity for a while but we can just toss the Bible in the trash can and everyone do what is right in their own eyes.


Wade Burleson said...


I appreciate your love for theology. I, too, love theological truth.

However, I also believe that "loveless truth" is a big problem. I take the position that God uses all kinds of people to bring His people into the Kingdom.

I've listened to Beth Moore teach. I believe her desire is to lead people to Jesus, to faithfully strengthen others through God's Word, and to do what she can to empower people to lead others to Jesus.

I don't share your concern with the "content" of her message.

Bob Cleveland said...

"Loveless truth ... ". Wow .. what a thought!

If you look around the SBC (and elsewhere, I'm sure), you see plenty of loveless truth. Normally wielded much like a hammer. Juxtaposed with Jesus' statement about the real hallmark of His followers, it may just explain our seeming failures in evangelism.


Rex Ray said...


Your right that the 2000 BFM is not a creed; BUT!

Keith Parks explained why it became a creed in a letter printed by the Baptist Standard February 11, 2002:

“A confession becomes a creed when others determine the beliefs one is FORCED to sigh.”

These are some differences between 1963 and 2000 BFMs.

1.Composed by presidents of State Conventions. vs. Patterson’s 15 friends.
2.Anyone could approach group to be of service. vs. behind closed doors; kept secret.
3.Has not deleted from or added to basic contents of 1925 Statement. vs. deleted.
4.Not a creed carrying mandatory authority. vs. deleted.
5.Baptist emphasize priesthood of the believer. vs. priesthood of believers. (majority rules)
6.Criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ. vs. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ.
7.Church committed to His teachings. vs. Church governed by His laws.
8.Its Scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. vs. Office of pastor is limited to men.
9.The 2000 BFM added The Family: “A wife is to submit herself to the servant leadership of her husband…to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.”

Christiane said...

The thing about power and control is that it feeds the great sin of pride, which is itself the mother of all sins, as it was pride that first showed itself in Eden with disastrous results.

Throwing stones and pointing the finger are not exercises that draw from the strength of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but are activities more rooted in judgmentalism and self-justification.

And love . . . maybe it wouldn't be so bad if that became more important in the equation for the evangelical Church, as right now, 'culture war' values seem to be what other people think about when they look at the evangelical Church,and that judgmentalism unfortunately masks a great love for those without a shepherd that is so dear to the hearts of many evangelical people and to Our Lord Himself.
When the Holy Spirit comes near, good people find other ways to connect with the world; ways that are not unlike Our Lord's Ways when He was among us.

Wade Burleson said...


You've been spot on with your observations of attempts to make the 2000 BFM a club.

It's a travesty.

Scott Shaver said...

Matters not how often it changes. When it's used like a creed, a duck by any other name is still a duck.

The SBC "confessionalism" is more aptly described, IMO, as galloping creedalism.

Quit paying attention to them when Christ was written out as the criterion of biblical interpretation.

On the positive side, they do make interesting bird cage liners when printed out on 8 1\2 by 11.

Rex Ray said...


:) Good one! What is scary is their changing: “Church committed to His teachings. vs. Church governed by His laws.”

To me, “governed by laws” has the ring of a ‘Top-down’ rule of authority.

Wade Burleson said...


"galloping creedalism" - great phrase.

Also, you nailed the problem - "Christ written out as the criterion of biblical interpretation."

Great comment.

Doug Martin said...

Galloping Creedalism is the presenting problem; the root issue is Galloping Galatianism, ie, beginning in the Spirit and attempting to follow in the flesh. "Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" Galatians 3:3 NIV.

Rex Ray said...


I like to think of “Criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ”, as interpreting the Bible through the eyes of Jesus.

Wade Burleson said...


Yep. Great point.

ishy said...

Wasn't the IMB's excuse for firing all those missionaries their lack of adherence to the 2000 BFM?

Wade Burleson said...


Yep. A sad, sad day.

Christiane said...

Hello Gerald Polmateer,
I'm not sure if this is some kind of 'creed', but the 'Shema' is an important statement of faith that is prayed daily by Jewish people who are observant:

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד

She-ma yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad

"Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One"

Rex Ray said...


I’ve never heard Beth Moore preach, but I ran into the link below. If it’s an example of her preaching, I can see why some preachers could be jealous.

Rex Ray said...


The reason missionaries were fired was not their lack of adherence to the 2000 BFM, but because they would NOT SIGN the BFM 2000.

I’ve printed 72 letters criticizing the BFM 2000 and on the subject, “How Deep will Baptist Sink in Legalism with the BFM 2000?

I thought the best letter was from a fired missionary, Stan R. Lee from Rwanda, Africa. It’s on Wade’s blog:

Look for comment: Tuesday Sep 04, 07:36:00 AM 2018

I like Lee’s last words: “It may be that this will turn out to be the end of my missionary career, but I want you to know that if I go, I go as a true Baptist and a true servant of the SBC, but Christ first. ALL FOR CHRIST.

Ken F said...

Here is an interesting article about whether or not Judaism has a creed:
"Many have contended that Judaism is a religion of deed and not creed. What you do is important, not what you believe."

Rex Ray said...


Your link if Jews have a creed or not didn’t ‘do’ much for me.

Scott Shaver,

On this post you said in referring to the BFM 2000, “On the positive side, they do make interesting bird cage liners when printed out on 8 1\2 by 11.”

But on Wade’s post in 2018, you said, “The BFM 2000. More useful in an outhouse than a church house.”

I can’t decide which statement is best. :)

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

How are you doing these days? We are going through house renovations which were supposed to be done before Thanksgiving, but now it looks more like maybe before Christmas time (sigh).
I hope the SBC returns to saying that Our Lord is the lens through which we can understand sacred Scripture. All that 'inerrantic' stuff doesn't work UNLESS Our Lord is considered first as to 'the Revealer of God' and we know that in time, He will 'open the scrolls' as is said in Revelation and we will understand what only He can tell us. Honestly, this 'through a glass darkly' thing is tough.

I liked Ken's input about 'behavior' being more important than what people 'said' they believed in, sure. If people 'live' to the Lord, they will be showing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in how they live among others in this life, and I think that those who wander too far from 'the simplicity that is in Christ' can get into trouble, as Patterson did with how he treated women. To me, that 'inerrancy' thing was more of an appeal to accept the interpretations that men had of sacred Scripture; but when the Bible is used to back up behaviors that are un-Christ-like, then you know 'inerrancy' has gone wrong. What do you think about this?

How's your health these days? I hope you are following doctor's orders and that Judy is helping you with this. It's not easy keeping up with pills and such, I know. But hang in there and stay strong. Let me know how you are doing. I hope it will be good news.

Rex Ray said...


Enjoyed your comment. It enlightened me about Ken’s link.

At one time our Baptist church Sunday School Quarterlies had “The 2000 BF&M is our guideline.”

I wrote Jerry Rankin, President of the IMB, complaining about it. I said, “Why don’t we say the Bible is our guideline? He replied, “We can’t do that because that’s what the Church of Christ say.”

He told my missionary son; the required signing was for only new missionaries; that he was ‘Grandfathered in’. WRONG. Then he told him he would not be fired if he did not sign. WRONG AGAIN.

Rankin required signing the 2000 BF&M to save his job. This is what happened.

“Baptist Press is a news gathering and distribution service sponsored by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Morris Chapman was president of the Executive Committee. Some missionary (forgot his name) wrote the Baptist Press to stop sending it to him because it was so ‘one sided’. His letter ended up on Chapman’s desk. He told Rankin if he couldn’t control his missionaries, there’d be someone who could. So, Rankin ordered missionaries to sign the 2000 BFM.

Many long-time missionaries didn't sign because they retired.

I’m not hearing very good. I’d lost my right ear hearing aid, and today my left ear is bandaged so much, it looks like a Christmas tree since a doctor sewed it up from cancer. I hope the bandage is off before he whacks into to my right eyebrow. (Wouldn’t that be a sight?)

Ken F said...

The creed thing is complicated. There appear to be no universally recognized creeds for the nearly the first 300 years of Christianity. But after the legalization of Christianity and the follows in promotion of Christianity by Constantine, it became politically and economically expedient to be a Christian. The Christians who stood fast during the persecutions had to decide what to do with the Christians who abandoned their faith, and the new Christians who were only doing it for social reasons. Along with this came new theological attacks on the faith, with one of the major ones being Arianism. Those first two ecumenical councils in the early and late 4th centuries are the only reason Christianity is Trinitarian today, because at one point the Arian view was promoted by the Roman government and was widely accepted by the population. If it was not for the efforts of Athanasius (who went into exile multiple times for opposing Arianism) and the Capadocian Fathers, Chrisitianty today would very likely be non-Trinitarian. The Nicene Creed and follow-on Chalcedonian Creed appear to be critical to maintaining Christian orthodoxy - so much so that nearly every Protestant denomination today agrees with them.

To understand why we have those creeds we need to get into the minds of the Christians who made them. They were under different pressures than we are, and I think we should be thankful for the groundwork they put in place for us.

Christiane said...

Found some treasures to share, these:

First, on Wartburg Watch (e-Church) from Enid, Wade's Church, this:

"A Thanksgiving Prayer-—Samuel F. Pugh

Oh, God, when I have food
help me to remember the hungry;
when I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;
when I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless;
when I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
and remembering, help me
to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help, by word and deed,
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.


this sonnet written on the feast of Christ The King:

"Anglican priest Malcolm Guite writes a sonnet about the ‘disconnect’ between the Church and a ‘hidden King, clothed in humility’:

“Mathew 25: 31-46

Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty,
Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows,
Our soundtracks drown his murmur: ‘I am thirsty’.
He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
And seek a welcome from the world he made,
We see him only as a threat, a danger,
He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead.
And if he should fall sick then we take care
That he does not infect our private health,
We lock him in the prisons of our fear
Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.”

my own thought is that in reading the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, we might take to heart the words that tell us to look for Our Lord, clothed in humility, present among those who are suffering in our world. When we reach out to them, we reach out to Him.

Christiane said...

are you being treated for skin cancer, basil-cell type? I had it once and it was healed.
I hope the doctors are careful with this and thorough. You have my prayers.

Rex Ray said...


I’m a dummy on types of skin cancer. Some paperwork states: “Squamous cell Carcinoma”. A month ago, they did the left eyebrow; in two weeks it’s the other one.

Somehow this reminds me of a proud first grade boy that came to school wearing his new cowboy boots. Our mother told him: “Honey, you’ve got them on the wrong feet.”

“Mrs. Ray, these is the only feets I got.”

Christiane said...


I think if it's just squamous cell skin cancer, they can get it all taken care of. But it's no fun. I remember being treated for the 'basal' cell cancer, so I know.

I loved your story. Even on the most difficult day one of your stories brings joy. That means a lot. You take care. For me, this is a week with contractors in my house working, and not the family dinner I had hoped to have . . . . that will come on Christmas Day, God willing, and I will have what the people in the South call 'the groaning board' with many dishes and offerings to eat.

Are you able to gather with family this Thanksgiving Day? I hope so.

Rex Ray said...


As kids, when we got hurt, our dad would say, “Be Tough”, but our mother would sympathize; she was the one we ran to.

You remind me of her. On Thanksgiving our family is gathering at my daughter’s house; five miles from us.

“New York Daily News November 25, 2019: Schiff announces impeachment inquiry report coming after Thanksgiving, leaves door open for more testimony into Trump’s Ukraine scandal misconduct.”


On “Outnumbered” today, Trump is quoted as saying about Impeachment: “BRING IT ON”, while Adam Schiff switched from “Impeachment” to “Censorship”.

Opts, there goes politics. :)

Christiane said...

Good you are going to be with family on Thursday. That's important. BTW, the origin of the attempt to switch the blame for meddling in our politics from Russian to Ukraine comes from Putin, not Trump. Oh, Trump is all for it, sure. But all of our nation's intelligence people point to Russia as the culprit. There is no evidence that the Ukraine was involved in any of it.

As to 'impeachment' or 'censorship', CNN had this on recently:

Rex Ray said...


My computer speakers don’t work. So, could you tell me what your link said?

BTW, I heard someone say if there was a way, America should impeach Obama. No joke.

Rex Ray said...


What about impeaching Obama on this charge: One of my favorite Newspaper cartoons shows a car is stopped for speeding in Arizona. When the policeman sees that it’s Obama, he said, “Birth Certificate please.”

On a more serious note, and since the Statutes of Limitations never runs out for murder, how about impeaching LBJ? (Lyndon Baines Johnson)

Two bullets were so close together, they sounded like one shot. The first (from the sniper’s window) started his head forward and put ‘brains’ on the windshield. The second (from behind a fence) knocked his head backward and put brains on a motorcycle behind the car.

James Files (behind the fence) said he shot JFK with a mercury bullet. Since mercury last forever, if an autopsy of JFK was done and mercury was found it would prove there was a conspiracy.

An unidentified finger print was found in the ‘sniper’s window, but years later it was proven to be the fingerprint of Malcolm E. Wallace. Wallace’s wanting more money and bragging he’d killed many people for LBJ, put him in his grave.

You could find this link interesting:

Alex said...

Wade literally has the BEST community anywhere. I read it almost everyday. Im also grateful I found, it helped with my prayers and my life is forever better because of it. I hope it helps some others!


Bob Cleveland said...

AS I recall, there's one quite subtle yet extremely revealing (of something) in the BFM2000 vs 1963. The 1963 says Scripture "... is the record of God's revelation of Himself to man." The 2000 says it "... is God's revelation of Himself to man.

Difference? 2000 denies that God can or will reveal Himself to man, now. It also moves the emphasis from God's deeds, to His words.