Southern Baptist Conference A Biblical Heritage
We invite you to consider the convictions of these Southern Baptists. Their stand on Scripture and its treatment in our schools and lives is uncompromising. As we remember the way in which God has blessed the Conventions through the years, we should keep its scriptural commitments in mind.
John L. Dagg
President, Mercer University
…what was spoken and written by inspiration, came with as high authority as if it had proceeded from God without the use of human instrumentality. …Their peculiarities of thought, feeling, and style, had no more effect to prevent what they spoke and wrote from being the word of God, than their peculiarities of voice or of chirography. The question, whether inspiration extended to the very words of revelation, as well as to the thoughts and reasoning, is answered by Paul: "We preach, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." -- Manual of Theology (1857)
James P. Boyce
First President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
President, Southern Baptist Convention, (1872-79,1888)
How came it (the Bible) to be written? God inspired holy men to write it. Did they write it exactly as God wished? Yes; as much as if He had written every word himself. Ought it, therefore, to be believed and obeyed? Yes; as much as though God had spoken directly to us. -- A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine
Peculiar obligations rest upon those to whom are entrusted the education of the rising Ministry. God in His mercy preserve the instructors from the crime of teaching a single error, however unimportant, and grant unto all our Boards the grace necessary for faithfulness to the trusts devolved upon them, that false doctrine, however trifling, may receive no countenance.
You will infringe the right of no man, and you will secure the rights of those who have established here an instrumentality for the production of a sound ministry. It is no hardship to those who teach here, to be called upon to sign the declaration of their principles, for there are fields of usefulness open elsewhere to every man, and none need accept your call who can not conscientiously sign your formulary.
Playing upon the prejudices of the weak and ignorant among our people, decrying creeds and an infringement upon the rights of conscience, making a deep impression by his extensive learning and great abilities, Alexander Campbell threatened at one time the total destruction of our faith. -- Inaugural Address, Furman University (1856)
Corresponding Secretary, Baptist Sunday School Board
We accept the Scriptures as an all-sufficient and infallible rule of faith and practice, and insist upon the absolute inerrancy and sole authority of the Word of God. We recognize at this point no room for division, either of practice or belief, or even sentiment. More and more we must come to feel as the deepest and mightiest power of our conviction that a "thus saith the Lord" is the end of all controversy. -- Baptist: Why and Why Not (1900)
Chairman, Bible Department, Baylor University, (1910-1946)
These writers certainly claimed that what they say is of God. To them the inspiration is not just plenary but verbal. They were not left to choose their words promiscuously. Their individuality was preserved, but the words used were given them of God. Not just the thought came from God, but every word with every inflection. Every verse and line, and even upon the tense of the verb, every number of the noun, and every little particle they regarded as coming from God and demanded in the pain of grave disaster that we should preserve it in its entirety. -- Thinking Straight About the Bible, or Is the Bible the Word of God (1935)
Photo from The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas - Used by Permission.
President, Southern Baptist Convention
Chairman, Baptist Faith and Message Committee (1963)
Infallible has two meanings; one is "without error" the other that "it fulfills its intended function." A dull knife can be an infallible knife if you use it to cut butter. You will weaken the statement by putting in that word. I know it's your pet word, and it's the pet word of a lot of people, but it isn't as strong as the words "without any mixture of error." -- from Interview Concerning Hobbs' Defense of Baptist Faith and Message Wording on the Bible
John A. Broadus
Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Homiletics,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859 – 1895)
The inspired writers learned many things by observation or inquiry, but they were preserved by the Holy Spirit from error whether in learning or in writing these things. …Those who concede errors in the Scriptures as to matter of fact, in order to remove conflict with some scientific opinions of our time, may tell us that they have great satisfaction in being at peace with science. But there are two drawbacks upon such a peace. It is the peace of sheer submission. …And it is only a partial and temporary peace. Other scientific men at once make still further demands, tending ever toward the complete abandonment of the supernatural. …If we assume that the inspiration of the Bible is only partial where are we to stop? Every man must then select adlibitum what portions of the Bible's teachings he will accept as true. -- A Catechism of Bible Teaching (1893); -- Three Questions as to the Bible (1883)
First President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1908-14)
…These modern devotees of higher criticism must wait each week for the mail from Germany to know what to believe or preach, to find how much, if any, of their Bible remains…. -- "Theological Seminaries and Wild Gourds"
Lee, keep the Seminary lashed to the Cross. If heresy ever comes in the teaching, take it to the faculty. If they will not hear you and take prompt action, take it to the trustees of the Seminary. If they will not hear you, take it to the Convention that appoints the Board of Trustees, and if they will not hear you, take it to the great common people of our churches. You will not fail to get a hearing then. -- "Deathbed Commission to his Successor," L.R. Scarborough
The modern cry, "Less creed and more liberty," is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jelly fish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. …It is a positive and very hurtful sin to magnify liberty at the expense of doctrine. -- An Interpretation of the English Bible
Professor of New Testament Interpretation
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1895-1934)
(God) gave a revelation to make it free from errors, I believe He first made it inerrant as He made nature so. Hence, I boldly hold that the analogy of nature is in favor of inerrancy of God's original scriptures. ...Why in the world is it that there is such a terrible contention by destructive higher critics? ...I think I can tell. The school wants to change the whole order... they wish to get an entering wedge by having it admit that there were inaccuracies... in order to shift and change the order of the Word to suit themselves. -- "The Relative Authority of Scripture and Reason"
Second President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
My faith is the faith of a simple, plain Baptist. I accepted from my father and Dr. B.H. Carroll the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ, His perfect humanity, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His second coming. All my studies since have confirmed the simple faith I received from them. -- Introduction to Inspiration of the Bible by B.H. Carroll (1930)
K. Owen White
Pastor, Fist Baptist Church, Houston
President, Southern Baptist Convention, 1964
If the appeal is made for "academic freedom," let it be said that we gladly grant any man the right to believe what he wants to – but, we do not grant him the right to believe and express views in conflict with our historic position concerning the Bible as the Word of God while he is teaching in one of our schools, built and supported by Baptist funds. -- "Death in the Pot" Baptist Standard, Jan. 10, 1962
Founding Professor of Biblical Introduction and Old Testament Interpretation,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Drafted SBTS Abstract of Principles
President of Georgetown College
First President of the Sunday School Board
The doctrine which we hold is that commonly styled Plenary Inspiration. It is that the Bible as a whole is the Word of God, so that in every part of Scripture there is both infallible truth and divine authority. -- The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration (1888)
Charlotte Diggs "Lottie" Moon
Southern Baptist Missionary to China
Namesake for Foreign Mission Offering
Professor Toy, as he had now become, wrote reproposing marriage and suggesting mission work together in Japan. … He was known as a brilliant linguist and theologian. Following the Civil War he had studied in Europe, where he was exposed to Darwinian theory and to "the new ideas of the German scholars" on Old Testament history and inspiration. …Her conclusion was that …evolution was for her an "untenable position." …Later in China, heated letters arrive, and "The temptation is great." The professor, however, now espouses theories that "do not square with God's Word." Rejecting C.H. Toy, Harvard, and glory, Miss Moon says, "My cross is loneliness. …" -- "Our Ordered Lives Confess: Three 19th Century Missionaries in East Shantung" by Irwin Hyatt (1976)
President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, (1899-1928)
President, Southern Baptist Convention, (1921-1924)
President, Baptist World Alliance, (1928)
Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. He was the Divine and eternal Son of God. He wrought miracles, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead. He died as the victorious atoning Savior of the world and was buried. He arose again from the dead. The tomb was emptied of its contents. In His risen body He appeared many times to His disciples. He ascended to the right hand of the Father. He will come again in person, the same Jesus who ascended from the Mount of Olives. We believe that adherence to the above truths and facts is a necessary condition of service for teachers in our Baptist schools. -- Address to 1923 Southern Baptist Convention
1925 and 1963 Southern Baptist Conventions
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter… -- The Baptist Faith and Message: Article 1
1987 Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Peace Committee
We, as a Peace Committee, have found that most Southern Baptists see "truth without any mixture of error for its matter" as meaning, for example, that
(1) They believe in direct creation of mankind and therefore believe Adam and Eve were real persons.
(2) They believe the named authors did indeed write the Biblical books attributed to them by those books.
(3) They believe the miracles described in Scriptures did indeed occur as supernatural events in history.
(4) They believe that the historical narratives given by Biblical authors are indeed accurate and reliable as given by those authors.
We call upon Southern Baptist institutions to recognize the great number of Southern Baptists who believe this interpretation of our confessional statement and, in the future, to build their professional staffs and faculties from those who clearly reflect such dominant convictions and beliefs held by Southern Baptists at large. -- Southern Baptist Peace Committee Report, Adopted at the 1987 Southern Baptist Convention
I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.