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BFM Motion Analysis

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First let me say that all other motions, I believe, have either been referred or ruled out of order, so Resolutions tomorrow and Ed Stetzer’s sermon tomorrow night will be the highlights, in my view.

I believe the BFM motion passed at about a 60/40 split. David Troublefield cited some numbers in a comment section earlier, though I am unsure where he got them. Here are a few thoughts.

It is a majority, but not a “slam dunk.” Nevertheless, the Convention has spoken definitively on the issue of narrowing our parameters beyond the BFM. We should be very precise, from this point forward.

Several people had lists of items not covered by the BFM that agencies and institutions had rules about, which they now felt were contrary to the report and the motion, such as divorce, homosexuality and others. I was asked, after the vote, if a similar situation were covered in the BFM. I said, “yes.” The BFM, in Article I, affirms the Bible as authoritative and, therefore, to those things clearly defined in Scripture, the BFM does cover doctrinal statements not listed in other articles. On those things that are not clearly addressed, our agencies and institutions should not establish doctrinal qualifiers on which the convention has no consensus. It is dismissive and arrogant to say there are tons of other things that these institutions adopt as policies that aren’t in the BFM. Behavior restrictions aren’t doctrines. Clearly defined Biblical doctrines are a part of the BFM and are covered. It is only the things around which we have not all gathered upon which our institutions should remain silent. Insert Morris Chapman’s quote from Boyce here, or his own blog article Leading by Example!, or read this applicable article: Boyce answers the bloggers of his day – 3 tests for Doctrinal Unity.

On a practical note, while I don’t want places like SWBTS to have an extra Biblical, extra BFM doctrine as adopted policy, I don’t think it inappropriate for cessationist professors to teach the Bible as they understand it. This statement from the convention does not limit that.

Another practicality is that this motion has the weight of a resolution. The Boards of Trustees can not be instructed by the convention to do a thing. The Boards will continue to vote their conscience before God. If their conscience is bound to represent the convention’s action on this, they will do so. If they feel so firmly that the convention is wrong, they will not change and it will be up to the convention to remove them if they see fit, change its mind on the issue, or live with that of which they say they do not approve.

In other words, this is not over. Those on the Boards who feel that the extra Biblical, extra BFM parameters are not appropriate will point to this motion as leverage to attempt to move their Board back to the place where the restrictions are absent. Success is yet to be determined.

Finally, it is time for the leaders who have indicated that they are in agreement with these sentiments to come out and lead. It is incumbent on leaders to take heat and to address issues that are uncomfortable. Leadership is a responsibility, not a door to privilege. Morris Chapman did this without hesitation today, and Frank Page did so as well, in the introduction of his sermon this morning. Everyone else, to the line, please. Several of our statesmen addressed these issues at the Baptist Identity Conference this year. We need them to make their way to the mic. When I am the one at the mic to defend these issues while men of far greater leadership and academic prowess are absent, the future of our denomination is in jeopardy.

Leaders, you must pick up the issue and be the ones to make of the situation we have revealed something that will be a positive future for all Southern Baptists. You can not continue to allow bloggers or those opposed to our ideas be the ones setting the agenda on these issues.

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5 Responses to “BFM Motion Analysis”

  1. Lu
    on Jun 13th, 2007
    @ 9:14 am

    Thanks for the assessment on this motion without the spin. As much as I admire Wade, I’ve had a hard time seeing what he’s seeing in this. It appears to me to be ambiguous enough that anyone can read whatever they want to in it; including justifying forcing people to sign the BFM in toto (ie no disagreement on any single points allowed) before they can serve on any board, as a missionary, etc. Or it could be completely ignored as well, as you indicate here. Which means, at least from what I can see, it’s largely symbolic and means very little. I don’t get why so much is being made of it.

  2. David Troublefield
    on Jun 13th, 2007
    @ 10:29 am

    The messenger count for last night came from another blogger’s site–one I don’t frequent and can’t locate now (bloggers did a better job last year with up-to-the-moment posts!–had to visit blogsites I never go to for info [with apologies to those hard-working bloggers]!–I’d like a refund for my subscription rate . . . you’re charging other readers here a subscription, right?). The percentage/s followed mathematically, of course . . .

  3. David Troublefield
    on Jun 13th, 2007
    @ 10:34 am

    . . . Another thought: since the BF&M 2000 statement doesn’t contain the word “inerrant” and the word isn’t to be read into the statement (as I now understand the matter)–per this week’s messenger majority–can those Southern Baptists who’ve ceased as much interaction with fellow-SBCers over recent years now come home and in good favor? Just wondering, for everyone’s sake . . .

  4. Titanwes
    on Jun 13th, 2007
    @ 11:06 am

    This will be a mistake and will take the convention further down into the darkness that has clouded it’s resolutions in the years past.

    By adhering to the BFM as the letter of the law… we are becoming legalistic and forgetting that the BIBLE is not a book of rules, but rather a book of guidelines. By allowing the BFM to be the maximum “law” we are saying that the BFM can only rule over what is listed inside its articles. So what of the major issues that are not listed within these articles?

    If your response is that it reverts back to the first article stating that it is governed by scripture, then you are contradicting the very idea that the BFM needs to be the maximum defining rule. If the BFM is submitting authority to the Bible, then the BFM cannot be the maximum rule. The Bible is the maximum authority and the only authority. There is no need of another “document” to present itself as maximum authority because that goes against the idea that the Word of God is inerrant and the only authority we as Christians need. Thus, the BFM should rightly only be a minimum guideline… a starting point whose existence should serve to attempt to maintain the path that the Bible has already carved out, not try to reign in what the Bible states.

    Tell me, is this the most important piece of activity that has occurred today? The problem with the politico in the convention is that they focus on the letter of the law and not the real problem…. 4% of our current generation are turning to Christ. That should be what we work towards instead of leveraging for some political movement within our own ranks.

  5. Art Rogers
    on Jun 13th, 2007
    @ 12:52 pm


    I believe you misunderstand. This statement by the convention says that the SBC would prefer that its agencies and institutions not add any more rules and regulations beyond what we already share together. It is not about restricting liberty, but restricting restrictions.

    As for reaching the lost world, that is exactly why I think it is important to quit creating additional tests of fellowship that hinder our ability to do that.

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