Ronnie Floyd on Having Clarity in the New Year

Ronnie Floyd is president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

NASHVILLE (BP) — The start of a new year is a good time to review where we are and to state clearly where we are heading. This is true personally, in our families, in businesses and even as a convention of churches.

I hear from pastors and other leaders wondering where we as Southern Baptists are heading. Some question our commitment to Scripture. Others fear we are softening some of our practices to become more attractive to the culture.

With each question, my answer is the same. The Southern Baptist Convention is committed to doing our work together with faithfulness to the doctrines revealed in the Holy Scripture. Our commitment to the Bible remains strong. Where are Southern Baptists headed? We are headed on mission with God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as revealed through His Word.

At the beginning of this new year, it is good for us to remember the foundational truths that guide us on our mission. These truths flow from the unchanging and timeless treasure of Holy Scripture.

1. We believe the Bible is the Word of God. While I cannot speak for all Southern Baptists on many things, this is one thing on which we agree: The Bible is God’s infallible and inerrant truth. This is where Southern Baptists are.

The Baptist Faith and Message, our consensus confession of faith, puts it this way: “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is 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…. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy” (Article I, BF&M).

2. We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. He is God in the flesh. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. One day, Jesus will come again in power and glory. There is no salvation apart from repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This personal relationship with God through Christ is the central message of our faith.

3. We believe Jesus commissioned His followers to make disciples of all the nations. When evangelizing those without Christ, we lead them to be baptized as a testimony of their saving faith and disciple them to become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ. Embracing this common missional vision, we cooperate together as autonomous churches to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.

4. We believe each New Testament church is an autonomous, local congregation of baptized believers in Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is committed to advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world. Both men and women are gifted to serve in the church and the world. The office of pastor or elder, however, is limited to men as qualified by the Holy Scripture.

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Source: Baptist Press