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amen...i am glad to be a baptist as well. and, i am glad to be a southern baptist. i think that we have the greatest denom. in the world.



This is an awesome post, Peter. I've been asked on many occasions what made me a Baptist and I've returned, "not what but Who". In all the faiths I've come to understand, I am solely happy to be Baptist because in my opinion, they teach the Bible and encourage others to read the Bible.

I am proud to be a "Southern" Baptist because we cooperate as autonomous churches supporting the evangelism of the world via our various Missionaries.
Had it not been for the Home Missions many years ago, a little Southern Baptist Church beginning in a YMCA in New England would not have been there. Consequently, I would not have been saved there, nor would my husband and many many Christian brothers and sisters. And I cannot remember how many of us went on to serve the Lord in full-time service. It's amazing looking back in history. Thanks for doing that with this post. It was great. selahV


What do Baptists believe regarding gifts of the Holy Spirit, i.e. "faith healing", "speaking in unknown tongues", "prophetic dreams", "interpretation of dreams", and "discerning and casting out evil spirits"? A lot of that certainl went on in the New Testament churches, and the commonly taught doctrine that those gifts ended with the apostolic age is found nowhere in the Bible; to the contrary it would appear to be contradicted in Joel 2:28 - 29 and Acts 2:17 - 18 and can hence be described as "tradition" or "reason". Further, Joel 2:28 - 29, Acts 2:17 - 18, and the prominent positions given to Deborah, Miriam, Elizabeth, Huldah, Noadiah, the unnamed wife of Isaiah, Anna, and Lydia in the Bible should give some people pause when they consider their doctrine concerning the role of women in the church. If you are going to call yourself a "fundamentalist" or a "Biblical literalist", well then those words mean things.


Dear HealtheLand,

Greetings. I am glad you dropped by. And I stand honored you left a little foot print as well by commenting here.

As for what Baptists believe about the numerous phenomenon you mentioned, it is hard to pin them entirely down on it. There's a heck of a lot of stuff you mentioned, I trust you know.

I can say, with some measure of confidence, however, that historically, Baptists, at least since the first part of the 20th Century, have leaned more to the cessationist than noncessationist view. Personally, I lean sorta the other direction.

That is, I am "open but definitively cautious" about affirming all the gifts and practises you cite--primarily speaking, of the way the gifts appear to be teased out in practise. I remain unsure that many times what goes on or what is called the supposed "sign" gifts in practise resembles at all that about which I understand the NT to speak. By the way, Baptists fight for your right to disagree.

But of course, what's interesting is, HealtheLand, I noted Dr. Brackney's fine book because he was attempting to carve down three+ century's of Baptist history into three propositions of Baptist unity--a beautiful landmark you curiously seem to drive right on by.

As for calling myself "fundamentalist" or "Biblical literalist," my brother (or sister) HealtheLand, those are your labels not mine. I am a Believer who happens to be a Baptist.

May grace be yours. With that, I am...




Thank you. And what a warm testimony to the effectiveness of missions you cite--a great tribute to those who continually sacrifice in their labors for the Lord through domestic and global missions.


With that, I am...


Michael Westmoreland-White

Brackney's strength is that he has worked in several VERY different Baptist settings, so he doesn't reduce the term "Baptist" to "Southern Baptist" as so many do.

If you liked his slim, The Baptists, check out his _A Genetic History of Baptist Thought_ (Mercer University Press, 2004) which I reviewed on my blog. It concentrates on Baptists in the UK, Canada, and the U.S. (with a larger section on African-American Baptist theologians than almost any other work like this). Now, he's working on a sequel on Baptist thought outside Britain and North America.
Since my conversion was (humanly speaking) the result of African American and German Baptists, I have spent most of my adult life trying to forge a truly GLOBAL Baptist identity. Brackney has been an important aid in that regard.



Thanks for the tip, Michael. When you say a sequel outside UK & NA, what particular areas does he have in mind?

I will check you review. Grace for this weekend. With that, I am...


Michael Westmoreland-White

I don't know, precisely, Peter, but Baptists have existed in many, many lands since the 19th C. Nagaland, India has more Baptists than the U.S.A.! (Nagaland was promised independence in 1948 and never got it. If it ever does, it will become the first country with a 90% Baptist population.) Russian Baptists are very unique. I imagine, he'll include Latin America, Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, and South Korea, at least.

We have not only been missionary, but rather successful in this regard. And, because of congregational polity and the refusal to treat confessions of faith as infallible creeds, but trust in believer priests, each place Baptists have gone have developed their own versions of what it means to be Baptist--unique to their culture.
Again, we have commonalities, but much diversity. (Did you know that Russian Baptists actually have bishops?!)

perry mccall

Great post.


Interesting post, Peter as we are about to go through baptist history and then the BFM2K in SS class. I've spent time reading some baptist discussion lists getting ideas and then downloading some baptist history works from google books.

Have you heard of or read a book by James McGoldrick called "Baptist Successionism"? Just curious.

A coffee may be around the corner.

Take care,

Michael Westmoreland-White

I can support the BFM of 1963, but I find the '98 and '00 revisions to be totally abominable.

Of course, the biggest problem with the article on family is this: the family is not an article of faith. Research the entire history of creeds and confessions, etc. No one confesses, "I believe in the family." No, the family is a social phenomenon arriving from human biology. We find numerous different patterns even in Scripture. But the family is not an article of faith. It's one of the strangest theological developments I've ever seen.



confessions were made to combat errors in theology. maybe the sbc decided that the way the family and marriage were headed in our day and time deserved a confession....to let the world know what the bible teaches about it.

i have no problem signing the '98 or the 2k sbc confession known as the bfm2k. it states very well what the bible teaches about family.


Michael Westmoreland-White

Combatting error is ONE of the uses of confessions, true. The BFM2K teaches what the Bible teaches about family? Only selectively. Most biblical families were polygamous, included slaves. One could sell one's daughter into slavery to get out of debt, but I see nothing about that in BFM2K. BFM2K doesn't recommend that the wedding bed's sheets be checked for blood to see if the bride was truly virginal and stone her if she wasn't. It doesn't recommend levirate marriage--giving a widow to the brother of the deceased if there are no kids so that the dead man's line goes on.
It doesn't demand, like Ezra, that all foreign wives be divorced.

Biblical family patterns changed greatly over the 1000 years or so in which the Bible was written. BFM2K tries to find "timeless principles" and does so mostly by reading back a Leave it to Beaver family pattern back onto the text--and ignoring not only the texts which argue for male female equality, but also the ones, like I mentioned, which would more closely follow the current marriage patterns of Saudi Arabia!



Thanks for stopping by, my Brother and your warm encouragement...


Actually I have not read his works or know of him. Drop me a line when you find out or post your essay. I'd like to read it. Grace.

With that, I am...




why in the world would you give all of those ot commands on marriage? we are not the nation of israel in ot times. we are the nt church. we dont follow ot law. thus, i didnt follow your whole line of thinking at all.


Benji Ramsaur


I responded to your comments over on my blog. Good to have you stop by.

I also have some 1800's documents from the Biblical Recorder that argue against Calvinism (I also have pro-Calvinist ones too)

However, I don't think the Founders are saying what you claim they are saying. I think they might be saying that Calvinism was standard SBC theology at its beginning on into the 1920's.

If you have any historical documents that give any indication as to "why" Calvinism might have began to wane in the SBC, please let me know.

Here is a quote from a document I have:

"In a former communication, I advised the readers of the Recorder, in the event of a renewal of the controversy between the two branches of the great Baptist family, to beware of extremes and extreme men.
Who are the extremists?
1. There are our anti-mission brethren, who are so fearful that something may be done to detract from the glory of God, as displayed in redemption, that they never urge sinners to come to Christ. They deny that repentance is a duty, and never urge it as such.
2. Believing that God has predestined and elected his people to eternal life, they deny the necessity for the means usually employed for the dissemination of gospel truth.
On the other hand, there are a few, and only a few, missionary Baptists who have unconsciously departed from our true confessions of faith, that they might the more effectually meet the objections of the anti-missionaries founded upon the the Calvinistic doctrines of election and predestination." MAX (Biblical Recorder October 10, 1866)

I find this quote helpful, but I desire to see more historical documents on the "why" question.

God Bless



Thanks, my Brother. Actually, I'm not sure which assertion I made wit hwhich you may contest. As for why the demise of Calvinism, I am unsure. As you state, there are mixed views with the weight of center coming down on the Calvinist side up until 1860's.

But the nit becomes suspiciously evident that Calvinism began to lose its grip. My present post suggests a questionable stance toward Calvinism's view of sovereignty in 1897, recalling sovereignty is a staple in Calvinism thinking. Also, by early 1900's, Z.T.Cody could say he knew of no church who held to the 5 points of Calvinism (Cody was editor of Baptist Courier at the time. Indded, he said the doctrines were "repugnant to our people").

E. Y. Mullins perhaps more than any would have been responisble for the door on old school Calvinism being slammed shut in the early 1900's. Since 1925 BFM, which was anything but a strongly Calvinistic confession, SBs have been mostly waht I call nonCalvinist.

Thanks again Benji. With that, I am...


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