Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why the Abstract of Principles??

Cross Point Church, though seeking to exalt King Jesus over any denomination is unashamedly being founded in the Southern Baptist tradition as doctrine, church polity, and cooperation for kingdom expansion is concerned. The Southern Baptist Convention is not a governing agency but a “convention of churches” which we will partner with to send missionaries across the globe, resource seminaries and other training institutions, and plant more Biblical local churches. Our polity will be pastor-led congregationalism (explaining that in detail will require another future blog post). Our doctrine will be consistent with the earliest statement of faith articulated and adopted by Southern Baptists. In 1858 the President of the soon-to-be-opened Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. James P. Boyce commissioned the drafting of an “abstract of doctrinal principles”. This confessional statement became a regulative document for the seminary and its professors (and has since been recovered under Dr. Mohler’s leadership). Of course years later in 1925 the SBC drafted the first edition of the Baptist Faith and Message but The Abstract of Principles was the first document that articulated the orthodoxy of Southern Baptist churches and it was the first confessional statement adopted by any SBC institution.

So Cross Point Church will use The Abstract of Principles as its main statement of faith. It is time-tested, clear, and concise. As such it will be the statement for confessional agreement among our membership. Over the course of the next year we will examine each article and make revisions in the language (for clarity) and teach the Scriptural proofs each doctrine is rooted in. It is also my goal to develop a “catechism” based on these doctrinal statements to use in discipleship—particularly among the children of our church members. The Baptist Faith and Message as well as other historic Baptist confessions (2nd London- 1689, Philadelphia- 1742, New Hampshire- 1833, etc) will also serve us to teach Bible doctrine and determine levels of cooperation with other congregations. Creeds and confessions while not authoritative—Scripture alone occupies this role for the believer—are guides and tools to express a church’s mutual agreement on Biblical doctrine and interpretation.

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