The latest revision of the Baptist Faith & Message is now a decade old. In celebration, I’d like to offer my humble opinion on the good and bad revisions. Note: Some were introduced at some level in the 1998 revision, though solidified in the 2000 edition.
- Gender Roles – A much needed clarification of Scripture’s clear teaching of male headship in the church and in the family. Both Articles VI and XVIII clearly state the worth and gifting of women while explicitly and unapologetically describing their roles.
- Exegesis – The removal of “Jesus Christ as the exegetical standard” was a good thing, though most notably resisted by the Baptist General Convention, the largest Baptist convention in Texas. The emphasis that all Scripture is equally inspired by God keeps some from over-elevating Jesus’ teachings and pushing aside other Scripture. Article I is correct in saying, “All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”
- Priesthood of Believers – A needed, specific addition that is orthodox to Protestant Christianity.
- Eschatological Freedom – There was fear among some that dispensationalism may be included, but the new revision was not eschatologically restrictive.
- Homosexuality – Article XVIII on the family is also very clear on marriage between a man and a woman being the only acceptable form of marriage Scripturally, citing the reflection of Christ and His Church and procreation.
- Contemporary Issues – The latest revison takes a stand against current cultural issues such as abortion, adultery, and pornography.
- No Inerrancy – Inerrancy is a controversial term to some, and it was left out of the 2000 revision. The word “inspired” is mostly used in its place but inerrancy is a foundational tenant of faith, in my opinion.
- BFM is Loosely Binded – Though seminary faculty and prospective missionaries are required to agree to the BFM2000, churches are not. I believe that church constitutions and pastors should be required to agree, as well. Purpose and unity can only help the convention as a whole.
Though I have a few minor issues with it, I truly believe that the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message is a ground-breaking achievement in church ethics and should be modeled by others.