Book Critique for The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message.docx

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Page 1 of 8The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message. By A. J. Smith. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008, 201pp. + xi, $31.00.The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Messageis a research project of A. J. Smith’s dissertation completed at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2004. This monograph focuses on three major factors: the influences upon the Committee that prompted it to make the changes it did; the relation of confessions to Baptist life; and the theological significance of key changes in the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) document.In the first chapter, Smith makes known the subject of his research investigation by referencing several leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) who were major stakeholders on the issue of the doctrine of the Scripture and described the historical context that led to the formation of the Committee on Baptist Faith and Message, and the concerns encountered by the Committee. Smith’s research work reflects on the rise of the so-called progressive thoughts and interpretation of the Bible within the SBC (p.16). Some of the so-called controversy progressive in Smith’s research work were Dale Moody who at the “1961 Oklahoma Bible Conference made provocative remarks that raised the suspicions of many attending pastors regarding his doctrinal teaching about the Bible. Moody was accused of advocating that persons genuinely born again could fall away and lose their salvation” (p. 20). These liberal views from Moody led to a group of pastors who attended the conference to sign a resolution which was eventually sent to Southern Seminary and called for a detailed investigation of Moody’s doctrinal teaching. Another liberal progressive was Ralph Elliot who published a work entitled “The Message of Genesis” in the Broadman Press (p. 24). Some of Elliot’s misinterpretation of the Scripture includes. The Book of Genesis is parable, Abraham as monotheist and his allegation that Melchizedek was a priest of Baal. Having carefully examined Smith’s research and investigational work of the Southern Baptist Convention, it is clear that
Page 2 of 8SBC consisted of two separate groups. The first group is referred to as conservative who viewed the entire Bible as the authoritative, authentic, infallible Word of God. The second group are the “progressive” who sought to influence the doctrine and faith of SBC with liberal views.Smith explores the societal concerns faced by the Committee in chapter three which included: racism and the Civil Rights Movement, global Communism, materialism; and Catholicism. According to the author, “the most volatile concern for the Convention came about when the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. preached in a chapel service at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) on April 19, 1961” (p. 42). Smith also explores the issue of concern and threat of communism and socialism which led to the Committee to slightly modify Article XV – The Christian and the Social Order of the Baptist Faith and Message

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