What is a Baptist: Baptist Distinctives and Beliefs
Summer Semester 2008
In this class we will examine what it is that makes our Baptist beliefs and heritage distinctive from other denominations and discover what Baptists believe by reading and reviewing classic texts by Southern Baptist authors and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000). We will search out the biblical basis for those beliefs and discuss what our core Baptist beliefs mean for living out a dynamic faith in Christ and maintaining a healthy Church.
While I will draw from all of these texts and more, we will primarily follow the order and sequence of the first three books – If you wish to purchase any of these books, I would encourage you to choose both Hobbs and Norman as a guide to the class.
The Baptist Faith and Message (2000), available from http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp
This document is a summary of accepted Southern Baptist beliefs. In the words of the committee, which brought the most recent revision forward for approval: “Baptists are a people of deep beliefs and cherished doctrines. Throughout our history we have been a confessional people, adopting statements of faith as a witness to our beliefs and a pledge of our faithfulness to the doctrines revealed in Holy Scripture.” This is the version adopted in 2000, following revisions in 1988, 1963, and drawn from the original 1925 version.
Herschel Hobbs, What Baptists Believe, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1964
This classic short text by a former president of the SBC summarizes many of the core beliefs of Southern Baptists in an easy to read format with explanation of the biblical basis of these beliefs and copious clarifications of the terminology taken from the original languages of the Bible text.
R. Stanton Norman, The Baptist Way: Distinctives of a Baptist Church, B&H Academic, Nashville, TN 2005
This book by a professor of Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary reviews historical Baptist distinctives within a clearly presented biblical framework and challenges churches to take these distinctives to heart to ensure a healthy and vibrant church life centered on Christ.
W. L. Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith, Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA, 1969
This document presents many historical confessions of faith from Baptist and Anabaptist traditions together with commentary on the historical and theological aspects of these important texts
Tom J. Nettles and Russel D. Moore, eds., Why I Am A Baptist, Broadman and Holdman, Nashville, TN, 2001.
This collection of essays by conservative Baptist leaders from the 19th century to today allows each author to address the question of why they have chosen the Baptist faith, and how their spiritual journey brought them to their beliefs.
H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1987
This comprehensive work reviews Baptist History in Great Britain and the United States from the early seventeenth century through the late twentieth century.