Vol. 3, No. 3 July 2000 Editor: Bruce Prescott
SBC Demotes Jesus
By Dr. Bruce Prescott
Mainstream Baptists have repeatedly warned that Southern Baptists were being led into Bible idolatry. The 2000 BFM confirms the veracity of this charge. The SBC is officially requiring that members bow to the Bible before bowing to Jesus.
The prologue of the 1963 BFM said,“The sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ.” This was an acknowledgment that Jesus is the only infallible interpreter of God’s will in human life. God’s will is perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ “whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.”
The prologue of the 2000 BFM unashamedly deletes this sentence and replaces it with a clause about “doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.” Notice is thereby given that Jesus is being demoted in Baptist life and a creed promoted.
Confirmation of Jesus’ demotion comes in the first article of the 2000 BFM. The article on scriptures in the 1963 BFM said the Bible “is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man.” The 2000 BFM deletes the words “the record of.” It says the Bible “is God’s revelation of Himself to man.”
This is not a minor change. It is sub-Christian. Deleting the words, “the record of” is clear evidence that the Living Word of God is being subordinated to the written word. The Bible has become an idol and the uniqueness of Christian revelation has been undermined. Every religion, sect and cult claims some inspired writings as divine revelation (click here to see chart). Christians believe that God reveals himself through more than inspired words and thoughts and books. Words and thoughts and books, even when they are divinely inspired, are inadequate to reveal God’s person. What distinguishes us as Christians is that we believe that God revealed Himself uniquely in Jesus Christ. The Bible is not superior to Jesus and the Bible is not equal to Jesus as divine revelation. Jesus is God’s perfect revelation. The Bible is the record of God’s revelation.
By saying that scripture “is God’s revelation” the 2000 BFM promotes the Bible to a place that properly belongs only to Christ. Then it goes on to demote Jesus further. Jesus is merely “the focus of divine revelation.” While “All scripture is a testimony to Christ,” the primacy of Christ over scriptures is no longer acknowledged. That is the effect of the 2000 BFM deletion of the confession that, “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”
Acknowledging that “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ” reminds Baptists to interpret the Bible with humility. The only infallible interpreter of scripture is Jesus Christ. Without this safeguard there is great danger that Baptists will subordinate the Living Word of God to the fallible interpretations of men.
All these changes make it clear that the primacy of divine revelation has clearly shifted from Jesus to the Bible. Baptists are bowing to the Bible more than to Jesus. The Bible has become an idol. Even worse, a lesser idol has been forged. Soon we will see how many Baptists will be expelled from the SBC for refusing to bow to the 2000 BFM before bowing to Jesus.
Demoting Jesus to Promote Scripture
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