In An Exposition from the Faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Al Mohler explains the need and role of confession statements in Baptist history.
An age that holds truth in antipathy will look at confessions of faith as antiquarian holdovers from an oppressive past. On the other hand, an institution determined to remain true to biblical truth must be honest about its boundaries.For nearly 2000 years, Christians have expressed their faith and doctrine through confessions of faith. In many cases, the confession or creed emerged out of the defense of the faith against heresy and error. The believing church said “no” to doctrinal error and “yes” to the truth of the Gospel.The major revision of the Baptist Faith and Message adopted in 2000 by the Southern Baptist Convention demonstrates that Southern Baptists remain serious about their confessional identity. I pray that the experience of this revision process will help us to learn even more about what it means to be a confessional people against anti-confessional pressure of the age.There are few threats more perilous for the evangelical church than theological seminaries set adrift from theological accountability. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is unembarrassed in our commitment to require all professors to teach “in accordance with and not contrary to” our Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message.Furthermore, we expect our professors to hold these convictions as personal beliefs and commitments, not merely as contractual obligations for teaching. This model of robust confessionalism is a critical dimension of our accountability to the churches. Our confession represents a living tradition, and it is the structure of our theological integrity.We have the wonderful privilege of introducing a new generation of young Christians to the full rush of biblical truth and to the full power of the authentic Gospel.In the midst of theological confusion all around us, our prayerful determination is that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary remain firmly established upon the Word of God and the Gospel of Chris — boundaries we dare not trespass.