I have some reservations about a point or two in the revised
Baptist Faith and Message. My principal concern lies with language in the article
on the doctrine of salvation.
I have some reservations about a point or two in
the revised Baptist Faith and Message. My principal concern lies with language
in the article on the doctrine of salvation. The 1963 Baptist Faith and Message
contained language that was theologically unclear at best. It has been carried
over into the revision.
I had the opportunity to discuss this with Dr. Hobbs
before his death. On that occasion, we also talked about the term “soul
competency.” I wanted to know where the terminology came from. To my astonishment,
Dr. Hobbs told me he invented the term. He said he first used it in an introduction
for an edition of “The Axioms of the Christian Religion,” by E. Y.
Mullins. Dr. Hobbs could have been wrong about that, but I have never seen the
term in older works. It is hard to imagine that Baptist theologians like James
Boyce and John Dagg or preachers like Charles Spurgeon would use such a term.
They believed in the incompetence of man, not in his competence before God.
They believed we do not become spiritually competent until the Lord renews our
fallen will when we are born again. Until then, we are dead in sin, and a spiritually
dead man is without ability.
It is instructive to discover that most Baptists
outside of the Southern Baptist Convention have never heard of the term “soul
competency.” Could it be that it has no historical foundation before Dr.
As to the question of the “priesthood of the
believer,” the Reformation doctrine always was the “priesthood of
all believers.” We have perverted that into a Baptist version of American
individualism in order to justify a freedom to believe anything that seems right
to us and an insistence that we not be questioned concerning our beliefs.
Joe Nesom, Pastor
First Baptist, Jackson