By Clint Pressley, Senior Pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC
As cultural Christianity wilts beneath the pressure of moral collapse and sexual confusion, it is important that biblically-minded Christians hold onto the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM 2000) serves as a strong and clear statement of faith, equipping our churches for the onslaught of relativism in which our people live. As Southern Baptists we have a rich heritage of biblical fidelity, doctrinal clarity, and theological precision. The BFM 2000 is a tremendous tool that will serve the SBC well moving into the 21st century. I am thankful to serve within a denomination that is unapologetically orthodox and clear on our statement of faith.
I pastor in a city of of more than a 1,000 churches, most of which have become unmoored from any real biblical convictions. The BFM 2000 reminds us and those around us that at the core of who we are as Southern Baptists is the Bible. We are thoroughly and completely people of the Book. Whether you go to church in Key West, FL or Las Cruces, NM, if you attend a church that claims the BFM 2000 as its statement of faith, you know what you are getting. In our world of theological confusion, where fewer and fewer churches are remaining faithful to Scripture, we should be thankful for robust, clear, and definitive articulations of biblical truth. The BFM 2000 articulates that truth, anchoring us in the gospel so that we need not fear the storms ahead.
The BFM 2000 reminds us that words matter. Meaning matters. Clear and concise articulation of biblical truth matters. If we don’t get these things right it puts us, as a denomination, on a scurrilous trajectory. As we strive to elevate theological clarity over cultural popularity we must be clear on what we believe and how we communicate it. The BFM 2000 reflects solid biblical truths as articulated by some of the best minds the SBC has. It is a counter-cultural declaration to the watching world and a clarification to prospective members.
The BFM 2000 displays how the gospel of Christ affects our thinking for day-to-day life. The Church has always been called upon to speak to the issues of a confused world using the truth of Scripture—and the BFM 2000 helps our churches do just that. It helps us think carefully about how to articulate our biblical convictions in an organized and understandable way. The more our society flees from God’s design for gender, marriage, and sexuality (to choose one example), the more the BFM 2000 will offer a hope of heaven, foreign to our world but fragrant with gospel life.
The BFM 2000 reminds us that Jesus will build his Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It reminds us that the identity of the Church is found in Christ. It reminds us that the Church exists for the purpose of mission. The Great Commission responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the local church; we carry this burden not in our own strength, but by the power of the Spirit, equipped with the deep theological and biblical reflections of the BFM 2000.
As a local church pastor in 2016 I am thankful for the BFM 2000 and appreciate its strength, clarity, and gospel focus. I am thankful that any aspiring pastor that graduates from one of our six seminaries is guaranteed to receive a strong theological education governed by such a great statement of faith. The BFM 2000 serves our denomination well. May Christ be glorified as our denomination stays committed to the Bible and the doctrinal parameters found in the BFM 2000—for the sake of the mission, for the fame of our Lord Jesus, and for the glory of God the Father.