Southern Baptists Lead The Way -- By: David Wegener
Southern Baptists Lead The Way
JBMW Interview With Sbc Committee Member Dr. Dorothy Patterson
This summer, the Southern Baptist Convention took an historic step by adding to their confessional statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, an article on the biblical standards for family life. In this issue of JBMW, we highlight several aspects of this decision and provide our readers with insights into this decision, which was the subject of many mainstream news stories this summer. Dorothy Patterson, longtime Council member and a member of the committee that drafted this statement, provided JBMW with this interview.
How did this statement come about?
A gentleman from the state of Maryland made a motion at the 1997 convention. He asked the sitting president, Dr. Tom Elliff, to appoint a committee to draft an article on the family. This was to be added to the Baptist Faith and Message Statement of Faith, which had been adopted in 1925 and amended in 1963. The assignment of the committee was to produce a concise, clear statement on the family as found in Scripture. The motion was passed by the convention, and then President Elliff appointed the committee.
How did your committee go about doing its work?
Before our first meeting, the chairman of the committee sent us the motion outlining what we were supposed to do. He asked us to bring together our own research on the family and to compile a comprehensive list of Scripture texts addressing this subject. We met in Nashville for a full day on April 3, 1998. We began with prayer and then divided up into our subgroups. Each subgroup was assigned a certain portion of the statement: one on the definition of the family as found in Scripture, one on the relationships of wives and husbands as found in Scripture, one addressing parents and children as found in Scripture.
Since we knew that we only had a very brief paragraph to present our work, we were told to set forth in a clear, brief and understandable way what the Bible says about the family and relationships therein. We weren’t trying to adapt our statement to today’s culture. We were simply trying to state clearly what the Bible says about the family.
My subcommittee was the one concerning relationships between husbands and wives. We just turned in our Bibles to passage after passage and began to list what the Bible says on this topic. And when we came to the end of that research, then we set out to articulate as clearly and concisely as we could what the Scriptures are saying.
And that, David, is one of the most important things for anyone to realize who’s looking in from the outside, whether it be one of our fellow Southern Baptists or anothe...
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