“Articles Of Religious Belief:” The Confession Authored By The Founders Of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary -- By: Steve W. Lemke

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 11:1 (Spring 2014)
Article: “Articles Of Religious Belief:” The Confession Authored By The Founders Of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Author: Steve W. Lemke


“Articles Of Religious Belief:”
The Confession Authored By The Founders Of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Steve W. Lemke

Steve W. Lemke is Provost and Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article was delivered as the NOBTS Founders’ Day Address on October 1, 2013.

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Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For some men, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. – Jude 3-4 (HCSB)1

The Creation Of The Articles Of Religious Belief

In 1917, Southern Baptists did something they had never done before—they authorized the creation of a new seminary. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) were launched without convention authorization and were later adopted by Southern Baptist Convention. However, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), then named Baptist Bible Institute (BBI), was the first seminary to be created by an act of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Many important steps were necessary in creating a new seminary, such as crafting a vision for the new seminary, securing a viable location, recruiting the founding faculty, and raising money to fund the new venture. But before the first class was taught, the Board of Directors of BBI made the development of a doctrinal confession for the Seminary a high priority. At the same time as many of these other formative steps were being authorized by the Board to create BBI, the Board of Directors appointed a committee on April 9, 1918, to “draw up a statement of principles to be presented at the next meeting.”2

Of course, Southern Baptists had not formally adopted any written confession in 1918. The first version of the Baptist Faith and Message was not written and approved by the convention until 1925. SBTS utilized its Abstract of Principles, authored by its founding faculty in 1858. SWBTS, at its inception just ten years earlier in 1908, had adopted the New Hampshire Confession as its doctrinal statement.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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