ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES
When the original charter of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was adopted in 1858 it contained the following statement which constitutes as a part of the "fundamental laws." "Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist Church; and all persons accepting professorships in this Seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees."
The following is an excerpt from the Fundamental
Laws of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary written into its charter on April 30,
1858: Every Professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist Church;
and all persons accepting Professorships in this Seminary, shall be considered by such
acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of
Principles hereinafter laid down." (Mueller: History of Southern Seminary; BROADMAN
PRESS: P. 238).
I. THE SCRIPTURES
The Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and
authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
There is but one God, the Maker,
Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself, all perfections, and being
infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and
III. THE TRINITY
God is revealed to us as Father,
Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of
nature, essence or being.
God from eternity, decrees or
permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all
creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin
nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.
Election is God's eternal choice
of some persons unto everlasting life - not because of foreseen merit in them, but of his
mere mercy in Christ - in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and
VI. THE FALL OF MAN
God originally created man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.
VII. THE MEDIATOR
Jesus Christ, the only begotten
Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon
Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law, suffered and died
upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day,
and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever liveth to make intercession for
His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and
Sovereign of the Universe.
Regeneration is a change of heart,
wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening
their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their
whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and
special grace alone.
Repentance is an evangelical
grace, wherein a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of
his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and
self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all
Saving faith is the belief, on
God's authority of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and
resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by
the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of
Justification is God's gracious
and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the
satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but
on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him
and His righteousness by faith.
Those who have been regenerated
are also sanctified, by God's word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is
progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain,
pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ's commands.
XIII. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
Those whom God hath accepted in
the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from
the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall,
through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their
graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves,
yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through
faith unto salvation.
XIV. THE CHURCH
The Lord Jesus is the Head of the
Church, which is composed of all his true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all
power for its government. According to his commandment, Christians are to associate
themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches he hath
given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which he hath
appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Bishops or Elders, and Deacons.
Baptism is an ordinance of the
Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the
death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to
God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to
participation in the Lord's Supper.
XVI. THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Lord's Supper is an ordinance
of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be
Observed by his churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is
designed to commemorate his death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians,
and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with him, and of their church
XVII. THE LORD'S DAY
The Lord's Day is a Christian
institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and
spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and
amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.
XVIII. LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE
God alone is Lord of the
conscience, and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are
in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained
of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the
Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
XIV. THE RESURRECTION
The bodies of men after death
return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God - the righteous to rest with
Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the
bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
XX. THE JUDGMENT
God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds: the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.
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