Category: BF&M

Reply to Jared Moore Regarding Southern Seminary and the BFM, Part 3

Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia


Moore misrepresents Harwood. Again.

            You write: “Harwood believes that mankind is only condemned for his own transgressions, and his sinful nature and environment are not ‘sin’ that requires a trust in Christ for redemption.  The only answer for sin in the BF&M2K is faith in Jesus Christ.  Consider Article IV of the BF&M2K where sin is only forgiven based on faith in Christ.” Once again, you have misrepresented my view. Your arguments would be strengthened if you supported them with evidence.

First, it is your view, Rev. Moore, which results in the salvation of guilty infants in contradiction to the BFM, which states: “There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.” You argue 1) all infants are born sinful and guilty and 2) they are saved by the grace of God. But consider: How can an infant have “personal faith in Jesus Christ”?

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Reply to Jared Moore Regarding Southern Seminary and the BFM, Part 2

Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia


Questions I’m Not Asking

            To guard against being misunderstood:

My question is not: “What does Dr. Mohler affirm?”

Your post concerns itself with that question under Reason #1 (http://sbcvoices.com/adam-brought-sin-into-the-human-race-a-response-to-adam-harwood/).

My question is not: “Does Dr. Schreiner affirm the BFM?”

Of course he does. He also affirms the Abstract of Principles. That, as my Nov. 29 article (http://sbctoday.com/2012/11/29/the-ets-the-ap-the-bfm/) attempts to demonstrate, may be problematic for professors at SBTS and SEBTS (both of which affirm the BFM and AP). The documents can be interpreted as making conflicting statements regarding the timing of condemnation. The AP mentions condemnation before moral capability; the BFM mentions condemnation after moral capability. In both documents, however, people become transgressors as soon as they are capable of moral action. Regardless, I never questioned Schreiner’s affirmation of the BFM.

My question is not: “Can people affirm inherited guilt and the BFM?”

People can affirm whatever they want to affirm. But people who serve as seminary faculty don’t have the luxury of teaching anything they choose to teach. Their employment entails teaching in accordance with and not contrary to the BFM. (Note: The point is similar to the one made by Conservatives regarding the teachings of SBTS professors during the “Resurgence.” SBC constituents rightly expected the professors whose salaries they paid to teach in accordance with and not contrary to the BFM.)

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Reply to Jared Moore Regarding Southern Seminary and the BFM, Part 1

Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia


Sunday morning, Dec. 23, I awoke to find this unexpected present under my Christmas tree: http://sbcvoices.com/adam-brought-sin-into-the-human-race-a-response-to-adam-harwood/. Although thankful for the opportunity to hear from an SBC pastor on a topic of theological and denominational significance, it was difficult to give the post much attention. After all, it was posted on a Sunday morning–on Christmas Eve Eve (as one of my children likes to say). Nevertheless, the post generated a great deal of interest. Within 48 hours, it garnered over 200 comments. If you had contacted me privately, I would have addressed your concerns privately. But you didn’t. Since you posted a public response to my essays, my reply will also be public.

I’ll begin with the end of your post. Like you, I desire unity in the SBC. That was the primary motivation behind my two recent essays at SBC Today. My goal is to seek clarification from SBTS regarding their view of our inheritance from Adam. Because Dr. Schreiner’s recent paper and the faculty exposition of the BFM advance a theological position not affirmed in the BFM, I am unclear on their interpretation of the BFM. My queries regarding SBTS are prompted by a desire for unity within the SBC. As I wrote in my Dec. 11 essay: “Because Southern Baptists are a theologically diverse group, all the seminaries should allow for theological differences which are permissible within the convention’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM).”

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SBTS and the BFM

On November 29, SBC Today posted Dr. Harwood’s essay titled, “The ETS, the AP, and the BFM.” (Read it here.). Within three days, the essay generated more than 100 online comments, including this one from Rick Warren: “Adam reveals a very important distinction that I had not noticed between BF&M and Abstract.” Also, “This article was helpful, and so are many of the comments afterward.” (http://goo.gl/Xmggg). The following post reveals Dr. Harwood’s further reflections on the subject.

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“Does Southern Seminary have an institutional commitment to a theological position which is not affirmed in the BFM and excludes many Southern Baptists?”

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is comprised of churches with a variety of theological commitments. Among those groups are Calvinists, non-Calvinists, and others who refuse either of those theological monikers. This convention of churches cooperates in Great Commission work. That cooperation involves operating six seminaries. Faculty at these institutions train pastors, missionaries, and other leaders for SBC churches. Also, some seminary faculty publish biblical and theological works for SBC churches. Because Southern Baptists are a theologically diverse group, all the seminaries should allow for theological differences which are permissible within the convention’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM).

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The ETS, the AP & the BFM

Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia


The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) met for its annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 14-16, 2012. ETS bills itself as “a professional, academic society of Biblical scholars, teachers, pastors, students, and others involved in evangelical scholarship” (www.etsjets.org). Its membership is currently 4,000 people worldwide. I do not know the breakdown of denominations but it includes a variety of evangelicals, from Lutherans to Presbyterians to Wesleyans to Bible church to interdenominational colleges and seminaries. Their peer-reviewed journal, JETS, is one of the premier conservative, biblical-theological journals in the world.

I have been a member of ETS since 2003, attended some of the meetings, and presented papers at five regional or annual meetings. The annual ETS meeting is a three-day marathon of paper presentations in the areas of biblical studies, biblical archaeology, systematic theology, ethics, and philosophy. In addition to the academic stimulation, it was refreshing to meet some of the people whose writings sit on my shelf in the form of commentaries, biblical studies, and systematic theologies. Like the annual meeting of the SBC, the annual meeting of the ETS is a chance to see old friends, make new friends, and overspend my book budget.

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