September i, 1999

Rogers to chair BF&M review
___WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) --Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., and a father figure to many in the conservative movement that has swept the Southern Baptist Convention since 1979, has been named chairman of a 15-person committee to study the SBC's Baptist Faith & Message statement.
___SBC President Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., announced the committee appointments Aug. 24.
___The committee was authorized by messengers to the 1999 SBC annual meeting in Atlanta, acting on a motion by T.C. Pinckney of Alexandria, Va. The committee is to report to the SBC annual meeting next June in Orlando, Fla.
___In presenting his motion for the review, Pinckney told messengers, "I believe it is appropriate at this time that the Baptist Faith & Message be reviewed and that it be made consistent with the current stand of the SBC."
___Pinckney, a retired Air Force general, has been a prominent figure in the SBC's conservative movement. He served on the SBC Executive Committee during a time of key transition within that group and more recently has helped launch a new state Baptist convention for conservatives in Virginia. He currently serves as editor of that new convention's newspaper, the Baptist Banner.
___Messengers adopted Pinckney's motion on a vote of 2,327 to 1,063.
___The Baptist Faith & Message, which Southern Baptists historically have identified as a consensual doctrinal statement rather than a creed, first was drafted in 1925, then revised in 1963. The 1963 revision came on the heels of a rift within the denomination over interpretation of the first 11 chapters of Genesis and was intended to be a unifying statement.
___In 1998, the statement was amended for the first time since 1963, with adoption of a controversial new section on the family. The amendment was drafted by a seven-member committee appointed by then-SBC President Tom Elliff of Del City, Okla.
___Three of the seven members of the 1998 committee either were appointed to the new committee or are closely related to someone appointed to the new committee. Richard Land, president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was named to both committees. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., was named to the new committee; his wife, Mary, served on the 1998 committee. Charles Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was named to the new committee; his sister, Dorothy Patterson (Paige Patterson's wife), served on the 1998 committee.
___While some observers have predicted major changes in the doctrinal statement to reinforce the views of the SBC's most conservative wing, Patterson predicted otherwise.
___He said he does not anticipate the committee's work "even beginning to approximate a rewrite" of the Baptist Faith & Message.
___"Most folks feel, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'" Patterson said, calling the 1963 document an "undeniably fabulous statement."
___"However, the messenger making the motion believes, and I concur, that every 30 years or so we need to take a look at the statement of faith, not because our faith changes, but because the issues of the day usually dictate some minor revisions to remove ambiguities or address specific issues," Patterson said.
___Patterson acknowledged, however, the committee would be "free to proceed with whatever recommendations they wish to make."
___The committee members are:
___ Rogers, who served three terms as SBC president during the past 20 years of denominational conflict and is viewed as a father figure by many in the SBC's conservative movement.
___ Pinckney, a member of Good News Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va.
___ Mohler, a member of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.
___ Land, a member of First Baptist Church of Franklin, Tenn.
___ Kelley, a member of First Baptist Church of New Orleans.
___ Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Vines was SBC president in 1988 and 1989.
___ Steve Gaines, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gardendale, Ala.
___ Heather King, state Woman's Missionary Union and women's ministries director for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana and member of Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis.
___ Simon Tsoi, pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix. Tsoi is a former member of the SBC Executive Committee.
___ Susie Hawkins, a member of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano and wife of SBC Annuity Board President O.S. Hawkins.
___ Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif. Spradlin, a current trustee of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also is current president of the California Southern Baptist Convention.
___ Rudy Hernandez, an evangelist and member of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Grand Prairie. Hernandez has served on a variety of SBC boards and committees, including previous service on the SBC's former Home Mission Board.
___ Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Luter, a prominent African-American pastor, was elected SBC second vice president in 1996.
___ Max Barnett, Baptist Student Union director at the University of Oklahoma and member of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla.
___ Nelson Price, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga. Price is a former president of the Georgia Baptist Convention and former trustee of the SBC Home Mission Board.

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