What We Believe According to the ScripturesF.H. Kerfoot
[Editor's note: The following articles are taken from "Lesson XV" of The New Convention Normal Manual for Sunday School Workers, published by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1913 and 1918. They were written by Kerfoot while serving as Pastor of Eutaw Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD as a part of that church's confession of faith. Many other churches adopted the confession, and the Sunday School Board included it in the Normal Manual that it might be "offered in this permanent form as being helpful in a comparative and discriminating study." Kerfoot succeeded James Boyce as Professor of Systematic Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before serving as the corresponding secretary for the Home Mission Board.]
It is enjoined upon Christ's people that they be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason concerning the hope that is in them. (1 Peter 3:15.) And Paul enjoins upon Timothy, not only that he take heed unto himself, but also unto his doctrines. (1 Timothy 4:16.) We herewith append the leading tenets which we hold, in common with all evangelical dominations,....
Doctrines Which We Hold in Common with Other DenominationsWhat we believe in common with all evangelical Christians:
1. In one God, Maker and Ruler of heaven and earth, revealed as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection. Read 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Matthew 28:19; Jude 20-21.
2. In the Holy Scriptures as his infallible word, which are able to make us wise unto salvation. Read 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
3. In the fall of man and his condemnation as a sinner, and God's sovereign grace and love in his redemption.
4. In salvation in the name of Jesus Christ, who was the "Word made flesh," God-man, who obeyed the law, suffered and died for the sins of men, is risen and exalted a Priest and King. Read Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:3.4; Acts 5:31.
5. In the free offer of eternal life in the gospel to all, and the aggravated guilt of those who reject it. Read Romans 10:11-13; Hebrews 2:3.
6. In the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the repentance toward God, and faith in Christ. Read John 3:5; Acts 20,21.
7. In the justification and adoption of the believer, through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Read Romans 3:23-26.
8. In the sacred observance of the Lord's Day for his worship and his work. Read John 5:17; Revelation 1:10; Acts 20:7.
9. In the present life as man's only day of grace, and that, when this present life ends, man enters at once into conscious blessedness or woe. Read 2 Corinthians 6:2; Luke 16:19-31.
10. In the resurrection of the body; the righteous, to eternal life; the wicked to judgment and eternal punishment. Read John 5:28,29; Matthew 25:46.
Doctrines Which We Hold in Common with Many Other Evangelical ChristiansAnd, in common with a large body of evangelical Christians nearly all Baptists believe what are usually termed the "doctrines of grace:"
1. The absolute sovereignty and foreknowledge of God.
2. His eternal and unchangeable purposes or decrees.
3. That salvation in its beginning, continuance and completion, is God's free gift.
4. That in Christ, we are elected or chosen, personally or individually, from eternity, saved and called our from the world, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
5. That we are kept by his power from falling away, and will be presented faultless before the presence of his glory. Read Romans 8, 9, 10, 11; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4,5; Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 Peter 1:2-5; Jude 24; Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5.