Southwestern faculty begin signing SBC statement with family amendment

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Faculty members at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have begun signing the Southern Baptist Convention’s confessional statement as amended to include a article on the family, according to seminary public relations director David Porter.

The Baptist Faith and Message confessional statement, as revised during the 1998 SBC annual meeting in Salt Lake City, was sent by Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill to seminary deans in early October, and a number of faculty members requested a copy and have returned the document with their signature, Porter said.

Hemphill discussed the revised Baptist Faith and Message document with faculty members during an Oct. faculty meeting. The meeting was attended by Hemphill and other seminary administrators until a point when the meeting was closed for faculty members to continue the discussion among themselves.

Hemphill issued the following statement regarding the revised Baptist Faith and Message:

“Southwestern is a confessional institution, and our charter and bylaws are clear and have been clear for decades. As a matter of conviction and conscience, as an SBC institution, we gladly teach according and not contrary to the Baptist Faith and Message. We are under the patronage, general direction and control of the SBC which established the Baptist Faith and Message and amended it in 1998.

“Employment at the seminary has for decades been based on a faculty member’s signing the Baptist Faith and Message and teaching with and not contrary to that statement of faith. Our faculty manual specifies that when a faculty member can no longer subscribe to the seminary’s articles of faith, he or she would voluntarily sever relations with the institution.

“We’re going to do the right thing in the right way.”

Hemphill, however, has not issued a memo regarding the Baptist Faith and Message revision to the seminary’s 90 full-time faculty members, Porter said.

The SBC family stance was the first revision of the Baptist Faith and Message since its adoption in 1963.

The SBC article describes marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” It also notes, “The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. … A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. … A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

The revised Baptist Faith and Message became available Sept. 1 from the SBC’s Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn.

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