A candidate for the position of Southern Baptist Convention President has released a bizarre statement on social media condemning the adoption and advocacy of Christian creeds, declaring “When we become advocates of a creed, something dies; we do not believe God, we only believe our belief about him.” despite the SBC being rife with creeds and confessions.
Alabama Pastor Ed Litton, who is currently in a race against Randy Adams, Albert Mohler, and Mike Stone, posted the comments to Twitter, retweeting an anti-creedal quote from Oswald Chambers:
This, of course, is one one of the most brain-bending things we’ve ever heard and is normally the sort of foolishness you’d find regurgitated by those charismatics who go ‘toking the Holy Ghost’ and take bong rips between ‘grave sucking’ excursions, rather than the potential president of the convention that overseas 47,000 Southern Baptist churches.
For one, creeds, from the Latin word ‘credo’ and which means “I believe,” are little more than formal statements of Christian belief, usually brief, and frequently incorporated into the church liturgy. Some are longer, like the Apostle creed or Athanasian creed, while others are even shorter than that.
In fact, there are thought to be several creeds in the scriptures themselves. such as 1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” or 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Confessions, on the other hand, are more than a sketch, but rather fill out the details. Confessions are essentially very long creeds, taking the brief affirmations and expanding them with specifics and particularities. The two go hand in hand and their intent and purposes are intertwined.
One of the confessions that Ed Litton subscribes to, or at least should subscribe to if he wants to step within 100 feet of the SBC presidency, is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Does something “die” when it is upheld? Is holding to it a sign of lack of belief in God? Hardly.
To drive the point home even further, the importance and usefulness of creeds and confessions is enumerated in the preamble to the BFAM2000, which reads:
Baptists are a people of deep beliefs and cherished doctrines. Throughout our history we have been a confessional people, adopting statements of faith as a witness to our beliefs and a pledge of our faithfulness to the doctrines revealed in Holy Scripture.
Our confessions of faith are rooted in historical precedent, as the church in every age has been called upon to define and defend its beliefs. Each generation of Christians bears the responsibility of guarding the treasury of truth that has been entrusted to us…
Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.
Like a puppy that peed on the carpet, Litton rightly got his snout smacked with the newspaper from 99% of the commenters on his post, many of who were asking him to clarify his position and elaborate.
Pastor Tom Buck also brought up another great point, which is that in SBC seminaries, professors must sign the Abstract of Principles, another creed/confession/statement of faith.
Despite posting this two days ago and receiving more interaction than any of his previous posts this month, save for when he praised the jury for giving George Floyd justice, Litton has not deigned to respond or clarify further, lettings the comment stand as a monument to his ignorance and arrogance.
Behold, Southern Baptists, your possible future President.
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