Heritage of the SBC

October 8, 2007

This is a response to this line of posts.

Really, though, I’m not going to say anything here except to ask Danny a question. Based on all the Orthodox discussions we’ve been having on DtD and AoC, how would you defend the Baptist Heritage that you’ve been talking about (or by extension, the Reformation) against the idea of “apostolic deposit” and the fact that, right or wrong, the Orthodox church has the greatest connection with the “line of church history” (if you consider them to be the victors (?) of the 1054 schism). You said that you felt a great deal of confidence in the rich history and roots of the Baptist church, expressed through that confession. I have to admit an attraction to that kind of history and tradition, although I would feel more drawn to the Orthodox church, as it seems to have correspondingly more weight behind its heritage.

So, yeah, what do you think? And hopefully we can keep this low-key … I’m not really looking for another burn-heretics-burn type of battle, just perhaps some insight into how you would react to this conflict, etc.

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3 Responses to “Heritage of the SBC”

  1. dslavich Says:

    Well, here’s how I would couch it:

    Scripture stands authoritatively above all church heritage and history. The “apostolic deposit’ is found in Scripture AND ONLY in Scripture. Therefore a heritage’s helpfulness is directly related to its conformity with Scripture.

    “The line of church history” means very little, especially if that line stands outside of true apostolic authority — the Bible. It doesn’t matter a wooden nickel if the Orthodox tradition has more “weight behind its heritage” if that weight is not the weight of Scripture. (And I don’t intend to comment on Orthodox teaching one way or the other here…)

    Since about 200 A.D. the church has baptized infants, and this clearly has the weight of church history in many camps. But that means nothing, because authority derives from Scripture and not the cumulative “weight” of church history and practice. Something being practice for a long time does not make it right. Theology and doctrine does not gain credibility because years accumulate with that theology and doctrine being accepted. We simply cannot grandfather in our theology because it has been that way for a long time.

    All of that said, I believe that the early Particular Baptist heritage aligns closely with Scripture. I believe it is a rich heritage because it accurately distills biblical truth into correct axioms. Yes, in some ways, when I say a “rich” heritage I mean an “ancient” heritage. But much more than that I mean a “biblically faithful” heritage.

  2. Ben Says:

    Thanks, that was interesting and helpful.

    Not to be the Devil’s advocate here, but I’m wondering … if tradition doesn’t have any weight, then why would the tradition of the Baptists have value?

    I mean … you say, it’s a great heritage because it is correct. But then, why need a heritage at all, If correctness is all that matters? And how can you be sure that they got it all right — I mean, if correctness is paramount, why not take the approach I sometimes advocate of not letting any tradition decide for you what you’re going to believe, thus protecting your correctness from perhaps being compromised by the tradition?


  3. […] Second London Confession | In response to my posts on the Second London Confession, my friend Ben posted a question, asking: How would you defend the Baptist Heritage that you’ve been talking about (or […]


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