Confessions of Faith in Baptist History

Confessions of Faith in Baptist History

Confessions of Faith in Baptist History

Roger Nicole

Timothy. Good afternoon, Uncle Regor!

Regor. Good afternoon, Timothy. What’s new at Faith Baptist Church?

Timothy. The pastor said this morning that Baptists are not a creedal people. Uncle Regor, what’s a creed?

Regor. A creed (derived from the Latin credo, I believe) is a statement-sometimes short, sometimes fairly lengthy-in which an individual, a church, or a denomination expresses its views on important issues by direct affirmations and /or sometimes by express rejection of positions deemed erroneous.

Timothy. Are there other words than creed to signify the same thing?

Regor. O yes, there are quite a few equivalent expressions: confession of faith, articles of faith, declaration, statement of faith, articles of religion, and yet others.

Timothy. Are there significant differences between these terms?

Regor. No, they are really equivalent expressions.

Timothy. Why would people formulate their faith in that way?

Regor. To educate those within and to inform those outside the association.

Timothy. Is that not what is called “catechisms”?

Regor. Yes, catechisms are statements of faith, usually presented in the form of questions and answers, in a way that even children could understand.

Timothy. So why did the pastor say that Baptists are not a creedal people?

Regor. Apparently because he does not know very well the history of Baptist people.

Timothy. Do you mean to say that Baptist people and churches have written creeds?

Regor. Yes, this is precisely what I mean. Let us go to my study and I’ll show you evidence of that.

(They go together to Regor Elocin’s study.)

Timothy. Oh! How many books you have, Uncle Regor! Have you read them all?

Regor. No, of course not! If I need something, I have the books at hand, so I don’t need to read them as I would books that I borrow and must return. But I am aware of the nature of their contents.

Timothy. What is this big book?

Regor. It is a very valuable work reproducing the text of more than 246 documents reflecting significant moments in the history of the Baptist movement. It was prepared by Dr. H. Leon McBeth, is titled A Sourcebook for Baptist Heritage, and was published in 1990 by Broadman Press in Nashville, the official press of the Southern Baptists.

Now this volume contains the text of more than 20 statements of faith by Baptists as well as arguments brought up in the discussion of many points of doctrine or of policy. This book makes it clear that Baptists throughout their history acknowledged the supremacy of Scripture over any human statements such as confessions of faith. This is true as well for other religious bodies that do explicitly endorse the authority of some creeds and/or catechisms, which they consider “subordinate standards.” It may be that recognition by Baptists of the subordinate nature of human creeds (e.g. on p. 375) has led some like your pastor to deny the legitimacy of articles of faith. but this is a confusion.

Timothy. Uncle Regor, do you have other books like this one that contain Baptist formulations of faith?

Regor. Yes indeed! Take this volume published in 1854 by Edward B. Underhill, Confessions of Faith and Other Public Documents Illustrative of the History of Baptist Churches of England in the 17th Century (London: Haddon Brother, 1854) xvi., 360 pp.

This volume contains the text of 6 Baptist confessions (1611, 1646, 1656, 1660, 1678 and 1688) and of a Baptist Catechism of 1693. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find a copy, but fortunately these texts have been reprinted in two more recent volumes, with the exception of the confession of 1646 that is reproduced in its 1644 form, and of the catechism of 1693.

Timothy. Do you have these two volumes?

Regor. Yes, Timothy. Here is W. J. McGlothlin, Baptist Confessions of Faith printed in 1911 by the American Baptist Publication Society (xii, 368 pp.). This volume has an English translation of 6 Anabaptist and one Mennonite statements It mentions 5 additional Mennonite statements up to 1632. English Arminian Baptists (General Baptists) are represented by the text of 7 confessions, one of which is titled “The Orthodox Creed,” and 3 others named but not reproduced. The English Calvinistic Baptists produced 4 confessions reprinted here, while mention is made of 4 private confessions. On the American scene 2 confessions are given in full and some differences between the second London confession (1677) and the Philadelphia Confession (1742) are noted. The book closes with an English translation of 3 confessions, respectively German, French and Swedish, and takes note of still others not reproduced. No catechism is included in this volume.

Timothy. What about the other volume?

Regor. Here it is. William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1959. 420 pp.). This volume reproduces all the confessions printed in McGlothlin with the exception of 3 short Anabaptist statements and of the German Confession. It includes a number of declarations not found in the other books. Altogether the text of 39 statements is given and reference is made to more than 12 other formulations. No catechism is included. Fortunately, this volume is still in print.

Timothy. What is the paperback volume next to Lumpkin?

Regor. This is a nice recent work (1982) on Baptists in Europe: History and Confessions of Faith (Nashville: Broadman Press. 300 pp.) by G. Keith Parker. This volume discusses the use of a confessional principle throughout Europe and gives an English translation of some 22 European Baptist documents and of 3 others not peculiar to the Baptists. It is well indexed.

Timothy. For a so-called “creedless people” this seems a rather abundant harvest!

Regor. This only the tip of the iceberg, Timothy. While it is true that no single statement of faith rallied the universality of Baptists, Parker was quite right when he wrote,

From their birth in the context of sixteenth-century English separatism . . . and throughout their history . . . many Baptist churches, associations, and eventually, national unions have sought to express this faith in some form of confession . . . They have been used for apologetic, polemical, and educational purposes . . . In some cases, they were also used for discipline or to deal with heresy (Parker, op.cit. pp. 18, 19).

Timothy. Could you give me some examples of Baptist leaders who prepared or endorsed some creeds, Uncle Regor?

Regor. This would be very easy for it was a common practice from the very start. John Smyth, the initiator of the Baptist movement in Great Britain wrote a confession of 20 articles (1609)[1] and signed another one in 38 articles (1610).[2] A still larger document of 100 articles appeared after his death (1612).[3]

John Smyth’s close companion, Thomas Helwys, who separated from him when Smyth approximated too closely to the Mennonites, wrote a 27 article declaration of faith.[4]

John Clarke, “a baptist of the completest and purest type,”[5] founder of the First Baptist Church of Newport, RI. which deserves “the first place as regards the consistent and persistent devotion of its leaders to Baptist principles . . .,”[6] left a confession of faith in writing.[7]

John Bunyan,[8] Benjamin Keach,[9] John Gill,[10] C. H. Spurgeon[11] wrote and circulated their confessions of faith.

Timothy. Spurgeon? That’s a fish, Uncle Regor.

Regor. No, you must be thinking of “Sturgeon,” but C. H. Spurgeon was one of the most effective preachers of all time. His Metropolitan Tabernacle, seating 5000, was filled twice every Sunday. His influence during this lifetime was incalculable and it continues to this day.

Timothy. Okay for individuals, but did Baptist churches actually adopt a confession of faith?

Regor. Yes indeed. Baptist churches have often expressed their faith in confessions that were a part of their charter. We should note, for instance, that the First Baptist Church of Boston, MA, in the very year in which it was organized, presented their confession of faith to the judiciary in September 1665. A facsimile of this confession may be found in the scholarly work of N. E. Wood, The History of the First Baptist Church of Boston, 1665-1899. This can be found opposite page 65, and a transcript on pp. 65, 66. I want to show it to you. [He shows this text to Timothy.] The pastor, Nathan E. Wood, expresses his hearty agreement and rejoices that “there has been no wavering and no wandering from the creedal statement put forth in 1665″ (p. 348).

Timothy. That is an eloquent witness, but it is only one church. Do we have evidence that many Baptist churches framed such confessions?

Regor. This is a good question, and a long time ago (1944) I attempted to ascertain what the situation was in the Baptist churches of Massachusetts. For this purpose I borrowed all the copies of constitutions and by-laws on file at the office of the Massachusetts Baptist Convention in Boston. These documents did not necessarily reproduce articles of faith, even if adopted by the church, but some of them did.

Timothy. What did you find out?

Regor. In 1944 there were 337 churches in the Massachusetts Baptist Convention. Only 110 of these had some document on file. 28 had published their articles of faith in their constitution. 4 more declared allegiance to the New Hampshire Confession of Faith. 12 made reference to their articles of faith, although these were not reproduced in their printed constitution. 15 more restricted membership to those who adhered to the views of faith of the church, or to Baptist principles or yet to “outstanding Baptist truths.” 51 churches did not exhibit or allude to a specific doctrinal position. One of these, that I knew well, had a confession of faith.

The net result of this investigation was that more than 54% of the churches covered had an affirmation of faith in their polity. Of course, 237 churches were not included simply because they had not filed a copy of their constitution at the Mass Baptist Convention, but I know of no good reason that would lead us to think that their inclusion would reduce the percentage, and a further exploration of the 51 churches which had no mention of their articles might well lead to the discovery that some, perhaps many, actually had such, and this would raise the percentage.

Timothy. This is interesting because Massachusetts is not in the Bible belt, and is often thought of as a state rather oriented toward liberal views!

Regor. In the Philadelphia area one small group known as the Quaker Baptists published a Confession of Faith in 1697, while the main body requested their pastor, the Rev. Mr. Watts, “to prepare a Catechism and Confession of Faith.” These were published in 1700. Dr. W. R. McNutt, an anti-creedal Baptist, wrote ” . . . the Baptist churches have quite uniformly adopted each its confession of faith . . . in contents they are in fact quite creedal.”[12]

Timothy. Are there examples where groups of Baptist churches have accepted jointly a common formula as an expression of their faith?

Regor. Yes there are many such examples, Timothy. Most of the documents reproduced in Underwood, McGlothlin, Lumpkin, and Parker are of this type. They are often signed by people who were members of various local churches, but who were conscious of understanding rightly what their church believed both in terms of assent, the basis for the unity of the local body, and of dissent, the reason for refraining from remaining in or joining other denominations.

Timothy. But this may violate the principle of the independence of the local church by imposing on it a statement drawn by outsiders!

Regor. Not in the least, Timothy, because no statement was imposed on any church. If a church did not approve of a statement, or even a portion of it, it retained the right of dissent going perhaps to the point of withdrawal. Likewise the association retained the right to give brotherly admonition to a church deemed heretical or disorderly, even to the point of withdrawing fellowship from it.

Timothy. Are there confessions that had a far reaching acceptance across associational lines or even state boundaries?

Regor. Surely. The Philadelphia Confession of Faith endorsed in 1742 by the Philadelphia Baptist Association has for long possessed and still today possesses a wide range of influence. It follows step by step the great Second London Confession of Faith without being bound to a scrupulous identity in wording.

The New Hampshire Declaration of Faith (1833) is a statement that gained heavy endorsement by Calvinistic Baptist churches when the Free Will Baptist churches had their start with Treatise on the Faith of the Freewill Baptists (1834).

The well-known “Baptist Faith and Message” adopted in 1925 and carefully revised and reinforced in 1963 has had great currency in the South and is mandatory for teaching service in 4 of the 6 seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Timothy. Is this approach exclusively Southern Baptist or are there other Baptist colleges and seminaries that have adopted a statement of faith?

Regor. Indeed there are. Many Baptist schools are functioning under articles of faith, published in every catalog and often subscribed to every year by every trustee, administrative officer and faculty member.[13] The footnote names 27 such schools about which I could document the presence of such a confession. Further research would undoubtedly uncover many more cases, particularly among the older institutions that were established at a time when Baptists were not swayed by the myth that they are “anti-creedal in polity.”[14] The number would also increase if we included institutions not restricted to Baptists, but that had, from the start of their existence, an important Baptist influence and faculty members (e.g. Gordon-Conwell, Anderson-Newton, Trinity Evangelical, Fuller, etc.).

Timothy. How is it then that so many institutions have deviated from their original foundation so clearly articulating an evangelical stance?

Regor. There is an ethical issue here. At the start it is likely that some people who have a general agreement with the statement slide lightly over some specific detail or details in which they disagree, sometimes by virtue of some far-fetched interpretation of the wording which fairly obviously is at variance with the original intent. For example, some people aver that “He was born of the virgin Mary” in the Apostles’ Creed was intended to safeguard the sinlessness of Christ and not a birth from a physical virgin!!

Timothy. But, Uncle Regor, this is not only a violation of the creed, it runs counter to the historical statements of both Matthew and Luke in their gospels!

Regor. Precisely, and this encourages a cavalier attitude toward the scripture as well as toward the statement of faith. In the passage of time a feeling is generated that the signing does not imply real agreement. People who believe in the solemn sincerity of a signature or an oath are duped.

Sometimes an institution reclaims a measure of credibility by reworking its standards to accommodate them better to the level of its actual beliefs, thus regaining a type of integrity at the expense of its foundation! But this is only a temporary improvement, for it is likely, if the principle of loose adherence prevails, that after some fifty years another reassessment will be needed. The significance of a confession as a standard of faith does not go further than the personal integrity of those who sign it. Therefore, permanent vigilance is imperative in the church and in the seminary.

Those who advocate “anti-creedalism” as the historic position of the Baptists should provide an explanation for Alexander Campbell’s (1788-1866) relationship to them. He was indeed anti-creedal, holding that “human creeds as bonds of union and communion are necessarily heretical and schismatical.”[15] He lists the “Baptist confession of faith in all its varieties”[16] as the kind of document he opposes. If the Baptists were indeed in principle opposed to creeds, it would surely be counterproductive to list them as opponents rather than supporters. It would also be foolish for Baptists to oppose Campbell on this score as controversialists like the Southern Baptist J. B. Jeter did. Alexander Campbell may have been wrong, but he was not stupid! Incidentally, his view on this matter did not precipitate a great reunion among true Christians, nor did it preclude some significant schisms among the “Disciples of Christ,” the name by which his followers were known.

Timothy. Uncle Regor, why are some Baptists of our time so greatly opposed to creeds?

Regor. If you want my opinion on this matter, I would suggest that in many cases they do not feel in agreement with some of the existing confessions, and rather than to make an open demurral, they deem it more expedient to oppose creeds in general rather than specific positions affirmed therein. Consciously or unconsciously this provides an umbrella for their dissent.

Timothy. The pastor said that such use is a violation of the fundamental Baptist principle of the religious freedom of every individual. What does that mean?

Regor. This statement by the pastor represents a drastic and most regrettable confusion. Baptists of all types have traditionally and rightly insisted on the principle that the state ought not to interfere with the religious convictions and practice of anyone, unless they be manifestly subversive of the public order. The Baptists had their start in regions where there was an “established” church and where the principle “cujus regio, ejus religio” [the citizens should adopt the religion of the one who governs] was widely invoked. Baptists were in strong protest against this idea and insisted that religious convictions and practice were an individual matter and should be decided by individual choice without pressure, let alone coercion on the part of the state. This ran counter to the practice of the established church in England and Scotland as well as to the congregational public order in Massachusetts. They were precursors to the great work of Alexander Vinet (1797-1847) in his volume, On the Manifestation of Religious Convictions (1842).

That membership in good standing in any church, let alone a Baptist Church, should be available to anyone irrespectively of convictions or conduct was an idea wholly foreign to them, and in fact should be to anyone who calls himself/herself a Baptist. This was made very clear indeed in Roger Williams’ well-known simile of a ship at sea, on which would be found “both Papists and Protestants, Jews and Turks.” All of these should have the right to set up and attend their own worship undisturbed. The same freedom, Roger Williams insisted, should be available in the State as on that ship. It would be a veritable travesty of his thought to imagine that he would advocate the right of Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims to be received as members of a Baptist church while maintaining their original religious faith and practice. Any Baptist Church that permits such a course ought to be immediately disfellowshipped as heretical and disorderly. Any church has the right to establish criteria for membership. Freedom of the individual means that anyone is free to apply for membership or to stay away. It does not and could not mean that anyone has a right to insist on membership irrespectively of whether he/she accepts or rejects the conditions established by the body.

Two well-established historical facts confirm this rather obvious conclusion.

1. It is clear that Baptists have regularly contended for the separation of church and state. If Baptist membership were totally indiscriminate it would be co-extensive with the state and separation would provide no benefits.

2. It is also clear that for a long time Baptists insisted on close communion, that is they would not serve communion to those who had not been baptized by immersion in profession of their faith. How much less would they grant membership to those who did not satisfy this requirement?

Individuals outside the church are free to apply to join or to remain outside. If they apply to join it should not be a surprise that the church has certain standards of faith and conduct with which agreement is to be expected. Freedom to be inside while differing in fundamentals has never been, is not now, and should never be a Baptist tenet. It is a tenet of extreme liberalism which invariably leads to the disintegration of the church.

Timothy. Are there other arguments alleged against the use of creeds in the Baptist churches?

Regor. Yes. Non-creedal Baptists often urge that the acceptance of a confession of faith violates the independence of the local church.

Timothy. This, if true, would be a weighty argument, for the church polity of independence is clearly an important tenet for Baptists.

Regor. It would be true if a congregation were ordered to accept a common confession by any external authority, ecclesiastical or secular. But this is not the case. Every Baptist congregation has the right to establish its own standard of faith and many Baptist churches have done precisely that. A church has also the right to adopt a confession already in existence or prepared by others. This has been the case for the Philadelphia Confession, the New Hampshire Confession, and the Baptist Faith and Message. These have been freely endorsed by many churches, sometimes in addition to their own statement. There is nothing in that procedure that violates the independence of the local church. If they were coerced in so doing, that would be an infraction! If anyone not a member of the church stated that a Baptist church had no right to set up a confession of faith, that would also be a violation.

If churches with a similar faith decide to unite into an association, that is their privilege, and it does not interfere with their independence as long as each local church retains the right to withdraw from the association, and the association the right to expel a church or churches who faith and/or practice are deemed inadequate to sustain fellowship with the body.

Timothy. Is it possible that some confessions of faith may usurp the place of the Scripture as the supreme authority and the court of appeal by which the soundness of an individual or a church may be judged?

Regor. Such an argument is often advanced, not only among Baptists but also in churches in which a creedal basis is acknowledged in the constitution of the denomination.

Timothy. Is there strength in this argument?

Regor. Undoubtedly there are people and churches who have exaggerated the authority of creeds to the point that a direct appeal to Scripture has been hampered. But this is not an inevitable course when the church is sound. The creeds and confessions of faith have been called and are recognized as “subordinate standards.” They function as a public expression of the way in which a person or a church understands the Scripture. An appeal to Scripture itself is always allowable. The creeds, as a human expression of the marrow of biblical teaching, are subject to amendments (additions, modifications or excisions) under a methodology articulated in the church order. Since people often disagree as to the interpretation of Scripture, it is beneficial for individuals and for churches to articulate in what sense they understand the Word of God. To prohibit them because some people abuse them could be compared to a policy to renounce the use of knives because some people are using them as weapons to do mischief!

Timothy. Should we have creeds merely because it appears that those who favor them are not thereby violating Baptist tradition?

Regor. No, we should have them because we deem that they can be useful now, and we are happy to show that their presence is not a breach of Baptist practice. Tradition, like the creeds, must always be tested by Scripture. If a tradition is not mandated by the Bible, it may be discarded if this appears expedient. Those who oppose confessions of faith on the ground that their use is not in keeping with the traditional Baptist faith are not only wrong in fact, they are also inconsistent in that they do not show close adherence to certain other historically authenticated Baptist traditions such as immersion as prerequisite for church membership, close communion, the practice of laying on of hands after baptism, etc. Such disregard of Baptist traditions weakens the argument against creeds on the alleged ground that they violate Baptist tradition.

Timothy. I see what you mean, Uncle Regor; “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones!”

Regor. Yes Timothy, this my be called the “boomerang effect.”

Opponents of creeds frequently contend that they precipitate and exacerbate divisions within the church by focusing on controversial points that could otherwise remain unnoticed. This may at times be the case, and wise and spiritual people should guard against this danger (1 Tim. 1:4; 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:14, 23, 24; Titus 3:9). The major source of divisions, however, is not in creeds: people like the “Disciples of Christ” who have no creeds have not been able to avoid them. The problem is usually the deviancy of certain members, ministers and/or denominational officials, or again the stubborn insistence of some who insist on the acceptance by all of certain peripheral opinions on which differences could be indulged (such as the insistence on charismatic gifts, or again the opposition to them). The Church must protect itself against doctrinal deviancy. There are more than 130 verses in the New Testament that articulate this principle.[17] The Church must safeguard the good deposit: more than 20 passages make this clear.[18] Creeds are often means to that end; not infallible means, to be sure, but profitable nevertheless. They are often skillfully crafted statements that combine truths that some thought incompatible. They provide helpful fences that prevent hazardous and one-sided speculations that lead into abysses. Sometimes they are memorable monuments to the struggles through which the Christian truth has prevailed over insidious errors.

Error and indifference endanger the life of the church, not creeds!

Timothy. The pastor said that creeds have a petrifying influence that hinders the wholesome development and expansion of Christian doctrine.

Regor. Creeds are not meant to be a final expression of the totality of Christian truth, beyond which no one may go; rather they are an initial formulation on points already established in the minds of those who sign them; they point in the direction where true progress may be achieved. The creed of Nicea (325) did not paralyze the labors of Chalcedon (451).

The articles of faith in a creed may be compared to buoys in a river or in the vicinity of a haven. The ship must pass between the buoys in order to avoid shoals or sandbars. The pilot who takes account of this does not thereby surrender the freedom of navigation: he/she simply takes advantage of this disclosure of data secured by diligent study and experience. Articles of faith similarly define for the believers a safe passage in places where others in the history of the church have encountered havoc and even shipwreck. How unwise a pilot would be judged who chose to disregard buoys in order to assert freedom. One who rejects the propriety of confessions of faith falls under the same condemnation.

Timothy. Uncle Regor, how did those who opposed the use of creeds fare in the Baptist Conventions of the United States?

Regor. In the Southern Baptist Convention a fairly detailed statement of faith, “The Baptist Faith and Message,” was accepted in 1925 and enlarged in 1963. Its authority was carefully distinguished from that of Scripture.

In the Northern Baptist Convention, much more influenced by liberalism, the anti-creedal Baptists scored an important victory in the adoption by a vote of 1264 against 637 in the annual meeting in Indianapolis (1922) of a motion by Cornelius Woelfkin that “the Northern Baptist Convention affirms that the New Testament is the all-sufficient ground of our faith and practice, and we need no other statement.”[19]

Timothy. That is surely clear enough, and it appears to spell a disassociation with the traditional Baptist position that you have outlined and documented in our conversation.

Regor. That indeed and furthermore estrangement from the immense majority of the Christian churches that defined their faith in a confessional manner and made assent to them conditional to admission for full membership.

But there are more grievous defects still. In the first place, the motion is in conflict with the authority that it acknowledges, for the New Testament gives us many examples of statements of faith of creedal nature:[20]

The Confession of NathanaelJohn 1:49 The Confession of PeterMatt. 16:16; John 6:68 The Confession of ThomasJohn 20:28 The baptismal formulaMatt 28:19 One God and one Lord1 Cor. 8:6 Christ’s humiliation and exaltationPhil. 2:5-11 The Mystery of Godliness1 Tim. 3:16 The Elementary ArticlesHeb. 6:1,2 The Saving ConfessionRom. 10:9, 10 The Lordship of Christ1 Cor. 12:3

How could anyone claim to follow the New Testament practice and deny the legitimacy of creedal statements that the New Testament exemplifies?

Timothy. I see your point, Uncle Regor, and this motion does not do justice to the authority of the Old Testament, that is also the Word of God!

Regor. Exactly, Timothy, it is a catastrophic mistake to separate the Old Testament from the New. It is a gratuitous insult to the Old Testament to fail to include it in the “ground of faith.” The New Testament is not a substitute for the Old; it is the necessary supplement and capstone of the Old Testament revelation.

Furthermore, the authority of the Old Testament is directly and repeatedly affirmed in the New Testament and from the lips of Jesus Himself (Matt. 5:17-19; John 10:35; etc.). Thus the motion by its limitation sets itself as a direct violation of the very authority it claims to recognize.

Timothy. These are pretty damaging criticisms, Uncle Regor! Is there anything else that should be said.

Regor. Yes, there is. The motion is self-contradictory: the text of it is not found anywhere in the New Testament and so it turns out to be precisely one of the those “other statements” which it claims are not needed!! It cuts the ground from under its own feet, and thus it should not have been made; and being made, it should not have been approved; and being approved, it could not be enforced, except by a violation of the Baptist principle of the independence of each local church; and this independence, although perfectly consistent with the view of creedal Baptists, remains the major premise on which the anti-creedal Baptists are wont to build their case!!

Timothy. Well, Uncle Regor, you have proved to me that this motion is not only heretical, but it is also stupid. Thus there were at least 1264 Baptist delegates in Indianapolis who endorsed a stupid motion.

Regor. Yes, Timothy, and very intelligent people sometimes do very stupid things. The mere fact of being a Baptist does not provide complete assurance that one will always act wisely. Remember also that there were 637 delegates, no less Baptist than the others, who had the good sense to reject the motion.

The V-day, Victory-day, of anti-creedalists turns out to be a D-day, Disaster-day.

Timothy. You know Uncle, Regor, I just thought of something! if someone says: “I don’t believe in creeds,” or “We Baptists have no creeds,” that is a creedal statement already, so it is self-contradictory!!

Regor. Exactly, just like square circle or giant dwarf! It is historically false and logically untenable. So, E. Y. Mullins, a strong Southern Baptist, said:

“Creeds are the natural and normal expression of the religious life.”[21]

and Paul Scherer, a rather broad-minded Lutheran wrote:

“Any religion that boasts of being creedless is either misrepresenting the facts or writing its own epitaph.”[22]

Timothy. It is getting late. I had better return home. Thank you for this very instructive session, Uncle Regor.

Regor. In typical Southern Baptist fashion, let me close with an invitation: “What are you going to do about it?”

Timothy. What do you mean, Uncle Regor?

Regor. Why don’t you memorize the Nicene Creed and rejoin the church universal as a creedal Baptist?

Timothy. O.K. I’ll do that. Goodbye, dear uncle.