Introduction – Scripture

“The supreme judge by which all controversies of Religion are to be determined, and all Decrees of Councils, opinions of ancient writers, Doctrines of men, and private Spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.” This statement of robust confidence, constituting paragraph ten of the Second London Confession, culminates a series of affirmations, scripturally attested, concerning the origin, character, authority, purpose, parameters, and spiritual power of Holy Scripture. This Journal is devoted to giving a succinct exposition of the doctrine of Scripture as set forth in the opening chapter of the Second London Confession.

Composing this team of writers are professional teachers and committed pastor-theologians. Dealing with the very first sentence of the confession, a sentence unique to it, is Kurt M. Smith, Pastor of Pleasant Mount Baptist Church in Remlap, Alabama and co-author to the book, The Gospel Heritage of Georgia Baptists: 1772-1830, published by Solid Ground Christian Books. Tom Nettles discusses other elements of paragraph one. Russell Fuller, a rarely-gifted linguist and Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary weighs in with erudition and conviction on chapters two and eight. Jeff Johnson, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Conway, AR, and an author of several helpful books, treats paragraph five with grace and clarity. Paragraph six is the province of Jeff Straub, professor of church history at Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis, whose deep involvement in a study of the history and contemporary manifestations of Pentecostalism give him relevant pertinent insights into the implications of that material. Roger Duke, Assistant Professor of Religion at Baptist College of Health Science, an author, book publisher, and a member of South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, deals succinctly and faithfully with chapters seven and nine.

If we take to heart the truth set forth in this chapter of the Confession, we will find it a motivation to share the passion of the Psalmist who wrote, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. … With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:89, 10, 11).

Tom has most recently served as the Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. Prior to that, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author and editor of fifteen books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible, James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman, and Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles H. Spurgeon.
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