Originating From a Secret Bunker Dug By William Hosea Holcombe and J.B. Gambrell Somewhere Off the Square in Oxford, Mississippi
The signers of the Traditional Statement claim to represent traditional Southern Baptist beliefs. If this is true, they should have no problem in assenting to the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message (BFM), the denomination’s official doctrinal statement from 1925-1963. But they do have a problem. Concerning man, the 1925 BFM says Adam
“was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.”
Notice that in the 1925 BFM, it says Adam’s posterity are “under condemnation” prior to their actual becoming transgressors. Why? Because of Adam’s sin – The Fall. And yet Article 2 of the Traditional Statement contradicts this by saying “Each person’s sin alone” (italics added) “brings the wrath of a holy God . . . and condemnation.” The phrase “each person’s sin alone” in the Traditional Statement is deliberate. It is there to emphasize the belief that Adam’s sin brought no one under condemnation except Adam.* Make no mistake, this difference has major implications for other important doctrines, particularly the doctrine of imputation and possibly for the gospel itself.
So could thoughtful signers of the Traditional Statement also affirm the more traditional 1925 BFM? Or better yet, could thoughtful adherents of the 1925 BFM agree with the Traditional Statement? The obvious answer to both questions is no.
*The Traditional Statement’s assertion that “each person’s sin alone brings . . . wrath . . . and condemnation” is just a roundabout way of denying inherited or imputed guilt from Adam. And in fairness, there are some modern-day Calvinistic Baptists, even some who subscribe to the Abstract of Principles, who likewise object to inherited guilt, but they [the Calvinists] draw markedly different conclusions when it comes to other consequences of the Fall.