The Baptist Faith & Message 2000
Article XVIII: The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Unifying Principles of Article XVIII
It has been several weeks coming, but we have finally arrived at the last article of the Baptist Faith & Message. After this article, I will post one final article that highlights some of the more notable points of unification and contention among Southern Baptists.
As for Article XVIII on The Family, Southern Baptists are in agreement on the importance of the family “as the foundational institution of human society,” as marriage between one man and one woman in a lifelong commitment, and the complimentarian view of the marriage relationship. Further, Southern Baptists agree that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.” My one concern, as with many other statements of belief in the BF & M, is that too few Southern Baptists are actually living out this doctrine of the family. The alarming fact that most evangelical Christians are statistically identical to non-Christians in America when it comes to the family (especially regarding divorce) demonstrates that this is a genuine problem. Despite this, Southern Baptists are united by this article of the BF & M.
Let me end this article on the last statement of the BF & M with my recurring claim throughout this series: EVERY CHURCH AND INDIVIDUAL THAT IS CONSCIEOUNTIOUSLY ABLE TO SIGN THE BAPTIST FAITH & MESSAGE EASILY FITS WITHIN THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION.
For His Glory,