Home Christian News Southern Baptists Do Not Adopt Nicene Creed at Annual Meeting

Southern Baptists Do Not Adopt Nicene Creed at Annual Meeting

David Allen discusses Nicene Creed
Pictured: Dr. David Allen answers questions at SBC presidential forum. During the panel discussion, Allen expressed concerns about “issues of wording” in the Nicene Creed. Photo courtesy of Baptist Press

While most expected the battles over women’s ordination and sexual abuse reform to continue at this year’s meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), another debate emerged, revealing mixed feelings among the denomination’s ranks about the Nicene Creed. 

First adopted at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and amended and expanded during subsequent ecumenical councils, the Nicene Creed has served as a unifying document throughout the centuries, defining Christian orthodoxy across the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions.

This year, a grassroots movement sought to add the creed to the SBC’s own unifying statement of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (BFM). During the annual meeting of the denomination in Indianapolis this week, three SBC delegates, called messengers, brought separate motions to the floor to that effect. 

In the run-up to the meeting, discussion swirled online about the necessity of such an action, given that the BFM is already compatible with the Nicene Creed and is meant only to express the distinct convictions of Southern Baptists. 

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Others, such as Dr. David Allen, dean of the Adrian Rogers Center for Preaching at Mid-America Baptist Seminary and 2024 SBC presidential candidate, seemed to question some of the theology of the creed itself. 

During a presidential forum on Monday (June 10), Allen expressed concern that Southern Baptists would be so quick to amend their unifying statement of faith via motions on the floor, as happened in New Orleans in 2023 when the BFM was updated to add more robust language to describe the office of pastor. 

“I do think it’s wise to take a step back and not be able to amend our doctrinal statement so quickly,” Allen said. “I think we need the time, and I think it’s a good recommendation to step back and allow us to have that time of reflection and evaluation.”

On Tuesday, an ad hoc committee called the Cooperative Group, which had been tasked with evaluating what it means to be “in friendly cooperation” with the denomination per the SBC’s bylaws, recommended to messengers that any change to the BFM require a two-thirds vote at two consecutive meetings of the denomination. 

The recommendation was adopted. 

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Nevertheless, Allen’s concerns about the SBC adopting the Nicene Creed went beyond mere matters of procedure.