Friday, October 06, 2017

Articles of Faith of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association, 1894-1944

Below are the five Articles of Faith of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association, 1894-1944 (available range of minutes that I have). These appear on pages 10-11 of the 1894 minute and pages 12 and 13 of the 1944 minutes. There are no real or obvious differences other than what seem to be punctuation and typesetting.[i] The Association is now known as the East Texas District Association. It was organized in 1878.

  Of God.—Article 1. There is one God and Mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in good time.
  Of Free Will.—Article 2.  We believe that the human will is free, and that all who have heard and who have learned of the Father have the ability to accept or reject the conditions of salvation.
  Of Baptism.—Article 3. Mode—And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water.—Matt. 3.
  And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized of John in Jordan.—Mark 1:9.
  Buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye are also risen with Him through faith of the operation of God who hath raised Him from the dead.—Col. 2:12
  We are buried with Him in baptism, into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.—Rom. 6:4-5.
  For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.—Col. 3:3.
  Subjects—Go ye therefore and teach all nations—Matt. 28:19.
  Then they that gladly received His word were baptized—Acts 2:41.
  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in the house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.—Acts 16:32-34.
  If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest.—Acts 8:37-39.
  Object—The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us (not putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.—1 Peter 3:21.
  The Lord’s Supper.—Article 4. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.—1 Cor. 11:28.
  This done in remembrance of Me.—Luke 22:19.
  The Bible.—Article 5. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.—2 Tim. 3:16.

In addition to the “Articles of Faith,” the minutes also include the “Constitution,” “Church Decorum,” and “Government and Ordinances” statements. An interesting change from 1894 to 1944 is the 29th statement of the “Church Decorum.”[ii] 1894: “Feet washing shall be attended to as the church seems proper.” 1944: “If consciences of any are tender on the subject of feet-washing in any Church, they shall not be molested if they see fit to practice it.”

[i] For example, Art. 2 in 1894 is Article 2 in 1944; “The Lord’s Supper” and “The Bible” in 1944 are in regular style, but in 1894 in small caps; II Tim, iii, 16v. in 1894 is 2 Tim. 3:16 in 1944. I have merged the two styles with (hopefully) no loss of clarity.
[ii] The change was made sometime between 1894 and 1913. I do not have access to any intervening minutes.

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