Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship: Meeting Comments
By: Holmes Moore
September 11, 2001 will long be remembered by all Americans and the entire world as the day that a desperate enemy struck our nation by terrorist attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., killing multiplied thousands of innocent men, women, and children, destroying the World Trade Center buildings and seriously damaging the Pentagon. These stunningly desperate and evil acts perpetrated against a free and peaceful society caused our nation and the entire world to wonder and deeply grieve.
Yet in the midst of this great tragedy, many pastors and other Christians gathered in St. Louis for the purpose of inaugurating the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship. This date had been chosen long before. Throughout the day we received updates of the momentous events taking place in our land and prayer was fervently made throughout the day for our nation and its leaders. However, the purpose set for these meetings was carried out in the conviction that the cause of the everlasting Gospel of the Grace of God was of greater moment even than these pressing national concerns. Certainly a great solemnity permeated all that was said and done. God was pleased greatly to bless this day.
More than twenty pastors and churches were represented in our first meeting. Besides these, twelve other pastors and churches had written expressing their interest in the Fellowship effort. We thank God for this very fine beginning, but it is only a beginning. It is my firm belief that there are many others who, when they clearly understand what we are all about, will also be interested in what we are attempting to do by the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship…
…We intend to work together in order to help promote the work of the Gospel of the Grace of God at home and on foreign fields. We purpose to do together that which is difficult or impossible for us to do alone. We desire to leverage our strength and efforts so that together we might accomplish more in the interest of the glory of God and the salvation of mankind.
We do not intend to form a “denomination” or any kind of exclusive, sectarian group where some are “in” and others “out.” Our aim is to be a friend to all friends of the Grace of God, not to become a tool of division, separating brethren one from another. We hold sincere goodwill toward all, irrespective of their feelings toward our Fellowship effort. We heartily welcome as brethren all who hold the Doctrines of Grace and wish to have part in what we are attempting. We earnestly ask the prayers of all, even of those who, for whatever reasons, do not see fit to join our efforts.
Our Articles of Faith are but a general statement of what we in common believe to be the teaching of Scripture. They are not intended to be in any sense a “creed,” as that which binds our conscience and becomes the standard of our faith and practice. Only the Word of God itself is that. This statement of what we believe is comprehensive, but not complete; it is sound, but not authoritative. Our individual pastors and churches will believe and teach much that is not touched upon in these Articles. Differences respecting matters beyond the scope of these statements will not necessarily be made a test of fellowship. We are encouraged by the good start God has given us. We invite others to earnestly consider having a part with us. We desire to “attempt great things for God” and to “expect great things from God.”
(Holmes Moore was the initial Chairman of the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship and is Pastor of Bible Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri)