When the original charter of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was adopted in
1858 it contained the following statement which continues as a part of the "fundamental
laws." "Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist Church;
and all persons accepting professorships in this Seminary shall be considered, by such
acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of
Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be
grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees."

The Abstract Of Principles

I. The Scriptures.

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, and are the only
sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.

II. God.

There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself, all
perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence
and obedience.

III. The Trinity.

God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but
without division of nature, essence or being.

IV. Providence.

God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs
and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not to destroy the free will and responsibility of
intelligent creatures.

V. Election.

Election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life -- not because of foreseen
merit in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ -- in consequence of which choice they are called,
justified and glorified.

VI. The Fall of Man.

God originally created man in His own image, and free from sin; 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 wholly opposed to God and His law, are under
condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.

VII. The Mediator.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and
man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the Law,
suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the
third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His
people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the

VIII. Regeneration.

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in
trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God,
and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free
and special grace alone.

IX. Repentance.

Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of
the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and
self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.

X. Faith.

Saving faith is the belief, on God's authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning
Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the
heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of

XI. Justification.

Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin,
through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but
on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His
righteousness by faith.

XII. Sanctification.

Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified, by God's word and Spirit dwelling in them.
This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to
obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ's commands.

XIII. Perseverance of the Saints.

Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor
finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they
may fall, through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces
and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall
be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

XIV. The Church.

The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is composed of all his true disciples, and in Him is
invested supremely all power for its government. According to his commandment, Christians are to
associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches he hath
given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which he hath appointed.
The regular officers of a Church are Bishops, or Elders, and Deacons.

XV. Baptism.

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed
in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship
with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God,
to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the
Lord's Supper.

XVI. The Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread
and wine, and to be observed by his churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice,
but is designed to commemorate his death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and
to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with him, and of their church fellowship.

XVII. The Lord's Day.

The Lord's Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in
exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly
employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.

XVIII. Liberty of Conscience.

God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments
of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being
ordained of God, subjection in all lawful thing commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the
Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

XIX. The Resurrection.

The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God -- the
righteous to rest with Him; the wicked to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last
day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.

XX. The Judgment.

God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall
receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into
everlasting life.

See also "Don't Just Do Something -- Stand There!: Southern Seminary and the Abstract of
Principles", a convocation address delivered by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern
Baptist Theological Seminary, August 31, 1993.