To Those of us Like Precious Faith with us Scattered Abroad, Beloved in the Lord.
In view of the conditions of the new times into which we have come and the part which religion must play in the reconstruction of the world, we address this letter to our spiritual kinsmen in all lands. If these greetings shall result in opening up communications with scattered groups and individuals who hold a common Christian faith with us, and thus lead to a mutually helpful relation and cooperation in the furtherance of the truth, the initial purpose of this letter will have been realized.
Thoughtful men are persuaded now as perhaps they never were before that religion alone can conserve the true values and promote highest interests of society, and that religion is an indispensable factor in the reconstruction of the world now torn by war and divided by enmity and in the restoration of social harmony. All races and classes of men cannot be taught these lessons without the motives and experiences of religion.
There is, therefore, a large service before those who hold the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. The need and the opportunity of the present hour conspire to make it especially propitious for the promulgation of the religious views and practices which Baptists hold and have consistently exemplified though a long history. The message of no other religious people is so completely a need of such times as are the principles which Baptists hold and each. [sic] There is not an article of faith which is not essential to the reconstruction of the world and the social fellowship of the race. Therefore, all people who hold the views which distinguish Baptists should seek to draw closer together and render a service which men of pure Christian faith owe their fellowmen. We covet a better understanding and a closer fellowship with those in all lands who cherish a common faith with us, and this to the end that we may with oneness of purpose and concert of action strengthen our witness for this faith everywhere.
The Southern Baptist Convention, composed of 4,200 messengers, in annual session, May, 1919, in Atlanta, Ga. , USA and representing 3,000,000 Baptists in the Southern States of America, realizing the responsibility that is upon them, the largest representative religious body that is in America, address this letter to their brethern and sisters everywhere, and would assure them of our prayers and love in Christ Jesus our Saviour and Lord, in the hope that both they and we may be edified, and that a more perfect, effective and universal witness to our faith may be borne throughout all lands.
In order that those who to any degree lack knowledge of the things which Southern Baptists believe and practice may identify their oneness with us, we submit herewith a brief statement of the fundamentals of our faith and the peculiar beliefs and observances which characterize and distinguish us.