Richard Weeks (1918–1993) was the dean of faculty at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin, where he taught for twenty years.
Like this month’s author Colin Smith, Weeks believed the traditional BAPTIST acrostic was not the most effective way to teach students Baptist distinctives. Weeks arrived at his position after studying Baptist writers from many traditions, including Northern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention, American, and European. Weeks placed a special emphasis on the writings of Baptists aligned with American Fundamentalism in the 1920s, including leaders in the Baptist Bible Union.
Having identified those elements that were most commonly taught as distinctive Baptist doctrines, Weeks attempted to establish a systematic order, noting that some distinctives followed a logical progression from other distinctives.
For Weeks, the best way to introduce Baptist theology to students was to begin with a statement of the Bible being “the sole authority of faith and practice.” He further refined this by emphasizing New Testament teaching on the nature of the local church. He believed that, while other groups certainly affirm Biblical authority, Baptists demonstrated a unique contrast with Presbyterian government (including appeals to Old Testament teaching on Israel) and Episcopalian government (including the authority of church tradition).
Students at Maranatha Baptist Bible College are still taught the Baptist distinctives using Richard Weeks’ notes. Dr. David Saxon has summarized them in a fine article, “The Logic of BRAPSIS2: A More Excellent Way to Spell Baptist,” which is available online.
Here is a summary of the BRAPSIS2 outline, as given by Dr. Richard Weeks:
B Bible, the sole authority of faith and practice
R Regenerated and immersed church membership
A Autonomy of the local church
P Priesthood of the believer
S Soul liberty
I Immersion and the Lord’s Supper, the only two ordinances
S1 Separation of Church and State
S2 Separation: ethically and ecclesiastically