The Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, with resolutions and speeches focused on the direction of the United States’ largest Protestant denomination.
A total of 9,467 messengers were present to vote on a host of resolutions, passing motions on a host of diverse issues facing the SBC and the country at large.
Here are five interesting resolutions that were approved by the annual meeting. They include commemorating the late Reverend Billy Graham, denouncing state-level bans on gay conversion therapy for minors, and spreading awareness of opioid abuse.
Resolution 2 – On Abuse
Resolution 2 called upon the Southern Baptist Convention to “condemn all forms of abuse and repudiate with a unified voice all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful and under the just condemnation of our Holy God.”
“… we strongly urge abuse victims to contact civil authorities, separate from their abusers, and seek protection, care, and support from fellow Christians and civil authorities,” continued Resolution 2.
“… we implore all persons to act decisively on matters of abuse, to intervene on behalf of the abused, to ensure their safety, to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities according to the laws of their state, and to pursue church discipline against impenitent abusers.”
During the amending process, the phrase “and ask forgiveness” was added to the whereas that reads: “We deplore, apologize, and ask forgiveness for failures to protect the abused, failures that have occurred in evangelical churches and ministries, including such failures within our own denomination.”
The resolution came at a time when the SBC was under public scrutiny for various allegations towards seminary figures including former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson of failing to report incidents of sexual abuse and assault.
During the annual meeting, SWBTS Interim President Jeffrey Bingham told those gathered that he would make it a priority “to create a safe environment and a campus culture that protects and cares for the victims of abuse.”
“At Southwestern, we denounce all forms of abuse, all behavior that enables abuse, all behavior that fails to protect the abused, and all behavior that fails to protect those who are vulnerable to abuse. We pray for the abused and we agonize for them,” said Bingham.
Resolution 5 – On Immigration
Messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on the topic of immigration, which among other things declared their support for immigrants regardless of race, religion, national background, or legal status.
“… we desire to see immigration reform include an emphasis on securing our borders and providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures, maintaining the priority of family unity, resulting in an efficient immigration system that honors the value and dignity of those seeking a better life for themselves and their families,” stated Resolution 5.
“… we encourage all elected officials, especially those who are members of Southern Baptist churches, to do everything in their power to advocate for a just and equitable immigration system, those in the professional community to seek ways to administer just and compassionate care for the immigrants in their community.”