Resolutions Committee revisions pass without discussion at SBC

ST. LOUIS (BP)--New procedures regarding the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention recommended June 11 at the SBC annual meeting in St. Louis passed without discussion.

The changes are as follows:

-- The Resolutions Committee will be selected 75 days prior to the SBC annual meeting, instead of 45 days.

-- Proposed resolutions may be submitted starting April 15 but no later than 15 days prior to the SBC annual meeting. No resolutions will be received for consideration during the annual meeting.

-- Proposed resolutions must be accompanied by a letter from a church qualified to send a messenger to the SBC annual meeting certifying that the individual submitting the resolution is a member in good standing.

-- Proposed resolutions preferably are to be submitted by e-mail or, otherwise, mailed to the Resolutions Committee in care of the SBC Executive Committee. The drafts must be typewritten, titled, dated and include complete contact information for the person and his or her church.

-- No person will be allowed to submit more than three resolutions per year.

-- If a properly submitted resolution is not forwarded by the Resolutions Committee to the SBC annual meeting, the author could seek a two-thirds vote of messengers to bring the proposed resolution to the convention floor.

-- The 10-member Resolutions Committee will consist of at least two members who were members of the previous year's committee.

The new procedures will broaden the usually narrow time frame former resolutions committees had to receive, consider and report resolutions back to messengers at SBC annual meetings.

Under the current process, "you only have a few hours and a few days -- it's really a crunch time -- and sometimes you don't have the opportunity to deal with and pray over and think through resolutions as much as you would like," said Jim Butler, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Southaven, Miss., and a member of the Executive Committee's administrative subcommittee.

Additionally, the new process "gives the people who submit resolutions a longer period of time" to draft well-thought-out proposed stances for the SBC, Butler said.

Butler noted there will be no change in the Resolutions Committee's required reporting in the Convention Bulletin on its action related to all resolutions properly submitted for consideration.

D. August Boto, vice president for convention policy at the SBC Executive Committee, stated that his review of the changes indicates a desire on the part of the Executive Committee to address nagging problems with the process that have long existed.

"In my speaking to Resolutions Committee members and others over the years, the persistent complaints have been that there is not enough time for the committee to deliberate, no way for the committee to get a 'head start' on their work, an inability of the committee members to participate in the convention since they have virtually been held captive in deliberation during convention proceedings, and too short a window for resolution submission by messengers," Boto said.

"The changes to be recommended have addressed all of these concerns in a way that allows everybody to benefit," he said.

"The important thing to note here," Boto said, "is that there has been a willingness to take the risk of possible difficulty in an attempt to afford more access to the rank and file Southern Baptist. If that is accomplished at the same time that Resolutions Committee concerns are addressed, any extra work load may be worth it."

Danny Akin, who served as chairman of the Resolutions Committee last year, said, "The proposed changes increase efficiency and allow for resolutions to be brought to the committee in a more timely fashion. They have my full and enthusiastic support." Akin is a vice president and dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Nancy Victory, a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church, Shreveport, La., who chaired the committee in 1996, said, "The Resolutions Committee considers some of the most significant issues of our day, and their statements on such issues, when adopted by the convention, are always scrutinized closely by the national media. Allowing committee members a minimum of two weeks to consider proposed resolutions, as well as the possible consequences, both expected and unintended, of their approval is a very wise step.


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