WEDNESDAY SBC BLOG
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. Updates can be read here, at our Twitter account (Twitter.com/BaptistPress), or our Facebook account (Facebook.com/BaptistPress). Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at Twitter.com/SBCMeeting. A schedule of the Wednesday meeting can be found at http://www.sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc14/program/default.asp. Watch the SBC annual meeting live here.
All times Eastern.
4:55 p.m. -- The SBC has been gaveled to a close. Next year's meeting is in Columbus, Ohio.
4:32 p.m. -- Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, began his report by commending Paige Patterson. He said Patterson was the key leader in Southeastern's transformation from a struggling institution to a Great Commission seminary.
"Paige Patterson does not owe me an apology for his heart for lost people," Akin said, referencing Patterson's apology moments earlier for admitting a Muslim student to Southwestern Seminary.
Southeastern's partnerships with the IMB and NAMB help train missionaries in North America and across the world, Akin said. He reported a sixth year of record enrollment, gifts of $50 million recently, new endowed chairs and new scholarships for students from ethnic minority groups.
Diversity "honors our sovereign God who sent His Son to redeem people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation," Akin said, adding that he looks forward to members of ethnic minority groups playing an increasing role in SBC leadership.
Although seminaries can do some things "more easily" than local churches, students can learn some things only in local churches, Akin said. That is why Southeastern partners with churches.
"We are not fighting for victory. We are fighting from victory," Akin said.
Messenger Wiley Drake asked Akin how the SBC can discipline a church in California that recently endorsed homosexual behavior. Akin replied that local churches are responsible for church discipline. Seminaries can teach students "how to think biblically and theologically about those kinds of issues," Akin said. He told Drake that all six SBC seminaries teach importance and necessity of church discipline.
4:16 p.m. -- Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, said his seminary has a passion for reaching the lost and is experiencing unprecedented blessing.
Southwestern's online program is growing, its students and faculty are involved in personal evangelism, and its financial standing is firm with recent gifts totaling $13 million, Patterson said.
A messenger asked Patterson for a "straight-forward explanation" of his decision to admit a Muslim student to Southwestern's doctor of philosophy program. In response, Patterson told messengers, "I come to give you an apology. I owe the convention an apology," especially to those for whom "I have caused sorrow, heartache or disillusionment." He explained that a Muslim participant in one of the seminary's archaeological digs in Israel asked to be admitted to Southwestern's doctoral program. Patterson admitted the student and believes he is "very open to the Gospel."
Patterson said, "I made an exception to a rule that I assumed, probably wrongly, the president has a right to make." The student is not funded with CP money, Patterson said, and has "not been a problem on campus."
Patterson said he also admitted non-Christian students to Criswell College when he was president there and those students came to faith in Christ. On judgment Day Patterson said he will have an answer for God regarding his decisions to violate admission policies at both institutions: "I violated a policy but I didn't want to stand before You with blood on my hands. Dear God, I did the best that I knew how."
Steve James, chairman of Southwestern's board of trustees, told messengers that the seminary's trustees "have heard" messengers' concerns and will discuss them at meetings in September and October. James asked messengers to pray for Patterson and the seminary.
3:50 p.m. -- In his report to the convention President Charles S. Kelley said New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is shining the light of Jesus in a city that is largely unchurched and desperately needs the Gospel.
"New Orleans is ground zero for the Southern Baptist Convention," Kelley said, referencing its status as one of NAMB's Send Cities. The seminary is "training people for ministry in that environment so that when they come and when they stay, they get a glimpse of what the future challenge is."
New Orleans Seminary is opening a counseling center to provide mental help to the community and introduce people to Jesus, Kelley said. He added that the seminary trained more than 3,800 students last year, has 10 online degrees and has the largest seminary extension center in the southeastern United States.
A new scholarship program will provide up to $6,000 annually for each of 100 bivocational and small church pastors to study at New Orleans Seminary, Kelley said.
"We must always remember [that] God is at work," Kelley said.
3:10 p.m. -- Eddie Bumpers was elected 2015 convention preacher and Michael Allen 2015 alternate preacher. Julio Arriola was elected convention music director.
3:06 p.m. -- Jim Wells was re-elected to a 13th term as registration secretary. There were no other nominees, so recording secretary John Yeats cast the ballot of the convention. Anthony Allen, president of Hannibal-LaGrange University, nominated Wells. Wells is "deeply committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, the local church and the Southern Baptist Convention," Allen said. Wells also "has proven his character and ability" as registration secretary, Allen said.
12:35 p.m. -- In the convention sermon John Meador, pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, said Southern Baptists must fulfill "the impossible quest" to win lost people to faith in Christ.
Preaching from 1 Chronicles 11, he explained that the passage references a battlefield where King David's three "mighty men" fought to defend the entire nation of Israel. "This battle gives tangible form to the spiritual battle of the present day. And we are at war," Meador said.
He noted three ways that David's mighty men serve as examples for new covenant believers in the spiritual battle for the souls of lost men and women.
-- They recognized their responsibility.
Like David's men took responsibility for fighting physical battles, Christians must take responsibility to share the Gospel, Meador said. "We need captains to raise up the army of God and get in the field," he said.
Ninety-five percent of Christians have never shared their faith, Meador said. That reality must change because all Christians are commanded to witness.
"Stop casting the stone that Calvinism is to be blamed for lack of evangelism," Meador said. The bigger problem is simply that "many do not want to share the good news."
-- They recognized the encroachment of evil.
Like David's men recognized the Philistines as their enemies, believers must recognize lostness as the enemy, Meador said. Lostness should provoke Christians to have "an unquenchable zeal" for personal evangelism, he said, adding that winning people to Jesus will solve society's moral ills.
"If we don't speak up for those who are heading to hell, who will?" Meador said.
-- They recognized that God was on their side.
Like the Lord empowered David's mighty men for victory, He will empower Christians who share the Gospel with the world, Meador said.
Pastors must mobilize their people to join the army of witnesses, Meador said.
"We know time is short," he said. "We have a deep hunger to see God move among us. ... We are being drawn in powerful ways" to lead Southern Baptists to take the Gospel to the world.
Meador challenged pastors to "be the pastor who goes home and says, 'I'm going to the field and I'm going to take my people with me.'"
11:47 a.m. -- In his report to the convention, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell D. Moore said the ERLC is working in government to defend Christian moral standards on issues like marriage and abortion. But "the primary vehicle for hope" is local churches who "seek the Kingdom in such a time as this," Moore said, noting that churches should teach the culture how to think biblically about every issue. As they engage the culture though, churches should also issue a Gospel invitation to "whosoever will believe," Moore said.
Two messengers asked Moore about immigration. Moore responded that America needs a consistent immigration policy that doesn't offer blanket amnesty and deals responsibly with America's 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants. Some illegal immigrants, who are breaking laws, need to be deported, Moore said. Other illegal immigrants need to be helped in the U.S., he said. Hardly anyone wants a government powerful enough to deport 11 million people, Moore said. Government should secure the border, hold businesses accountable for hiring illegal workers and also provide a way for generally law-abiding immigrants to "make it right," he said. Immigration policy should balance "justice," "rule of law" and "compassion for those who are in a very vulnerable situation in our country right now," Moore said.
11:27 a.m. -- During the ERLC presentation, President Russell D. Moore presented awards to the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, and Saeed Abedini, an American pastor who is imprisoned for his Christian faith in Iran.
The Green family is fighting in court the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance covering medical technologies that can cause the death of an unborn child. The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on their case later this month.
The Green family "believe[s] that every human life from the moment of conception is sacred, and they believe that the government is not the Lord of their consciences," Moore said. Messengers gave the Greens a standing ovation.
Abedini received the Richard Land Award for Distinguished Service for "faithfully serving the Lord Jesus Christ ... despite the risk that was involved." His wife Naghmeh accepted the award on his behalf and received a standing ovation from messengers.
Saeed Abedini was converted to Christianity from Islam and led house churches in Iran before moving to the United States. During a trip to Iran in 2012, he was arrested and sentenced to prison, subject to beatings and solitary confinement.
"At every step," despite the beatings and imprisonment, "Saeed Abedini has confessed with that great cloud of witnesses, 'Jesus Christ is Lord,'" Moore said. Naghmeh "has raised the issue of ... ongoing religious persecution" and "stirred the church in the United States" to speak out for persecuted believers around the world, Moore said.
10:57 a.m. -- In this report to the convention Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, said LifeWay is thriving and using all its proceeds to advance Great Commission ministries.
LifeWay "is not content with where we are," Rainer said. "We constantly question everything we do at LifeWay. We want to lead, not follow."
Rainer presented Jerry Vines with a commemorative copy of his new autobiography published by B&H. He presented David Dockery with LifeWay's Holman Christian Standard Bible Award for "a life dedicated to serving the Lord, His churches and the Southern Baptist Convention."
One messenger asked Rainer why LifeWay accepts advertisements from Disney in its magazines, since Disney promotes homosexuality. Rainer said he was unaware of any Disney ads in LifeWay materials but will address the issue if the questioner will send him information about specific Disney ads.
Another messenger told Rainer that he owned a home on leased property at LifeWay's Glorieta conference center and was displeased with the options presented to him when LifeWay sold Glorieta. The messenger asked, "Would you provide a fair market value for homes on the property?"
Rainer explained that LifeWay decided to sell Glorieta because it lost money each year and drained LifeWay's resources. The property was offered for a sale price of $1 to all SBC entities and all Baptist state conventions. None of them accepted the offer, so LifeWay sold Glorieta to a Christian organization called Glorieta 2.0, Rainer said. He added that LifeWay could have sold its property for millions of dollars to a secular organization but sold it to Glorieta 2.0 so that ministry could continue on the property, including LifeWay camps. Home owners were given options for sale or continued lease of their property, Rainer said.
"To the best of our ability ... we have handled the issue," Rainer said. "We have handled it in a Christ-like way, and we are grateful that Glorieta is continuing to see people won to Christ."
10:11 a.m. -- Messengers voted to advance the schedule by 15 minutes.
10:10 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said the secularization of western society presents new challenges to ministers but Southern is training students to meet those challenges.
"We have to translate everything into an issue of biblical authority and everything into an issue of pastoral ministry," Mohler said. "... The task we have is unmistakably huge."
Southern's 1,700 master of divinity students are more than any seminary has ever had, Mohler said. Among new developments at the seminary is a center for the study of Islam, which will train every student to understand and respond to Islam.
9:58 a.m. -- Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., said most American seminaries are in theological and financial crisis but Midwestern is experiencing God's blessing.
"Our primary aspiration is not ... the applause of the broader evangelical world," Allen said, "but to train pastors, ministers and missionaries for your churches, the churches of the SBC."
9:46 a.m. -- Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., reported on the seminary's move of its campus to Southern California.
"We are moving our primary campus 400 miles over a two-year period while remaining fully operational," Iorg said, adding that the seminary will lease its Mill Valley campus for two academic years following the move. After that it will open a regional campus in the Bay area.
The sale of Golden Gate's Mill Valley campus is scheduled to close later this summer, Iorg said. Details of the Southern California location also will be released later this summer.
All students will be able to complete their degrees despite the move, Iorg said. He noted that enrollment for the fall semester is up.
The decision to move "is not about what we are leaving behind," he said. It's "about the future."
8:57 a.m. -- The convention spent time in prayer for revival because it was ahead of schedule.
8:40 a.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business recommended that motions from Tuesday be dealt with as follows:
The following motions deal with the internal operations or ministries of SBC entities and are automatically referred to the entities:
-- A motion requesting a study on revitalization of established churches was referred to NAMB.
-- A motion requesting the use of CP funds to reduce fees for online seminary courses was referred to all six SBC seminaries.
A motion that the Executive Committee would consider diverse musical styles for future annual meetings was referred to the Committee on Order of Business. Committee Chairman David Smith said Wednesday afternoon's recommendation of a preacher and music director for the 2015 convention will be in keeping with this motion.
The following motions were ruled out of order because they direct entities rather than request that the entities take a specific action:
-- A motion requiring Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to explain its decision to admit a non-Christian student.
-- A motion that LifeWay Christian Resources cease distribution of the book "Heaven is for Real."
The following motions were ruled out of order because they attempt to change the convention's rules and require an amendment of the constitution or bylaws:
-- A motion requesting time to ask questions of presidential nominees at future conventions.
-- A motion asking nominators of SBC officers to supply the CP giving percentage of nominees' churches.
The following motion was ruled out of order because it would violate the SBC's business and financial plan:
-- A motion to divert one percent of the seminaries' CP allocation to the IMB.
The following motions were ruled out of order because they do not follow the convention's rules for support of outside causes:
-- A motion that the convention endorse certain youth programs.
-- A motion that the convention encourage churches to participate in My Hope America with Billy Graham.
The convention adopted by unanimous consent a motion that churches be encouraged to pray for and stay informed about persecuted Christians, especially the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped. Committee on Order of Business Chairman David Smith led the convention in prayer.
8:27 a.m. -- The Committee on Committees report was adopted as printed. Twenty-five percent of the nominees are women. Nominees range from young adults to age 82, with the average nominee being in his or her early 50s. The average nominee's church has approximately 500 members and gives 8.3 percent through CP.
8:24 a.m. -- In a theme interpretation K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, offered a "recipe for revival" based on Psalm 80:18.
In this verse, Israel cried to God for help because "they didn't want to backslide. They didn't want to go back. They needed Him for divine enablement," Williams said.
The "recipe for revival" includes three components, Williams said.
-- We need to repent
-- We need to release "the unresolved issues in our life" and pray instead of worrying.
-- We need to refocus on the Redeemer. "Is He really Lord of your life? He wants to be the boss of your life," Williams said. Loving Jesus will result in loving fellow Christians, he said.
"The only reason we're here is to advertise God, to give Him some glory," Williams said.
8:25 p.m. -- To experience revival Southern Baptists must repent of their failure to share the Gospel and re-emphasize taking the message of Jesus to lost men and women, Fred Luter said during his presidential address.
He preached from Psalm 80, a passage set during a time when Israel had sinned and consequently experienced a withdrawal of God's blessing. The Psalm represents the nation's cry of repentance, Luter said.
Like Israel in Psalm 80, "America has messed up with God" and "is in trouble," Luter said. "America is rapidly turning into a pagan nation. We've lowered our morals. We've lowered our standards."
Evidence of America's depravity is seen in the fact that it regards openly homosexual athletes as heroes rather than celebrating truly heroic people -- like soldiers, EMTs, policemen and IMB missionaries, Luter said. He added that the celebration of homosexuality is just one of many manifestations of sin in America.
"There must be a spiritual awakening in America ... There must be a spiritual revival that starts in the church," he said.
The way revival starts in the church is with prayer, Luter said. He noted two things that must occur among God's people before revival can occur.
-- There must be repentance.
Eighty percent of Southern Baptist churches baptize only one person per year between ages 18 and 29, Luter said. "If we were working in a secular job with these kinds of reports, many of us would have been fired a long time ago," he said.
Southern Baptists "must ask God for forgiveness" for failing to share the Gospel and forgetting its power to save sinners, he said. "We need to tell God, 'God, we repent for using substitutes for the Word of God.'"
-- There must be remorse.
Remorse is "a sense of guilt for one's actions," Luter said. He explained that Scripture requires sinners to feel remorse in addition to changing their actions.
Sadly, people don't come to church like they did in previous generations, so believers must go to them, Luter said. Southern Baptists should feel remorse for not going to the lost, he said.
"God, please forgive us for not being obedient and sharing the Good news of the Gospel with those in our community," Luter said.
If Southern Baptists exhibit repentance and remorse, "there will be revival," Luter said.
"We are losing a generation," Luter said. "Southern Baptist Convention, we can no longer be at ease in Zion while people all around us are dying and going to hell. Therefore, we must repent. Therefore, we must have remorse and do what Israel did in Psalm 80."
Luter said his desire during the two years of his presidency has been revival for the SBC. "The only way that will happen is if we cry out to God in prayer," he said.
"Jesus saves. So come on, Southern Baptists," Luter said. "... In the name of Jesus we have the victory."
7:03 p.m. -- Praise and worship for the evening revival service is being led by the choir and orchestra of First Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., with special guest Charles Billingsley.
4:55 p.m. -- Messengers adopted without amendment all nine resolutions proposed by the Resolutions Committee. There was some discussion on whether to reconsider two resolutions that the Resolutions Committee declined to report to the convention: a resolution honoring a local church custodian for 50 years of service and a resolution opposing the Washington Redskins' use of an allegedly racist term for their mascot. Messengers voted not to reconsider either resolution.
4:30 p.m. -- Messengers made the following 11 motions:
-- That Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary report on why they admitted "a person of another faith into their seminary."
-- That the EC consider ways of expressing the SBC's ethnic diversity through worship leadership and music selections at future annual meetings.
-- That a time and place be established for messengers to ask questions of nominees for SBC president.
-- That the EC study how to foster revitalization in declining churches.
-- That the EC study using CP money to assist seminary students with extra fees associated with online classes.
-- That the six seminaries consider giving 1 percent of their CP allocation to the IMB to honor outgoing IMB President Tom Elliff.
-- That churches be challenged to pray for persecuted Christians and stay informed about them, particularly the kidnapped Nigerian girls and their kidnappers.
-- That the SBC "endorse" and "encourage churches to embrace" Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls.
-- That messengers nominating someone for SBC president be required to supply the CP giving of the nominee's church as a percentage of undesignated receipts.
-- That churches be encouraged to participate in My Hope with Billy Graham 2014.
-- That LifeWay cease all sales, support and distribution of "Heaven is for Real."
4:20 p.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business made the following recommendations regarding motions made this morning.
The following motions deal with internal operations or ministries of entities and were automatically referred to the entities concerned:
-- The motion requesting that SBC seminaries study tithing was referred to all six seminaries.
-- The motion requesting that LifeWay not use the 2011 NIV in any of its materials was referred to LifeWay.
The motion on forming a task force to assess the SBC's progress on racial reconciliation was referred to the EC.
The following motions were ruled out of order because they would direct SBC officers to act outside scope of their duties, as defined in the convention's governing documents:
-- That SBC officers lead the convention to join Operation American Spring.
-- That SBC officers lead Southern Baptists to gather at Gettysburg.
-- That SBC officers lead the convention to consider disciplining a church in California that endorsed homosexuality.
4:14 p.m. -- John Yeats was re-elected recording secretary. There were no other nominees, so registration secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention. Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., nominated him. "He is a proven Southern Baptist. He has served this denomination at all levels of SBC life," always championing CP, Allen said.
3:49 p.m. -- A portion of the North American Mission Board presentation focused on church revitalization. Ezell highlighted a Baltimore church plant that merged with an established church which was in decline -- what NAMB calls a "legacy church plant."
The SBC loses 800 to 1,000 churches every year, "but they're recoverable" through legacy church planting, Ezell said, adding that lost churches represent millions of dollars in unused resources.
Ezell also highlighted a Montreal church plant that has grown to 700 attendees during its first year of existence -- despite the spiritual darkness in Montreal, where more than 99 percent of the population does not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. In Canada there is one church for every 117,000 people, Ezell said.
"We are absolutely committed to planting evangelistic churches all across America," Ezell said.
Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., presented an evangelistic conversation guide he uses with unchurched people in South Florida. The guide involves a drawing of three circles that illustrates the Gospel. Ezell urged pastors to teach their people to use the conversation guide and introduced a smart phone app that includes an interactive version of the diagram to use in evangelistic conversations.
"We have got to focus on sharing our faith," Ezell said.
3:02 p.m. -- In his report to the convention, North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell said NAMB is "laser focused on planting new evangelistic churches" -- 1,105 in 2013.
The health of church plants is a priority for NAMB, Ezell said. He noted that in the most recent year of reporting churches planted in 2010 had a 91 percent survival rate, baptized 3,394 people and gave $2.9 million through CP.
Another component of NAMB's church planting strategy is starting congregations among ethnic groups, and church planting catalysts have been appointed for various ethnic and racial groups, Ezell said.
"Please join me in praying Luke 10:2, that God would send more workers into the harvest field," Ezell said.
Executive directors of Baptist state conventions in the South joined Ezell on the platform to show their support for transitioning NAMB funds to non-South regions. "Because of their leadership and sacrificial spirit ... we can plant new churches in underserved areas," Ezell said of the state executives, noting that an additional $8 million annually goes to non-South regions thanks to their sacrifice.
"Thank you, Southern Baptists, for all that you are doing to reach North America and the world for Christ," Ezell said.
2:50 p.m. -- Committee on Nominations report adopted with two corrections given by Chairman Jerry Johnson. Among the 70-member committee's standards for nominees: doctrinal fidelity, denominational loyalty, local church vitality, trustee continuity and demographic diversity.
2:26 p.m. -- In his report to the convention, Executive Committee President Frank S. Page discussed a strategy for world evangelism and discipleship called Great Commission Advance.
A key component of the strategy is the Cooperative Program, Page said. He reported that SBC entity heads are united in their support of CP as are state convention leaders. In fact, state conventions have cut their total number of employees from about 1,750 several years ago to about 1,350 today -- an indication that they are sacrificing to give more to national CP ministries. In a similar effort to send more money to CP ministries, the EC will recommend another decrease in its CP allocation percentage next year, Page said.
He highlighted several multiethnic ministry endeavors that demonstrate the EC's commitment to involve Southern Baptists of all races and ethnicities in convention life. Page announced the EC's hiring of Bobby Sena as a national Hispanic consultant.
Videos of diverse pastors voicing their support for CP underscored the SBC's unity in missions giving. Unprecedented unity and unprecedented effectiveness in evangelism are Page's goals for the convention, he said.
"We have a God who can make all this happen," Page said. "... I ask you to join me in begging God like never before." He called every Southern Baptist church to "lead the way and beg God for a Holy Ghost revival."
2:00 p.m. -- Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., was elected second vice president. He was nominated by James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga. Merritt called Dilbeck a leader in church planting and Great Commission giving. There were no other nominees, so registration secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention.
1:55 p.m. -- In a theme interpretation Gary Frost, the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, said 2 Chronicles 7:14 often is taken out of context. Christians must understand the verse's original meaning before they can apply it properly, he said, noting that it was a promise to God's people under the old covenant -- Israel.
Israel was to be a holy people reflecting the holy God, Frost said. Similarly under the new covenant, God's people must be holy in order to impact the lost world for Christ, he said. Like God's people had to return to their original purpose under the old covenant, Christians need to return to holy living under the new covenant.
"We thank God for the Conservative Resurgence," Frost said. "But I'm here to suggest [that] not only do we need a reformation, we need a restoration" in which God's people are restored to a right relationship with Him.
Frost added, "If we're going to make a difference, our hearts have to be attuned to our holy God."
12:23 p.m. -- Registration is 5,129 as of 12:15 p.m. Tuesday.
12:17 p.m. -- Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., was elected first vice president. Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., nominated him. Pressley is "willing and qualified" to serve, having held several SBC leadership positions, Traylor said. There were no other nominations, so registration secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention for Pressley.
12:15 p.m. -- Ronnie Floyd was elected SBC president on the first ballot. The vote total was:
Ronnie Floyd: 1,834 (51.62%)
Dennis Manpoong Kim: 1,446 (40.70%)
Jared Moore: 210 (5.91%)
11:56 a.m. -- The International Mission Board presentation focused on God's work in Cuba. One Cuban pastor told Southern Baptists, "What we are able to see in Cuba is because you have been supporting us ... Please keep being strong." Church growth cannot be believers' first goal, the pastor said. "The goal is that the Lord would come in His Kingdom to our hearts," our families and our countries.
11:35 a.m. -- During the International Mission Board report, David Uth, chairman of the IMB presidential search team, said his committee is looking for another man like Tom Elliff with a passion for reaching the nations for Christ.
In his report to the convention, Elliff said that on average, each IMB missionary: helped lead 49 people to faith in Christ last year; led 24 new converts to be baptized; helped mentor at least five potential leaders and was involved in discipleship with 90 people.
More than 6,000 churches were planted overseas last year in partnership with national partners, Elliff said. Some 1,918 Southern Baptist churches have engaged unengaged, unreached people groups. In the last three years, 919 previously unengaged people groups have been engaged with the Gospel.
"There comes a time when leaders need to become cheerleaders," Elliff said of his retirement, citing the need for a new generation to shape Southern Baptist international missions.
One messenger asked whether the IMB would receive the funds if SBC seminaries chose to take a 1 percent reduction in their CP allocation and send the money to IMB. Elliff replied that the IMB and NAMB "respectfully declined" that approach to raising money "because we're a team." To fulfill the Great Commission, "it takes all of us," he said.
11:15 a.m. -- A messenger asked GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins why Southern Baptists don't qualify for group healthcare coverage. Hawkins replied that the law only allows group insurance when all members of a group receives their paycheck from a common employer. However, GuideStone has worked with associations to provide group coverage for ministers.
11:09 a.m. -- During his report to the convention, GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins said his entity is fighting to protect religious liberty against the Obama administration's abortion/contraceptive mandate. "We're in a battle on the healthcare front in America," Hawkins said, and GuideStone is fighting through litigation and legislation.
The Affordable Care Act involved a "closed process" from the beginning and forces Christians to choose between "long-held biblical convictions and health coverage," Hawkins said. GuideStone will not let "this administration or any" mandate that it has to provide coverage of abortion-causing medical technologies, he said.
10:54 a.m. -- 5,001 messengers were registered as of 10:45 a.m. today.
10:50 a.m. -- Three pastors were nominated for SBC president: Ronnie Floyd of Arkansas, Dennis Manpoong Kim of Maryland and Jared Moore of Kentucky. Messengers voted by ballot. Results will be announced later.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., nominated Floyd. "When Southern Baptists have needed Ronnie Floyd, he has always been there," Mohler said. He called Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, where Floyd is pastor, "evangelistic, faithful and innovative" and added that it is among the SBC's top contributors to the Cooperative Program. Floyd has served in numerous SBC leadership posts, including chairman of the Great Commission Task Force, Mohler said.
Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, nominated Kim. "Could it be that God has sovereignly brought Dr. Kim into the life and legacy of the Southern Baptist Convention ... for such a time as this?" McKissic said. He said Kim is a man of prayer who will help restore "a heart for prayer" in the convention, as well as a leader in cross-cultural evangelism and discipleship. Global Mission Church in Silver Spring, Md., where Kim is pastor, is thoroughly multicultural, McKissic said, adding that Kim would be the first SBC president not from the South. "The election of Dr. Kim will signal our future," McKissic said.
Bennie Smith, a deacon at New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, Ky., where Moore is pastor, nominated Moore. "We are a small Baptist church, but I'm trying to speak for smaller churches," Smith said. Moore "is an intelligent and loving person. He is dedicated to serving Jesus Christ, and he believes the Bible is the inerrant Word of God," Smith said. New Salem gives 16 percent of its undesignated receipts through CP, Smith said. "The voice of an average person in our SBC would be valuable," he said of Moore.
10:15 a.m. -- Messengers adopted EC recommendation six to amend Article III of the SBC Constitution.
EC chairman Ernest Easley said the recommendation "is small-church friendly" and includes a reference to CP in Article III for the first time.
9:40 a.m. -- The Executive Committee has reduced its Cooperative Program allocation percentage twice and will soon reduce it a third time, EC President and CEO Frank S. Page said during the EC report. "When we ask for more, it's not coming to us ... We want to do everything we can to reach the nations for Christ."
For the first time in two decades, the average CP gift from Southern Baptist churches increased, Page said, noting that the average gift is 5.5 percent.
Among the EC recommendations approved by messengers:
-- That the convention adopt the 2014-2015 CP allocation budget.
-- That the convention adopt the 2014-2015 SBC operating budget.
-- That the 2019 SBC annual meeting be held in Birmingham, Ala.
-- That the 2020 SBC annual meeting be held in Orlando, Fla.
-- That 2018-2019 SBC calendar of activities be established.
9:23 a.m. -- Eddie Bumpers, pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield Mo., said in a theme interpretation that prayer is vital if Southern Baptists are to experience revival. Preaching from 2 Chronicles 7:14, he emphasized two commands for believers:
-- Commit to the priority of prayer.
"When we pray, we're saying, 'God, I depend upon you,'" Bumpers said. "... Prayer is to your spiritual life what breathing is to your physical life."
-- Claim the promises of prayer.
"The link between our weakness and God's power is prayer," he said, adding that all great movements of God begin with prayer.
9:12 a.m. -- The schedule has been advanced by ten minutes.
8:58 a.m. -- Messengers made six motions moments ago. Among them:
-- That SBC seminaries be requested to survey the views of faculty and students on tithing and teach students to tithe.
-- That the new SBC officers lead the convention in joining a movement to impeach President Obama.
-- That the SBC authorize its president to form a task force to assess the convention's progress on racial reconciliation.
-- That LifeWay stop selling 2011 NIV and not use it in any published literature.
-- That the SBC ask its new officers to join a movement to convene on the Gettysburg battlefield celebrating racial reconciliation.
-- That the SBC ask its new officers to discipline the California church and pastor that endorsed and approved homosexual behavior.
8:40 a.m. -- Bill Sumners of Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives honored for 30 years of service.
8:35 a.m. -- 214 saved at Crossover. 32 local churches and 2,330 volunteers involved.
8:15 a.m. -- The presidential election will occur at 10:35 this morning, not Tuesday afternoon as in previous years. For information on the nominees and their churches, see http://www.bpnews.net/42696/cp-baptisms-for-sbc-nominees-churches.
8:10 a.m. -- Registration as of 8:05 a.m. Tuesday: 4,310.
8:00 a.m. -- The Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee will recommend nine resolutions to messengers this afternoon, including one on "transgender identity" affirming "God's good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one's self-perception." The resolution invites transgender persons "to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the Gospel" and opposes all efforts to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy."
Messengers will also consider resolutions on church revitalization, the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, casinos and lotteries, and predatory payday lending.
Following is the full text of the resolutions to be recommended to the convention.
WHEREAS, Messengers to the 157th session of the Southern Baptist Convention have enjoyed a time of worship, encouragement, and fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, We acknowledge God's providence in all these blessings; and
WHEREAS, We also acknowledge the kind hospitality of the people of Baltimore, Maryland; and
WHEREAS, We further acknowledge our local Southern Baptist churches, associations, state Baptist conventions, SBC committees, and volunteers of the Baltimore area who have worked so diligently to make our stay a pleasant one; and
WHEREAS, We especially acknowledge the Lord's grace in enabling our president, officers, various committees, musicians, and other platform personnel to conduct the affairs of this Convention with dignity and a Christ-like spirit; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to all those He has used to bring about an annual meeting characterized by grace, evangelism, worship, encouragement, cooperation, and purpose.
On A Call for Church Revitalization
WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has adopted a focus of planting churches to impact the darkness in our world (Matthew 5:16; 28:18–20); and
WHEREAS, The North American Mission Board has reported that 70 to 75 percent of cooperating churches in the SBC have plateaued or are in decline; and
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches in passages like Acts 14:21–23 that the Apostle Paul made returning to established churches a part of his cooperative mission work, so that he could strengthen disciples, encourage perseverance, and train leaders; and
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches in Hebrews 12:12–13 to "strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead"; and
WHEREAS, The Bible also records the words of Jesus in Revelation 2:1–7, which calls churches to an action plan for revitalization consisting of remembering Christ's commission, repenting from having left their first love, and returning to their first works; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, recognize and affirm the mission of the North American Mission Board and all of our other SBC entities, working in cooperation with state conventions and local associations, to assist cooperating churches in church planting and church revitalization; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the messengers affirm the calling of pastors who revitalize churches as needful as the calling of pastors to plant churches; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That the messengers to this meeting encourage churches experiencing cycles of health to pray for and partner with both established and newly planted churches that are struggling so that together, experiencing His strength through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10), we can more effectively reach our neighbors and our nation with the Gospel.
On the Importance of Christ-Centered Education
WHEREAS, Both the Old and New Testament affirm the duty of parents to educate their children in the knowledge of God (Deuteronomy 6:4–9; Proverbs 9:10; 22:6; Ephesians 6:1–4; 2 Timothy 3:15–17); and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists affirm the right of parents to educate their children in public schools, in Christian schools, or through homeschooling; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have a long-standing tradition of starting Christian K–12 schools through which many godly leaders have been trained and equipped; and
WHEREAS, An education centered around Christ, who alone is the "key of knowledge" (Luke 11:52), fosters recognition of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture in all matters, including God's direct creation of all things, culminating in the creation of human beings in His own image as recorded in the book of Genesis; and
WHEREAS, Teachers, administrators, and staff in Christian schools are empowered to win students to salvation through evangelism, make disciples, and foster spiritual development; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, affirm Christ-centered education as a worthy pursuit to which churches and individuals dedicate themselves, often at great financial sacrifice, and encourage Southern Baptists to promote the establishment of additional Christ-centered K–12 schools and Christian homeschooling networks; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm teachers, administrators, parents, and students who choose to follow God's leadership in their lives by participating in public schools; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage lawmakers to enact policies and legislation that maximize parental choice and best serve the educational needs and desires of families; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we affirm and encourage support for all existing Christ-centered K–12 schools as they engage in Kingdom work.
On Global Hunger Relief
WHEREAS, Hunger ministries reflect the compassionate heart of Jesus, serving as an effective means to make Christ known to our neighbors and the nations (Matthew 4:23; 9:35–38; 14:14–21); and
WHEREAS, In Old and New Testament alike, the Lord anticipates that His genuine followers will feed the hungry and minister to people in need (Deuteronomy 15:11; Matthew 25:34–40; James 2:14–17); and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists care about the physical and spiritual needs of all persons, regardless of religious affiliation, economic status, or cultural identity; and
WHEREAS, Extreme hunger afflicts nearly one billion people across North America and around the world; and
WHEREAS, Cooperative Program support provided by Southern Baptist churches allows the North American Mission Board, the International Mission Board, and their trusted partners to make efficient and effective use of hunger donations by eliminating the overhead costs often associated with other humanitarian and relief agencies; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist hunger ministries are designed to include the proclamation of the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ alongside a demonstration of the Gospel through loving deeds, and are conducted in harmony with the historic biblical convictions of Southern Baptists; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have supported these missionally strategic hunger initiatives for more than three decades by providing financial contributions through the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund; and
WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund was rebranded as Global Hunger Relief by the SBC Executive Committee on February 18, 2014, in collaboration with SBC entities involved in promoting, receiving, and disbursing Global Hunger Relief contributions in order to encourage a new generation of believers to accept the challenge of addressing hunger needs; and
WHEREAS, The Executive Committee, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, LifeWay Christian Resources, Woman's Missionary Union, and Baptist Global Response have affirmed the current Convention-adopted division of Global Hunger Relief funds to be used 80 percent for overseas hunger relief and 20 percent for domestic hunger relief; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, encourage Southern Baptists enthusiastically to embrace and support the new Global Hunger Relief initiative; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage the Southern Baptist Convention entities, Woman's Missionary Union, and other ministry partners involved in promoting, receiving, and disbursing Global Hunger Relief offerings to raise awareness of hunger needs continuously and aggressively, and to promote Global Hunger Relief as the Southern Baptist approach to funding hunger ministry; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we acknowledge the continuing value of local church support for the Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists, which allows all Global Hunger Relief contributions to be used to meet food and nutritional needs for hungry persons; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we encourage each Southern Baptist individual and congregation to promote Global Hunger Relief through systematic personal giving, annual observance of Southern Baptists' World Hunger Sunday, and innovative local church initiatives throughout the year.
On the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act
WHEREAS, July 2, 2014, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act; and
WHEREAS, The Civil Rights Act spurred the United States forward in the dismantling of legal racial segregation; and
WHEREAS, The Scriptures consistently teach us that all persons are created in the image of God, descended from our common first parents (Genesis 2:27; Acts 17:26), and are thus worthy of equal respect and dignity; and
WHEREAS, These truths were a central and driving force in the civil rights movement; and
WHEREAS, Our government authorities have a God-entrusted duty to guard and defend the constitutional rights of all citizens (Romans 13:1–7); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, lament and repudiate this nation's long history of racial segregation as well as the complicity of Southern Baptists who resisted or opposed the dismantling of the evil of racial hierarchy in our churches or society; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reaffirm the historic action in 1965 of the Southern Baptist Convention to call for "peaceful compliance with laws assuring equal rights for all," along with the courageous efforts of many known and unknown Baptist ministers and laypersons to advance the cause of racial justice in the face of opposition; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we thank God for the increased racial and ethnic diversity within Southern Baptist life over this past half century; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on all Gospel-affirming people to strive for a faithful witness to the watching world that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free" (Galatians 3:28); and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we continue to call on all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more.
On the Sufficiency of Scripture Regarding the Afterlife
WHEREAS, There have been numerous books and movies purporting to explain or describe the afterlife experience; and
WHEREAS, These books and movies have had a considerable impact as seen in the best seller lists and high box office receipts; and
WHEREAS, Many of these books and movies have sought to describe heaven from a subjective, experiential source, mainly via personal testimonies that cannot be corroborated; and
WHEREAS, Many of these are not unified and contain details that are antithetical to Scripture; and
WHEREAS, Many devout and well-meaning people allow these to become their source and basis for an understanding of the afterlife rather than scriptural truth; and
WHEREAS, Though the Scriptures include explicit accounts of persons raised from the dead, such as Jairus' daughter, the widow of Nain's son, and Lazarus, in God's perfect revelatory wisdom, He has not given us any report of their individual experience in the afterlife (Deuteronomy 29:29; Mark 5:21–43; Luke 7:11–17; John
WHEREAS, The Apostle Paul wrote about "a man in Christ" who was caught up "into the third heaven" who "heard inexpressible words" that "a man is not allowed to speak" (2 Corinthians 12:1–4); and
WHEREAS, The doctrines of the afterlife are critical to a full understanding of salvation and repentance (Luke 16:29–31; John 3:16–18); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, reaffirm the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one's understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.
On Ending Government Sponsorship of Casinos and Lotteries
WHEREAS, A growing body of independent evidence from the health and social sciences shows government sponsorship of casinos and state lotteries perpetuates a system of exploitation; and
WHEREAS, Casinos and lotteries are permitted by government and its policies and are instituted to provide a separate revenue source distinct from direct taxation; and
WHEREAS, Casinos and lotteries enjoy governmentally established privileges without which they would not be spreading into mainstream American life as they are today; and
WHEREAS, Government has become an advocate for the transformation of gambling from a private and local activity into a revenue source as significant and accepted as taxation; and
WHEREAS, Government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries is predatory in that it exploits primarily poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged citizens by promoting participation in highly addictive behaviors which often result in financial disadvantage or ruin; and
WHEREAS, Government, by sponsoring and promoting gambling, is actively encouraging and profiting from the statistical certainty of citizens losing their money over time; and permitting such a process to occur under the full protection of the law conflicts with the public interest and historically has been viewed as dishonest; and
WHEREAS, Government-sponsored casinos and lotteries promote and perpetuate the mentality of getting something for nothing, which is contrary to Scripture and replaces biblical teachings of working for a living (Proverbs 13:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 6:9–10); and
WHEREAS, Both federal and state governments are now considering authorizing, regulating, or sponsoring internet gambling, which would open a casino or a lottery outlet virtually everywhere in America; and
WHEREAS, Government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries is inconsistent with its role to protect the people (Romans 13:1–7; 1 Peter 2:13–17); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, reaffirm our long-standing opposition to government sponsorship of gambling; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we believe no taxpayer dollars should be used by government to lure citizens into gambling, no government should depend on gambling to fund its activities, and no state legislature or Congress should pass laws to promote or sponsor gambling; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we believe that after four decades of unfulfilled promises, corrupt deals, and broken dreams, government partnership with organized gambling interests has failed, and it is time for government to end these partnerships and embrace a fundamentally different and higher vision of the path to American prosperity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and all Southern Baptists to continue working to end government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we urge American citizens from all backgrounds, religious faiths, political convictions, and life circumstances, to join with us to make the United States free and independent of government-sponsored gambling, and once again able to resume its place as protector of our security, a leader in building a shared prosperity, and an example to the world.
On Predatory Payday Lending
WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that all persons are of inestimable worth regardless of their social, economic, or physical condition (Genesis 1:26); and
WHEREAS, God commanded humanity to be fruitful and multiply, taking just dominion of the earth in partnership with God (Genesis 1:26–31; 2:15); and
WHEREAS, The Fall has produced in human beings a selfishness that causes them to view others as objects to be exploited for personal gain rather than as individuals with whom to enjoy rich, mutually beneficial relationships (Genesis 3:7–19); and
WHEREAS, God is not opposed to profit (Matthew 25:14–30) but is opposed to those who take advantage of the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable (Exodus 22:21–24; Deuteronomy 24:10–22; Zechariah 7:8–14); and
WHEREAS, Payday lending is defined as the practice of lending small amounts of money, usually $350 or less, to individuals for two-week periods (i.e. until the next payday) potentially trapping borrowers in an endless cycle of two-week loans, often at an annual interest rate up to or exceeding 360 percent; and
WHEREAS, All such predatory behavior conflicts with God's plan for human relationships (Exodus 22:25–27; Leviticus 19:35–36; 25:35–37; Nehemiah 5:1–13; Proverbs 11:1); and
WHEREAS, Predatory payday lending is a direct violation of the Love Commandment (Mark 12:20–31; Luke 10:25–37); and
WHEREAS, Predatory lending fails to respect the dignity of the person created in the image of God and interferes with human flourishing; and
WHEREAS, Individuals and businesses must be just in their dealings, operating with wisdom and care, if they are to be respected as valued contributors to society (Genesis 4:9; Amos 4–6; Colossians 3:23–24); and
WHEREAS, The Apostle Paul states that government's task is to reward good and punish evil (Romans 13:1–7); and
WHEREAS, People may occasionally need emergency financial assistance; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, denounce the practice of predatory payday lending as contrary to God's design for human relationships; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge churches, employers, and other concerned individuals to provide viable solutions for meeting short-term financial needs within their local communities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage churches to provide financial stewardship classes and/or skills training for church members and members of the wider community; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on governing officials to investigate current payday lending abuses in their communities and institute just regulations and policies that terminate the practice of predatory payday lending; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we strongly admonish those who are engaged in the practice of predatory payday lending to consider the great damage they are causing in the lives of vulnerable people and to adopt a just lending model.
On Transgender Identity
WHEREAS, All persons are created in God's image and are made to glorify Him (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 43:7); and
WHEREAS, God's design was the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6) which designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race; and
WHEREAS, Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart (Genesis 2:18, 21–24; 1 Corinthians 11:7–9; Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Timothy 2:12–14); and
WHEREAS, The Fall of man into sin and God's subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God's good creation (Genesis 3:1–24; Romans 8:20); and
WHEREAS, According to a 2011 survey, about 700,000 Americans perceive their gender identity to be at variance with the physical reality of their biological birth sex; and
WHEREAS, Transgenderism differs from hermaphroditism or intersexualism in that the sex of the individual is not biologically ambiguous but psychologically ambiguous; and
WHEREAS, The American Psychiatric Association removed this condition (aka, "gender identity disorder") from its list of disorders in 2013, substituting "gender identity disorder" with "gender dysphoria"; and
WHEREAS, The American Psychiatric Association includes among its treatment options for gender dysphoria cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender; and
WHEREAS, News reports indicate that parents are allowing their children to undergo these therapies; and
WHEREAS, Many LGBT activists have sought to normalize the transgender experience and to define gender according to one's self-perception apart from biological anatomy; and
WHEREAS, The separation of one's gender identity from the physical reality of biological birth sex poses the harmful effect of engendering an understanding of sexuality and personhood that is fluid; and
WHEREAS, Some public schools are encouraging parents and teachers to affirm the feelings of children whose self-perception of their own gender is at variance with their biological sex; and
WHEREAS, Some public schools are allowing access to restrooms and locker rooms according to children's self-perception of gender and not according to their biological sex; and
WHEREAS, The state of New Jersey prohibits licensed counselors from any attempt to change a child's "gender expression"; and
WHEREAS, These cultural currents run counter to the biblical teaching as summarized in The Baptist Faith and Message, Article III, that "Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation"; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, affirm God's good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one's self-perception—a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God's design (Ephesians 4:17–18); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we grieve the reality of human fallenness which can result in such biological manifestations as intersexuality or psychological manifestations as gender identity confusion and point all to the hope of the redemption of our bodies in Christ (Romans 8:23); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we extend love and compassion to those whose sexual self-understanding is shaped by a distressing conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we invite all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the Gospel (1 Timothy 1:15–16); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we love our transgender neighbors, seek their good always, welcome them to our churches and, as they repent and believe in Christ, receive them into church membership (2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Galatians 5:14); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we regard our transgender neighbors as image-bearers of Almighty God and therefore condemn acts of abuse or bullying committed against them; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we oppose efforts to alter one's bodily identity (e.g., cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to refashion it to conform with one's perceived gender identity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any governing official or body to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy (Isaiah 5:20); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we oppose all cultural efforts to validate claims to transgender identity; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That our love for the Gospel and urgency for the Great Commission must include declaring the whole counsel of God, proclaiming what Scripture teaches about God's design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 20:27; Romans 11:36).
Blogging by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).