Resolutions beneficial, SBC leaders say

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- Resolutions adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention offer multiple benefits.

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Steve Gaines, left, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., and chairman of the SBC Resolutions Committee, answer questions during a June 16 press conference on resolutions passed by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Photo by Bill Bangham
That was the response of this year's Resolutions Committee chairman and an SBC ethics leader when asked by a reporter shortly after messengers to the 2015 meeting adopted nine resolutions. In unanimous or nearly unanimous votes during the Tuesday afternoon session (June 16), the convention approved measures on such topics as marriage, racial reconciliation, the sanctity of human life, religious persecution and spiritual awakening.

Steve Gaines, who chaired the committee, said he believes resolutions are imperative at the annual meeting even though they are not binding.

Others from various perspectives are making statements, Gaines said at a news conference, "and we want to tell them what we believe the Scripture says and what we as Baptists believe."

"[I]t's very important for us to do that, to do it in a loving way and yet to do it, [while] speaking the truth forthrightly based on Scripture in love," said Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church.

Resolutions encourage Southern Baptists, he said. "When they hear their Southern Baptist Convention, which they've supported for years, is speaking out specifically on these issues, I think it just helps them, it affirms them and it gives them strength to carry on."

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told reporters the resolutions "express a unity of purpose and of thought."

"They're very helpful to us [the ERLC] in our work as we advocate on behalf of Southern Baptists," he said.

As an example, Moore pointed to the resolutions that had just been adopted against religious persecution worldwide and in North Korea. Those resolutions enable the ERLC "to say to our governing authorities the nation's largest Protestant denomination hasn't forgotten our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted around the world," he said. "We're standing with them; we're praying for them."

Resolutions also remind Southern Baptists, pastors especially, "to think through issues that are facing churches all over the country," Moore said.

Reported by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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