SBC BLOG

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All times Central

Wednesday afternoon

5:46 p.m. -- The convention has adjourned.

5:32 p.m. -- Floyd said he is "grateful for the present, and we must look forward to the future." Four words that describe the 2016 SBC annual meeting, he said, are "providential," "historic," "foundational" and "gratitude."

"God made two days in a row living history," Floyd said.

Two words for the future are "missional" and "hopeful," Floyd said.

5:22 p.m. -- Malachi O'Brien has been elected second vice president. On the second ballot O'Brien received 964 votes (63.42 percent) and Jose Burgos received 543 (35.72 percent).

5:13 p.m. -- A joint missions presentation by the International and North American Mission Boards highlighted churches that send Southern Baptist missionaries.

A video and interview session featured Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., which has sent more than a dozen families to the international mission field. John Kimbell and Shawn Wright, two pastors at Clifton, told of missionary church members seeing people saved in Central and East Asia.

"There's great value for us as a sending church to be able to be able to maintain close relationships" with missionaries we have sent, Wright said.

A second video and interview presentation featured Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa; Candeo Church in Waterloo, Iowa; and Anthem Church in Columbia, Mo.

Cornerstone has committed to plant 20 collegiate churches over the next five years. Among them is Candeo, which has a worship attendance of 800 and has baptized more than 200 people over the past three years. Candeo, in turn, planted Anthem, with some families on the original Candeo planting team moving again to launch the new congregation.

IMB President David Platt pointed to Romans 15-16 as a biblical model of Christians cooperating to take the Gospel to unreached areas.

"We can see multitudes of members sent from Southern Baptist churches ... for the fame of God's name," Platt said. "... Every member of your church has a part of play in this mission."

4:13 p.m. -- The three most important issues in the 2016 presidential election are the sanctity of life, religious freedom and the appointment of Supreme Court justices, Jack Graham said during a panel discussion on "pastors and the church in American politics today." He added that believers "must not sit this [election] out."

On the panel with Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, were David McKinley, pastor of Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga.; K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia; Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City; and A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in Spring Valley, Calif.

Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla., was unable to attend the panel but submitted comments to Floyd in writing on what pastors can do to inform their congregations about politics without jeopardizing their churches' tax-exempt status. Churches may not directly support or oppose candidates, he said, but may educate people about candidates' positions on issues.

Vines said pastors should not be "controversial" but "biblical." "I teach my people to trust God in these moments and vote their values," he said.

Dilbeck said the "disappointment" believers have expressed regarding the 2016 presidential election presents an opportunity for Christians in America to realize spiritual weapons are their best hope for changing the nation.

Williams said Christians in America should "be passionately praying for all of those who are in authority" and maintain a redemptive presence in the culture. He cited "systemic racism and injustice" as well as "the pipeline from school to prison" among African American males as issues believers should care about in addition to marriage, life and other traditional social issues.

McKinley said pastors should recognize they "can't make everybody happy" when they address political issues from the pulpit. Pastors must teach people "to come under the authority of Scripture" regardless of their political party affiliation. McKinley added that preachers should instruct rather than merely make emotional statements about politics.

3:39 p.m. -- There will be a runoff for second vice president between Jose Burgos of Indiana and Malachi O'Brien of Missouri. On the first ballot, O'Brien received 853 votes (45.96 percent), Burgos received 559 (30.12 percent) and Jeffrey Brown received 420 (22.63 percent). There were 24 illegal ballots.

3:29 p.m. -- David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, delivered the IMB report. He acknowledged the past year has been "difficult," with a reduction of the missionary force in order to balance the board's budget. As a result of the reduction, "for 2017, we will be operating with a balanced budged with the stage set for a healthy financial future."

Platt thanked Southern Baptists for giving a record Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, which broke the previous Lottie Moon record by more than $11 million. "Thank you, Southern Baptists, for saying, 'We believe in the IMB,'" he said.

Platt also highlighted "multiple pathways" Southern Baptists must take to reach the billions of people worldwide who have never heard the Gospel. Those pathways include career missionaries, professionals, students, retirees and others sharing message of Jesus throughout the world.

Among the messengers' questions for Platt:

-- Who can associational leaders contact to learn whether retired missionaries in their areas are available for interim or part-time ministry in local churches?

Platt responded that churches and associations can contact the WMU in their states, which have lists of available retired missionaries. State conventions can also help. If neither of those avenues yields results, Platt invited messengers to email him personally.

-- Is there training available for believers who are moving overseas for their jobs and want to learn how to use those opportunities as platforms for the Gospel?

Platt responded that believers seeking training should visit training.imb.org. He added that the IMB has developed curriculum for such people.

3:15 p.m. -- Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, delivered the NAMB report. He noted the launch of Send Relief and said Crossover Phoenix in 2017 will include a citywide evangelistic crusade with Greg Laurie.

The focus of his report was NAMB's Send North America church planting strategy, which was launched five years ago.

NAMB's goal is to plant 1,200 churches per year, Ezell said. Last year 926 churches were planted and 188 existing churches began to cooperate with the SBC for a total of 1,114 new Southern Baptist congregations. "We need to plant more churches, and the greatest challenge we face is finding more workers for the harvest," Ezell said.

Over the past five years, NAMB church plants have baptized one person for every 14 church members. By way of comparison, in existing churches one person is baptized for every 52 members, Ezell said.

A messenger asked Ezell: Why should NAMB continue to spend CP dollars on domestic projects that are also being carried out by state conventions and Baptist associations when the SBC's focus is international missions?

Ezell responded that all IMB funding comes from North America. "The more churches we have in North America, the stronger our ability to go to the uttermost parts of the earth," he said. Ezell added that the nations are coming to North America and must be reached.

3:02 p.m. -- Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of the Woman's Missionary Union, and WMU President Linda Cooper delivered the WMU report. Cooper thanked Southern Baptists for giving the largest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in the offering's history.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

2:53 p.m. -- Mark Blair, minister of music at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., was elected 2017 convention music director.

2:48 p.m. -- Three candidates were nominated for second vice president.

Luke Bray, pastor of Jeffersontown Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., nominated Jeffrey Brown, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ewing, Mo., and dean of students at Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, Mo. "Dr. Brown taught me how to listen to people and how to wisely navigate a church through conflict," Bray said, noting Brown has pastored Southern Baptist churches for 23 years and adding, "Dr. Brown is dedicated to the local church."

Scott Gordon, pastor of Claycomo Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., nominated Jose Burgos, pastor of New Creation Ministry in Highland, Ind. He said Burgos believes in Southern Baptist cooperation. "As an ethnic minority, church planting pastor, Jose's is a voice we need to hear," Gordon said. "... He can lead us in the biblical direction of diverse ministry."

Brad Graves, pastor of Ada (Okla.) First Baptist Church, nominated Malachi O'Brien, pastor of The Church at Pleasant Ridge in Kansas City-area Harrisonville, Mo. O'Brien is the immediate past president of the Missouri Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference and has a track record of bringing believers together "for prayer and revival," Graves said. As pastor of a small rural church, O'Brien has led the church to baptize 30 people in the past six months, Graves said.

2:36 p.m. -- Doug Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church in O'Fallon, Ill., was elected first vice president. There were no other nominees, and recording secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention.

Kenny Qualls, pastor of First Baptist Church in Arnold, Mo., nominated Munton, noting he has served First Baptist O'Fallon for 21 years, during which time the church has tripled in size. "Doug really is about, for God's glory, advancing the Gospel," Qualls said.

2:20 p.m. -- Worship has begun for the afternoon session.

Wednesday morning

12:04 p.m. -- The morning session has ended. The convention will convene at 2:15 p.m.

11:59 a.m. -- Following a display of unity by SBC presidential candidates Steve Gaines and J.D. Greear, convention preacher Ted Traylor called Southern Baptists to "dwell in unity" within the convention.

Preaching from Psalm 133, Traylor said he "had no idea that Steve and J.D. were going to come up here and do what they did before I came up here and read Psalm 133."

Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., said denominational unity involves agreement on some essential doctrines as well as liberty to disagree on other matters.

Debate on the convention floor Tuesday reflected "life" in the SBC, Traylor said, stating, "Thank God for life in the Baptist tent."

Traylor noted three principles related to unity:

-- Unity is released.

"We must always release the resources -- release the people, release the energy" to accomplish the Great Commission together, Traylor said.

There are times when keeping some resources is appropriate, he said. That is why various state conventions designate different percentages of Cooperative Program gifts for in-state ministries. Traylor added that the ultimate goal of all Kingdom resources reaching people for Christ.

-- Unity is refreshing.

"Was this not refreshing to see J.D. and Steve stand here? That was the dew of Almighty God," Traylor said.

-- Unity is rewarded.

"Could it be that Gaines and Greear are a picture of what we ought to be" in order to receive God's reward for unity, Traylor said.

A practical way to build unity is for churches to increase their gifts through the Cooperative Program, Traylor said.

"No preacher can compel you" to be unified, he said, "but we can ask God for it."

11:15 a.m. -- Messengers adopted the remaining five resolutions proposed by the Resolutions Committee. Resolution 12 on "refugee ministry" was amended to add a final "Resolved" paragraph encouraging churches and families "to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes."

RESOLUTION 8: ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have long championed the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provide, in part, that "Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"; and

WHEREAS, Scripture directs Christ's followers to function as "salt" and "light" in the culture and to fulfill their civic responsibilities (Matthew 5:13–16, 40–42; 17:24–27; 22:21; Romans 13:1–7), and many Christians pursue journalism as a vocation where they seek to be "salt" and "light"; and

WHEREAS, American history is replete with examples of journalists positively influencing culture and government through their exercise of freedom of the press; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have been blessed with many capable journalists whose pens have been used for the common good, and are well served by Baptist Press and the news organizations of the Association of State Baptist Publications; and

WHEREAS, The American principle of freedom of the press is an important parallel to the sacred principle of freedom of conscience and religious liberty, also enshrined in the First Amendment, historically and uniquely advocated by Baptists; and

WHEREAS, Irresponsible journalism characterized by slanted news coverage, poor fact-checking, and imbalanced subject matter coverage results in misinformed citizens, decreased confidence in the press, and an endangerment of the principle of press freedom; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, urge pastors to uphold the freedom of the press, recognizing how closely it is tied to the exercise of our religious liberty; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage journalists and news organizations -- both secular and religious -- to exercise responsibly their freedom; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all entities in the Southern Baptist family to honor freedom of the press by continuing to make reasonable accommodations to the news media seeking to cover Southern Baptist entities and newsmakers; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Christians to exercise their own freedom responsibly by carefully judging the journalistic standards of news sources they read and cite, especially on social media; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we encourage Christian young people who are called to the vocation of journalism, as well as those currently engaged in the profession, to remember that ethically sound journalism should seek to be just, balanced, and accurate, and that journalists should be honest and courageous in their work.

RESOLUTION 9: ON VOTING AS AN EXPRESSION OF CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP

WHEREAS, God has ordained government to reward good and to punish evil (Romans 13:1–5,

1 Peter 2:13–14); and

WHEREAS, Jesus described His followers as "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13–16), indicating the Lord's desire for believers to exercise a beneficent influence on their surrounding society; and

WHEREAS, Believers in the United States enjoy a constitutionally granted opportunity to influence not only the nation, but also states, regions, and communities by voting for those seeking the country's highest office and for other elected officials; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message affirms that "all Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society" and that "every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, give thanks to God that He has placed us in a nation with freedom of expression and opportunity to influence government, a freedom secured at a high price, even with shed blood on the battlefield; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists and all followers of Jesus Christ in the United States to participate in the democratic process by voting; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we remind Southern Baptists and all followers of Jesus Christ in the United States that the nation's hope ultimately is not in political processes or governmental power, but in God alone; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we prayerfully urge all candidates for political office to endorse the biblical values upon which society should rest; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves to pray earnestly for God to bring spiritual, moral, ethical, and cultural renewal to our nation.

RESOLUTION 10: ON WOMEN REGISTERING FOR THE DRAFT

WHEREAS, God created male and female with specific and complementary characteristics (Genesis 1:27), declaring them "good" (Genesis 1:31); and

WHEREAS, The equality of male and female as to dignity and worth, following from their creation in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), is fully consistent with gender-based, immutable differences in physical strength and endurance, which place women soldiers at risk of higher fatigue levels, causing a greater incidence of overuse injuries such as stress fractures; and

WHEREAS, The purpose of the military is to maintain a fighting force to promote the common defense and ensure national security, not to serve as an equal opportunity employer with respect to gender because women do not have an equal opportunity for survival in combat settings; and

WHEREAS, an August 2015 memo to the Marine Corps Commandant, entitled United States Marine Corps Assessment of Women in Service Assignments, following three years of comprehensive, scientific studies, noted that physical strength and endurance are essential for "survivability and lethality" in battle; and

WHEREAS, Despite these findings, the United States military has removed restrictions on all Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) to female soldiers; and

WHEREAS, Army and Marine Corps generals recently testified to Congress that it is time to require women to register for military drafts; and

WHEREAS, While women have served faithfully and effectively in combat settings as volunteers, the dominant pattern, both historically and biblically, is that men bear responsibility to serve when war is necessary; and

WHEREAS, We honor women who wish to engage in military service as volunteers, however, we oppose efforts to force women into military service by government coercion; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 14–15, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, express our unrelenting opposition to the determination of our nation's military leaders and the Obama Administration to increase the likelihood that women will be placed in harm's way because of the lifting of MOS restrictions; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Administration, Congress, and all military leaders not to require women to register for military drafts; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we honor and express deepest gratitude to those courageous women who have served and are continuing to serve their country in the military; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commit our support and prayer to all military members and their families serving this great nation around the world.

RESOLUTION 11: ON AFFIRMING "IN GOD WE TRUST" AS OUR NATIONAL MOTTO

WHEREAS, "In God We Trust" is the official national motto of the United States, established by a law passed by the 84th Congress and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956; and

WHEREAS, The biblical instruction to place trust in God (Psalm 4:5; 20:7; 22:4–5; 40:3; 91:2; Prov. 3:5–6) has been an integral part of American culture since our nation's settling and founding; and

WHEREAS, The fourth verse of the national anthem of the United States, written by Francis Scott Key on September 14, 1814, says, "Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation . . . and this be our motto: In God is our trust"; and

WHEREAS, Salmon Chase, Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln, prompted by a minister's plea, submitted a recommendation to Congress that we add "In God We Trust" to our coins, and Congress voted to approve his recommendation on April 22, 1864; and

WHEREAS, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Thanksgiving Proclamation during the Great Depression declared: "[F]rom our earliest recorded history, Americans have thanked God for their blessings," noting that Americans turn to God in times of trouble and happiness, and concluding, "In God We Trust"; and

WHEREAS, "In God We Trust" appears over the south entrance to the United States Senate chamber and above the Speaker's rostrum in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, In 1954, Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield announced the first U.S. Postage Stamp to carry the inscription, "In God We Trust," and a special Congressional Prayer room was added to the Capitol with a kneeling bench, an altar, an open Bible, an inspiring stained-glass window with George Washington kneeling in prayer, and the declaration of Psalm 16:1: "Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust"; and

WHEREAS, In 2006, the U.S. Senate reaffirmed "In God We Trust" as the official national motto of the United States of America for the fiftieth anniversary of its adoption and, in 2011, both houses of Congress reaffirmed "In God We Trust" and supported and encouraged the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions; and

WHEREAS, July 30, 2016, is the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of "In God We Trust" as our official national motto; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, affirm "In God We Trust" as the official national motto of the United States and support and encourage awareness of and the public display of the national motto.

RESOLUTION 12: ON REFUGEE MINISTRY

WHEREAS, The world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with over sixty million people displaced throughout the world and considered refugees; and

WHEREAS, War, violence, genocide, religious persecution, and other forms of oppression have contributed to massive people movements across the globe, as millions flee for their lives; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have a long record of caring for and ministering to refugees throughout our history; and

WHEREAS, This history of refugee ministry includes the sponsoring of almost 15,000 refugees from 1975–1985, resulting in the starting of 281 ethnic churches and a 1985 resolution commemorating this decade of ministry; and

WHEREAS, There are expected to be 85,000 refugees coming into the United States in 2016 from four continents and the Caribbean; and

WHEREAS, Scripture calls for and expects God's people to minister to the sojourner (Exodus 22:21–24; Exodus 23:9–12; Leviticus 19:33–34; Deuteronomy 10:17–22; Deuteronomy 24:17–22; Deuteronomy 26:5–13; Psalm 146:8–9; Matthew 25:35–40); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, encourage Southern Baptists to minister care, compassion, and the Gospel to refugees who come to the United States; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptist churches and families to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes as a means to demonstrate to the nations that our God longs for every tribe, tongue, and nation to be welcomed at His Throne (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9-12; Psalm 68:5; James 1:27; Leviticus 25:35; Leviticus 19:33-34); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the governing authorities to implement the strictest security measures possible in the refugee screening and selection process, guarding against anyone intent on doing harm; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we affirm that refugees are people loved by God, made in His image, and that Christian love should be extended to them as special objects of God's mercy in a world that has displaced them from their homelands.

11:08 a.m. -- Steve Gaines has been elected SBC president after J.D. Greear withdrew from the race and moved that the convention elect Gaines by acclamation. Registration secretary Jim Wells cast the convention's ballot for Gaines.

Floyd recognized Greear and Gaines to address the convention.

Greear told the convention he prayed last night and believes "we need to leave St. Louis united."

"I am respectfully withdrawing my candidacy as president and asking you to join me" in electing Gaines as president, Greear said, adding that Gaines had considered "doing the exact same thing in reverse."

Gaines said "there's no way God is not doing something in all of this." He said he has decided internally Tuesday night to withdraw but agreed to serve as president after a conversation with Greear.

"I just wanted Jesus to be lifted high" and the convention to be united, Gaines said.

Greear said those who voted for him should not complain but serve. "It is time for us to step up and get involved," joining "those who have gone before us" in the convention's work, he said. "We stand together because God saved us. We want to see Him save others."

10:49 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the SBTS report. "Hostility toward the cause of Christ and His Gospel" requires contemporary seminaries to train students in "the faith once for all delivered to the saints," he said, noting challenges in the culture related to marriage and gender.

"Nothing can be taken for granted" in today's culture "except for the fact" that the Gospel still saves and the Word of God is more powerful than any challenge, Mohler said. He noted that Southern's enrollment has surpassed 5,000 students, more "than have ever been gathered at any place in the history of the Christian church."

Messengers did not ask any questions.

10:40 a.m. -- Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the Southwestern report. He said the theology of Southwestern, like that of the other five SBC seminaries, leads to missions and evangelism, noting 192 professions of faith in Christ at a recent SWBTS outreach event.

Because of their theology and commitment to evangelism, Patterson said, all six SBC seminaries are among the 10 largest seminaries in America.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

10:33 a.m. -- Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the MBTS report. The seminary anticipates 2,300 students this year and expects to double in size over four years. The Association of Theological School, one of Midwestern's accrediting bodies, says MBTS is "the fastest growing seminary in North America," Allen said.

The key question for Midwestern is, "How do we most effectively serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention?" Allen said. That question leads to Midwestern's motto: "For the church."

A messenger asked Allen how Midwestern makes non-Calvinistic students "feel welcome."

Allen responded that one "one confessional statement" of MBTS is the Baptist Faith and Message, with statements on gender and biblical inerrancy as secondary statements of faith. Allen pledged not to hire any professor who is "not fully committed to sharing the Gospel, fully committed to the Great Commission and fully and committed to serving the church." The seminary's faculty includes people with a variety of viewpoints regarding the doctrine of salvation, he said.

10:22 a.m. -- Jeff Iorg delivered his first report as president of Gateway Seminary of the SBC, which changed its name yesterday from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary upon final approval from messengers to the SBC annual meeting.

Iorg said Gateway's relocation of its main campus to southern California is nearly complete. At the conclusion of the relocation, the seminary's northern and southern California campuses will be debt free, he said.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

10:14 a.m. -- Charles Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the NOBTS report. He highlighted the seminary curriculum's inclusion of courses on personal evangelism and interpersonal relationships.

Kelley noted scholarships for students from ethnic minority groups and small church pastors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The small church pastor scholarships require students to have a "Gospel conversation" with at least one person each week, leading to 1,061 professions of faith in Christ.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

10:07 a.m. -- Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the Southeastern report. The seminary has experienced its sixth year of record enrollment and is the largest seminary on the east coast, with more than 3,500 students.

Southeastern's Kingdom Diversity initiative has helped increase the population of non-white students enrolled from 8.3 percent in 2011 to more than 15.5 percent in 2016, Akin said.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

9:58 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Council of Seminary Presidents, reported on the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, calling it a "jewel" of Baptist historical materials. SBHLA director Bill Sumners was honored upon his retirement after 33 years of service at the SBC's denominational archives.

9:47 a.m. -- Two of LifeWay's younger staff leaders, Trevin Wax and Michael Kelley, delivered the LifeWay presentation. They discussed "the pathway of discipleship," including new discipleship resources available.

"As long as our resources are equipping people to make disciples, we know we are aligned with God's will," Wax said.

9:35 a.m. -- Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, delivered the LifeWay report, including discussion of LifeWay's relocation in Nashville. He highlighted some of LifeWay's bestselling books from this past year including Russell Moore's "Onward" and the autobiography of Christian hip hop artist Lacrae.

Among the questions asked by messengers:

-- What process does LifeWay use to vet authors and books that are sold in LifeWay stores?

Rainer responded that other book publishers understand LifeWay's standards and keep them in mind when presenting books to LifeWay for sale in stores. Some books "go through a theological review" by LifeWay personnel, Rainer said At times, review of books proposed for sale rises to the "executive level."

"We do our very best, quite frankly. We are not perfect," Rainer said. ... We will try our best to be accountable to our Lord that everything we do will bring Him glory."

-- What is LifeWay's process for considering potential resources for sale from "health, wealth and prosperity" preachers?

Rainer responded, "We do not intentionally have health, wealth and fame authors. ... To our knowledge, we do not include those items on our shelves." Each book is examined individually, he said, and books by authors who have advocated such theology in the past may be sold in LifeWay stores if those specific books do not advocate such theology.

9:20 a.m. -- Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, delivered the ERLC presentation and report. He highlighted the commission's efforts to promote life, marriage, the biblical definition of gender, racial reconciliation and religious liberty.

The "main part" of the ERLC's work, however, "is to equip churches" to address these and other issues, Moore said.

Southern Baptists must "pick up the wreckage" left in the sexual revolution's wake, Moore said. "We have a Gospel big enough for this mission field."

Regarding abortion, Moore said "it is time for the reborn to stand up for the unborn." Planned Parenthood "denies the dignity of children and women" and their right "even to live, and they should not receive one red cent of government funding."

The ERLC also is working to combat the "uptick in racial bigotry," Moore said.

Among the questions messengers asked Moore:

-- How is the ERLC engaging adoption and foster care? Moore said the ERLC is "fighting for the religious liberty" of faith-based adoption agencies and equipping churches with resources on orphan care.

-- How can someone in the SBC defend Muslims' right to construct mosques in America when some Muslims are "murdering" and "beheading" Christians across the world?

Moore responded that this is not a "hard" issue.

"What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody," he said. The government should not decide what houses of worship can be constructed based on the beliefs of the people in those houses of worship.

"A government that has the power to outlaw" people of faith from assembling "does not turn people into Christians. It turns people into pretend Christians, and it sends them straight to hell." The answer to Islam is the Gospel, not government power, Moore said.

8:58 a.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business ruled that the following motions deal with the internal operations of SBC entities and are referred automatically to the appropriate entities:

-- To the Executive Committee and all entities: That all entities examine their media policies.

-- To LifeWay: That LifeWay work with past SBC presidents to publish their memoirs.

-- To the Executive Committee: that SBC annual meeting registration materials and badges indicate military service.

Messengers voted to refer the following motions concerning the SBC Constitution and Bylaws to the Executive Committee:

-- That the Constitution be amended to declare churches that practice racial discrimination not in friendly cooperation with the convention.

-- That the Constitution be amended to require cooperating churches to also cooperate with a state convention and local association.

-- That the article referencing faith in the Baptist Faith and Message be studied.

-- That the SBC consider affiliating with the National Association of Evangelicals.

-- That SBC Bylaws be amended to require earlier announcement of some nominees from the Committee on Nominations.

Messengers referred to the Committee on Order of Business a motion to allocate more time for the IMB and NAMB reports at SBC annual meetings.

The chair ruled the following motions not in order:

-- That LifeWay be directed to publish materials related to refugees.

-- That LifeWay, NAMB and the IMB be directed to study funding campus ministries.

-- That the seminaries be directed to invest strategies to engage refugees.

-- That NAMB be investigated for its dealing with the Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware.

-- That the SBC reaffirm Article XII of the Baptist Faith and Message.

-- That the IMB and NAMB be combined into one mission board.

-- That the SBC remove officers and officials who support the right of Muslims to build mosques in America.

-- That the SBC withdraw its amicus brief in the case of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge in New Jersey.

-- That a committee be created to fast, pray and review LifeWay curriculum on godly living.

-- That a committee be appointed to study NAMB's relief ministries.

-- That the Executive Committee amend Bylaws 18 and 30.

-- That the convention study the possibility of funding state convention camps and conference centers.

8:58 a.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business ruled that the following motions deal with the internal operations of SBC entities and are referred automatically to the appropriate entities:

-- To the Executive Committee and all entities: That all entities examine their media policies.

-- To LifeWay: That LifeWay work with past SBC presidents to publish their memoirs.

-- To the Executive Committee: that SBC annual meeting registration materials and badges indicate military service.

Messengers voted to refer the following motions concerning the SBC Constitution and Bylaws to the Executive Committee:

-- That the Constitution be amended to declare churches that practice racial discrimination not in friendly cooperation with the convention.

-- That the Constitution be amended to require cooperating churches to also cooperate with a state convention and local association.

-- That the article referencing faith in the Baptist Faith and Message be studied.

-- That the SBC consider affiliating with the National Association of Evangelicals.

-- That SBC Bylaws be amended to require earlier announcement of some nominees from the Committee on Nominations.

Messengers referred to the Committee on Order of Business a motion to allocate more time for the IMB and NAMB reports at SBC annual meetings.

The chair ruled the following motions not in order:

-- That LifeWay be directed to publish materials related to refugees.

-- That LifeWay, NAMB and the IMB be directed to study funding campus ministries.

-- That the seminaries be directed to invest strategies to engage refugees.

-- That NAMB be investigated for its dealing with the Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware.

-- That the SBC reaffirm Article XII of the Baptist Faith and Message.

-- That the IMB and NAMB be combined into one mission board.

-- That the SBC remove officers and officials who support the right of Muslims to build mosques in America.

-- That the SBC withdraw its amicus brief in the case of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge in New Jersey.

-- That a committee be created to fast, pray and review LifeWay curriculum on godly living.

-- That a committee be appointed to study NAMB's relief ministries.

-- That the Executive Committee amend Bylaws 18 and 30.

-- That the convention study the possibility of funding state convention camps and conference centers.

8:41 a.m. -- The order of business was amended, as reflected in Wednesday bulletin.

8:40 a.m. -- Roger Spradlin of California was elected as preacher of the 2017 convention sermon. Vance Pitman of Nevada was elected as the alternate preacher.

8:36 a.m. -- Floyd reported 11,581 "unique people" have engaged in the annual meeting this year. There are 7,269 registered messengers, up from 5,407 last year.

Tuesday evening

9:18 p.m. -- The evening session has ended. The convention will reconvene Wednesday at 8:15 a.m.

9:02 p.m. -- Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., said praying for revival is "always according to the will of God" because He "wants to send an awakening to our nation."

Believers "put too much emphasis" on who holds political office and must look to God for national healing, Laurie said. He cited evangelism as the key to national transformation.

"To fail to share the Gospel where God gives us opportunity is a sin," Laurie said. Preachers should extend an invitation for people to trust Christ as Lord and Savior each time they preach, and all believers should share Christ with their neighbors.

"I hope we will reach out to people we've never reached out to before" and that "God gives us the power to do that," Laurie said. The resulting new believers will revive churches and their members.

8:40 p.m. -- Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told Southern Baptists he used to be a youth pastor, "but God completely interrupted my life by calling me to Congress." Still, Congress is not America's hope, he said.

"People say the country is frustrated ... but I think it's deeper than that," Lankford said. The nation has myriad troubles, and Christians "have to do something about it because we believe in a hill higher than Capitol Hill."

He suggested practical steps for working toward awakening in America:

-- The church must engage the culture. "The Bible speaks to our culture, and if we refrain from using Scripture to speak to our culture, we fail to speak the whole Word of truth," Lankford said.

-- Believers must "build a family" and establish godliness in the nation beginning in their homes.

-- Honor authority. "Everyone is piling on government," Lankford said, and believers must stand out. Christians should "pray more than we complain."

He concluded, "Elections won't solve the day. Christ will solve the day."

8:05 p.m. -- Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., said the wall of racism "is already down." The fact that the president of the historically African American NBC USA is speaking at the SBC "is an indication that the walls are down."

Prayer is a key means of destroying remaining barriers of racial division, he said.

"If the wall is going to come down in your city, we can't just run to Calvary" and "bypass Pentecost, because that's where the power is," Young said.

8:01 p.m. -- This morning the SBC talked about racism, Floyd said. "This afternoon we took a practical step forward in care, in sensitivity, in love." But tonight, "we're going to pray down racism ... in all our churches."

7:54 p.m. -- John Avant, pastor of First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tenn., told about his experience serving a Texas church during the Brownsville Revival of the mid-1990s.

People fell on their faces before God, confessed sin and area college and seminary campuses were "ablaze with revival," Avant said, adding, "It went on for months in our church and in our city" with more people saved in one week than in the previous 10 years.

"Don't you long for that?" Avant said. "...Who's crying out for [God] to do it again?"

7:33 p.m. -- Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., noted three qualities of spiritual leadership.

-- Humility. Hunt encouraged Christians to pray, "God, clothe us in humility."

-- A teachable spirit. "God can use people in our church, people in our family, [and] people in our home to teach us," he said.

-- Gratefulness. This is a compound word comprised of "thankfulness" and "grace," Hunt said. Those components describe the term's meaning.

Hunt asked Southern Baptists to pray for these qualities.

7:21 p.m. -- Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, cited Psalm 42 and said King David wanted God more than he wanted his nation to excel. "As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You" is a "desperate" prayer, he said.

Believers in Scripture said things like, "I've got to have [God]. I need Him. He is my goal," Chandler said. But such sentiments are infrequent today.

Chandler asked messengers to pray for spiritual leaders' relationship with God and that walking with the Lord would lead to healthy family relationships.

7:11 p.m. -- Now our focus will change "entirely" to "calling out to God" for his supernatural work in our lives, Floyd said.

"What's it going to take for us to call out to God?" he asked.

Citing Mark 2:22, Floyd said believers must be willing "to let God mold us" or risk missing "the moment of His grace and miss the moment of His power." Being molded means having flexibility in our walks with Christ, he said.

One spiritual barrier is unbelief, Floyd said, yet "God can turn America around" if believers trust Him. "So let's be all in" for Christ.

6:51 p.m. -- There is still no winner in the SBC presidential election because neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, Floyd announced.

On the second ballot, Steve Gaines received 2,410 votes (49.96 percent) and J.D. Greear received 2,306 (47.80 percent). Some 108 illegal ballots were disallowed and prevented either candidate from receiving a majority.

The third ballot for president will be cast at 10:58 a.m. Wednesday, chief parliamentarian Barry McCarty said.

6:38 p.m. -- Worship for the evening session has begun.

Tuesday afternoon

5:13 p.m. -- The afternoon session has ended.

5:10 p.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business moved that election of officers (second) be moved to Wednesday morning at the time for previously scheduled business. Messengers adopted the motion.

Messengers also adopted a Committee on Order of Business motion that a messenger's motion requesting a bylaw change regarding nominating speeches for convention officers be referred to the Executive Committee.

5:04 p.m. -- Stephen Rummage, president of the Resolutions Committee, and other members of the committee presented their initial report. Messengers adopted seven resolutions. The complete text, as adopted, is presented below.

Extended discussion occurred on a resolution concerning the Confederate Battle Flag. Former SBC President James Merritt of Georgia proposed, and messengers adopted, an amendment calling for Christians to "discontinue" use of the flag, moving away from the more neutral tone of the resolution as proposed by the committee.

Merritt said "Southern Baptists are not a people of any flag. We march under the banner of the cross of Jesus and the grace of God." He added that displaying the Confederate Flag hinders evangelism among African Americans. "All the Confederate flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race," he said.

Messenger Paul Pressler of Texas raised a point of order, claiming he was denied an opportunity to speak against the Confederate Battle Flag resolution. Chief parliamentarian Barry McCarty explained that the electronic system of messenger recognition is "blind" and that no messenger was treated in a manner that violated the convention's rules.

Messenger Brent Lay of Tennessee moved that the convention consider the resolution he submitted "on encouraging a million more baptisms by 2034." The Resolutions Committee considered the resolution and did not recommend it to the convention. The convention sustained the decision of the Resolutions Committee not to recommend adoption of the resolution.

RESOLUTION 1: ON THE ORLANDO TRAGEDY

WHEREAS, Our entire nation is grieving as a result of the mass shooting of over one hundred people, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least fifty in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016; and

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that God has created all men and women in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), and as the Author of life, regards acts of murder as evil (Matthew 16:18), and calls His people to love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:39); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14-15, 2016, pray for the surviving victims, all affected families of those murdered, injured, and otherwise harmed, and first responders; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we extend our love and compassion to those devastated by this tragedy and pledge to come to their aid by donating blood and other supportive means; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we regard those affected by this tragedy as fellow image-bearers of God and our neighbors, and therefore condemn this act of terrorism and others like it and pray for the day when these senseless acts of violence cease.

RESOLUTION 2: ON APPRECIATION

WHEREAS, The messengers to the 159th session of the Southern Baptist Convention are enjoying 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 St. Louis, Missouri; and

WHEREAS, We further acknowledge our local Southern Baptist churches, associations, state Baptist conventions, SBC committees, staffs of SBC entities, and volunteers of the St. Louis 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 St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to all those through whom He worked to bring about an annual meeting characterized by grace, evangelism, worship, encouragement, cooperation, and purpose.

RESOLUTION 3: ON BIBLICAL SEXUALITY AND THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

WHEREAS, In the beginning God created male and female in His image as the crowning act of Creation (Genesis 1:26–27); and

WHEREAS, Marriage is between one man and one woman, ordered by God toward the union of the spouses, the means of procreation, formative of family, and foundational to the common good of society (Genesis 1:28, 2:18–24); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message asserts, "God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it"; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message also affirms, "A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power"; and

WHEREAS, Any law that directly contradicts natural law and biblical truth is an unjust law; and

WHEREAS, Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not affirm an unjust law that directly contradicts higher law; and

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and every state Constitution recognize the importance of and the need to protect the free exercise of religion; and

WHEREAS, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act adopted in 1993 with near unanimous support by the United States Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton restored the careful balancing test for weighing claims of religious liberty infringement against a compelling government interest, using the least restrictive means; and

WHEREAS, Many states have passed similar legislation expressly protecting the free exercise of religion; and

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court's Obergefell decision in 2015 purporting to redefine marriage does violence to the Constitution and is contrary to the Bible and natural order; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration's recent "guidance" requiring transgender access in public school bathrooms and locker rooms based on its unauthorized redefinition of "sex" in federal law rejects God's design of male and female; and

WHEREAS, Business owners and employees of various faiths are increasingly faced with decisions to submit to unjust laws about marriage and sexuality or violate their consciences; and

WHEREAS, Experience and recent history have shown that when the government redefines marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman, the police power of the state is brought to bear to enforce that redefinition, resulting in an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, express our commitment to biblical sexuality and continue to stand united in defense of God's design for marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we dissent from the Obergefell opinion that purports to redefine the institution of marriage created by God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pledge to strengthen biblical marriages in our homes, churches, and communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we applaud and support the efforts of eleven state attorneys general in their challenge to the Obama Administration's transgender "guidance"; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we reiterate our love for our neighbors who identify as transgender, 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 applaud and encourage our brothers and sisters who struggle with gender identity and same-sex attraction but who have chosen holiness and God's design instead (Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our continued support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and similar laws and call on government officials to reject requests that would tamper with or weaken these laws; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act in order to ensure that the federal government does not discriminate against people of faith because of their convictions regarding marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon our elected officials to pass laws at every level of government that protect the free exercise of religion; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we stand in solidarity with those whose jobs, professions, businesses, ministries, schools, and personal freedoms are threatened because their consciences will not allow them to recognize, promote, or participate in activities associated with unbiblical marriage; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray for revival and a return to a recognition of the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman, God's design for gender, freedom of conscience, and unhindered religious freedom.

RESOLUTOIN 4: ON EVANGELISM AND SOUL-WINNING

WHEREAS, The Great Commission is carried out when unbelievers hear the Gospel, repent of their sins and believe in the Gospel, are baptized as witnesses to the Gospel, and are taught to obey all the commands of Christ (Matthew 28:16–20); and

WHEREAS, Jesus's model for disciple-making extends beyond focusing exclusively on the inner, deeper life and necessarily entails being fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Luke 5:10, 19:20; 1 Corinthians 9:19–23); and

WHEREAS, The discipline of evangelism is "soul-winning," as the New Testament employs the words "winning" and "persuading" in regards to imploring unbelievers to believe in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls (1 Corinthians 9:19–22; 2 Corinthians 5:11, 20); and

WHEREAS, The soul of every person will spend eternity in hell unless that person believes the life-changing message of the Gospel (Matthew 7:21–23; Luke 16:19–31; Romans 10:14–15; Revelation 20:11–15); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach that a clear and complete invitation to receive Jesus Christ must be offered genuinely to all people (Matthew 19:16–30; Mark 10:17–22; Acts 1:8; 2:26–39; Revelation 22:17); and

WHEREAS, As spiritual leaders of their churches and to be innocent of the blood of all men, pastors bear dual responsibilities not only for proclaiming the Gospel publicly but also for sharing the Gospel personally with lost people (Ezekiel 3:16–21; 33:1–20; Acts 18:5–8; 20:17–38; Romans 10:15); and

WHEREAS, Though Southern Baptists have historically challenged themselves in personal evangelism, baptisms, and discipleship, nevertheless, there has been an alarming downturn among Southern Baptist churches in baptisms since 1998, even as the population of the United States has grown; and

WHEREAS, Commendable Southern Baptist efforts in church planting, church revitalization, and new works must be matched by a commitment to and engagement in intentional evangelism in order for true, Great Commission advance to occur; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, understand "evangelism" as the intentional, consistent, and verbal declaration of the Gospel to unbelievers in the power of the Holy Spirit; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we articulate from the Scriptures the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-man, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins as the heart of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3–4); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we acknowledge salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, wrought by the Holy Spirit as people repent of their sins, believe in Jesus Christ, and confess Him as their Savior and Lord (John 14:6; 16:8–11; Acts 2:37–38; 4:12; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 1:13; 2:8; Titus 3:4–7); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm a clear and complete Gospel presentation includes the genuine invitation for any unbeliever to repent of sin, to believe in Jesus Christ as the only way to receive God's salvation and forgiveness, and to confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9-10); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all pastors to present the Gospel message publicly in their weekly worship services and to make appeals in their sermons for people to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord and to follow Him in believer's baptism; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all pastors to lead the way in personally sharing the Gospel with unbelievers each week; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all Bible study teachers regularly to explain the Gospel in their lessons and routinely provide opportunity for unbelievers to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all congregations prayerfully to set goals and to implement intentional, evangelistic strategies that aim to increase the number of people they baptize in the coming year; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, state conventions, associations, and local churches in their efforts to train, equip, and mobilize Southern Baptists in the task of evangelism; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all ministry staffs, deacons, and church members to offer support as their pastors lead them to make disciples in consistent obedience to the Great Commission, both locally and globally; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists to evangelize consistently, intentionally, and compassionately, sharing the Gospel with unbelievers in their communities, their states, the nation, and the world; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That our pursuit and obedience to proclaim the Gospel will come from our great love for Jesus, our desire to glorify God, and to advance God's Kingdom.

RESOLUTION 5: ON PRAYER AND SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

WHEREAS, The Old Testament declares God's promise to Abram, "I will make you into a great nation.... I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:1–3); and

WHEREAS, Israel represents the descendants of Jacob as an ethnic, cultural, and national entity (Genesis 32:28); and

WHEREAS, The New Testament affirms that salvation is from the Jews and that God's Word concerning Israel will be fulfilled (John 4:22; Romans 9–11); and

WHEREAS, We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel (Psalm 122:6–7; Romans 10:1); and

WHEREAS, We share with the nation of Israel many values as the only democratic ally of the United States in the Middle East; and

WHEREAS, The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement seeks to isolate the nation of Israel economically and socially; and

WHEREAS, We are concerned by anti-Israel activities in this country within certain university campuses, academic and professional associations, and popular culture; and

WHEREAS, We thankfully remember that we are indebted to the Jewish people, who gave us much of our Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, commit to bless Israel; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state and reject any activities that attack that right by promoting economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That at this critical time when dangerous forces are mounting up against the nation of Israel, we recommit ourselves to pray for God's peace to rule in Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel, for the Gospel is "God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew" (Romans 1:16).

RESOLUTION 6: ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA, CAREGIVING, AND THE CHURCH

WHEREAS, More than five million people are living with Alzheimer's disease in the United States, and at least 14 percent of people over the age of seventy are currently experiencing some form of dementia, and these numbers are projected to continue to rise over the coming decades; and

WHEREAS, There is currently no cure and people with Alzheimer's live with progressively worsening disability and greater dependence on other people; and

WHEREAS, Family members take on the vast majority of caregiving responsibilities and often experience significant burden, stress, depression, and isolation, with the caregiving demands so great that some experience deterioration of their own health and often find it difficult to continue to participate in the life of the church; and

WHEREAS, God calls us to care for the most vulnerable among us, including those who are unable to remember or speak for themselves (Isaiah 58:1–14; Zechariah 7:8–10; James 1:27); and

WHEREAS, All people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27) and this status as image bearers does not depend upon cognitive or intellectual ability, because all people, including those with Alzheimer's and dementia, have value and are loved by God; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message highlights the call "to provide … for the aged, the helpless, and the sick" and to "contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, call upon our churches to seek education related to Alzheimer's and dementia, learning how to care for and journey with adults in their communities who are experiencing such conditions; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask our churches prayerfully to consider expanding ministry programs to include the needs of older adults with Alzheimer's and dementia and their family caregivers; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our churches to treat people with Alzheimer's and dementia with dignity and continue to invite them into the life of the church, rehearsing the good news of the Gospel together, singing familiar songs and hymns, reading Scripture together, and praying together, including well-known prayers, such as the Lord's Prayer; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon our churches to seek opportunities to care for and support caregiving families through word and prayer, and also through practical assistance, respite, and companionship as a community of believers; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon our seminaries and colleges to offer Alzheimer's and dementia education in their ministry and counseling training programs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptist pastors to seek training in order to become aware of the challenges of living with Alzheimer's and dementia and practical ways to minister to this vulnerable group in our communities; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we appeal to Southern Baptists to carry out the mission of the church by reaching outward to families and individuals affected by Alzheimer's and dementia in their surrounding communities and neighborhoods, praying that we would be known by our love amongst a people who are often isolated and desperate for community and support.

RESOLUTON 7: ON SENSITIVITY AND UNITY REGARDING THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG

WHEREAS, SBC President Ronnie Floyd has rallied Southern Baptists to "rise up and cry out against racism that still exists in our nation and our churches," recognizing we are in a "desperate hour" that calls us to "replace these evils with the beauty of grace and love"; and

WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated "historic acts of evil, such as slavery," and committed "to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry"; and

WHEREAS, In more recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called "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" (2014) and expressed continued grief "over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation" (2015); and

WHEREAS, More than 20 percent (nearly eleven thousand) of our cooperating Southern Baptist congregations identify as predominately non-Anglo and for the last two years more than 50 percent of Southern Baptist new church plants are predominately non-Anglo; and

WHEREAS, We recognize that the Confederate battle flag serves for some not as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, but as a memorial to their loved ones who died in the Civil War, and an emblem to honor their loved ones' valor; and

WHEREAS, We recognize that, while the removal of the Confederate battle flag from public display is not going to solve the most severe racial tensions that plague our nation and our churches, those professing Christ are called to extend grace and put the consciences of others ahead of their own interests and actions (1 Corinthians 8:9–13, 10:23; Philippians 2:3–4); and

WHEREAS, The state of South Carolina, with the support of state Baptist leaders, responded to the tragic slayings on June 17, 2015, of nine precious believers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston by removing the Confederate battle flag from their Capitol grounds and placing it in preservation at a military museum in Columbia; and

WHEREAS, Oklahoma Baptist University recently removed an image of the Confederate battle flag from its campus chapel; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, commend the governmental officials of South Carolina, Baptist leaders in that state, and the Oklahoma Baptist University administration for their sensitivity and for fostering unity; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we acknowledge both the importance of remembering family heritage and sacrifice, as well as the urgency of pursuing a unified Body of Christ and racial healing in America; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag as a sign of solidarity with the whole Body of Christ, including our African American brothers and sisters; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge fellow Christians to exercise sensitivity so that nothing brings division or hinders the unity of the Body of Christ to be a bold witness to the transforming power of Jesus.

4:00 p.m. -- The SBC presidential election has gone to a second ballot with Steve Gaines and J.D. Greear in a runoff. On the first ballot, David Crosby received 10.08 percent of the vote, Gaines 44.10 percent and Greear 44.97 percent.

3:56 p.m. -- Frank S. Page delivered his report to the convention, encouraging Southern Baptists to reverse a decline in evangelism within the SBC.

"My fear is that evangelism has become the new 'E word' in our culture," Page said, arguing it has become taboo in some circles and neglected in others.

Some believers shy away from evangelism due to occasional "abuse" of the concept, including "easy believism" and "trite" evangelistic methods. "Soteriological differences" within the convention may be another factor in evangelism's decline, Page said, yet people on both sides of the Calvinism debate are declining in their evangelism.

Another factor in the downturn of Gospel witness is "assumed universalism," Page said, arguing that some assume others will share the Gospel if they don't.

To remedy the decline of evangelism, "Southern Baptists need a long-term vision of Great Commission Advance," Page said.

He called for "a groundswell of intentionality" in Great Commission ministries. "People don't share because they have not been transformed from within."

3:29 p.m. -- President O.S. Hawkins of GuideStone Financial Resources delivered the GuideStone report, including an update on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling concerning the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate. Messengers did not have any questions.

3:18 p.m. -- John Yeats was re-elected SBC recording secretary. Jason Duesing, provost of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, nominated Yeats, citing his 40-plus years of pastoral ministry, including service to state conventions.

3:13 p.m. -- Jim Wells was re-elected SBC registration secretary, with no other nominees. Eddie Bumpers, pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., re-nominated Wells. Serving since 2002, Wells has proven himself "faithful, competent and joyful" in service, Bumpers said.

3:13 p.m. -- Messengers made eight motions moments ago. Among them:

-- That the SBC reaffirm Article XII of the Baptist Faith and Message on religious freedom for all, which includes "the right of every religious group" to establish places of worship.

-- That the Executive Committee and the North American Mission Board trustees call for an "independent, outside review" of alleged "strong-arming of state conventions" by NAMB, particularly the Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware.

-- That a committee be appointed to pray and fast for godly living among leaders and advocate teaching about godly living in Southern Baptist publications.

-- That the Executive Committee study the possibility of the SBC affiliating with the National Association of Evangelicals.

-- That the Executive Committee consider amending Bylaw 15 to require all amendments to the Committee on Nominations report within 45 days of annual meeting be published no later than seven days before the annual meeting.

-- That the Executive Committee appoint a study group to consider giving the camps and conference centers of state conventions a one-time payment from CP funds to develop endowments or properties to improve evangelism and discipleship ministries.

-- That a committee be appointed to research effectiveness of partnerships between governments and SBC compassion ministries.

-- That the Executive Committee consider asking messengers to indicate their military service during online SBC annual meeting messenger registration and indicate that service on annual meeting name badges.

3:00 p.m. -- Paul Chitwood, chairman of the Committee on Nominations, presented the committee's slate of nominees for SBC committees and boards. Messengers approved the nominees.

2:58 p.m. -- Willy Rice, chairman of the Committee on Committees, presented the committee's report, proposing nominees for the Committee on Nominations. All nominees endorse the Baptist Faith and Message, Rice said.

Some 56 percent have served in leadership roles on the associational, state convention or SBC level. The nominees' churches have baptized 10,000 people over past three years. Their churches give an average of 7 percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program. Of the nominees, 55 percent come from churches with less than 500 members, 25 percent are drawn from an ethnic minority groups and 25 percent are women.

Messengers adopted the Committee on Committees report.

2:48 p.m. -- Three candidates for SBC president were nominated moments ago.

-- Former SBC President Fred Luter nominated David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans. Luter said Crosby "is a man of character," "a man of compassion" and "a man of concern." Crosby allowed Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, where Luter is pastor, to meet at First Baptist's facilities for two and a half years following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Luter said.

"My nomination of David Crosby is not because I'm against J.D. Greear or Steve Gaines," Luter said. "... However, I have seen up-close and personal for 20 years how God has used David in the city of New Orleans."

-- Former SBC President Johnny Hunt nominated Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. Gaines has pastored Southern Baptist churches for 34 years, Bellevue has baptized "thousands" during his 11-year tenure there. Gaines would lead the SBC in a reemphasis on evangelism, Hunt said.

"For such a time as this Steve will lead Southern Baptists to be a soul-winning denomination once again," said Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.

-- Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., nominated J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Scroggins cited Greear's service as an IMB missionary prior to his ministry at The Summit, noting he was "wanted" by the Muslim authorities in the nation where he served.

Greear will lead the convention in evangelism, as evidenced by The Summit's baptism of more than 700 new believers annually, Scroggins said. He added that The Summit has more of its members serving as IMB missionaries than any other church in the history of the SBC.

2:30 p.m. -- The SBC Executive Committee presented part one of its report moments ago. Among the report's highlights:

-- Messengers adopted nine EC recommendations:

1) That the SBC amend SBC Bylaw 14 to change the name of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary to Gateway Seminary of the SBC.

2) That the SBC adopt the 2016-17 SBC CP Allocation Budget.

3) That the SBC adopt the 2016-17 SBC Operating Budget.

4) That the convention adopt the 2020-21 SBC Calendar of Activities.

5-8) That the SBC approve four future SBC annual meeting sites: Nashville (2021); Anaheim, Calif. (2022); Charlotte, N.C. (2023); Indianapolis (2024).

9) That the SBC adopt a resolution of appreciation for retiring Woman's Missionary Union executive director Wanda Lee.

-- EC President Frank S. Page received reports from the Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council and the Multiethnic Advisory Council

-- Messengers heard a report on Baptist collegiate ministry.

-- Messengers heard a report from Heinrich Derksen, president of Bibelseminar Bonn in Germany.

1:50 p.m. -- Messengers made 14 motions moments ago. Among them:

-- That the SBC combine the work of the International and North American Mission Boards into one world mission board with North America as one of its regions.

-- That the Committee on Order of Business for 2017 be advised to allot more than 1 hour and 14 minutes for NAMB and the IMB to deliver their reports and presentations.

-- That messengers ask trustees of all SBC entities to examine their media policies and consider opening trustee meetings to news media.

-- That SBC presidents be encouraged to write their memoirs with LifeWay's aid.

-- That the SBC amend Article 3 of the SBC Constitution to deem churches that "affirm, approve or endorse racial discrimination" not in friendly cooperation with the convention.

-- That the SBC amend Article 3 of the SBC Constitution to require cooperating churches to also cooperate with "a state convention and a local association."

-- That the Executive Committee amend SBC Bylaws 18 and 30 to grant representation on the EC, Committee on Committees and Committee on Nominations to areas not currently represented.

-- That all Southern Baptist officials or officers who support Muslims' right to build mosques in U.S. be "immediately removed from their positions" in the SBC.

-- That LifeWay consider developing and deploying resources and materials to help churches respond missionally to refugees.

-- That SBC Bylaw 10C be amended to require that nomination speeches for SBC officers include the percentage of undesignated receipts given through the Cooperative Program by each nominee's church.

-- That the Executive Committee review the BF&M Article 4 concerning definition of faith.

-- That the SBC "withdraw its appearance" as a signatory of the amicus brief in the federal lawsuit involving the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, N.J.

-- That NAMB, the IMB and LifeWay study the possibility of cooperating or working separately to fund campus ministries and/or campus ministers, particularly in underserved areas.

-- That each seminary consider offering programs and courses on biblically faithful strategies of ministry and evangelism toward refugees.

1:15 p.m. -- Worship has begun for the afternoon session.

Tuesday morning

8:17 a.m. -- Worship has begun for the morning session.

8:25 a.m. -- SBC President Ronnie Floyd gaveled the SBC annual meeting to order.

8:32 a.m. -- Floyd said the prayer at the beginning of each session will include prayer for the city of Orlando in the wake of a terrorist shooting June 12.

8:36 a.m. -- Registration secretary Jim Wells reported 6,128 messengers have registered as of 8:30 a.m. The convention was constituted with these messengers and others who will register.

8:38 a.m. -- Andrew Hebert, chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, reported that the scheduled Q&A session Wednesday afternoon has been canceled because the SBC Executive Committee did not approve a change to SBC Bylaw 26, which was required to combine the entity Q&A periods into one session. Instead, each entity president will answer questions at the end of his report. Only the revised order of business in the SBC Bulletin, Tuesday, part 2 is correct. Part 1 does not reflect this change. Messengers approved the revised order of business.

8:56 a.m. -- Joel Southerland, executive director of evangelism for the North American Mission Board, reported 85 evangelistic projects, 3,984 volunteers, 8,379 Gospel conversations and 556 professions of faith associated with Crossover St. Louis.

9:21 a.m. -- Floyd recognized the 75th anniversary of the first military chaplains endorsed by the North American Mission Board, and its precursor organization the Home Mission Board. NAMB executive director of chaplaincy Douglas Carver called military chaplaincy "truly a frontline ministry that is vital to the extension of the local church and the advancement of the Gospel."

Floyd recognized all military veterans present, including one of the 2,000 living survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and asked them to lead messengers in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

9:30 a.m. -- Floyd recognized Barry McCarty, SBC chief parliamentarian, upon the 30th anniversary of his initial service to the convention.

10:54 a.m. -- Amid a moral and spiritual crisis in America, "the stakes are high" and believers must seek an awakening from God, Floyd said in his presidential address.

Preaching from Esther 4:13-17, Floyd cited racism, same-sex marriage and transgenderism as symptoms of America's crisis. He noted in particular the racially motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C., hours following the 2015 SBC annual meeting and the worst mass shooting in America's history "hours before" the 2016 SBC annual meeting.

The June 12 mass shooting at a Florida nightclub reportedly known as a gay bar is a reminder, Floyd said, that an "attack against gay Americans in Orlando is an attack against each one of us." Christians stand against "any form" of violence and bigotry against "anyone in this world."

The societal ills Floyd referenced, he said, are "not some new morality. They are signs our nation is on the ragged edge of moral insanity." The root problem is spiritual and demands action by Southern Baptists, Floyd said. "...We are on the precipice of either experiencing awakening or falling into an abyss."

Floyd spoke at length on the racial aspect of America's present crisis.

He cited the 2014 riots in St. Louis-area Ferguson, Mo., as a "tipping point" in America's racial crisis, noting there is similar racial tension in other cities. He recognized Lynn Jackson, the great great granddaughter of Dred Scott, the slave who was a party to the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision.

"Any form of racism defies the dignity of human life," Floyd said. "Regardless of the color of one's skin, God has put His divine imprint on each one of us." He added that racism "is an assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Floyd closed by proposing five actions Southern Baptists can take to combat America's spiritual crisis:

1) Come together.

2) Lead.

3) Evangelize. Churches and individuals must reprioritize reaching their local areas for Christ, Floyd said. "We have criticized evangelism right out of the Southern Baptist Convention" by critiquing evangelistic methods rather than doing evangelism.

4) Give to missions and ministries through the Cooperative Program as well as Southern Baptists' offerings for North American and International missions.

5) Pray. "God can do anything, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. God can do more in a moment" than we can do in a lifetime, Floyd said. He asked churches to consider devoting at least 11 minutes during their worship services on Sept. 11 to prayer.

He closed by asking messengers to come to the front of the auditorium if they committed to pray and lead toward another Great Awakening in America. Hundreds responded.

11:54 a.m. -- A panel discussion titled "A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America" featured President Jerry Young of the National Baptist Convention USA and Southern Baptist leaders from a variety of racial and ethnic groups.

Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., opened the discussion with a 12-minute address on the racial divide in America. "I am absolutely, totally convinced that the problem with America can be placed at the doorstep of our churches," he said.

Racism, Young said, is not a sociological problem, but a "sin problem" and flows from the church's role in failing to stem the tide of moral decay in America.

The church has "contaminated salt and concealed light," Young said.

"We've got people who want to be secret disciples and undercover agents, where they only do it in church," Young said. "I challenge you to know that the problem in America is a problem with the church being what Christ has called it to be."

Because the Gospel saves and changes people, "somebody needs to pass the salt and turn on the lights," Young said.

Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., also delivered a 12-minute address, opening with an account of the shooting last June at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in his city, which left nine people dead. "Grief and grace" following the shooting brought unity in the city, he said.

The terrorist who committed the crime "went to the wrong place" when he went to church, Blalock said, noting the entire city "was touched by the Gospel." When the shooter appeared in court, he said, African American believers invited him to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.

"Even the most secular-minded person in Charleston" could not grasp what happened that day, Blalock said, adding that people who heard about the African American believers' Gospel invitation came to faith in Christ through their witness.

The murders "still break my heart," but God used the church and the Gospel to change lives, Blalock said. He said his own heart was among those changed when he realized the unintentional segregation in his network of relationships.

"Walk toward racial unity by building bridges," Blalock told messengers. He closed his remarks by reading the names of the victims killed at Emanuel AME.

A question and answer session following the two longer addresses featured Kenny Petty, pastor of The Gate Church in St. Louis; Joe Costephens, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ferguson, Mo.; H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Gregg Matte, pastor of First Baptist Church in Houston; David Um, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass.; Timmy Chavis, pastor of Bear Swamp Baptist Church in Pembroke, N.C.; D.A. Horton, church planter at Reach Fellowship in Los Angeles; and Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.

Charles said "the Lord is trying to wake the church up." Christians must "proclaim" and "live" the Gospel to effect racial reconciliation in America.

Matte said three of First Baptist's five campus pastors are non-white -- part of an effort to make the church's staff reflect the racial composition of the city. These and other leaders from a variety of ethnic groups at First Baptist are not "tokens" but individuals called by God and qualified for their jobs, Matte said.

Um, who minsters among students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, said students and scholars at elite universities sometimes believe they have advanced beyond racism but do not realize the Gospel is the only solution to racial division.

Horton said local churches should be "an eschatological foretaste" of the new heavens and new earth, where there will be followers of Jesus from every ethnicity.

Luter said, "We don't have a skin problem in America. We have a sin problem in America. And [the solution] needs to start with the churches. ... I believe the future for the Southern Baptist Convention is bright if we continue to challenge each other to do what we need to do."

Floyd asked Young how Southern Baptist churches can help advance racial unity in America. Young responded that believers need "the mind of Christ."

The average person wrongly dichotomizes "between the sacred and the secular," Young said. If believers can learn to think in a Christian manner about every subject, racial tension will diminish.

11:55 a.m. -- The morning session has ended. The convention will reconvene at 1:15 p.m.


David Roach is 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).
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