2018 SBC BLOG
Live updates from the 2018 SBC annual meeting in Dallas
DALLAS (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Dallas. Updates can be read here, at our Twitter account, or our Facebook account. Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at Twitter.com/SBCMeeting. A schedule of the meeting and a livestream can be found at www.sbcannualmeeting.net.
All times Central Daylight.
5:30 p.m. -- Steve Gaines passed the SBC gavel to J.D. Greear. Then David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, closed the convention in prayer.
5:27 p.m. -- The ERLC presentation focused on the commission's efforts to help crisis pregnancy ministries obtain ultrasound machines. Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Baptist Church in Houston, told how the ERLC helped his church's crisis pregnancy ministry obtain a new 4-D ultrasound machine following the loss of its previous 4-D ultrasound machine in Hurricane Harvey.
5:18 p.m. -- Russell Moore presented the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission report. He highlighted, among other ministries, the commission's efforts to defend religious liberty and teach biblical truth on issues of marriage and gender.
"Over the past year we've been active in the halls of Congress and the highest court in the land," Moore said.
Moore also referenced the focus on sexual abuse and misconduct in media reports and told Southern Baptists, "I'm grateful that this body has spoken with such clarity about what we believe about women."
Moore announced that the ERLC is partnering with LifeWay Research to commission study on scope of abuse within churches.
Moore also highlighted the ERLC's co-sponsorship in April of a conference to honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.
In the coming year, the ERLC's national conference will focus on "the cross-shaped family," Moore said, equipping families to operate with "Gospel clarity and Gospel focus."
Messengers asked Moore three questions.
A messenger alleged that ERLC fellow Karen Swallow Prior endorses an unbiblical view of human sexuality and asked if she will remain an ERLC fellow.
Moore responded that Prior, a professor at Liberty University, has committed herself to go anywhere to share biblical truth about human sexuality and has seen "countless people" come to faith in Christ through that ministry.
Another messenger thanked Moore for his prophetic voice in the culture and expressed regret that Southern Baptists considered a motion Tuesday to defund the ERLC. Moore thanked him.
A third messenger asked Moore to clarify how Christians should think about terms like "gay Christian" and "sexual minority." He also asked if it is morally acceptable for Christians to identify as gay but celibate.
Moore responded that the ERLC has provided many resources on sexuality and gender. "Our identity is to be found in Jesus Christ" rather than our temptations, he said. Some believers "are grappling very hard" with homosexual temptations and not engaging in sexual immorality.
Pastors and churches must teach that Christians will not be freed from temptation in this life, Moore said. "Any Christian who is not fighting spiritual warfare against temptations" is indulging those temptations.
4:53 p.m. -- The president's panel on stewardship included personal finance speaker and author Dave Ramsey; his daughter Rachel Cruze, also an author and speaker; Grant Gaines, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.; Nick Floyd, lead teaching pastor of Cross Church's campus in Fayetteville, Ark.; and Mike Glenn, pastor of Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church.
SBC President Steve Gaines led the discussion. He encouraged churches to offer Financial Peace University (FPU), a personal finance class available from Ramsey's Ramsey Solutions organization. FPU is available at a discount for Southern Baptist churches through a partnership between Ramsey Solutions and the SBC Executive Committee.
Ramsey said leading FPU at a church "is really not about money. It's about lordship," marriage and evangelism. "There is opportunity to lead people to the Lord by reaching them in a felt need," he said.
Cruze said financial struggles are the number one cause of divorce in America. Talking about money "forces" couples "to think long term" about their dreams and goals. "When couples can sit together and talk about the future and dream, suddenly there's this new spark in a marriage," she said.
Grant Gaines, son of Steve Gaines, said pastors should preach on finances because Jesus addressed it on many occasions and it's "an integral part" of following Him. "As you preach the text of Scripture, it will naturally come out in application," he said.
Floyd said some pastors and churches neglect addressing financial issues as an over-correction to the health and wealth gospel. But teaching on finances is essential to "set the church free."
Glenn said "one of the fastest" and "most effective" ways to help people identify idols in their lives is teaching them to use a personal budget. Seeing how we use our money identifies our priorities, he said.
Ramsey closed the discussion in prayer.
4:15 p.m. -- LifeWay's international ministries were the focus of the LifeWay Christian Resources presentation.
LifeWay has incorporated in other nations, said LifeWay's senior vice president Eric Geiger, including China, Mexico and India. Leaders of the ministries in those countries spoke of LifeWay's work to provide ministry resources in the local languages.
Rainer told messengers, "We will first serve the Southern Baptist Convention." Then, "on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention, we will provide resources" for the world.
4:04 p.m. -- Thom Rainer delivered the LifeWay Christian Resources report, noting things at LifeWay "that only God could have done."
Among LifeWay's activities over the past year was moving to a new headquarters in Nashville, blocks away from its previous facility, Rainer said. He presented a video tour of the new building.
The Gospel Project Bible study curriculum reaches 1.6 million people weekly, up from 500,000 in 2012, Rainer said. The Christian Standard Bible also has engaged many people with God's Word.
3:53 p.m. -- Executive Committee interim president D. August Boto recognized the convention's outgoing and newly elected officers.
"It's very clear that God is stirring our convention," newly-elected president J.D. Greear said. "... We are a convention that is for all people and all generations. We are united around the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
3:43 p.m. -- Dallas Cowboys chaplain Jonathan Evans told Southern Baptists to focus on God's will rather than their own thoughts and desires.
Too many Christians have neglected the "spiritual Trinity" for the personal trinity of "me, myself and I," said Evans, an author, speaker and former NFL player. God's will for your ministry is "a better fit than anything you could ever put on on your own."
Preaching from Luke 22:42-43, Evans, the son of speaker and author Tony Evans, told Southern Baptists not to attempt building "ministries outside of the will of God." Instead, submit to His will and unlock an outpouring of God's grace to those under your ministry, he said.
"Take the power that's up there [in heaven] and make it resident down here," Evans said, by submitting your life to God's will.
3:18 p.m. -- Messengers defeated a motion that members of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee executive committee be removed from the board of trustees, effective immediately.
The motion apparently stemmed from the trustee executive committee's May 30 decision to terminate president emeritus Paige Patterson, who served as president until trustees moved him to president emeritus status May 22.
Removing trustees is "the most severe action the convention can take" regarding one of its entities, said chief parliamentarian Barry McCarty. A second motion regarding Southwestern's executive committee requested "that the full board review and consider the actions of its executive committee" regarding Patterson, McCarty said. That motion was referred to Southwestern Seminary this morning. The board will be required to report their action back to the convention in 2019, he said.
McCarty recused himself from advising Gaines during consideration of this motion since he is on faculty at Southwestern.
Thomas Hatley, who made the motion, said his proposal was based on his perception the trustee executive committee acted with "haste, lack of proper investigation," apparent disregard of the seminary's founding documents and failure to allow Patterson to respond to accusations against him. The executive committee's action "could place the future of the school in jeopardy," Hatley, a former International Mission Board trustee chairman, said.
Former SBC President Ronnie Floyd spoke against the motion. "Dr. Hatley's motion is a great and needed reminder to every trustee in Southern Baptist life" that trustees are "accountable to messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention," Floyd said. But he urged messengers to look past whether these trustees made the right or wrong decision and recognize that adopting a motion to remove trustees "would destroy our own system of government." The trustee system "depends on trust," he said.
Wayne Dickard of South Carolina, a Southwestern Seminary trustee, spoke for the motion. During the May 22 meeting of the full board, trustees "overwhelmingly" offered Patterson president emeritus status with housing and salary, he said. "If we can be overruled by the executive committee, why serve?" Also, trustees gave "Patterson our word," which "should mean something."
Bart Barber, pastor of FBC Farmersville, Texas, and a member of the Southwestern executive committee, said, "If you've been impatient with what we've done, you should blame me personally. I was the last person on the executive committee" to reach the conclusion the committee should fire Patterson.
Barber alleged that, as Southwestern's president, Patterson attempted to remove a trustee, disregarded a request from trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert and refused to attend trustee executive committee meetings when asked to do so. Once Patterson was president emeritus, his attorney "sent an email questioning the legal validity" of the full board's action. "What is your seminary to do when a president emeritus is working to undermine the legitimacy and validity of the seminary's board of trustees?" Barber said.
2:48 p.m. -- Noah Sidhom, pastor of leadership development, web and social media, opened the afternoon session with Scripture reading and prayer.
2:31 p.m. -- Worship has started for the afternoon session.
12:43 p.m. -- Zac Reno, pastor of The Summit Church in Benton, Ark., closed the morning session with prayer.
12:37 p.m. -- In the convention sermon, Texas pastor Kie Bowman told Southern Baptists God brings life amid defeat through His Word and His Spirit.
Preaching from Ezekiel's vision of dry bones in Ezekiel 37, Bowman said, "Our God is a God of life and a God of resurrection. And anything that looks dead to you may be the next thing God raises back to life."
Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, noted two actions believers can take when they confront discouraging and seemingly hopeless situations.
-- God wants bones to live again, so he calls us to speak life.
We all receive bad news at times, like Ezekiel received when he saw a vision of Israel's army dead on the desert floor, Bowman said. But "God specializes in raising the dead, and nothing is impossible with God."
God's solution was for Ezekiel to prophesy over bones, Bowman said. Likewise today, believers should speak God's Word and apply it to hopeless, dead situations.
"God has not given us anything better than the Word of God to bring dead people to life," he said.
-- God wants bones to live, so He calls us to spiritualize.
God told Ezekiel He would put the Holy Spirit in His people once again, Bowman said. The New Testament also teaches God's people experience power when the Holy Spirit works in their lives.
God raises the dead "by His Word when it is anointed by His Spirit," Bowman said.
Bowman closed his message by asking Southern Baptists to kneel or prostrate themselves to pray at the front of the meeting hall and cry out to God, for the Holy Spirit's help and power amid hopeless situations.
"We can live in our own strength and we will have the same spiritual impact as the prayer life as a robot," Bowman said. "Or we can invite the Holy Spirit of God to bring life into all our dead places."
Newly elected SBC President J.D. Greear and Donna Gaines, wife of SBC President Steve Gaines, then led in prayer.
11:51 a.m. -- Vice President Mike Pence shared his Christian testimony with the Southern Baptist Convention and commended the SBC as "one of the greatest forces for good" in the world.
During an address that included several Scripture quotations, Pence also noted some of the Trump administration's accomplishments, including President Trump's summit this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Pence drew standing ovations when he noted the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem last month, Trump's commitment to the sanctity of human life and the courage of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, after it experienced last summer the worst attack on a house of worship in American history.
Pence also noted Trump's efforts to promote religious liberty in America and internationally.
"I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order," Pence said.
Forty years ago, Pence said, he heard the Gospel after having grown up in a nominally Christian home. "I walked the sawdust trail that night" and "gave my life to Jesus Christ."
Pence thanked Southern Baptists for carrying the "timeless message" of the Gospel "every day with such faithfulness to the American people."
No podium Trump or Pence stand behind, the vice president said, "will be of greater consequence than the pulpits you stand behind."
Trump's preliminary agreement with North Korea, Pence said, is a wonderful step toward peace. But complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will require much more work and prayer, he said.
When three American hostages returned home weeks ago from North Korea, Pence said, one gave Pence an index card that thanked Pence for his prayers on one side. On the other side, the former prisoner had written a portion of Psalm 126 that celebrated Israel's release from captivity in Babylon.
Pence asked Southern Baptists for their ongoing prayers for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Toward the close of his address, Pence returned to the SBC's role in American life, thanking the convention for "the essential, irreplaceable role you play" in America. He promised that the Trump administration "will always stand with you."
In divided times, "your values and your ministries are more needed than ever before," Pence said.
10:43 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivered the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary report. Southern is the largest seminary in the world accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and has 2,200 master of divinity students, he said, crediting the SBC's Conservative Resurgence with facilitating that growth.
A messenger asked Mohler whether it is acceptable for women to teach men in seminaries.
Mohler responded, "We established that every professor in our School of Theology must be qualified to serve as pastor of a Southern Baptist church." Therefore, every faculty position in the School of Theology is "going to be held by a man. And we say that without apology." But other schools and programs have "many" women on the faulty, he said.
The distinction between theology professors and other professors is important "as it fits our confessional identity," he said.
A messenger asked Mohler how Southern will raise up godly men to serve as pastors and to be husbands for Christian women. Mohler responded that all six seminaries are doing just that. He joked that SBC seminaries are "the best place to get married" in the world.
10:33 a.m. -- Chuck Kelley delivered the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary report. He noted the seminary's expansion of online education, its commitment to diversity and its commitment to evangelism among other accomplishments.
The seminary has devoted thousands of dollars to scholarships for minority students in the past several years, Kelley said, and it also has scholarships for small-church pastors.
Messengers asked two questions.
A messenger asked if there are women in leadership on seminary faculties and what the six seminaries are doing to facilitate women in leadership.
Kelley responded that all six SBC seminaries have the largest female enrollments in their histories and all six are incorporating women as leaders. At New Orleans Seminary, the associate deans of both the graduate and undergraduate programs are women, Kelley said.
However, "we are committed to the complementarian model of leadership as taught in Scripture." Therefore, there are roles at the seminary for which a woman is not eligible by virtue of her gender, he said. "We are Southern Baptists, and we are not going to have a female as a preaching professor," but that does not mean women are excluded from significant roles, he said.
Abuse at NOBTS is "rare" and "treated very aggressively," Kelley said.
Another messenger asked if the Caskey scholarships for small-church pastors can be extended to Texas pastors? Kelley responded that the seminary has a goal of offing the Caskey scholarship or a related scholarship in all 50 states.
10:13 a.m. -- Jeff Iorg delivered the Gateway Seminary report. Having moved its main campus, Gateway is focused on the future. Among the seminary's priorities are missions, evangelism and advancing online programs, Iorg said.
Gateway has more than 2,000 students enrolled, and its 617 graduates over the past two years constitute a record for the seminary, Iorg said. The seminary intends to sell its former Southern California campus, he said.
Gateway has not had any reported cases of rape or abuse during Iorg's tenure as president, he said.
A messenger asked what all SBC seminaries are doing to ensure restoration and restitution for people involved in cases of abuse. Iorg responded that seminaries dealing with such issues seem to have clear practices and policies.
9:57 a.m. -- Jeffrey Bingham, interim president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the seminary's report, including an update on events surrounding the termination of former president Paige Patterson.
"I've come to you here this morning to talk to you about the future of Southwestern Seminary," Bingham said. But I can't do that "without reflecting responsibly on its past and what our intentions are with respect to the past."
Bingham's "priority is to create a safe environment and a campus culture that protects and cares for the victims of abuse," he said. "At Southwestern we denounce all forms of abuse" and all behavior that enables abuse.
By July 31, he said, all staff and faculty will have retaken and completed a course on sexual harassment. Additionally, the seminary is meeting with ministries to help it move forward, including knowing how to respond to allegations of abuse.
"Some things at Southwestern cannot change and will not change," Bingham said, including the seminary's commitment to Scripture and evangelism.
Bingham said the seminary will work to increase enrollment and not identify as a seminary only for one particular theological camp within the SBC.
Messengers asked Bingham five questions.
-- How do you feel about your working relationship with trustees and their executive committee?
Bingham responded, "The executive committee is made up of 12 godly men and women ... I have seen the agony on their faces. I have seen the tears in their eyes as they have had to make decisions that caused them" deep distress.
-- Do you have any concern about how a vote to remove trustees could affect Southwestern's accreditation?
Bingham responded that the "question is a serious one" but he has not had time to investigate that issue. He pledged to investigate after messengers address the matter this afternoon.
-- Does Southwestern plan to change its hiring practice?
Bingham responded, "It is my priority to create a safe culture and a safe campus," and that will affect every aspect of institutional life.
-- How many total cases of physical abuse and rape are being reported on SBC seminary campuses each year? Can we change the student application process to help weed out abusers?
Bingham responded that all reporting of rape and abuse is being handled by the board of trustee, so trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert is best equipped to answer the question.
Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen said there have been no allegations of rape or abuse in his five and a half years as president. Other seminary presidents likely would have a similar "sparse report," Allen said.
-- The trustee executive committee seems to have overridden a decision of the full trustee body. Do you consider the other trustees people of integrity and insight?
Bingham responded that he does.
Gaines closed the report by leading in prayer for Bingham as the other five seminary presidents laid hands on him.
9:36 a.m. -- Jason Allen delivered the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary report. The seminary has tripled student enrollment in the past six or seven years, he said.
Campus improvements, faculty additions and the opening of Spurgeon College, Allen said, all contribute to fulfillment of Midwestern's "for the church vision."
A messenger asked Allen what steps Midwestern is taking to better equip faculty and staff to handle cases of physical abuse. Allen responded, "We feel good about the policies and processes we have." Any allegation of assault or abuse must be treated "with the utmost seriousness," including an "immediate report" to legal authorities and treating the victim with "pastoral care and respect."
9:26 a.m. -- Danny Akin delivered the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary report. "We have experienced some challenges in recent days," Akin said, "but we have found that God's grace is sufficient for every issue and every moment."
For the first time in the seminary's history, Southeastern has more than 4,000 students, Akin said. He noted the seminary's undergraduate program, its efforts to educate ministers internationally and its emphasis on Kingdom diversity. Students from ethnic minority groups have increased by 106 percent over the past decade, he said.
Thirty-two percent of the seminary's students are female, Akin said, noting the seminary is committed to complementarianism and training women for ministry.
Regarding news reports about Southeastern in recent weeks, Akin said SEBTS "is absolutely committed to providing the safest possible environment for all our students but especially our women." Those who are victims of any type of abuse will find a "loving," "sympathetic" and "helpful" ear at Southeastern.
A messenger asked Akin how SBC seminaries are navigating the balance between residential and online education. Akin responded that Southeastern is "absolutely committed" to on-campus training for the foreseeable future but also wants to use technology to train people across the world.
Another messenger commended Akin for handling news reports about a past case of sexual abuse at Southeastern.
9:12 a.m. -- Vice chairman Adam Greenway delivered a report from the evangelism task force appointed in 2017 by SBC President Steve Gaines at the request of SBC messengers.
"If Southern Baptists fail in the area of evangelism, then we have failed in what it means to be Southern Baptists," Greenway said.
The task force's eight recommendations speak to every level of Southern Baptist life because all Southern Baptists must work in unity to accomplish the Great Commission, Greenway said.
Messengers adopted the eight recommendations.
9:04 a.m. -- David Platt delivered the International Mission Board report. Although Southern Baptists are asking about the IMB's presidential search as Platt transitions to local church ministry, Platt said the IMB's work is not about a president, but a coalition of 47,000 churches who support and send missionaries. "They are the IMB, and I want to report this morning on what they are doing," he said.
Platt shared brief testimonies from missionaries then said, "If anyone asks you what's happening at the IMB, you tell them that" disciples are being made and people are coming to Christ.
8:57 a.m. -- Kevin Ezell delivered the North American Mission Board report.
Ezell called on Robby Gallaty, chairman of a disciple-making task force appointed two years ago by NAMB and LifeWay Christian Resources, to report the task force's findings. "Our convention could be twice as large as it is today if we had just [discipled] the people we baptized" over the past 20 years, said Gallaty, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. "We need to be committed to making disciples who, in turn, make disciple makers who make disciple makers for the glory of God."
Ezell reported that NAMB church plants are healthy and effective. Church plants are 67 percent ahead of established Southern Baptist churches in their attendance-to-baptism ratio, he said. In Minnesota-Wisconsin, there were more baptisms last year by church plants than by all other Southern Baptist churches combined.
Additionally, Ezell said NAMB focuses on quality, not just quantity, in its church plants.
Messengers asked two questions, both concerning follow-up with people who profess faith at the SBC's annual Crossover evangelism emphasis. Ezell said all who profess faith at Crossover are referred to local churches for follow-up. He promised to explore ways NAMB can track the continued church involvement of new believers from Crossover.
8:36 a.m. -- The Woman's Missionary Union report was delivered by WMU executive director/treasurer Sandra Wisdom-Martin and WMU president Linda Cooper. They shared testimonies of God's work through WMU's work of missions and missions education.
"We tell the stories of Southern Baptist missionaries," Wisdom-Martin said.
8:22 a.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business reported on motions made yesterday.
The following motions deal with the internal operations of SBC entities and were automatically referred to the entities:
-- That a task force be formed to help churches protect themselves from sexual predators.
-- That the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees reconsider their decision regarding Paige Patterson.
-- That the Executive Committee study the feasibility of off-site and digital participation in the SBC annual meeting.
-- That the Executive Committee recommend a program assignment for church revitalization.
-- That a children's ministry Sunday be added to the SBC calendar.
Messengers voted to refer the following motions to the Executive Committee:
-- That the SBC president appoint a committee to study the relationship between the Old Testament and the Gospel.
-- That Executive Committee study the process of the Committee on Nominations and its standards.
-- That Executive Committee study biblical authority for a woman to serve as SBC president.
The following motions were ruled out of order:
-- That the SBC focus on the John 3:16 Gospel.
-- That the convention ask Vice President Pence to format his address in a particular way.
A motion is scheduled for debate at 2:45 p.m. today on removing trustees who serve on the executive committee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
8:15 a.m. -- Sonny Tucker, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, led in Scripture reading and prayer.
8:01 a.m. -- Worship has begun for the morning session.
10:01 p.m. -- Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, closed the evening session with prayer.
9:59 p.m. -- At a commissioning service, Southern Baptists commissioned 79 new International Mission Board missionaries and prayed for all 11,700 people groups in the world.
Though people have discussed various issues leading up to this SBC annual meeting, IMB President David Platt said, we are going to discuss the main reason for the SBC's existence: "We exist to combine the efforts of our churches for the spread of the Gospel in the world."
All the missionaries shared testimonies of their calls to missions. Then Southern Baptists gathered around the missionaries and prayed for them.
Following the commissioning prayer, Platt said, "God might be calling out hundreds from this room tonight to join these brothers and sisters." God "is likely calling out more than just these 79." Platt asked all attendees of the annual meeting to ask God tonight, "Do you want me to go too?" Thousands raised their hands, committing to do that.
During the prayer time for the world's people groups, each attendee of the commissioning service interceded for a people group printed on a card in their seat.
8:56 p.m. -- Apologist Ravi Zacharias said believers must face challenges by following the example of the early church and conquering the world with convictions.
"We are in some extremely challenging times for the Gospel," Zacharias said. In nearly five decades of ministry, "I don't recall when the challenges were so stiff ... But at the same time I have never had a greater trust and hope."
Preaching from Acts 7, Zacharias presented three lessons from the early church on facing challenges.
-- "They saw the finger of God in all of history and Christ as its central figure."
Stephen answered the Jewish leaders who persecuted him by reviewing the history of how God worked among Israel, Zacharias said. Likewise, Jesus reviewed history on the road to Emmaus.
American Christians should recognize God's orchestration of history to bring the nations of the world to them, Zacharias said. "When the finger of God is in all of history, He moves people in masses" so we can share the Gospel with them.
-- "They harnessed an arena of persecution and transformed it into a platform of opportunity."
At times, God conquers through the works of evil men, not despite them, Zacharias said.
"How critical it is that when we go thought pain, we understand God has a pattern and a program to bring us through for the purposes He has in mind," Zacharias said.
-- "The priority of a person over methodology."
In Scripture and church history, God has used people to impact the world more than methodologies, Zacharias said, noting in particular way God used Billy Graham.
"Never lose hope," Zacharias said. "There will never be another Billy Graham, but God will raise up someone Billy Graham could never have been."
He concluded by urging Southern Baptists to stay true to God's Word.
7:42 p.m. -- Gaines led in prayer for America, using a prayer Bellevue Baptist Church uses to express its petitions for the nation. "I humbly ask You," session attendees prayed, "to open the heavens that You might come down and send revival to the Christians in America so our nation will turn back to You."
7:12 p.m. -- Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., was elected 2019 convention preacher. Josh Smith, pastor of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., was elected alternate preacher, and Gardner Pippin of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., was elected convention music director.
7:09 p.m. -- Felix Cabrera was elected second vice president with 2,173 votes (58.83 percent). Jerry Drace received 1,035 votes (28.2 percent) and Randall Forsythe 479 (12.97 percent). Seven ballots (.19 percent) were disallowed.
6:58 p.m. -- Worship has begun for the evening session.
5:35 p.m. -- Danny Sinquefield, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn., closed the afternoon session with prayer.
5:35 p.m. -- Messengers voted to begin the evening session at 7 p.m. rather than the previously scheduled start time of 6:30 p.m.
5:33 p.m. -- Messengers adopted all 16 resolutions put forward by the Committee on Resolutions. Resolutions 2 and 6 were amended.
Messengers voted not to reconsider a resolution declined by the Resolutions Committee "against the anti-gospel of the social justice movement."
The full text of all 16 resolutions follows:
RESOLUTION 1 - ON THE DIGNITY AND WORTH OF WOMEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF WOMEN AS MESSENGERS TO THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
WHEREAS, The Bible presents the Lord God as creating both the man and the woman by His own hand and in His own image and likeness, crowning them with essential and inestimable dignity and worth (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:7, 21–22; 1 Peter 3:7); and
WHEREAS, The Bible consistently demonstrates that women played a significant role in ministry, evangelism, and disciple-making (Mark 16:1–8; Luke 2:36–38; 8:2–3; 24:10; John 4:39; 11:20–27; 20:18; Acts 1:14; 16:40; 18:24–26; Romans 16:1–2; 2 Timothy 1:5); and
WHEREAS, God calls and gifts women for a variety of roles within the biblical framework of complementary gender relationships; and
WHEREAS, Women were valued servants of the early church, many martyrs in the post-apostolic era, and heroic missionaries of the historic Baptist movement, such as Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong; and
WHEREAS, Women have served in a variety of ways throughout the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, including elected offices, service on committees and boards, missions education, ministry through entities and agencies, and positions in higher education, as well as within local churches; and
WHEREAS, Women continue currently to serve in a wide range of ministry roles within Southern Baptist life; and
WHEREAS, May 15, 2018, marked the one hundredth anniversary of women serving as messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, honor the immeasurable contribution of women to our cooperative mission of Great Commission work; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we thank God for women who have contributed in biblically appropriate ways through discipleship, missions, education, evangelism, service, leadership, and working for advocacy and justice; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the gifts of women in their distinctive God-assigned roles, even as we continue to witness to Scripture's teaching (Genesis 2:18, 21–24; Ephesians 5:22–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:9–14; Titus 2:3–5; 1 Peter 3:1–7) in a culture increasingly confused in matters of gender and sexuality; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call upon women to serve in diverse capacities to advance the gospel in their homes, local churches, communities, the marketplace, and within our denomination; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call upon older women to invest in younger women for the sake of developing them into godly followers of Christ consistent with Paul's admonition in Titus 2:3–5; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call upon all Southern Baptists to encourage, cultivate, and celebrate the diverse gifts, callings, and contributions of women in biblically appropriate ways.
RESOLUTION 2 - ON ABUSE
WHEREAS, God has created every person—male and female—in His own image and with equal value and dignity (Genesis 1:26–27); and
WHEREAS, God abhors violence against the weak and defenseless and calls His people to defend the hurt and oppressed (Psalm 82:4), to stand for justice (Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 31:8–9), and to deliver victims of abuse from the hands of their oppressors (Proverbs 6:17; 24:10–12); and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message says that "We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick" (Article XV); and
WHEREAS, Abuse can be defined as any act or conscious failure to act resulting in imminent risk, serious injury, death, physical or emotional or sexual harm, or exploitation of another person; and
WHEREAS, Current cultural trends have opened the door for victims to voice courageously their plight and seek justice; and
WHEREAS, We deplore, apologize, and ask forgiveness for failures to protect the abused, failures that have occurred in evangelical churches and ministries, including such failures within our own denomination; and
WHEREAS, God has designed marriage "to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship" (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article XVIII); and
WHEREAS, Biblical headship blesses, honors, and protects wives and children and does not require them to submit to sin or to abuse (Ephesians 5:25–29; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 5:3); and
WHEREAS, The biblical teaching on relationships between men and women neither supports nor fosters, but rather prevents and condemns, abuse (Mark 12:31; Romans 13:10; Ephesians 4:32); and
WHEREAS, God ordains civil government as His servant to us for good (Romans 13:4) and intends for us "to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God" (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article XVII); and
WHEREAS, Abuse is not only a sin but is also a destructive evil that distorts and disrupts the marriage covenant and the entire family and is a hallmark of the devil which must not be tolerated in the Christian community; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, condemn all forms of abuse and repudiate with a unified voice all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful and under the just condemnation of our Holy God; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that spousal abuse dishonors the marriage covenant and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we strongly urge abuse victims to contact civil authorities, separate from their abusers, and seek protection, care, and support from fellow Christians and civil authorities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we extend compassion and support to all persons encountering the injustice of abuse, being careful to remind the abused that such injustice is undeserved and not a result of personal guilt or fault; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on all persons perpetrating and enabling abuse to repent and to confess their sin to Jesus Christ and to church authorities and to confess their crimes to civil authorities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we implore all persons to act decisively on matters of abuse, to intervene on behalf of the abused, to ensure their safety, to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities according to the laws of their state, and to pursue church discipline against impenitent abusers; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage leaders in our churches and Southern Baptist Convention entities to be faithful examples, through their words and actions, and to speak against the sin of all forms of abuse; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on pastors and ministry leaders to foster safe environments in which abused persons may both recognize the reprehensible nature of their abuse and reveal such abuse to pastors and ministry leaders in safety and expectation of being believed and protected; and be it further
RESOLVED, That church and ministry leaders have an obligation to implement policies and practices that protect against and confront any form of abuse; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we uphold the dignity of all human beings as image-bearers of God and the responsibility of all Christians to seek the welfare of the abused.
RESOLUTION 3 - ON THE HOLINESS AND INTEGRITY OF MINISTRY LEADERS
WHEREAS, Pastors and ministry leaders are held to a high standard for their doctrine, speech, and conduct, the standard being the very character and example of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 4:16); and
WHEREAS, Scripture is clear on the imperative of sexual purity among believers (Ephesians 5:3) and especially among pastors and ministry leaders (1 Timothy 3:1–13) as a part of a testimony to God's holiness; and
WHEREAS, Pastors and ministry leaders are to be examples by their faith in Christ and their lives of ongoing repentance of sin (Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:1–3) and
WHEREAS, Sexual infidelity and other violations of ministerial integrity egregiously pervert and demean the image of God and always have tragic consequences for the ministry leader, for those who are victimized, and for others impacted by those transgressions; and
WHEREAS, To ignore or minimize the presence of sin and thereby excuse or deny the presence of that sin is antithetical and disobedient to the corporate call to holiness among the people of God (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15–16); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, repudiate in the strongest terms any behavior that would compromise the New Testament standard of a ministry leader's absolute holiness and requirement to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 9–10); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call upon pastors, ministry leaders, entity leaders, and denominational representatives to pursue moral and sexual purity in all relationships before God and with others and to guard their life and doctrine scrupulously, even as all believers should seek the same standards for themselves; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we appeal to Matthew 18:6–17 in exhorting churches to exercise appropriate redemptive church discipline for addressing the sin of ministry leaders, seeking to extend restorative grace (Galatians 6:1), knowing that we are all equally susceptible to the pull of sin (1 Corinthians 10:12); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we covenant one with another to recommit ourselves to confession, repentance, and contrition, and to mortify sin in our own hearts and in our churches; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That having humbled ourselves before the Lord and the watching world, with full consciousness of the judgment of God (2 Corinthians 5:10), we will return to the Great Commission work before us with newfound fervor and purpose, and we will not allow ourselves, our ministries, or our Convention to lose sight of the great and glorious task before us: the fulfillment of the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ through the upbuilding of churches, the discipling of the sheep, and the unflagging evangelization of the lost.
RESOLUTION 4 - ON RENOUNCING THE DOCTRINE OF THE "CURSE OF HAM"
AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR RACISM
WHEREAS, Many churches in the Southern Baptist Convention once openly endorsed the false teaching of the so-called "curse of Ham" narrative which errantly construed Genesis 9:25–27 to say that God ordained the descendants of Ham to be marked with dark skin and be relegated to a subordinated status based on race; and
WHEREAS, This doctrine has been used to enslave and continues to be used by white supremacists as a cloak to invoke God's holy name in unholy acts of demeaning, dishonoring, and dehumanizing certain people who bear His image; and
WHEREAS, The residue of this doctrine remains today and continues to distort the witness of the church and presents a stumbling block to the gospel we preach; and
WHEREAS, This argument for justifying racist ideologies contradicts the rest of Scripture, especially those passages that teach the image of God in every person regardless of gender or ethnicity (Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 17:26), the unity of people purchased by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:11–22), and the certainty that Jesus' bride is a multi-ethnic people (Revelation 7:9); and
WHEREAS, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that occurred on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, affording individuals across the nation an opportunity for reflection, repentance, and renewed resolve toward racial unity; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, maintain and renew our public renunciation of racism in all its forms, including our disavowal of the "curse of Ham" doctrine and any other attempt to distort or misappropriate the Bible to justify this evil; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we not be satisfied in our hearts with embracing any doctrinal belief that contradicts human dignity expressed in the creation account and beg the Almighty to purge all remaining dross of this false teaching from our hearts to the glory of God; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we remain vigilant to bring about the healing and restoration of individuals affected by this sort of doctrine, not allowing any future version of this wicked teaching to creep into our hearts or our pulpits (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to proclaim boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation regardless of skin color or genealogical descent (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists at every level to withdraw fellowship from churches that insist on excluding from fellowship anyone based on race or ethnicity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to preach and teach the full equality, dignity, and worth of all people from the Scriptures as it would be appropriate to do so; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to cultivate diligently heartfelt love for people of all tribes, ethnicities, and peoples for the good of the church and the glory of Jesus among the nations (Ephesians 4:3–6).
RESOLUTION 5 - ON IMMIGRATION
WHEREAS, Every man, woman, and child from every language, race, and nation is a special creation of God, made in His own image (Genesis 1:26–27); and
WHEREAS, Longings to protect one's family from warfare, violence, disease, extreme poverty, and other destitute conditions are universal, driving millions of people to leave their homelands to seek a better life for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren; and
WHEREAS, God commands His people to treat immigrants with the same respect and dignity as those native born (Leviticus 19:33–34; Jeremiah 7:5–7; Ezekiel 47:22; Zechariah 7:9–10); and
WHEREAS, Scripture is clear on the believer's hospitality towards immigrants, stating that meeting the material needs of "strangers" is tantamount to serving the Lord Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:35–40; Hebrews 13:2); and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists affirm the value of the family, stating in The Baptist Faith and Message that "God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society" (Article XVIII), and Scripture makes clear that parents are uniquely responsible to raise their children "in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4); and
WHEREAS, Untold numbers of men and women seeking to enter the United States legally, desiring to become good citizens of our country, often languish at the borders due to the complexity of our immigration system; and
WHEREAS, In its 2011 resolution "On Immigration and The Gospel," messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention asked our governing authorities to prioritize efforts to secure the borders and to hold businesses accountable for hiring practices as they relate to immigration status; and
WHEREAS, In that same resolution, Southern Baptist Convention messengers also asked our governing authorities to implement, with the borders secured, a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country; and
WHEREAS, At the time, Southern Baptist Convention messengers made clear that the wording of the resolution was not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant living in violation of the law of the land; and
WHEREAS, After seven years of continued policy gridlock, there have been no substantive changes in the immigration system that would make it more just, humane, efficient, and orderly; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, affirm the value and dignity of immigrants, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, culture, national origin, or legal status; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we desire to see immigration reform include an emphasis on securing our borders and providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures, maintaining the priority of family unity, resulting in an efficient immigration system that honors the value and dignity of those seeking a better life for themselves and their families; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we declare that any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage all elected officials, especially those who are members of Southern Baptist churches, to do everything in their power to advocate for a just and equitable immigration system, those in the professional community to seek ways to administer just and compassionate care for the immigrants in their community, and our Southern Baptist entities to provide resources that will equip and empower churches and church members to reach and serve immigrant communities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors to address immigration issues with their local churches and to exhort their congregations to serve their local immigrant communities; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we affirm that all immigrants are either brothers and sisters in Christ or people whom God loves and has given us an opportunity to reach with the gospel where otherwise they may never have heard.
RESOLUTION 6 - ON REAFFIRMING THE FULL DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN BEING
WHEREAS, In the beginning, the Triune God chose to create humanity in His image and according to His likeness, such that "God created man in His own image; He created Him in the image of God; He created them male and female" (Genesis 1:26–27); and
WHEREAS, God judged His creation of humanity to be very good indeed (Genesis 1:31), crowned humanity with honor and glory, making them rulers over the works of His hands (Psalm 8:5–6), and put eternity in all human hearts so we might seek after Him (Ecclesiastes 3:11); and
WHEREAS, God's precious likeness and image was passed down from Adam to his posterity, the human race, through generations (Genesis 5:3); and
WHEREAS, God sent His own perfect image, Jesus Christ, into the world (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3), intending through the sufferings of Christ (Hebrews 2:10) for human beings to become conformed, renewed, and transformed into the same image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:9–10); and
WHEREAS, God intends to bless human beings to "bear the image of the man of heaven," Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49; cf. 1 John 3:2), and "wants everyone to be saved" through hearing and believing His gospel (1 Timothy 2:4; cf. Ezekiel 18:23; Matthew 23:37; 2 Peter 3:9); and
WHEREAS, Significant challenges threaten the dignity and worthiness of human beings who do not possess power or advantage, including but not limited to the heinous murder of the unborn child in the womb, the enforced withdrawal of life-sustaining medical care from the ill or infirm, the prejudices and discriminations of racism and ethnocentrism, various abuses of other human persons, the denigration of opposing political groups, and persecutions of religious minorities; and
WHEREAS, Article III of The Baptist Faith and Message clearly affirms that human dignity is an inviolable status, stating, "The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love"; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, reaffirm the sacredness and full dignity and worthiness of respect and Christian love for every single human being, without any reservation whatsoever; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every unborn child and denounce every act of abortion except to save the mother's physical life; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being, whether or not any political, legal, or medical authority considers a human being possessive of "viable" life regardless of cognitive or physical disability, and denounce every act that would wrongly limit the life of any human at any stage or state of life; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being of whatever ethnicity and denounce every form and practice of racism and ethnocentrism; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being, whether male or female, young or old, weak or strong, and denounce any and every form of abuse, whether physical, sexual, verbal, or psychological; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being of whatever political or legal status or party and denounce rhetoric that diminishes the humanity of anyone; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being of whatever religion or creed and denounce any unjust violation of the first freedom of religious liberty; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm that the full dignity of every human being can never be removed, diminished, or modified by any human decision or action whatsoever; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being and commit to model God's saving love by sharing the eternal hope found in the gospel, to call all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Peter 3:14–17), and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39; Romans 12:10, 15; Philippians 2:4–7).
RESOLUTION 7 - ON CHRISTLIKE COMMUNICATION AND THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
WHEREAS, Due to the size and publicly deliberative nature of the Southern Baptist Convention, the interactions between its people and entities often become newsworthy and are published in Christian and secular media as representation of the faith of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, The use of social media by Christians for dialogue, expressing opinions, and argumentation also is a public representation of the faith of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, The Bible has instructed God's people to control the tongue (Psalm 101:5; Proverbs 10:19; 12:18–19; 15:4; Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; James 4:11), to treat others the same way you want them to treat you (Luke 6:31), and to love one another just as Christ has loved us (John 15:12); and
WHEREAS, Christians are called to exhibit self-control (Galatians 5:23) in every facet of life and follow the second great commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39), understanding that our actions and character, seen by a watching world, are directly tethered to our witness and testimony of the person and work of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:16); and
WHEREAS, The Bible has prescribed healthy avenues for conflict resolution among brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 5:21–26; 18:15–20; Ephesians 4:25–27; Romans 12:10; Galatians 6:10); and
WHEREAS, We are called by Christ to "live worthy of the calling [we] have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, commit to maintaining brotherly and sisterly love by resolving our differences in a biblical manner (Matthew 18:15–18); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we guard our tongues, using caution and wisdom in our media and social media, and refrain from remarks that tear down others made in the image of God, including refraining from gossip and slander (Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 6:16–19; 17:27–28; 21:23; James 3:10–12); and be it finally
RESOLVED, That even in the midst of differences, disagreements, and conflicts, we will engage one another with respect and winsomeness, speaking truth in Christlike love while pursuing unity (Ephesians 4:15).
RESOLUTION 8 - ON GUN VIOLENCE AND MASS SHOOTINGS
WHEREAS, The Bible affirms that God is the author of human life and that human life is sacred and worthy of protection (Genesis 9:5–6; Psalm 139:13–16); and
WHEREAS, The shedding of innocent blood is a repugnant and wicked evil that transgresses the moral law of God and does violence to the image of God in every person (Genesis 1:26–27; Exodus 20:13); and
WHEREAS, Gun violence perpetrated against innocent persons is incompatible with the character of Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, Gun-related violence results in over thirty thousand deaths annually in the United States; and
WHEREAS, In 2018 there already have been a number of horrific mass shootings in the United States, claiming the lives of precious individuals and injuring many others; and
WHEREAS, The mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, 2017, resulted in twenty-six murdered persons and an additional twenty injured persons, and was an horrific evil that brought immeasurable grief to the families affected, the nation, and to the broader Southern Baptist family; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, do grieve and decry the epidemic of gun violence resulting in mass shootings across America; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we express solidarity with all those victimized by gun violence and seek every available opportunity to minister to them in the name of Jesus Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commend the heroism of police officers, first responders, and bystanders who bravely intervene in violent situations to eliminate additional threats and provide emergency aid to victims (Romans 13:1–7); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on federal, state, and local authorities to address the epidemic of gun violence by evaluating the societal maladies that lead to escalations in gun violence and mass shootings; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on federal, state, and local authorities to implement preventative measures that would reduce gun violence and mass shootings while operating in accordance with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm that gun ownership carries with it a great responsibility of being aware of the sinfulness of one's own heart; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm that it is the depravity, sinfulness, and wickedness of the human heart that gives birth to gun violence and mass shootings; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we affirm that the greatest antidote to the pandemic of gun violence and mass shootings is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
RESOLUTION 9 - ON OPIOID ABUSE AND ADDICTION
WHEREAS, Opioid abuse and addiction, including prescription painkillers, have increased at an alarming rate over the past decade; and
WHEREAS, In 2017, sixty-four thousand Americans died from opioid abuse, which made it the leading cause of death for those under fifty years old, and deaths related to opioid overdose have increased 493 percent since 2010; and
WHEREAS, Opioid addiction is problematic within every ethnicity, socio-economic group, and geographic region; and
WHEREAS, All people, including those battling addiction, are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and maintain an ongoing dignity; and
WHEREAS, The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, purchased by the blood of Christ, and opioid abuse destroys that temple (1 Corinthians 6:19–20); and
WHEREAS, Believers are not to be under the control of anything other than the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); and
WHEREAS, While Satan seeks to destroy and enslave people (John 10:10), followers of Jesus are called to put on the whole armor of God in order to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10–18); and
WHEREAS, Christians are commanded to love their neighbors (Matthew 22:39), which includes those in our communities suffering from the harmful effects of opioid addiction; and
WHEREAS, Opioids are easily obtained and deceptive in their power to addict; and
WHEREAS, Opioid addiction is harming the workforce, overwhelming the medical community, and causing difficult budgetary challenges in many cities; and
WHEREAS, Opioid abuse destroys the individual user, but it also destroys the family unit by often separating children from their addicted parents; and
WHEREAS, The opioid epidemic has caused a strain on the foster care system in most states; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, urge pastors, churches, and all Christians to be aware of the dangers of opioids, advocate for solutions to abuse, and serve those affected by addiction; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we condemn and oppose all usage of opioids outside of the prescription, direction, and care of a licensed medical professional; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage the medical community, insurance providers, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to advocate for the prescription of opioids only under the most stringent standards, ensuring that patients are educated on the benefits of appropriate, proper usage as well as the dangers of abuse, as we recognize that the medications are efficacious in managing pain when utilized appropriately; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage our city, state, and national governments to work together to address the crisis; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we equip followers of Christ to resist the temptation to assume they are immune from this temptation; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we demonstrate grace toward the addict and hope for recovery that individuals might prosper and flourish; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage families to educate their children on the dangers of opioids and consequences of their abuse; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage churches to provide gospel ministry to those in their communities affected by opioid abuse; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we encourage churches to live out the biblical mandate to care for the fatherless by supporting families and organizations that advocate and care for children whose homes have been impacted by opioid abuse.
RESOLUTION 10 - ON PRAYER AND SUPPORT FOR ARAB CHRISTIANS
WHEREAS, Christians are called, as we have opportunity, to "work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10); and
WHEREAS, God is cultivating a people for His possession "from every nation, tribe, people, and language" (Revelation 7:9); and
WHEREAS, Arab Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ who often do not have friends in their fellow countrymen nor in the governments under which they live; and
WHEREAS, A majority of Arab Christians live under oppressive regimes where Christianity, gatherings for worship, and evangelism are oftentimes illegal and punishable by imprisonment or even death; and
WHEREAS, Arab Christians often feel alone and forgotten by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in America and around the world; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, commit to pray for Arab Christians in the Middle East and worldwide and to offer a hand of friendship to them; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we will pray for all fellow believers in the Middle East and worldwide who feel isolated, alienated, and alone; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we make it known to our Arab brothers and sisters that they are not alone or forgotten, that we are sympathetic to their plight and hardships, and that we do love them and consider them our family in Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we will pray that God would use our Arab brothers and sisters in Christ and us to reach the nonbelieving Arabs and Muslims in the region; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we will pray that God will empower Arab Christians in difficult circumstances to endure, overcome, and be witnesses to the life-changing power of the gospel in their context; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commit to love, support, and encourage Arab brothers and sisters in Christ wherever possible both at home and abroad; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists to remember our Arab brothers and sisters in Christ and to pray that God would strengthen them and give them patient endurance as they allow Him to use their lives as lights of the gospel in a darkened world.
RESOLUTION 11 - ON THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF SOUTHERN BAPTIST DISASTER RELIEF
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR), a Christ-centered, cooperative partnership of church, associational, state, and national ministries serving through the local church to bring help, hope, and healing to individuals, families, and communities affected by disaster, has just completed fifty years of service; and
WHEREAS, SBDR ministry was recognized by the Home Mission Board and galvanized by the Texas Baptist Men organization with the initial response to Hurricane Beulah in 1967 under leadership from the late Robert E. "Bob" Dixon, who left a great legacy for Southern Baptists; and
WHEREAS, Those initial relief efforts set the stage for fifty years of SBDR ministry in preparing meals, repairing roofs, providing childcare, removing debris, washing clothes, rebuilding homes, starting conversations, sharing the gospel, and leading people in the midst of crisis to find comfort in Christ; and
WHEREAS, SBDR represents the best of Southern Baptist cooperation and partnership in times of crisis and disaster, focusing on the local church and highlighting compassion and changed lives; and
WHEREAS, In 2016 SBDR was named the National Member of the Year by Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), an organization which helps coordinate relief efforts among various governmental, private sector, and nonprofit groups; and
WHEREAS, SBDR has become one of the largest organizations of trained volunteers providing mass-care response, both domestically and internationally, and has been recognized as the third largest relief organization in the United States; and
WHEREAS, SBDR has truly become the public face of the Southern Baptist Convention, demonstrating Christ's love in tangible ways to a watching world, and being recognized nationally and internationally by major news outlets, numerous local newspapers, and television stations across the country; and
WHEREAS, The seventy-five thousand team members of SBDR remind themselves of important truths through the color of gold, representing the worth of every person to Christ, and the color of blue, representing loyalty to Christ which compels their attitude and behavior of servanthood; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, express gratitude to God for His providential guidance in the creation of SBDR and for His multiplied blessings upon this mission and ministry network through the years; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commend the individuals and churches of the Southern Baptist Convention that have been involved in SBDR work for their commitment to Christian love in action by their praying, giving, and going in order to meet the urgent needs of hurting humanity in crisis situations; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptist individuals and churches to give toward the ministry of SBDR through the North American Mission Board or their state Baptist conventions; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to consider prayerfully the opportunity of becoming SBDR volunteers and to contact their state Baptist convention SBDR directors for training information; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we encourage every Southern Baptist congregation to become a Disaster Ready Church, planning, connecting, and responding to the disaster relief opportunities that will surely continue to become available in the future, until that time when, as Romans 8:21 promises, the whole creation that has been groaning will itself "also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God's children."
RESOLUTION 12 - ON THE CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY OF GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
WHEREAS, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists established what was then known as the Board of Ministerial Relief and Annuities in 1918 to provide care for "old soldiers of the cross" who had answered the call of the Lord without regard to their pay or provision for old age; and
WHEREAS, The founding corresponding secretary, William Lunsford, gave his all, enduring hardship and health challenges; and
WHEREAS, The founding of this ministry would not be possible without the generous gifts of the Sunday School Board and of both John D. Rockefeller Sr. and John D. Rockefeller Jr.; and
WHEREAS, Hundreds of thousands of pastors, missionaries, professors, church workers, hospital employees, and other ministry employees are able to prepare for their latter years' ministry opportunities during their most fruitful years; and
WHEREAS, GuideStone continues to provide financial support of retired pastors, ministers, church and ministry workers, and their widows in financial need in their declining years through Mission:Dignity; and
WHEREAS, For one hundred years the employees and trustees of GuideStone have served the people of the Southern Baptist Convention with integrity and excellence; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, give thanks to the Lord for birthing the ministry today known as GuideStone Financial Resources in the heart of William Lunsford; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we honor the men and women who have over the past century lived out the vision to create a board dedicated to the needs of the minister of the gospel; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we give thanks to the Rockefeller family for its generosity in providing the financial backing at the start of the ministry; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we give thanks to the Baptist Sunday School Board, now LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, for its initial gift providing the underpinning for the launch of GuideStone; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we give thanks to the hundreds of churches, Sunday school classes, families, and individuals who give through Mission:Dignity to aid retired pastors, ministers, church and ministry workers, and their widows; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we give thanks to the Lord for His blessings and favor bestowed on the ministry for these last one hundred years; and be it further
RESOLVED, That GuideStone will continue to serve pastors and other church and ministry workers with the integrity of our hearts and the skillfulness of our hands (Psalm 78:72); and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we solicit the prayers of Southern Baptists for their continued faithfulness as GuideStone seeks to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with its participants in enhancing their financial security as GuideStone enters its second century of service.
RESOLUTION 13 - ON THE CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY OF NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST
WHEREAS, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention to establish the Baptist Bible Institute in New Orleans; and
WHEREAS, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first classes offered by the Baptist Bible Institute in New Orleans; and
WHEREAS, The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary was established one hundred years ago as the first educational institution created as a direct act of the Southern Baptist Convention, initially as the Baptist Bible Institute with a focus on training students for ministry and establishing the Baptist cause at the gateway to Central America; and
WHEREAS, In 1946 the Southern Baptist Convention renamed the institution New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and reaffirmed the commitment to missions and evangelism training; and
WHEREAS, Many thousands of graduates of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have labored faithfully to take the gospel to the ends of the earth; and
WHEREAS, Many hundreds of faculty, staff, and students have remained committed to the core values of Doctrinal Integrity, Spiritual Vitality, Mission Focus, Characteristic Excellence, and Servant Leadership; and
WHEREAS, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has worked to provide theological education to any God-called man or woman throughout the world, including maximum security prisons; and
WHEREAS, This "School of Providence and Prayer" has been sustained, nurtured, and safeguarded by the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018. give thanks to God for the establishment of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1917; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we express gratitude for the legacy of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the preservation and propagation of the good news that Jesus is "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the commitment of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in pursuit of the Great Commission in New Orleans and beyond; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we covet the prayers of Southern Baptists for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's continued faithfulness to the mission of providing theological education to any man or woman answering God's call.
RESOLUTION 14 - ON COMMEMORATING THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF BILLY GRAHAM
WHEREAS, The life and ministry of Billy Graham is a testament of God's promise to His church to raise up evangelists for the sake of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to every tribe, people, and language (Ephesians 4:11; Revelation 7:9); and
WHEREAS, In his lifetime, Billy Graham traveled to 185 countries proclaiming the gospel to an estimated 215 million people; and
WHEREAS, Billy Graham's relationship to the Southern Baptist Convention was one of affection, cooperation, and church membership; and
WHEREAS, Billy Graham, often called "America's Pastor," exuded a Christlike witness in American culture that spanned seven decades and ministered to countless governmental and world leaders; and
WHEREAS, Billy Graham's life modeled integrity, modesty, lifelong fidelity to one's spouse, and humility despite worldwide acclaim; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, grieve the passing of Billy Graham on February 21, 2018, while also celebrating, honoring, and commemorating his life and ministry as a beloved Southern Baptist who traveled the world sharing the good news of Jesus Christ; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we desire to celebrate Billy Graham's legacy by committing ourselves to sharing the gospel, living lives of personal holiness, and finding joy through an eternal peace with God accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
RESOLUTION 15 - ON AFFIRMATION OF FOUNDATIONAL AND COMPASSIONATE COMMITMENTS IN SEVERAL SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have long been on record in affirming the authority, integrity, sufficiency, and inerrancy of the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible; and
WHEREAS, There is a growing climate in some sectors of evangelical life to deny the historicity, authority, and inerrancy of certain portions of Scripture; and
WHEREAS, The Bible reveals the character and nature of our triune God as the one and only covenant-making, covenant-keeping, and saving God in whose presence no other god is able to stand; and
WHEREAS, Living in an increasingly pluralistic society places constant pressure on Bible-believing followers of Christ to affirm that all gods are the same and all religions lead to the same God; and
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that every man, woman, and child is a special creation of God, created "in his own image" (Genesis 1:26–27) and indicates, therefore, that "every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love" (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article III); and
WHEREAS, The United Nations High Commission on Refugees estimated in 2017 that more than sixty-five million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to war, violence, disease, extreme poverty, and other conditions; and
WHEREAS, The Bible commands followers of Christ to "look after orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27) and "defend the rights of the fatherless" (Isaiah 1:17); and
WHEREAS, More than six hundred thousand children spend time in the American foster care system each year and more than 150 million children are orphans around the world; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, reaffirm our commitment that the Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety "was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy" (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article I); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reaffirm our joyful confidence and unswerving belief that there "is one and only one living and true God" who is "an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe," who "reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being," to whom "we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience" (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article II); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we continue to "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" ("On Refugee Ministry," resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2016); and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists to pray specifically whether God is calling them to adopt or foster a child (or children) and encourage local churches to lift up and facilitate adoption and foster care by church members, covering them in prayer and helping them in tangible ways to show the love of Christ to little children, upon whom the Lord Himself showed compassion during His sojourn on earth (Matthew 18:2–6; 19:13–15; Mark 10:13–16; Luke 18:15–17).
RESOLUTION 16 - ON APPRECIATION
WHEREAS, The messengers to the 161st 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 Dallas, Texas; and
WHEREAS, We further acknowledge our local Southern Baptist churches, associational leaders, staffs of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Southern Baptist Convention committees, Southern Baptist Convention entities, and hundreds of volunteers from the Dallas 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 Southern Baptist Convention president, officers, various committees, musicians, and other platform personnel to conduct the affairs of this Convention with dignity and a Christlike spirit; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to all those through whom He is working to bring about an annual meeting characterized by prayer, grace, evangelism, worship, encouragement, unity, and purpose.
5:16 p.m. -- Don Currence was reelected registration secretary. Missouri pastor Phillip Burden nominated him, stating he "loves our Lord and he is deeply committed to serving the Southern Baptist Convention."
5:11 p.m. -- John Yeats was reelected recording secretary. He was nominated by Texas pastor Bart Barber.
5:06 p.m. -- The Committee on Nominations' report was amended to grant a current ERLC trustee a second term. Messengers then adopted the amended report.
The Committee on Nominations had recommended Richard Bott to fill the slot of current ERLC trustee Dan Anderson. ERLC trustee chairman Trevor Atwood made the motion to grant Anderson a second term, stating, "I'm asking messengers to right a wrong."
Among individuals elected for first terms on boards and committees, 7.6 percent are African American, 2.5 percent are Asian and 2.5 percent are Latino. All nominees give 10 percent through CP or increasing toward 10 percent, Committee on Nominations chairman James Freeman said.
4:51 p.m. -- The report of the Committee on Committees was adopted. Among those elected to the Committee on Nominations, more than half attend churches with average worship attendance of less than 250. Their churches give an average of 7.7 percent of their undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program. Twenty-one percent of those elected are non-Anglo and 28 percent are female.
4:48 p.m. -- Messengers made 9 motions moments ago. Among them:
-- That the SBC president appoint a committee to craft a Baptist Faith and Message amendment articulating the relationship between Old Testament Law and the Gospel.
-- That the SBC ask the Executive Committee to study the feasibility of remote voting at future SBC annual meetings.
-- That the Executive Committee produce reporting standards and guidelines to address conflicts of interest on the Committee on Nominations.
-- That the SBC resolve to be focused on the Gospel articulated in John 3:16 rather than other false gospels.
-- That the Executive Committee recommend that the ministry assignment of church revitalization be assigned to an existing or new SBC entity.
-- That the Executive Committee be asked to consider a children's ministry emphasis Sunday on the SBC calendar.
-- That the SBC request Vice President Pence to format his address to encourage dialog regarding racial reconciliation.
-- That SBC ask the full Southwestern Seminary board to "consider revisiting their original motion" regarding Paige Patterson.
-- That Executive Committee be asked to form a committee to study the biblical viability of a woman serving as SBC president.
4:28 p.m. -- Jerry Drace, Felix Cabrera and Randall Forsythe were nominated for second vice president.
Ernest Easley, an evangelism professor at Union University, nominated Drace, a vocational evangelist for more than 40 years who has preached in more than 1,000 Southern Baptist churches. "With a renewed emphasis on evangelism" in the SBC, "we need an evangelist" in leadership, Easley said.
Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Mobile, Ala., nominated Cabrera, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City. As a leader of a church planting network, "Felix Cabrera is a multiplier," Litton said. "The Southern Baptist Convention needs to multiply Felix Cabrera. We need more leaders like this."
Reginald Fletcher, pastor of Living Word Baptist Church in Indianapolis, nominated Forsythe, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Portage, Ind. "Randall has a heart for study and service of the Word," Fletcher said.
4:15 p.m. -- Kevin Ezell delivered the North American Mission Board presentation, including testimonies on collegiate church planting, racial reconciliation and chaplaincy.
"Racial reconciliation is a missional issue," Ezell said, because churches must reach people of all races in the community around them.
Learning to be the father of an adopted, African American daughter, Ezell said, has helped him learn about racial reconciliation. "We must do everything we can to help our people see we must reach all people with the Gospel because the Gospel is for all," he said.
Newly elected SBC president J.D. Greear and NAMB staff member Dhati Lewis participated in a discussion with Ezell on racial reconciliation within churches and NAMB's efforts to foster such reconciliation.
Scott Squires, a NAMB-endorsed U.S. Army chaplain, is under investigation for declining to provide a marriage retreat for a same-sex couple, NAMB reported. Squires spoke alongside Ezell and received a standing ovation from messengers. Douglas Carver, NAMB's executive director of chaplaincy, led in prayer for Squires.
3:37 p.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business reported on motions made in this morning's session.
The following motion deals with the internal operations of an entity and is automatically referred to the entity:
-- That the ERLC study expanded resources to help protect churches from sexual predators.
Messengers voted to refer the following motions to the Executive Committee because they are complex motions, including matters related to the SBC Constitution and Bylaws:
-- That EC consider establishment of a separate SBC entity for evangelism.
-- That convention cease inviting elected officials to speak at annual meetings.
-- That SBC Bylaw 21 be amended to prohibit elected officials from speaking to convention messengers.
-- That the EC strengthen training for all trustees of SBC entities.
-- That SBC Bylaw 10c be amended to require inclusion in SBC officer nomination speeches of the percentage of undesignated receipts the nominee's church gives through the Cooperative Program.
-- That EC develop and provide more comprehensive trustee training at all SBC entities.
The following motion was scheduled for consideration at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday:
-- That Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees who serve on the trustee executive committee be removed from office.
The following motions were ruled out of order:
-- That Southwestern Seminary trustee executive committee members be asked to resign.
-- That SBC messengers be engaged in pro-life issues
-- That elected officials not be part of SBC annual meeting program
A motion during the Committee on Order of Business's report asked that messengers amend the order of business to replace Vice President Pence's address with a sermon on unity by Florida pastor H.B. Charles. That motion also was ruled out of order because the convention dealt with the question of Pence's address previously.
3:29 p.m. -- Convention manager Bill Townes gave a security report related to Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the SBC annual meeting Wednesday. Attendees should allow two hours to get through security check points to get into the meeting hall. Other areas of the convention hall will be accessible without enhanced security screening.
3:21 p.m. -- Mike Gonzales, a staff member with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego, Calif., were nominated for first vice president.
Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, nominated Gonzales. "He has been a faithful servant, a humble servant and a gracious servant to Southern Baptists," Sanchez said.
Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, nominated Vines. "Dr. A.B. Vines understands and knows the Southern Baptist Convention and is ready to serve," Floyd said.
3:14 p.m. -- J.D. Greear has been elected SBC president with 68.62 percent of the vote (5,410 ballots). Ken Hemphill received 31.19 percent (2,459 ballots). Disallowed ballots comprised .19 percent of the vote.
3:11 p.m. -- Augie Boto, interim president of the SBC Executive Committee, reported on the EC's current leadership transition and the health of the convention.
Following the "unexpected departure" in March of former EC president Frank S. Page, the EC elected a presidential search committee during a special-called meeting April 17, Boto said. "That special meeting was a testimony to me" and "painted an excellent picture of how business should be conducted in a Christian context."
The seven-member presidential search committee is diverse, with men and women as well as various ethnicities, Boto said.
EC staff's "work is continuing in a normal manner" during the transition period, he said.
Boto noted numerous indicators of health in the SBC but said there are also causes for concern.
State conventions have given an increasing percentage of their CP receipts to SBC causes, Boto said, but state conventions are receiving less money from churches. "While national ministries are being well funded, state ministries are not," he said, commending the role of state conventions in Southern Baptist life.
The largest cause for concern in the SBC is a lack of obedience among Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople, Boto said. As a "simple" remedy to the convention's lack of power, "we can witness and we can tithe."
Those two actions would yield a "gigantic" increase in CP receipts and souls won to faith in Christ, Boto said.
2:29 p.m. -- The Executive Committee reported on Cooperative Program-funded ministries on college campuses, including a church plant at the University of Virginia.
Josh Miller, lead planter for the UVA church, asked Southern Baptists "to join us in a recommitment to reaching the 22 million college students of North America."
2:18 p.m. -- D. August Boto introduced the Executive Committee's Young Leader Advisory Council, chaired by Jordan Easley, pastor of Englewood Baptist church in Jackson, Tenn. The council presented Boto with a copy of its report.
2:07 p.m. -- J.D. Greear and Ken Hemphill were nominated for president of the SBC.
Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., nominated Hemphill, former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. "This election cannot be about one candidate's act of grace two years ago," Jurkovich said. The convention faces challenges, and "we need a leader" with "wisdom," "capacity" and "time" to lead. "Everywhere Ken leads there is evangelistic zeal" and a passion for the nations, he said, adding Hemphill has averaged more than 9 percent given through the Cooperative Program at "every ministry he has served."
Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., nominated Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Greear is the "one man that has proven he fits the bill in every way," Whitten said. Greear wants to lead us "back to the heart of evangelism and missions," Whitten said. The Summit has baptized 1,300 people over the past two years and leads North Carolina in CP giving, Whitten said.
1:58 p.m. -- Personal finance expert Dave Ramsey shared his testimony of finding salvation as a young adult and subsequently discovering the Bible offers a plan for handling money.
"When the Word of God intersects with your life, it changes the trajectory of your life permanently," Ramsey said.
His ministry of teaching personal finance has grown to include a radio show and a class called Financial Peace University that has been taught in 50,000 churches.
Through helping people get out of debt, Ramsey has discovered "the power of story" to inspire others to fulfill God's plan for their lives, he said.
To Southern Baptist pastors Ramsey said, "I appreciate you. We love you. We're proud of you."
In a brief interview with SBC President Steve Gaines, Ramsey said he will let all pastors at the SBC annual meeting go through Financial Peace University (FPU) for free by using a code available at the meeting. A partnership involving Ramsey and SBC Executive Committee allows churches to buy the FPU leadership materials for a discounted rate.
"This will bring about a spiritual awakening," Gaines said, in many people's lives.
1:20 p.m. -- Virginia evangelist Bob Davis opened the afternoon session with Scripture and prayer.
11:50 a.m. -- Trent Gann, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodville, Fla., closed the morning session in prayer.
11:48 a.m. -- The solution to the Southern Baptist Convention's decline in baptisms is to renew its belief in the supernatural God, Steve Gaines said in his presidential address. He punctuated the message by singing a song about Christ's resurrection.
Preaching from Acts 28, Gaines noted that the early church saw miraculous expansion of Christianity because "they believed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ could set sinners free ... They believed in the power of almighty God."
Christians today also can experience God's supernatural work when they trust Him, Gaines said, asking, "Do you believe in a supernatural God? Do you believe in a God who created the heavens and the earth? Do you believe Jesus is born of a virgin, free from a sinful nature, lived a sinless life in the power of the Holy Spirit," was crucified and rose again?
Gaines noted four supernatural aspects New Testament Christianity.
-- God's promises are supernatural.
In Acts 27, God had promised Paul that he and all passengers on his ship they would be safe. "That promise encouraged Paul," and he encouraged others on the ship with it, Gaines said.
Likewise today, God's promises in Scripture and those spoken directly to individual believers are supernatural, Gaines said, as when he received assurance from God his 5-year-old son would overcome a health challenge.
"I can assure you every promise of God comes true," he said.
-- God's protection is supernatural.
God healed people on Malta through Paul, some supernaturally and some through medicine, Gaines said.
"If you are following the Lord Jesus Christ and you are living for the Lord Jesus Christ, God will protect you until it is your time to go to heaven," Gaines said.
-- God's power is supernatural.
"God's supernatural power is greater than any problem Southern Baptists have ... Stop talking about how big your problem is and start talking about how big your God is," Gaines said.
-- God's provision is supernatural
"When you don't have anything but God, you have all you need," Gaines said. Sometimes "God will dry up" your resources so you will trust in Him, "your source."
He asked Southern Baptists, "What is God doing in your life that people say, 'That is the hand of God?'" Then Gaines sang of Christ's resurrection, accompanied by the combined choirs of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., and Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
10:46 a.m. -- Randy Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, introduced Steve Gaines and his family preceding the SBC president's address. "Dr. Gaines walks his talk" about evangelism and leads his church to do the same, Davis said.
10:34 a.m. -- Messengers adopted 4 Executive Committee recommendations:
-- That the 2018-19 CP Allocation Budget of $194 million be adopted.
Messengers defeated a motion to amend the budget by "fully and completely" defunding the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and giving those funds to the International Mission Board.
During debate on the motion to amend, former ERLC President Richard Land said, "We need the ERLC to speak to Southern Baptists and to speak for Southern Baptists" when the convention has "reached consensus."
-- That National Day of Prayer be added to the SBC Calendar.
-- That the 2018-19 Executive Committee and SBC Operating budget of $7.6 million be adopted.
-- That Orphans and Widows Sunday be added to the SBC Calendar.
10:25 a.m. -- Executive Committee chairman Stephen Rummage thanked Southern Baptists for their prayers after former EC president Frank S. Page resigned in March. The EC's presidential search committee has surveyed EC members and other leaders in an effort to develop a profile of the next EC president, Rummage said. Recommendations for a new EC president can be submitted via email to ECpresidentsearch@sbc.net.
10:16 a.m. -- Executive Committee interim president D. August Boto recognized first-time SBC messengers and explained some basic details of how the SBC conducts business. Noting that 45,000 messengers attended the 1985 SBC annual meeting in Dallas, Boto said, "If the Lord can see us through the 1985 convention, he can certainly see us through this convention."
10:05 a.m. -- Messengers made 12 motions moments ago. Among them:
-- That the Executive Committee study the viability of establishing a new SBC entity to encourage and equip individuals and churches in evangelism.
-- That the ERLC be asked to study the feasibility of establishing an online resource to help protect churches from sexual predators.
-- That the SBC ask the newly elected convention president to appoint a task force to assess issues related to sexual assault and domestic violence; develop recommendations in consultation with SBC entities to protect people in churches from predators; and report to the 2019 SBC annual meeting.
-- That beginning in 2019, the SBC refrain from inviting publicly elected officials to speak to the convention, with the exception of the host city mayor to bring greetings.
-- That the convention request that the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee executive committee resign as trustees immediately.
-- That SBC Bylaw 21 be amended to prohibit the Committee on Order of Business from inviting officials holding public office to speak on the platform during a convention.
-- That the SBC become "pro-active for pro-life" causes.
-- That the Southwestern Seminary trustee executive committee be dismissed from service.
-- That convention ask the Executive Committee to review and strengthen trustee training for all entities so institutions and leaders are held accountable to the Bible, the Baptist Faith and Message and the SBC.
-- That messengers express their desire that SBC annual meeting speaking invitations not be extended to political and government officials, with exception of leaders of host cities.
-- That SBC Bylaw 10C be amended to require all SBC officer nomination speeches state the percentage of undesignated receipts nominees' churches give through the Cooperative Program.
-- That the SBC request that the Executive Committee chairman, in consultation with the Great Commission Council, appoint an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on a mandatory, unified, new trustee orientation for all SBC entities.
9:49 a.m. -- O.S. Hawkins delivered the GuideStone Financial Resources report, noting GuideStone's 100th anniversary this year. He added that 2018 has been one of the most successful years ever for GuideStone investments. GuideStone also offers health insurance as well as property and casualty coverage, he said.
Messengers did not ask any questions.
9:37 a.m. -- Joel Sutherland of NAMB reported on the Crossover evangelism emphasis preceding the SBC, which registered a total of 4,229 professions of faith over the past week -- the "most professions of faith in Crossover history."
The Harvest America Crusade June 10 with evangelist Greg Laurie saw 2,339 professions of faith at AT&T Stadium and an additional 875 online. Door-to-door witnessing June 9 yielded 675 professions of faith, and witnessing efforts last week by SBC seminary students saw 340 professions of faith, Sutherland said.
9:31 a.m. -- Following the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem, SBC President Steve Gaines led in prayer for America. Messengers then sang "God Bless America."
9:24 a.m. -- NAMB executive director of chaplaincy Douglas Carver honored U.S. military members and veterans, noting their service in the various wars the U.S. has fought. "Our troops have always been counted on to defend the American dream," he said.
9:13 a.m. -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott welcomed messengers to the Lone Star State. He thanked Southern Baptists for praying for Santa Fe, Texas, following a school shooting there last month and for supporting Texas' Gulf Coast following Hurricane Harvey last year. Challenges like Harvey, Abbott said, "actually bring us closer to God," a principle that also applies to the accident which paralyzed Abbott as a young man.
Southern Baptists, he said, must help ensure that "righteousness prevails in America."
8:54 a.m. -- Messengers defeated a motion to amend the agenda to replace Vice President Mike Pence's address Wednesday with a time of prayer.
Garrett Kell of Alexandria, Va., made the motion, noting, "This has nothing to do with Mr. Pence personally." Omitting Pence could further unity, especially among Southern Baptists of different ethnicities; clarify the Gospel's centrality for the SBC; and avoid putting overseas workers at risk.
Grant Ethridge, chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, responded that he is "personally very sensitive to the issue" Kell raised. However, the SBC "aligns itself with no political party," and Pence's appearance will afford messengers an opportunity to honor government officials, as commanded by Scripture. Ethridge added that he would have supported allowing President Obama to address the SBC when he was in office.
Messengers adopted the order of business, as printed in the Tuesday Bulletin. That order includes a time Wednesday morning for Vice President Mike Pence to speak and differs from previous printed orders.
8:39 a.m. -- Registration Secretary Don Currence thanked the convention on behalf of late registration secretary Jim Wells "for the ongoing love, prayer and support that was shown to him and his family during his ongoing battle with cancer."
Currence reported that as of 8:30 a.m., 8,008 messengers had registered.
8:36 a.m. -- Kevin Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware led the convention in Scripture reading the prayer.
8:28 a.m. -- The convention has been called to order.
8:16 a.m. -- Worship has begun for the morning session.