April 24, 2014
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WEDNESDAY SBC MEETING BLOG
Posted on Jun 11, 2013 | by Staff

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HOUSTON (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Houston. Up-to-the-minute updates can be read here, at our Twitter account (Twitter.com/BaptistPress), or Facebook account (Facebook.com/BaptistPress). Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at Twitter.com/SBCMeeting. A schedule of the Wednesday meeting can be found at http://sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc13/program/default.asp. Watch the SBC annual meeting live at http://sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc13/default.asp.

All times Central

Wednesday

4:53 p.m. -- The 2013 SBC annual meeting has been gaveled to a close. Next year's meeting will take place in Baltimore, Md.

4:48 p.m. -- Luter thanks Southern Baptists for re-electing him. He leads messengers saying in unison, three times, "Lord send a revival and let it begin with me."

4:47 p.m. -- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin delivered the Convention Sermon, preaching from Romans 15:14-24 and referencing the debate last year over the descriptor "Great Commission Baptists" and the close vote that ensued. Not giving an opinion on the issue, Akin said the real issue is not what Southern Baptists will be called, but if they "will we be Great Commission Baptists"

More than half of the world has yet to hear the Gospel, Akin noted. Southern Baptists, Akin said, must not let "good things" get in the way of the "best thing."

"And the most important thing is getting the Gospel to those who have never heard the name Jesus," he said.

There are 7 billion people on the planet, Akin said, and 3.7 billion have inadequate access to the Gospel.

Akin mentioned several areas where Southern Baptists can improve so that the world will hear about Christ. One area, he said, is participation on the mission field by men.

In 2009, he said, the IMB's Journeyman Program had 331 women but only 126 men. In West Africa -- a dangerous location -- there were 48 women but only two men.

Such statistics, Akin said, are dooming the Muslim world to hell. In Muslim countries, women are not culturally allowed to share the Gospel with a Muslim man.

Akin called on Southern Baptists to pray that "God will raise up an army of Godly men."

Akin recalled a conversation he had with former SBC President Adrian Rogers, who is deceased. Rogers told Akin that during the Conservative Resurgence, Southern Baptists had a common foe. But once it ended, they were accustomed to fighting and began fighting one another.

Southern Baptists, Akin said, must unite to "fight the real enemy."

"The Great Commission is not an option to be considered," Akin said. It is a "command."

3:47 p.m. -- An annual tradition -- the recognition of past SBC presidents and their spouses -- took place moments ago. Joyce Rogers, the widow of former president Adrian Rogers, was among those who appeared.

3:44 p.m. -- Following is the amended language of the Boy Scouts resolution passed earlier today:

ON THE CHANGE OF MEMBERSHIP POLICY OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

WHEREAS, For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has been a values-based boys organization designed to “prepare young people for a lifetime of character and leadership,” equipping them “to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law”; and

WHEREAS, The Scout Oath contains language that is consistent with belief in God and biblical precepts that serve as the basis for Christian
faith: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”; and

WHEREAS, The leadership of the Boy Scouts throughout its history has restricted from membership and leadership those persons who would affect the group’s ability to advocate its viewpoints in regard to belief in God and His moral precepts; and

WHEREAS, In 1992, and again in 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted resolutions affirming the Boy Scouts in their stand that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations of the Scout Oath, encouraging the BSA “to maintain its historic commitments” (1992) and “to hold fast to its traditional ideals” (2000); and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the constitutional right to freedom of association allows a private organization, as part of its “expressive message,” to exclude a person from membership when “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message (Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale); and

WHEREAS, In 2004, the Boy Scouts adopted a policy statement that said, in part, “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed”; and

WHEREAS, In 2012, an eleven-person committee appointed by the
National Council of the Boy Scouts completed a two-year study and reported its unanimous decision that the Boy Scouts retain the current policy as outlined above; and

WHEREAS, NBC News reported in breaking news on January 28, 2013, that the BSA executive leadership, in concert with certain members of the BSAboard of directors, was poised to change the Scouts’ historic policy at its February 4–5 board meeting the following week to allow avowed homosexuals into membership and leadership positions within the Boy Scouts of America; and

WHEREAS, During the week between when news broke of this proposed policy change and the February board meeting, the Boy Scouts received an outpouring of feedback from Scouts, Scouting families, sponsoring organizations, and the American public; and

WHEREAS, On February 6, 2013, the BSA board determined that, “due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a deliberate review of its membership policy”; and

WHEREAS, The National Council of the Boy Scouts voted on May 23,
2013, to approve new membership guidelines that state, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone”; and

WHEREAS, While those who embrace a biblical worldview are grateful that the leadership policy of the BSA remains unchanged, the executive leadership and certain members of the Boy Scouts board clearly signaled their desire to change both the membership and leadership policies of the BSA; and

WHEREAS, This decision of the BSA is viewed by many homosexual activists as merely the first step in a process that will fundamentally change the BSA, putting the Scouts at odds with a consistent biblical worldview on matters of human sexuality; and

WHEREAS, This decision has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts; and

WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist churches sponsor Boy Scout troops and many Southern Baptists are involved in Scouting; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states that “Christians should oppose . . . all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography,” and Southern Baptists consistently have expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions over the past thirty years; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, express our continued opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of
America to change its membership policy; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude for the thousands of individuals within the Scouting family and the culture at large who expressed their opposition to the BSA executive leadership’s intent to change its membership and leadership policies in regard to homosexuality, leading to the compromise recommendation it presented to the BSA National
Council; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude to each voting member of the National Council who voted in opposition to the policy change for membership; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our well-founded concern that the current executive leadership of the BSA, along with certain board members, may utilize this membership policy change as merely the first step toward future approval of homosexual leaders in the Scouts; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Boy Scouts to remove from executive and board leadership those individuals who, earlier this year, sought to change both the membership and leadership policy of the Scouts without seeking input from the full range of the Scouting family; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm the right of all families and churches prayerfully to assess their continued relationship with the BSA, expressing our support for those churches and families that as a matter of conscience can no longer be part of the Scouting family; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches and families that remain in the Boy Scouts to seek to impact as many boys as possible with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, to work toward the reversal of this new membership policy, and to advocate against any future change in leadership and membership policy that normalizes sexual conduct opposed to the biblical standard; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches that choose to sever ties with the Boy Scouts not to abandon their ministry to boys but consider expanding their Royal Ambassadors ministry, a distinctively Southern
Baptist missions organization to develop godly young men; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we declare our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that
God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ.

3:39 p.m. -- SBC Executive Committee employee June Turner recognized at podium for 30 years of denominational service. She is retiring this year.

3:35 p.m. -- Messengers passed six resolutions moments ago (Nos. 7-12). Read how they read in the convention bulletin at http://static.coreapps.net/sbc2013am/dailies/1e0df643cb2264ab3590cbfe1494945a.pdf

3:25 p.m. -- The afternoon session is running about 10 minutes early.

3:13 p.m. -- 5,103 messengers have registered.

3::08 -- The afternoon session of the SBC annual meeting is under way. This is the final session. Among the highlights: resolutions report (3:25) and the convention sermon by Daniel Akin (4:25)

11:50 a.m. -- International Mission Board President Tom Elliff delivered his report, giving messengers an update on mission work throughout the world. In 2012, he said, there were 337,385 professions of faith in Christ through the work of IMB missionaries and 24,073 new church plants. Southern Baptists, he said, are making progress in reaching the world's 3,041 unengaged, unreached people groups (UUPG), with 133 people groups newly engaged by Southern Baptist just in 2012. A total of 1,837 SBC churches and entities are committed to reach an UUPG, he said.

Even though the Gospel spreading throughout the world through IMB work, it could do much more if funds were available, Elliff said. The IMB's 2013 budget is $323 million, but it received far less than that in 2012 -- $96 million through the Cooperative Program and $149 million through the Lottie Moon offering.

"It is imperative" that we learn what it means to give generously and sacrificially, Elliff said.

"It's time to put our money where our mouth is," he said.

Via Skype, messengers heard from an IMB worker who plants churches in South Asia. Because he serves in a closed country, his face was darkened. He said God's call on him was clear and that he gets lonely at times, but "God's word actively sustains me."

Said Elliff, "This is the time of the greatest lostness in the history of the world. The lost of this world are eager to hear what you have to say."

"Are we going to back down?" he asked.

10:54 a.m. -- The IMB report has begun, 25 minutes ahead of schedule.

10:50 a.m. -- Messengers approved a resolution on the Boy Scouts that expresses "opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to change its membership policy" to allow homosexual members. The resolution does not take a position as to whether churches should disassociate with the Scouts, but it does urge churches that do sever ties "not to abandon their ministry to boys but consider expanding their Royal Ambassadors ministry." Messengers overwhelmingly defeated an amendment that would have removed the language affirming the right of churches on the issue.

10:20 a.m. -- Messengers passed a resolution on mental illness, but only after overwhelmingly defeating an amendment that said Scripture is the "final authority" on all mental health issues. Another amendment that was overwhelmingly defeated said messengers "affirm Scripture as sufficient for counseling all phases of the human condition (2 Peter 1:3)"

10:05 a.m. -- Messengers passed an amended resolution "On Sexual Abuse of Children." A first amendment asks that SBC leaders and employees practice the highest level of discernment in affiliating with groups or individuals that possess "questionable" policies and practices in protecting children against sexual abuse. A second amendment asks that churches report "any accusation" of child sexual abuse.

9:40 a.m. -- Jim Wells re-elected registration secretary. Was unopposed.

9:39 a.m. -- The schedule is now running nearly an hour ahead of schedule.

9:27 a.m. -- Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivered his report, noting he was elected 20 years ago, in 1993.

9:01 am. -- Jared Moore elected second VP, receiving 451 votes to Don Cass' 223 votes.

8:59 a.m. -- John Yeats re-elected recording secretary. He was unopposed.

8:55 a.m. -- With the schedule running early, the Resolutions Committee report will be at about 10:25 a.m. and IMB report at about 10:55 a.m.

8:45 a.m. -- The morning session is running about 20 minutes early. New Orleans Seminary President Chuck Kelley is speaking at the moment.

8:25 a.m. -- Messengers are voting for SBC second vice president. Nominations: Jared Moore and Don Cass. It is a ballot vote, so the ballots must be counted before a winner is known.

8:20 a.m. -- Moments ago the Committee on Order of Business made the following recommendations on previously submitted motions:

Referred to ERLC:

-- Motion that persons speaking in an official SBC capacity refrain from speaking about immigration.

Referred to EC:

-- A motion that the Executive Committee form a study committee to evaluate the SBC Constitution & the "minimal" financial standards required to be an SBC church.

-- A motion that the SBC Executive Committee's reserved seating be removed in future SBC meetings. The motion was made by a member of the Executive Committee.

Ruled out of order, because it directed the ERLC take an action:

-- Motion that the ERLC investigate the American Cancer Society's stance on stem cell research and issue a report.

8 a.m. -- The Wednesday morning session of the annual meeting is under way. Among the session's highlights: Resolutions Committee report (10:45 a.m.), IMB report (11:15 a.m.).

6:24 a.m. -- The Southern Baptist Convention's Resolutions Committee will recommend 12 resolutions to messengers this morning, including one on the Boy Scouts that expresses "opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to change its membership policy" to allow homosexual members. The resolution does not take a position as to whether churches should disassociate with the Scouts, but it does urge churches that do sever ties "not to abandon their ministry to boys but consider expanding their Royal Ambassadors ministry."

Messengers also will consider a resolution on mental health, and child sexual abuse.

Following is the full text of most of the resolutions:

ON THE CHANGE OF MEMBERSHIP POLICY OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

WHEREAS, For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has been a values-based boys organization designed to “prepare young people for a lifetime of character and leadership,” equipping them “to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law”; and

WHEREAS, The Scout Oath contains language that is consistent with belief in God and biblical precepts that serve as the basis for Christian
faith: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”; and

WHEREAS, The leadership of the Boy Scouts throughout its history has restricted from membership and leadership those persons who would affect the group’s ability to advocate its viewpoints in regard to belief in God and His moral precepts; and

WHEREAS, In 1992, and again in 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted resolutions affirming the Boy Scouts in their stand that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations of the Scout Oath, encouraging the BSA “to maintain its historic commitments” (1992) and “to hold fast to its traditional ideals” (2000); and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the constitutional right to freedom of association allows a private organization, as part of its “expressive message,” to exclude a person from membership when “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message (Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale); and

WHEREAS, In 2004, the Boy Scouts adopted a policy statement that said, in part, “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed”; and

WHEREAS, In 2012, an eleven-person committee appointed by the
National Council of the Boy Scouts completed a two-year study and reported its unanimous decision that the Boy Scouts retain the current policy as outlined above; and

WHEREAS, NBC News reported in breaking news on January 28, 2013, that the BSA executive leadership, in concert with certain members of the BSAboard of directors, was poised to change the Scouts’ historic policy at its February 4–5 board meeting the following week to allow avowed homosexuals into membership and leadership positions within the Boy Scouts of America; and

WHEREAS, During the week between when news broke of this proposed policy change and the February board meeting, the Boy Scouts received an outpouring of feedback from Scouts, Scouting families, sponsoring organizations, and the American public; and

WHEREAS, On February 6, 2013, the BSA board determined that, “due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a deliberate review of its membership policy”; and

WHEREAS, The National Council of the Boy Scouts voted on May 23,
2013, to approve new membership guidelines that state, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone”; and

WHEREAS, While those who embrace a biblical worldview are grateful that the leadership policy of the BSA remains unchanged, the executive leadership and certain members of the Boy Scouts board clearly signaled their desire to change both the membership and leadership policies of the BSA; and

WHEREAS, This decision of the BSA is viewed by many homosexual activists as merely the first step in a process that will fundamentally change the BSA, putting the Scouts at odds with a consistent biblical worldview on matters of human sexuality; and

WHEREAS, This decision has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts; and

WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist churches sponsor Boy Scout troops and many Southern Baptists are involved in Scouting; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states that “Christians should oppose . . . all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography,” and Southern Baptists consistently have expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions over the past thirty years; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, express our continued opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of
America to change its membership policy; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude for the thousands of individuals within the Scouting family and the culture at large who expressed their opposition to the BSA executive leadership’s intent to change its membership and leadership policies in regard to homosexuality, leading to the compromise recommendation it presented to the BSA National
Council; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude to each voting member of the National Council who voted in opposition to the policy change for membership; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our well-founded concern that the current executive leadership of the BSA, along with certain board members, may utilize this membership policy change as merely the first step toward future approval of homosexual leaders in the Scouts; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Boy Scouts to remove from executive and board leadership those individuals who, earlier this year, sought to change both the membership and leadership policy of the Scouts without seeking input from the full range of the Scouting family; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm the right of all families and churches prayerfully to assess their continued relationship with the BSA, expressing our support for those churches and families that as a matter of conscience can no longer be part of the Scouting family; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches and families that choose to remain in relationship with the Boy Scouts to work toward the reversal of this new membership policy and to advocate against any future change in leadership and membership policy that normalizes sexual conduct opposed to the biblical standard; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches that choose to sever ties with the Boy Scouts not to abandon their ministry to boys but consider expanding their Royal Ambassadors ministry, a distinctively Southern
Baptist missions organization to develop godly young men; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we declare our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that
God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ.

ON MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS AND THE HEART OF GOD

WHEREAS, God made all things perfectly good in design for His glory and the good of humanity (Genesis 1–2); and

WHEREAS, Adam and Eve rebelled against Him, choosing their own way and the way of the Evil One, and consequently ushered sin and disorder into our world and the whole human race (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12–21; 8:22); and

WHEREAS, As a consequence of this Fall, humanity is subjected to many kinds of mental health problems including autism spectrum disorders; intellectual disability; mental health conditions like schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders; and diseases of the aged such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; and

WHEREAS, God did not abandon fallen humanity but loved the world (John 3:16–17) and launched a plan of redemption—a restoration that is incomplete in this age but will be perfected in heaven
(1 Peter 1:3–9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns, like all people, are crowned with honor and dignity, being made in the image and likeness of God (Psalm 8:4–6; James 3:9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns are disproportionately represented among the homeless and in our correctional systems, indicating a tragic neglect of these persons who are made in
God’s image; and

WHEREAS, Those who are struggling with mental health concerns often feel isolated, stigmatized, and rejected, sometimes resorting to self-destructive behaviors, including suicide; and

WHEREAS, Suicide is a tragedy, leaving heartache, pain, and unanswered questions in its wake; and

WHEREAS, Recent events in our nation and among God’s people have underscored the tragedy of mental health concerns and their devastating toll within our families, our churches, and our culture; and

WHEREAS, Jesus Christ spent time with and healed some of the most marginalized members of the culture of His day; and

WHEREAS, God has appointed His people to be the main representatives of His heart and values to the world; and

WHEREAS, God has called us to share the Gospel of Christ with all people, including those suffering various mental health concerns; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, on June 11–12, 2013, affirm that those with mental health concerns are of immeasurable value to God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to affirm, support, and share God’s love and redemption with those with mental health concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we oppose all stigmatization and prejudice against those who are suffering from mental health concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support research and treatment of mental health concerns when undertaken in a manner consistent with a biblical worldview; and be it further

RESOLVED, That families who have lost a member to suicide deserve great care, concern, and compassion from Christians and their churches, including the assurance that those in Christ cannot be separated from the eternal love of God that is in Christ Jesus; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists and our churches to look for and create opportunities to love and minister to, and develop methods and resources to care for, those who struggle with mental health concerns and their families.

ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN

WHEREAS, The Bible is clear in its affirmation that children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3–5); and

WHEREAS, The Lord Jesus demonstrated His love for children by encouraging them to follow Him, correcting those who hindered them, and condemning those who harmed them (Matthew 18:3–6; Mark 10:13–14); and

WHEREAS, The sexual abuse of children remains an ever increasing criminal offense with more than 1.8 million reported victims of sexual abuse by more than 750,000 child abuse perpetrators identified in the United States alone; and

WHEREAS, Tragically, instances of sexual abuse have been perpetrated within Southern Baptist congregations, churches of other denominations, and other Christian ministries; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, call upon Southern Baptists to stand with our Lord Jesus in loving and protecting children as He does; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we remind all Southern Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities in addition to implementing any appropriate church discipline or internal restoration processes; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we likewise call upon all Southern Baptists to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in exposing and bringing to justice all perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who criminally harm children placed in our trust; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we strongly urge Southern Baptist churches to utilize background checks like those provided through LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com/backgroundchecks), databases of sexual predators such as the US Department of Justice sex offender database linked at SBC.net (www.SBC.net/localchurches/ministryhelp.asp), or other relevant resources in screening all potential staff and volunteer workers, particularly those who minister to children and youth; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors and church leaders to develop and implement sound policies and procedures to protect our children; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists to pray for children who are victims of abuse, to stand for their protection from abuse, and to support safe and healthy children’s ministries in our churches and communities.

ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

WHEREAS, Human trafficking is criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited through the use of force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary subjection to labor or commercial sex acts (see Trafficking Victims Protection Acts of 2000 and 2013); and

WHEREAS, The form of slavery known as human trafficking knows no borders and preys on victims of any age, race, gender, or nationality, involving an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 persons being transported from place to place each year into some form of forced labor, including about 17,500 persons who are trafficked into the United States each year; and

WHEREAS, It is estimated that as many as twenty-seven million persons worldwide are now being held in some form of slavery, including commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, child labor, and forced organ harvesting, producing annual profits of over $32 billion; and
WHEREAS, Human trafficking preys upon the poor and the most vulnerable members of a society, especially women and children, the overwhelming majority of whom are younger than twenty-four years old, and many who are young children; and

WHEREAS, About 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, with two children being sold into slavery every minute; and

WHEREAS, The irresponsible use of salacious explicit sexual material through various media is promulgated in cultures around the world, thus perpetuating demand for selfish sexual gratification, reducing the stigma of commercial sex, and creating a demand for sexual slavery; and

WHEREAS, The Bible describes each individual as being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27), affirms the sanctity and dignity of all human life (Psalm 8:4–5), and calls upon believers to speak up for those who cannot defend themselves (Proverbs 31:8–9); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, commit to pray for the victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists to educate themselves and others about the various expressions of modern-day slavery, how to prevent it, and how to minister to those who have been victimized by it; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the Southern Baptist churches and individuals who are already bringing healing and restoration to trafficking victims in the name of Jesus Christ; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to support agencies and ministries which help rescue and rehabilitate trafficking victims; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to support public policies at the local, state, national, and international level which combat human trafficking; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we affirm the important work of persons in law enforcement, education, medicine, counseling, and other professions who address human trafficking through their assigned responsibilities, pledging our prayerful support.

ON TITHING, STEWARDSHIP, AND THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM

WHEREAS, Biblical stewardship is a generous response of loving obedience that constitutes an essential part of our worship of God (2 Corinthians 9:6–7); and

WHEREAS, Tithing predates the Law of Moses (Genesis 14:20; 28:22; Hebrews 7:2) and is affirmed in the Old Testament (Numbers 18: 21–24) as well as in the New Testament (Luke 11:42); and

WHEREAS, The Scripture equates failure to tithe with robbing God (Malachi 3:8); and

WHEREAS, Christ affirmed the tithe (Matthew 23:23); and

WHEREAS, Proportional giving of at least a tithe is expected by
God throughout Scripture (Numbers 18:21–24; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2; Hebrews 7:2); and

WHEREAS, Tithing is essential for Kingdom work through the local church and ministries around the world (1 Corinthians 9:13–14); and

WHEREAS, According to the Great Commission Task Force Report,
Southern Baptists give just 2.5 percent of their annual income to the local church, demonstrating the need for Southern Baptists to teach and faithfully obey the biblical command to tithe; and

WHEREAS, The current economic climate and other factors have resulted in financial challenges for many of our churches and mission entities; and

WHEREAS, Faithful stewardship is a privilege and an honor for all
Christians; and

WHEREAS, The Cooperative Program is funded solely by tithes, offerings, and gifts through the churches; and

WHEREAS, Cooperative Program giving from the churches has declined significantly from $548 million in 2007–2008 to $488 million in 2010–2011, reducing our support of missions and ministries by $60 million; and

WHEREAS, Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, has challenged Southern Baptist churches to increase their Cooperative Program giving by at least 1 percent; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, exhort all Southern Baptists to tithe cheerfully to their local churches; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists consider the role our stewardship plays in support of the Cooperative Program and Great Commission Giving, resulting in the support of missionaries and ministries at home and abroad; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend those who tithe faithfully in loving obedience to God.

ON PRAYER FOR THE PRESIDENT AND OTHER POLITICAL LEADERS

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that God is sovereign over all nations of the earth (Psalm 93:1–2; 103:19; 113:4–5); and

WHEREAS, God, in His permissive will, may allow political leaders, both in biblical times and the present day, to enact policies that are opposed to His revealed will (1 Kings 16:25, 30); and

WHEREAS, It is in God’s power to prompt the hearts and minds of political authorities to His purposes and furnish wisdom and guidance in their decisions (Ezra 1:1–3; Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 3:26–30; 4:34–37); and

WHEREAS, Government is appointed by God as His servant to encourage good and restrain evil to the end that all people are blessed and His people are enabled to live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness (Romans 13:1–7; 1 Timothy 2:1–3; 1 Peter 2:14); and

WHEREAS, God commands His people to respect the authority of political leaders and honor them (1 Peter 2:13–17); and

WHEREAS, God commands His people to pray for their political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–3); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to pray confidently, regularly, and fervently for our President, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and all local, state, and national governmental leaders.

ON VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND ASSEMBLY IN THE UNITED STATES

WHEREAS, God has granted religious freedom to humanity, even in matters of eternal significance (Genesis 2:16–17; Luke 13:34; Acts
4:19–21; 5:29; 17:16–34); and

WHEREAS, Religious freedom is an indispensable human right and an essential component of a free society; and

WHEREAS, Religious freedom by definition includes the freedom of the individual to live in accordance with his or her religiously informed values and beliefs as illustrated by Article 18 of the United
Nations Declaration on Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”; and

WHEREAS, The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees religious freedom for everyone under its jurisdiction, declaring that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; and

WHEREAS, Religious freedom must include the freedom of assembly based on religiously-informed beliefs and is guaranteed by the
First Amendment of the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, In deciding NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958) the United States Supreme Court declared, “It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech”; and

WHEREAS, In order to retain their official standing as a campus organization, Christian and other religious groups on some prominent college and university campuses are being required to allow into membership and leadership individuals who do not affirm the moral and religious convictions of the organizations; and

WHEREAS, Some people of faith are being denied the right to operate their businesses in a manner consistent with their religiously informed beliefs, especially with regard to their convictions about homosexuality, resulting in loss of status, income, and livelihood; and

WHEREAS, Some officials and municipalities have discriminated against constitutionally-protected religious activities in public housing, public schools, and other tax-supported spaces; and

WHEREAS, Despite the long and honorable tradition of respect for religious freedom within the ranks of the United States armed services, many members of the United States military are experiencing heightened levels of animosity and hostility because of their faith; and

WHEREAS, Chaplains in the United States military are growing increasingly concerned about their freedom to minister to America’s servicemen and women according to the dictates of their faith without fear of reprisal or intimidation; and

WHEREAS, The federal government is denying the right of its citizens to exercise their religious freedom by its insistence that they provide in their employee healthcare plans for contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs and devices; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, express our gratitude for our God-granted religious freedom; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on college administrators to respect the right of students to freedom of association and stop requiring religious student groups to accept as members or select as leaders those who do not share their core religiously-informed beliefs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon the federal, state, and local governing authorities to hold any college or university accountable that discriminates on the basis of religion, violating students’ constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religion and association; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we implore the United States Department of
Defense and each branch of the military to reaffirm their commitment to the freedom of all servicemen and women to conduct themselves in accordance with the dictates of their faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on these same military organizations to respect and continue to uphold the right of their chaplains to minister freely according to the dictates of their faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask these military entities to communicate consistently throughout every branch of the armed forces and to every person who provides instruction or guidance to our servicemen and women the right of all servicemen and women, and the chaplains who serve them, to conduct themselves in accordance with the dictates of their faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on every branch of government to investigate all claims of First Amendment violations and to educate, discipline, or prosecute any who are involved in these violations; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the current administration to uphold the constitutional protections accorded people of faith to provide healthcare for their employees that is consistent with their core religious beliefs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge those who engage in defending the legal rights of people of faith to come to the aid of those who are facing discrimination for their faith by federal, state, and local governments, institutions, or individuals; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to continue its faithful defense and advocacy of the God-given and constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of religion and assembly; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commit to stand with and pray for those in our nation and around the world who are persecuted for their faith.

ON THE DANGER OF AGE DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTHCARE RATIONING

WHEREAS, The Bible regards senior adults as persons deserving of honor and esteem (Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31); and

WHEREAS, Scripture affirms the sanctity of life for all persons, including senior adults, and regards all persons as bearers of God’s image (Genesis 1:26–28); and

WHEREAS, There are credible reports that the elderly who are extremely sick are routinely neglected—and in some instances die prematurely—under the national healthcare systems in other countries; and

WHEREAS, Some notable policy advocates have argued that healthcare for the elderly should be rationed in the United States; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, express our opposition to any public policy which might function to discriminate against the elderly in their access to quality healthcare; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all Southern Baptists to honor our elders and seek ways to express our appreciation for senior adults; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to engage in ministry to senior adults, particularly those who are hospitalized, in nursing home facilities, and those who are homebound.

ON AMERICA’S GROWING PRISON POPULATION

WHEREAS, The rate of incarceration in the United States is among the highest of all nations; and

WHEREAS, Prison populations in the United States have risen from approximately 100 prisoners per 100,000 in 1974 to a current number of about 750 per 100,000, resulting in an unprecedented percentage of adults behind bars; and

WHEREAS, The cost of incarceration, averaging more than $30,000 per inmate per year, absorbs a significant percentage of governmental budgets at the federal, state, and local levels; and

WHEREAS, The number of elderly inmates, whose healthcare costs are a growing part of the overall cost of incarceration, has increased dramatically due to longer sentences; and

WHEREAS, Probation and parole systems, if utilized effectively, offer less expensive supervision, employ new monitoring techniques, reunite families, and actively work toward social reintegration of prisoners; and

WHEREAS, Public revenues saved by lower incarceration rates could be applied to improve and expand parole, probation, and reintegration programs; and

WHEREAS, Prolonged incarceration of nonviolent offenders, who make up roughly half of all inmates, frequently contributes to the disintegration of family structures, increases dependency on state aid, and reduces the economic viability of individuals, families, and communities, thus hindering their reintegration into society; and

WHEREAS, Incarceration rates are at or near the highest levels in Southern states, as is the case, for instance, in Louisiana which now incarcerates one out of every eighty-six adults, the highest documented rate of incarceration in the world; and

WHEREAS, Many people serving disproportionately long sentences for nonviolent offenses are routinely housed with hardened offenders; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, declare our support and appreciation for all who work in the criminal justice system to protect our communities, often bearing heavy loads with limited resources; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our support of legislative policies that seek to reduce high incarceration rates without jeopardizing public safety; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that probation and parole may serve as a wise, just, and effective alternative to prolonged incarceration for certain nonviolent offenders; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm our prison chaplains, local church ministries, seminary educational initiatives, and other ministries that serve in prisons and youth detention centers and operate programs that seek to reintegrate prisoners into their communities, and reduce recidivism through moral and spiritual transformation; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge churches and other ministries to participate in programs that assist prisoners with reintegration into society, including transitional housing, vocational and drug rehabilitation, and family support, heeding the words of Jesus, “I was in prison, and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:36).

Tuesday

8:42 p.m. -- The Tuesday evening session of the SBC annual meeting has concluded.

8:41 p.m. -- Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter delivered his presidential sermon tonight, preaching from John 13:34-35 on the topic of "It's time for revival."

"The spiritual outlook of our country is at an all-time low," Luter said, mentioning a host of sins and social ills, such as shootings, robberies, the attack on marriage and the disregard for life.

"The thing that truly bothers me," Luter said, is "what difference is the church making?" More specifically: "What difference are Southern Baptists making?"

"How can we expect revival to happen?" Luter asked

Referencing the text, Luter said three things must happen for revival to take place. Southern Baptists must have:

-- A love for the Scriptures.

One thing that has always impressed him about the SBC, he said, is that "we've always had a love for the Scriptures."

"Nothing can be politically right if it is biblically wrong," he said to loud applause.

-- A love for the Savior.

"He did it [died and rose again] just for you and for me!" Luter shouted. "How can you not want to stand for Him?"

He added, "You cannot have a genuine authentic love for the Savior and not have revival."

-- A love for the saints (fellow Christians).

"You want to know why there's so much darkness in this world?" he asked. "... Could it be because a lot of folks don't see us loving one another?"

"If we want God to send revival, I dare you ... to start having a genuine, authentic love for each other. ... Do we have a genuine love for each other in this convention?"

The love should be not just for those in "your circle."

"I'm talking about all the saints of God," he said.

"We will never see revival in the world until we first see revival in the church," he said to a chorus of "amens."

Referencing falling baptism statistics, Luter said he believes the SBC can reverse the decline -- but not on the current course.

"I believe we can do it, but we must come together as one," he said.

Luter had the messengers say in unison at the conclusion of his sermon, "Lord, send a revival, and let it begin with me."

7:56 p.m. -- Luter has begun his convention sermon. Music went about 30 minutes over.

7:08 p.m. -- The evening session of the SBC annual meeting is under way with music. Fred Luter's presidential sermon at 7:20 is the only item on the schedule.

5:15 p.m. -- The afternoon session of the SBC annual meeting has concluded. Tonight at 7:20, Luter delivers his President's Sermon. It is part of a revival service.

5 p.m. -- LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom S. Rainer introduced to Southern Baptists MinistryGrid.com, a subscription-based, online leadership development platform that will have more than 1,000 videos on various topics, ranging from parking ministry to polity. It will launch in the fall. It is customizable and can have a church's own name on the site, Rainer said.

Eric Geiger of LifeWay also told messengers about the new and improved Bible Studies for Life, launching this fall. Read more about it: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=40038

4:29 p.m. -- Several motions were made moments ago. Among them:

-- Motion that the ERLC investigate the American Cancer Society's stance on stem cell research and issue a report.

-- Motion that the SBC Executive Committee's reserved seating be removed in future SBC meetings. The motion was made by a member of the Executive Committee.

4:25 p.m. -- Luter allowed Ronnie Floyd to speak to his earlier motion regarding mental health. "We can no longer be silent about this issue," said Floyd, who said Southern Baptists must help stop the "stigmatization" of those with mental health issues.

"It is time that the Southern Baptist Convention be on the frontline of the mental health issue," Floyd said.

4:03 p.m. -- Texas pastor Bart Barber elected SBC first vice president. He was unopposed.

4 p.m. -- Former Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land delivered his final report to messengers, telling them he has been re-reading several books lately, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letters From the Birmingham Jail." Referencing what King wrote, Land urged Southern Baptist churches not to be "thermometers" but to be "thermostats" that dictate the "temperature" in society. He also endorsed the anti-pornography "Join One Million Men" campaign. "It's time that we quit playing like ostriches, with our heads in the sand," Land said.

New ERLC President Russell Moore told messengers, describing his view of the entity: "We are not a political action committee." The ERLC, he said, is "fiercely independent." "We are about the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

During a time of questions from messengers, Land and Moore were asked if the ERLC would endorse the immigration bill in the Senate. "We're going to support principles," Moore responded. "We're not going to support" specific legislation.

3:04 p.m. -- SBC President Fred Luter re-elected for a second one-year term. He was unopposed, and he received a standing ovation after the ceremonial ballot was cast.

2:50 p.m. -- Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary President Jeff Iorg delivered the seminary's report, telling messengers the school recently had its 8,000th graduate.

2:40 p.m. -- Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page delivered his afternoon report, highlighting the advisory committee on Calvinism that issued its report to Page in late May. Page said he is not a Calvinist but also is not "an anti-Calvinist," and he wanted both sides to come together for the Great Commission. "I didn't know if it would work," Page said. "But I continued to pray. ... I heard the prayers of God's people saying we need to come together."

"The world is winning too many battles," he said, adding that if there ever was a time "we need each other, it is now."

The goal was for both sides to talk to one another, not at one another or about one another.

With members of the committee joining him on stage in a sign of unity, Page said, "God showed up."

"We need to do it together," Page said of advancing the Great Commission.

2:10 p.m. -- A motion was made that the Executive Committee form a study committee to evaluate the SBC Constitution & the "minimal" financial standards required to be an SBC church.

2:04 p.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business recommended, and messengers approved, that the following motions be referred to the Executive Committee for consideration:

-- request that EC publish theological position paper on 2011 NIV.

-- request EC appoint task force to look into alternative or substitute programs for Boy Scouts.

-- request that list of all convention-elected trustees be made available at SBC.net.

-- that SBC withdraw fellowship from Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas for its alleged ties to Planned Parenthood.

The Committee on Order of Business recommended, and messengers approved, that the following motion be referred to the Executive Committee and to all SBC entities for consideration:

-- that EC and bylaw 14 entities work to assist churches to minister to those suffering from mental health issues.

2 p.m. -- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Jason Allen gave his first report to the convention as president. There were no questions from messengers.

1:51 p.m. -- SBC Second VP Dave Miller performed the president's duties for a few moments, introducing Texas pastor Terry Turner, who delivered the opening prayer. Miller also introduced the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary report. Luter is on stage and apparently will resume his duties shortly.

1:34 p.m. -- The Tuesday afternoon session of the SBC meeting has begun.

12:10 p.m. -- The Tuesday morning session has concluded. Tuesday afternoon session begins at 1:30 p.m.

12:01 p.m. -- North American Mission Board's Kevin Ezell presented the entity's report, saying that 1,084 new churches were planted in North America last year. "I can assure you we are counting in an accurate way," he said. The goal, Ezell said, is to plant churches in cities and in areas where Southern Baptists have less of a presence. He cited stats: Mississippi has one SBC church for every 1,385 people, Texas has one for every 3,351, New Jersey one for every 78,000, and Canada one for every 115,000. Missiologists, he said, say one evangelical church is needed for every 1,000 to 2,000 people.

"We must go" to the cities, Ezell said, adding that 80 percent of the population lives in and around cities. NAMB has highlighted 32 cities it calls "Send Cities," Ezell said. There is a NAMB missionary, dubbed the "Send City Coordinator," for every Send City. The coordinator's job is to recruit church planters to that city.

Additionally, Ezell said, there is a "Church Planting Catalyst" for every 1 million people in North America. The goal is to plan four churches among each 1 million people.

The biblical model, he said, is churches planting churches -- healthy, evangelistic churches.

"We need churches that plant churches that plant churches," he said.

The NAMB report also highlighted the ministries of NAMB-endorsed chaplains and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Sam Porter, head of disaster relief for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, appeared on stage, giving messengers an update on relief from the state.

"We will not stop until every need is met in Oklahoma," Porter said.

Ezell said SBC disaster relief helps areas for extended periods of time. For example, SBC DR, he said, is committed to assisting in the New York area for an additional two years following the destruction of Sandy.

11:35 a.m. -- During a time of questions from messengers, Ezell was asked if NAMB partners with the Acts 29 church planting network. "We plant Southern Baptist churches," Ezell said, adding that church planters are expected to endorse the Baptist Faith & Message and give to the Cooperative Program. "We don't ask what type of support networks they may be a part of or what conferences they go to," Ezell said. He asked: Are some church planters part of the Acts 29 network? "There would be some, sure," he said. Acts 29 also has undergone a change in leadership, he noted.

11:02: Hawkins was asked by a messenger about GuideStone's investments and whether GuideStone invests in companies that support the homosexual agenda and abortion industry. The messenger referenced a World Magazine article. Hawkins said GuideStone has a "sound investment policy" that has been in place for 20 years, and it does screen out certain companies. But he said "we're not going to have a company to invest in" if the company has to have a perfect record. He noted that Southern Baptists regularly stay at hotels that sell alcohol and adult movies and buy products at gas stations and stores that sell lottery tickets and products they oppose. "It's a very difficult world," Hawkins said.

10:35 a.m. -- GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins gave his report, saying that too much of current health costs are due to preventable diseases. GuideStone, he said, offers attendees at the SBC meeting a free wellness screening valued at $150. The screening, which includes a blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol check, takes place in the exhibit hall at the GuideStone exhibit.

10:17 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr. presented the SBC Historical Library and Archives report. The library is housed in Nashville at the SBC Building. Mohler said grants are available for students who desire to research at the library. More info: http://www.sbhla.org/sg_info.htm

10:12 a.m. -- Holly Tucker, former contestant on "The Voice" and a Baylor student, sang "How Great Thou Art."

9:58 a.m. -- EC President Frank Page presented resolution of appreciation to Richard Land, who was president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty until his retirement in late May. "It has been an honor and blessing of a lifetime" to serve Southern Baptists, Land said moments after messengers gave him a standing ovation. "... I will thank my God upon every remembrance of you." His wife, Becky, joined him on stage.

9:35 a.m. -- The Executive Committee report emphasized Baptist campus ministries and church plants on college campuses, spotlighting the work of Keith and Paige Wieser at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. Southern Baptist giving through the Cooperative Program make such ministries possible, the Wiesers said. Said Page, "I have said before that one of the best kept secrets across our convention is the good work that takes place on college campuses across the country through Baptist Campus Ministry and college church planting."

9:03 a.m. -- Motions were made moments ago. Among them:

-- request that EC publish theological position paper on 2011 NIV.

-- request EC appoint task force to look into alternative or substitute programs for Boy Scouts.

-- request that list of all convention-elected trustees be made available at SBC.net.

-- that EC and bylaw 14 entities work to assist churches to minister to those suffering from mental health issues.

-- that SBC withdraw fellowship from Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas for its alleged ties to Planned Parenthood.

9:10 a.m. -- Executive Committee President Frank Page is giving the EC report. He said the EC asked for a "reduction in CP allocation, again." The percentage has fallen from 3.4 percent to 2.99 percent. Moments earlier, messengers approved the newest reduction in allocation. The extra funds will go to the International Mission Board. "We want more and more to go to reach the nations for Christ," Page said.

8:47 a.m. -- Motions are being made.

8:31 a.m. -- NAMB's Al Gilbert gives Crossover report, telling messengers there were 582 reported professions of faith. More than 4,100 Baptist volunteers. Crossover is annual evangelism event that precedes SBC annual meeting in host city.

8:22 a.m. -- Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson, wearing a black cowboy hat, welcomes messengers. "Share Jesus with somebody while you're here," he says.

8:12 a.m. -- The SBC annual meeting has been gaveled to order. SBC President Fred Luter used a gavel that has been used at SBC meetings every year since 1872. The gavel head is made from olive wood from the Mount of Olives in Israel.

8 a.m. -- Registration as of 8 a.m.: 4,130.

8 a.m. -- Worship through music has begun at the SBC, led by Charles Billingsley of Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, Va.).
--30--
Blogging by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.
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