Published December 2, 2010
Georgia Baptists meeting in annual session at Albany’s Sherwood Baptist Church passed two resolutions reaffirming the Acts 1:8 mandate beginning first in Judea (Georgia) and then spreading to the uttermost parts of the earth, and against gambling. A third resolution expressed appreciation to the church and Mallary Association for hosting the meeting and commended Executive Director J. Robert White on 18 years service to the Convention.
The two resolutions on Acts 1:8 and gambling are printed below in their entirety. For full coverage and to view photos from the Nov. 15-16 meeting see page 1 and the centerspread of this issue of The Index.
RESOLUTION OF THE GEORGIA BAPTIST CONVENTION IN RESPONSE TO “MISSION GEORGIA 2020”
Advancing Georgia Baptists Toward 2020
Submitted by the Administration Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia
WHEREAS, the State of Georgia is an expanding mission field positioned at the center of a dramatic population shift to the Southeast Region of the United States where growth in population is projected to increase by 30% over the next ten years raising the state’s residential numbers from 10.1 million in 2010 to an estimated 13.1 million in 2020; and
WHEREAS, over the next ten years the Acts 1:8 mandate of Georgia Baptists to penetrate the growing lostness within our state will grow exponentially as the estimated unchurched and non-Christian population will increase from the 7.1 million in 2010 to 9.2 million in 2020; and
WHEREAS, Georgia Baptist churches will experience unprecedented change as the state’s population shifts from a rural and suburban base to an urbanized cultural center where 59% of Georgians will migrate to the cities causing expansions to Atlanta, Columbus, Augusta and Savannah by as much as 75% over the next ten years; and
WHEREAS, the state of Georgia currently ranks as the seventh most popular state with respect to international migration, as growth within the African-American, Hispanic and ethnic populations is projected to increase by 45% from 4,898,300 in 2010 to 7,087,100 in 2020; and
WHEREAS, Georgia Baptists will encounter an even more radical shift in the racial and ethnic complexion of the state leaving no particular ethnic group possessing a clear majority base, as the Anglo, African-American and Hispanic populations become almost equal in size; and
WHEREAS, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida on June 15 and 16, 2010, approved the Report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force which challenged all Southern Baptists to “…reclaim our identity as a Great Commission movement of churches”; and
WHEREAS, the Report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force further states, “We call upon NAMB to penetrate lostness in partnership with state conventions located in the most unreached and underserved populations of North America. Our hope and vision is to see NAMB reprioritized, decentralized, and fully authorized to lead Southern Baptists in this great work. This will mean the phasing out of Cooperative Agreements…in partnership with the state conventions, and we affirm the need for this partnership to be based in cooperation and basic agreement concerning strategies”; and
WHEREAS, churches of the Georgia Baptist Convention are strategically positioned and uniquely commissioned to penetrate the growing lostness throughout the state mission field as a “…living partnership of churches growing in grace, strengthening one another in faith and working together in obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.”
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention, meeting in Albany, Georgia on November 15 and 16, 2010, as follows:
THAT THE MESSENGERS reaffirm the Acts 1:8 mandate to penetrate lostness, beginning where we live in our local communities and the state of Georgia and continuing to our nation and to the uttermost parts of the earth, without neglecting any mission field where the Gospel must be proclaimed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the messengers charge the Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia to adjust future Cooperative Program and State Missions Budgets to assure that adequate funding is provided to support the advance of all efforts which penetrate lostness in Georgia in light of anticipated reductions in funding from the North American Mission Board; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the messengers affirm the vision and challenges presented by Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director, and as stated through the Mission Georgia 2020 Report which establishes the magnitude of our state’s expanding mission and ministry opportunities and restates the appeal for every Georgia Baptist to make penetrating lostness in Georgia an urgent and a personal priority; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the messengers encourage support for every effort made in the management of Georgia Baptist Convention’s operations to conserve resources, discover new efficiencies and engage new methods to make available every possible resource in fulfillment of the Great Commission challenge of penetrating lostness in Georgia and around the world.
RESOLUTION REGARDING LEGALIZED GAMBLING IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Submitted by Rev. Jason Jones, Messenger from Isabella Baptist Church, Sylvester
WHEREAS, The Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, consisting of over 120 Baptist leaders from throughout the State, voted in its September 14, 2010 meeting to affirm its support of families and standards of decency throughout the State of Georgia and to express its deep-felt concerns about the presence of a concerted effort within the Georgia General Assembly to legalize gambling and pari mutuel betting; and
WHEREAS, research demonstrates that gambling consistently costs more than the revenue it brings in adding an economic burden to communities of between $14,000 to $22,000 per gambler per year; and
WHEREAS, gambling casts a wave of addiction over communities seizing the lives of 1.5% to 2.5% of the adult population and inflicting an even greater attack of addictive behavior upon as much as 8% of the teenage population according to the American Psychiatric Association; and
WHEREAS, a study of all casino counties in the nation confirms the financial devastation inflicted upon families as personal bankruptcy rates are 100% higher in counties where casinos are located compared to those counties where they are not; and
WHEREAS, the people of Georgia in the General Election of 1992, while authorizing the State to have a lottery, did not authorize casino games, but in fact made such gambling venues to be unconstitutional; and
WHEREAS, Scripture according to I Thessalonians 5:21 and 22 admonishes all Christians to, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil;” and
WHEREAS, legalized gambling is proven to be destructive by corrupting the political, legal and economic systems of the state resulting in the serious deterioration of the moral, family and spiritual lives of citizens.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the messengers to the 189th Session of the Georgia Baptist Convention, that the Georgia Baptist Convention express strong, unalterable and complete opposition to any form of legalized gambling within the State of Georgia; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Georgia Baptist Convention urges pastors and church members to organize efforts in opposition to all legislation which would lead to the establishment of gambling venues within Georgia; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Georgia Baptists communicate with their state senators and representatives strongly urging them to oppose and vote against legalizing any and all forms of gambling; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Georgia Baptist Convention commends Reverend Ray Newman for his constant presence at the State Capital with a consistent message to elected state senators and representatives that “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people;” and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Georgia’s Governor, Sonny Perdue, Georgia’s Governor-elect Nathan Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker David Ralston and all other members of the Georgia General Assembly.
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