Published June 28, 2012
NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Messengers approved nine resolutions reaffirming their convictions regarding the means of salvation and the inerrancy of Scripture while indicating their intention to continue cooperating in the Great Commission despite some theological differences.
Among the nine resolutions passed in two sessions were ones:
► Identifying what is frequently described as a “sinner’s prayer” as a biblical way of expressing repentance and faith while providing some careful descriptions of what that means. See story on page 3;
► Reaffirming the belief the Bible is without error and attesting to the direct creation of and historicity of Adam and Eve;
► Agreeing to continue to work together to spread the Gospel with an understanding that the Baptist Faith and Message, the convention’s confession of faith, sets “sufficient parameters for understanding the doctrine of salvation” among Southern Baptists.
► Opposing efforts to use the rhetoric of the African American civil rights movement in the attempt to legalize same-sex marriage;
► Protesting the Obama administration’s attempts to subvert religious freedom in such arenas as health care, marriage and the military;
► Acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the role of African Americans in Baptist work in the United States;
► Affirming community and human needs ministries by churches;
► Celebrating the 200th anniversary this year of Baptist ministry in Louisiana;
► Expressing appreciation to God and all those who helped with this year’s annual meeting.
Messengers approved the resolution on a “sinner’s prayer” with what appeared to be at least an 80 percent majority. The other measures gained passage in unanimous or nearly unanimous votes.
Two African-American pastors – Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX, and Eric Redmond of Reformation Alive Baptist Church in Temple Hills, MD – submitted the resolution objecting to misappropriating civil rights language in the cause of legalizing same-sex marriage.
The resolution provides encouragement to black pastors, said Kevin Smith, an African American who was a member of the committee. Smith is pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, and assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary.
“During this season, black pastors will have to speak about this issue in a way that white pastors won’t,” Smith said at the news conference. Referring to President Obama’s recently announced support for gay marriage, Smith said, “They’ll speak against the first black president and his personal views on marriage while affirming biblical authority.”
Black pastors already are taking a clear stand on the issue, but “it’s just good to have the affirmation of your brothers and sisters” in the denomination, Smith said.
The resolution on the use of civil rights rhetoric on the same-sex marriage issue was “beautifully crafted,” Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land told reporters. “I think it’s important that the largest Protestant denomination in the country made it clear where they stand on this issue.”
Part of the resolution on religious freedom urged Obama to tell his administration to back down from its requirement that health plans cover contraceptives, including ones that can cause abortions, and sterilizations. It also called for a sufficient exemption for all people and organizations with a religious objection.
It “is so important that our people understand and that the country understand that this debate is not about reproductive freedom. This is about religious freedom,” said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “It’s about all people of faith and whether or not the government can coerce them to pay for that which they find unconscionable.”
Seventeen resolutions were submitted to the committee for consideration.
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