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Key resolutions from the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting

Earlier this week, messengers to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, voted to adopt nine resolutions, seven of which were related to ERLC concerns, issues, and legislative priorities. Here is a recap of the ERLC-related resolutions:

Baptist Unity and Maintaining Our Public Witness 

This resolution state that the messengers of the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting commit to:

  • Pursue holiness, act with the aim of love, engage others with charity, and consider one another in how we represent ourselves, our churches, our Convention, and, above all, the gospel of Jesus Christ in our speech and conduct at all times and in all places; 
  • Not permit our personal, social, theological, or political interests to supersede the urgency of evangelism and distract us from the task of the gospel’s advancement through the whole world;
  • Exhibit Christ-honoring patience and kindness upon those with whom we disagree;
  • Protect the witness of Jesus Christ before a watching world by wise use of all forms of communication, whether in verbal speech, written word, or social media, so that others may see Christ in us and desire to know Him personally.

On the Sufficiency of Scripture for Race and Racial Reconciliation

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Affirm the sufficiency of Scripture on race and racial reconciliation;
  • Reaffirm agreement with historic, biblically-faithful Southern Baptist condemnations of racism in all forms; 
  • Reject any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic; 
  • Reject any theory or worldview that sees the primary problem of humanity as anything other than sin against God and the ultimate solution as anything other than redemption found only in Christ;
  • Reject any theory or worldview that denies that racism, oppression, or discrimination is rooted, ultimately, in anything other than sin; 
  • Reaffirm the 1995 resolution “On Racial Reconciliation on the 150th Anniversary of the Southern Baptist Convention,” which includes, “That we apologize to all African-Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously (Psalm 19:13) or unconsciously (Leviticus 4:27),” applying this disposition to every instance of racism;  
  • Affirm that our reconciliation in Christ gives us the opportunity and responsibility to pursue reconciliation with others so that we can display and share the hope of the gospel with the world.

On Taxpayer Complicity in Abortion and the Hyde Amendment

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Condemn any effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment as morally abhorrent, a violation of Biblical ethics, contrary to the natural law, and a moral stain on our nation;
  • Call on Congress and the President to uphold the Hyde Amendment and all pro-life Amendments, to protect life, and to prevent taxpayers from being complicit in the moral evil of abortion; 
  • Call on Southern Baptists to work through all available cultural and legislative means to end the moral scourge of abortion as we also seek to love, care for, and minister to women who are victimized by the unjust abortion industry.

On the Equality Act 

This resolution affirms that the messengers:

  • Will extend love and compassion to those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and invite all members of this community to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel; 
  • Will proclaim that Christ offers forgiveness of sin for those who turn from their sins and believe on Christ;
  • Believe effective Gospel ministry to individuals who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community requires speaking to them and about them with respect and Christlike love, while holding firmly to our biblical convictions on these issues and encourages Southern Baptists to engage discussion of the Equality Act and related issues with this in mind; 
  • Strongly oppose the Equality Act and urge Congress to reject this dangerous legislation, which represents one of the greatest threats to religious liberty in our nation’s history; 
  • Affirm the role of churches in providing compassionate care, biblical truth, and restorative hope to men, women, and children, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, while joyfully celebrating God’s good design in sexuality as clearly expressed in Scripture.

On Abuse and Pastoral Qualifications

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Believe that any person who has committed sexual abuse is permanently disqualified from holding the office of pastor; 
  • Recommend that all of our affiliated churches apply this standard to all positions of church leadership

On the Uyghur Genocide

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Condemn the actions of the Chinese Communist Party against the Uyghur people, and that we stand together with these people against the atrocities committed against them; 
  • Call upon the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China to cease its program of genocide against the Uyghur people immediately, restore to them their full God-given rights, and put an end to their captivity and systematic persecution and abuse; 
  • Commend the United States Department of State for designating these actions against the Uyghur people as meeting the standard of “genocide”; 
  • Commend the ERLC for their ongoing advocacy for the Uyghur people and for being among the first major organizations to advocate for their cause; 
  • Strongly urge the United States government to continue to take concrete actions with respect to the People’s Republic of China to bring an end to the genocide of the Uyghur People, and work to secure their humane treatment, immediate release from reeducation camps, and religious freedom; 
  • Implore the United States government to prioritize the admission of Uyghurs to this country as refugees, and provide resources for their support and resettlement;
  • Earnestly pray for the Uyghur people as they suffer under such persecution and pray for the Christian workers and relief workers who bring the Uyghur people physical aid and the message of hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, so they can experience freedom found only in Christ.

On the Coronavirus Pandemic

This resolution states the messengers: 

  • Mourn the lives lost to this disease, awaiting the day when “Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Addendum: During the meeting, the messengers also voted for the creation of a task force, appointed by the new SBC president, to oversee an independent review of the Executive Committee over allegations of mishandling reports of sexual abuse. 

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