SBC 2019: Guide to Birmingham

May 28, 2019

The 2019 SBC is almost here, so it’s with great pleasure that we introduce our seventh annual ERLC guide to food and fun at the convention. We want to bring you the best of what Birmingham has to offer so that you can make the most of your time at the annual meeting. For other guides, check out this episode of “SBC This Week” and visit Jared Cornutt’s blog.  

While you’re at the SBC, be sure to make plans to join the ERLC at these events:

Sexual Abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention:  Join the ERLC as we have a candid conversation on "Sexual Abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention" at the SBC Annual Meeting on Monday, June 10, at 9 p.m.. With everything that is happening around us, this is a conversation that Christians desperately need to have. Speakers will include Russell Moore, J.D. Greear, Beth Moore, Rachael Denhollander, and several others.

B21 Luncheon: The B21 Panel will take place on Tuesday, June 11, immediately following the morning session (approximately 11:30 a.m.). Register to hear from Russell Moore, J.D. Greear, Albert Mohler, Jen Wilkin, Dhati Lewis, and Danny Akin. Lunch and books will be provided to all paying attendees.


Birmingham has a variety food options, including soul food, BBQ, Mexican, seafood, and burgers. With the help of a few friends over Twitter, we’ve compiled a list of options around the Birmingham area.

The Convention Center’s address is 2100 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N. Birmingham, AL 35203. You can plug these restaurants into your phone to see what’s closest. We hope you enjoy!  

Bob Sykes BBQ | @SykesBBQ “Serving REAL Southern BBQ, Sides & Desserts. BBQ goes from the Pit to the Plate.” Address: 1724 9th Avenue North, Bessemer, AL 35020. Phone Number: (205) 426-1400.

The Bright Star | Serving “specialty Greek- style snapper and steak, signature seafood gumbo, luncheon specials, and famous pies.” Address: 304 19th Street North, Bessemer, AL 35020. Phone: (205) 426-1861.

Whataburger | @Whataburger “Circa-1950 fast-food chain for counter-serve burgers.” Address: 1601 Main Street, Fultondale, AL 35068. Phone number: (205) 849-2933.

El Barrio | “Inspired by multi-regional Mexican cuisine, urban design and locally sourced ingredients … Our fresh, inventive menu is brimming with bold flavors and regional classics.”  Address: 2211 2nd Ave N. Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: 205.868.3737.

Eugene’s Hot Chicken | Located conveniently within walking distance of the Convention Center. Brick and mortar address: 2268 9th Ave North, Birmingham, AL, 35203. Phone: (205) 322-7555.  Check out their food Truck: @EugenesHotChicken.

Trattoria Centralem| “Popular, petite cafe serving pizzas with creative toppings & other Italian fare in a trendy space.” Address: 207A 20th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: 205-202-5612.

Pizitz Food Hall | This food court is only a mile away from the Convention Center, and you can find the following food options there: Alabama Biscuit Company, Busy Cheese Corner and Provisions, Eli’s Jerusalem Grill, Ethiopian Cuisine,  JuicedUp Essentials, Lichita’s Popsicles and Ice Cream, The Standard,  Waffle Works, and more. Address: 1821 Second Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203.

Niki’s West | Steak and Seafood Restaurant. Address: 233 Finley Ave. West, Birmingham, AL 35204. Phone: 205-252-5751.

Dreamland | “Local BBQ chain serving hickory-fired ribs, plates & sandwiches, plus wings & comfort sides.” Address: 1427 14th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205. Phone: (205) 933-2133.

Salem’s | (Breakfast and lunch only) Known for their Philly Cheese Steak. Address: 2913 18th Street South, Homewood, AL 35209. Phone: (205)-877-8797.

Sam’s Super Samwiches | (Breakfast and lunch only) Hotdogs, hamburgers, sandwiches. 2812 18th Street South, Homewood, AL 35209. Phone:  205-871-0046.

Little Donkey Mexican Restaurant | Born out of a “love of the vibrant flavors and brilliant combinations that traditional Mexican cooks have created for centuries.” To-go taco and fried chicken packs are available. Address: 2821 Central Ave #101, Homewood, AL 35209. Phone: (205) 703-7000.

Holler and Dash | @holleranddash Biscuit house serving breakfast and lunch daily from 7:00am to 2:00pm. Address: 2801 18th St. S.,Homewood, AL 35209. Phone: (205) 414-0999.

Saw’s BBQ | @sawsbbq “The original Saws Proclaimed Best BBQ in America by Men’s Journal’s try out the distinctive white barbecue sauce popular in northern Alabama.” Address: 1008 Oxmoor Rd, Homewood, AL 35209. Phone: (205) 879-1937.

Johnny’s Restaurant | Serve fresh, local foods. Open for lunch only Sunday- Friday. Address: 2902 18th St South Suite 200 Homewood, AL 35209. Phone: 205-802-2711.

Saw’s Juke Joint | “Self-proclaimed "upscale dive" serving Southern barbecue fare like pulled pork & chicken & waffles.” Address: 1115 Dunston Ave, Birmingham, AL 35213. Phone: (205) 745-3920.

Costa’s BBQ |“Finest ingredients combined with true Southern hospitality creates a unique and unforgettable dining experience.” 2 locations: 215 Lakeshore Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35209. Phone: (205) 263-0145 or 613 Springville Rd, Birmingham, Alabama 35215. Phone: 205-853-9933.

Fancy’s on Fifth | Oysters and Gourmet Burgers. Address: 430 41st Street South, Avondale, AL 35222. Phone: (205) 777-3662 (Closed on Mondays).

Saw’s Soul Kitchen | “Humble restaurant with pig decor, specializing in Southern eats such as BBQ & soul food.” Address: 215 41st St S, Birmingham, AL 35222. Phone: (205) 591-1409.

Five | Gulf to Table. Address: 744 29th Street S., Birmingham, AL 35233 . Phone: (205) 868-3841 (Closed on Mondays). Taco Mama| It’s been called “The best taco joint in Alabama.” Address: 707 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd S #103, Birmingham, AL 35233. Phone: (205) 644-8355.

Jim and Nick’s | @JimNNicksBBQ Ribs. Pork. Chicken. Brisket. Sausage. Community BBQ. Address: 1660 Gadsden Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35235. Phone: (205) 547-3602.

Coffee and dessert  

Bizarre: The Coffee Bar | A spot for coffee, breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and more. Address: 217 22nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: (205) 201-5764.

Urban Standard | “Anchoring the Second Avenue North neighborhood, Urban Standard offers some of the most beautiful espresso-based beverages in town, as well as a creative menu of sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, their Thai noodle bowl, hummus plate and ‘hippie gumbo,’ among other offerings.” Address: 2320 Second Ave. N. Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: (205) 250-8200.

O’Henry’s Coffees | “Relaxed local coffeehouse chain serving espresso drinks, breakfast, sandwiches & desserts.” Address: 1901 6th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: (205) 323-1198. 

Octane Uptown | “From coffee to customer service and community events, Octane is dedicated to being a creative hub where connectivity can happen.” Address: 2221 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35203.

Revelator Coffee | “Bright, modern cafe serving craft coffee, local donuts & other bites amid industrial-chic decor.” Address: 1826 3rd Ave N Unit 101, Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: (205) 224-5900.

FILTER-Coffee Parlor | “FILTER-Coffee Parlor goes beyond a typical American coffee shop and connects with our community by providing a place that allows patrons to engage with each other. Our focus is on offering high quality coffees, teas, specialty drinks, and seasonal eats within a space that nurtures our community and provides a place for all to enjoy – a space that fits their needs.” Address: 1927 11th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205. Phone: (205) 202-6422.

Cookie Fix | "Cookie Fix is a small batch cookie shop located in Homewood, Alabama. Visit us for fresh baked, Frozen Dough to Go, seasonal desserts, and more.” Address: 2854 18th St S, Homewood, AL 35209. Phone: (205) 582-2623. Big Spoon

Creamery | "Contemporary counter serve for traditional & seasonal ice cream scoops, sandwiches & sundaes.” Address: 4000 3rd Ave S #104, Birmingham, AL 35222. Phone: (205) 703-4712.

Lucy’s Coffee and Tea | “Coffee, tea, sandwiches & baked goods in a cozy American cafe with couches & colorful paintings.” Address: 2007 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35233. Phone: (205) 328-2007.

Red Cat Coffee House and Gourmet Coffee Roasters | “The Red Cat offers the Birmingham community a gathering place for connecting over great coffee and wholesome food.” Address: 2901 Second Ave. S., Pepper Place. Birmingham, AL 35233. Phone: (205) 616-8450.

The Church Street Story: Books, Coffee & Breakup Cookies | "Church Street Coffee & Books is an independent bookstore and coffee shop in Birmingham, Alabama. We’re the home of the famous Breakup Cookie (the best chocolate chip cookie you’ll ever have), we carry a fantastic book selection, and we proudly serve Octane Coffee, roasted locally in Homewood, Alabama.” Address: Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village at 81, Mountain Brook, AL 35213. Church Street. Phone: (205) 870-1117.

Things to do and see  

If you have extra time while in Birmingham, there are several things to do and see. Whether you want to visit a museum or spend your time outdoors, you’re sure to find something interesting. Here a few options:

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum | “Contemporary, glass-enclosed setup for 1,200+ motorcycles & race cars with an adjacent road course.” Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, Alabama 35094. Phone: (205) 699-7275.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute | “A large interpretive museum and research center in Birmingham, Alabama that depicts the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.” Address: 520 16th St N. Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: (205) 328-9696.

McWane Science Center | “The McWane Science Center is a science museum and research archive located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The state-of-the-art science center, aquarium, and 280-seat IMAX Dome Theater is housed in the historic and refurbished Loveman's department store building.” Address: 3117, 200 19th St N. Birmingham, AL 35203. Phone: 205-714-8300.

Vulcan Park and Museum | “Statue symbolizing city's industries sits atop Red Mountain, surrounded by a park & a museum.” Address: 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209. Phone: (205) 933-1409.

Red Mountain Park | “A 1,500-acre public urban park that encloses a 4.5-mile-long section of Red Mountain, a prominent ridge that passes through Birmingham, Alabama. The woodland park contains closed mines and other artifacts of the city's industrial history.” Address: 2011 Frankfurt Dr, Birmingham, AL 35211. Phone: (205) 202-6043.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens | “The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is 67.5-acre of botanical gardens located adjacent to Lane Park at the southern foot of Red Mountain.” Address: 2612 Lane Park Rd. Birmingham, AL 35223. Phone: 205-414-3950.

Birmingham Zoo | “A zoological park that opened in 1955. It is the largest zoo in Alabama. The 122-acre zoo is home to almost 800 animals representing over 200 species, including many endangered species from six continents. Address: 2630 Cahaba Rd. Birmingham, AL 35223. Phone: 205-879-0409.

Regions Field | “A minor league baseball park in the Southside community of Birmingham. It is the home field for the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League.” Address: 1401 1st Ave S. Birmingham, AL 35233. Phone: (205) 988-3200.

Top Golf | @Topgolf “Sprawling entertainment venue with a high-tech driving range.” Address: 1111 24th St. N. Birmingham, AL 35234. Phone: (205) 847-5757.

Phillip Bethancourt

Phillip Bethancourt is Senior Pastor of Central Church in College Station, Texas. Before he was called to pastor Central, he served as the Executive Vice President of the ERLC team. He completed an MDiv and PhD in Systematic Theology at Southern after attending Texas A&M University. Phillip and his wife, Cami, have been married since 2005, … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24