What you should know about the 2022 SBC state convention resolutions

December 2, 2022

Within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), resolutions have traditionally been defined as an expression of opinion or concern, as compared to a motion, which calls for action. A resolution is not used to direct an entity of the denomination to specific action other than to communicate the opinion or concern expressed. Each year, resolutions are passed during the annual meetings of the state conventions.

Highlighted below are some examples of resolutions on ERLC related issues from the 2022 conventions:

Alabama Baptist Convention

Resolution No. 1: On Appreciation for the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 15-16, 2022, offer thanks and praise to God for turning hearts on the issue of protecting innocent human life.

Resolution No. 3: On Calling for Repeal of Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Alabama

RESOLVED, That each city and county in the state of Alabama refuse to pass resolutions permitting the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries within their jurisdictions and to otherwise close such dispensaries that may have been opened while the Act is in effect.

Resolution No. 4: In Support of the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act

RESOLVED, That appropriate and wise medical, psychological, and spiritual counsel be determined to protect minors from improper and unnecessary life-changing medical procedures and to provide support for them, their parents, and their families.

Resolution No. 5: On Reaffirmation of Christian Parenting for All Children

RESOLVED, That Alabama Baptist churches teach sound Biblical values as God’s pattern for family life, marriage, and parenting; and that each church provide a spiritually-nourishing environment for every family and diligently commit to equipping parents to support and empower their children to fulfill their God-given potential.

Resolution No. 6: On Appreciation to the Sexual Abuse Task Force

RESOLVED, That we commend Alabama Baptist entities and local churches as they protect the vulnerable by making sure their facilities are safe spaces for all as we seek to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Arkansas Baptist State Convention

Resolution No. 3: On Opposing the Potential Harmful Effects of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Resolved, that we the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Arkansas, October 25-26, 2022, implore Arkansas voters to cast their votes against Issue 4, the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment.

Resolution No. 4: On Supporting the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment

Resolved, that we implore all Arkansans to support Issue 3, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment, and, if able, cast their votes for its passage, sensing that it is the right thing to do and now is the time to do it. 

Missouri Baptist Convention

Resolution No. 4: On the Overturning of Roe V. Wade

RESOLVED, that we commend the recent decision of the Supreme Court and the work of Missouri lawmakers regarding abortion, and we thank God for granting them wisdom;

Resolution No. 5: On Puberty Suppression and the Gift of Gender

RESOLVED, that the messengers of the Missouri Baptist Convention meeting in St. Charles, Missouri, October 25, 2022 oppose the use of puberty blockers for children experiencing childhood gender nonconformity;

Resolution No. 6: On Gambling

RESOLVED, that we encourage the churches and associations cooperating with the Missouri Baptist Convention to engage in vigorous programs of education for adults, teenagers, and children about the moral tragedies wrought by legalized gambling; 

Resolution No. 7: On Recreational Marijuana and Missouri Amendment 3

RESOLVED, that we oppose any activity that would render our neighbors and ourselves enslaved to any chemical dependency, contrary to the healing and renewing will of the Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 6:12);

Resolution No. 8: On Proclaiming Biblical Morality 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention meeting in St. Charles, Missouri, October 25, 2022, call upon our Pastors to raise the standard of Godly morality lived out in their personal lives to serve as an example;

Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma

Resolution No. 4: On Religious Liberty, Forced Conversion, and the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

We lament the degradation and dehumanization, which included forced removal of children from their families, forced child labor, removal of their tribal identity, confinement, flogging, withholding food, whipping, slapping, and cuffing, as well as discouraging or preventing the use of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian languages, religions, and cultural practices. We declare the atrocities done against these people in the name of religious “conversions” as reprehensible, betraying the Great Commission.

Resolution No. 5:  Against Recreational Marijuana

We believe that states should protect their people from the proliferation of recreational marijuana. Legalizing addictive drugs for recreational use leaves neighborhoods, families, and schools vulnerable for exploitation. We pray that Oklahoma will maintain legal barriers between these substances and the communities they devastate, and that the church will work with Christ-centered ministries to reach people who are impacted by addiction.

Resolution No. 6: On the Overturn of Roe v. Wade and Supporting Pregnancy Resource Centers

We remain fully committed to this shared effort, to honor the image of God in the preborn, their mothers and fathers, and the uniquely challenging circumstances they face. We pledge to support this gospel ministry with prayer, volunteer work, and financial resources.

South Carolina Baptist Convention

On the Use of Preferred Gender Pronouns 

RESOLVED, that we encourage all South Carolina Baptists to resist speaking falsely and giving credence to the philosophies of the LGBTQ+ movement by adopting preferred pronouns that do not refer to a person’s created sex and biological makeup;

Encouraging the South Carolina Legislature to Pass a Law Protecting Minors by Prohibiting Transgender Surgery, Puberty Blockers, and Cross-Hormone Therapies

RESOLVED, we strongly encourage the South Carolina Legislature to draft and pass a law that will prohibit children under the age of 18 from obtaining transgender surgery, receiving puberty-blocking medication, or being subjected to cross-hormone treatment;

Exhorting Affiliated South Carolina Baptist Convention Churches to Develop Biblical Definitions and Policies to Confront Sexual Abuse

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention meeting in Irmo, South Carolina, on November 14–15, 2022, exhort churches and their leaders to recognize the potential effect sexual abuse can have on individuals and their congregations; to develop biblical definitions of sexual abuse; and to develop and/or strengthen policies and procedures to acknowledge, prevent, report, and facilitate healing from the effects of sexual abuse in their congregations consistent with Holy Scripture and applicable law.

Strengthening And Clarifying Laws Concerning Pastors And Churches Regarding Sexual Abuse

RESOLVED, we encourage South Carolina lawmakers to remove barriers to the free flow of information between churches and other entities about employees and volunteers and, in so doing, empower churches to prevent sexual abuse;  

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC)

Resolution 3: On Gambling

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, meeting November 14–15, 2022, in Corpus Christi, Texas, declare our opposition to any further legalization, government facilitation, or expansion of any type of gambling including land-based casinos, riverboat casinos, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, instant racing, electronic versions of raffles, bingo, lottery scratch tickets, Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), expanded lotteries and Keno; phone and computer-based wagering; and the expanded use of gambling technologies in Texas; 

Resolution 4: On Biblical Gender & Sexuality

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention exhort our members and leaders to not accept any type of false doctrine or deceptive application related to gender identity and sexuality rather than what is stated clearly in Genesis 1:27 (“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”), affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Article IV, “The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation,” and demonstrate this truth by teaching our children to honor God with their bodies; 

Resolution 5: On Celebration of the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

RESOLVED, we encourage all Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to take up the responsibility of both the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel by teaching the grace, forgiveness, and hope of Christ and by continuing steadfast in our commitment to pursue pure and undefiled religion prayerfully, financially, and practically in prenatal and postnatal care through pregnancy resource centers, counseling, fostering, adoption, and other available means.

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