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Key resolutions from the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting

Earlier this week, messengers to the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California, 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:

On the Prosperity Gospel

This resolution states that the messengers of the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting:

  • Denounce the teaching of the prosperity gospel;
  • Affirm that God and God alone is our highest good and our supreme treasure, not health, wealth, or the removal of sickness (Philippians 4:10-13; Revelation 21:1-4);
  • Affirm that our confidence is in our eternal inheritance purchased through the work of Christ and is guaranteed by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:11-14; 1 Peter 1:1-7).

On the War in Ukraine

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Strongly condemn the actions of the Russian Federation in her declaration and acts of war against the sovereign nation of Ukraine;
  • Call upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to cease hostilities immediately, withdraw the Russian military, and end this war of aggression against Ukraine and her people;
  • Implore the United States government to prioritize the admission of Ukrainian refugees into our country and provide resources for their support and resettlement;
  • Commend, appreciate, and affirm they will continue to support the ongoing relief efforts of Southern Baptists in Ukraine through the work of the International Mission Board and Send Relief, who are working diligently to aid Ukrainian refugees fleeing to other parts of Ukraine or to the safe harbors of neighboring countries;
  • Stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Christ as well as the people of Ukraine who have endured these atrocities and who have witnessed the horrors of war firsthand while seeking to defend their country from an invasion by a hostile army;
  • Pray for Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary, like-minded institutions, and our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the country of Ukraine who continue to share the gospel, minister to the hurting, serve their churches, gather for worship, and exalt our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of a warzone at great risk to themselves, their families, and their churches;
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Russian Federation and for all who stand opposed to this war of Russian aggression, speaking out against it at great personal cost to themselves, their families, and their churches;
  • Commit to earnestly and continually praying to the Lord, who is able to do all things, for an end to this war, for peace in Ukraine, for the presidents and leaders of both countries, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine forth as a beacon of eternal peace, security, and salvation for all who will turn to him.

On Religious Liberty, Forced Conversion, and the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Encourage Southern Baptists to decry the methods of forced assimilation and conversion, as well as the dehumanization of fellow image bearers;
  • Affirm that Southern Baptists stand in support of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians—especially those who are a part of our own family of churches—as they process the findings of this report and discern next steps toward healing;
  • Affirm that Southern Baptists earnestly pray for the families of those targeted by the atrocities brought to light in this investigation (Psalm 82:3-4; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3);
  • Condemn any federal government’s policy, former or current, to replace “the tribal culture for its own” in an effort to ease their intent “to separate tribes from their territories.”;
  • Declare the atrocities done against these people in the name of religious “conversions” as reprehensible, betraying the Great Commission (and our efforts to reach all nations with the gospel (Matthew 10:14; Matthew 28:18-20; John 3:8);
  • Stand against forced conversions and distorted missiological practices as contrary to our distinctive beliefs as Baptists in religious liberty and soul-freedom (The Baptist Faith & Message, Article XVII);
  • Affirm we will place our confidence for salvation in God alone, which is “offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer” (The Baptist Faith & Message, Article IV; Romans 7:24-25).

On Support for Consistent Laws Regarding Pastoral Sexual Abuse

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Encourage lawmakers in every state to pass laws that would provide consistent definitions and classification of sexual abuse by pastors, as sexual abuse committed by pastors constitutes a clear abuse of authority and trust (similarly seen in the relationships in the aforementioned professional settings);
  • Encourage lawmakers in every state to pass laws that would empower churches by shielding them from civil liability when they share information about alleged abuse with other organizations or institutions;
  • Affirm that while we hold convictions about and celebrate ecclesial autonomy, we also believe that it is both important and biblical (1 Corinthians 14:33) to develop a culture of transparency and mutual responsibility between churches, so that it is clear that our churches are not places for predators to hide, as we, “contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death,” seeking “to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love” (BFM Art. XV);
  • Affirm that while in this world we must face the temporal consequences of our sin, such as disqualification, we joyfully acknowledge that there is no sin that cannot be forgiven and no person who cannot be restored to Christ (Psalm 103:12, Ephesians 1:7-8);  
  • Support actions that protect the innocent within the churches of the Southern Baptist convention from wolves in shepherd’s clothing and embrace actions that empower churches to be able to report instances of abuse to appropriate authorities without fear of civil liability.

On Lament and Repentance for Sexual Abuse

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Denounce in the strongest possible terms every instance of sexual abuse, those who perpetrate abuse, and those who seek to defend or protect these perpetrators;
  • Affirm the Bible’s teaching to seek justice for those who have been harmed, protect the vulnerable, and honor the dignity and worth of survivors of sexual abuse (Genesis 1:26, Psalm 82:2-4, Isaiah 1:17, Micah 6:8);
  • Publicly lament the harm our actions and inactions have caused to survivors of sexual abuse;
  • Publicly apologize to and ask forgiveness from survivors of sexual abuse for our failure to care well for survivors, for our failure to hold perpetrators of sexual abuse adequately accountable in our churches and institutions, for our institutional responses which have prioritized the reputation of our institutions over protection and justice for survivors, and for the unspeakable harm this failure has caused to survivors through both our action and inaction;
  • Publicly repent and acknowledge our need for comprehensive change in caring well for survivors of sexual abuse;
  • Affirm that amid our failures, we express our hope in Christ, who never fails to care for those who have been harmed, that he watches over the vulnerable members of our churches, that he can bring healing to survivors of sexual abuse, and that he can bring both retributive justice to perpetrators of sexual abuse and restorative justice to survivors of sexual abuse;
  • Affirm we will prayerfully endeavor to eliminate all instances of sexual abuse among our churches;
  • Commit to the ongoing moral demands of the gospel in relation to sexual abuse, observing the command of our Lord to “teach everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20), including the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27, 34-35);
  • Call for churches to teach the importance of honoring one another and treating one another virtuously in the area of sexuality so churches can become safe places that protect the vulnerable;
  • Call for Southern Baptitsts  to give of our time and resources to bind the wounds of the broken, hold accountable perpetrators of sexual abuse and those who seek to defend them, and care well for survivors of sexual abuse; and be it finally
  • Recognize and appreciate the work and advocacy of sexual abuse survivors, repent of our resistance and neglect of their efforts, and unreservedly apologize to survivors mentioned in the report, including Christa Brown, Susan Codone, Megan Lively, Jennifer Lyell, Anne Marie Miller, David Pittman, Tiffany Thigpen, Debbie Vasquez, Hannah-Kate Williams, and Jules Woodson, for our not heeding their collective warnings and taking swift action to address clergy sexual abuse sooner. (These are the survivors mentioned in the report who have given their consent to have their names listed.)

On Anticipation of a Historic Moment in the Pro-life Movement

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Encourage all Southern Baptists to pray for the overturning of the disastrous precedent set in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey;
  • Commend the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s frontline work on the pro-life cause and urge all Southern Baptists to continue our faithful pro-life advocacy by partnering with local, state, and federal governments to enact pro-life and pro-family policies that serve and support vulnerable women, children, and families;
  • Implore Southern Baptists to continue and increase their efforts to serve and support local pregnancy resource centers, pro-life organizations, churches, foster care and adoptive families, doing invaluable and often under-recognized work in the care of women and children at every stage of life;
  • Commit to standing with and praying for abortion-vulnerable women, to eliminate any perceived need for the horror of abortion, and to oppose Planned Parenthood and other predatory organizations or institutions who exploit vulnerable women for profit;
  • Urge the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the precedent set in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and urge the state legislatures to enact pro-life policies that uphold the dignity and value of every human life, including both vulnerable women and children.

On the Imago Dei and the Helpful Content Submitted in Several Resolutions

This resolution states the messengers:

  • Encourage all Southern Baptists to affirm the dignity and value of every person as created in God’s image and to proclaim the fullness of the Christian ethic throughout our churches and in the public square as we seek the flourishing of all people in accordance with God’s good design for humanity;
  • Call Southern Baptists to uphold the beauty of the Christian sexual ethic in a world that promotes dangerous and dehumanizing ideologies such as those within the LGBTQ+ movement and other sexual perversions including abuse, pedophilic behavior, and the use of pornography, all of which are fundamentally at odds with God’s design for human sexuality;
  • Call Southern Baptists to seek to love our neighbors as ourselves, standing firm on God’s created order which recognizes that any sexual desire or attraction outside of God’s design for human sexuality is sin and is disordered regardless of whether or not it creates feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety on the one hand or pride on the other hand;
  • Call Southern Baptists to seek to proclaim to the next generation God’s love for all and his good design for human sexuality, modeling how to faithfully engage others with both truth and grace, and redouble our ongoing efforts to cultivate a heart of wisdom and discernment in the next generation especially in regards to various forms of entertainment and social media;
  • Reaffirm our 2018 Resolution “On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings” and earnestly pray for our local, state, and federal leaders to recognize the seriousness of the ongoing threat of mass shootings throughout our society and to take concrete steps toward solutions that uphold the dignity and value of every human life, especially the most vulnerable among us, and to minimize the threat of gun violence throughout our society;
  • Affirm that the worth of every human being, including those affected by disabilities, is found in Christ, the true Imago Dei (Colossians 1:15-17), not in people’s fallen perceptions of worth or abilities.

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