Month: June 2017

2017 SBC Resolutions


WHEREAS, Scripture reveals Jesus engaging in prayer on many occasions (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16); and

WHEREAS, The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1); and

WHEREAS, Jesus taught His disciples a model prayer to help them know how to pray (Luke 11:2–4); and

WHEREAS, Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and His future disciples (John 17:1–26); and

WHEREAS, Jesus instructed His disciples that some of the most demanding spiritual work of the church requires prayer (Mark 9:14–29); and

WHEREAS, Fasting is often associated with times of concerted prayer in Scripture (Daniel 10:3; Esther 4:16; Acts 14:21–23); and

WHEREAS, Scripture commands God’s people: “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face always” (Psalm 105:4); and

WHEREAS, Psalms is primarily a book of prayer; and

WHEREAS, Prayer is the principal means of communicating and communing with God; and

WHEREAS, God answers the prayers of His people in accordance to His will (1 John 5:14–15); and

WHEREAS, Scripture records great acts of God in response to the prayers of His people (1 Kings 18:36–39; Acts 4:23–31); and

WHEREAS, Jesus taught His disciples to pray without ceasing (Luke 18:1–5); and

WHEREAS, The apostles considered prayer to be one of their two highest priorities (Acts 6:4); and

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that God works in response to prayer (Matthew 7:7–11; James 5:16); and

WHEREAS, Every great revival has been preceded by God’s people praying; and

WHEREAS, Regular corporate prayer is essential to the life of the local church and regular personal prayer is essential to the life of the believer (Acts 2:42–47; 1 Thessalonians 5:17–18; Philippians 4:4–7); and

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that the chief enemy of the praying believer is Satan (Daniel 10:10–14; Ephesians 6:10–18; 1 Peter 5:8); and

WHEREAS, The theme of the 2017 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention encourages us to “Pray! For Such a Time as This,” and President Steve Gaines called us to fast and pray for the twenty-one days leading up to the annual meeting; and

WHEREAS, Prayer guides and additional resources for prayer are available at; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, confess and repent of any lack of prayer in our own lives and our churches; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask God to search our hearts and show us if there is any hindrance in us to His work in and through us for His glory; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray and urge our fellow Southern Baptists to join us in prayer for the next twenty-one days, leading up to July 4th, for God to be merciful to Southern Baptists, empoweringnus anew with His Holy Spirit to be His witnesses in our communities, states, nation, and world; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists to make an ongoing commitment to spend at least fifteen minutes of every day in prayer, to the best of our ability, and to fast as a regular discipline, as we are able, in order to resist the desires of the flesh and focus on the things of the Spirit; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we join together in pleading with God for a great outpouring of His Spirit, leading to a revival of the churches to the end that many millions will come to faith in Jesus, be added to our churches, and dedicate themselves to following His will.


WHEREAS, October 31, 2017, marks the five hundredth anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther’s nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany; and

WHEREAS, The Reformation stressed a return to the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture as the supreme guide for faith and practice in the church of Jesus Christ; and

WHEREAS, The Reformation was driven by the biblical conviction that sinners are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone based on Scripture alone to the glory of God alone; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists trace much of their theological heritage to the events, figures, and principles of the Magisterial Reformation and the Radical Reformation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists particularly value the principles of the Reformation that inspired subsequent generations of Baptists to advocate for the religious liberty of all people; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, express our gratitude to God for the courage and conviction of our Reformation forebears; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves anew to the biblical convictions of the Reformation, calling all people everywhere to personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as taught by holy Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we will promote the sufficiency of Scripture, the power of Christ’s grace, and the personal accountability of all humanity before God even as we advocate for the fundamental right of all people to exercise religious liberty; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we will proclaim the priority and preeminence of Christ and His kingdom above all earthly powers to the glory of God alone.


WHEREAS, For its first seven decades, the Southern Baptist Convention carried out its work between annual meetings through numerous ad hoc committees, electing as many as thirty-three committees in a given year; and

WHEREAS, The Convention recognized that such a cumbersome organizational structure was inadequate to accomplish its ministry purposes in the twentieth century; and

WHEREAS, In 1916, a messenger from Texas moved that the Convention “establish one strong Executive Board which shall direct all of the work and enterprises fostered and promoted by this Convention”; and

WHEREAS, Following a year of study, with input from Southern Baptists, many expressing opposition to such centralized power, a proposal was made to establish an Executive Committee with limited authority to help coordinate the Convention’s work; and

WHEREAS, On May 17, 1917, during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention was created; and

WHEREAS, In 1927, the Convention enlarged the Executive Committee’s scope of duties to include acting ad interim on behalf of the Convention and recommending an operating budget for the Southern Baptist Convention each year and the allocation of Cooperative Program funds to SBC entities; and

WHEREAS, Over the years the Executive Committee shepherded the fledgling Cooperative Program; helped avert a Convention-wide financial crisis in the early twentieth century; initiated Bold Mission Thrust, a campaign adopted by the SBC in 1978 “to enable every person in the world to have the opportunity to hear and to respond to the Gospel of Christ by the year 2000”; led in the adoption of the Covenant for a New Century (1995–1997) with its attendant streamlining of SBC entities; appointed numerous advisory councils to broaden representation and participation of people from numerous ethnic minority and language groups within Convention life; and continues to champion the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our cooperative outreach into the twenty-first century; and

WHEREAS, The SBC Organization Manual states, “The Executive Committee continues to exist to minister to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by acting for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for in a manner that encourages the cooperation and confidence of the churches, associations, and state conventions and facilitates maximum support for worldwide missions and ministries”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, give thanks to God for His providence in the establishment of the Executive Committee one hundred years ago; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we honor the thousands of men and women who have served the Southern Baptist Convention through the “behind the scenes” work of the Executive Committee; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the Executive Committee for almost a century of promotion of the Cooperative Program and its faithful and continued partnership with Southern Baptist churches, SBC entities, associations, state conventions, ethnic minority fellowships, and other affinity groups; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we encourage the Executive Committee to continue to champion support for the worldwide ministries of the cooperating churches of the Southern Baptist Convention until the day of our Lord’s glorious return.


WHEREAS, Many of the next generation of leaders are being trained on college and university campuses across America; and

WHEREAS, American higher education is becoming increasingly secular, leading to educational systems that are further removed from a biblical worldview; and

WHEREAS, There are millions of students on campuses who, apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, will spend an eternity in hell; and

WHEREAS, University ministry during the twentieth century became influenced by parachurch ministries that did not always connect students to the vital, life-giving work of the local church; and

WHEREAS, Scripture calls us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16–20), including those that come to America for education; and

WHEREAS, Our Lord called us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, necessitating a comprehensive approach to evangelism and discipleship (Matthew 22:34–39); and

WHEREAS, Many secularists and non-Christians unapologetically seek to win the next generation to their worldviews, training them to shed their religious beliefs and embrace an agnostic, atheistic, or non-exclusivistic approach to life and thought; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically acted with Gospel urgency and serious financial commitment to reach students on their local campuses through numerous ministry initiatives such as Baptist Collegiate Ministry (currently serving 860 campuses), collegiate ministry resources produced by LifeWay, myMISSION by Woman’s Missionary Union, as well as the more recent Collegiate Church Planting initiative of the North American Mission Board; and

WHEREAS, The moral decay of our culture and the secularization of America compels Southern Baptists to reach college students for Christ; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, recognize the tremendous Gospel opportunity on college campuses across America; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge our fellow Southern Baptists to devote considerable prayer, strategy, and investment in evangelistic and discipleship endeavors by strengthening existing works and increasing the connection between campus ministries and the local church.


WHEREAS, In recent days numerous voices from the Protestant world have boldly attacked the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement; and

WHEREAS, These voices have publicly labeled penal substitution “monstrous,” “evil,” “a terrible doctrine,” and indicative of “the Father murdering a son”; and

WHEREAS, The “anti-violence” model of the cross of Christ weakens the Bible’s teaching by recasting the atonement as a basis for pacifism (in contradiction of Romans 13:4); and

WHEREAS, God is perfect in His holiness (Isaiah 6:3) and perfect in His justice (Deuteronomy 32:4), as He is also perfect in His love (1 John 4:8); and

WHEREAS, On the cross of Christ Jesus the perfect love of God perfectly applies the perfect justice of God to satisfy the perfect holiness of God in order to redeem sinners (Romans 3:26); and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement in effect denies the holy and loving God the exercise of His justice, the overflow of which in a sinful world is the outpouring of His just retributive wrath; and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement thus displays in effect the denial of the perfect character of the one true God; and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement constitutes false teaching that leads the flock astray (Acts 20:28) and leaves the world without a message of a sin-cleansing Savior (Romans 5:6–11); and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement necessarily compromises the biblical and historical doctrines of propitiation, expiation, ransom, satisfaction, Christus Victor, Christus Exemplar, and more; and

WHEREAS, The Lord promised a warrior-savior who would crush the head of the serpent to obliterate the enemy (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; Revelation 19:11–16); and

WHEREAS, The sacrificial system of the Old Testament culminated in the blood sacrifice of a spotless lamb on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:11–19); and

WHEREAS, Jesus Himself unveiled the salvific mission that necessitated His incarnation (Hebrews 2:17) when He said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28); and

WHEREAS, The confession of the Scriptures is that Christ is our passive and active righteousness, forgiving all our sin by His death and imputing to us all His righteousness through faith (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9); and

WHEREAS, An apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ called the shed blood of the Savior “precious” (1 Peter 1:19); and

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” of sin (Hebrews 9:22); and

WHEREAS, Baptist pastor-theologians and scholars with differing soteriological convictions have made the preaching of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ the foundation of their ministry, heralding the Good News all over this world; and

WHEREAS, Countless missionaries and martyrs of the Christian faith have laid down their lives in order to tell fellow sinners about the death of Christ for the wicked, thus obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20); and

WHEREAS, Baptists preach the cross of Christ, sing about the cross, cling to the cross, share the cross, love the cross, and take up their own crosses to follow their Lord, even as the world despises His cross and the proclaimers of His cross; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message was revised in 2000, incorporating for the first time the language of substitution to make plain what evangelical Baptists have long since preached and believed; and

WHEREAS, Around the throne of God into all eternity, the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, ethnicity, and nation will cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain !” (Revelation 5:12, ESV); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, reaffirm the truthfulness, efficacy, and beauty of the biblical doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement as the burning core of the Gospel message and the only hope of a fallen race.


WHEREAS, Scripture clearly affirms the sanctity of human life throughout all stages of development (Psalm 139:13–16); and

WHEREAS, God abhors the shedding of innocent blood and requires His people to do all in their power to rescue persons from such acts (Proverbs 6:16–17; 24:11–12); and

WHEREAS, In The Baptist Faith & Message and in many resolutions Southern Baptists have repeatedly affirmed our commitment to the sanctity of human life; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates were responsible for 328,348 abortions in America in fiscal year 2015/16, according to its latest annual report, representing an increase of more than 4,300 abortions from the prior year, making PPFA and its affiliates America’s leading abortionists; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood’s total revenues in fiscal year 2015/16 were $1.354 billion, including $555 million from federal government funding, record highs for both categories, resulting in a profit of $77 million; and

WHEREAS, According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Planned Parenthood’s advocacy and political arms, employees, and family members of employees spent more than $38 million in the last four years to elect political candidates sympathetic with their immoral policy objectives; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report indicates it performs more abortions than cancer screenings, demonstrating the central role abortion plays in the immoral enterprise of this organization; and

WHEREAS, In July 2015, investigative journalists with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) began releasing a series of undercover videos in which various senior leaders of Planned Parenthood spoke in astonishingly frank, horrific, and euphemistic ways about unborn babies, their use of illegal abortion methods, and their harvesting of tissues and organs of unborn babies to further profit from the practice of abortion; and

WHEREAS, Contrary to claims by Planned Parenthood and its allies that the videos were edited in a manner to portray falsely the participants’ intent, the veracity of the videos has been verified by two different experts, one of whom was commissioned by PPFA; and

WHEREAS, For their efforts in exposing the illegal activities of Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry, leaders of CMP have been subjected to censorship of their videos, politically motivated lawsuits, criminal charges, and continuing legal jeopardy, including being held in contempt of court for recently releasing new undercover videos; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. House of Representatives Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee have each made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after each found evidence that Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry may have violated federal law by the use of illegal abortion methods, including late-term, partial-birth, and born-alive abortions, and the procurement of fetal tissue for profit; and

WHEREAS, Although in 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 241–187 to approve H.R. 3134, Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, the legislation has languished and Planned Parenthood continues to receive more than half a billion dollars each year from the federal government; and

WHEREAS, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has made defunding Planned Parenthood one of its ten legislative priorities for 2017; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, reaffirm our absolute commitment to the sanctity of human life; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we denounce the immoral agenda and practices of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates, especially their role in the unjust killing each year of more than 300,000 precious unborn babies, its use of particularly gruesome illegal abortion methods, and its profiteering from harvesting unborn babies’ tissues and organs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the United States Congress to defund Planned Parenthood immediately and completely of all federal government support and that all state and local government funding that supports Planned Parenthood be withdrawn immediately and permanently; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates for their use of illegal abortion methods, trafficking in and profiting from the harvesting of unborn babies’ tissues and organs, and any other actions that may be in violation of federal law; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention for prioritizing in its 2017 legislative agenda the defunding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates and encourage the Commission to distribute this resolution to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, imploring their immediate attention to this urgent matter.


WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has a long history of opposing gambling in its various forms, such as casinos, lotteries, racing, and other gambling schemes; and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of neighbor-love, necessitating the financial loss and harm of many for the gain of a few, enjoying entertainment at the expense of others (Exodus 20:17; 22:21; Leviticus 25:17; Deuteronomy 22:1–4; Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:8–10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of lordship, tempting individuals to trust chance rather than God, who provides for the needs of “the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45; 6:24; Philippians 4:18–19; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 9:8–12; Colossians 3:17; 1 Timothy 6:17–18); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of work, looking to gain something for nothing, hoping for easy money rather than pursuing responsible industry, investment, and labor (Genesis 1:28; Exodus 20:9; Psalm 104:23; 128:2; Ecclesiastes 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7–12); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of the civil magistrate, causing governments to prey on their own citizens through state-sponsored gambling rather than protecting them and seeking their good (Proverbs 8:15–16; Amos 5:10–13; Romans 13:4; 1 Timothy 2:1–2; 1 Peter 2:13–15); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of contentment, enticing individuals to greed and covetousness in the hope that in winning, others will lose financially (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21; Luke 12:15; Romans 7:7–8; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:9–10; Hebrews 13:5); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of stewardship, encouraging reckless and careless speculation with resources entrusted by the Lord while disregarding the same Lord who provides for all human needs (Matthew 6:19–34; 1 Timothy 6:17–18; 1 Peter 4:1–11); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of the Golden Rule, attempting to do to others what you do not want them to do to you (Matthew 7:12); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of freedom, inciting destructive desires and enslaving many to habits that lead to financial ruin and broken relationships (Galatians 5:13–21); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, condemn gambling in all its forms; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our leaders at all levels of government to end state-sponsored gambling, to curtail all forms of destructive gambling, and to address its harmful effects through policy and legislation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage our Convention leaders, entities, and pastors to continue to educate Southern Baptists on the deceptive sin of gambling; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge our fellow Southern Baptists and all other followers of Christ not to participate in the sin of gambling.


WHEREAS, Scripture declares, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message says, “Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love”; and

WHEREAS, Current attitudes and practices in some segments of American life in such important areas as sex, marriage, money, and power reveal that American society is in moral decline; and

WHEREAS, God judges or blesses nations based on their morality (Genesis 6:5–13; Jonah 1:1–2; Micah 6:8); and

WHEREAS, God’s Word provides guidance for living a moral life that pleases God and brings His blessing (Proverbs 3:1–8); and

WHEREAS, Leaders in every walk of life in America, such as church, government, and business, have destroyed their careers and brought shame to themselves, their families, and friends because of poor moral choices; and

WHEREAS, Regardless of their political, social, or economic status, our leaders should set a positive example for every American citizen by living and serving according to the highest moral and ethical standards; and

WHEREAS, The church has the responsibility in every season to proclaim to the culture the moral standards of God as revealed in His Word, not as legalists but as advocates of Christ’s transformative grace (Matthew 5:13–16; Mark 6:18; 2 Timothy 4:1-5); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, express our appreciation to those leaders in all walks of life who have chosen to live according to God’s moral standards; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude and support for those public officials who have displayed consistent moral character and uncompromising commitment to biblical principles of right and wrong, resulting in blessing upon the people they serve; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouses in order to ensure that they leave no room for temptation to lead them astray and to avoid any suspicion of wrongdoing (Proverbs 4:23–27); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on all leaders in every walk of life to conduct themselves, to the best of their ability, according to the moral standards set forth by God’s revealed truth; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray for our nation’s leaders to be able to resist every temptation that would create a hindrance to the fulfillment of their calling in society; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pledge to hold ourselves to the same high moral standards that we require of our leaders; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray that God will help us and all our fellow citizens to embrace the biblical moral values that will honor our creation in God’s image and bring God’s blessing on our nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we will endeavor to serve as examples to others of the blessings of living in accordance with God’s moral guidance; and be it further

RESOLVED, That in order “to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love,” we commit to “be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising [our] loyalty to Christ and His truth” (The Baptist Faith and Message); and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we reaffirm, “Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ” (The Baptist Faith and Message).


WHEREAS, The messengers to the 160th session of the Southern Baptist Convention are enjoying a time of worship, encouragement, and fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ; and

WHEREAS, We acknowledge God’s providence in all these blessings; and

WHEREAS, We also acknowledge the kind hospitality of the people of Phoenix, Arizona; and

WHEREAS, We further acknowledge our local Southern Baptist churches, associational leaders, staff of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, SBC committees, staffs of SBC entities, and hundreds of volunteers from the Phoenix area who have worked so diligently to make our stay a pleasant one; and

WHEREAS, We especially acknowledge the Lord’s grace in enabling our SBC president, officers, various committees, musicians, and other platform personnel to conduct the affairs of this Convention with dignity and a Christ-like spirit; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to all those through whom He is working to bring about an annual meeting characterized by prayer, grace, evangelism, worship, encouragement, cooperation, and purpose.


WHEREAS, Scripture teaches, “From one man [God] has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live” (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, The Psalmist proclaimed, “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD” (Psalm 24:1); and

WHEREAS, The Apostle Peter said, “God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34–35); and

WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27–28); and

WHEREAS, Scripture proclaims that Jesus is purchasing by His blood believers “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9); and

WHEREAS, Throughout eternity we will gather with a “multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language” in worship of our risen Savior (Revelation 7:9); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message conveys that all Christians are obligated to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love; and

WHEREAS, We know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred; and

WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated “historic acts of evil, such as slavery,” committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry,” and “genuinely repent[ed] of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously”; and

WHEREAS, In recent years the Convention has nominated and elected individuals from a variety of ethnicities, including electing our first African-American president in 2012; and

WHEREAS, In recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called on “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more” (2014); expressed continued grief “over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nat

SBC Pastors’ Conference: Barber calls for more peacemakers in Southern Baptist Churches

PHOENIX  Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, delivered a message from Philippians 4:2-9, calling for God to raise up more peacemakers in Southern Baptist Churches. His sermon was part of a sermon series through the book of Philippians at the SBC Pastors’ Conference in the Phoenix Convention Center, June 12.

Noting that the entire letter to the Philippians speaks to the value of gospel partnerships, Barber said, “There are two ways that you can lose partnership in the gospel. One way is to lose the gospel. … But even if you retain the truth of Scripture and the authority of Scripture and the reality of the gospel, you can still lose a partnership for the gospel if you fail to protect the spirit of partnership that enables people to cooperate for the cause of the gospel.”

In this passage, Paul names people in the church who were causing problems, and he calls out the peacemakers in the church to bring reconciliation.

Using the illustration of white blood cells in the body that stand ready to fight infection, Barber said, “God created the body of Christ to expect that there would be conflict in the body of Christ. … And He planned for that by designing the church to contain an army of peacemakers who will wait around and watch for that moment when partnership for the gospel is in jeopardy and will rush in and protect the partnership of the gospel from the threat.”

He explained that much of the conflict in Southern Baptist churches is not simply because of the presence of conflict but rather because of the absence of peacemakers. Deacons, he said, have a biblical responsibility to be lead peacemakers in the congregation.

“I believe that we are witnessing the slow, terrifying demise of the office of deacon within our churches,” he said. “I’m not saying that all of the peacemakers in your church have to be deacons, but I am saying that all the deacons in your church need to be peacemakers.”


Barber acknowledged that many churches have deacons that are more troublemakers than peacemakers “because peacemaking is hard work.”

“But when there are bad pastors, we don’t abandon the office of pastor, we reform it. And I believe there’s a need today for reformation in the office of deacon in Baptist churches, that we might recover God’s design of health for us and might be able to raise up peacemakers.”

Barber said if pastors are going to call people to be peacemakers in the church, then they are going to have to train them how to do it effectively. In the passage, he said, Paul spends one sentence addressing the problem and then the rest of the passage training in how to be peacemakers.

Peacemakers must be trained to resolve conflict in the church by making others’ business their own.

“The lie straight from hell that plagues our churches is that we think if we’re going to be mannerly, we can’t make anybody’s business ours,” Barber said. “We see trouble in church, and we say, ‘Y’all take care of that. Good luck.’” But, he said, Paul challenges the church in Philippi to step in and help bring harmony in the body of Christ.

Peacemakers must also be prepared for the emotional difficulties that come with peacemaking.

“But God has given us defenses against these emotions that make peacemaking so hard,” Barber said. “Against discouragement, we can rejoice. … We should replace worry with prayer, and if we do that, it says ‘the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind.’”

Third, he said, peacemakers must be trained in their thinking, including things that are true, just, honorable, excellent and praiseworthy as well as thinking well about the people involved in the conflict.

“Too often in conflict, the first thing that happens is people pressure you to choose sides, and once the sides have been chosen, it is only good that is spoken of our side and it is only evil that is spoken of the other side. Here, Paul calls those who are peacemakers to be people who try hard, who deliberately and purposely dwell on and think about the best of everyone on both sides, who look for good things to say about everyone on all sides so that they might be able to make peace.”

Finally, Barber said, pastors must set the example of peacemaking. Referencing denominational life, he said pastors have great opportunities to model the pattern of peacemaking. He used the illustration of Fannie Heck and Annie Armstrong, leaders of the Women’s Missionary Union during its greatest days of growth but who also hated one another. Denominational leaders and the WMU’s board stepped in as peacemakers, calling the two women to reconcile in order to protect the partnership in the gospel and the mission of Christ.

“Oh, friends, our churches perish for a lack of peacemakers,” Barber pleaded. “Our marriages fall apart because Christians gather around and instead of telling us to work things out, they tell us that we can just bust things up. Institutions struggle because of the problems we have with conflict.

“But the beauty of peacemaking is that it’s something that Christ has promised will receive a blessing—blessed are the peacemakers.”

Barber admitted that as a blogger, he has made trouble, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. “But sometimes, I make peace. And I never make peace when I’m not trying to.

“I would encourage all of you to pray and ask Jesus to make you a peacemaker and equip you to do it.”

Watch a full version of Barber’s sermon here.

Crossover & Harvest America share timeless gospel message

PHOENIX—It started Friday, June 9—the rumblings of an awakening. More than 700 voices worshiped at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Ariz., kicking off the weekend’s Crossover Arizona and Harvest America events.

The North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Crossover Arizona and Greg Laurie’s Harvest America joined forces to host a three-day evangelistic outreach involving training, street evangelism and service projects before culminating in Harvest America’s Sunday night crusade.

By the end of that evening, Harvest reported 2,904 salvation decisions at the event with another 494 indicating decisions online. In total, the Harvest crusade and Crossover street evangelism resulted in 3,549 professions of faith.

The events were held in conjunction with this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix.

“Welcome to Crossover,” said Jason Powell, pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship, during Crossover’s Friday-evening gathering. “This is for you to learn tips and tactics to tell someone else about Jesus. While we’re excited about the opportunity for 35,000 people to hear the gospel at the crusade, it’s very important we learn how to share and get out there every day.”

Fifty Crossover volunteers gathered Saturday, June 10, to work on Arizona homes. They repaired plumbing, cleaned houses, painted walls and landscaped yards during the “Love in Action” service project at several transitional houses owned by Dream City Church and its affiliate, Dream Center.

One homeowner, Ryan Dubia and his wife Alexandra worked alongside volunteers sweating in unison in the 98-degree heat.

“Our house was a blessing,” Dubia said. “It gave me and my wife Alex a break when we got our lives together and stopped using drugs. We’ve been clean for 22 months. This house, and the opportunity to have it maintained by volunteers, is a relief for our soon-to-be family of four.”

But the day wasn’t over for Crossover participants. As the sun set, the streets of Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale and Ave Mesa filled with groups sharing the gospel during the “Tell Someone” evangelism portion of Crossover.

Steve Gaines, president of the SBC and pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., served alongside his wife Donna and Southwestern Baptist Theology Seminary students and alumni Saturday night in Glendale. SWBTS students had hit the streets earlier in the week to begin their annual evangelism efforts in conjunction with Crossover and the SBC annual meeting.

“With our group, we visited over 1,000 homes,” Gaines said. “We had well over 200 gospel conversations and were out for about three to four hours. We had a great time.”

Frank S. Page, a past president of the SBC who now serves as president of the SBC Executive Committee, also participated in door-to-door evangelism Saturday with First Southern Baptist Church at Sahuaro Ranch Park and SWBTS students. Sunday, he preached two sermons at Mountain Ridge Church’s Arrowhead campus in Glendale.

“I was delighted to go with a group of students from Southwestern Seminary, my alma mater, in sharing the gospel,” Page said. “I did not get to lead anyone to Christ, but I did have several great gospel conversations. I have participated in Crossover for many years and love the privilege.”

The weekend’s events came to a crescendo Sunday night as approximately 38,000 gathered to hear the good news of Jesus live at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Another 3,000 host sites joined the crusade event online.

The event started with prayer for the nation and then attendees experienced a night of worship with musical artists NEEDTOBREATHE, Trip Lee, MercyMe, Jordin Sparks, Phil Wickham and Brennley Brown and heard a gospel presentation from Greg Laurie.

Many attendees had been invited to the crusade by friends, neighbors, coworkers, family members or even strangers.

“I came to the crusade because my friend started asking me about Jesus, and Harvest America was the perfect opportunity to have her hear the gospel,” Tammi Gauthier, an Arizona native, said. “The friend I brought was my daughter’s nanny. We fell out of touch for a while. Then, out of nowhere this year, she started reaching out and asking about Jesus. I’d been to a few crusades before but nothing this big. I was so happy to bring her and have her be completely immersed in worship and the Word.”

In his message, Laurie shared about the anxieties and fears most Americans live with. In Arizona, the number of suicides is significantly higher than homicides, resulting in 810 deaths annually, he said.

“We’re living in a crazy world right now,” Laurie said. “Our nation is lost in every state including Arizona. The threat of terrorism is real.

“People are scared, worried, in anxiety. But let’s have theology without apology. People are hungry for that; they’re hungry to have an honest and hopeful conversation. The last thing that God wants is any man or woman created in his own image to go to hell. Heaven is his place for all forgiven people and all people can be forgiven at any time if they believe and receive him into their lives. That’s the message we aimed to share during Crossover Arizona and at Harvest America—a message of hope to the nation.”

Laurie ended the evening by inviting people to the stadium floor if they wanted to begin a relationship with Christ.

“No matter what, come with your sins, come with your questions,” Laurie said to a quiet crowd. “He will take you as you are.”

NAMB is planning a similar partnership next year as the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Dallas.

Send Luncheon: “Evangelize or fossilize”

PHOENIX—A full-capacity audience gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center June 12 for a discussion about evangelism at the North American Mission Board’s 2017 Send Luncheon.

“NAMB exists to come alongside churches and help them be on mission,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell told pastors. “The mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ—to push back lostness in North America; to see that every man, woman, boy and girl can hear the gospel. Everything we do is about evangelism. We as a convention need to focus on having gospel conversations.”

Ezell shared some sobering statistics based on an analysis of 2015 Annual Church Profile numbers. Eight percent of SBC churches, he said, baptized nine people or fewer. Fifty percent of churches baptized two or fewer, and 25 percent baptized none.

Ezell then invited pastors Vance Pitman, Greg Laurie and James Merritt to the stage to discuss their experiences sharing the gospel and leading others to do the same. Each man stressed how crucial evangelism is to the survival of the church, and they challenged pastors to lead by example in their own lives by intentionally and regularly having gospel conversations.

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., began the conversation by explaining how he motivates his church staff and members to share their faith.

“If you want to start a fire in the pews, it has to start in the pulpit,” Laurie said. “Evangelize or fossilize. New believers are the lifeblood of the church. If you show me a church that does not have a constant flow of new believers coming in, then I will show you a church that’s stagnant.”

Laurie explained that older believers stabilize the church while newer believers mobilize the church.

Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., added, “The gospel is still a fire that can melt the coldest heart. It is still a rock that can break the hardest heart.”

Vance Pitman, NAMB ambassador and pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, shared his experience with evangelism as a church planter.

“What changed for me in the arena of evangelism was moving to Las Vegas to plant a church,” Pitman shared. “When I moved to Las Vegas, there was no church. I didn’t have a choice but to build relationships with people in the city.”

Pitman said it was then that he became more active in meeting lost people, cultivating gospel conversations with them, and building relationships with people in the city. He addressed a problem he said is common among Baptist churches today: Members are only surrounding themselves with fellow church members.

“Can you name people in your city who don’t know Jesus that you’re building relationships with?” Pitman asked.

He suggested restructuring the ministry to allow more time and opportunities for members to build relationships with people outside the walls of their congregation.

Pitman then introduced a video of Martin Haghani, a church planter from his church who excels in evangelistic work. A former Muslim, Haghani has devoted his life to reaching out to the Islamic community in Las Vegas in order to share the gospel and the hope of Jesus. In 2015, he led 26 Muslims to Christ, and in 2016, his church baptized 54 more.

Merritt offered a concluding comment, saying, “The single greatest thing you can do for another person is introduce them to Jesus Christ.”

—with reporting by Keith Collier

REVIEW: “Cars 3” one of the most family-friendly films you”ll ever see

For years, Lightning McQueen dominated the Piston Cup circuit. He’d zoom past cars at will, celebrate in the winner’s circle, and then remind everyone that he ate “losers for breakfast.”

Today, though, our legendary champ is like so many other pro athletes who compete beyond their prime. He just doesn’t have it anymore.

Thanks to advances in technology, the newest cars are slicker, smarter and faster.

“The racing generation is changing,” we are told.

One car that has benefited from the changes is rookie Jackson Storm, who has won multiple races and reminds everyone of a younger Lightning McQueen. His speeds regularly top 210 mph. And Lightning’s? A mere 198.

The losses are embarrassing enough for Lightning, but things get even worse during one race when he blows a tire, flips several times and wrecks in what appears to be a career-ending crash.

Cars 3 (G) opens this weekend, recounting the latest exploits of such favorites as Lightning (Owen Wilson), Sally (Bonnie Hunt) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), along with a new cast of talking car characters.  

One of the newbies is Cruz (Cristela Alonzo), a racing wannabe-turned-personal trainer who has been given the assignment to get Lightning back on the road by using the same groundbreaking technology that has made Jackson Storm so dominant. She’s perky, yes, but also clueless, and Lightning is left wondering if he should just do it all alone.

Here’s the bad news about Cars 3: It’s not as good as its predecessors. But there’s plenty of good news: It’s still quite entertaining and is among the cleanest, most family-friendly films you’ll ever see.

It even comes with a few solid lessons about life.

Warning: spoilers!


Nothing, other than a few car wrecks (one involving Lightning, another involving a retired driver as seen in film footage, and still another in a demolition derby).


One passing joke about “fast women” (told in reference to a car). Nothing else.

Coarse Language

None. One reference to a car’s “butt” (bumper) during a race. Lightning also says, “life’s a beach, and then you drive”—while he’s on the beach.

Christian Images/Dialogue


Life Lessons

Lightning McQueen’s reaction to his wreck—and his elimination from the Piston Cup series—is not unlike how we often react to adversity. He sulks. He sits around. He watches tapes of past races, thinking of what might have been. (He does all of this in his gray primer coat—his version of a bathrobe.)

It isn’t until his friends encourage him that his outlook on life changes. “I miss you Lightning,” one says. Essentially, they do what Scripture tells us to do: “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). That’s a good lesson for our kids.

Later, after Lightning talks down to Cruz and makes fun of her career choice, he apologizes and displays an impressive level of humility. Lightning’s ability to put others first, particularly Cruz, plays a key role in the film’s final minutes. There’s also a lesson about mentoring.


Too often, Hollywood movies, particularly animated ones, carry a similar theme. It goes something like this: Dream big, never give up, and you’ll succeed. Some will say that’s what happens in Cars 3. But I would argue just the opposite. Cars 3 does not end the way we all guessed it would, and that’s good. This isn’t La La Land or even Star Wars (1977).

Sure, there’s a happy ending in Cars 3, but it’s not the one we imagined. I like that. Life doesn’t always work out the way we hoped it would, and often, there are detours and roadblocks. Yet we can take comfort in knowing that God is in control (Isaiah 14:24) and has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).


If only every animated film was this clean. There were no crude jokes. No potty humor. No coarse language. Thank-you, Pixar! I took my 9-year-old and 5-year-old sons and had no regrets. It’s family-friendly.

Thumbs Up … Or Down?

I didn’t laugh as much in this one as I did in Cars and Cars 2. The middle of the movie, in particular, is a bit dull. Perhaps I needed more Mater. But it recovers quickly and has a solid ending. This one gets a big “thumbs up.” There’s also a Pixar short film, prior to the movie, that has a nice anti-bullying message.  

Discussion Questions

1. Would you have made the same decision Lightning made at the end of the movie?  

2. Do you think it was difficult for Lightning to do what he did? Why or why not?

3. How does mentoring benefit young adults and teens? How does it benefit older adults?  

4. What do you think about the trend in movies with lead heroines?  

Entertainment rating: 3.5 out of 5. Family-friendly rating: 5 out of 5.

Cars 3 is rated G.

Ezell seeks “Gospel Conversation Resurgence” in report to trustees

PHOENIX – Now that the North American Mission Board has been “completely transformed” by the Great Commission Resurgence, NAMB President Kevin Ezell told trustees it’s time for another GCR—this time a “Gospel Conversation Resurgence.”

Delivering his report during the plenary session of the June 12 meeting of the board of trustees prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix, Ezell said of the GCR that, “some liked it and some didn’t, but God used it to get us to where we are today.”

Seven years ago NAMB started “beating the drum to focus on church planting,” and now, more than any time in SBC history, churches are so aware of the idea that a banner can hang from church rafters, Ezell said.

That said, with 15,000 of 47,000 churches not baptizing a single person last year, Ezell said part of NAMB’s ministry assignment is to also emphasize the importance of personal evangelism so that people can come to faith in Jesus Christ.

“Everything we do is about sharing our faith so that people will come to know Christ,” Ezell said. “I think it’s one of the best times to be a Southern Baptist. But it’s also a time to help churches focus.”

Ezell said Send Network for church planting and Send Relief will continue, but he also pledged “every ounce of energy that we possibly can in helping our convention see the importance of having gospel conversations.”

NAMB will be producing podcasts and other resources that capture pastors and entity leaders sharing their recent gospel conversations.

“We are going to do everything we have at the North American Mission Board to stir … the passion for evangelism in our churches,” Ezell said. “The North American Mission Board has never baptized anybody. We are not a church. We come alongside of churches; we come alongside associations; we come alongside state conventions. I am thankful for that work. We are not going to step back one inch.”

After hearing a report about Canada, Ezell wondered aloud whether the North American country should be represented on the board. Trustees affirmed a resolution calling for the ad hoc bylaws and policy committee to study and make recommendations to the board regarding its makeup, specifically as it relates to smaller conventions and Canada.

SBC bylaws specify the number of church members each state or territory must have to qualify for trustee representation on various entities, with that number set at 20,000 at both NAMB and the International Mission Board. A trustee subcommittee of the IMB is currently studying the impact of decreasing numbers of Southern Baptists in several states.

The Executive Committee of the SBC addressed the problem by granting exceptions to four areas that lack the number of churches stipulated in Bylaw 30, a move approved by messengers to this year’s annual meeting. A motion referred to NAMB, IMB and LifeWay asked each entity to amend their governing documents to ensure their trustee boards include members from each state convention.

NAMB board chairman Mark Dyer of Plano recognized the value of hearing how a sister entity handled the matter but stated, “We ought to be a group and a body making these decisions on our own.”

The board elected new officers, including Stephen “Spike” Hogan of Jacksonville, Fla., as chairman; Danny Wood of Birmingham, Ala., as first vice chairman; and Daniel de Armas of Orlando as second vice chairman.

3 keys for discipling unchurched women

For the past 15 years, God has planted our family in places with hard soil—places hostile to the gospel and rife with the weeds of biblical illiteracy. This type of soil has become increasingly common as secular philosophies encroached on the Bible belt and gave rise to a segment of the population that goes by many names: ‘unchurched,’ ‘de-churched’ or even ‘nones.’

Serving overseas and in a North American church plant, we were forced to operate outside the typical ministry toolshed to these populations. Sometimes we got it right, and sometimes we got it dreadfully wrong. But, over time, God gave me three very important lessons for rethinking discipleship among unchurched women.  


When unchurched women come to Christ, they start their Christian walk from scratch, lacking both a shared worldview and language of faith. 

When we lived overseas, our discipleship efforts began with the larger story of the Scriptures—creation, fall, redemption and restoration—which provided a framework for helping women understand their identity in Christ and role in his story. This approach was easily replicated and helped us sidestep the inadvertent transmission of our own American church sub-culture.

Similarly, while discipling unchurched women in the northern U.S., we discovered that healthy spiritual roots were best developed by teaching women what Christ had done in and for them rather than what they were supposed to do next. This approach grounded women in truth before moving them into fruit-bearing discipleship. It reduced the temptation for them to manufacture the fruit of obedience in their own strength without first understanding its purpose and power.

So, when an unchurched woman came to Christ, we focused on three areas of biblical instruction:

  • Who she is (her identity in Christ)
  • What she believes (how to study God’s Word)
  • What she does (kingdom living)

Whatever the cultural context, an unchurched woman must receive adequate spiritual nourishment to remain rooted in her faith when harsh conditions come her way. Intentional discipleship must ground women in the truth of salvation, teach them to feast on the Scriptures and help them discover their places in God’s story for the world. 


When I began piecing together a discipleship strategy for unchurched women, I canvassed the women in our church plant’s core group. I discovered most of them had never been formally discipled, and only a few said they felt competent to make disciples.

Too often, we assume discipleship is already happening or even that our people know how to disciple. Discipleship must not be delegated to Sunday school classes or life groups without giving leaders a clear picture of what discipleship is and how to make disciples. 

Many women show up on Sundays overcommitted and overstressed. Because of this, churches must grapple with fitting special events into their overall discipleship strategy.

A retreat or tea can serve a good purpose yet still not produce lasting spiritual fruit unless it equips attendees to live out the gospel in their own context. A weary soul uplifted at a retreat can succumb to the flesh when life gets hard again. The seeking woman who jumps from one feel-good Bible study to the next may stop attending church altogether when she hears something she doesn’t like from the pulpit. 

Biblical women’s ministries produce long-term fruit by equipping a woman to sow gospel seeds where she’s been planted. Few churches, however, have a formal discipleship strategy for women—complete with a model, goals, measurables and a clear path forward for new disciples and their disciplers.

Discipleship should include more than what we’re teaching women but also encompass how we’re teaching it and the order in which it’s being taught. 

Connecting women to the body of Christ means more than offering a mentoring program. Mentoring is not the same thing as replicating disciples. Clearer guidelines are needed to anchor women’s ministries to the greater mission of the church.


Unchurched women often struggle to find their place in church. If they are single or divorced, traditional ministries to women often widen the gap. Women’s ministry leaders must work with pastoral staff to connect these women to the greater body of Christ. 

Connecting women to the life of the church, however, entails more than finding them a place to serve. Women must also understand their role in God’s mission and use their unique gifts in fulfilling the Great Commission. 

Connecting women to the body of Christ means more than offering a mentoring program. Mentoring is not the same thing as replicating disciples. Clearer guidelines are needed to anchor women’s ministries to the greater mission of the church. 

Women’s ministries need systems for helping unchurched women develop deep roots. This strategy must begin immediately after conversion, encompass one-on-one discipleship relationships, and include knowledge of their role in the church and redemptive history—to make more disciples.