SBC urges education diligence, ends 8-year Disney Co. boycott

NASHVILLE, Tenn.?Southern Baptist Convention messengers meeting in Nashville June 21-22 passed a resolution urging parents to “investigate diligently” the cultural climate of public schools and ended an eight-year boycott of the Walt Disney Co. The nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination also launched a campaign to “witness” to, “win and baptize” 1 million people in the next year.

SBC President Bobby Welch of Daytona Beach, Fla., elected to a second one-year term, ended the convention by launching the “Everyone Can!” evangelism campaign with bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs blowing a ram’s horn followed by music, balloons, fireworks and fog machines spewing inside the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

“This is the time. This is the place. We are the people and we call ourselves to this hour to stop slouching toward a cold graveyard of mediocrity” and win the world to Christ, Welch implored the messengers, from 4,976 congregations nationwide.

They numbered 11,641?the most since 2000, when 11,918 messengers gathered in Orlando, Fla. The 519 Texas messengers comprised the eighth-largest group.

In addition to Welch, the convention elected Jerry Sutton, a Nashville pastor, as first vice president; Roy Fish, professor emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as second vice president; John Yeats, editor of the Baptist Messenger in Oklahoma City, as recording secretary; and Jim Wells, director of missions in Ozark, Mo., as registration secretary. Yeats was first elected in 1997 and Wells in 2002.

The SBC’s Crossover evangelism effort (See related stories that are linked.) drew nearly 10,000 participants who changed automobile oil, distributed groceries, held block parties and used other outreach methods to share the gospel in Nashville-area neighborhoods.

The effort yielded around 2,500 salvation decisions, according to records submitted by 80 of the 100 venues reporting to the Nashville Baptist Association office, Baptist Press reported. Between speakers and business sessions during the meeting, Nashville-area pastors baptized eight new Christians in front of messengers.

President Bush, speaking from the White House via satellite, addressed messengers for the fourth straight year, thanking Southern Baptists for their prayers, which he called “the greatest gift anyone can give to me and Laura.” The president reiterated his support for a federal marriage protection amendment.

EDUCATION RESOLUTION

The education resolution, which passed overwhelmingly, cited biblical commands in Proverbs 22:6 and Deuteronomy 6:6-7 for parents to take responsibility in raising and educating their children.

Drafted by the committee during meetings the week before the convention, it differed from a resolution submitted by Texans Voddie Baucham and Bruce Shortt, which called for parents to remove children from schools where homosexuality is being taught as acceptable.

Instead, the resolution called on “parents and churches to research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children” and urged them to “exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks, and programs in our community schools and to demand discontinuation of offensive material and programs.” The resolution acknowledged that schools are “often an effective gateway to children’s hearts and minds” and called on churches to aid parents in educating and discipling their children.

The committee wrote: “Homosexual activists and their allies are devoting substantial resources and using political power to promote the acceptance among schoolchildren of homosexuality as a morally legitimate lifestyle.”

The resolution also cited “marketing and entertainment campaigns that redefine truth, morality, and family relationships.”

The resolution was amended from the floor to “commend godly teachers and students who feel called by God to take a stand for Christ in secular schools as a light shining in the darkness.”

The education resolution and one ending the Disney boycott were the only resolutions of nine prompting floor debate.

Shortt, a member of North Oaks Baptist Church in Spring, told messengers: “I know that Dr. Baucham, if he were able to be here, would be commending the committee for taking this important first step in protecting our children.”

Shortt told messengers there are more than 3,000 clubs under the guise of “safe schools, diversity, multiculturalism and similar sorts of things” that are promoting homosexuality in public middle and high schools.

Shortt, an attorney who last year submitted a resolution that called for a public school exodus, told reporters afterward that until this year the SBC had been “quite silent” on public education. “In life, you don’t get 100 percent of what you want,” he said.

A Michigan messenger who described himself as a licensed teacher said homosexual students “are among the most vulnerable in the school system, public or private. But I’m also committed to bringing to them a

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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