Grapevine, TEXAS—The past presidents and current president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) signed a joint statement, Thursday, June 25, stating their allegiance to the biblical definition of marriage as that between one man and one woman, for life. The joint statement follows similar statements signed by former and current presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Florida Baptist State Convention, both signed and released in the last two weeks.
In the statement, the presidents say they remain committed to the Bible’s “clear, definitive and unchanging” definition of marriage.
“The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable,” the statement reads. “We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex “marriages,” our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.”
Jimmy Pritchard, pastor of First Baptist Church of Forney and current SBTC president, said the statement reflects a desire to clearly delineate the convention’s commitment and intent to follow God’s law and instruction regardless of the cultural or legal landscape.
“I think that it’s important for us to express our convictions regarding marriage and to further state that we are not going to move from the biblical definition of marriage and the family no matter what happens,” Pritchard said. “We will take our stand upon Scriptural truth. And it’s not just about marriage, but on every issue. It’s my hope and desire that by our taking this stand, others will be encouraged to take similar stands and that we will honor the Lord and honor the gospel. The gospel itself tells us that marriage is a reflection of Christ and his church.”
Pritchard says the commitment to biblical truth may prove costly but that he and the six past convention presidents stand by it wholeheartedly.
“I think in the culture it has been an advantage to be a part of biblical churches such as Baptist churches,” Pritchard said. “The time is coming when it’s going to cost us something to be a member of a Baptist church, and we’re going to have to be willing to take our stand and be willing to be thrown into the furnace, as it is necessary. I just pray that there will be men and women of God willing to stand up for the truth.”
Past SBTC presidents who signed their names to the document alongside Pritchard’s include George Harris (2001-2003); Chris Osborne (2003-2005); Steve Swofford (2005-5007); Bob Pearle (2007-2009); Byron McWilliams (2009-2011); and Terry Turner (2011-2013).
As Southern Baptist Christians, we are committed to biblical faith and ethics. As a result, this body of believers stands on the authority of Scripture and God’s truth as central to our lives.
What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex “marriages,” our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.
While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.
Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptists of Texas Convention pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships. We, a confessional fellowship of 2,500 churches with more than 1 million members, stake our very lives and future on the truth of God’s Word.
We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers, influence, and resources.
June 25, 2015
Signed By: Past Presidents of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
George Harris (2001-2003)
Chris Osborne (2003-2005)
Steve Swofford (2005-5007)
Bob Pearle (2007-2009)
Byron McWilliams (2009-2011)
Terry Turner (2011-2013)
Jim Pritchard (2013-current)