Resolutions cover evangelism, HHS mandate, traditional marriage

SAN ANTONIO—Messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention passed eight resolutions on topics ranging from “a clear and complete” gospel message to religious liberty violations in the federal healthcare law and the right of the state of Israel to exist.

The resolution “On Evangelism and Missions” laments the drop in baptisms among Southern Baptists and defines evangelism as “the intentional, verbal declaration of the biblical gospel to unbelievers in the power of the Holy Spirit” and “the heart of the gospel” as the death, burial and resurrection of “the God-man, Jesus Christ.”

The resolution calls for “a clear and complete gospel presentation” and “the invitation to repent of one’s sins and to believe in Jesus Christ as the only way to receive God’s salvation.”

It encourages personal evangelism training, daily, intentional sharing of the gospel, and an emphasis on the gospel in sermons, Sunday School lessons and Bible studies.

The resolution “On the Violation of Religious Liberty in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” objects to the Obama administration’s requirements of coverage for free contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs and the requirement that health plans maintain “a separate abortion fund supported by a premium surcharge on health plan participants regardless of their religiously formed convictions about abortion.”

The resolution calls on the president and the federal Department of Health and Human Services to drop such requirements.

A resolution “On Support for Traditional Marriage” cites Genesis 2:15-25 and Matthew 19:4-9 as the basis for marriage, referring also to the Baptist Faith & Message confessional statement to articulate the biblical definition of “one man and one woman in the covenant commitment.”

Noting President Obama’s groundbreaking support for homosexual marriage and the Department of Justice’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, the messengers affirmed “the biblical mandate regarding marriage and sexual morality.”

Further, the resolution states that “all men are sinners who need God’s redeeming love” and “we respectfully implore President Obama, the Congress, and the Department of Justice to recognize and encourage only the traditional definition of marriage.”

A resolution “On the Sanctity of Life” affirms the “personhood and humanity of the unborn begins at conception” and that the unborn should have protection under the 14th Amendment. Further, the resolution affirms the governor of Texas for denying public funding to abortion providers and lends support to states seeking passage of personhood amendments.

Messengers also passed a resolution recognizing the nation of Israel as God’s people and their right to exist as a sovereign nation as the country marks 65 years as a modern state on May 14. The resolution calls on Israel to “affirm the rights of all peoples within her borders to their religious views and beliefs” and asks churches to set a day between May 1 and May 21 to pray for Israel.

Other resolutions covered the Cooperative Program, support for military members and their families, and appreciation to the host church, Castle Hills First Baptist in San Antonio.

Houston native Richard D. Land, who will retire in October 2013 as president of the Nashville, Tenn.-based Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was also honored through a resolution for his years of service, noting his steadfastness on moral issues ranging from the sanctity of human life and racial justice to international religious freedom.

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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