SBC 2022: Messengers adopt 9 resolutions on current issues

Messengers overwhelmingly approved a pair of measures that will help the SBC take positive steps toward the prevention of sexual abuse and provide protection and care for survivors. BAPTIST PRESS PHOTO

ANAHEIM, Calif.—Southern Baptist Convention messengers expressed their opinions on a variety of timely issues during their two-day meeting in Anaheim, Calif., June 14-15.

Nine resolutions dealing with topics ranging from rural church ministry to prayer for Ukrainian believers were approved after lengthy discussion during two sessions of the SBC meeting. Two of the high-profile resolutions dealt with the convention’s response to revelations from the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force.

Resolutions Committee chairman Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, told messengers that the committee received in the weeks leading up to the convention 29 resolutions from members of churches qualified to send messengers.

Barber said that some resolutions were declined by the committee because of time constraints, an evaluation of timeliness, or the committee’s judgment that the message didn’t represent a likely consensus on the part of messengers. Others were used in some way to craft the resolutions recommended.

Resolution five states pastors should be held to standards of ethics at least as high as those applied to other professionals and encouraged state legislatures to pass laws addressing pastoral conduct relative to the safety of their parishioners. The resolution also asked lawmakers to pass “shield laws” to protect churches from civil liability when they share information about alleged abuse with other churches or institutions.

Resolution six, “On Lament and Repentance for Sexual Abuse,” emphasized grief for sexual abuse within our fellowship. During the committee’s press conference on Wednesday, June 15, Barber said this resolution was received from the Sexual Abuse Task Force and crafted by the Resolutions Committee before messengers received it. He said 1 Corinthians 5 (dealing with that church’s response to sexual immorality in their midst) was the scriptural basis for the resolution.

“I think the roadmap that’s given for us there is to shun arrogance, to mourn, and then to take action,” Barber said. “We believe that the resolution on lament played a critical part in obeying this biblical command to us as a church.”

The anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization led the messengers to celebrate the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade and to commit “to continue and increase their efforts to serve and support local pregnancy resource centers, pro-life organizations, churches, foster care, and adoptive families.”

Native American pastor Mike Keahbone, of First Baptist Church of Lawton, Okla., presented a resolution dealing with religious liberty and forced conversion among Native Americans. He said the resolution was personal and significant, during the press conference.

“It’s the first resolution among Southern Baptists that addresses the mistreatment and abuse of Native Americans,” he said. “We have long fought for racial reconciliation and stood on the side of those who weep and mourn and hurt, and Native Americans have often felt left out of that—even brothers and sisters in our own convention.”

The resolution affirming rural ministry noted the significance of ministries in the 75% of U.S. towns that are small and rural. The convention further encourages efforts to “establish, help and revitalize churches in rural communities.”

Other resolution topics included: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in which the resolution deplored the atrocities being experienced during “a war of aggression” against a sovereign nation; a resolution drawn from several submitted which highlighted gun violence, people with disabilities, and sexual immorality in our culture as those issues touch on the “dignity of every human being as created in the image of God;” denouncing the prosperity gospel as “false teaching;” and an expression of gratitude to the city of Anaheim and California Southern Baptists for hosting the convention.

Includes reporting from Erin Roach of Baptist Press

Correspondent
Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
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