SBTC approves nine resolutions in Amarillo

Resolution one: On the Infringement of Religious Liberty in America

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that man was created for the glory of God and is called to love and live for Him and Scripture also teaches that God intends man to worship freely Him in spirit and in truth and follow His ordinances without any hindrance; and

WHEREAS, because the forefathers of our great nation recognized man’s first duty is to God, they, in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, protected this right, stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; and 

WHEREAS, countless brave American men and women have sacrificed, even to the point of death, for this right; and 

WHEREAS, we as Southern Baptists stand upon the inerrancy of Scripture and wholeheartedly support complete submission to God’s commandments without regard for the practices of men and women who live counter to God’s perfect truths; and  

WHEREAS, we are witnessing an increasing intolerance in American culture which represses the rights of Christians to live out their historic biblically based faith, such as: 

Military personnel reportedly punished and/or dismissed for expressing support for traditional marriage; 

Non-Discrimination ordinances such as the recently enacted San Antonio ordinance which originally sought to ban from public service anyone who had ever opposed gay marriage; 

Sports commentator Craig James’ firing from Fox Southwest for expressing a biblical belief regarding marriage; 

A health mandate in the Affordable Care Act requiring Christians to subsidize abortifacients in violation of their deeply held beliefs; and 

WHEREAS, Scripture encourages Christians to stand for Christ although we will be persecuted for righteousness sake and tempted to conform to the world (Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 5:11-12); now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, urge all Christians to stand for the faith and the clear teachings of Scripture and endure persecutions with the utmost respect, love and gentleness toward those who treat them with contempt, and to bless and pray for rather than curse their persecutors; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we encourage all leaders in every segment of our society to respect the inalienable rights of Christians to worship and serve Almighty God with a clear conscience as our Creator commands, our founding fathers legislated and our military men and woman have sacrificed to maintain; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we note the need for pastors, lay leaders and teachers of God’s Word to lead and prepare the people of God to live in such a way as to give Christ the greatest glory in a world that is increasingly hostile toward the Christian message and the truth as revealed in the Scriptures; and be it finally 

RESOLVED, that we urgently express the need for the body of Christ to pray against the attacks of the enemy and be true intercessors for religious freedom in America (Ephesians 6:18).

 

Resolution two: On Violent and Sexual Content in Video Games

WHEREAS, violent and sexual content in video games has skyrocketed in recent years, as has the graphic and realistic nature of the violence depicted with the aid of advancing technology; and 

WHEREAS, the video gaming industry markets and sells billions of dollars worth of video games to children and their parents, such as Grand Theft Auto V which depicts sexual content, nudity, murder of innocents, theft, cruelty, necrophilia and illegal drug use; and 

WHEREAS, children are inherently pulled toward the activity of video gaming, which many studies show can be as highly addictive as some illegal drugs; and 

WHEREAS, the Bible reveals that the eyes are the corridor by which a person is filled with darkness (Matthew 6:23, Luke 11:34), and murder begins in the heart (Matthew 15:19); and 

WHEREAS, instances of murder more and more frequently committed on a mass scale by offenders with a documented history of playing violent video games prior to perpetrating those heinous crimes have multiplied across our nation in recent years; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, urge our elected officials to enact swiftly legislation to curtail or stop the marketing to children of video games containing violent and sexual content; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that we encourage members of Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches and all Christian parents (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) to stand fast and resist pressure to purchase video games that contain sexual content and/or graphic violence for their children.

 

Resolution three: On Immigration Reform 

WHEREAS, the Bible commands that “every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1); and 

WHEREAS, Scripture calls us to show compassion and justice for the foreigner and stranger among us (Exodus 22:21, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Psalm 94:6, Jeremiah 7:6, Ezekiel 22:29, Zechariah 7:10); and 

WHEREAS, the borders of the United States of America are so unsecured as to have permitted millions of illegal immigrants to gain residence within our country; and 

WHEREAS, Texans have a unique perspective on immigration given its geographical situation adjacent to Mexico and is greatly impacted by policies that fail to secure our nation’s borders; and 

WHEREAS, the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America lists among the founding purposes of our federal government to “establish justice” and to “provide for the common defense”; and 

WHEREAS, immigration into the United States without the permission of our federal government is a violation of the law; and 

WHEREAS, the vast majority of immigrants into the United States of America wish no harm to our country or its citizens but merely wish to improve their lives by taking advantage of the opportunities offered here; and 

WHEREAS, the presence of immigrants in the United States of America represents a unique opportunity to preach the gospel to all nations; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, hereby request that the Congress of the United States of America in its current legislative session adopt with regard to our nation’s immigration laws a comprehensive set of reforms that embody the six principles delineated by the Evangelical Immigration Table, which call for a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we request that the government of the United States of America better coordinate the work of the various governmental agencies involved in order to respond consistently and effectively in the enforcement of immigration laws; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we encourage all employers to obey the law in their hiring practices; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we encourage Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to cultivate opportunities to minister to immigrants in times of need and to demonstrate the love of Christ to all those residing in our communities; and be it finally 

RESOLVED, that we encourage Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to obey the Great Commission by redeeming every opportunity to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to the immigrants whom God has brought into our communities.

 

Resolution four: On Commending the Texas Legislature for Standing for Women

WHEREAS, Scripture informs us that every human life, born and unborn, has intrinsic value and immeasurable worth; and 

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have a long history of demonstrating their love for both vulnerable pregnant women and unborn babies; and 

WHEREAS, thousands of women who have experienced abortion have come forward to tell how abortion hurt rather than helped them, many of them describing appalling conditions and physical damage along with psychological harm; and 

WHEREAS, Texans recoiled as the scandal of Philadelphia’s Gosnell abortion clinic was brought to light through investigation, trial and multiple convictions of murder and other crimes against women and children; and 

WHEREAS, additional allegations were subsequently made against clinics in Delaware and Texas (Houston), where employees alleged similar safety violations, lack of basic hygiene and, in Texas, the killing of fully-born babies, suggesting a pattern; and 

WHEREAS, the Texas legislature responded by passing a pro-life omnibus bill with a ban on abortions after five months and strong clinic safety reforms; and 

WHEREAS, the Texas legislature stood for these reforms even as raucous pro-choice groups bullied and threatened legislators through such villainy as attempting to cast bodily fluids on supportive lawmakers, threatening the families of lawmakers, chanting “hail Satan” and attempting to overtake the capitol with angry mob rule; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, commend Texas’ elected leaders for their courage under fire and encourage their continued efforts in protecting the least of these, women and babies.

 

Resolution five: On Worldwide Persecution of Christians

WHEREAS, the basic rights of people have their source in God, for He created mankind in His image according to Genesis 1:26-27 and those rights should never be repressed; and 

WHEREAS, the right of religious freedom is being denied people in places like Syria, Egypt, Iran, North Korea and China, and human rights abuses including multi-generational imprisonment and death occur on a daily basis; and 

WHEREAS, for example, Christians in Syria are targeted by both government and rebel forces and thousands have fled to surrounding countries because of threats of torture and death; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, applaud the efforts of leaders such as Congressman Frank R. Wolf (VA) and urge all our elected officials to champion the cause of religious liberty around the world through humanitarian aid, grants of asylum, diplomatic pressure and the implementation of any other effective international policies; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we commit to pray fervently for and affirm our Christian brothers and sisters who are facing extreme persecution; and, be it further 

RESOLVED, that we urge pastors, church leaders and congregations to become more aware of the plight of persecuted Christians around the world by reading such current literature as The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken; and be it finally 

RESOLVED, that we agree to pray and encourage Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to pray for the freedom of persecuted Christians and to seek ways in which we can relieve their burdens (Galatians 6:2).

 

Resolution six: On the Cooperative Program and Missions Giving

WHEREAS, Scripture emphasizes the efficacy and testimony of the body of Christ working together (Philippians 1:27); and 

WHEREAS, Jesus gave the Great Commission to the whole church (Matthew 28:18-20), which will require a combined and comprehensive effort of all evangelical churches to turn back the darkness in the United States and engage all nations with the gospel; and 

WHEREAS, the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering form the cornerstone of missions giving in the Southern Baptist Convention; and 

WHEREAS, the North American Mission Board has challenged the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to plant 15,000 new churches in Canada and the United States through Send North America; and 

WHEREAS, the International Mission Board has issued a call to take the gospel to the 6,426 unreached people groups in the world; and 

WHEREAS, the giving through the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering has become static and resources will only allow 576 of the 1,400 current IMB applicants to be deployed to the mission field; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, do affirm the biblical principle of cooperation in the body of Christ for the accomplishment of the Great Commission and these funding mechanisms as effective tools among Southern Baptists for that said task; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we encourage Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to renew their commitment to cooperate together through faithful participation in the Cooperative Program and sacrificial giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we urge pastors to implement strategic and ambitious goals to increase their Cooperative Program and missions giving; and be it finally 

RESOLVED, that we ask local churches to consider prayerfully engaging, through prayer and financial support, the Send North America initiative and the adoption of an unengaged, unreached people group through the International Mission Board.

 

Resolution seven: On Billy Graham

WHEREAS, William Franklin “Billy” Graham was born on November 7, 1918, and made a personal commitment to Christ at age 15 through the ministry of Mordecai Ham; and 

WHEREAS, Billy Graham is gifted and called as an evangelist by God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for the saving of the lost and to the strengthening and encouragement of the local church; and 

WHEREAS, Billy Graham was ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention; and 

WHEREAS, Billy Graham has preached the gospel to nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories at more than four hundred crusades, missions and evangelistic rallies and has reached more than two billion more through television, video, film, webcasts and 31 books; and 

WHEREAS, Billy Graham will celebrate his 95th birthday on November 7, 2013; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that in celebration of his 95th birthday, we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, express our profound appreciation for the evangelistic zeal and high Christian character demonstrated by Billy Graham as he continues to run with perseverance the race marked out for him; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that we encourage our Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to participate in and pray for the “My Hope America with Billy Graham” campaign held in conjunction with Dr. Graham’s 95th birthday; and be it finally 

RESOLVED, that we urge Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to renew our commitment to the evangelization of our lost world through prayer (Luke 10:2), personal evangelism (Matthew 28:19-20), the consistent preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21), the utilization of evangelists (Ephesians 4:11) and any other God-honoring means possible (1 Corinthians 9:22).

 

Resolution eight: On the “Look Like Heaven” Emphasis

WHEREAS, “Look Like Heaven” is a five-year initiative intended to encourage racial unity and cross-cultural relationships among SBTC churches; and 

WHEREAS, God included all races and cultures in His salvation plan; and 

WHEREAS, followers of Jesus are to recognize and appreciate that we are all one in Christ; and 

WHEREAS, Psalm 133:1 and John 13:34-35 teach that loving our brothers is a special mark of God’s children and that working together in love is God’s plan for us; and  

WHEREAS, Colossians 3:14 teaches that we are to put on love as a bond of unity, as a testimony before a lost world; now, therefore, be it     

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, encourage actions that build unity and cross-cultural relationships among SBTC churches and pastors; and, be it further 

RESOLVED, that we encourage the SBTC Committee on Order of Business to incorporate cross-cultural elements into the annual meeting program, especially during this five-year emphasis; and be it finally  

RESOLVED, that we recommend that Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches pursue cross-cultural relationships as they observe an emphasis month during July for the next five years.

 

Resolution nine: On Appreciation for President Terry Turner

WHEREAS, Pastor Terry Turner has served as president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention for the years 2012 and 2013; and 

WHEREAS, President Turner has led our convention with great grace, dignity and integrity, demonstrating a Christ-like spirit; and 

WHEREAS, President Turner has a heart and vision for our nation and the world, supporting mission causes nationally and internationally through the Cooperative Program; and 

WHEREAS, President Turner’s leadership in defense of traditional marriage, as well as through the racial unity initiative entitled Look Like Heaven, has been a great benefit to the churches of our convention; and 

WHEREAS, President Turner’s term as president ends with the conclusion of our 2013 annual meeting; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, assembled in Amarillo, Texas, October 28-29, 2013, express our appreciation to Pastor Terry Turner for his service and leadership as convention president and to Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, Mesquite, Texas, for their sacrificial generosity in sharing their pastor with our convention.

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