Racism, What Southern Baptist’s said:

 I was at our 2017 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Arizona this year. It was a rather uneventful convention for the most part until the resolutions for the convention were made then things got interesting.

 A resolution, if approved, is an action or directive by the Convention (which is made up messengers of cooperating Southern Baptist churches) that provides direction for the Executive Committee (EC) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

 The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and its messengers, representing approximately 16 million Baptists, is the largest Parliamentarian gathering in the world. The reason we are called a Convention is that we, a group of cooperating, autonomous churches uniting as a denomination for the purpose of doing more together (primarily through missions) than we can do separately.  Technically, the Southern Baptist Convention only physically exists for two days a year when we meet; hence the name “Convention” in our name. The other 363 days of the year the Executive Committee (EC) of the SBC conducts the day to day business of our Convention (of churches) until we meet again in another year. The purpose of the Convention is for the messengers of our churches to meet and through voting, give direction and guidance to the EC through resolutions, amendments and actions on how to proceed in the following year. Any recognized church messenger may make a resolution to be considered by the Convention. Simply write out what it is that you want to be considered by the Convention and then submit it to the Resolutions Committee (a committee made up of representatives from various member churches) whose job is review it, and then decide whether it is actionable (doable) and how to present the resolution to the Convention.

 This year, one messenger submitted a resolution that made news. The resolution he proffered concerned the “alt-right” movement. His motion needed to be more clearly defined and clarified. The language used was good for media consumption but as a resolution lacked the clarity and specificity needed, especially in regard to the use of the term “alt-right” movement (think white supremacists).

 My understanding is that this term “alt-right” is often used by some groups to label and define any group with whom they disagree. Some of those other groups would consider any Christian holding conservative values and principles “alt-right.” I trust that the writer knew what he wanted it to say but the Resolutions Committee didn’t and therefore did not bring it to the Convention floor. Barret Duke the Committee’s chairman said, “the initial decision not to recommend a resolution condemning alt-right ideology did not reflect a sympathy for it.” “The Resolutions Committee requested and was granted by the Convention an opportunity to reverse its decision (concerning the presentation of a resolution) and present a resolution on the alt-right racist ideology.” (sbc.net) You may have read excerpts of the original draft in the media. That is because it appears to have been written for the media, but as a resolution it was not actionable. When the convention did have a clear and specific resolution and it was passed unanimously, the media didn’t seem interested. As far as the media were concerned…we still got it wrong. 

 The Resolutions Committee (which was ethnically and gender diverse) provided a clear and definitive statement for the Convention concerning the bigotry and hate of the Alt-Right and a denunciation of its racism from a Godly perspective. Please read the following abbreviated and condensed version of the resolution which was adopted by the SBC: Resolution #10: “On The Anti-Gospel of Alt-Right White Supremacy.”

 In this Resolution we as Southern Baptists state that from one man God has made every nationality. The earth and its inhabitants belong to the Lord. God does not show favoritism and our justification before God is not based on our ethnicity but belief in Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus is for every tribe, every language, every people and every nation and that one day Jesus will gather His people from every nation, every people, every tribe and language in worship of Him.

 Our Covenant of Faith: ‘The Baptist Faith and Message’ “conveys that all Christians are obligated to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness and vice and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of principles of righteousness truth and brotherly love;…” and In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated the “historic acts of evil, such as slavery,” and are now committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry and has genuinely repent(ed) of racism which we have been guilty consciously or unconsciously.”

 To further convey our attitudes towards racism and bigotry we have in recent years elected individuals from a variety of ethnicities including our first African-American President (2012) … and in recent resolutions have called on all men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more (2014) … expressed our grief over the continued presence of racism in our culture (2015) … and urged fellow Christians to discontinue flying the Confederate Flag (2016);” recognizing that that it is a symbol of hatred and bigotry and racism offending millions of people.

 Whereas we continue to root out all vestiges of racism form our own hearts as Southern Baptists and racism and white supremacy are sadly not extinct but present all over the world in various supremacy movements known as White Nationalism or “ALT-RIGHT” movements

 Therefore be it Resolved that the Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017, decry every from of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil; and be it further acknowledged that we still must make progress in rooting out remaining forms of racism either intentional or unintentional in our midst.

 We earnestly pray both for those who advocate racist ideologies and are thereby deceived … that they may see their error and repent…coming to know the peace and love of Christ through the peace and love of Christ….

 The Convention’s position is clear. The language is clear. And the process that led us here, though boring most of the time, worked as it was supposed to and allowed your Convention to clearly state the position that Southern Baptists stand against racism.

    Our Convention is open to the public. Unlike many denominations’ business meetings we do our business publically for the world to witness. That means all our flaws are easily seen and are often exploited yet we continue to be transparent in our business as a Convention. Our goal is to act in obedience to our Lord and His commands to do good and share the Good News of Christ. You can go to SBC’s website and read about the convention at: (http://bpnews.net/49067/wrapup-altright-resolution-amp-evangelism-draw-focus-at-sbc) 

Your Pastor, Dave Rowser