Published July 3, 2017
PHOENIX--Messengers to the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention passed resolutions June 13 repenting of prayerlessness and calling for leaders to practice biblical morality before deciding late at night to vote Wednesday on a previously rejected proposal denouncing the “alt-right.”
The approved resolutions covered some hot-button theological and moral issues, but the proposed resolution on the “alt-right”—a movement that supports white nationalism—gained the most attention.
The Resolutions Committee chose not to report out the proposal to messengers. An effort by the resolution’s author to bring the “alt-right” measure to the floor failed in the afternoon session, and a motion by another messenger in the evening session also fell short. Each motion required a two-thirds majority, and the evening vote received only 58 percent approval.
The committee reconvened on Tuesday evening, however, and asked the Committee on Order of Business for time Wednesday to present a new “alt-right” resolution, chief parliamentarian Barry McCarty told messengers. The Committee on Order of Business approved, McCarty said. Messengers then approved voting on the resolution on Wednesday afternoon (see related story).
Reporting the resolution on prayer as the first matter for messengers to consider was significant, said Barrett Duke, Resolutions Committee chairman and executive director of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, in a news conference afterward. That resolution included some “very specific language” for Southern Baptists, he said.
When asked by a reporter about the absence of President Trump’s name from the resolution on moral leadership, Duke said, “We simply believe the resolution stands on its own without bringing particular characters into it.”
Trump’s multiple marriages and past actions toward and comments about women were subjects of concern among Southern Baptists during the 2016 election, although many church members voted for him.
Regarding the measure on gambling, Duke said, “We looked back, and we noticed that we never in the past have actually labeled gambling as a sin in that kind of explicit way.”
ERLC President Russell Moore described the resolution on penal substitutionary atonement as “very well worded, reflecting the viewpoint of the Baptist Faith & Message (the SBC’s statement of faith) and in a context where penal substitutionary atonement has been the subject of a hot debate in recent years.”
He told reporters it was a “very appropriate word for this convention to speak to the fact that we believe, as the book of Romans teaches, that God is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus through the atoning sacrifice of Christ.”
After the approval of all nine resolutions, Texas pastor Dwight McKissic moved to bring his proposal on the “alt-right” to messengers. McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, asked that the SBC “would go on record to abate darkness that’s invading our nation right now.” Many “alt-right” members claim to be Southern Baptists, he said.
In explaining why the committee did not report out McKissic’s resolution, Duke told reporters afterward the panel spent a number of hours considering the proposal “before we finally said we just didn’t see a way that we could speak to the multiple issues that were raised in that resolution in a way that we felt would be constructive.”
Duke said the committee agreed with the resolution’s point on racism, but thought it and other “elements (in the proposal) already had been addressed recently” in Southern Baptist life.
The committee also chose not to act on resolutions submitted regarding Genesis, pro-life support, unity in the SBC and country, collaboration on ministry to refugees, praying for the peace of Jerusalem and encouragement of trustee representation. (BP)
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