by Cliff Pace, Senior Pastor
This past June, the Southern Baptist Convention met at their annual meeting in St. Louis, MO. In that meeting, we elected Steve Gaines to serve as SBC President for the next year. The President establishes the vision for the work of the Convention, and Dr. Gaines' heart is for Biblical revival and Spiritual awakening among our churches.
Also, our six seminary presidents, International and North American Mission Boards, and other Convention agencies reported on the work and progress of these groups since last June. The Lord is definitely using Southern Baptists in Kingdom work throughout the world! While other denominations are struggling with their identities and trying to navigate culture, Southern Baptists as a whole are committed to Biblical truth and the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, 12 resolutions were passed that represented the consent of the majority of the messengers. Here are some of the more prominent resolutions:
- A resolution affirming Southern Baptists' commitment to biblical sexuality and urging the protection of religious free exercise.
- A resolution encouraging faithful proclamation of the Gospel by churches and intentional evangelism by individual Southern Baptists locally, nationally, and globally.
- A resolution declaring "unrelenting opposition" to efforts by military leaders and the Obama administration "to increase the likelihood that women will be placed in harm's way" along with voicing support for service members and their families.
- A resolution calling on the government to enact strict security in screening refugees and for Southern Baptists to compassionately minister to and share the Gospel with them.
- A resolution urging participation in voting and prayer for God to provide "spiritual, moral, ethical, and cultural renewal."
The Resolutions Committee also presented a resolution that called for Christians who display the Confederate flag "to consider prayerfully whether to limit, or even more so, discontinue its display" because of the "undeniably painful impact of the flag's symbolism on others." Acting on an amendment offered by former SBC President James Merritt, messengers overwhelmingly approved language that urged "brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole body of Christ, including our African American brothers and sisters.”
(You can read more details on this page)
I am thankful for the work of Southern Baptists and the unifying Spirit that keeps us focused on our goal of advancing the Kingdom of Christ. If we ever lose that focus, we will become irrelevant and useless as God’s people.
The Apostle Paul certainly had a way with words. Yes, he was empowered and led by the Holy Spirit of course, but the same Holy Spirit that led Paul led us a Convention to express truth in our culture. As you think about what we stand for as Southern Baptists--and as members of Jesus’ Kingdom--remember the words of I Thessalonians 5:1-11:
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Father, as your people, help us to represent You well and to stay biblically grounded. Help us to be “ministers of reconciliation,” and to share the Gospel and put away anything in our lives that would keep us from doing that with anyone. May we love You more than anyone or anything. In Jesus' name, amen.