DALLAS, TX (BP) – Messengers to the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention affirmed the dignity and worth of women, denounced all forms of abuse and called for sexual purity among Christian leaders in adopting 16 resolutions Tuesday (June 12).
Passage of the resolutions on women, abuse and pastoral purity by nearly unanimous votes late in the afternoon session came after months of disclosures of sexual abuse and misconduct by male leaders had rocked Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches and institutions.
The resolution on women recognized May 15 as the 100th anniversary of female messengers to the SBC meeting and honored "the immeasurable contribution of women to our cooperative mission of Great Commission work." It also affirmed women's gifts "in their distinctive God-assigned roles" and urged Southern Baptists "to encourage, cultivate, and celebrate the diverse gifts, callings, and contributions of women in biblically appropriate ways."
The measure on abuse renounced "all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful" and called for decisive action to report abuse allegations to law enforcement authorities. It also offered compassion to abuse victims, "being careful to remind the abused that such injustice is undeserved and not a result of personal guilt or fault." In the resolution on clergy purity, messengers repudiated actions that undermine the New Testament standard of holiness for Christian leaders and urged churches "to exercise appropriate redemptive church discipline" when needed.
While the subjects of these first three resolutions had some overlap, the Resolutions Committee -- which received 38 resolutions, the most since 1997 -- "determined to address each theme individually" because of the number of proposed statements it received, Chairman Jason Duesing told reporters afterward. "It was clear to us that the convention wanted to speak to those themes," and separate resolutions allowed the committee to meet that desire, said Duesing, provost and associate professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and a member of Antioch Bible Baptist Church in Gladstone, Mo.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented on the three resolutions by commending the Resolutions Committee "for strong, positive resolutions that address a crisis in our country and in our world right now." The resolution process not only speaks "to the outside world for the convention" but also serves "to help educate and equip" Southern Baptists, Moore said at the news conference. "And my hope is that these resolutions, as weighty and biblically crafted and worded as they are, would help to spark conversations and actions in local Southern Baptist churches and other churches about how can we best respond to those who are being abused."
In addition to Duesing, the other committee members, in alphabetical order, were: Ken Alford, pastor, Crossroads Baptist Church, Valdosta, Ga.; Byron Day, pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Laurel, Md.; Candi Finch, assistant professor of theology in women's studies, Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas and member of Hope Church, Fort Worth; Willie McLaurin, special assistant to the executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, Franklin, Tenn., and member of Simeon Baptist Church, Antioch, Tenn.; Chris Metcalf, pastor, Lihue Baptist Church, Lihue, Hawaii; Jason Paredes, lead pastor, Fielder Church, Arlington, Texas; Adron Robinson, senior pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Country Club Hills, Ill.; Alicia Wong, associate professor of women's ministry, Gateway Seminary, Ontario, Calif., and member of Rosena Church, San Bernardino, Calif.; and Curtis Woods, associate executive director for convention relations, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Louisville, Ky., and member of Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.