The officers and the Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, on Monday, June 29, 2020 from Plymouth, Michigan released a statement against racism and injustice. Approximately thirty people were in attendance, including a local news station, pastors and staff members. Attenders stood alongside leaders, as the statement was read publicly, while others participated through Zoom. Participants broke into applause at the conclusion of the gathering. This event was a result of an important conversation and collaboration between the leadership of the state convention and the officers of the Greater Detroit Baptist Association. The complete, six-paragraph written statement can be read below.
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Press Release Statement by BSCM Officers and Executive Director
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast what is good...Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 16:9, 15, English Standard Version). The officers and employees of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan abhor the injustice that many of our African-American brothers and sisters have endured as the result of the lingering vestiges of systemic racism in our society. We stand side-by-side with our brothers and sisters with hearts filled with love for them, but also with hearts that are broken because of the pain and fear they have endured and are continuing to endure. We openly weep with them.
We condemn, in the strongest terms possible, all expressions of racism as being not only contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but as an anti-gospel of hate rather than love. We believe that all human beings are made in the image of God, and as such deserve dignity and respect. Any words or actions that attack and denigrate any humans on the basis of their ethnic background are attacks on the God in whose image they are created. Because we are ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and speak up and speak out for those who suffer injustice (Isaiah 1:17). We believe that all black lives are therefore sacred, without denying that any other lives matter and without supporting the principles of the Black Lives Matter organization. To assert that black lives matter, when black lives are in danger, is not contrary to the Gospel, but rather is the product of loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). Therefore, we recommit ourselves to pray that “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24) and to act in love for our neighbors. Our words must be and will be supported by our actions.
To that end, we call on our elected representatives at all levels of government to fulfill their duty to end racial injustice wherever it exists. We recognize this means both reexamining existing laws to ensure their equity and fairness as well as considering new legislation that offers protection for those most susceptible to the abuses of those lingering vestiges of systemic racism, including federal legislation outlawing the heinous crime of lynching. Therefore, we recommit ourselves to pray for our government leaders’ well-being, wisdom, discernment, and their just exercise of the authority given to them by God.
We further recognize the need for reform, but not disbandment, in our law enforcement agencies. We are rightly repulsed when those who serve as public protectors violate the justice they have been sworn to uphold. While we are supportive of those men and women who faithfully and bravely serve their communities as law enforcement officers, we are also sadly aware that there are some who misuse their God-sanctioned authority to mistreat and abuse minority ethnic groups. Therefore, we recommit ourselves to pray for those in law enforcement who are striving to be peacemakers, that God will bless their efforts with success as they seek to build relationships and bridges with the people they serve. We also recommit to pray and speak out against those members of the law enforcement community who would abuse their authority.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, our confessional statement as Southern Baptists, unequivocally calls on every Christian to oppose racism. Furthermore, in Article XV – The Christian and the Social Order, it states, “Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.” These principles find their basis in both the Scriptures and the God who inspired them, and we affirm without any reservation or qualification these principles. Therefore, we recommit ourselves to acting on behalf of those whose voices are not heard, advocating and promoting the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb and laboring endlessly to bring about healing in the area of racial and social injustices.
Ultimately, however, we understand that there can be no lasting resolution or peace in this matter apart from hearts that have been transformed by the Good News of Jesus Christ, because at its foundation the problem is not sociological, but theological. We believe that the sin nature we have all inherited lies at the root of racism, along with all of its poisonous fruits, and that the only permanent solution is the Gospel and its application. As we strive to address the physical, mental, and emotional pain and darkness, we also seek to point people to faith in Jesus Christ so that we might punch holes in that darkness with the light of God’s love.