Southern Baptists Defend Biblical Marriage, Gender & Religious Liberty

on June 15, 2016

The 2016 Southern Baptist Convention is being called a “historic event” by many of its participants in St. Louis this week. In addition to its historic vote rejecting the display of the Confederate flag, the largest Protestant denomination passed a resolution re-affirming the convention’s staunch defense of Biblical sexuality and religious liberty.

Over 7,000 registered Southern Baptist messengers adopted with overwhelming support the resolution titled “On Biblical Sexuality and the Freedom of Conscience.” The resolution specifically defines marriage as “between one man and one woman” as a foundation for “the common good of society” and rejects “any law that directly contradicts natural law and biblical truth” as “unjust.” The resolution also calls on Southern Baptists to “pledge to strengthen biblical marriage in our homes, churches, and communities.”

The resolution goes on to expressly condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision to redefine marriage and the Obama Administration’s transgender directive to public school bathrooms. The resolution states, in part:

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in 2015 purporting to redefine marriage does violence to the Constitution and is contrary to the Bible and natural order; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration’s recent “guidance” requiring transgender access in public school bathrooms and locker rooms based on its unauthorized redefinition of “sex” in federal law rejects God’s design of male and female;

The resolution also challenges threats to American citizens’ freedom of conscience and commits to strengthening support of state legislative efforts in defense of religious liberty. It states, in part:

WHEREAS, Experience and recent history have shown that when government redefines marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman, the police power of the state is brought to bear to enforce that redefinition, resulting in an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That we applaud and support efforts of eleven state attorney general in their challenge to the Obama Administration’s transgender “guidance”; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our continued support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and similar laws and call on government officials to reject requests that would tamper with or weaken these laws; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act in order to ensure that the federal government does not discriminate against people of faith because of their convictions regarding marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon our elected officials to pass laws that every level of government that protect the free exercise of religion; and be it further

RESOVLED, That we stand in solidarity with those whose jobs, professions, businesses, ministries, schools, and personal freedoms are threatened because their consciences will not allow them to recognize, promote, or participate in activities associated with unbiblical marriage;

Messengers also adopted a friendly amendment to the resolution submitted by Paul Cooper which calls on Southern Baptists to encourage and applaud individuals who struggle with same-sex attraction but by God’s grace choose to remain faithful to the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. Cooper’s amendment was not only adopted, but met with a resounding applause from fellow messengers and observers.

The resolution also contains an expression of “love for our neighbors who identify as transgender, seek their good always, welcome them to our churches, and, as they repent and believe in Christ, receive them into church membership.”

In conclusion, the resolution commits to prayerful anticipation of revival and a renewed “recognition of the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman, God’s design for gender, freedom of conscience, and unhindered religious freedom.”

  1. Comment by Will Winn on June 17, 2016 at 3:10 pm


  2. Comment by Prisoner ID on June 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    As someone who stopped attending SBC churches I am a bit curious. Why the need to keep reaffirming stances and beliefs? A thought does come to mind for me. Someone told me of some HR policies that were handed out at their work. This was probably due to a certain practice occurring among some employees.

    Is that why the issue of marriage defining was brought up again? Are they seeing that many congregants don’t agree with the policy or feel the need to leave that up to each individual?

    I respect their position if that is how they see scripture and feel led by God. I would hope that as they celebrate those GLBTQ who are choosing celibacy you also celebrate that God has brought you other GLBTQ who are not celibate. He brought you these to love, protect and minister to. Suicide and homelessness are high among GLBTQ youth. Incredibly high statistics that show how these children are rejected and thrown to the streets by family and society in general. So they often turn to drugs and prostitution to survive.

    While the SBC proclaims on and on I feel that they should do more for their congregants that suffer in secret under sermons of condemnation and rejection. Let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. Ministering in love is our job as Christians.

    I recall a pastor saying why he did not have the “required” revival meetings at least once a year. He stayed we need to stay revived and not need to continually have meetings to get us back to where we were.

    The revival mentioned at the convention – what kind of revival are they seeking? To come alive again for Christ in their living or for the congregants to fall in line?

    Daryl Hamby

  3. Comment by Ken M on June 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Odd choice for an avatar, given that it was a gay man who killed 49 people in cold blood. Also, you might get accused of Islamophobia, since the gay man was also a Muslim.

  4. Comment by Prisoner ID on June 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I do not see why it is odd. I don’t understand how you came to either of your off topic observations.

  5. Comment by John Carson on June 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    You know, I grew up listening to the concept of religious liberty being preached from the pulpit with regularity. I still believe in that concept I heard preached but what I read in this piece isn’t that. I’ve read extensively on this issue over the years, and it is becoming more and more obvious to me that your “1st amendment defense act” and other efforts amount to little more than lobbying, yay demanding that your right to mistreat your fellow man be codified into law.

  6. Comment by DanH on June 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Unlike the post-Christian mainline churches, the SBC still believes that Christianity is based on the Bible, not on polls.

    Some of the more liberal types are fleeing the SBC, which explains their slipping numbers, but I think this is a good thing overall – fewer pew-fillers, but better Christians. Better that apostates leave than having them hang around and claim “We are the REAL Christians!” Asks the Methodists how that is working out.

  7. Comment by Prisoner ID on June 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I am not sure the steady departures are simply due to the defection of liberals. People have an odd reaction to the Big Machine (SBC). People are less trusting of hierarchies in any denomination. They feel they cannot explore and believe things on their own without a panic button being hit. When I stated I wanted to explore other Christian churches it was like I was swimming into a sea of storms by the reactions I got.

    And shame on you for questioning their level of Christianity. Better Christians? Really? How unloving and pompous a statement. Give your blessing to travel their own path with God. And work out your own spirituality instead of standing above people. Your statements reminded me of a Jehovahs Witness I knew. He once said he so wished I had what he had with God. I asked him how did he know what I had with God? We know JWs think their way is the only way. Let’s not be that way.

    I recall a pastor saying that when SBC congregants are not happy they go to another SBC church and then compared it to another denomination that would split and build their own. Then it seemed the dearly departed did start new churches under the SBC.

    Now it seems people are heading in the direction of other denominations or independent churches. Instead of name calling and judging perhaps you and others need to listen to them before they vote with their feet.

    And splits can cause some amazing things. We get stagnant and lack power in our communal lives. If both sides can let each other go in grace all the better. That might be the start of the revival the SBC father figures are speaking of. It might spark those who leave to find ways to reach those not currently being reached. And it might set the ones who remain to come together as a body and stop doing the same things under different campaign names.

    In closing I have many wonderful memories of the time I worked in SBC churches and missions. I knew many sincere and wonderful folk who were willing to be used by God to touch lives.

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