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.”