May 23, 2018

Southern Baptists adopt moral leadership statement

18 June 2017, 02:27 | Cesar Cruz

People worship during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Phoenix. Others said they took the resolution as a slam against President Donald Trump's voters.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) passed Resolution 10 on Wednesday afternoon, condemning the Alt-Right and all forms of racism as contrary to the Gospel and to Southern Baptist doctrine, after controversy arose over the convention's failure to vote on the resolution Tuesday.

The denomination initially refused to take up a resolution repudiating the movement that emerged dramatically during the US presidential election and mixes racism, nationalism and populism. "What's the reason they couldn't so readily say that white supremacy is wrong and the alt-right is evil?"

According to the Wall Street Journal, Moore's open criticism of "religious right" priorities and attempts "to lead evangelicals in a new direction" has split the Southern Baptist Convention and caused the denomination to be excluded from Trump White House access.

This year, the Southern Baptists voted on a resolution "On the Importance of Moral Leadership", repackaging language from a 1998 resolution condemning President Clinton.

Indeed, the Southern Baptist Convention was founded upon the notion that black slavery and white supremacy was integral to the Christian faith.

Let's be honest-we all know what the problem is: The Southern Baptist Convention has over 15 million members in 47,000 churches and made $10 billion a year ago.

"[Tuesday] you voted to allow me to appoint a task force to study how Southern Baptists can be more effective in personal soul-winning (personal evangelism) and also evangelistic preaching", said Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. "It took an uproar from the floor, the convention, to say we [have] a problem with white supremacy, so that has created a huge fault line".

The Committee on Resolutions decided the language was "inappropriate", committee Chairman Barrett Duke told The Arizona Republic.

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Maybe the committee underestimated the degree to which the 2016 election and some prominent SBC leaders' roles in it disappointed nonwhite Baptists and their white brethren who support racial justice.

Billy Levengood, a 32-year-old convention attendee from Oxford, Pennsylvania, said he will vote for the resolution, in part to help the denomination move beyond its origins.

The resolutions committee worked on a final version into the earlier hours Wednesday morning, said Duke, a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Billings, Mont., and executive director of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention.

To McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, it should have been a pushover for the denomination's Phoenix convention to support a proposed resolution against the "xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the so-called alt-right". Before social media outcry, the pastors had chosen not to address the alt-right movement.

Few messengers had seen the actual resolution and many expressed confusions about what, exactly "the alt-right" was.

Moore, who champions diversity within his denomination, has been a target of alt-right trolling, as have many fellow advocates, evangelical leaders of color, and interracial and adoptive families within the church.

"I'm grateful to God that now we are starting to send more and more missionaries back on the field, not pulling them off the field, but our [International Mission Board] is putting more and more missionaries back on the field", Gaines said, as reported by The Christian Post. "I believe that the time is right to reach across the church and to lock hands in total support of the rapid advance of the Gospel in our nation and in our world".

"This resolution was originally approved by the SBC during a Democratic presidency and now we have an opportunity to remain clear and consistent in our convictions during a Republican presidency", Tennessee pastor Micah Fries told the Religion News Service.

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