Nine resolutions will be recommended to messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention, covering topics from the war in Ukraine to sexual abuse and sanctity of human life issues. The SBC will vote on these resolutions during the two “Committee on Resolutions Reports” (scheduled for Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday at 3 p.m. Texas pastor Bart Barber chairs the committee.
You can read the 18-pages of resolutions here.
(Skip to the end for the TL;DR version.)
What’s a resolution?
A resolution is a non-binding statement that expresses the collective will of the messengers present at that SBC Annual Meeting.
- Even if a resolution is passed unanimously, nobody and no entity is required to abide by anything in it. But because an adopted resolution is affirmed by the majority at the SBC, it’s a good indicator of what the messengers think that year about a given topic.
- It’s also a statement that SBC leaders can point to when they’re talking to external audiences like the media. For instance, if a leader is asked what the SBC thinks about abortion, he or she can point to past resolutions as examples of what Southern Baptists believe.
How it works:
- The SBC president appoints people to a Committee on Resolutions.
- Southern Baptists can submit resolutions to the committee before the SBC Annual Meeting.
- In the days ahead of the Annual Meeting, the Committee on Resolutions reviews the submitted resolutions and has the power to edit, combine, and craft resolutions and to decide which resolutions to bring before the messengers.
- During part 1 and part 2 of the “Committee on Resolutions Report,” the committee will make motions to adopt the resolutions the committee selected.
- Messengers may adopt (or not), make changes, or move to bring a resolution “out of committee” if the committee chose not to bring it before the SBC.
- Because the time slots for business are short, effectively editing resolutions from the floor is difficult.
What stands out about these resolutions?
The committee received 29 resolutions and declined 15 of those.
- That’s a high ratio of resolutions rejected outright by the committee, and it includes 2 resolutions related to plagiarism. (Context: Sermon plagiarism has been an item of discussion and debate in the Southern Baptist Convention throughout the last year in regard to the current SBC president.)
Resolution #6 (“On Lament and Repentance for Sexual Abuse”) is oddly unclear in some areas and oddly precise in others.
- It’s oddly unclear when it reads that, “we publicly repent and acknowledge our need for comprehensive change in caring well for survivors of sexual abuse.” Who is the “we”? As a resolution, the “we” is the messengers gathered at the SBC. But how can those messengers repent for the sins of others?
- It’s oddly precise when it names individual survivors of sexual abuse within SBC churches. The SBC has several resolutions related to its past postures on racism and slavery, but apologizes to no one by name.
Resolutions being considered include:
1: ON THE MISSION FIELD IN RURAL AMERICA
2: ON THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL
3: ON THE WAR IN UKRAINE
4: ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, FORCED CONVERSION, AND THE FEDERAL INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOL INITIATIVE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
5: ON SUPPORT FOR CONSISTENT LAWS REGARDING PASTORAL SEXUAL ABUSE
6: ON LAMENT AND REPENTANCE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE
7: ON ANTICIPATION OF A HISTORIC MOMENT IN THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT
8: ON THE IMAGO DEI AND THE HELPFUL CONTENT SUBMITTED IN SEVERAL RESOLUTIONS
9: ON APPRECIATION FOR THE CITY OF ANAHEIM
Read the resolutions here.