By Will Hall, Message Editor
DALLAS (LBM) — The 9,467 Southern Baptist messengers in Dallas had the opportunity to shape the future of the Convention in a number of ways, with the following items of significant note:
— J.D. Greear was elected SBC president with 5,410 votes to 2,459 votes for Ken Hemphill, after a nominating speech that described Greear as having planted “42 Southern Baptist churches” told a younger generation “we ought to give more to the Cooperative Program”; and, been “a whosever-will Gospel preacher.”
— An attempt failed to dismiss the executive committee of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee board for ousting Paige Patterson regarding allegations to his handling of a sexual assault incident, as well as statements he made about domestic abuse and women’s physical appearance.
— Despite strong vocal opposition by some, an overwhelming majority of messengers voted to let Vice President Mike Pence speak to the Convention.
— The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission convinced messengers to defeat a trustee candidate presented by the SBC Nominating Committee, and approved instead a nominee seeking a second term.
MOTIONS REFERRED TO SBC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Motions referred to the SBC Executive Committee asked it to:
— consider a separate entity for evangelism
— cease inviting elected officials to speak at the annual meeting
— amend SBC Bylaw 21 so as to prohibit elected officials from addressing Convention messengers
— strengthen trustee training for all national entities
— amend SBC Bylaw 10c to require nominating speeches for officers of the Convention include CP information for the candidate’s church
— develop and provide more comprehensive trustee training
— study the feasibility of remote sire and digital participation of churches in the annual meeting
— recommend a program assignment for church revitalization
— add a children’s ministry Sunday to the SBC calendar
— form a president-appointed committee to articulate the relationship between the Old Testament and the Gospel
— study the Committee on Nominations process and standards
— study the issues of biblical authority regarding a woman serving as SBC president.
MOTIONS REFERRED TO SBC ENTITIES
Motions referred to SBC entities requested:
— the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to identify or develop resources to help protect churches against sexual predators
— formation of a task force for helping churches protect themselves from sexual predators
— Southwestern Seminary trustees to reconsider its decision regarding Paige Pattterson
Messengers approved 16 resolutions:
— RESOLUTION 1 – ON THE DIGNITY AND WORTH OF WOMEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF WOMEN AS MESSENGERS TO THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION (celebrates May 15 as the 100th anniversary of female messengers to the SBC annual meeting and honors the many ways women contribute to our cooperative work)
— RESOLUTION 2 – ON ABUSE (denounces abuse as sin, asks “forgiveness for failures to protect the abused … within our denomination,” emphasizes reporting instances of abuse to legal authorities, and the implementation of “policies and practices to protect against and confront any kind of abuse”)
— RESOLUTION 3 – ON THE HOLINESS AND INTEGRITY OF MINSITRY LEADERS (repudiates any ministry leader’s behavior that compromises “absolute holiness” and biblical requirement to live “above reproach”)
— RESOLUTION 4 – ON DENOUNCING THE DOCTRINE OF THE “CURSE OF HAM” AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR RACISM (rejects the teaching by some that God marked the descendants of Noah’s son Ham with dark skin)
— RESOLUTION 5 – ON IMMIGRATION (repeats a previous resolution to ask the government to prioritize efforts to secure the borders, and hold businesses accountable with regard to hiring practices and immigration status; and, adds a call for a “pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures”
— RESOLUTION 6 – ON REAFFIRMING THE FULL DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN BEING (addresses the “significant challenges” that “threaten the dignity and worthiness of human beings who do not possess power or advantage”)
— RESOLUTION 7 – ONCHRISTLIKE COMMUNICATION AND THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA (calls for Southern Baptists to “guard our tongues, using caution and wisdom in our media and social media, and refrain from remarks that tear down others made in the image of God”)