By Message Staff
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – The Resolutions Committee has drafted six resolutions for messengers to consider for adoption as consensus policy statements during the 171st Session of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
The committee’s recommendations will be offered for a vote at 3:05 p.m. as part of the Tuesday portion of the Nov. 12-13 program.
The six statements cover a span of issues.
One expresses appreciation for those who played a major part in the annual meeting. However, the remaining five address key spiritual matters, moral issues and social concerns that are hot topics of public debate.
ON PROTECTION OF FAITH-BASED ADOPTION AND CHILD CARETAKING ENTITIES was forwarded to the Resolutions Committee from the Moral and Social Concerns Committee in support of national legislation to defend Christian orphanages, adoption agencies and other child caretaking ministries from attack because of biblically-held beliefs about marriage and the biological basis of gender.
The resolution was requested by Perry Hancock, president of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries. He expressed concern to the committee about increasing hostility in some cities and states, including Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Illinois, toward Christian social services agencies.
The committee drafted ON LOUISIANA BAPTISTS’ PRO-LIFE BELIEFS to restate the Convention’s strongly held pro-life stances, and in a way so as to blunt critics’ false accusations that Christians only care about the baby in the womb.
Consequently, this statement emphasizes the “womb to eternity” ministries by Louisiana Baptists, pledging continued commitment to protect the unborn, care for pregnant mothers and newborns, provide for orphans, equip destitute men and women for life and work, strengthen families, assist in recovery from natural disasters, rehabilitate and construct houses and supply hunger relief worldwide, all without strings attached, but always with an offer of the Gospel.
Without mentioning specific names, the resolution underscores the work Louisiana Baptists perform through such ministries as the Cenla Pregnancy Care Center, the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries, the Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps programs, Disaster Relief and World Hunger Relief, and the evangelistic outreach made in each in addition to cooperative Gospel efforts like the statewide Harvest effort.
The resolution ON STUDENT RIGHTS TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY draws from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court to reaffirm “the rights of students to religious freedom” and “to exercise their religious beliefs on all public school campuses,” which include elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities.
The statement acknowledges the legal obligation of these schools “to help preserve the religious freedom of students,” but also recognizes that “a growing number” of them “are limiting or prohibiting students’ rights to religious speech and expression.”
The resolution follows state legislation passed and signed into law this year requiring public colleges and universities to ensure free speech on their campuses. Act 666 requires these schools to spell out free speech rights, publicize those rights in student handbooks and on school websites and make clear that disagreeable opinions will not be censored. The legislation did not include public elementary and secondary schools.
ON PREDATORY PAYDAY LENDING addresses a critical issue for families facing “a sudden expense or financial or other short-term financial need and lacking assets to offer as security for a traditional loan.”
Payday lending, typically loans of $350 or less with high percentage interest rates for two-week periods, can be an important source of emergency funds in these cases. However, the practice can trap borrowers in an endless cycle of two-week loans.
The resolution emphasizes the biblical principle of paying one’s debt and equally underscores the Scripture’s instruction to protect the poor from exploitation, in condemning predatory payday lending, and calling for churches to offer financial education and training and for government leaders to investigate and pass policies to further protect financially vulnerable Louisianans from exploitation.
Finally, the committee drafted a resolution, ON THE GOSPEL AND IMMIGRATION, based on a 2011 SBC resolution with the same name, but heavily edited by the committee. The committee felt led to speak to the issue following the Southern Baptist messengers’ vote this summer to approve a resolution about immigration.
The measure avoids language about “appropriate restitutionary measures,” in the 2018 and 2011 SBC resolutions. But it restates the call in both “to secure the borders” and “hold businesses accountable” for hiring illegal immigrants, while asking the government to implement “a carefully considered path to legal status, and not amnesty, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country.”
Importantly, the statement acknowledges possible disagreements among Louisiana Baptists about how to achieve public policy regarding immigration. However, it also offers agreement that “when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the message, in every language and to every person, is ‘Whosoever will may come.’”
Cullen Clark, pastor of First Baptist Church, Crowley, is chairman of the Resolutions Committee, and Clark Palmer, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Tioga, is vice chairman. Other members are Tommy French, pastor emeritus, Jefferson Baptist Church, Baton Rouge; Larry Johnson, pastor of Crossroads Community Church, Kenner; Steve McAlister, pastor of Westside Baptist Church, Natchitoches; Kayla Muller, member of Williams Boulevard Baptist Church, Kenner; Terry Young, pastor of Airline Baptist Church, Bossier City; Waylon Bailey, pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington (ex officio); George Guillory, pastor of Glen Oaks Baptist Church, Baton Rouge (ex officio); and, Jason Hoychick, pastor of Westview Baptist Church, DeRidder (ex officio).