What's next for Resolution 10?
You may have noticed I didn't attend the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix last month. Then again, maybe not. Still, around 5,000 Southern Baptist messengers did gather to conduct the business of our 50,000+ churches/ missions, and 15+ million members. Digital streaming allowed me the privilege of observation. So, my comments about Resolution 10 are just that, the thoughts of an observer watching from a distance.
Resolutions are standard fare in SBC annual meetings. By definition, a resolution is
"an expression of opinion or concern, as compared to a motion, which calls for action. A resolution is not used to direct an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention to specific action other than to communicate the opinion or concern expressed. Resolutions are passed during the annual Convention meeting." Under these broad parameters resolutions are not binding on the institutions, churches, or membership of the denomination. They are significant as an expression of of the heart and soul of our mission assignment.
An appointed Resolutions Committee pours and prays over every potential resolution submitted by our diverse constituency. They present their recommendations as a point of order in the Order of Business of the convention meeting. This year ten (10) resolutions were approved by the voting messengers. They can be viewed here.
Resolution 10-On the Anti-Gospel of Alt-Right White Supremacy received a good bit of press attention because of controversy about the original wording and phrasing. A final reading of the revised resolution was unanimously approved by the convention. It is a strong statement of the conventions opposition to racism, white supremacy, and the alt-right political extreme. Since I wasn't there all I could do was cheer it's approval and pray for it's realization. In my limited opinion, the racial divide in our nation may be among our most serious spiritual challenges.
And, that's my point. In the 1995 annual meeting Southern Baptists adopted a resolution to repent regarding our sustaining and supporting slavery in our founding years. To resolve opposition of racism and white supremacy at the 2017 meeting was a long overdue action to place this matter before our churches and membership. The burden for our denomination now is to realize this stance at local levels. To repent and resolve about these issues are perhaps fitting first and second steps in dealing with the racial realities that no doubt inhibit our God given mission. To realize them in actual practice may be our greatest challenge.
As the press uproar about the delay in proposing and approving the resolution at the 2017 played out several denomination leaders, people I respect and admire, countered with statements about Resolution 10 being who we are, a central tenet of our spiritual bearings. How I wish it were so! In my heart it is a strong statement of who we would like to be. As a result, Resolution 10 will be my heartfelt prayer until the resolve elements are realized at every level of Southern Baptist life.
Paul wrote words of challenge to his apostolic delegate Timothy.
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your
progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for
by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:15-16, ESV
It's time to actualize the final of these three R words, realize. The words of Resolution10 must move beyond the official minutes of the meeting to the pulpits, pews, and agendas of our local churches. To realize this resolution is the only follow-up to our actions to repent of, and resolve this spiritual sin.
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