Resolutions address same-sex marriage, religious liberty, Planned Parenthood

November 12th, 2015 / By: Michael Foust / comments

Resolutions address same-sex marriage, religious liberty, Planned Parenthood

HOUSTON—Messengers to the 2015 annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention passed a resolution, Nov. 10, thanking government officials for adopting a law protecting pastors from being forced to perform same-sex marriages. They also approved resolutions on personal holiness, sexual sin, the dignity of human life and the sufficiency of Scripture.

These were among the eight resolutions adopted with little discussion during the meeting held at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston.

In June, the Texas legislature passed and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Pastor Protection Bill, a religious liberty law that prevents ministers from being forced to officiate a same-sex marriage ceremony and also gives them legal protection in case they are sued.

The related resolution passed by messengers says the new law guards pastors who refuse “to conduct marriages that violate God’s plan and biblical outline for the sacred institution of marriage.”

“We, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention … hereby express our appreciation and thanks to the Texas executive and legislative branches for their leadership and commitment to protecting pastors and churches,” the resolution reads.

That same resolution also acknowledges government officials for de-funding Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and became the subject of investigations following exposé videos released this summer outing them for the illegal sale of baby body parts.

“We thank the governing bodies of Texas for ceasing public funding of Planned Parenthood, an organization that fails to recognize the dignity of all human life,” the resolution reads.

Messengers also approved resolutions:

  • affirming Scripture as sufficient for the “totality of the Christian life.”
  • referencing the Ashley Madison scandal and pledging “sexual purity in our marriages as an expression of God’s design for human sexuality.”
  • calling on “all Christians to unconditionally love all human beings.”
  • urging churches to promote adoption and to support pregnancy resource centers.
  • supporting a renewed commitment to live out “God’s holiness in our culture.”
  • expressing appreciation for outgoing SBTC President Jimmy Pritchard.
  • thanking Champion Forest Baptist Church for hosting the meeting.

A resolution “On the Sufficiency of the Word of God for the Entire Christian Life” notes that “God establishes the standards by which all forms of human wisdom and knowledge and all aspects of human culture and activity must be judged.”

“We encourage every Christian voter and every Christian public servant to make their decisions with regard to the legislation, execution and judgment of laws based upon and under the authority of the Word of God, and therefore with the highest regard for religious liberty,” the resolution reads.

It further says: “The totality of the Christian life, corporately and individually, in the family, in the church and in the broader society, must be based upon, focused upon and have as its goal obedience to and proclamation of the Word of God.”

Messengers dealt with the Ashley Madison controversy in a resolution “On Biblical Roles and Purity in Marriage.”

The resolution notes the “recent scandal involving the Ashley Madison website has made the church more aware of the prevalence of sexual sin in our churches and our culture.

“We will demonstrate sexual purity in our marriages as an expression of God’s design for human sexuality whereby the only proper context for sexual expression is between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage,” it reads. “… We affirm that God offers his love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ to those who recognize their sin and are willing to repent and obey his word; as a result, any broken relationship can be restored. (1 Corinthians 6:11, Romans 5:8).”

In a resolution “On the Affirmation of Love for All,” messengers called on “all Christians to unconditionally love all human beings, who are made in the image of their Creator, regardless of age, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, race, economic status, work profession, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other personal differences or distinctions.”

“We agree that genuine love is owed to all and that giving such love does not mean we accept or agree with actions counter to biblical teachings, rather such love extends the grace and mercy our Father in heaven has extended toward us,” the resolution reads. “ … We will fully embrace and actively fulfill our Lord Jesus’ teaching to love all people and to seek to be known by our love for one another, regardless of the personal costs of doing so (John 13:34-35).”

Messengers touched again on the Planned Parenthood and abortion issues in a resolution “On the Dignity of Human Life from Conception to Natural Death.” It notes that “society has become more aware of the brutal nature of abortion through the undercover Planned Parenthood videos.”

“Many women regret their decision to abort, and Christians are bound by love to lead others to treat these women and their unborn babies with dignity,” the resolution reads. “We should also walk alongside women, men and families that are facing unwanted pregnancies and provide the necessary support to assist them to understand all of the difficult emotions, questions, decisions and choices they face as they develop positive plans for their futures, whether they choose adoption or parenting (Psalm 82:4).”

The resolution calls for involvement in adoption ministries and “pregnancy resource centers and other ministries which help alleviate some of the burden on the women, men and families confronting unwanted pregnancies.”

Messengers also passed a resolution “On Personal Holiness” that notes Christians “are commanded to daily spend time alone with God in prayer and immersed in his Word, confessing and forsaking our sins, seeking his will to the neglect of our own, in order to grow in holiness.

“We are committed to living out God’s holiness in our culture, resulting in renewed zeal to share the gospel of Jesus with lost people for the purpose of winning them to faith in Christ and discipling them in such a way that they will in turn win others to Christ,” the resolution reads.