A Seriously Flawed Resolution by Caleb Lewis

June 15, 2018

Anyone who attended this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas does not need to be reminded how contentious it was at times. Even those who were keeping up via the internet or word-of-mouth probably heard about the tension and severity of much of the discussion. That being said, I am astonished that one piece of information, perhaps the single most serious issue that was addressed, has not been discussed in any detail. This year our messengers passed a seriously flawed resolution.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Jason Duesing of Midwestern Seminary gave the Committee on Resolutions Report. All the resolutions passed with minimal discussion; however, a few of the resolutions stirred up some dialogue. The resolution in question was Resolution #6, “On Reaffirming the Full Dignity of Every Human Being” authored by Dr. Keith Whitfield and Dr. Malcolm Yarnell.

The content of the resolution was such that any Southern Baptist, and for that matter any Christian, ought to be able to wholeheartedly affirm. It noted that every human has been imprinted with the image of God regardless of age, disabilities, ethnicity, race, sex, political persuasion, legal status, or religious belief. In fact, the second “Resolved” statement originally contained these words, “RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every unborn child and denounce every act of abortion.” Straightforward enough, right? We believe that every unborn child, no matter age, development stage, or level of “inconvenience” that his or her birth might have on his or her family has the full dignity of any other person. Apparently, not all messengers felt this way.

After the resolution was presented, a messenger came to the microphone and proposed that the sentence be amended to read, “RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every unborn child and denounce every act of abortion except to save the mother’s physical life.” He then offered up a heart-wrenching antidotal story of a pastoral situation in which the life of the mother was threatened by an unborn child. The story was terribly sad, no doubt; however, this does not hide the fact of the gravity of this amendment, which was passed overwhelmingly (almost unanimously) by the messengers.

First, let’s consider whether or not this amendment upheld the internal consistency of the amendment. In the sixth “Whereas” statement the resolution asserts, “WHEREAS, Significant challenges threaten the dignity and worthiness of human beings who do not possess power or advantage, including but not limited to the heinous murder of the unborn child in the womb.” This statement provides absolutely no qualification as to what abortion is- it is “heinous murder.” It does not afford the caveat of the mother’s life being in danger. Also, the first and third “Resolved” statements claim, “RESOLVED That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas June 12-13, 2018, reaffirm the sacredness and full dignity and worthiness of respect and Christian love for ever single human being, without any reservation whatsoever…regardless of cognitive or physical disability, and denounce every act that would wrongly limit the life of any human at any stage or state of life.” No reservation is to be made when it comes to the sanctity of human life, especially no reservation that factors into consideration the “stage or state of life.”

These concurrent statements in the resolution make the document internally incoherent with itself. Either reservation is given in some cases (such as when the mother’s life is in danger) or it is not. Either both the child and the mother have full dignity and sacredness or the mother possesses more dignity than the child. We cannot have it both ways.

The human life begins at conception. If one has two human parents then one is a human. One does not evolve into a human. One does not become a human at a certain point in his or her development. One’s location in or out of the womb does not constitute humanness. The function or dysfunction of certain organs does not set the bar for humanness. Either someone possesses humanity from conception or not. If a baby possesses humanity at conception, then any abortion in any case is murder.

If a baby possesses humanity, then it is not right to murder him or her to save the mother’s life. This might sound harsh or unsympathetic, but hear me out. When is it right to take an innocent life to save an innocent life? The Bible knows nothing of taking innocent life. For example, if you and one other person have the same deathly illness and there is only enough medicine to cure one of you, is it right for you to murder the other person so that you can live? Certainly not. In the same manner, it is not right to murder an unborn baby so that the mother can live. It sounds harsh, but if we believe that life begins at conception and babies do not evolve over time into becoming human, then we must believe that it is murder the kill the child under any circumstance.

This is why I believe that the most serious and far-reaching issue of the SBC meeting has flown virtually undetected under the radar. We as Southern Baptist have just endorsed the murder of an entire class of people for the sake of another class. We’ve approved the murdering of children for the well being of adults. Is this who we are as Southern Baptist? Is this who we are as Christians?

We must stand up and speak out against the authorization of murder of our children. We must protect the unborn at all cost. Not only is the seriously flawed resolution incoherent and illogical as amended, it is also unbiblical and immoral.

Dallas meeting to focus on prayer Join C316 and others in prayer for our SBC annual meeting.

June 6, 2018

DALLAS (BP) — Connect316 has changed its program — now to focus on prayer — for its Monday evening meeting, June 11, following the concluding session of the SBC Pastors’ Conference.

“Prayer will be our only agenda,” Will Hall, editor of the Baptist Message in Louisiana, wrote in an email distribution Saturday morning, June 2.

Connect316, an organization advocating a “traditionalist” view of the doctrine of salvation, “has heard the heart of our [SBC] president, Dr. Steve Gaines, and we believe our Convention’s future rests upon prayer and fasting, now more than ever.”

Gaines issued a call for 21 days of fasting and prayer, leading up to the opening of the June 12-13 SBC annual meeting in Dallas, in a statement he issued May 11 largely addressing controversy related to Paige Patterson up to that point involving comments Patterson had made in sermons regarding domestic abuse and a woman’s physical appearance. Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was subsequently terminated by a trustee executive committee on May 30 largely over the handling of two female students’ rape allegations against fellow students at SWBTS and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earlier had served as president.

Hall, in his email, said the June 11 Connect316 fellowship will focus on “calling upon our Lord to capture our thoughts, hearts, and actions. We will pray for Dr. Gaines and all our convention committee members, and for those who bring reports. We will pray for all the candidates who will be nominated. We will pray for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Most of all, we will implore God to send a revival among our people marked by humility, repentance and holiness.”

Hall wrote that “anyone and everyone” is invited to “this solemn and special time of unifying around the cross and Lordship of Christ.” People may “come and go as you please” during the session, which will begin around 9 p.m. in the Omni Dallas Hotel; refreshments will be provided.

Referencing one of the two nominees for SBC president, Hall added, “We will still provide 400 complimentary copies of Ken Hemphill’s newest book, Unlimited, on a first come, first serve basis. Ken Hemphill will be present for a meet and greet.”

Connect316, according to its website, is a fellowship that affirms a doctrine of salvation between that of Calvinism and Arminianism, holding that Christ died for the sins of every person.

Hemphill had initially been scheduled to address the Connect316 meeting, along with Richard Land, former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Ministries with a “traditionalist” view of salvation also were to have been introduced to the group, including TrueLife, Soteriology 101 and Baptist Strong.

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Among the matters to be prayed for are the issues lately raised related to both SWBTS & SEBTS.

The Power of Love Is Needed Right Now in the American Church

May 23, 2018

By Dr. Ronnie Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest, AR
President, National Day of Prayer

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted at Dr. Floyd’s personal blog and is used by permission.

This past Saturday, the world watched Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an American actress, unite in marriage in their captivating royal wedding.

Michael Bruce Curry, an Episcopalian Bishop from the United States, delivered the message at the wedding. He quoted the powerful words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who once said, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”

On This Side of the Pond

While the royal wedding was happening, on this side of the pond, our hearts were breaking from another evil shooting in one of America’s schools, resulting in ten people killed and an additional ten wounded. This time, the shooting occurred on Friday, May 18, in the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

From South Florida to Southeast Texas, this evil knows no boundaries.

What is the answer?

Love Can Help and Heal When Nothing Else Can

As Bishop Curry stated in the royal wedding on Saturday, “There’s power in love. Do not underestimate it.” After quoting from I John 4, reminding everyone to love one another, he later spoke these powerful words, “Love can help and heal when nothing else can.”

It is love like this that will not just hold a marriage together, but it is love like this that has the power to mend over time the broken hearts and lives from the devastation of a school shooting.

While the World is Breaking, the Church in America Needs to Rise Together in This Kind of Love

Since the power of God’s love can help and heal the brokenhearted, the Church in America needs to become so immersed in this love, individually and collectively, that we rise to offer this kind of love in the world today.

The Church in America is facing challenges at every level. At times social media amplifies them before the world. I fully realize these challenges cannot be ignored or minimized. I have never been timid or fearful in dealing with any of them, and I certainly am not now.

Yet, there is a right way to deal with these problems, and it is through the power of love.

The power of love has seen us through problems before and the power of love will see us through again.

Love leads to unity, not division. Love keeps everyone in mind, not just ourselves. Love respects and honors all people.

While this world is breaking before our eyes and making promises it cannot keep, the entire Church in America needs to rise together in love in order to give this world the only thing we can give them that will last forever… the love of Jesus Christ.

When we present this love, it must be real within us individually, but it also must be experienced between us as a family dynamically. This kind of love changes everything.

Let Love Be Our Way Forward

Our world cannot afford for us to be sidelined because of our attitudes. Our world needs us, but more than us, it needs the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are called to advance to every corner of this universe.

Therefore, let love be your way forward. Never let anyone outside of your circle of love.

As Christ followers, we do not just believe in the sanctity of human life, but also in the dignity of human life; that is treating each other in the right way while we are on this earth.

Jesus prayed for us to be one, “so that the world may believe you sent me.” John 17:21

Therefore, let love be our way forward. Through our issues and through our problems, let love prevail through them all.

God’s way is the always the right way. God’s way is always through love.

Regardless of differences, love is still the way forward. We do need to rediscover the way of love, the redemptive power of love. Let love be our way forward.

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