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.