It is an honor and a privilege to serve the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (Convention). The members of the 2017 Resolutions and Memorials Committee (Committee) are very cognizant of this great honor and privilege. We are humbled that the Convention would choose us to review any resolutions submitted and trust us to decide which resolutions should be presented to the messengers for consideration.
This year the Committee strongly feels that that the Convention needs to address a critical and perennial issue in our culture and particularly in our own state. With the recent racially driven events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and even more locally in Durham, the committee feels that the Convention needs to formally express a biblically grounded opinion on the cultural issue of racism in America.
The Committee is providing this article along with the release of the proposed resolution with the hopes of providing additional explanation. It is easy for individuals to draw incomplete conclusions when background information is lacking. The members of the Committee want N.C. Baptists to know that we have had long, passionate discussions about the wording of this resolution. The Committee carefully weighed every single word in a labored effort to be certain that we are not conveying the wrong message to the world, but that ultimately the message of hope and love found within the gospel is clearly communicated to the world.
The Committee consists of men that love North Carolina and men that love these United States of America, that respect history and value clear teaching about the history of nature – both our nation’s successes and our failures. However, as citizens of heaven, every single member of the Committee understands the mission of God to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. The expectation of our Lord, expressed in Acts 1:8, includes not only being witnesses in every geographical area, but among every people group, as well.
As believers, our ultimate allegiance and obedience is to the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom. Just as Paul addressed the churches of Galatia concerning the cultural and historical practice of circumcision, we too believe that we should not allow anything in our culture to hinder our witness of the love and grace of Jesus.
In addition, as Paul instructed the believers in Rome, we should be willing to set aside anything that creates stumbling blocks for the gospel and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
We implore you, brothers and sisters, for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the glory of God, please hear our hearts and consider the priority of the gospel and affirm this resolution in November.
Resolution Denouncing Racism
WHEREAS, The Bible clearly teaches that God has created all men and women in His image, from all tribes and nations of the world (Genesis 1:27; Acts 17:26); and
WHEREAS, Christ died for the sins of people from every nation, tongue, and tribe (Revelation 5:9); and
WHEREAS, Christians are commanded to make disciples from every nation (Matthew 28:19); and
WHEREAS, The Bible declares, “God does not show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34-35); and
WHEREAS, Significant racism still exists in our communities, as evidenced by recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, Durham, North Carolina, and other cities across our nation, and the devil uses these opportunities to perpetuate division and strife in our society; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Annual Meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, November 6-7, 2017, denounce racism in all its expressions as sin against a holy and just God, because it disregards the image of God in all people and denies the truth of the Gospel that Christ died for the sins of all mankind; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm the content and sentiments of the resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13-14, 2017 titled “On the Anti-Gospel of Alt-Right White Supremacy”; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on North Carolina Baptists to humble themselves before God, acknowledging that while the preservation of history is critically important for a nation, the demonstration of Christ’s love and the proclamation of the Gospel to all peoples must take precedence over the important personal preferences of individual Christians, including the preservation of history. Therefore, we call on North Carolina Baptists to joyfully set aside anything that might create a barrier for the sharing and hearing of the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That North Carolina Baptists commit to pray fervently for those who advocate racism, so that they may become aware of their sin through the light of the Gospel, repent of the sin of racism, and recognize that the love of Jesus Christ has been extended to all men and women of every race and nation.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Following is the full text of the “Resolution On the Anti-Gospel of Alt-Right White Supremacy” adopted by messengers at the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, which the “Resolution Denouncing Racism” affirms.)
Resolution On The Anti-Gospel Of Alt-Right White Supremacy
Adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention
Phoenix, Ariz.; June 13-14, 2017
WHEREAS, Scripture teaches, “From one man [God] has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live” (Acts 17:26); and
WHEREAS, The Psalmist proclaimed, “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord” (Psalm 24:1); and
WHEREAS, The Apostle Peter said, “God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34-35); and
WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27-28); and
WHEREAS, Scripture proclaims that Jesus is purchasing by His blood believers “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9); and
WHEREAS, Throughout eternity we will gather with a “multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language” in worship of our risen Savior (Revelation 7:9); and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message conveys that all Christians are obligated to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love; and
WHEREAS, We know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred; and
WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated “historic acts of evil, such as slavery,” committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry,” and “genuinely repent[ed] of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously”; and
WHEREAS, In recent years the Convention has nominated and elected individuals from a variety of ethnicities, including electing our first African-American president in 2012; and
WHEREAS, In recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called on “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more” (2014); expressed continued grief “over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation” (2015); and urged fellow Christians to discontinue using the Confederate battle flag, acknowledging that it is “used by some and perceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people” (2016); and
WHEREAS, More than 20 percent (nearly eleven thousand) of our cooperating Southern Baptist congregations identify as predominately non-Anglo and for the last three years more than 50 percent of Southern Baptist new church plants have been predominately non-Anglo; and
WHEREAS, B&H Academic recently published Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention, highlighting our continuing need to root out vestiges of racism from our own hearts as Southern Baptists; and
WHEREAS, Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right”; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we earnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.