1. Resolution to Repudiate the Confederate battle flag
Former SBC President James Merritt proposed an amendment to a resolution about the Confederate flag that calls believers to “discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity with the whole Body of Christ, including our African American brothers and sisters.” (You can watch Dr. Merritt discuss the resolution here.)
ERLC president Russell Moore commented on the resolution, saying:
The Southern Baptist Convention made history today and made history in the right way. This denomination was founded by people who wrongly defended the sin of human slavery. Today, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination voted to repudiate the Confederate battle flag and it’s time and well past time.
2. Resolution urging Southern Baptists to care for refugees
The messengers of the SBC passed a resolution encouraging Southern Baptists to “minister care, compassion, and the Gospel to refugees who come to the United States.” The resolution asks Southern Baptists to “welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes” and calls on governing authorities to “implement the strictest security measures possible in the refugee screening and selection process, guarding against anyone intent on doing harm.” You can read the resolution language online here.
3. Resolution on women registering for the draft
Andrew T. Walker, ERLC’s Director of Policy Studies, proposed a resolution on women registering for the draft. The messengers adopted this resolution, which expresses “unrelenting opposition to the determination of our nation’s military leaders and the Obama Administration to increase the likelihood that women will be placed in harm’s way because of the lifting of MOS restrictions” and calls on the Obama administration, Congress, and all military leaders “not to require women to register for military drafts.” You can read the resolution language online here.
4. ERLC donates ultrasound machine to St. Louis pregnancy care center
The Psalm 139 Project, a ministry of the ERLC, in partnership with Focus on the Family announced the placement of an ultrasound machine to Thrive St. Louis.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with Focus on the Family in equipping Thrive St. Louis to minister further to unborn children and their mothers,” said Dr. Moore. “These machines are a powerful instrument in persuading women and families to choose life. Ministries like Thrive play an indispensable role in the church’s advocacy for human dignity, and I pray that our churches would filled our communities with other such servants.”
5. Dr. Moore defends religious freedom for Muslims
After Dr. Moore gave the ERLC’s report, John Wofford, pastor of Armorel Baptist Church in Armorel, Arkansas, asked how someone in the SBC could defend Muslims’ rights “to construct mosques in the United States when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians in America.” Early in the week Wofford had offered a motion calling for the removal from office of SBC leaders who supported the right of Muslims to build mosques. As Religion News Service notes, Wofford was referring to Moore and others who joined a legal document supporting a New Jersey group’s fight to build a mosque.
Moore answered, “What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody. And, brothers and sisters, when you have a government that says we can decide whether or not a house of worship can be constructed based upon the theological beliefs of that house of worship, then there are going to be Southern Baptist churches in San Francisco and New York and throughout this country who are not going to be able to build.”
You can see Dr. Moore’s complete response here.
6. Gaines elected SBC president in tight race
Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee was elected president of the SBC after J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, withdrew his name from consideration.
On the first ballot, with two other candidates in the running, Greear led with 44.97 percent of the vote. To be declared a winner, though, a nominee is required to win 50 percent plus 1 of ballots cast, or 2,413 of the 4,824 ballots that were cast.
In a runoff Gaines received 2,410 votes or 49.96 percent while Greear received 2,306 votes or 47.80 percent, with 108 votes considered illegal. Rather than go to a third vote Greear announced, “I’m withdrawing my name from contention, and pledging my full support to Pastor Steve Gaines.” Greear said that after prayerful consideration he decided to withdraw because Southern Baptists “need to leave St. Louis united.”
From the ERLC Weekly. The Weekly is a rundown of news by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission highlighting the week’s top news stories from the public square and providing commentary on the big issues of our day.
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