TEXARKANA – Arkansas Baptists made their voice known on a number of “hot-button” issues by approving resolutions regarding religious liberty, statewide alcohol sales, transgender identity and Christian citizenship and civic participation at the 161st annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Oct. 28-29.
Larry Page, chairman of the ABSC Resolutions Committee, and executive director of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, brought the report of the committee to the convention during the Wednesday morning session, Oct. 29. All resolutions were approved without opposition. (Read the full text of all resolutions at the end of this article.)
Resolution 4 on Transgender Identity affirmed the biblical definition of sexuality, referencing Genesis 1:27 and Isaiah 43:7, among other verses, and opposed cultural trends to allow the redefinition of gender identity. The resolutions made clear it should be the desire of Christians to “extend love and compassion to those whose sexual self-understanding is shaped by a distressing conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity; and, … invite all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the Gospel (1 Timothy 1:15–16).”
Resolution 3 on the Proposed Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment encouraged messengers to “reject soundly” statewide sale of alcohol as proposed in the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment (AABA) Nov. 4. The resolution read in part: “Whereas, if the state’s voters approve the AABA, it will convert Arkansas’s (sic) 37 dry counties to wet ones and preclude absolutely the ability of voters in individual counties from voting all or any part of their respective counties dry; and … it is imperative that Arkansans understand how the AABA, if approved by voters, will fundamentally transform their state in undesirable ways and effectively disenfranchise voters in relation to local option elections.”
Resolution 2 on Religious Liberty expressed appreciation for “God-given religious freedom” and called for “every branch of government to investigate all claims of First Amendment violations and to educate, discipline, or prosecute any who are involved in these violations;” and it urged “those who engage in defending the legal rights of people of faith to come to the aid of those who are facing discrimination for their faith by federal, state, and local governments, institutions, or individuals.”
Resolution 5 on Christian Citizenship and Civic Participation affirmed the charge of all Christians to be “salt and light” in the world (Matt. 5:13-16), encouraging them to “engage the culture by being informed and proactive citizens, by voting in all elections, and by participating appropriately in civic matters.”
Resolution 1 on Appreciation thanked the staff and laity of Trinity Baptist Church, Texarkana, where the annual meeting was held, as well as the ABSC Program Committee, President Archie Mason, Executive Director J.D. “Sonny” Tucker and other dedicated staff and leaders of the ABSC.