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ABSC messengers approve six resolutions at 2018 annual meeting

ABSC messengers approve six resolutions at 2018 annual meeting

Oct 24, 2018

JONESBORO – Arkansas Baptist messengers approved six resolutions at the 2018 annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro. The full text of the resolutions follows a summary, which is provided below.


No. 1: Appreciation

Messengers expressed appreciation to the ABSC president, executive director, convention officers, the staff and members of Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, and the program committee for their “diligent and sacrificial service” in the successful preparation and guidance of the 165th ABSC Annual Meeting.

No. 2: Opposition to Issue 4

Messengers expressed opposition to Issue 4, the proposed constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling to four Arkansas counties. Messengers encouraged all Arkansas voters to vote against Issue 4. Messengers further committed to restore and rehabilitate individuals who are involved in “problem gambling” and also provide a “safety net” for the gamblers’ families and communities, if Issue 4 is approved.

No. 3: On the Holiness and Integrity of Ministry Leaders

Messengers repudiated any ministerial behavior “that would compromise the biblical standard of a ministry leader’s absolute holiness and requirement to be above reproach” and called upon ministers to “pursue moral and sexual purity in all relationships.” Messengers recommitted themselves to “confession, repentance, and contrition” and committed to “return to the Great Commission work before us.”

No. 4: On Christian Citizenship and Civic Participation

Messengers encouraged all believers to “engage the culture by being informed and proactive citizens, by voting in all elections, by praying for all those in authority and positions of influence, and by participating appropriately in civic matters.

No. 5: On Christlike Communication and the Use of Social Media

Messengers committed to “maintaining brotherly and sisterly love by resolving … differences in a biblical manner.” Messengers further committed to guarding their tongues, using caution and wisdom in social media; refraining from remarks that tear down people, gossip and slander; and engaging one another with “respect and winsomeness.”

No. 6: On Appreciation and Support for Arkansas Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU)

Messengers expressed “gratitude for the ministry and faithfulness to the members of Arkansas WMU” and pledged to “continue to partner in the cause of missions with Arkansas WMU.”

Full text of approved resolutions:

RESOLUTION NO. 1:
APPRECIATION
Whereas, this year’s annual meeting has been guided prayerfully, fairly, and effectively by our President, Greg Sykes, with the support and assistance of Dr. James D. “Sonny” Tucker, Executive Director, and the other dedicated staff and leaders of the Convention; and
Whereas, the staff and laity of Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, have provided excellent service and arrangements for the annual meeting; and
Whereas, the one hundred and sixty-fifth session has been ably organized by the Program Committee; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Arkansas, October 23-24, 2018, express our deep appreciation to our president, executive director, convention officers, the staff and members of Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, and the Program Committee for their diligent and sacrificial service in the successful preparation and guidance of the one hundred and sixty-fifth session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

RESOLUTION NO. 2:
ON OPPOSITION TO ISSUE NO. 4 – THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO EXPAND CASINO GAMBLING TO FOUR ARKANSAS COUNTIES
Whereas, on the November 6, 2018, general election ballot, Arkansas voters will be asked to vote for or against Issue No. 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment to require the issuance of one license to conduct casino gambling in each of four counties, Crittenden, Garland, Jefferson, and Pope; and
Whereas, the voters in those four counties will have no more influence than any of the state’s other voters in deciding to grant or deny those casino gambling licenses and an affirmative vote on Issue No. 4 by the state’s voters will automatically impose casinos on those four counties; and
Whereas, since the casinos that will be established under the proposed amendment will be regional casinos, and not destination casinos, such as those in Las Vegas, most of the gamblers at the casinos will be local; and
Whereas, the social, economic, and spiritual costs will have to be borne by those living and working in communities where, or near where, the casinos are situated; and
Whereas, the crime, addiction, social disruption, warped economics, and turbulent family life caused by the predatory gambling conducted by the casinos will be significant burdens on local residents; and
Whereas, the casinos and associated enterprises will cannibalize existing businesses, raise unemployment, drain off essential sales tax, and put stress on law enforcement and social service providers; and
Whereas, gambling is an activity that violates the biblical principles of the sovereignty of God, the work ethic, not coveting another’s possessions, rejecting materialism, protecting the weak and vulnerable, and loving our neighbors as ourselves; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Arkansas, October 23-24, 2018, encourage all Arkansas voters to cast votes against Issue No. 4, denying the gambling industry the opportunity to prey on the weakest, most vulnerable, and most desperate of our fellow Arkansans; and be it finally
Resolved, that should Issue No. 4 be approved and casino gambling is expanded in our state, we will endeavor to restore and rehabilitate individuals caught up in the destructive cycle of problem gambling, and will attempt to provide a safety net for the gamblers’ families and communities as we are called to do as Christ-followers.

RESOLUTION NO. 3:
ON THE HOLINESS AND INTEGRITY OF MINISTRY LEADERS
Whereas, scripture is clear on the imperative of sexual purity among all believers (Ephesians 5:3), but especially among pastors and ministry leaders (1 Timothy 3:1–13) as a part of a testimony to God’s holiness; and
Whereas, pastors and ministry leaders are to be examples by their lifestyle of integrity and faith in Christ (Romans 13:13-14; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:3); and
Whereas, sexual infidelity and other violations of ministerial integrity egregiously pervert and demean the image of God and always have tragic consequences for the ministry leader, for those who are victimized, and for others impacted by those transgressions; and
Whereas, to ignore or minimize the presence of sin and thereby excuse or deny the presence of that sin is antithetical and disobedient to the corporate call to holiness among the people of God (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15–16); therefore, be it
Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention meeting in Jonesboro, AR, October 23-24, 2018, repudiate in the strongest terms any behavior that would compromise the biblical standard of a ministry leader’s absolute holiness and requirement to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 9–10); and be it further
Resolved, that we call upon pastors, ministry leaders, entity leaders, and denominational representatives to pursue moral and sexual purity in all relationships before God, even as all believers should seek the same standards for themselves; and be it further
Resolved, that we covenant one with another to recommit ourselves to confession, repentance, and contrition, and to mortify sin in our own hearts and in our churches; and be it finally
Resolved, that having humbled ourselves before the Lord, with full awareness of the judgment of God (2 Corinthians 5:10), we will return to the Great Commission work before us with newfound fervor and purpose, and we will not allow ourselves, our ministries, or our Convention to lose sight of the task before us: tirelessly proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ at home and around the world.

RESOLUTION NO. 4:
ON CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CIVIC PARTICIPATION
Whereas, from the beginning of early voting through November 6, 2018, voters in Arkansas and across America will be deciding many important policy issues and making decisions about the candidates they wish to serve in various positions of leadership; and
Whereas, God has ordained government to provide an ordered society (Romans 13); and
Whereas, Christians are charged with the task of engaging the culture and being “salt” and “light” (Matthew 5:13-16) in an effort to bring about a “righteous nation” (Proverbs 14:34); and
Whereas, scripture exhorts us to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1&2); and
Whereas, the Baptist Faith and Message affirms that “. . . every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.” (XV. The Christian and the Social Order); and
Whereas, a representative democracy operates at its optimum with an informed and involved electorate; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Arkansas, October 23-24, 2018, encourage all believers to engage the culture by being informed and proactive citizens, by voting in all elections, by praying for all those in authority and positions of influence, and by participating appropriately in civic matters.

RESOLUTION NO. 5:
ON CHRISTLIKE COMMUNICATION AND THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
WHEREAS, due to the size and publicly deliberative nature of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the interactions between its people and entities often become newsworthy and are published in Christian and secular media as representation of the faith of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, the use of social media by Christians for dialogue, expressing opinions, and argumentation also is a public representation of the faith of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, the Bible has instructed God’s people to control the tongue (Psalm 101:5; Proverbs 10:19; 12:18–19; 15:4; Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; James 4:11), to treat others the same way you want them to treat you (Luke 6:31), and to love one another just as Christ has loved us (John 15:12); and
WHEREAS, Christians are called to exhibit self-control (Galatians 5:23) in every facet of life and follow the second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), understanding that our actions and character, seen by a watching world, are directly tethered to our witness and testimony of the person and work of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:16); and
WHEREAS, the Bible has prescribed healthy avenues for conflict resolution among brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 5:21–26; 18:15–20; Ephesians 4:25–27; Romans 12:10; Galatians 6:10); and
WHEREAS, there are possible negative consequences of the use of social media by Christians, social media can and should be utilized for furthering the Kingdom of God as a way to reach others in a method and manner related to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8), and as an act of glorifying God in both word and deed (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17, 23); and
WHEREAS, we are called by Christ to “live worthy of the calling [we] have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention meeting at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Arkansas, October 23-24, 2018, commit to maintaining brotherly and sisterly love by resolving our differences in a biblical manner (Matthew 18:15–18); and be it further
RESOLVED, that we guard our tongues, using caution and wisdom in our media and social media, and refrain from remarks that tear down others made in the image of God, including refraining from gossip and slander (Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 6:16–19; 17:27–28; 21:23; James 3:10–12); and be it finally
RESOLVED, that even in the midst of differences, disagreements, and conflicts, we will engage one another with respect and winsomeness, speaking truth in Christlike love while pursuing unity (Ephesians 4:15).

RESOLUTION NO. 6:
ON APPRECIATION AND SUPPORT FOR ARKANSAS WMU (WOMAN’S MISSIONARY UNION)
Whereas, Arkansas WMU is dedicated to reaching, teaching, and discipling all the nations with the good news of Jesus Christ as commanded in the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20); and
Whereas, Arkansas WMU began in 1888 and continues to uphold the mission, vision, values, and priorities of its founders; and
Whereas, Arkansas WMU has supported, encouraged, and provided missions education for the churches of Arkansas throughout its 128-year history; and
Whereas, Arkansas WMU has provided support for missionaries and their families through intercessory prayer, communication, and involvement; and
Whereas, Arkansas WMU has been dedicated to promoting the Dixie Jackson, Annie Armstrong, and Lottie Moon mission offerings for state, national, and international missions; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Arkansas, October 23-24, 2018, express gratitude for the ministry and faithfulness to the members of Arkansas WMU; and be it finally
Resolved, that we pledge to continue to partner in the cause of missions with Arkansas WMU.

 

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