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Full text of resolutions approved by messengers at the 2017 ABSC Annual Meeting

Nov 10, 2017

RESOLUTION NO. 1: APPRECIATION

Whereas, this year’s annual meeting has been guided prayerfully, fairly, and effectively by our President, Dr. Sam Roberts, 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 First Baptist Church, Russellville, have provided excellent service and arrangements for the annual meeting; and

Whereas, the one hundred and sixty-fourth 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 First Baptist Church, Russellville, Arkansas, November 7 & 8, 2017, express our deep appreciation to our president, executive director, convention officers, the staff and members of First Baptist Church, Russellville, and the Program Committee for their diligent and sacrificial service in the successful preparation and guidance of the one hundred and sixty-fourth session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

RESOLUTION NO. 2: ON COMMENDING ABSC’S DISASTER RELIEF MINISTRY
Whereas, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention has and continues to fulfill Christ’s mandate to His followers to “love their neighbors as they love themselves” (Matthew 22:39); and

Whereas, the love Christ requires of believers is an active involvement replete with selfless and eager service to others; and

Whereas, in an effort to facilitate that kind servanthood the Arkansas Baptist State Convention created and maintains its Disaster Relief ministry; and

Whereas, the stated purpose for the Disaster Relief ministry is to “extend the love of Christ to disaster survivors by preparing hot meals, removing damaging trees and debris, tarping roofs, shoveling mud, providing emergency communications, and coordinating responses to those disasters” and the objective is to follow a common ministry pattern of Jesus Christ, in which “volunteers seek to share God’s grace, hope, and Truth while meeting physical needs”; and

Whereas, those who serve with the ABSC’s Disaster Relief ministry are fulfilling Christ’s call to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16); and
Whereas, a review of where the Disaster Relief ministry served this year and how it served will amply demonstrate how invaluable it is to the Kingdom’s work and to the state convention; and

Whereas, that review reveals that ABSC’s Disaster Relief ministry served in the following locations this year: Woodward, Oklahoma; Gentilly, Louisiana; Conway, Mississippi County, Williams Baptist University, Lonsdale, Rover, Monticello, Hensley, and Pocahontas, Arkansas; Houston, Orange, Dallas, Pasadena, Angleton, Victoria, Portland, Canton, Sugarland, Katy, Beaumont, and Rockport, Texas; and

Whereas, a summary of services rendered by the Disaster Relief ministry this year and the results produced shows: 64 days deployed, 638 volunteers served, 4,038 volunteer days served, 30,613 volunteer hours served, 320,137 meals served, 90 chainsaw jobs completed, 28 flood recovery jobs completed, 64 heavy equipment hours performed, 13 tarp jobs completed, 2,686 showers provided, 1,756 loads of laundry processed, 26 assessments conducted, 2,043 ministry/chaplaincy contacts made, 689 Bibles distributed, 108 tracts handed out, 219 gospel presentations made, and 44 professions of faith made; and

Whereas, the kind of pure servanthood displayed by the good people laboring in the Disaster Relief ministry is the kind of service that Billy Graham had in mind when he said, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless”; and

Whereas, we will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” (Matt. 25: 35); therefore, be it

Resolved that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Russellville, Arkansas, November 7-8, 2017, wish to express our gratitude to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention for its foresight in establishing and maintaining such a vital ministry as its Disaster Relief ministry; and, be it further

Resolved, that we want to acknowledge the sacrificial service rendered now and throughout the existence of the Disaster Relief ministry by its administrators and volunteers; and, be it finally

Resolved, that we commend in the strongest way possible the way those involved in the Disaster Relief ministry have breathed life into its stated mission of being “a ministry of the heart – caring people rushing to people in crisis to offer the help, healing, and hope of Jesus Christ.”

RESOLUTION NO. 3: ISRAEL RESOLUTION
Whereas, the Old Testament declares God’s promise to Abram, “I will make you into a great nation…. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1–3); and

Whereas, the modern-day nation of Israel, established May, 1948, represents the descendants of Abram and the recipients of God’s promise; and

Whereas, the New Testament affirms that salvation is from the Jews and that God’s Word concerning Israel will be fulfilled (John 4:22; Romans 9–11); and

Whereas, we are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel (Psalm 122:6–7; Romans 10:1); and

Whereas, we are concerned by anti-Israel sentiments and activities in this country within certain university campuses, academic and professional associations, popular culture, and even our government; and

Whereas, we thankfully remember that we are indebted to the Jewish people, who gave us much of our Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah; and

Whereas, we want to be a people who are blessed because we are a people who bless the descendants of Abram; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention meeting at First Baptist Church, Russellville, Arkansas, November 7-8, 2017, commit to bless Israel; and be it further

Resolved, that we support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state and reject any activities that attack that right by promoting economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel; and be it further

Resolved, that we will take every opportunity to encourage our fellow citizens and specifically our government leaders to be a blessing to Israel at every possible opportunity with everything in our power; and be it finally

Resolved, that at this critical time when dangerous forces are mounting up against the nation of Israel, we recommit ourselves to pray for God’s peace to rule in Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel. For the Gospel is “God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew.” (Romans 1:16)

RESOLUTION NO. 4: ON THE “NASHVILLE STATEMENT”: A MANIFESTO ON HUMAN SEXUALITY
Whereas, on August 29, 2017, a document, commonly known as the “Nashville Statement” (Statement), was signed and released by over 150 initial signatories; and

Whereas, as one of the Statement’s authors said, we “evangelical leaders have released a document offering clarity on gender and sexuality in a time of confusion; and

Whereas, in the Statement’s preamble we are told, “As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked on a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. . . . It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences”; and

Whereas, the Statement continued in its preamble, “Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try and make ourselves what God did not create us to be. . . . We believe that God’s design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good”; and

Whereas, the following are selected excerpts pulled from the 14 articles of the Statement; and

Whereas, in Article 1, we read, “We affirm that God has designed marriage to be covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong, union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church. We deny that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship; and

Whereas, Article 2 states, “We affirm that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage. We deny that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality; and

Whereas, Article 3 affirms that “God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female”; and

Whereas, in Articles 4, 5, and 7 we find, “We affirm that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing. We deny that such differences are a result of the Fall or a tragedy to be overcome. . . . We affirm that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female. . . . We deny that adopting a homosexual, a transgender, or non-binary gender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption”; and

Whereas, we see in Article 8, “We affirm that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life. We deny that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of
God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel”; and

Whereas, Article 10 states, “We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness. We deny that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree or disagree”; and

Whereas, in Article 13 we read, “We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender or non-binary gender conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female. We deny that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will”; and Article 14 assures all that, “We affirm that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure”; and

Whereas, we agree with what one of the Statement’s contributor said, “We understand that we live in an increasingly post-Christian world, and that a vast revolution in sexual morality is now fundamentally reshaping the landscape. Churches and pastors, Christian institutions and individual Christians, are now under intense pressure to adopt this new sexual morality, along with its redefinition of marriage and gender. . . . It would be much easier to be quiet, to let the moral revolution proceed unanswered, and to seek some kind of refuge in silence or ambiguity. For the sake of same-sex attracted people and others, we did not believe we could remain silent – or unclear – and be faithful”; therefore, be it

Resolved, that we the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Russellville, Arkansas, November 7-8, 2017, declare without equivocation that we are in complete agreement with the Nashville Statement; and, be if further

Resolved, that we find the statement without error in its declarations based on biblical truths and we wholehearted endorse its purposes to avoid condemnation and self-righteousness, while “trying to point all person, regardless of the struggles over sexuality and or self-identity, to salvation and wholeness in Christ”; and, be it finally

Resolved, that we hold fast to the summation by a signatory of the Statement, when he says, “With all our hearts, we believe that the sexual revolution cannot deliver on its promises, but that Christ always delivers on his.”

RESOLUTION NO. 5: ON RACIAL RECONCILIATION
Whereas, the Bible teaches that God created men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27) and made every person from the union of one man and one woman; and

Whereas, God loves the world (John 3:16), gave His son to die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2), and, through Christ, He is reconciling to Himself people from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 5:9); and

Whereas, our justification before God is based on faith in Christ alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27-28); and

Whereas, God has made believers one in Christ, clothed in righteousness of Christ, and uniquely qualified to stand together in faith (Ephesians 2:15-16); and

Whereas, the Lord has given His people the mission of making disciples from every nation (Matthew 28:19); and

Whereas, racism is sin because it disregards the image of God in all people and denies the truth of the Gospel that believers are all one in Him; and

Whereas, we grieve over the continued presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation; and

Whereas, Arkansas Southern Baptists, in both our congregations and entities, increasingly reflect the racial and ethnic diversity in our communities and state; therefore, be it

Resolved, that the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Russellville, Arkansas, November 7-8, 2017, recommit ourselves to the responsibility and privilege of loving and equipping people of all races and ethnicities in our communities; and, be it further

Resolved, that we urge churches to demonstrate their hearts for racial reconciliation by seeking to increase racial and ethnic diversity through church staff, leadership and membership; and, be it further

Resolved, that we call on Arkansas Southern Baptists to be faithful to seek reconciliation in their personal relationships and local communities as they demonstrate the power of the Gospel to reconcile all persons in Christ; and, be it finally

Resolved, that we will be diligent in denouncing racial discrimination in whatever form it takes in seeking to bring healing and cohesiveness to our fractured culture as we understand that in the final analysis there is one race – the human race – created by God for His pleasure.

RESOLUTION NO. 6: ON POLARIZATION IN AMERICA
Whereas, as our culture becomes more secular and more distant from the Judeo-Christian principles, we are experiencing a dramatic increase in fringe groups that harbor antipathy for those of other races, ethnicities, national origin, religious identity, economic status, or ideologies; and

Whereas, the polarization and hostility exhibited by these various groups are largely the result of identity politics and group-think that are promoted and encouraged by race hustlers, religious extremists, revolutionists, and anarchists; and

Whereas, such arbitrary and capricious divisions and passions are diametrically opposed to God’s truth and design for how we are to relate to others; and

Whereas, Acts 10: 34-35 teaches that, “God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him”; and

Whereas, Galatians 3: 27-28 establishes that our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and no other distinction; and

Whereas, we know that Jesus has redeemed believers by His blood “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 7:9); and

Whereas, the Baptist Faith and Message calls on all Christians 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 society under the influences of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love; and

Whereas, our history reveals the effects of racism and hatred; therefore, be it

Resolved, that we the messengers to Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Russellville, Arkansas, November 7-8, 2017, denounce in the strongest terms the antipathy and hostility hate groups display based on racial, ethnic, religious, class, economic status, and other such illegitimate and unreasonable distinctions, all of which are antithetical to the gospel; and, be it further

Resolved, that we believers must endeavor to remove from our midst any remaining forms of unbiblical attitudes for others based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or other such inappropriate distinctions; and, be it finally

Resolved, that we must focus prayer on those who advocate hateful ideologies and those who are deceived by them, so that they may see that those illicit feelings are contrary to the Gospel, repent of their attitudes, 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.

 

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