Last week I became aware that Faith in America (FIA), a pro-LGBT advocacy group, plans to protest the 2017 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention being held next week in Phoenix, AZ. Yesterday a story regarding their plans was published in Baptist Press. This group desires to have homosexuality and transgenderism “removed from the sin list.” However, it’s as Bart Barber said on Twitter and Facebook, “Presuming that human beings get to edit ‘the sin list’ is pretty much the top item on the sin list.”
FIA representatives intent to engage messengers in conversations throughout the convention. They have also made plans for billboard advertising throughout Phoenix during the annual meeting, along with a social media campaign coinciding with the dates for the SBC meeting. The Baptist Press article also says that FIA requested a Phoenix meeting with SBC leaders. SBC leaders have instead offered to receive FIA representatives in Nashville after the convention.
Executive Committee President Frank Page is quoted in the Baptist Press article as saying, “I am always delighted to share the truths of the Gospel with anyone who wishes to meet with me. Scripture predicts a time when people will stray from biblical truth. We are saddened when we encounter erroneous teaching and pray for a return to biblical faithfulness.”
I share the optimism of SBC Executive Committee representative Roger S. Oldham who also spoke to Baptist Press.
We anticipate representatives of FIA will abide by the city of Phoenix’s guidelines for their planned assembly. We also anticipate that messengers to the SBC annual meeting who choose to participate in conversations with representatives of FIA will do so with the same cordial spirit of Christian witness they have shown in similar settings in times past.
We can be certain that as Southern Baptists we will maintain our commitment to the Word of God and that will do so in a spirit of love for those caught in sin.
In case you needed a reminder that our beliefs concerning God’s design for human sexuality are viewed by many as hateful and intolerant and damaging to others, here it is. Let’s commit to praying that God would use Southern Baptist messengers to share the good news of the gospel with the representatives of FIA as we all descend upon Phoenix for our annual meeting next week.