This Resolution “On Racial Unity Among Southern Baptists” will be submitted to the SBC Resolutions Committee to be considered for the June 2018 Convention in Dallas, TX, by:
Danny Akin, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church
Cameron Triggs, Grace Alive Church
Mike Turner, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Dwight McKissic, Cornerstone Baptist Church
WHEREAS, the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention, William B. Johnson indicated in his inaugural address that Southern Baptists were “free to promote slavery” arguing that slavery was a legal and civil matter, not a church matter; and
WHEREAS, many Southern Baptist churches once misappropriated and distorted the Bible to attempt to legitimize white supremacy, slavery, and racial hierarchy, including through the so-called “curse of Ham” narrative which errantly construed Genesis 9:25-27 to say that God ordained the descendants of Ham to be marked with dark skin and be relegated to a subordinated status based on race; and
WHEREAS, the residue of this doctrine remains in use today by white supremacists and continues to distort the witness of the church and present a stumbling block to the Gospel we preach; and
WHEREAS, racial tensions in our churches and our nation would be significantly better if Southern Baptists, instead, had rightly applied the second great commandment, “You shall love our neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39); and
WHEREAS, while Southern Baptists have repented (1995) and have elected their first African-American SBC president (2012), and have begun implementation of action steps from the 2015 report of the African American Task Force, there is still a need for more action; and
WHEREAS, our associations have rightly disfellowshipped churches that insist on excluding from fellowship anyone on the basis of race or ethnicity; and
WHEREAS, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 affords our nation, and our churches, with an opportunity for reflection, repentance, and renewed resolve toward racial unity; 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) and to promote that unity by “forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another” (Colossians 3:13); now be it therefore
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12-14, 2018, renew our commitment to the pursuit of reconciliation, justice, and unity in our churches and our communities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we maintain and renew our public renunciation of racism in all its forms, including our disavowal of any attempt to distort or misappropriate the Bible to justify this evil; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we confess before the watching world that ultimately it is only through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ that our ethnic and racial hostilities can be overcome; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we declare our abhorrence of any cooperating SBC church that tolerates or advocates racism; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our civic leaders to uphold justice for all and to pursue legal avenues to strengthen our national commitment to justice and equality for all; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to proclaim boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation regardless of race, ethnicity or genealogical descent (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) for the good of the church and the glory of God; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we invite all Southern Baptists to dedicate themselves to prayer, both as individuals and as local churches, in a spirit of humility and love, pleading with the Lord to display his power and glory by helping us to exhibit a spirit of love because it, “covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12) and by making us more faithful ambassadors of reconciliation for “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1).
Editor’s note: Dwight McKissic relayed the following information in the comments section and I thought it would be helpful to reproduce the information here for our readers. This was in response to a question about what makes this resolution distinctive from others we’ve approved in the past.
Four unique factors about this resolution:
1. It acknowledges the argument was flawed that launched the SBC: slavery was a “civil” matter, not a church matter.
2. It acknowledges the misuse of Scripture in the early history of the SBC, that’s had a ongoing lingering impact in diminishing ways on current society, by rooting White Supremacy in the curse of Ham doctrine.
3. It acknowledges the MLK 50 anniversary of his death. If approved, it may the 1st the SBC acknowledged officially the contributions of MLK.
4. It’s a collaborative effort of two older SBC ministers(Danny Akin & myself) with two younger SBC ministers (Michael Turner & Cameron Triggs), 2 White & 2 Black, collaborators & co-signers.
Those factors make this race resolution significantly distinct from any other ever approved, at least to the best of my knowledge. It should not be seen as just another race resolution. It corrects historic wrongs heretofore, never acknowledged.