Messengers to the 2021 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention adopted 10 of the 40 resolutions submitted, but not the original 10 presented.
The committee presented 10 resolutions initially but pulled the one on Christian citizenship at the last minute because of time constraints. Click here for more information about how SBC resolutions work.
And messengers voted to bring a resolution on abolishing abortion that was originally declined by the committee back out for discussion and eventual passage.
The resolutions adopted focus on:
- Baptist Unity and Maintaining Our Public Witness — the priority of Christians to “walk worthy of their calling” and “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:1–3).
- On the Sufficiency of Scripture for Race and Racial Reconciliation — affirming that Scripture in “inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16–17) and that all people are “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26–28).
Kevin Apperson, pastor of North Las Vegas Baptist Church, spoke against the resolution, saying its language was “ambiguous” and “unclear.” (See committee chair James Merritt’s response below.)
In a press conference the following day, Merritt added, “We believe [the resolution] was the most faithful way to speak to our consensus and encourage Southern Baptists to continue to pursue Christ because we want to center on race and racial reconciliation.
“We are so proud of our messengers for the statement that they made; I believe we began the process of building a great bridge yesterday that I hope will continue.”
- On Taxpayer Complicity in Abortion and the Hyde Amendment — affirms the sanctity of human life (Gen. 1:27; 9:6) and opposes the use of taxpayer money to fund abortion procedures.
- On the Equality Act — affirms that God created two distinct sexes (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 19:4) and opposes the Equality Act that “seeks to revise the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
In the press conference, Merritt described the Equality Act as “the most dangerous piece of legislation that’s come through in a long time.”
- On Abuse and Pastoral Qualifications — affirms that Scripture teaches pastors, elders and overseers are to be “above reproach” (1 Tim. 3:2) and states that any person who has committed sexual abuse should be permanently disqualified from holding the office of pastor.
This resolution garnered debate because some expressed concern it “comes dangerously close to compromising the autonomy of the local church,” “does not regard God’s cleansing” and is “too broad.”
But Texas pastor David Bumgarner, affectionately now known as the AC Guy because of his comical request to cool the meeting hall earlier in the day, argued for the resolution.
“Concerns are being raised about the sufficiency of Scripture on a resolution about sexual abuse. … If you commit or cover up sexual abuse, you are done in ministry. We will not tolerate sexual abuse. Period.”
- On Sole Membership — upholds the Southern Baptist foundational belief that each individual church member is in a “legal relationship” with the SBC and convention entities and that only the convention in session — not the Executive Committee — is the legal “sole member” of the various agencies and institutions of the convention.
- On the Uyghur Genocide — denounces atrocities inflicted by the Communist Party of China against the Uyghur people.
- On the Coronavirus Pandemic — expresses grief for the more than 3.78 million lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On Appreciation for the City of Nashville — adds an extra emphasis because of how many top officials worked together to allow the SBC Annual Meeting to continue in Nashville when restrictions were still an issue up until a few weeks prior.
“The city and state came together in an unbelievable way to make sure we could be here,” said committee member Robyn Hari.
- On Abolishing Abortion — immediately, without exception or compromise.
Why Critical Race Theory was not specifically addressed
James Merritt, chair Resolutions Committee, said:
It’s time to find out who we are and where we are headed. If some people were as passionate about the gospel as they were CRT, we’d win this world to Christ tomorrow.
We are all created in the image of God. We’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation. …
We are not the 2019 Resolutions Committee. We are the 2021 Resolutions Committee. We are not going to limit anything to just one thing (responding to questions about the resolution on race and racial reconciliation, see above).
What we have done in this resolution is settle this issue once and for all, yesterday today and forever. We reject any theory that the problem is anything other than sin and the solution is anything other than salvation.
There is a world watching out there and this (division about CRT) is exactly what they want.
We can either build bridges and tear down walls or we can put up walls and tear down bridges.
To build a bridge it takes hard work, sacrifice, commitment to reach to the other side but do everything we can to get them there.