Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Official Resolution On Baptist Dissent

The official resolution turned into the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention for consideration at the 2006 SBC in Greensboro, North Carolina.


A resolution to be offered at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention by Benjamin S. Cole, Pastor, Parkview Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas

WHEREAS, The Christian gospel is a call unto the individual conscience to reject popular, worldly wisdom and majoritarian doctrine to embrace the exclusive promise of salvation made possible only through the completed work of Jesus Christ, who himself obeyed God rather than men for the sake of the Kingdom (Matthew 7:13-14; Acts 5:29; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Hebrews 13:13); and

WHEREAS, Every tributary of Baptist identity includes an era of dissent from institutions, policies, political oppressions, and systems of belief that violate the individual conscience; and

WHEREAS, Both our Anabaptist and English Separatist forefather knew the power of the dissent to shield the soul from compromise on matters essential to faith, church polity, and the ordinances, often suffering ostracism, exile, and even death for their principled refusal to compromise their unpopular and inviolable convictions, among others, that the church was free from governmental control, that the ordinance of baptism was observed only be regenerate church members, and that the individual conscience was created by God to serve Him without the encumbrance of unbiblical impositions of tradition; and

WHEREAS, Baptists in the early American colonies were most influential in protecting the liberty of conscience, the freedom of religion, and the freedoms of press, assembly, and speech by which men are guaranteed the inalienable right to publish, worship, and speak as their consciences so compel them; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention, organized in 1845, has been a consistent and prophetic voice upholding these liberties for all people, especially religious minorities, when their essential and inalienable liberties have been abridged, compromised, or threatened by majoritarian coercive action; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has resolved in years past to denounce any attempt to impede any religious conviction and activity as “the essence of oppression and tyranny” (Concerning the Persecution of Religion in Russia, 1931), to uphold the privilege of conscientious objection in matters of national defense (Concerning Conscientious Objectors, 1946, 1969), to urge its agencies and churches to “make known our Baptist aversion to any effort . . . to lay the weight of a feather upon the conscience of any man in the realm of religion by privilege or penalty” (On Religious Liberty, 1957), to “confront any and all problems” associated with limitations on religious liberty (On Human Freedom, 1963), to encourage “the free interchange of ideas and the registering of dissent when it is done in an orderly manner” (On Extremism, 1970), to promote the right to engage in religious broadcast when such rights are threatened (On Religious Broadcasting and Religious Freedom, 1975), and to affirm the “inalienable right to religious freedom for all peoples of the world” (On The Right of Religious Freedom for All Human Beings, 1992); and

WHEREAS, Many portions of the world where religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and the privilege of principled dissent are not afforded to religious minorities continue to look to Southern Baptists as a beacon of religious liberty shedding light on their oppression and giving voice to their encumbered conscience;

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in annual session in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 13-14, 2006, recognizes the rich heritage of principled dissent that has distinguished our witness as Baptists; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we express our sincere desire to see all people of the world share in the freedoms of conscience, speech, press, and assembly that we have enjoyed ourselves; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we recognize the weakness, even in political and religious democracies, that majorities are not always right, and that it is necessary for the voice of dissent – the minority voice, to be welcomed and heard if the dangers of authoritarian confessionalism or tyrannical governance are to be withstood both in our denomination and the world; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we regard all attempts to silence principled dissent by fellow Baptists within our denomination, or of any religious minority, as a compromise of our cherished Baptist witness and an egregious disservice to the Kingdom of God; and

Be it further RESOLVED, that we affirm dissenters both within our denomination and without who raise objection to articles of our confession, policies of our institutions, and governance of our agencies when that dissent has been voiced in a manner consistent with the teaching of Jesus Christ; and

Be it finally RESOLVED, that we wish to continue the tradition of welcoming principled dissent and protecting religious speech as the bedrock upon which a diverse people, such as Southern Baptists, may continue to cooperate for the greater good of evangelism and missions to every tribe, tongue, people, and nation of the world.

1 comment:

wadeburleson.org said...

Some seem to wish to silence dissent.