I’m heading to the Southern Baptist Convention early this year. On Thursday of this week, I’ll be joining the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to serve as the liaison from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. While technically not a member of the committee, I have the privilege to observe the meetings and offer any perspective or counsel if asked.
Briefly, I want to give five reasons for why resolutions that get passed at the Southern Baptist Convention are a significant matter in the life of the denomination, in the larger body of Christ, and to the broader culture.
Resolutions are designed to express the unity of the Southern Baptist Convention on any given issue that the denomination believes needs addressing. Coming together to formally ratify a declaration of belief communicates the denomination’s shared unity and consensus around its doctrinal positions.
More broadly, resolutions are an act of confession. Resolutions declare what Southern Baptists believe on any given issue of significance. Confession is no small matter. At points throughout history, the church has deemed it necessary to declare its beliefs in order to clarify teaching and rebut heresy.
Similar to confession, resolutions give witness to the world what Southern Baptists believe. Witnessing is confessed belief spoken outwardly. Witnessing from the position of confessed unity means the willingness to stand against the tide of popular opinion and to put a stake down on what the denomination believes is critical to Baptist identity.
Why give witness to the denomination’s united confession? Ultimately, it is because Southern Baptists believe that judgment is a future reality and that God demands all people to worship Him and obey Him. As the Apostle Paul declared in Acts 17:30-31:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.
Resolutions are acts of united confession that give witness to the accountability of the nations to Christ. Resolutions are a way of announcing to the world that its systems, cultures, and governments are not without accountability to a higher Law.
As Carl F. H. Henry once declared, it is the responsibility of the church to “declare the criteria by which nations will ultimately be judged, and the divine standards to which man and society must conform if civilization is to endure.”
Resolutions originate from a posture of hope. No word of unity, confession, witness, or accountability can be offered if done so without the chief animating drive behind the purpose of a resolution: To express the hope that Christ offers to all who repent and believe in Him.