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Resolutions and the SBC

One thing we do as Southern Baptists is send messengers every year to the Southern Baptist Convention. (At some point, there should be a long blog post about how we are in some of the messes we are in as a group of churches partly when we started referring to the whole bunch as the Southern Baptist Convention. We're not the Convention. The Convention is an annual gathering of messengers. Everything else is on behalf of the participating churches in the Convention and those churches of "Like (read:same) faith and order." The Convention doesn't exist in February. The churches exist all year.)

Anyway, those messengers vote on a lot of things on behalf of the churches that have sent them. (By the way, they are messengers, not delegates. We elect people from churches that have the ability to discern God's direction for themselves. The church ought NOT instruct the messengers how to vote. Comes back to soul competency: you, as a believer, are a competent soul to interact with God through His word by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.) One of the groups of voting items are called Resolutions. What are resolutions? A statement that the group of people, gathered at that time and in that place, think a certain way about a certain subject. A committee reviews submitted resolutions, discards some, recommends others. A committee discard can be considered by the whole body with a 2/3 vote. (note, first you have to 2/3 of the convention vote to consider it, then you actually vote on it).

Some resolutions are, fundamentally, automatic. I don't think the Convention has ever failed to express its appreciation to the host city or any churches directly involved. So, it's a safe assumption that we'll appreciate Louisville this year. Unless, of course, they are mean to us, but I don't see that as very likely. If Las Vegas was appreciable, Louisville will be. Some years most of the resolutions are fairly innocuous: one expects Baptists to speak against alcohol, pornography, gambling, and various other moral evils. Sometimes a resolution stirs up passionate feelings, as resolutions on homosexuality, women's roles in the church, divorce, and church accountability did (this was finally brought up last year. some folks for years have wanted us to address that we claim 16 million members and only 6 million show up on Sunday. Either we're not counting right or worse, we aren't holding people accountable. But that resolution was rough) One year a resolution on education was submitted but didn't get out of committee (as I recall) that stirred up a lot of trouble. It called for people to withdraw their children from government-run schools to provide an education with a Christian viewpoint instead. (I think that was 2004.) Other resolutions either counter prior ones (in the 1800s, Baptists didn't want to 'embarrass itself with any enterprise for the publication and sale of books. Now we have a whole book publishing company and retail chain, thanks in part to a 1910 resolution), some are politically driven, like 1981's resolution about not changing national election day, some are driven by the times, like are seen during various crises in our country, some are strange: did anyone need the SBC to take a stance not once, but 5 times, on highway safety? Well, the way some of us still drive, probably so.

The point is, every year, we have something to say about a lot of things. What would you like to see us adopt a resolution on? I have some things in mind, and will share them in further posts. Will I submit them? I'll probably pick the best one, send it in, and see what happens. Most likely, anything I submit won't make it out of committee, and the only who'll notice is me.

By the way, the committee does have a major task in gatekeeping. They pare down duplicate resolutions, wade through dumb ones (there's a website I'd like to see! Dumb resolutions that never got out of committee.), and try to make sure the ones submitted to the whole convention are clear and worthy of the time to discuss them.

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