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SBC: Resolution On Racism 1989

June 1989

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have not always clearly stood for racial justice and equality; and

WHEREAS, The growth in the racial and ethnic population of Southern Baptist life is a strong indicator of our growing diversity; and

WHEREAS, The Bible affirms that all people are created in the image of God and are therefore equal; and

WHEREAS, All people need a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ;

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 13-15, 1989, affirm our intention of standing publicly and privately for racial justice and equality.

Be it further RESOLVED, That we repent of any past bigotry and pray for those who are still caught in its clutches; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we bear witness to the devastating impact of racism; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon individual Southern Baptists, as well as our churches, to reach across racial boundaries, establishing fraternal rather than paternal friendships; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptist churches to observe Race Relations Sunday; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That our agencies and institutions seek diligently to bring about greater racial and ethnic representation at every level of Southern Baptist institutional life; and

And be it finally RESOLVED, That we as Southern Baptists renew our commitment to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with every individual in obedience to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).

Las Vegas, Nevada

This resolution is posted at www.sbc.net/resolutions.

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2 Responses

  1. Kevin says:

    I am opposed to the SBC name chgnae and the optional unofficial name . We are what we are and we have good reason to be proud of the SBC name we presently carry. Does anyone really believe that we can chgnae our name and the unchurched will suddenly see us in a different light than before, flock to the church buildings and reverse the decline in membership? The Lifeway study that revealed a significant enough level of negativity toward the Southern Baptist churches by the unchurched implies that our work fulfilling the Great Commission is made more complicated. It may be. However, painting our denomination with a different color (i.e., name) does not chgnae the composition of our Biblically-based doctrine.With over 50 associations, fellowships and conventions using the name Baptist in the U.S. I can see where the unchurched are confused, as this list goes from the Alliance of Baptists to the World Baptist Fellowship. The Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas is also in this list. We (SBC Baptists) have pregnancy crisis centers, childrens homes, relief shelters, disaster relief teams, foreign and home missionaries and numerous other outreach programs that carry comfort, goodwill and the message of the Cross to those who need it. How many of the unchurched know about these programs of our denomination? I imagine very few.I believe the answer to our negative numbers from the Lifeway study is not window dressing like a new name, but advertising in the national media showing what the Southern Baptists are doing in our communities to serve those in need. Additionally, each of us needs to redouble our time in God’s Word daily and spend copious amounts of time in prayer to God, seeking wisdom, forgiveness of our sins and His assistance to us in living our life as He wants us to do. We need to live our faith each day and be the salt of the earth and that the light on the hill, essentially walking the talk. Any effort less than that is aid and comfort to those who seek to criticize our church.

    • Celso says:

      I am thankful that the Convention has given so much tuoghht and prayer to this issue. I too am proud of the long heritage that the SBC has in going after the main thing, the gospel. However, I believe that it is insightful and sensitive to discuss a name change as we look to the future. I believe that the name Great Commission’ will be offensive to many people, but it will be offensive because of the gospel message that it bears. What is better, to be offensive because we are being obedient to God in our pursuit of the Great Commission, or to be offensive because our name Southern’ reminds people of the terrible time in our country’s history when slavery and prejudice were ingrained so deeply that even our churches followed the cultural influences?

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