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All times Eastern.
5:19 p.m. — Floyd adjourned the convention after Dean Fulks, lead pastor of Lifepoint Church in Lewis Center, Ohio, closed in prayer.
5:07 p.m. — Eddie Bumpers, pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., preached the convention sermon, addressing “the fire of revival” from 1 Kings 18:17-24.
“There’s never been a time” when revival was more needed than today, Bumpers said.
The wicked king Ahab’s reign in Israel was a time in which God’s people needed revival, he said. Elijah’s calling down of fire in a contest with the prophets of Baal illustrates three steps to experiencing “the fire of revival.”
First, we must aggressively confront sin.
As Elijah confronted Ahab’s sin, believers must confront sin in their own lives and the lives of others, Bumpers said.
“We must confront sin personally. We must confront sin corporately, and we must confront sin nationally,” he said, adding, “Sin is the problem.”
Second, we must boldly challenge God’s people.
Elijah told the Israelites they could not alternate between serving the Lord and the false god Baal, Bumpers said. Similarly, believers today cannot vacillate between serving God and serving the idols of western culture, Bumpers said, noting that Christians must be challenged to “serve God and only God.”
The way Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal epitomizes the boldness required of Christians, Bumpers said.
“All other gods are fake. There’s only one God, Jehovah God,” Bumpers said.
Third, we must earnestly cry out to God.
When Elijah cried out to God, the Lord brought down fire from heaven to consume Elijah’s sacrifice, Bumpers said.
“Every good thing in Elijah’s life was connected to prayer,” Bumpers said, and good things in contemporary believers’ lives likewise are connected to prayer.
“What we need is a prayed-down fire from God,” Bumpers said. He added, “God, save us from a synthetic revival.”
Bumpers said he plans to devote an entire Sunday morning service at Crossway Baptist to prayer, as Floyd suggested June 16, and he challenged other pastors to do likewise. “My prayer,” he said, is “for the fire of God to fall.”
4:27 p.m. — A presidential panel discussion moderated by Floyd on “The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage” addressed how churches should face threats to traditional marriage. Among the highlights of the discussion:
— R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said churches should not panic as traditional marriage is threatened. Nonetheless, he said redefining marriage poses a broad array of challenges to society. Military chaplains, public officials, university professors and even Boy Scouts could face consequences if they stand for traditional marriage, Mohler said.
Later in the discussion, Mohler suggested ways Southern Baptists can ensure their convention does not endorse gay marriage in future generations. First, Southern Baptists must recognize that their convention nearly gave up biblical truth before recovering it during the Conservative Resurgence. Then, each local church must take a confessional stand regarding marriage and all other major doctrines of Christianity. Mohler recommended that churches adopt the Baptist Faith and Message as their statement of faith.
— Rosaria Butterfield, a Christian writer and speaker, said she came out as a lesbian at age 28. “I believed that lesbian sexuality was cleaner and more moral,” she said. Then Butterfield began to read the Bible and developed a friendship with Christians. “One of the things I realized was that I wanted Jesus,” she said. She realized she had been persecuting Jesus by standing against the sexual ethics of His people and was transformed, she said.
Butterfield explained that there is a deep sense of community among homosexuals. In contrast, Christian communities can be cold, she said. To reach homosexuals, churches must offer an alterative community to the LGBT network, becoming “a safe place to work through who I am and whose I am.”
— Matt Carter, pastor of Austin Stone Church in Austin, Texas, said his city is “a bastion of liberalism” in the middle of the Bible Belt. Austin Stone engages the gay community by training members to pursue homosexuals with the Gospel “the same way they would pursue anybody” with the Gospel, Carter said, adding that homosexuals are not believers’ enemies.
Pastors, Carter said, should train believers to engage with homosexuals by using as a model Jesus’ encounter with the adulterous woman in John 8.
Pastors should lead their churches to think through difficult situations related to same-sex marriage. Gay weddings are not the only challenge, he said. Baby dedications involving gay couples and homosexual job applicants are two of the situations churches likely will face.
— Ryan Blackwell, pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco, said pastors should not assume church members have a “robust” understanding of biblical sexual ethics. Ministers should not stop at saying “homosexuality is bad” but teach the “big picture” of God’s design for sex and marriage. If pastors do not teach a comprehensive perspective on sexuality, believers will allow their experiences to skew their interpretations of Scripture.
If the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, Blackwell said, pastors must exhibit courage rather than fear or anger.
— Moore said pastors can minister to those with same-sex attraction by “recovering testimonies” in worship services. But testimonies should not suggest that men and women stop struggling against sin once they come to faith in Christ, Moore said. Believers must be honest enough to testify that their temptations, including same-sex attraction, have continued following their salvation and that Christ’s power is sufficient to remain obedient in the face of temptation.
Parents must learn to love gay and lesbian children, Moore said. Don’t throw homosexual children out of the house, he said.
3:40 p.m. — During the Ethics & Religious Liberty presentation, President Russell D. Moore said Baptist Christians “have been comfortable” in our culture during most of the previous century. “Those days are over, and not a moment too soon,” Moore said. He noted that Baptist heroes often have been at odds with society as they stood for the Gospel, and Baptists in the 21st century stand in solidarity with their forebears.
The ERLC, Moore said, has a two-pronged strategy: to help churches give a witness in the public square and to teach the Word that is worth witnessing about.
Moore said Southern Baptists must be prepared for the world to view their convictions as “freakish.” He told the story of Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman, who was held liable by state authorities after refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. Moore then presented Stutzman to messengers and led in prayer for her following a sustained ovation.
Among the greatest threats to religious liberty in America during the past year have been an Indiana non-discrimination law and a subpoena of pastors’ sermons by the mayor of Houston, Moore said. He added that the ERLC will continue to protect the lives of unborn children.
Discussing persecution of Christians worldwide, Moore said American pastor Saeed Abedini remains in an Iranian prison, and Christians are being slaughtered across the Middle East. “We must contend for religious freedom” everywhere in the world, he said. “No leader will stand with sinners at the judgment seat of Christ,” so no “regime has authority over a free conscience.”
Moore announced that the ERLC, in consultation with the IMB, will develop “strategic relationships” to mobilize churches for defending religious freedom across the world.
The ERLC’s “primary priority” is to train churches to demonstrate the transforming power of the Gospel, Moore said. In partnership with LifeWay, the ERLC has developed the Gospel for Life book series. Partnerships with seminaries equip students through Christian ethics courses. In conjunctions with churches and state conventions, the ERLC has hosted training events. A national summit addressed racial reconciliation this year.
In January, ERLC will host the Evangelicals for Life gathering in partnership with Focus on the Family, Moore said.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on gay marriage later this month, the ERLC will continue to articulate the biblical view of marriage, Moore said. “We did not make up a Christian sexual ethic. We were given a Christian sexual ethic. And as long as the throne in heaven is occupied, we cannot rewrite what He has written,” he said.
3:10 p.m. — Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer of LifeWay discussed the need for small groups in local churches during the LifeWay presentation. Small groups allow believers to get involved in one another’s lives and hold one another accountable, Geiger said.
Stetzer reported on The Gospel Project curriculum, which is used by more than 750,000 people every week after only three years in print. Originally, LifeWay projected 30,000 Gospel Project users, he said.
This fall, The Gospel Project will begin a chronological study through the Bible, with every age group studying the same passage weekly. A video highlighted The Gospel Project’s focus on the unified storyline of Scripture, which culminates in the coming of Jesus.
Geiger noted that healthy Christians “are in the Word.” He introduced a resource called DevoHub, which allows believers to read daily devotionals on their smartphones.
2:53 p.m. — Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, reported that LifeWay has developed four new Sunday School curriculums, adding that Sunday School literature sales have begun to increase following a years-long decline.
B&H Publishing has 28 titles on the Christian Booksellers Bestseller list, Rainer said. He also said the Ridgecrest Conference Center continues to operate successful ministries.
“All of this has happened in a season of significant change for LifeWay,” Rainer said, noting three significant changes.
First, LifeWay has sold its downtown Nashville property and plans to move to a new location in the area. Two-thirds of LifeWay’s present facility is not utilized, Rainer said, and principles of good stewardship demand moving to a smaller facility. Groundbreaking on the new facility is tentatively slated for 2017.
Second, LifeWay has combined its B&H and Church Resources Divisions into a new Resources Division.
Third, LifeWay Christian Stores “will become more and more an expression of LifeWay,” with closer alignment between the stores and LifeWay’s resources.
Messenger Alan Cross of Alabama asked Rainer what LifeWay is doing to advance racial and ethnic diversity in the convention. Rainer replied that “LifeWay is making strides” but “we are not where we should be.” LifeWay, Rainer said, is taking three approaches to advancing diversity: listen to various ethnic groups; lead in advancing diversity; learn about the needs of ethnic churches and provide resources accordingly. LifeWay has 1,000 resources for ethnic churches in 35 different languages, he said.
2:39 p.m. — Floyd reported that 5,407 messengers have registered. Some 8,500 attended Floyd’s presidential address June 16, and just under 7,000 attended the Tuesday night prayer gathering. An additional 8,000 viewed the prayer gathering online.
2:36 p.m. — Messengers voted to commend the Executive Committee for its report on the progress of racial reconciliation between 1995-2015. The commendation came in response to a motion by Alan Cross, a messenger from Alabama.
In discussing the motion, Cross thanked the EC for compiling the report and Page for his leadership. The small number of non-Anglo trustees needs to increase, he said, adding, “I want to encourage us to keep working on this.”
2:23 p.m. — Worship has begun for the afternoon session.
11:55 a.m. — The morning session has ended. The convention will reconvene at 2:15 p.m.
11:47 a.m. — After messengers gathered to pray around missionaries being commissioned, Floyd called pastors to fill out cards indicating their congregations’ commitments to pray, give to missions and send missionaries.
11:30 a.m. — Platt presented five truths related to lostness across the world.
First, the stakes are high.
“We’re talking about men, women and children just like you and me, who at this very moment are headed to hell,” Platt said. “We’re talking about the glory of the Triune God.”
Though believers grow numb to the reality that people are dying and going to hell without Christ, Jesus never grew numb to this reality, Platt said. “Fiery agony” and “conscious pain” are two of the phrases Scripture uses to describe hell, he said. “Be not casual and be not cold.”
Second, the Gospel is good.
“The bow of God’s wrath is bent toward [the lost], but the pulse of God’s heart beasts for them,” Platt said. God has defeated death, and that is the “greatest news” the world has ever known.
Third, the church is central.
The SBC annual meeting’s “church and missionary sending celebration” is designed to highlight this reality, Platt said. He noted that he was hesitant to leave the pastorate to assume the IMB presidency because local congregations should not “farm out” missions to denominational entities.
Local churches are “God’s chosen agent for the eventual accomplishment of the Great Commission,” he said. Churches exist for missions, and NAMB and the IMB exist to help churches fulfill their purpose.
Pastors must show American believers that God has given them wealth to support missions, Platt said, adding that God has also called local churches to set apart missionaries.
Once missionaries are set apart, NAMB and the IMB train and help them. “We’re coming up under you, lifting you up,” Platt told churches.
Fourth, the opportunities are limitless.
In the history of the IMB, there have been some 25,000 missionaries, Platt said. He rejoiced in those missionaries but said Southern Baptists need that many “right now.”
In addition to missionaries funded through CP and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Southern Baptists should send missionaries who “leverage” their jobs to go overseas, Platt said, noting that a high percentage of young adults want to live overseas someday.
“Global missions is not a compartmentalized program for a select few people,” Platt said.
Fifth, the time is now.
“I’m not here for very long, and neither are you. Not one of us is guaranteed to lay our heads on our pillows tonight alive,” Platt said. “… So brothers and sisters, let’s make it count.”
Southern Baptists have offered various reasons that the IMB should not open new paths for missions. But he said “the stakes are too high” not to use every means possible to send missionaries across North America and to the nations.
“We don’t have time to waste” when lost people are going to hell and social ills permeate the world, he said.
10:27 a.m. — Chuck Herring, pastor of First Baptist Church in Collierville, Tenn., told how the congregation has planted a church in Toronto. Being a sending church has impacted First Baptist significantly, he said. For instance, one little girl in the congregation asked people to give money for missions at her birthday party rather than buying presents. She raised more than $500 for the Toronto church plant, Herring said.
“I can’t imagine being a church planter without a sending church” to provide support and accountability, Herring said.
Ezell said less than half of NAMB church planters have a sending church and need Southern Baptist congregations to serve as points of contact.
“It’s not about being a large church. It’s not about having a lot of money,” Ezell said, asking churches to consider serving as sending congregations.
10:04 a.m. — Platt read the commissioning of Barnabas and Saul from Acts 13 and said Southern Baptists are sending out missionaries from churches in similar fashion. “Our aim over the next few moments is for them to see a convention of churches saying, ‘We’re with you,'” Platt said.
Ezell reminded Southern Baptists that every believer is called to be a missionary. Missions begin with starting “Gospel conversations,” which lead to “Gospel congregations,” he said.
Platt said NAMB and the IMB have “hearts aligned together” in mobilizing churches for missions. He asked, for security purposes, that IMB missionaries not be photographed during the commissioning service.
9:53 a.m. — A joint NAMB and IMB missionary commissioning service opened with worship led by Christian recording artists Shane & Shane.
9:32 a.m. — Past SBC presidents have released a joint statement on same-sex marriage. The full text of the statement follows along with the names of the former SBC presidents who have endorsed it:
As Southern Baptist Christians, we are committed to Biblical faith and ethics. As a result, this body of Believers stands on the authority of Scripture and God’s Truth as central to our lives.
What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex “marriages”, our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.
While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.
Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships. As the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination with over 16 million members, we stake our very lives and future on the Truth of God’s Word.
We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers and influence, and resources.
Dr. Bailey E. Smith
SBC President: 1981, 1982
Dr. Morris H. Chapman
SBC President: 1991, 1992
Dr. James T. Draper, Jr.
SBC President: 1983, 1984
Dr. Charles F. Stanley
SBC President: 1985, 1986
Dr. Jerry Vines
SBC President: 1989, 1990
Dr. H. Edwin Young
SBC President: 1993, 1994
Dr. James B. Henry
SBC President: 1995, 1996
Dr. Tom Elliff
SBC President: 1997, 1998
Dr. Paige Patterson
SBC President: 1999, 2000
Dr. James Merritt
SBC President: 2001, 2002
Dr. Jack Graham
SBC President: 2003, 2004
Dr. Bobby Welch
SBC President: 2005, 2006
Dr. Frank S. Page
SBC President: 2007, 2008
Dr. Johnny M. Hunt
SBC President: 2009, 2010
Dr. Bryant Wright
SBC President: 2011, 2012
Dr. Fred Luter
SBC President: 2013, 2014
Dr. Ronnie Floyd
SBC President 2015
9:26 a.m. — David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, reported that the Gospel was shared with millions last year, utilizing CP and Lottie Moon gifts. “But we have a problem,” Platt said, noting that the IMB has been forced to decrease its missionary force from 5,600 to 4,200 in the days to come.
“We will always be limited” in the number of fully funded missionaries we can send, Platt said. The IMB plans to increase the number of Gospel workers by sending “non-traditional” missionaries — like retirees, students and professionals — to work with fully funded missionaries overseas.
To ensure that standards for missionaries remain high, IMB trustees voted in May on a set of minimum requirements for missionaries at all levels. Vibrant personal discipleship, a commitment to disciple-making and being a baptized member of a Southern Baptist church are among the requirements, Platt said. The requirements are “tethered in the tightest possible way” to the Baptist Faith and Message, Platt said.
News reports that the IMB is lowering its standards are inaccurate, Platt said. “This new policy in no way signals a change in practice,” he said. The new policy does not signal a shift regarding tongues or private prayer languages. IMB policies “do not or will not in any way promote speaking in tongues or a private prayer language,” Platt said, noting the “deep concerns” of IMB leadership about non-biblical aspects of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement around the world.
The new policy does not “lower the bar” in terms of marriage requirements, he said. It simply says divorced persons are not automatically disqualified from taking the Gospel to the nations, Platt said.
Messengers did not ask any questions despite media reports that some would question the new IMB personnel policy.
9:11 a.m. — Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, reported that that the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering increased by 2 percent last year. NAMB started 985 new churches in 2014, a 5 percent increase over 2013. Among 2014 church plants, 58 percent were non-Anglo. “This news is worth celebrating, but we must continue to make ethnic church planting a priority,” Ezell said. To that end, former SBC president Fred Luter has become a NAMB national ambassador.
Eight in 10 church plants from 2010 have survived, and 2010 church plants have given $3.3 million to SBC missions, Ezell said. Among 2011 church plants, 87 percent have survived.
Utilizing testimonies from a NAMB church planter, Ezell explained “phase II” of NAMB’s strategic plan for North American missions, including urban church planting.
Since the Three Circles evangelistic conversation guide was introduced at the 2014 SBC annual meeting, more than a million copies of the guide have been distributed, Ezell said. He also noted that some 12,000 people have registered for the Send North America conference in Nashville this August.
8:59 a.m. — President Wanda Lee presented the WMU report, introducing new WMU President Linda Cooper of Kentucky.
8:55 a.m. — The Committee on Order of Business ruled that the following motions deal with the internal operations of SBC entities and are referred automatically to the following entities, in accordance with Bylaw 26(b):
The motion that the Executive Committee and all SBC entities mount an initiative to repair the moral fiber of America was referred to the EC and all other SBC entities.
The motion that shuttle service be provided at SBC annual meetings was referred to the EC.
The motion that a Southern Baptist men’s ministry be established was referred to LifeWay Christian Resources.
The motion that the SBC commend the EC for its report on racial reconciliation progress was scheduled for consideration at 2:30 p.m. June 17.
Floyd ruled the following motions out of order:
— That Floyd run for U.S. president. The motion is out of order because it requests that the convention take a political action outside SBC’s ministry scope. The action would also violate the SBC’s tax-exempt status.
— That LifeWay, NAMB and the IMB work together to determine the best way to support campus ministry leaders on college campuses. This motion undermines the trustee process by directing an entity to take an action.
— That the SBC boycott Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. This motion is in the form of a resolution.
— That Floyd pray a designated prayer. It is outside the convention’s authority to interfere with the language of anyone’s personal prayer.
Messengers voted to refer the following motions to the Executive Committee because they deal with the SBC Constitution and Bylaws:
— That the SBC bylaws be changed to require that the CP giving percentage of each officer nominee be provided in nomination speeches.
— That nominees for SBC office be required to address the convention publicly.
Steve Bailey, a messenger from Arkansas, moved that the convention consider his motion on revealing the CP percentage of officer nominees and not refer it to the EC. Hebert responded that “the historical precedent” has been to refer bylaw amendments to the EC because any change to governing documents “is best dealt with by Executive Committee members” who can “examine all the ramifications of a bylaw amendment.” Messengers voted to refer the motion to the EC.
Jim Wells announced that EC Recommendation 5 was amended by a 55.8-41.85 margin, maintaining a quorum requirement at future SBC annual meetings. Recommendation 5, which allows electronic voting at SBC annual meetings among other matters, was adopted as amended.
8:18 a.m. — Worship has begun for the morning session.
9:13 p.m. — The evening session has ended. The convention will reconvene Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.
9:00 p.m. — Floyd challenged pastors to devote an entire Sunday morning service to prayer, using the National Call to Prayer service as a model. Materials related to the June 16 prayer service will be available online, Floyd said.
8:48 p.m. — J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said “not one of the tribes and tongues” of the world “will fail to be represented around His throne.” Believers obey the Great Commission because they believe that promise, Greear said.
Believers must never give up on the work of evangelism, but also never give up yearning for God to grant awakening in an extraordinary fashion, Greear said. God does not only move yesterday, Greear said, but today as well. “Let us believe God will do the impossible today,” he said.
8:25 p.m. — Vance Pitman, pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, recounted the Welsh Revival of the early 20th century and the Prayer Revival of mid-19th-century America. He noted that “God is moving” in China and Iran today. “I’ve heard about revival,” Pitman said, but “I have never experienced that kind of an awakening where I live.”
Pitman added, “I am hungry to not just read about it and not just hear about it, but to experience a fresh outpouring of God” on America. “May God do that in such a way that no denomination or no church gets any credit,” but all credit goes to God.
8:11 p.m. — Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., said the early church experienced revival because it focused on prayer, proclamation and the power of God. God “wants to fill you with the Holy Ghost and then use you for His glory,” Gaines said.
8:02 p.m. — James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., said Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day for being ignorant of God’s power. American churches are prosperous but not powerful, Merritt said. “Without the power of God, spiritual awakening is just a pipedream,” he said.
7:49 p.m. — Floyd called attendees to pray for America and for Southern Baptists to model “true unity that’s only really found” in the Gospel.
7:42 p.m. — K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, called America to a “greatest commandment revival” and to love one another regardless of race or ethnicity. Jesus is coming soon, Williams said, and “it’s time for us to be the people of God.”
Paul Kim, pastor emeritus of Antioch Baptist Church, said Asian American churches join others in repenting of racial prejudice. He told of the 19th-century Haystack Prayer Meeting and asked, “Why can we not experience another spiritual awakening today?”
David Galvan, lead pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista-Nueva Vida in Dallas, said the first-century church had to repent of prejudice among its own membership. He called Southern Baptists to similar repentance.
Timmy Chavis, pastor of Bear Swamp Baptist Church in Pembroke, N.C., said he is glad “God has brought our convention to be a spearhead” in a movement that calls all God’s people to stand together. “We are going to one heaven. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” he said. “… Let us work together for the Kingdom.”
Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., said he learned “Jesus Loves the Little Children” in Sunday School. But when the first African American came to his church, people left, Traylor said. He recalled learning to love African Americans while playing basketball with a black man in college. Traylor, who is white, embraced Williams, who is black, then went on to embrace believers of various races on the platform.
Floyd called attendees of the prayer gathering to huddle in small groups to pray. “We repent tonight of all racism and all prejudice,” he said.
7:19 p.m. — Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, said, “God is calling us to brokenness and humility. The greatest sin is pride, the mother of all sins.” Citing Nehemiah, he called Southern Baptists to pray with a broken heart for the nation as well as their own families. Before Nehemiah could do the work to which God called him, he had to get right with God, Graham said. Messengers confessed their sins and repented.
7:12 p.m. — Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., called messengers to consider the judgment they deserve from God and then confess their sins. God could respond to believers’ confession by reviving Christians and drawing unprecedented numbers of people to faith in Christ. Messengers prayed for a vision for awakening, confessing their unbelief.
7:06 p.m. — Extraordinary prayer is praying beyond the ordinary, Floyd said. Gathering with thousands on a summer Tuesday evening constitutes extraordinary prayer. Floyd called messengers and others to consider: “What if God chose this gathering tonight” to begin an extraordinary work? “It’s not coincidental we’re here; it’s providential we’re here because we believe with God, all things … are possible.”
7:01 p.m. — “Every great move of God begins when His people pray — not ordinary prayer, but extraordinary prayer,” according to a video introducing the subjects of prayer and awakening.
6:49 p.m. — Worship for the evening session is being led by Julio Arriola and the Cross Church worship team.
6:40 p.m. — Andrew Hebert, chair of the Committee on Order of Business, announced that discussion of EC Recommendation 5 will be scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. This is a change from what was previously announced.
The following motions have been referred to the Executive Committee:
— That the SBC Bylaws be changed in section 10.3 to require that, for each nominee for convention office, the percentage of the church budget given through CP be included in the nomination speech.
— That Bylaw 10 be amended to let messengers hear publicly from each nominee for convention office at the time of their nomination.
If messengers opt to consider either matter during the 2015 annual meeting, discussion and vote will occur during the Wednesday morning session because SBC bylaws prohibit bylaw changes from being voted on during the final session of an annual meeting.
5:00 p.m. — Grant Ethridge, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va., closed the afternoon session in prayer.
4:56 p.m. — Steve Gaines, chairman of the Resolutions Committee, and other committee members presented nine resolutions. All nine were adopted, with messengers amending two.
A messenger from Illinois spoke against Resolution 5, “On the Call to Public Witness on Marriage.” The resolution recommends “a weaker form of warfare” than churches should use by speaking to government rather than calling for more spiritual methods, the messenger said. Committee member Matthew Hall responded that Gospel requires messengers to the SBC to “speak the truth in love.”
Messenger Evan Lenow, an ethics professor at Southwestern Seminary, moved what he deemed a “friendly amendment” to Resolution 5, saying it should encourage the Supreme Court to uphold the natural definition of marriage and not support the right of citizens to define marriage however they choose. Hall spoke against the amendment, arguing that supporting the right of citizens to define marriage is important. After discussion, the committee and Lenow agreed on a proposed amendment. Messengers adopted the amendment.
A messenger from Illinois moved to amend Resolution 8, “On the Persecuted Church Worldwide,” to express thanks for the religious liberty afforded in the United States. Committee member Stephen Rummage said the committee received the amendment as friendly. The amendment was adopted.
A messenger from Michigan moved to amend Resolution 8 to reflect that many nations not listed also experience persecution. The committee received the amendment as friendly, and it was adopted.
The text of all nine resolutions as adopted is printed below:
WHEREAS, The messengers to the 158th session of the Southern Baptist Convention have enjoyed a time of worship, encouragement, and fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, We acknowledge God’s providence in all these blessings; and
WHEREAS, We also acknowledge the kind hospitality of the people of Columbus, Ohio; and
WHEREAS, We further acknowledge our local Southern Baptist churches, associations, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, SBC committees, and volunteers of the Columbus area who have worked so diligently to make our stay a pleasant one; and
WHEREAS, We especially acknowledge the Lord’s grace in enabling our president, officers, various committees, musicians, and other platform personnel to conduct the affairs of this Convention with dignity and a Christ-like spirit; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to all those He has used to bring about an annual meeting characterized by grace, evangelism, worship, encouragement, cooperation, and purpose.
ON THE NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM
WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention was created in 1845 “for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel”; and
WHEREAS, Through the Convention’s first eighty years, prior to the establishment of the Cooperative Program, its reach expanded to include cooperating churches in seventeen states and the District of Columbia and the financial support for five boards and numerous ministries; and
WHEREAS, The “Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists” was proposed and established in 1925 as a financial channel of cooperation between the state conventions and the SBC, making it possible for churches to support the missionary, education, and benevolent work in their state convention and the SBC, and was viewed as “the best and most practical way of meeting our obligations and providing for the ongoing of all our enterprises”; and
WHEREAS, During the remainder of the twentieth century, Cooperative Program giving from the churches helped fuel an aggressive global vision through the appointment and deployment of more than 4,800 overseas field personnel by the year 2000 and, according to the final report of the Convention’s Bold Mission Thrust initiative, more than 206,500 reported short-term overseas volunteers who participated in partnership missions projects; and
WHEREAS, During this same seventy-five year period, the Convention strengthened its home base through effective evangelistic and church planting efforts across the United States, enjoying, by century’s end, cooperation and support from churches in all fifty states and several United States territories, organized into forty-two state and regional cooperating conventions and worshipping in more than one hundred languages in North America; and
WHEREAS, Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the cooperating state Baptist conventions have continued to serve the ministry needs of the churches in their respective states while simultaneously forwarding, often sacrificially, a larger portion of Cooperative Program funds they received from their churches (from 35.86 percent in 2000 to 37.80 percent in 2014); and
WHEREAS, The SBC ministries funded through the Cooperative Program have continued to thrive since the turn of the twenty-first century, sustaining what may be history’s largest fully-funded evangelical overseas missions force; continuing to expand its North American church planting network; addressing social, moral, and religious liberty concerns domestically and globally; and supporting a thriving theological higher education enterprise with more than 18,000 students currently enrolled through the Convention’s six seminaries; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, on the occasion of the ninetieth anniversary of the Cooperative Program, express gratitude to God for His providential guidance in the creation of the Cooperative Program and for His multiplied blessings through this missions support enterprise; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reaffirm the 2010 SBC action calling Southern Baptists to “continue to honor and affirm the Cooperative Program as the most effective [financial] means of mobilizing our churches and extending our outreach,” while also acknowledging and affirming the value of other Great Commission Giving from the churches; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we celebrate each Southern Baptist congregation that, in addition to its own congregation’s other missions activities, supports the missions and ministries of the Convention by its generous giving through the Cooperative Program; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we encourage all Southern Baptist churches prayerfully to consider increasing their support for the time-honored giving channel of the Cooperative Program to help push back lostness across our nation and around the world.
ON REVIVAL AND SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
WHEREAS, God is a God of life, having given birth to all life throughout the universe in Creation, and having breathed the breath of life into the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7); and
WHEREAS, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is referred to as the Son of God who “was in the beginning with God, [and] all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being, [and] in Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:2–4); and
WHEREAS, Regarding the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying, “It is the Spirit who gives life” (John 6:63); and the Apostle Paul affirms that “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6); and that the Old Covenant ends in death, but under the New Covenant the Spirit gives life to those who are born again (2 Corinthians 3:6); and
WHEREAS, The people of God in the Old Testament from time to time experienced periods of rebellion against God and His divine will for them, prompting Him to discipline them, sometimes severely, which often led to them turning to Him in repentance, prayer, and renewed obedience, at which time His glory would once again fill the house of God and His people would be endued and infused with fresh life from heaven; and
WHEREAS, The Church itself was birthed on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) with the baptism of the Holy Spirit that filled the disciples with supernatural power, prompting their desire to share the Gospel boldly and three thousand new believers were ushered into God’s Kingdom by means of regeneration on that great day; and
WHEREAS, God has manifested Himself among His people in days gone by in seasons of refreshing, revival, and spiritual awakening, such as the days of The Evangelical Awakening in Britain (1735–1791), The First Great Awakening in America (1726–1770), The Second Great Awakening in America (1787–1843), The Layman’s Prayer Revival (1857–1859), The Global Awakening (1901–1910), and The Jesus Movement in America (late 1960s to early 1970s); and
WHEREAS, Though some parts of the body of Christ have experienced “waves” of spiritual awakening since the mid-1970s, the overall “tide of revival” in America has been “out” for four decades, while the Church and our culture have been drifting further and further into a moral and spiritual state of rebellion and corruption; and
WHEREAS, Our Southern Baptist Convention has been in a state of steady decline in baptisms for the past fifteen years (since 2000); and
WHEREAS, Our current Southern Baptist President, Ronnie Floyd, has made a comprehensive and clarion call “PLEADING WITH SOUTHERN BAPTISTS To Humbly Come Together Before God in Clear Agreement, Visible Union, and in Extraordinary Prayer for the Next Great Awakening and for the World to Be Reached for Christ”; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, do commit to dedicate and consecrate ourselves afresh to seek the Lord God with our whole hearts, through repentance of our own sins, and also crying out to God regarding the sins of our nation; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we engage in faithful and fervent prayer for the spiritual healing of our churches, our Convention, and our nation; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we faithfully and fervently plead with our great God to open the windows of heaven and come down among His people with a fresh filling of His Spirit that His Name will be glorified throughout our nation and the nations, and that His people will be refreshed with an outpouring of His love and holiness, resulting in renewed zeal to share the Gospel of Jesus with lost people for the purpose of winning them to faith in Christ and discipling them in such a way that they will in turn win others to Christ.
ON RACIAL RECONCILIATION
WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach that God has created all men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27) and has made from one man and one woman all peoples to live on the earth (Genesis 3:20; Acts 17:26); and
WHEREAS, God loves the world (John 3:16), sending Jesus to die for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), and, in Christ, is reconciling to Himself people from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 5:9); and
WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27–28); and
WHEREAS, God has made believers one in Christ, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and uniquely qualified to stand together in faith (Ephesians 2:15–16); and
WHEREAS, The Lord has given His people the mission of making disciples from every nation (Matthew 28:19); and
WHEREAS, Racism is sin because it disregards the image of God in all people and denies the truth of the Gospel that believers are all one in Him; and
WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention publically repented of its own complicity in the sin of racism that has divided both the body of Christ and the broader culture; and
WHEREAS, We grieve over the continued presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation; and
WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has taken numerous steps to enlist qualified individuals of all races and ethnicities for leadership roles; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists, in both our congregations and entities, increasingly reflect the racial and ethnic diversity in our communities and nation; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, rededicate ourselves to the holy responsibility and privilege of loving and discipling people of all races and ethnicities in our communities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge churches to demonstrate their heart for racial reconciliation by seeking to increase racial and ethnic diversity in church staff roles, leadership positions, and church membership; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptist entities and Convention committees to make leadership appointments that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the body of Christ and of the Southern Baptist Convention; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we continually prioritize and monitor our progress in adequately representing the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of our communities in our local congregations and our entities; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists to be faithful ambassadors of reconciliation in their personal relationships and local communities as they demonstrate the power of the Gospel to reconcile all persons in Christ.
ON THE CALL TO PUBLIC WITNESS ON MARRIAGE
WHEREAS, God in His divine wisdom created marriage as the covenanted, conjugal union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18–24; Matthew 19:4–6; Hebrews 13:4); and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) recognizes the biblical definition of marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime,” stating further, “It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race”; and
WHEREAS, God ordains government to promote and honor the public good and recognize what is praiseworthy (Romans 13:3–4); and
WHEREAS, The public good requires defining and defending marriage as the covenanted, conjugal union of one man and one woman; and
WHEREAS, Marriage is by nature a public institution that unites man and woman in the common task of bringing forth children; and
WHEREAS, The Supreme Court of the United States will rule in 2015 on whether states shall be required to grant legal recognition as “marriages” to same-sex partnerships; and
WHEREAS, The redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples will continue to weaken the institution of the natural family unit and erode the religious liberty and rights of conscience of all who remain faithful to the idea of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and
WHEREAS, The Bible calls us to love our neighbors, including those who disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, prayerfully call on the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the right of the citizens to define marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman; and be it further
RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists recognize that no governing institution has the authority to negate or usurp God’s definition of marriage; and be it further
RESOLVED, No matter how the Supreme Court rules, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirms its unwavering commitment to its doctrinal and public beliefs concerning marriage; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the religious liberty of individual citizens or institutions should not be infringed as a result of believing or living according to the biblical definition of marriage; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention calls on Southern Baptists and all Christians to stand firm on the Bible’s witness on the purposes of marriage, among which are to unite man and woman as one flesh and to secure the basis for the flourishing of human civilization; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists love our neighbors and extend respect in Christ’s name to all people, including those who may disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good.
ON THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
WHEREAS, Biblical revelation clearly and consistently affirms that human life is formed by God in His image and is therefore worthy of honor and dignity (Genesis 1:27; 9:6); and
WHEREAS, God alone is the Author of life and He alone numbers our days, from the moment of conception until natural death (Job 14:5–7; Psalm 39:4); and
WHEREAS, The Bible commands us to honor our parents and the aged (Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:32; Ephesians 6:2); and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) affirms that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” and calls us to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death”; and
WHEREAS, An estimated fifty-seven million unborn babies have been aborted since the legalization of abortion in 1973 (Roe v. Wade); and
WHEREAS, Legislation or court rulings have effectively legalized physician-assisted suicide in several states and additional states are considering similar action; and
WHEREAS, Recent federal directives seek to compel religious organizations to provide coverage for abortifacient technologies and services; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, affirm the dignity and sanctity of human life at all stages of development, from conception to natural death; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reaffirm our repudiation of the genocide of legalized abortion in the United States and call on civil authorities to enact laws that defend the lives of the unborn; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we welcome and commend legislation that ensures that all mothers will be fully informed by medical providers of the life development of their unborn children; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our fellow citizens of good will to collaborate with us on behalf of justice, the protection of human life, and the cause of human flourishing; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to continue and to expand their local ministries that care for and protect the unborn, the vulnerable, and the aged; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptist churches and entities to show the love of Christ through appropriate means to those women most vulnerable to the victimization of the abortion industry, and to show grace and mercy to those individuals who grieve with repentance over past abortions; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our churches and all believers to care for the elderly among us, to show them honor and dignity, and to prayerfully support and counsel those who are providing end-of-life care for the aged, the terminally ill, and the chronically infirmed; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commend the efforts of our denominational entities, especially The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in the defense and protection of human life at every stage; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we pray and work for the repeal of unjust laws and inhumane practices that degrade human life, all the while looking toward the day when our Lord will make all things new and “Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
ON PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL PURITY
WHEREAS, God calls His people to holiness and Christ has specifically summoned His followers to sexual purity (Matthew 5:27–28; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5); and
WHEREAS, Sexual sin robs us of our joy in God and is especially grievous to our souls (1 Corinthians 6:18); and
WHEREAS, Increasing numbers of men and women report their addiction and enslavement to pornography in multiple forms; and
WHEREAS, Pornography has devastated many of our families and churches, leaving countless divorces and broken homes in its wake; and
WHEREAS, The sex industry is exploitative in its very nature, often complicit in the blight of human trafficking, harming all its participants; and
WHEREAS, Increasing numbers of our children have been victimized by this insidious industry, not only through child pornography, but also by the active marketing of pornographic content to young men and women; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, express our deep grief over the widespread devastation inflicted by the pornography industry in our churches and communities; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves as disciples of Christ to lives of purity in thought, word, and deed; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptist churches to continue and to expand efforts to teach the whole counsel of God regarding sexual purity, human dignity, biblical gender roles, and the dangers of pornography; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on government authorities to enact and enforce laws that restrict all forms of pornography, particularly those that include and exploit minors; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Christian families to exercise deliberate care and concern for instructing our children how to wisely use online resources for good and to show appropriate discernment in protecting our children from harmful influences; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we commend the good news that Christ is fully able to deliver and restore those who have fallen in sexual sin who look to Him in faith and repentance, and call our churches to foster a culture of grace, mercy, and restoration.
ON THE PERSECUTED CHURCH WORLDWIDE
WHEREAS, Religious liberty is a principle rooted in Scripture and demonstrated in the Gospel (Daniel 3:16–18; Galatians 5:1); and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) asserts, “The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinion of any kind,” and “A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power”; and
WHEREAS, All individuals are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and therefore deserve to be regarded with dignity and respect; and
WHEREAS, Vast numbers of Christians worldwide are experiencing religious persecution because of their confession of Christ as Lord (2 Timothy 3:12); and
WHEREAS, Multiple thousands of these believers are martyred each year, while countless others are imprisoned, tortured, or otherwise oppressed for activities including possessing a copy of the Scriptures, gathering to worship Jesus Christ, or sharing the Gospel; and
WHEREAS, Faithful followers of Christ worldwide are facing extreme and severe persecution in nations including but not limited to North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Central African Republic, Qatar, Kenya, Turkmenistan, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Djibouti, and Myanmar; and
WHEREAS, Governments that persecute Christians and abridge religious freedom invariably are guilty of other human rights abuses as well; and
WHEREAS, Followers of Jesus reflect the character and mission of our Lord by proclaiming liberty to captives and setting free those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18); and
WHEREAS, Baptists, owing much of our heritage first to the women and men of the Radical Reformation, have courageously stood for religious liberty and the exclusivity of salvation in Jesus Christ and were persecuted, many becoming martyrs; and
WHEREAS, Christians living in nations with religious liberty bear a responsibility not only to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide (2 Timothy 1:8) but also to employ every avenue to advocate justice on their behalf (Amos 5:24; Micah 6:8); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, give thanks to our God that He has mercifully placed us in a nation that upholds religious liberty and resolutely oppose and denounce all religious persecution anywhere in the world; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and all Americans to refrain from international trade, even at the risk of financial loss, with or in nations that practice religious persecution; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage our governmental officials to elevate religious liberty concerns to the highest priority in foreign policy, invoking sanctions against those nations which advocate or tolerate persecution of those with differing religious beliefs; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we gratefully acknowledge and trust that what wicked people intend for evil, God is sovereignly using for good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28), affirming the message of the ancient theologian Tertullian to persecutors: “The oftener we are mowed down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed”; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call for all Southern Baptists to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters continually in our personal prayer times and regularly in our corporate worship services and prayer gatherings, asking that God grant them endurance, deliverance, justice, and souls won to Christ through their faithful and sacrificial witness.
ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NORTH KOREA
WHEREAS, All individuals are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and therefore deserve to have their physical, emotional, and spiritual integrity respected; and
WHEREAS, God’s people should be committed to break the chains of wickedness, untie the ropes of the yoke, set the oppressed free, tear off every yoke, and care for the prisoner and the mistreated (Isaiah 58:6; Matthew 25:36; Hebrews 13:3); and
WHEREAS, The human rights situation for millions of people in North Korea since the succession of the new leader Kim Jong Un on December 17, 2011, remains among the most severe in the world; and
WHEREAS, in 2014 the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea determined that crimes against humanity were taking place in that country, including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation”; and
WHEREAS, Followers of Jesus Christ and adherents to any faith other than the state-sanctioned cult of personality revolving around the Kim family face extreme persecution against themselves and their family members; and
WHEREAS, Despite the fact that an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in North Korea remain at grave risk of persecution, underground churches continue to minister to and help North Koreans escape to third country safe havens like the United States and South Korea; and
WHEREAS, The United States Congress passed the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, reauthorized in 2008 and 2012, to alleviate the suffering of North Koreans in and outside of the country, provide information of the outside world into North Korea, and to promote human rights, democracy, and market economy in North Korea; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, appeal to Kim Jong Un and the government of North Korea to respect and ensure human rights for all individuals as obligated both by biblical teaching and the international covenants to which it is a State Party, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge President Barack Obama and both houses of the US Congress to do all they can to pressure the government of North Korea to respect the dignity and religious freedom of all its citizens; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we renew our call to Southern Baptists and all our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray that God will turn the heart of Kim Jong Un to Himself and that President Kim might grant to all the people of North Korea the respect they deserve as God’s creation (Proverbs 21:1).
4:25 p.m. — Jim Wells was reelected registration secretary for a 14th term. There were no other nominees, so recording secretary John Yeats cast the ballot of the convention. James T. Draper, former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, nominated Wells.
4:23 p.m. — John Yeats was reelected recording secretary for a 19th term. There were no other nominees, so Wells cast the ballot of the convention. Joshua Hedger of Missouri nominated Yeats.
4:19 p.m. — Chad Keck, pastor of First Baptist Church of Kettering in Dayton, Ohio, was elected second vice president. Keck was nominated by David Starry of Vandalia, Ohio. There were no other nominees, so registration secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention.
4:14 p.m. — Andrew Hebert, chair of the Committee on Order of Business, said results of the vote to amend EC Recommendation 5 will be announced Wed. at 2:30 p.m.
Hebert nominated Ted Traylor of Florida as the 2016 convention preacher and H.B. Charles of Florida as the alternate. Julio Arriola was nominated as the 2016 convention music director. All three were elected.
4:08 p.m. — In part 2 of the Executive Committee report, messengers adopted two EC recommendations and considered a third. Part 2 of the EC report also included a report from EC President Frank S. Page. Among the recommendations proposed were:
— Recommendation 6: That Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s name be changed to Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, with SBC governing documents being adjusted accordingly. The recommendation was adopted.
— Recommendation 5: That the SBC Bylaws be amended to permit electronic voting by messengers at future annual meetings. Other changes were included in the amendment. The vote on a proposed amendment to the Bylaws amendment was too close to call on a show of ballots, so a ballot vote was taken. Results of the vote were to be announced later.
A messenger from Georgia moved that Bylaw 35’s requirement of a specific quorum not be changed. It is unwise to allow any messengers present to constitute a quorum, the messenger said. Administrative Committee chairman Shane Hall responded that at times a quorum may not have been present in SBC business sessions and business could have been impeded if a messenger had called for a quorum.
— Recommendation 7: That NAMB’s ministry statement be amended. The recommendation was adopted.
Page reported on the work of several advisory councils and introduced an initiative called Great Commission Advance to promote Southern Baptist missions and ministries.
The advisory councils work with Page in determining ways to include ethnic minority and other groups in the work of the convention, Page said. Among those councils are the Hispanic, African American, Asian American and Multiethnic Advisory Councils. The Bivocational and Small Membership Church Advisory Council is assisting Page in including small churches in the SBC’s work. A Women’s Ministry Advisory Council will be formed soon.
Paul Kim has been hired as an Asian American consultant to the Executive Committee, Page announced.
The Mental Health Advisory Group has presented a report to Page on how Southern Baptists can help individuals struggling with mental health issues. “We recognize the need for that,” Page said.
In his travels around the convention, Page said he is asked how the SBC will fund the IMB, NAMB and the six SBC seminaries. “It goes back to the issue of partnership in the Gospel,” Page said.
Page recommended that Southern Baptists increase their emphasis on evangelism. Because of declining membership in Southern Baptist churches, “we must win more people to Christ than ever before,” he said. People “are open to the Gospel if we’ll approach them with a motive of Christ-like love and compassion.”
Additionally, Southern Baptists must train believers in financial stewardship, Page said, including giving through the Cooperative Program.
The Great Commission Advance initiative, Page said, will challenge Southern Baptists “like never before” to support cooperative ministries. Great Commission Advance will include a challenge to pray for Southern Baptist ministries and give through CP after comparing it to other avenues for missions giving.
I believe CP “is the best avenue” to reach the world for Christ, Page said.
In conclusion, Page recognized Kelvin Cochran, the former Atlanta fire chief who was fired after publishing a book that stated homosexual behavior is immoral. Cochran told messengers told “sufferings are an inherent and even necessary component” of God’s plan for believers’ lives.
3:21 p.m. — Steve Dighton, pastor of the Kansas City-area Lenexa Baptist Church, was elected first vice president. There were no other nominees, so registration secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, nominated Dighton. Dighton is “a man whose love for Christ and the church is obvious,” Graham said.
3:12 p.m. — The Committee on Nominations report was adopted after a proposed amendment was rejected by messengers.
Messenger Brent Hobbs of Virginia proposed an amendment to the report, asking to replace IMB trustee nominee Tom Polvogt of First Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, with Johnson Ellis of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. The Committee on Nominations responded that Polvogt embodies Floyd’s vision of equipping ordinary Christians to carry out the work of the Great Commission and that his church gives 10 percent of undesignated receipts through CP. The amendment failed.
3:03 p.m. — The Committee on Committees report was adopted. Nominees to the Committee on Nominations come from churches that give an average of 7 percent through CP and 12.6 percent in Great Commission giving. Twenty-seven percent of nominees are from ethnic minority groups.
3:00 p.m. — Messengers made five motions moments ago:
— That NAMB, the IMB and LifeWay work together to determine the best way to support Southern Baptist campus ministry leaders on college campuses.
— That shuttle service be available to messengers to SBC annual meetings, and that the president poll messengers on whether they would use shuttle service.
— That Southern Baptists boycott Zondervan and Thomas Nelson because they are owned by Harper Collins, which also publishes immoral literature.
— That the SBC ask Floyd to partner with the Family Research Council in praying for revival.
— That the SBC establish a men’s ministry program to help churches and associations establish men’s ministries.
2:52 p.m. — O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, said GuideStone was recognized for having the number one bond fund in America last year. For 17 consecutive quarters, GuideStone’s mutual funds have been ranked among the top 20 percent in the industry, he said.
There is a 98 percent renewal rate on all GuideStone health plans, Hawkins said. “Our health program remains strong and is committed to advocating for all of us,” he said.
GuideStone’s lawsuit against the Obama administration seeks to prevent the federal government from mandating that GuideStone provide abortifacients, Hawkins said. Currently, there is an injunction preventing enforcement of the abortion/contraceptive mandate against GuideStone, he said.
Regarding wellness, Hawkins said many of the claims GuideStone pays are for preventable diseases. Two cases of diabetes were discovered at the GuideStone booth in the exhibit hall today, he said, urging messengers to get regular medical checkups.
2:39 p.m. — Floyd was reelected president of the SBC. There were no other nominees, so registration secretary Jim Wells cast the ballot of the convention. J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., nominated Floyd. “He is a man who refuses to let anything obscure” our focus on the Gospel, Greear said.
2:34 p.m. — Mike Routt, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, and others presented five of eight EC recommendations, interspersed with testimonies of God’s work through Cooperative Program-funded ministries:
— Recommendation 1: That the convention adopt the 2014-15 CP Allocation Budget. The recommendation was adopted.
— Recommendation 2: That the convention adopt the 2014-15 SBC Operating Budget. The recommendation was adopted.
— Testimony: Robbie and Gail Nutter of the Kansas State University Baptist Collegiate Ministries, known as Christian Challenge, reported that KSU BCM alumni have gone on to important leadership positions in the SBC and the world. The Nutters minister today inspired by Southern Baptist collegiate ministry’s work in their own lives.
EC President Frank S. Page said of Baptist campus ministry, “We’re trying to show you what the fuel of the Cooperative Program supports.”
— Recommendation 8: That messengers adopt the 2014-15 SBC Calendar of Events. The recommendation was adopted.
— Testimony: NAMB missionaries Muche and Diamone Ukegbu reported on their work planting The Brook in Miami. The NAMB church planting farm system provided training and helped ignite their ministry, Muche Ukegbu said. More than 140 adults attended the church’s first worship service this Easter. “We represent a lot of church planters with various stories” who are benefitting from CP, Muche Ukegbu said.
— Testimony: David and Katie Kizziah will be commissioned June 17 as IMB missionaries to sub-Saharan Africa. They met on a World Changers trip as teenagers and began to develop a passion for international missions. During the coming years, God confirmed their call to missions, using, among other things, David Kizziah’s time as an IMB Journeyman in Zambia. They attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and David pastored a church in Central Kentucky.
They planned to move to Zambia as IMB missionaries, but their son’s diagnosis with autism delayed the process. “Now at age 8, he no longer tests on the autism spectrum and is ready for overseas service,” Katie Kizziah said. They will return to Zambia in the coming months, and David will teach at a local seminary.
— Recommendation 3: That the SBC adopt a resolution of appreciation for Tom Elliff, former president of the IMB. The Elliffs were not in attendance because of Jeannie Elliff’s cancer treatments. The motion was adopted.
— Recommendation 4: That the convention amend Articles III and XIV of the SBC Constitution and SBC Bylaw 8, as indicated in the Book of Reports.
A messenger from Virginia spoke against the recommendation, asserting that the changes would inappropriately limit the ability of some small churches to send messengers to the SBC annual meeting.
Routt responded, “This amendment does not inhibit people from coming, but rather it invites more people to the table.” The amendment would allow a minimum of two messengers per eligible cooperating church rather than one, as previously permitted. The amount of giving required is merely an adjustment for inflation since the adoption of the original policy, Routt said.
The constitutional amendments were adopted by the second of two required votes of the convention. The bylaws were amended by a vote of the messengers.
1:41 p.m. — Messengers made five motions a moment ago. Among them:
— That the SBC Executive Committee and all SBC entities be asked to pursue making a stand in our culture for the truth using the media.
— That if the convention reelects Floyd, we ask him to also run for president of the United States of America in 2016 to help lead America to the next Great Awakening.
— That the SBC Bylaws be changed in section 10.3 to require that, for each nominee for convention office, the percentage of the church budget given through CP be included in the nomination speech.
— That the SBC commend the Executive Committee’s report on the convention’s progress on racial reconciliation.
— That Bylaw 10 be amended to let messengers hear publicly from each nominee for convention office at the time of their nomination.
1:20 p.m. — Worship has begun for the afternoon session.
11:39 a.m. — The morning session closed with prayer from Tommy Green, newly-elected executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention. The convention will reconvene at 1:15 p.m.
11:38 a.m. — During a joint question time for all six seminaries, a messenger from Georgia asked Akin why he posted a video online in support of the organization Openly Secular, a group the messenger said celebrates ungodly ideas and behaviors.
Akin replied that he was approached by an atheist friend who said Southern Baptists want to “wipe” atheists “from the face of the earth.” Akin told the atheist he believes in religious liberty for atheists and said he would be willing to state that in a video. “So that’s what I did,” Akin said.
In the absence of further questions, Floyd asked each seminary president to tell messengers “the greatest hope you have in educating the next generation.” Their answers were as follows:
Iorg: “Seeing students captured with a global vision for reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Allen: The quality of students. “They show up on our campuses with great conviction.”
Mohler: Every single student on our campus is “swimming upstream” against the culture by standing on the truth of Scripture and the exclusivity of the Gospel.
Akin: Students ask, “Lord, why should I stay?” and seriously consider going to the international mission field.
Patterson: Students send him 8-10 email reports per day of leading people to faith in Christ.
Kelley: This generation of students isn’t intimidated by the urban environment of New Orleans. “They are ready to reach the cities of our nation” and our world for Christ.
11:26 a.m. — Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, said GGBTS has sold its Mill Valley campus and is building two new campuses — an anchor campus in Southern California and a new Bay Area campus. The seminary will move to both campuses during the summer of 2016. Both new campuses are “symbols of the vitality of your seminary in the west,” Iorg said.
The sale of the Mill Valley campus yielded $40 million for GGBTS’s permanent endowment.
During the Executive Committee report this afternoon, messengers will vote on whether to allow GGBTS to change its name to Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, Iorg said. The potential new name and new campuses will coincide with a new mission that includes directing more resources to the seminary’s work and launching new programs, he said. GGBTS also will hire new members of its faculty and staff.
“The transition process is on time and on budget,” Irog said. He added, “There is visible evidence of God’s blessing in our relocation process.”
11:17 a.m. — Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the SBC “is enjoying a golden era in theological education,” with all six of the denomination’s seminaries recording record enrollment.
MBTS is perhaps “the most unlikely success story” of all the SBC seminaries because of its previous challenges. Accreditors told MBTS recently that it is the fastest growing seminary in America among institutions with at least 500 students. Allen attributed this growth to MBTS’s commitment to serve Southern Baptist churches.
“We have retooled every aspect of this seminary to best serve the Southern Baptist churches,” Allen said.
Later this summer, MBTS will open the Spurgeon Library, housing artifacts from the legendary British preacher and training students in pastoral ministry, Allen said.
11:05 a.m. — R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said SBTS could not carry out its assignment without the prayer and Cooperative Program gifts of Southern Baptists.
SBTS has more men studying for the pastorate on its campus than have ever gathered for training in one place, Mohler said. “Just imagine how irritating that is to people who would wish for Christianity to have some other message than the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Southern is committed to keeping face-to-face education as its main task, Mohler said, but the seminary also uses technology to reach new fields.
Seminary education is “dangerous business,” Mohler said, because theological drift in seminaries affects entire denominations. In the face of such danger, Southern is committed to biblical fidelity, he said.
10:56 a.m. — Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said SEBTS’s faculty and students attempt to “flood the land of darkness” by taking the Gospel to unreached areas in North America and across the world. SEBTS graduates are working in at least 40 countries, he said.
At the same time, SEBTS is seeing the nations come to it. One aspect of this is seeking minority students. Today ethnic minority students comprise approximately 14 percent of the student body, a percentage Akin hopes will increase.
Additionally, SEBTS partners with hundreds of churches to bring theological education to local ministry contexts, Akin said. Some 20 international partnerships have brought theological education to the Ukraine, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Zambia and Vietnam among other nations, Akin said.
“Lord, why should I stay?” is a prayer all SEBTS students are encouraged to pray as they consider international missions service, Akin said.
10:48 a.m. — Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said trustees have amended SWBTS bylaws to forbid the president from making exceptions to the admissions policy of receiving only Christians as students. Exceptions can be granted only by trustees according to the revised bylaws, Patterson said. The Muslim student at the center of a controversy in 2014 is no longer enrolled at Southwestern and has said he is in danger because his name and photograph were placed online.
Southwestern has adopted an unreached people group in Madagascar in partnership with the International Mission Board, Patterson said. Hundreds have professed faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, and two churches have been established among that people group, Patterson said.
Patterson added that SWBTS is partnering with seminaries worldwide to deliver high-quality theological education. He also requested prayer that the seminary would remain faithful to Christ, that students and faculty would be active in personal evangelism and that students would proclaim God’s truth even when it is difficult.
10:40 a.m. — Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, said the seminary exists to serve those called to ministry. Among the ways NOBTS is serving ministers:
— Extension centers exist throughout the Southeast.
— Entirely online degrees are available at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
— A mentoring program allows students to work with a local mentor as well as seminary professors. This program, known as ENTRUST, allows ministers to obtain seminary education without leaving their fields of service.
— A counseling center serves NOBTS students and the community. A substance abuse recovery center also serves the community.
— An Inmate Ministry Training Program equips prisoners in five maximum security prisons to serve as ministers among their fellow inmates.
— A $10 million gift helped create a center for church excellence and provide full scholarships for smaller church leaders.
Kelley noted that Hurricane Katrina decimated NOBTS 10 years ago, but the seminary survived thanks to Southern Baptists’ help.
10:20 a.m. — God’s people must lead the world to Christ even though American culture is in crisis, Floyd said in his presidential address.
“Leaders are born in the midst of crisis. Crises abound everywhere,” he said.
The present is a “kairos moment” for God’s people to lead, Floyd said, using the Greek word that references a key juncture in history. He noted the imprisonment in Iran of American pastor Saeed Abedini, the proliferation of human trafficking, historic levels of Christian persecution around the world and global economic woes.
Race relations are tense in America, Floyd said. He denounced racial prejudice as “sin against God and sin against one another.” Floyd added that 57 million babies have been aborted since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, a total roughly equivalent to the cumulative populations of California and New York.
The Supreme Court’s anticipated decision on gay marriage later this month could propel the sexual revolution forward, Floyd said.
In this midst of such crises, God’s people must not fight among themselves but love one another unconditionally and speak prophetically to the culture.
“It’s not about your church or the size of your town,” but your leadership and obedience, Floyd said to pastors.
Preaching from Christ’s letter to Philadelphian church in Revelation 3:7-8, Floyd explained two ways in which God’s people must lead.
First, now is the time to lead believing and standing.
God has given the church power for ministry and evangelism, Floyd said. Although non-believers perceived the church at Philadelphia as weak, “they were faithful to keep God’s Word. On the Word, they stood.”
When other denominations compromise biblical truths to be politically correct, Southern Baptists must stand on God’s Word and believe it, he said. Such stands will lead to open doors for ministry. “The gates of hell cannot and will not prevail against the church,” Floyd said.
The foundational truth Southern Baptists must believe is the Gospel, Floyd said. “We stand believing that we are called to reach the world for Christ, making disciples of all nations.”
Southern Baptists also must “stand believing that humanity’s bearing of God’s image is not contingent upon one’s skin color” and that “abortion is a glaring desecration of the unborn child’s purpose and value,” Floyd said.
Referencing gay marriage, Floyd said to a standing ovation, “We stand believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” The Supreme Court, he said, must not redefine marriage to allow same-sex marriage, and pastors must continue to proclaim Scripture’s teaching on human sexuality.
“I will not officiate” any same-sex wedding, Floyd said.
Second, now is the time to lead “living and going.”
Like God placed an open door before the church at Philadelphia, Christians today have an open door for taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth, Floyd said.
“We need to go through the open doors, and we need to advance the Gospel,” he said.
Southern Baptists must pray for “a third Great Awakening” to “turn America’s heart back to God,” Floyd said, noting that Southern Baptists should lead the way in seeking such an awakening.
The SBC’s decline in worship attendance is concerning, Floyd said, as is the fact that baptisms in Southern Baptist churches have been far outpaced by America’s growth.
“We need a third Great Awakening in America now,” he said.
Pastors especially must develop aggressive strategies for evangelizing their communities. “It has to begin with those of us here today,” Floyd said.
Churches outside the SBC who agree with Southern Baptists’ doctrine and missions strategy are ready to begin cooperating with the SBC as it seeks a Great Awakening, Floyd said.
“Everyone [in the SBC], I mean everyone, needs to rise up and lead,” Floyd said. “… May the evangelical community never have to ask again, ‘Where are the leaders?'”
He asked in conclusion, “In this critical hour will we lead?”
9:23 a.m. — Floyd introduced past presidents of the SBC. Jack Graham, former SBC president and pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, introduced Floyd and his family preceding Floyd’s presidential address. Graham said he is “here to talk about [Floyd’s] best title: husband, father and grandfather.” Past SBC President James T. Draper prayed for Floyd.
9:08 a.m. — Americans won every major combat mission to which they were deployed during the Vietnam War, said Major Gen. Douglas Carver (ret.), former army chief of chaplains. “I salute” Vietnam veterans “and say welcome home,” Carver said.
Carver and military veterans led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of the National Anthem led by Arriola.
9:00 a.m. — Messengers commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem. Floyd urged messengers to pray for veterans, support them and remember that “it’s never too late to pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans who served with valor, courage and honor during the Vietnam War.”
8:55 a.m. — “The Gospel of Jesus Christ was shared more times on Crossover Saturday” than it has ever been shared on one day in Columbus, said Rich Halcombe, director of missions for the Metro Columbus Baptist Association. Some 3,385 crossover volunteers knocked on more than 10,000 doors June 13, had 4,950 Gospel conversations and witnessed at least 345 professions of faith.
8:40 a.m. — Messengers adopted the order of business as presented by Hebert.
8:36 a.m. — Andrew Hebert, chair of the Committee on Order of Business, reported the “logical flow” and “streamlined schedule” of this year’s annual meeting. The Tuesday morning session will include Floyd’s presidential address and the first ever joint seminaries report. Some 90 percent of business will take place during the Tuesday afternoon session. Tuesday night’s prayer gathering will be broadcast on national television.
8:34 a.m. — Registration Secretary Jim Wells reported 4,482 registered messengers. The convention voted that these will constitute the convention along with additional messengers that are duly registered.
8:24 a.m. — President Ronnie Floyd has called the SBC to order using the Broadus Gavel, which has been used continuously at SBC annual meetings since 1872.
8:15 a.m. — The SBC annual meeting’s opening session has begun with worship led by Julio Arriola of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
Blogging by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.
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