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Resolution against Sept. 11 terror adopted by SBC Executive Committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The 80-member committee which acts in behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention between its yearly meetings has adopted a 14-paragraph resolution reflecting an array of reactions to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that likely took the lives of 5,000-plus Americans.

The SBC Executive Committee, in its resolution “On the Terrorist Attack on the United States of America”:

— voiced “utter abhorrence and unconditional condemnation” for the “cowardly acts” of “teams of foreign terrorists” who executed “most heinous and infamous acts” by hijacking jetliners to destroy the World Trade Center in New York City, crash into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and kill or injure “untold thousands of innocent victims.”

— affirmed that “comfort is abundant through Christ,” referencing the words of Scripture in 2 Corinthians 1:5, and committed “to render material assistance and to pray that the Lord will extend His grace, comfort, and healing to those injured in the malicious attacks, to their loved ones, and to the loved ones of those slain.”

— pledged “hearty prayer and unreserved support for our President, his advisors, Congress, and the members of the armed forces” in carrying out their “God-given duties … to preserve peace and order by punishing evil and seeking justice,” as set forth in Romans 13:4. The resolution also noted that “God forbids personal revenge,” citing Romans 12:19.

— lauded “those heroic persons who died attempting to thwart the attacks and those who gave their lives in rescue efforts following the attacks,” expressing “our heartfelt sympathy and gratitude to their families.”

— lauded police, firefighters, emergency personnel and others who have “exhibited courageous fortitude and a commitment to duty in the face of danger in [the] rescue efforts.”

— urged Southern Baptists “to diligently pray that God will turn the hearts of our nation back to Him” and “to recommit ourselves to minister the gospel to our fellow citizens, in the hope that they may find forgiveness of sin, the gift of eternal life, and the hope that is available only in Christ.”

Robert E. Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, noted in his report to the Executive Committee the idea of placing a full-page ad in USA today sharing “a message of hope to America” from Southern Baptists — “a message about the only one in whom we can have real hope, and that’s Jesus Christ.”

Reccord estimated the potential cost of the ad at $70,000. The Executive Committee, in its concluding business session, voted to provide up to $23,000 of the cost. NAMB and LifeWay Christian Resources will share in the remaining cost.

Among other actions, the Executive Committee declined to study the feasibility of merging two of the SBC’s six seminaries, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in the San Francisco area and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. The Executive Committee said instead that it “commends the excellent work of the two seminaries.” The suggestion for a feasibility study was referred to the Executive Committee from the 2001 SBC annual meeting in New Orleans.

Golden Gate Seminary, founded in 1944, enrolled 1,256 students during the 1999-2000 academic year and is operating on a $7.9 million budget this year.

Midwestern Seminary, which opened in 1958, enrolled 700 students during the 1999-2000 academic year and is operating on a $4.9 million budget this year.

Golden Gate trustees adopted in August a resolution asking the Executive Committee not to undertake a study of a possible Golden Gate-Midwestern merger. The trustees stated that “the motion, however well-intended, is already having a negative impact on Golden Gate Seminary in the areas of student, faculty and staff recruitment, ongoing fundraising efforts, and overall campus morale.”

A request was approved from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., to incur a $4.75 million loan guarantee for construction of two apartment complexes through a limited liability company to be named Grinstead Housing South, LLC.

The major construction project will add a total of 104 apartment units to the seminary property through a privatization arrangement with Louis and Henry Development. The project will actually come in the form of two apartment complexes — a $4.9 million, 70-unit complex on the south side of Grinstead Drive and a $2.7 million, 34-unit complex on the north side. Grinstead Drive provides the back entrance to the seminary campus.

The seminary will retain ownership of the property but will contribute the lease to Louis and Henry Development. The apartments on the south side will be reserved primarily for students, while the units on the north side will be open to the community. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, with the apartments set to open in the fall of 2002.

“Both [apartment complexes] will be leased at market rates, and the seminary may gain significant income from the partnership on an annual basis,” President R. Albert Mohler Jr. told seminary trustees earlier this year. “The seminary also retains the option of buying the entire project should we decide that this in our best interest.”

In other action, the Executive Committee:

— stated that the SBC website provides a history of the distribution of Cooperative Program funds by state convention as requested by a motion referred from the 2001 SBC annual meeting.

— approved a $25,000 contribution to Baptist World Alliance Building Fund in behalf of the SBC. The BWA is scheduled to hold dedication ceremonies Sept. 22 for its new headquarters in Falls Church, Va., in suburban Washington.

— adopted resolutions of appreciation for Reginald M. McDonough, who will retire Feb. 28, 2002, after 15 years as executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and John W. Thomason, who will retire Dec. 31 after 19 years as executive director of the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention.

McDonough is a former executive vice president of the Executive Committee and former director of the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources) church administration department.

Thomason led the process by which Wyoming Baptists attained full state convention status during the 1980s.

The Executive Committee also heard remarks from a former member, T.C. Pinckney of Virginia, on home schooling and Christian schools.