Participants of the "For Such a Time as This Rally" hold signs outside of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on June 12, 2018, on the first day of the two-day Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas. The rally calls for Southern Baptist clergy to receive training on how to treat women with respect, how to handle allegations of abuse, and how to minister to victims of abuse. Photo by Marc Ira Hooks

Southern Baptists, in #MeToo age, affirm women, ask for ‘purity' of leaders

Participants of the "For Such a Time as This Rally" hold signs outside of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on June 12, 2018, on the first day of the two-day Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas. The rally calls for Southern Baptist clergy to receive training on how to treat women with respect, how to handle allegations of abuse, and how to minister to victims of abuse. Photo by Marc Ira Hooks via Baptist Press


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

DALLAS (RNS) — Southern Baptists, grappling with some #MeToo-aided falls from grace among their leaders, have called for affirming women, showing compassion for the abused and expecting “moral and sexual purity” of their leaders.

A resolutions committee recommended a total of 16 nonbinding statements to express the sentiments of Southern Baptist delegates, known as messengers, and all were adopted Tuesday (June 12) by more than 7,000 Baptists gathered at their annual meeting.

The raft of resolutions came after the May termination of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, who had counseled against divorce even in cases of domestic abuse and was accused of mishandling seminary students’ allegations of rape. Two months earlier, Frank Page, the president of the denomination’s Executive Committee, resigned suddenly after what was described as a “morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.”


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On Wednesday, after a lengthy debate, messengers voted against a request to remove the members of the seminary executive committee that decided to fire Patterson.

“It was clear to us that the convention wanted to speak to those themes,” resolutions committee Chairman Jason Duesing told reporters after the adoption of the statements. “We felt that three separate resolutions allowed us to do that best.”

“Biblical headship blesses, honors, and protects wives and children and does not require them to submit to sin or to abuse,” the resolution on abuse reads. “(W)e acknowledge that spousal abuse dishonors the marriage covenant and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church.”

Jonathan Howe, from left, and Amy Whitfield moderate a panel discussion with Beth Moore, Russell Moore and Matt Carter. The panel discussed preventing and dealing with sexual abuse in the church on June 11, 2018, at the Cooperative Program stage in the exhibit hall at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. Photo by Kathleen Murray via Baptist Press


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The affirmation of “the dignity and worth of women” came as the nation’s largest Protestant denomination marked the 100th anniversary of women serving as messengers, even as it held fast to the view that women are equal before God but hold different roles in the church and the home. “(W)e affirm the gifts of women in their distinctive God-assigned roles, even as we continue to witness to Scripture’s teaching … in a culture increasingly confused in matters of gender and sexuality,” they said.


RELATED: Amid a #MeToo culture, Southern Baptists mull ways to increase women’s roles


Baptists also passed a resolution renouncing the “Curse of Ham,” an interpretation of a story in the Book of Genesis that has been used in some Baptist churches to lend biblical support to the idea that some races are subordinate to others.

“We don’t understand that to be a biblical reading of the Scripture at all,” said Duesing, provost of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. “That ‘Curse of Ham’ in history is a doctrine that’s actually counter to clear biblical teaching.”

The passage of that statement followed a report from the Executive Committee that it had disfellowshipped Raleigh White Baptist Church of Albany, Ga., because it had “performed acts of racial discrimination.”

Other statements adopted by the Baptists affirmed “the full dignity of every human being” and “the value and dignity of immigrants.” The latter resolution called for immigration reform “maintaining the priority of family unity” while securing the country’s borders and “providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures.”

Panelists address "Gospel Sexuality in a #MeToo Culture," convened by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, on June 11, 2018, the eve of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. Panelists included, left to right, Phillip Bethancourt, executive vice president of the ERLC; Trillia Newbell, author and the ERLC's director of community outreach; Russell Moore, president of the ERLC; Jamie Ivey, podcaster and author; James Merritt, lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., and former Southern Baptist Convention president; and Kimberly Norris, a sexual abuse trial attorney. Photo by Matt Miller via Baptist Press


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

They also called for “Christ-like” behavior when using social media — refraining from tearing others down and from gossip.

Seven months after the fatal shootings at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, Baptists called for authorities to work to reduce gun violence and said “gun ownership carries with it a great responsibility of being aware of the sinfulness of one’s own heart.” And four months after the death of evangelist Billy Graham, they commemorated his life and ministry.

In a year when they submitted more resolutions than they had since 1997, Southern Baptists also voiced support for Arab Christians and urged pastors and all Christians to become more aware of the dangers of opioids and “to resist the temptation to assume they are immune from this temptation.”

Comments

  1. “Southern Baptists, grappling with some #MeToo-aided falls from grace among their leaders, have called for affirming women.”

    Here’s Sarah Smith’s summary of where the new SBC president J.D. Greear stands on women’s role in the church in a tweet yesterday;

    Greear: the title of pastor is for men. Women can be ministers, but it doesn’t carry the weight of the role of pastor #SBC2018.

    In what world is that an “affirming” stance regarding women?

    https://twitter.com/sarahesmith23/status/1006649728824741894

  2. One wonders how many women would have ever been in the SBC (and most other denominations) if they had not been obligated to follow some man into it. Seriously, there are those who got roped in as children because of Dad, those who followed (married) some boy in these pews and some who got mentally infatuated with some pastor or male youth leader. There are not many women who woke up personally and said, “Hey, you know what? I want (WANT) to be part of a foot-dragging denomination on all civic issues and spend the rest of my life in subjugation to ITS doctrines. I want to be part of Fibbing Incorporated with respect to the Bible, science, education and governmental policy. I want to arrive at 2018 wondering why most of my fellowship tribe has no clue that Putin and Trump are World Wide Bad News for anyone with either a heart or a brain.”

  3. The churches who teach thou shall love with all your heart….. which is the summary of the LAW are not much better than any religion of Cain. Who can be pure, love, ….with the self righteousness of man? (Only Jesus can and did fulfill for us.) That is exactly the statement of faiths of all these religious monoliths which emanates abomination to the LORD (self righteousness stink worse than sin – Jesus loves sinners like tax collectors for Rome and prostitutes. He was angry with the religious lawyers.).

  4. “Baptists also passed a resolution renouncing the “Curse of Ham,” an interpretation of a story in the Book of Genesis that has been used in some Baptist churches to lend biblical support to the idea that some races are subordinate to others.” – Darn shame that the creator of the universe couldn’t write an unambiguous book.

  5. Yeah, the baptists are especially kooky, but the whole Jeebus thing is a foolish fairy tale anyway.

  6. Jesus will see you in your sleep this week.

  7. In His first Sunday, He shown Himself first to Mary Magdalene who did not know and did not believe He is risen. “And see two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weep thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weep thou? ” (The Ark came alive, the two angels now sitting – never sat down in OT, the Mercy Seat is with us.)

    He care for the church (the body of Christ, not the church organists), His bride and this includes men and women. But notice in the rest of the world where the Gospel is outlawed, trampled, slighted, looked down, refused, they treat woman as lower caste, slaves, sex slaves, 4 wives, six mistresses, …..

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