Resolved Grace Brings Life

(3)RESOLVED, that those who recognized the harm brought to subordinated people to which society was previously unaware and the litigators who brought it to light were fulfilling the biblical admonition to “do justice” (Micah 5:8); and be it further

(4)RESOLVED, that at the same time Southern Baptists would bear their crosses to the suffering outside the camp in fulfilment of the Great Commission to go into all the world where the law kills, but God’s grace revealed in Jesus brings life, freedom, and reconciliation.

What is the end game? That people would come to know Jesus Christ in fullness and freedom. What is one way we can demonstrate to people how much God loves them? By meeting them with the gospel in the point of their need. 

Historically, the Church in general, and Southern Baptists in particular, have acted under the guise that the real, physical and emotional needs of people were important. While temporal needs were not equal to eternal needs, neither are temporal needs unimportant. Meeting physical and emotional needs was the natural growth of the gospel when the early Christians started orphanages, hospitals, schools, subverted the Roman class system, and more. 

Southern Baptists have taught agriculture, promoted education from kindergarten to post-graduate, built hospitals, fed hundreds of thousands through disaster relief, repaired homes, and planted churches around the world all in the name of Jesus for the purpose of showing and sharing the gospel.

Is it at all out of character then, that Southern Baptists can and should minister to those who have been negatively affected by structural racism or held down by oppression? No. And, in fact, as this resolution shows, it is in keeping with our history.

Using two scriptural texts as metaphors, this resolution closes with imperatives mirroring the Great Commission: going to the “suffering outside the camp” takes an image from Hebrews 13:12–13, while “where the law kills” echoes 2 Corinthians 3:6. The first imperative is a reminder to go where people are, where they live, work, and play—outside the camp. 

The second imperative recognizes that the Mosaic law is not the only law that killed. History is littered with laws that killed from White Laws, to Nuremberg Laws, to Jim Crow, to Indian Removal, to countries that allow human trafficking. Laws that favor one group over another, that oppress those without power or voice, are by definition laws that kill. 

Southern Baptists have long stood for the downtrodden, the vulnerable, and those who are killed by such laws. Our numerous resolutions for the unborn are evidence of that. 

So, may our arms never be so short that we cannot embrace all those in need,  our minds so distracted that we pick and choose needs de jour, our hearts so hard that we leave freezing people in the cold, or our consciences so calloused that we ignore those whose needs are different that those we have previously encountered. May we, in short, love with the love wherewith we have been loved by God.