SBC Resolution: Submitted

Submitted to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee

On the Incompatibility of Structural Racism and Oppression with the Baptist Faith and Message

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states, “Christians should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick,” (Article 15); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states that Scripture, “is God’s revelation of Himself to man. . . . All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.” (Article 1); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states that human beings. “fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin.” (Article 3); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states that, “Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love,” (Article 15); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message provides, in order to promote these ends, Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth. (Article 15); and

WHEREAS, Scripture recognizes that society sinfully groups people in man-made hierarchies “according to the flesh” (2 Cor 5:16) whether Jew, Gentile, slave, free, black, white, rich, or poor (Gal. 3:18; Eph. 2:11; Phil 16) and 

WHEREAS, the legal theory known as Critical Race Theory and an accompanying sociological observation termed Intersectionality were considered by messengers to the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to be “analytical tools,” the former explaining “how race has and continues to function in society,” while the latter “is the study of how different personal characteristics overlap and inform one’s experience,” neither of which contradicts Scripture; and

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches us that laws and legal systems can be unjust and oppressive, used to harm different people in a society (Dan. 3:4, 20; 6:6-9; Amos 5:11; Matt. 27:26; Luke 23:24; James 2:6); and

WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory explores the unjust subordination of groups of people by race currently existing in American society, being embedded in Supreme Court decisions, lower court opinions, and instantiated in statutes; and

WHEREAS, the conditions created by such subordination has impacted child welfare, caused inequities that lead to abuse and neglect, creating greater risk for the unborn and aged and the reduced availability healthcare in these groups; and

WHEREAS, those harmed by laws and judicial opinions have been absorbed into the wider culture in which they have neither power nor voice (Prov. 31:8-9) to change the structures and systems that harm them; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention Messengers in 1989 recognized our own historical missteps and ongoing temptations in the area of race saying we should, “repent of any past bigotry and pray for those who are still caught in its clutches”; and

WHEREAS, Messengers to the 1961 Southern Baptist Convention acknowledged “an especially keen sense of Christian responsibility in this hour” of racial tension; and

WHEREAS, Messengers to the 1944 Southern Baptist Convention sought to avoid “the danger which crouches at our doors, that we shall be guilty of unchristian attitudes and actions” related to race; and

WHEREAS, Messengers to the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention stated, “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, Messengers to the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention confessed “our continuing need to root out vestiges of racism from our own hearts as Southern Baptists”; and

WHEREAS, Messengers to the 1995 Southern Baptist Convention apologized, “and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously (Psalm 19:13) or unconsciously (Leviticus 4:27)”; and

WHEREAS, Messengers to the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention understood their need for the tools that assist them in becoming aware of all the places racism can exist in a society, so that we can “bring industry, government, and society under the sway of righteousness” (BFM, Article 15); therefore, be it 

RESOLVED,That the messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Nashville, Tenn., June 15-16, 2021, thank God for his common grace at work in society to reveal evil; and be it further

RESOLVED, that these moments call for humility that God’s Holy Spirit is at work exposing these deeds done in the darkness so that gospel-centered, grace-saturated Southern Baptists would support the legal challenges necessary to change laws, thereby bringing a more just and biblical society; and be it further

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

RESOLVED, that at the same time Southern Baptists would bear their crosses to the suffering outside the camp in fulfillment 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.