|NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention approved resolutions Wednesday reaffirming their convictions regarding the means of salvation and the inerrancy of Scripture while indicating their intention to continue cooperating in the Great Commission despite some theological differences.
Among the nine resolutions passed in two sessions were ones:
-- Identifying what is frequently described as a "sinner's prayer" as a biblical way of expressing repentance and faith while providing some careful descriptions of what that means;
-- Reaffirming the belief the Bible is without error and attesting to the direct creation of and historicity of Adam and Eve;
-- Agreeing to continue to work together to spread the Gospel with an understanding that the Baptist Faith and Message, the convention's confession of faith, sets "sufficient parameters for understanding the doctrine of salvation" among Southern Baptists.
The resolution on cooperation addressed some pre-convention "verbal sparring" between non-Calvinists and Calvinists, Resolutions Committee Chairman Jimmy Scroggins acknowledged afterward.
Messengers also approved resolutions:
-- Opposing efforts to use the rhetoric of the African American civil rights movement in the attempt to legalize same-sex marriage;
-- Protesting the Obama administration's attempts to subvert religious freedom in such arenas as health care, marriage and the military;
-- Acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the role of African Americans in Baptist work in the United States;
-- Affirming community and human needs ministries by churches;
-- Celebrating the 200th anniversary this year of Baptist ministry in Louisiana;
-- Expressing appreciation to God and all those who helped with this year's annual meeting.
Messengers approved the resolution on a "sinner's prayer" with what appeared to be at least an 80 percent majority. The other measures gained passage in unanimous or nearly unanimous votes.
The committee sought to emphasize cooperation, said Scroggins, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla. That seemed obvious in the resolutions on a "sinner's prayer" and cooperation between Calvinists and non-Calvinists.
The explicit intention "from the time our committee started meeting was to try to present resolutions in a way that we could be winsome, that we could say strong things in a winsome way and do it in a way that promoted unity among Southern Baptists," Scroggins said at a news conference after the completion of the resolutions reports.
The way the committee put it was it "wanted to 'demilitarize' the resolutions process," he told reporters.
"We just felt like we wanted to affirm our commitment to the Baptist Faith and Message as our unifying confession of faith," he told reporters. "Southern Baptists are going to have to agree on the essentials. We're going to have to disagree on certain things, but what we really want to do is lock arms and fight the darkness. We want to lock arms and cooperate to win the nations to Christ, to win our communities, to make a difference for Jesus, to push back the darkness with the light of Jesus. And that's really what we think most Southern Baptists would like to focus on."
The resolution on cooperation and the doctrine of salvation gained approval without any verbal opposition expressed from the floor, but debate on the measure on a "sinner's prayer" consumed much of the 30 minutes allotted for the morning report, necessitating an afternoon report. Continued...