SPRINGFIELD – Messengers at the 2018 Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting called for purity and repentance by leaders, celebrated normative-sized churches, denounced pornagraphy as a public health crisis and more by adopting eight resolutions Oct. 23. (An additional resolution expressed thanks to Crossway Baptist Church and local hotels for their assistance with the annual meeting.)
The MBC Committee on Resolutions – made up of three men and two women – submitted the slate of resolutions which were affirmed without dissent or amendment by the voters at the annual meeting.
On the Holiness and Integrity of Christian Leaders
This resolution reminded leaders in ministry that they are to be held to a high standard of personal holiness.
Messengers “repudiate in the strongest terms any behavior that would compromise the New Testament standard of a Christian leader’s absolute holiness and requirement to be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2, 9-10).”
On the Normative Sized Church
This resolution affirmed that so-called “small” churches are not inferior to larger ones, and are indeed the norm (the median weekly attendance in Missouri Baptist churches is 50 and only 11 percent of congregations see more than 200 gathered in worship each week).
It resolved that the MBC encourage these churches and their pastors to not grow weary in doing good and “acknowledges and gives thanks to our Lord for the tremendous contribution” that the normative sized churches and those who lead them have upon our convention, its missions endeavors and the kingdom of God.
On Pornography Being a Public Health Crisis
This resolution called pornography a public health crisis that perpetuates a sexually toxic environment and contributes to the culture’s hypersexualization. Moreover, the resolution argued “pornography treats people as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use.”
It calls for “education, prevention, research, strict enforcement of obscenity laws, and policy considerations where needed at the church, community and societal level.”
On the Prohibition of Legalizing Sports Gambling
In the wake of the United States Supreme Court ruling that all allows for states to legalize sports gambling, the resolution calls for Missouri to remain steadfast in its opposition.
“We urge our leaders at all levels of government to end all forms of gambling in Missouri,” the resolution reads, and urged, “our fellow Missouri Baptists and all other followers of Christ to refuse to participate in any form of gambling.
On Marijuana Ballot Measures
Two constitutional amendments and one proposition that would legalize medical marijuana appeared on the on the Nov. 6 ballot in Missouri. One amendment passed, paving the way for legal medicinal use of the drug. The resolution called marijuana a “gateway drug” and argued that the pursuit of medicinal benefits of marijuana should move through the same process of investigation of use and benefits as any prescription medication does with the oversight of the FDA.
On Gun Violence
This resolution affirmed “that gun ownership, in accordance with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, carries with it a great responsibility of being aware of the sinfulness of one’s own heart” while calling the shedding of innocent blood “a repugnant and wicked evil that transgresses the moral law of God and does violence to the image of God in every person.”
The resolution called on the MBC to “express solidarity with all those victimized by gun violence and seek every available opportunity to minister to them in the name of Jesus Christ.” It also commended “the heroism of police officers, first responders, and bystanders who bravely intervene in violent situations to eliminate additional threats and provide emergency aid to victims.”
On the Missouri Supreme Court’s Dred Scott Decision and Racial Reconciliation
This resolution denounced the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision of March 22, 1852, denying personhood to Dred Scott. It called on the Missouri Legislature to formally denounce the decision and commends “our churches to continue to reach out to all persons regardless of ethnicity showing mercy to all for whom Christ died, and look forward to the day that we will gather as a diverse assembly in Heaven.
“We pray for and work toward the day when the sin of racism is eradicated from the Body of Christ so that our state and world see the love of Christ demonstrated in and through the churches of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” it reads.
On Sexuality and Christian Identity
This resolution rejected the notion of a “gay Christian identity” which fails to link homosexual orientation to the biblical concept of original sin and errs in not calling for repentance upon every impulse of same-sex attraction, as with all internal temptation to sinful ends.