South Carolina Baptist Convention messengers approved resolutions Nov. 14 ranging from opposition to the legalization of marijuana to support for religious liberty. Click here to read full-text versions of the resolutions.
Messengers expressed appreciation to pastor Augustus “Robbie” Robinson, pastor of Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, for hosting the annual meeting, and to pastor Eric Manning, who “graciously invited” South Carolina Baptists to worship at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as ‘Mother Emanuel’.”
While noting that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes could encourage and legitimize recreational use, messengers went on record in opposition to the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. However, the resolution also stated that non-hallucinogenic CBD component treatments that are FDA-approved, prescribed by licensed medical doctors, and dispensed by licensed pharmacies would be acceptable to help certain severely ill patients.
Declaring that racial division and bias are “sin and evil, disregarding the image of God in all people and denying that all believers are one in Christ Jesus,” messengers resolved to “advocate racial unity to create a more biblically just and peaceful society” while renouncing all forms of racism “and any attempt to distort the Bible to justify the evil of racism.” Messengers also resolved to “intentionally seek racial diversity” in all positions of leadership in churches, committees, associations and the state convention.
Purity in Ministry Leadership
Referencing news stories in recent months that “have reminded us of the heartbreaking moral failures of people in ministry,” messengers called upon pastors, ministry leaders, entity leaders, and denominational representatives to “pursue moral and sexual purity in all relationships and to guard their hearts, minds and doctrine scrupulously, even as all believers should seek the same standards for themselves.” The resolution also exhorts churches to exercise “appropriate redemptive church discipline for addressing the disqualifying sin of ministry leaders.”
Noting that South Carolina Baptists have a “long history” of opposing gambling in all forms, and that sports betting is “unmistakably another subtle and vicious form of gambling,” messengers urged their fellow South Carolina Baptists and all other followers of Christ not to participate in sports betting of any kind “so as to be above reproach, be faithful stewards, and live in the best interest of their families and communities.” The resolution also calls upon members of the South Carolina General Assembly to reject state-sanctioned sports betting and any other expansion of gambling.
Referencing “certain local governments in South Carolina” that have “violated the inalienable right to religious liberty granted by God and the United States by restricting churches’ access to public spaces otherwise available for use by civic, political, business, social groups, and others,” messengers declared their “full and unqualified support for the free exercise of religious liberty.” Messengers renewed their call on local, state, and federal elected officials to “ensure complete religious liberty for all, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”