2023 SCBC Resolutions

APPRECIATION

WHEREAS the messengers of the 2023 annual meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention have once again enjoyed the generosity of the staff and members of Shandon Baptist Church; and

WHEREAS Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”; and

WHEREAS South Carolina Baptists assemble to worship, fellowship, and conduct business as a unified convention of messengers; and

WHEREAS the 2023 Annual Meeting theme is Let’s Go! and every South Carolina Baptist is encouraged to advance Christ’s Kingdom by building relationships beyond the church walls and the confines of our communities; therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting held at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia on November 13–14, 2023, express appreciation to all who worked diligently to create a worshipful and relevant experience for all God’s people; and be it finally

RESOLVED that we express our profound gratitude to the Lord for his continued guidance and blessings throughout our lives and our service.

 

ENCOURAGING LAWS TO PREVENT MINORS FROM ACCESSING PORNOGRAPHY

WHEREAS God desires believers to be dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus by living under grace, pursuing holiness, and becoming instruments for righteousness in the Kingdom of God (Romans 6:11–14); and

WHEREAS we are called by God to train our minds and hearts to focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8); and

WHEREAS sexual perversion is perpetuated due to the confusion surrounding the academic and cultural definition of the elements of pornography (McKee, A., Byron, P., Litsou, K. et al. An Interdisciplinary Definition of Pornography: Results from a Global Delphi Arch Sex Behav 49, 1085–1091 (2020). https://org/10.1007/s10508-019-01554-4); and

WHEREAS numerous peer-reviewed scholarly studies (such as Myung, (2022, June 3),  To Call Pornography a Public Health Issue Is Not Enough When it is a Public Health Crisis: A Multi-Survivor Analysis. The Public Health Advocate. https://pha.berkeley.edu/2022/06/03/to-call-pornography-a-public-health-issue-is-not-enough-when-it-is-a-public-health-crisis-a-multi-survivor-analysis) demonstrate that the consumption of, use, and exposure to pornography has created a public health crisis (Psalm 119:37; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Peter 2:11), corrupting the perception of God’s design for sex and sexuality within marriage (1 Thessalonians 4:3–4); leading many to low self-esteem, body image disorders; increasing problematic sexual activity for adolescents and adults (2 Timothy 2:22); serving as sex education for children and youth (Luke 17:2); normalizing people as objects and commodities; contributing to violence and abuse; depicting rape as harmless; increasing prostitution, child sexual abuse, and child pornography; and contributing to the increase of human trafficking (Human Trafficking Hotline, 2022, 1-888-373-7888); and

WHEREAS recent research indicates that pornography is addictive, causing the user to require more perverse content; and

WHEREAS pornography has a detrimental effect on the family unit by lessening the desire in young people to marry, increasing dissatisfaction in marriage, normalizing infidelity, and exposing young children to aberrant sexual behavior through the universal availability of pornography; and

WHEREAS overcoming pornography’s harms is difficult to achieve alone, and afflicted individuals often need continued support and accountability; therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting held at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia on November 13–14, 2023, recognize that pornography is a public health hazard that leads to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms; and be it further

RESOLVED that efforts to protect minors from the distribution of harmful material on the internet, such as Arkansas Senate Bill 66 (Act 612) or similar protective legislation that requires reasonable age verification to identify and prohibit those under 18 from entering pornographic websites, be supported and encouraged; and be it further

RESOLVED we encourage churches and families to be proactive in seeking ways to protect and educate their children about God’s design for sex within biblical marriage, living holy and righteous lives, and filling their minds with what God says is good; and be it finally

RESOLVED that the South Carolina Baptist Convention calls for education, prevention, research, strict enforcement of obscenity laws, and policy considerations where needed in the church, our communities, and societal and legislative levels to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation.

 

PRAYERFUL SUPPORT OF ISRAEL

WHEREAS God committed his Word to Abram, saying, “I will make you into a great nation … I will bless those who bless you … I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2–3); and

WHEREAS the state of Israel represents the descendants of Jacob as an ethnic, cultural, and national entity (Genesis 32:28); and

WHEREAS we are commanded to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you be secure; may there be peace within your walls, security within your fortresses” (Psalm 122:6–7); and

WHEREAS we thankfully remember that we are indebted to the Jewish people, through whom we have our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and the holy Scriptures; and

WHEREAS since the inception of the modern state of Israel in 1948, Israel has faced numerous attacks, incursions, and violations of its national sovereignty; and

WHEREAS we are horrified by the recent murders and violence perpetuated by the Hamas terror organization upon the people of Israel and victims of other nationalities; therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting held at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia on November 13–14, 2023, commit to bless Israel; and be it further

RESOLVED that we support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state and we reject any activities attacking that right by promoting economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel; and be it further

RESOLVED that we support the right of Israel to protect itself from hatred and violence, and the right to bring those to justice who have killed or threatened to kill her people; and be it further

RESOLVED that amid this conflict, we prayerfully ask for the preservation of innocent lives among both Israelis and Palestinians, with a hope of more peaceful days ahead; and be it finally

RESOLVED that at this important time when dangerous forces are mounting up against the nation of Israel, we recommit ourselves to pray for God’s peace to rule in Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel, for the “gospel … is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

 

HUMAN DIGNITY*

WHEREAS all human beings are created, from conception, in the image of God and for the purpose of bringing glory to the triune God through fulfilling the creation mandate as his vice-regents (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:2; Genesis 9:6–7; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 11:7; Colossians 1:16; James 5:9); and

WHEREAS the fall of Adam and Eve into sin marred the image of God in people, brought death for them, and destroyed their perfect communion with God; the fall did not destroy the image of God completely, did not bring immediate physical death, and did not destroy the possibility of having relationship with God (Genesis 3:1–19; Romans 5:12–21); and

WHEREAS all human beings as God’s image-bearers possess equal, substantive, objective dignity and worth before God that does not vary based on ethnicity, age, gender, means of conception, mental capacity, or physical development (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 18:6; Luke 5:12–26; Romans 1:19–20, 9:6); and

WHEREAS the noetic effects of the fall have hindered the ability of every human to think rationally in varying ways, and the physical effects of the fall wreak havoc on our bodies and play a role in making the work humans are mandated to perform difficult (Genesis 3:17–19; Proverbs 6:6–11); and

WHEREAS God’s Word declares that all human life is a sacred gift and mandates that all human life should be protected from conception until natural death, therefore, making abortion and euthanasia attacks on human dignity (Psalm 127:3–5, 139:13–16; Romans 2:15–16); and

WHEREAS the dignity of people who bear the image of God is also attacked through violence, oppression, and language that degrades the worth of individuals or groups, as well as any other act that undermines the value that an image-bearer possesses; and

WHEREAS our confessional statement, the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000,” as stated in Article XV affirms that children “from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” and further affirms that Southern Baptists are mandated by Scripture to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death” and

WHEREAS we commend the 2023 South Carolina Legislature for passing a six-week abortion ban and we desire to see a day when society at large honors the undeniable personhood of every unborn child, by preserving the life of every person who, in God’s providence, is conceived; and

WHEREAS the Scriptures present a vision of human flourishing grounded in the saving work of Jesus Christ, pursued through Kingdom-focused living, and completed with the redemption of the entire created order (Colossians 1:15–20); and

WHEREAS all Christians have been called by God to participate in his mission through obeying the original creation mandate and fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission (Genesis 1:26–28; Matthew 22:35–40, 28:18–20); therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting held at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia on November 13–14, 2023, exhort our fellow South Carolina Baptists to pursue the Great Commission of making disciples so that those image-bearers who are in Adam and are being crushed by the oppressive power of sin and death can be raised to new life in Christ Jesus and be reconciled to a right relationship with the triune God; and be it further

RESOLVED that we will pursue the Great Commandment of loving God and loving our neighbors by honoring the undeniable personhood of every life, including unborn children, by seeking to preserve the life of every person who, in God’s providence, is conceived, and by promoting the God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which is expressed in the Declaration of Independence but comes from Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED that we will in word and deed demonstrate that those who are designated to be neurodivergent, have Down’s Syndrome, or have any other condition that affects their mental capacity possess the image of God fully and all those from among these groups who have professed faith in Jesus Christ should be viewed as full participants in South Carolina Baptist Churches; and be it further

RESOLVED that we will encourage and exhort one another to carry out the creation mandate, recognizing the inherent value of work; and be it further

RESOLVED that we will call on the South Carolina Legislature to continue to protect unborn life and the system of free markets while providing social services promoting the dignity and flourishing of those in need and promoting economic policies that promote human flourishing; and be it finally

RESOLVED that we exhort our fellow South Carolina Baptists to continue to strive together until every life is saturated and transformed by the hope of the Gospel.

*The Resolutions Committee would like to thank North Greenville University for generously allowing the use of language from A Statement on Human Flourishing.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT REFORM

WHEREAS the Bible declares that God is the God of justice (Job 37:23; Psalm 33:5, 89:14; Isaiah 30:18; Zephaniah 3:5); and

WHEREAS the Bible commands God’s people to uphold biblical justice and to treat everyone equally by law and as an act of conscience (Exodus 23:6–9; Deuteronomy 6:18–20; Proverbs 20:10; Micah 6:8; James 2:1–9); and

WHEREAS biblical justice requires that every person be treated according to the same standards and with the same respect, regardless of class, race, ethnicity, age, nationality, gender, or developmental challenges; and

WHEREAS the current method of selecting judges opens the possibility that they may be appointed based on the political circumstances present in the Legislature, rather than the philosophy and qualifications of the judge; and

WHEREAS the people of South Carolina have expressed frustration with the process by which judges are appointed and are, therefore, calling for the South Carolina Legislature to reform the current process; and

WHEREAS the South Carolina Attorney General, the Governor, numerous grassroots organizations, and many members of the Legislature have issued public statements calling for reform of the current system of selecting judges in the state of South Carolina; and

WHEREAS the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000” (Section XV, The Christian and the Social Order) states: “Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love”; therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting held at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, on November 13–14, 2023, encourage the members of the South Carolina Legislature to work toward reforming the current system of selecting judges so that it reflects a biblical understanding of justice; and be it further

RESOLVED that reform will improve and streamline the process of selecting judges while providing maximum transparency and greater opportunities for input by the people through their elected officials; and be it finally

RESOLVED that South Carolina Baptists support only efforts of reform that conform to the principles of biblical justice and support the goal of more accountability, accessibility, and transparency in the selection of judges.

 

ENCOURAGING CHRISTIAN CIVIL DISCOURSE

WHEREAS Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” reminding us that we are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:1–16), and, therefore, we have a responsibility to speak biblical truth to the culture; and

WHEREAS Jesus called us to, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either” (Luke 6:27–29); and

WHEREAS Paul exhorts us to “let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29–30); and

WHEREAS Paul reminds us that “… our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12); and

WHEREAS Scripture instructs believers to speak graciously seasoned with salt, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people, demonstrating to believers how we are to speak to everyone made in the image of God (Colossians 4:5–6, Titus 3:1–2); and

WHEREAS cultural and political debates over contentious issues such as sexuality, gender, abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, the treatment of immigrants both legal and illegal, the role of government in our daily lives, and many other issues that are discussed in various public forums have escalated from meaningful debates to angry exchanges, leading to many areas of division in our country and a growing sense of anger and resentment as we treat one another like enemies deserving of our disdain instead of as unique image bearers of God; and

WHEREAS we are currently engaged in a contentious election cycle where the rancor of political discourse is escalating exponentially and could lead to physical violence as we approach the next nationwide election; and

WHEREAS many media outlets promote heated rhetoric to drive up the temperature of our cultural engagement and threaten our ability to dialogue free from derisive language and personal accusations; and

WHEREAS angry rhetoric and personal accusations left unchecked can lead to acts of violence breaking the bonds of peace and civility that bind us together as a culture, a people, and a nation; and

WHEREAS many of our political, cultural, entertainment, religious leaders, and social media influencers seem reluctant to call for restraint and respect in our personal engagement with people with whom we disagree; and

WHEREAS Christians have a clear biblical call to be ambassadors of peace in a tumultuous and fractured world where so many people are caught up in heated cultural and political discourse undermining our ability to live in peace with each other; therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we, the messengers of the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting held at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, on November 13–14, 2023, exhort all South Carolina Baptists to be peacemakers in every area of life, including civil discourse; and be it finally

RESOLVED that we call on our political, cultural, entertainment, religious leaders, and social media influencers, to exercise restraint in discourse, remembering to treat each other with respect and courtesy, and thereby turning down the temperature of our current cultural climate.

 

HONORING THE LEGACY OF SOUTH CAROLINA BAPTIST WOMEN
AND CULTIVATING AN ENVIRONMENT FOR THEIR CONTINUED ENGAGEMENT

WHEREAS the Bible declares that God created both man and woman by his own hand and in his own image and likeness, crowning them with dignity, value, and worth (Genesis 1:26–27, 2:7, 21–22; 1 Peter 3:7); and

WHEREAS the Bible calls upon all believers to advance the Great Commission and demonstrates that women are co-laborers in the mission of God as evidenced by their pivotal service throughout history and in the early church (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8; 2:17–18, 8, and 17; Romans 16:3; Philippians 4:3); and

WHEREAS the Lord has specifically used South Carolina Baptist women such as the founder of the Widow’s Mite Society, Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend; the first National Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) President Martha McIntosh; the first State WMU President Janie Chapman; the first International Mission Board appointed missionary to Taiwan, Bertha Smith; the 37 noble, consecrated “State Lady Missionaries” appointed from 1886 until 1919 to help plant new churches, support, and strengthen existing churches as our state transitioned from an agricultural economy to an industrial-based economy; and

WHEREAS South Carolina Baptist women continue to serve our Lord today faithfully, sacrificially, and courageously in our churches, on the mission field, through state and national convention work, holding elected offices, serving on committees and boards, missions education, and in positions in higher education; and

WHEREAS the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000” states that “It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations [and] to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness” (Article XI); and

WHEREAS the Southern Baptist Convention affirmed the gifts, ministries, and value of women in the Kingdom of God in our 2018 resolution “On The Dignity And Worth Of Women” and affirmed the legacy of Southern Baptist women with a resolution thanking God for calling women to fulfill the Great Commission and urging churches to continue equipping them to make disciples in 2023; and

WHEREAS our mission as South Carolina Baptists, to strengthen each church and saturate every life with the Gospel, requires the gifts, talents, and passion of South Carolina Baptist women engaging the church and culture in service to Christ through his church in both vocational and voluntary ministry positions; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia on November 13–14, 2023, acknowledge and honor the vital and immeasurable contributions of South Carolina Baptist women to our cooperative mission; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we affirm the gifts of women in their distinctive God-ordained, complementary ministry roles as they fulfill their callings to serve Christ and advance his Gospel in diverse capacities such as local churches, the mission field, communities, their own homes, the marketplace, and within our Convention of churches (Ephesians 2:10, 5:22–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:9–14; Titus 2:3–5; 1 Peter 3:1–7); and be it finally

RESOLVED, that we commit ourselves to encouraging, cultivating, and celebrating the callings, gifts, and contributions of South Carolina Baptist women while fostering an environment within our state churches where women are respected, honored, valued, and mobilized as co-laborers and equal partners in Great Commission work.