The Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, with resolutions and speeches focused on the direction of the United States' largest Protestant denomination.
A total of 9,467 messengers were present to vote on a host of resolutions, passing motions on a host of diverse issues facing the SBC and the country at large.
Here are five interesting resolutions that were approved by the annual meeting. They include commemorating the late Reverend Billy Graham, denouncing state-level bans on gay conversion therapy for minors, and spreading awareness of opioid abuse.
Resolution 2 – On Abuse
Resolution 2 called upon the Southern Baptist Convention to "condemn all forms of abuse and repudiate with a unified voice all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful and under the just condemnation of our Holy God."
"... we strongly urge abuse victims to contact civil authorities, separate from their abusers, and seek protection, care, and support from fellow Christians and civil authorities," continued Resolution 2.
"... we implore all persons to act decisively on matters of abuse, to intervene on behalf of the abused, to ensure their safety, to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities according to the laws of their state, and to pursue church discipline against impenitent abusers."
During the amending process, the phrase "and ask forgiveness" was added to the whereas that reads: "We deplore, apologize, and ask forgiveness for failures to protect the abused, failures that have occurred in evangelical churches and ministries, including such failures within our own denomination."
The resolution came at a time when the SBC was under public scrutiny for various allegations towards seminary figures including former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson of failing to report incidents of sexual abuse and assault.
During the annual meeting, SWBTS Interim President Jeffrey Bingham told those gathered that he would make it a priority "to create a safe environment and a campus culture that protects and cares for the victims of abuse."
"At Southwestern, we denounce all forms of abuse, all behavior that enables abuse, all behavior that fails to protect the abused, and all behavior that fails to protect those who are vulnerable to abuse. We pray for the abused and we agonize for them," said Bingham.
Resolution 5 – On Immigration
Messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on the topic of immigration, which among other things declared their support for immigrants regardless of race, religion, national background, or legal status.
"... we desire to see immigration reform include an emphasis on securing our borders and providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures, maintaining the priority of family unity, resulting in an efficient immigration system that honors the value and dignity of those seeking a better life for themselves and their families," stated Resolution 5.
"... we encourage all elected officials, especially those who are members of Southern Baptist churches, to do everything in their power to advocate for a just and equitable immigration system, those in the professional community to seek ways to administer just and compassionate care for the immigrants in their community."
Resolution 8 – On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings
As the United States struggles with news of school shootings and massacres at social events and churches, the messengers passed a resolution on the hot button issue.
Resolution 8 called on authorities to enact "preventative measures that would reduce gun violence and mass shootings while operating in accordance with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution" while recognizing that "depravity, sinfulness, and wickedness of the human heart that gives birth to gun violence and mass shootings."
"... we affirm that the greatest antidote to the pandemic of gun violence and mass shootings is the gospel of Jesus Christ," read the resolution.
Passage of the resolution comes a month after First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, an SBC-affiliated congregation which was the site of a mass shooting in Nov. 2017 that left 26 dead, broke ground on their new sanctuary.
Resolution 9 – On Opioid Abuse and Addiction
Messengers at the SBC annual meeting passed a resolution regarding the growing opioid drug crisis afflicting the United States, which last year alone resulted in the deaths of about 64,000 Americans.
"[We] urge pastors, churches, and all Christians to be aware of the dangers of opioids, advocate for solutions to abuse, and serve those affected by addiction," read Resolution 9.
"... we encourage the medical community, insurance providers, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to advocate for the prescription of opioids only under the most stringent standards, ensuring that patients are educated on the benefits of appropriate, proper usage as well as the dangers of abuse, as we recognize that the medications are efficacious in managing pain when utilized appropriately."
Resolution 14 – On Commemorating the Life and Ministry of Billy Graham
On Feb. 21, the famed evangelist the Reverend Billy Graham died at the age of 99. The SBC messengers passed a resolution in his honor.
"The life and ministry of Billy Graham is a testament of God's promise to His church to raise up evangelists for the sake of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to every tribe, people, and language," stated Resolution 14 in part.
"... we desire to celebrate Billy Graham's legacy by committing ourselves to sharing the gospel, living lives of personal holiness, and finding joy through an eternal peace with God accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."