No one disdains the many divisions of the Church of our LORD Jesus Christ through denominationalism any more than I do. I fear some of our doctrinal differences cause confusion which may hinder many from finding salvation in Jesus Christ alone. Lately it seems, we are not together on a few other major biblical issues, which add to the confused state of our society; marriage and racism, just to name a few. My personal agenda in sharing this article is primarily extending a call for all who are part of God’s Kingdom, to return to biblical standards of Christian living in our fallen world, and unite together in that common front, not to promote the Southern Baptist Convention, even though I serve in the SBC.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has been in session in Columbus, Ohio this week. I am proud today that God placed me in the SBC for such a time as this. Dr. Ronnie Floyd, the SBC President, is a godly man, preacher, pastor, author, and President, but mostly, he is a prayer warrior whom I greatly respect.
The message from Dr. Floyd, SBC President, about the pending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage: We will not obey!
“Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
“The Supreme Court of the United States is not the final authority nor is the culture itself,” Dr. Floyd affirmed; “The Bible is God’s final authority about marriage and on this book we stand.”
Thousands of Southern Baptist messengers responded to Dr. Floyd’s powerfully challenging remarks with standing ovations and deafening applause.
“While some evangelicals may be bowing down to the deception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage, we will not bow down nor will we be silent,” President Floyd affirmed in his burning sermon Tuesday to the Convention. “We do not need to redefine what God Himself has defined already.”
Few distinguished preachers have stood where Dr. Floyd stood firmly this day a – verbal confrontation targeting the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
“America – we stand believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime,” he roared. “We have believed this and do believe this and will continue to believe this as a convention of churches. We stand for biblical and traditional marriage.”
Quoting German theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer, Dr. Floyd reminded his audience: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
“This is a Bonhoeffer moment for every pastor in the United States,” Floyd said, inferring that the time has come for every Christian and Christian leader to stand strong and unmoved – though the cost be high.
“That’s what Bonhoeffer did,” he shouted.
Dr. Floyd shared his personal commitment with the Convention as follows:
“I declare to everyone today as a minister of the Gospel – I will not officiate over any same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies, I completely refuse.”
The imminent decision of the Supreme Court on same-sex marriages prompted the messengers of the SBC to consider a resolution urging all Christians to stand unyielding on the biblical definition of marriage. It reads in part:
“Resolved, that Southern Baptists recognize that no governing institution has the authority to negate or usurp God’s definition of marriage; and be it further resolved no matter how the Supreme Court rules, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirms its unwavering commitment to its doctrinal and public beliefs concerning marriage . . . “
Faithful Christians believe legalizing same-sex marriage will cause religious liberty to begin to crumble away.
While we will certainly face opposition and even hateful words and actions, I urge you to stand with and in the words this man of God, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, as he challenges believers to follow the example of Jesus and “love and respect those who do not agree with us.”
Moreover he said, “And while we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage.”
Every Christian must come to grips with this looming question – will we follow our government or our God? President Floyd has answered, “Our first commitment is to God and His Word – nothing else and no one else.” How will you and I answer? I stand in the same commitment, not because of Dr. Floyd, because it is right!
With almost no opposition, messengers to the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention adopted a number resolutions — some on culturally divisive issues.
The messengers avowed biblically based positions on such topics as same-sex marriage, racial reconciliation, the sanctity of human life, as well as religious persecution and pornography. Approved resolutions also called for spiritual awakening and celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Cooperative Program (SBC program for mission support).
The approved resolutions include:
— urged the Supreme Court in its decision this summer to affirm the right of citizens to limit marriage to a male-female union, reasserted the SBC’s belief in the biblical view of marriage no matter how the justices rule and called for religious freedom for individuals and organizations who conscientiously object to same-sex marriage.
— called for SBC churches and entities to work toward racial and ethnic diversity in their leaders and encouraged Southern Baptists to be “faithful ambassadors of reconciliation.”
— affirmed the sanctity of human life “at all stages of development” and exhorted Southern Baptists to seek “the repeal of unjust laws and inhumane practices that degrade human life.”
— denounced all religious persecution and called for Southern Baptists to pray for persecuted Christians during personal times and corporate worship.
— appealed to the North Korean government to respect human rights and urged the U.S. government to pressure North Korea to recognize the religious freedom of its citizens.
— expressed grief over the destructive impact of pornography and affirmed the power of the Gospel of Jesus to deliver those who have committed sexual immorality.
— pledged a commitment by Southern Baptists to seek God and to pray that He would bring revival.
President Dr. Ronnie Floyd and 16 former Southern Baptist Convention presidents released a statement on biblical marriage and the national implications of same-sex marriage in a June 17 news conference prior to the concluding sessions of the SBC annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
The full statement follows:
As Southern Baptist Christians, we are committed to Biblical faith and ethics. As a result, this body of Believers stands on the authority of Scripture and God’s Truth as central to our lives.
What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex “marriages”, our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.
While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.
Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships. As the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination with over 16 million members, we stake our very lives and future on the Truth of God’s Word.
We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers and influence, and resources.
Former SBC presidents signing the statement are: Bailey E. Smith, SBC president, 1981-82; James T. Draper Jr., 1983-84; Charles F. Stanley, 1985-86; Jerry Vines, 1989-90; Morris H. Chapman, 1991-92; H. Edwin Young, 1993-94; James B. Henry, 1995-96; Tom Elliff, 1997-98; Paige Patterson, 1999-2000; James Merritt, 2001-02; Jack Graham, 2003-04; Bobby Welch, 2005-06; Frank S. Page, 2007-08; Johnny M. Hunt, 2009-10; Bryant Wright, 2011-12; and Fred Luter, 2013-14.
On Tuesday evening, I saw, and participated in, a three hour prayer meeting, via the internet, of over 5000 Southern Baptists on the convention floor. In groups of 6 to 8, all over the convention floor, under direction of Dr. Ronnie Floyd, much praise was given, even more repentance, more pleading with the God of heaven, to forgive our sins, heal our land, and ignite a spiritual awakening to the saving of men, women, girls, and boys across this land, across this world by the millions. Also, prayer issued for the persecuted church around the world. My heart renewed, restored, and reignited in the hope and action of a forgiving, life-giving, saving God! — If I had a platform to stand on that would reach the multitudes of believers, I would encourage, no, beg, each believer to fall on his face before our holy God, repenting of sin, seeking revival, and pleading for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on you, your churches, and your nation and world. The God I serve can do all we need or ask when we humble ourselves before Him. Pray On!