Southern Baptist Convention Moves One Step Closer to Abolitionism (And Answering Objections)

James SilbermanNews

History was made on Tuesday as messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) voted overwhelmingly in favor of ordering the SBC Resolutions Committee to present the Resolution on Abolishing Abortion before the full convention.

Southern Baptists can file resolutions, but it is ordinarily the prerogative of the Committee to decide which resolutions are voted on by messengers. However, messengers can motion to override the Committee’s decision. A two-thirds vote is needed for this sort of motion to pass.

Initially, the Committee declined to present the Resolution on Abolishing Abortion to the messengers, arguing that Southern Baptists should focus more on calling for Medicaid dollars not to go to abortion providers than on calling for justice to be immediately established: “While the Committee believes that the Southern Baptist Convention messengers would agree with some aspects of this resolution, the Committee believes Resolution #3 addresses these issues in the context of the current threats to the Hyde Amendment and related pro-life appropriations riders in the United States Congress.”

Near the end of Tuesday’s meeting, abolitionist Bill Ascol – pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Owasso, OK – motioned to override their decision. An astonishing eighty to ninety percent of messengers responded in support of the motion, over the objections of the Resolutions Committee.

This is historic for two reasons. First, according to Ascol, this is the first time that the Resolutions Committee has been overridden in this way since he began attending SBC Annual Meetings in 1979. This demonstrates the immense popular support within the SBC for abolition.

But second – and more importantly – this is the first time that the largest Christian denomination in the United States has ever taken a step toward being a prophetic witness in calling for the immediate abolition of the murder of preborn children. In a pamphlet promoting the resolution produced by Southern Baptists for Abolishing Abortion, they explain that the convention needs to move beyond the moral opinion that abortion is wrong by providing a Godly call for justice to be immediately established.

Southern Baptists have not failed to be pro-life. We have pro-life statements. We have pro-life Sanctity of Life sermons. We have pro-life articles, videos, and conferences. But we have failed to be a unified, prophetic voice demanding of our magistrates the total and immediate abolition of abortion in Jesus’ name.

A handful of Southern Baptist leaders have already taken to social media to criticize various aspects of the resolution. Below are their objections, followed by answers to their objections.

Objection #1: Women are victims of abortion and should be immune in all cases
Objection #2: What about the life of the mother exception?
Objection #3: We should take what we can get

Abolitionist attorney Bradley Pierce explains in this presentation how all seven facets of the pro-life incrementalist strategy have been utter failures.

For those interested in learning more about abolitionism, below are two presentations from coauthors of the resolution which teach about the foundational beliefs of abolitionists.

The Five Tenets of Abolitionism

The five tenets are the foundations of our public theology and can be referred to by the acronym GATES. Abolitionism is:

  1. Gospel-centered
  2. Aligned providentially
  3. Through the Church
  4. Engaged Biblically
  5. Sought immediately without exception or compromise
Abolitionism is Mandated By God’s Word

Three things to do!
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