Arkansas Baptists Pass Resolution on Abolishing Abortion at State Convention

James SilbermanNews

When the Southern Baptist Convention passed the Resolution on Abolishing Abortion at their annual meeting in June, a powerful string of events was set in motion as longtime abolitionists became emboldened to push even harder for abolitionism within the convention and hundreds of pastors and SBC messengers who were previously unaware of the Abolitionist Movement joined the cause.

Abolitionists in numerous states are bringing resolutions to their state conventions this winter, Arkansas being among them. Pastors Russell Threet (First Baptist Church of Mena) and Dave Hughey (Geyer Springs First Baptist Church) — both of whom cosigned the resolution that was passed at the national meeting — submitted the same language for consideration at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s annual meeting which was held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Arkansas Baptist Resolutions Committee partially accepted the resolution but amended it by striking a number of the articles and adding some of their own language. The following is what they presented to the messengers (committee additions in red):

Whereas, from the moment of fertilization, all humans are created in God’s image by, through and for Jesus to the glory of God, and all souls belonging to him (Genesis 1:27, 4:1, 21:2; Isaiah 7:14; Colossians 1:16; Romans 11:36; Ezekiel 18:4); and

Whereas, as God’s image-bearers all humans both display His divine worth, power, and attributes, and possess the same objective worth before God, not varying on the basis of incidental characters such ethnicity, age, size, means of conception, mental development, physical development, gender, potential, or contribution to society (Romans 1:19-20; Genesis 1:27, 9:6; Matthew 18:6); and

Whereas, to murder any preborn image-bearer is a sin, violating both the natural law of retributive justice as set forth in the Noahic covenant, as well as the sixth commandment forbidding murder, and as such, is ultimately an assault on God’s image, seeking to usurp God’s sovereignty as Creator (Genesis 9:5-6; Exodus 20:13; Proverbs 6:17); and

Whereas, God’s Word clearly declares that all human life is a sacred gift and that His Law is supreme over man’s life and man’s law (Psalm 127:3-5, 139:13-16: Romans 2:15-16; Acts 10:42, 17:31; 1 Corinthians 4:5): and

Whereas, God commands His own people to “rescue those who are being taken away to death” and holds them responsible and without excuse when they fail to do so (Proverbs 24:11-12); and

Whereas, in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered an iniquitous decision on Roe v. Wade, and in doing so deprive the innocent of their rights and usurped God, who sovereignly ordained their authority (Isaiah 5:23, 10:1-2; Psalm 2; Matthew 22:21; John 19:11; Acts 4:19, 5:29; Romans 13:1); and

Whereas, in the Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court of the United States subverted the U.S. Constitution namely, the Preamble, as well as the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments without any legal authority (Article 6, Clause 2 “Supremacy Clause”); and

Whereas, our confessional statement, The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, according to 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,” therefore, be it

Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 26-27, 2021, do state unequivocally that abortion without justification is murder and we reject any position that allows for any exceptions, other than one necessary to save the life of the mother in a genuine life-threatening health emergency, to the legal protection of our preborn neighbors compromises God’s holy standard of justice, or promotes any God-hating partiality (Psalm 82:1-4, 94:6; Isaiah 10:1-2; Proverbs 24:11); and, be it further

Resolved, that because abolishing abortion is a gospel issue, we will call upon governing authorities at all levels to continue to faithfully execute their responsibilities as God’s servants of justice, and working with all urgency to enact legislation using the full weight of their office to interpose on behalf of the preborn, abolishing abortion immediately, without compromise, as was done in the 2021 session of the Arkansas General Assembly where fourteen pro-life laws were enacted, one of which makes all abortions illegal in the state of Arkansas, with the only exception being when the mother’s life is in jeopardy due to a genuinely serious life-threatening health condition (Mark 6:18; Matthew 28-18-20; Romans 13:4-6); and be it finally

Resolved, that as Arkansas Baptists, we will engage, with God’s help, in establishing equal justice and protection for the preborn according to the authority of God’s Word as well as local and federal law and call upon pastors and entity leaders to use their God-given gifts of preaching, teaching, and leading with one unified, principled, prophetic voice to abolish abortion.

It is important to note that the Arkansas legislature did not make abortion illegal in the state. Any mother can murder her preborn child in Arkansas with the protection of the state government. What Arkansas did was pass a law which pathetically “pleads with the United States Supreme Court to do the right thing.” Hyping up non-existent achievements is the tactic being used by the pro-life establishment to try to rebuff abolitionist resolutions and legislation. In Missouri, legislators, pro-life organizations, and even an anti-abolition pregnancy center director on the floor of the Missouri Baptist Convention have lied by saying that only 39 abortions occurred in Missouri last year. This is false. 39 surgical abortions occurred in Missouri. Surgical abortions make up a small percentage of all children murdered by abortion. Many more chemical abortions took place in the state. Inventing pro-life victories is one way the pro-life establishment tries to stop the flow of converts to the Abolitionist Movement.

After the committee’s version of the resolution was presented, Threet motioned to strike all of the language added by the committee (except for “continue to” in the first resolved article, which was accidentally overlooked) and add the following article to replace their language regarding the life of the mother exception:

Resolved, that we recognize that ectopic pregnancies are not murder by abortion but tragedies during which medical triage is necessary, with doctors never ceasing to treat both the mother and baby as human beings, and upholding the Hippocratic Oath by exhausting all possible options to save as many human lives as they can, and be it futher

Threet argued that triage treatment of ectopic pregnancy should not be classified as abortion, and cited the thousands of doctors who have affirmed that it is never medically necessary to intentionally destroy an unborn child. “Brothers and sisters, let us affirm proven science and not the lies of those who profit off murder and want to keep in place any exception because they see their end coming and want to hold onto anything that will allow them to make more money in the continued slaughter of the innocent,” Threet said. “While we as Christians recognize the value of mothers’ lives, they do not. This life of the mother exception is a massive hole that the industry has utilized to keep murdering… I urge you to pass these amendments for God’s glory, for the comfort of our brothers and sisters in crisis, and the rescue of our preborn neighbors.”

Larry Page, Resolutions Committee chairman and executive director of the Arkansas Faith & Ethics Council, spoke in favor of the committee’s language and against Threet’s motion. Page’s first argument was that there are circumstances beyond ectopic pregnancies which threaten a pregnant mother’s life, and that we have to allow for abortion in those cases. He cited an Arkansas obstetrician who told him there are such circumstances, even if they are rare. This is contradicted by the thousands of OBGYNs and maternal health care professionals — including signers of the Dublin Declaration — that the purposeful destruction of a preborn child is never medically necessary to save a mother’s life.

Page then devolved into arguing that the resolution filed by Threet and Hughey needed to be watered down because of abortion supporters within the convention: “Arkansas Southern Baptists aren’t monolithic on this issue [of exceptions that allow for some abortion]. Rape, incest, life of the mother, or none. There are folks that fall in those categories. And so, with these weighty considerations, there were seven of us in a room praying and searching diligently for what we thought would be a reasonable consensus of Arkansas Southern Baptists.”

It should go without saying that the role of any leader in the Church is to guide those in his sphere of influence away from wickedness, and how much more so for a man who leads the ethics and policy arm of the denomination? That some Baptists support these exceptions is no reason for the convention to avoid speaking clearly to the issue. It is all the more reason to name the sin and repudiate it.

Discussion can and should be had regarding how we talk about and treat ectopic pregnancies. But wanting intentional murder to be legal for babies conceived in rape or incest is depraved indifference to God’s word and human life. It is sin; as is using excuses like this to not speak clearly to the issue of murder by abortion.

Hughey then spoke in favor of Threet’s amendments:

Some may wonder why we need strong language like “without exception, without compromise.” The reason is for almost 49 years, we’ve seen pro-life laws passed with exceptions, with compromise that you can drive a truck through.

If we’re concerned that [standing against abortion without compromise] makes the Church appear inhospitable or without sufficient grace, that is best exemplified in our actions, not our words. Our churches need to create a culture of adoption, of fostering; and encourage our people to do that. We need to support crisis pregnancy centers. We need to help women who regret their abortions, and there are many. We need to offer post-abortive ministries for those women.

But we need strong language so we don’t stay on this hamster wheel that we’ve been on all these years. With all the pro-life laws that have been passed to regulate abortion, there are still 2,363 Americans aborted every day in our nation. And some of those abortions are done in such a way that we wouldn’t commit those kind of actions against the most heinous criminal who’s been given capital punishment. We’ve got to stop it and it needs to start with the Church.

Next came the votes, with Threet’s motion and then the full resolution being passed by the messengers. It is now the position of Arkansas Baptists — the largest Christian denomination in the state — that governing officials in Arkansas at all levels must work “with all urgency to enact legislation using the full weight of their office to interpose on behalf of the preborn, abolishing abortion immediately, without compromise.” Any Arkansas official who compromises with abortion and refuses to work for its immediate abolition can only do so in defiance of the Arkansas Baptist Convention and the national Southern Baptist Convention, not to mention God’s very Word.

You can watch the entire deliberation on the Arkansas Baptist Resolution on Abolishing Abortion below, beginning with Threet’s motion to amend at the 2:08:57 mark.

If you support the Abolitionist Movement, take the below actions to get involved with Free the States if you haven’t already. If you live in Arkansas, make sure to also connect with Abolish Abortion Arkansas at their website and Facebook page.

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