On Tuesday, a group of Southern Baptist pastors from around the country published their “Southern Baptist Resolution on Abolishing Abortion” to be introduced at the 2021 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The announcement came by way of a 10-minute video montage of eight Southern Baptist pastors reading the resolution, and the corresponding launch of SouthernBaptistsAbolishingAbortion.com and the Southern Baptists for Abolishing Abortion facebook page.
The resolution would be far from the first anti-abortion resolution passed by the SBC, but it would be the first of its kind in two important aspects according to John Smith, pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church in Cashmere, WA. “All other resolutions have stopped short of calling abortion for what it is, the murder of our pre-born neighbors and the call for its immediate end,” Smith said.
Clay Hall, pastor of Lake City Baptist Church in Grand Rivers, KY and one of the resolution’s coauthors, agreed. “Though many SBC resolutions have been passed over the last fifty years regarding abortion, this one is unique in that it calls for equal justice and protection for our preborn neighbors under the law,” Hall said. “It also rejects an incremental approach to ending abortion and encourages all government leaders to honor Christ by ‘abolishing abortion immediately, without exception or compromise.’ My fellow SBC pastors and I felt these calls for justice were lacking in previous SBC abortion resolutions. The necessity of this resolution hinges on the fact that thousands of preborn image bearers of God continue to be murdered every day in our nation while the vast majority of our denomination truly believe we are doing all we can to end it. There is so much more that we can do.”
Derin Stidd, pastor of Harmony Baptist Church in Frankfurt, IN expanded on the uniqueness of the resolution, telling The Resurgent, “[Like other anti-abortion resolutions] our resolution does call abortion evil, but instead of celebrating legislation which regulates when, where, and how a baby can be murdered, our resolution calls for Christ-honoring legislation which seeks to completely and totally criminalize abortion without exception or compromise. In this regard, our resolution is the only anti-abortion call-to-action that is actually consistent with our doctrinal statement.”
Another distinctive aspect of The Southern Baptist Resolution on Abolishing Abortion is that it does not have a typical pro-life call for abortion regulations or Supreme Court appointments. The call is for equality under law for preborn humans to be immediately established by abolishing abortion in defiance of the Supreme Court.
While many argue that abortion can’t be abolished until the Supreme Court allows it, the resolution’s authors contend that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to legalize murder and that state governments have a Biblical and Constitutional obligation to defy Roe. “Roe v. Wade is unlawful both according to the natural law of God and according to the Constitution of the United States which is the supreme law of our land,” Stidd said.
Stidd continued by pointing to the abolitionists of slavery who nullified the obviously unjust and unconstitutional federal Fugitive Slave Act in numerous states: “We must defy Roe just as Wisconsin and other Northern states defied the Supreme Court and the Federal Government regarding slavery in the 1800s. Since Roe runs contrary to the natural law of God and contrary to the highest law of our land, the only godly response to such lawlessness on the part of a magistrate is to defy it.”
The sentiments expressed in the Southern Baptist Resolution on Abolishing Abortion have also been expressed in the form of legislation in seven states thus far: Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, and Missouri. An eighth abolition bill is set to be introduced in Kansas next session.
While this will be the first resolution of its kind introduced at the National SBC, similar resolutions have been passed by Oklahoma Southern Baptists and the Oklahoma Free Will Baptists.
These bills and resolutions are evidence of the growing Abolitionist Movement according to Smith. “I believe we are witnessing a massive shift in the church today regarding abortion and many Christians are waking up to the Biblical call for abolition,” Smith said.
Hall agreed, saying that the spread of abolitionist ideas combined with consistent opposition to abolitionist legislation from many pro-life leaders is causing Christians to reconsider the political strategies they support: “In the last few years, these ideas have gained traction very rapidly. The combination of (1) a relentless pursuit of the culture of death from the liberal left, (2) an increasingly visible abolitionist movement, and (3) the obvious recent failures of our pro-life leaders is stirring the hearts of many Southern Baptists to be a part of a grass-roots movement built on firm biblical convictions rather than pragmatic strategies. As a part of the whole, these Southern Baptists are just a reflection of what is happening in the larger evangelical culture.”
Hall, Stidd, and Smith all expressed significant optimism about the support the resolution would receive from the members of the convention at the annual meeting but also uncertainty about the reception it would receive from SBC leaders.
Stidd said that the chances for the resolution’s success depend partly on the amount of petition signatures the resolution gets from members of SBC churches and on “having local associations and state conventions pass this resolution, demonstrating that there is a grassroots movement building up all over the country that wants this to happen.”
(1) 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 belong to Him (Genesis 1:27; 4:1; 21:2; Isaiah 7:14; Colossians 1:16; Romans 11:36; Ezekiel 18:4), and
(2) 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 characteristics; such as ethnicity, age, size, means of conception, mental development, physical development, gender, potential, or contribution to society (Rom 1:19-20; Gen 1:28; 9:6; Matthew 18:6), and
(3) WHEREAS, all humans are created with God’s law written on their hearts, which works with their conscience to accuse or excuse them before God, and to undermine law and conscience is to ask, “Did God really say?” (Rom 2:14-16; Gen 3:1), and
(4) 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 (Gen 9:5-6; Exodus 20:13; Proverbs 6:17), and
(5) 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 (Psalms 127:3-5; 139:13-16; Rom 2:15-16; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 1 Corinthians 4:5), and
(6) 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 (Prov 24:11-12), and…
(7) WHEREAS, God establishes all governing authorities as His avenging servants to carry out His wrath on the evildoer; and commands these authorities to judge justly, neither showing partiality to the wicked, nor using unequal standards, which are abominations (Psa 82; Rom 13:4), and
(8) WHEREAS, in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered an iniquitous decision on Roe v. Wade, and in doing so deprived the innocent of their rights, and usurped God, who sovereignly ordained their authority (Isa 5:23; 10:1-2; Psa 2; Matt 22:21; John 19:11; Acts 4:19; 5:29, Rom 13:1), and
(9) 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
(10) WHEREAS, governing authorities at every level have a duty before God to uphold justice asserting their God-ordained and constitutional authority to establish equal protection under the law for all, born and preborn, by intervening, ignoring, or nullifying iniquitous decisions when other authorities condone such injustices as the legal taking of innocent life (Daniel 3; 1 Kings 12; 2 Kings 11; Jeremiah 26:10-16; 36:9-31; 37:11- 21; 39:7-10), and.
(11) WHEREAS, over the past 48 years with 60+ million abortions, traditional Pro-life laws, though well intended, have not established equal protection and justice for the preborn, but on the contrary, appallingly have established incremental, regulatory guidelines for when, where, why, and how to obtain legal abortion of innocent preborn children, thereby legally sanctioning abortion, and…
(12) WHEREAS, since 1980, the SBC has passed many resolutions reaffirming the importance of human life at all stages of development, our repentance is still lacking as we consistently have stopped short of calling for the immediate abolition of abortion without exception or compromise, and
(13) WHEREAS, our confessional statement, The Baptist Faith and Message, 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,” now, be it therefore
(14) RESOLVED, that the messengers of the SBC meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 15-16, 2021, do state unequivocally that abortion is murder, and we reject any position that allows for any exceptions to the legal protection of our preborn neighbors, compromises God’s holy standard of justice, or promotes any God-hating partiality (Psa 94:6; Isa 10:1-2; Prov 24:11; Psa 82:1-4), and be it further
(15) RESOLVED, that we will not embrace an incremental approach to ending abortion because it challenges God’s Lordship over the heart and the conscience, and rejects His call to repent of sin completely and immediately (Gen 3:1; John 8:44; Rom 2:14-15; 2 Corinthians 11:3), and be it further
(16) RESOLVED, that we affirm that the murder of preborn children is a crime against humanity that must be punished equally under the law, and be it further
(17) RESOLVED, that we humbly confess and repent of our complicity in recognizing any exceptions that legitimize or regulate abortion, and of our apathy, in not laboring with the power and influence we have to abolish abortion, and be it further
(18) RESOLVED, that as Southern 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, and be it finally
(19) RESOLVED, that, because abolishing abortion is a gospel issue, we will call upon governing authorities at all levels to repent and “obey everything that [Christ] has commanded,” exhorting them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance by faithfully executing 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 exception or compromise (Mark 6:18; Matt 28:18-20; Rom 13:4, 6).