Andrew Walker and I recently co-authored a resolution on marriage to be considered by our denomination’s annual meeting. I am happy to report that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio just approved that resolution, and you can read the full text below.
This is a momentous time in our national life. In the aftermath of the sexual revolution, Christianity in America stands at a crossroads. We are finding out what it means to bear witness to Christ in a culture that grows increasingly intolerant of our ancient faith. Nowhere is that conflict more acute than in what Christ teaches us about sexuality and marriage. With the Supreme Court poised to rule on the matter later this month, the conflict will only grow more pronounced.
Christ’s teaching about these matters has become in our day a line in the sand—even among those who call themselves Christian. People are choosing either to stay faithful to Christ’s teaching or to array themselves against it. Already, we have been seeing Christian leaders forsake Christ’s teaching on marriage—some who were among us but who are among us no more (1 John 2:19).
It is for this reason that faithful Christians are having to retrench and restate with clarity what Christ has taught us. And that is what Southern Baptists have done today. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it (John 1:5). But it shines nonetheless.
ON THE CALL TO PUBLIC WITNESS ON MARRIAGE
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) recognizes the biblical definition of marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime,” stating further, “It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race”; and
WHEREAS, God ordains government to promote and honor the public good and recognize what is praiseworthy (Romans 13:3–4); and
WHEREAS, The public good requires defining and defending marriage as the covenanted, conjugal union of one man and one woman; and
WHEREAS, Marriage is by nature a public institution that unites man and woman in the common task of bringing forth children; and
WHEREAS, The Supreme Court of the United States will rule in 2015 on whether states shall be required to grant legal recognition as “marriages” to same-sex partnerships; and
WHEREAS, The redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples will continue to weaken the institution of the natural family unit and erode the religious liberty and rights of conscience of all who remain faithful to the idea of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and
WHEREAS, The Bible calls us to love our neighbors, including those who disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, prayerfully call on the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the right of the citizens to define marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman; and be it further
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; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the religious liberty of individual citizens or institutions should not be infringed as a result of believing or living according to the biblical definition of marriage; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention calls on Southern Baptists and all Christians to stand firm on the Bible’s witness on the purposes of marriage, among which are to unite man and woman as one flesh and to secure the basis for the flourishing of human civilization; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists love our neighbors and extend respect in Christ’s name to all people, including those who may disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good.