Human Rights-A Call to Action Against Torture

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BWA General Council Resolution 1984.7

  1. We reaffirm the fundamental Christian convictions expressed in Resolution 1983.4 of the Baptist World Alliance, adopted in July 1983 in the Republic of Argentina, namely that “human rights are God-given and that violations of human rights are violations of the laws of God.”
  2. We observe with deep concern the proliferation of the violations of human rights in this decade and particularly the practice of torture in today’s world. According to a recent authoritative report, torture is used or tolerated by more than a third of the world’s governments.
  3. At the same time as we are grateful for the renewed spirit of evangelism among Baptists, we are convinced that Baptist action for human rights, a corollary of evangelism, is still largely insufficient. We affirm our conviction that, as Christians, we are called in all things and circumstances to witness to Jesus Christ as the light and hope of the world. Since we recognize that torture is incompatible with the nature of the human person as created in the image of God, we declare that the use or tolerance of the practice of torture is totally inconsistent with the call of Jesus to responsible discipleship (Matt. 5:44; 7:12; 22:37-40).
  4. We moreover declare that it is a fitting and proper expression of the sovereignty of God through Jesus Christ over our lives to speak forthrightly and to take action against torture.
  5. We, therefore, call on Baptists of this Alliance, who number more than 34 million, to: 5.1 make a personal decision to oppose torture in its various manifestations;

5.2 condemn torture as incompatible with the teaching of Christ Jesus who commanded that enemies be loved as well as neighbors (Matt. 5:44 & 22:39) and that persons would be treated as we would desire to be treated (Matt. 7: 12);

5.3 urge not only denominational bodies and local churches in our respective nations, but also national and international ecumenical organizations to make public their opposition to torture;

5.4 seek and disseminate information on continuing violations of human rights through the practice of torture with a view toward remedying those situations;

5.5 encourage the incorporation in national and international laws of effective prohibitions against torture;

5.6 support organizations that work for the abolition of torture;

5.7 visit the detained and imprisoned (Matt. 25:36), especially those who may be subject to torture and provide assistance to their families;

5.8 struggle for the establishment between nations or political groups of those conditions of understanding and confidence in which the use of torture and all forms of violence will diminish or cease; and

5.9 pray earnestly that the witness of Christians throughout the world may have a transforming effect on both those who are engaged in the practice of torture and those who comply — passively or actively — with such practice.


Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984), pp. 88-89.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1984.7 Human Rights: A Call to Action Against Torture;

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1984.7).

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Since its formation in 1905, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the global Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.