Racism in General and Apartheid in Particular

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BWA World Congress Resolution 1985.2

The Baptist World Congress, meeting in Los Angeles, CA, July 2-7, 1985, declares its belief that racism and the Christian Gospel are incompatible. We ground this conviction biblically in the doctrine of creation whereby every human person is given dignity as made in the image of God (Genesis 1 :27) and in the doctrine of redemption whereby we proclaim salvation in Christ, crucified and risen, for people of all races and colors (Colossians 3:11), and the external purpose of God to unite all creation in him (Ephesians 1 and 2).

We therefore declare racism, wherever it is found, to be a crime against humanity and a sin against God.

We call upon Baptists everywhere to renounce racial discrimination and racist attitudes which may be openly or subconsciously expressed, and to show their solidarity with all victims of racism by speaking, working and praying for its removal from society.

In particular, we openly denounce the whole system of apartheid as practiced by the South African government. We note that the 1985 Assembly of the Baptist Union of South Africa welcomed the positive attempts which the Government has made to alleviate some of the injustices within their country; for example, the inclusion of Coloreds and Indians in the process of government and the repeal of the Mixed Marriages Act and certain sections of the Immorality Act.

We believe that the system of apartheid remains firmly entrenched inasmuch as 316 apartheid laws still exist. These include:

(a) forcible relocation of black populations and destruction of their homes by bulldozing; (b) prevention of black employees and their families from living near their places of work; (c) lack of freedom for black people to seek employment wherever they can find it;
(d) humiliating discrimination in many public places with rigid pass-laws;

(e) arbitrary arrest and detention indefinitely without trial; (f) Disenfranchisement of the black majority.

We believe it is our duty in the name of God to denounce this system and all who practice or support it. We wish to make this known to all who suffer and struggle for a reconciled and free South Africa.

We urge Baptists everywhere to call upon their Government to stand firmly against all forms of support for South Africa as long as apartheid remains on the statute book.

And finally, we pledge our prayers for our Christian brothers and sisters of many denominations in South Africa who faithfully proclaim the gospel of redeeming love and in the light of it, consistently oppose apartheid at great personal cost.


Original Source Bibliography: Kerstan, Reinhold J. And Burke, Ruby J., editors. Out of the Darkness Into the Light: Official Report of the Fifteenth Congress, Los Angeles, California, USA, July 2-7, 1985. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1985.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Reinhold J. Kerstan and Ruby J. Burke, eds., Out of the Darkness Into the Light: Official Report of the Fifteenth Congress, Los Angeles, California, USA, July 2-7, 1985 (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1985), pp. 218-219.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA World Congress Resolution 1985.2 Racism in General and Apartheid in Particular; https://baptistworld.org/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA World Congress Resolution 1985.2).

For more information about Baptist World Alliance Resolutions, visit BaptistWorld.org/resolutions.

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.