At its Annual Gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, the Baptist World Alliance passed resolutions expressing concerns on human slavery and sex trafficking, refugees in East Africa, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and religious liberty in both Russia and the United States.
Baptist bodies, churches, and individuals are called upon to work “towards the prevention of slavery and human trafficking, and caring for those impacted.” Baptists are encouraged “to collaborate with other Christians and all people of good will who are also concerned about bringing an end to this personal, social, and economic injustice.”
The BWA took note of “the deteriorating circumstances in some nations of East Africa resulting in a significant expansion of refugees seeking food, shelter, and safety” and requests “Baptists around the world to remember the people of East Africa in prayer and to provide support as possible.”
The global Baptist body “states its concerns at the climate of political and social instability and violence in Venezuela, which has led to a deteriorating socio-economic situation, including a shortage of food and medicines.” It “condemns all forms of violence and calls for respect for democracy to guarantee a just way out of the grave situation affecting the nation.”
Venezuelan authorities were being encouraged “to allow humanitarian aid into the country, and to grant access to those who wish to assist the worst affected sectors of society.” The BWA offers prayer for peace to return to the South American nation.
Global Baptists are concerned about the treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Baptists in the country were commended “for standing for the principle of religious freedom for everyone, even for those with whom they have deep differences.”
BWA endorsed the move by the Russian Baptist union “for having expressed to President Putin its ‘profound concern’ at this violation ‘of freedom of conscience of tens of thousands of citizens of the Russian federation who confess the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses.’”
The president, government and judiciary of the Russian Federation, were asked “to restore the religious rights of all people, especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” and to uphold “the rights of all religious groups in Russia, especially religious minorities, to legally exist and to worship in freedom.”
The BWA said “the current travel ban on residents of several Muslim-majority nations” to the United States “raised serious concerns about religious freedom” and that “the BWA believes that no law should be used to discriminate on the basis of religion.”
The president and government of the US were urged to affirm the country’s “historic commitment to religious freedom for all people.” Baptists in the US are to “to understand the implications of religious discrimination and to stand firm for cherished Baptist principles of religious liberty.”
Approximately 300 Baptist leaders, pastors, theologians, seminary presidents, professors and interested Baptists from more than 40 countries met in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 2-7, for worship, fellowship, study and decision meetings.
Baptist World Alliance®
©July 8, 2017