Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.5

Clement presented the proposed message, commenting on the difficulty the committee had in drawing up a statement on which all members could agree. MOTION was made, seconded, and carried, that the following Message be adopted:

A Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World From The Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance

The Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of twenty-six million Baptists of many nations and widely differing cultures and ways of life and thought. It is neither within its power nor its function to direct, admonish, or rule on the internal affairs or the political or economic procedures of its constituent bodies or of their countries.

However, it is the duty as well as the privilege of its total membership to speak out on religious liberty and other matters of common spiritual and moral concern. Our primary purpose is to bring men everywhere into a redemptive and transforming relationship with Christ, but we believe also that we are to seek to involve all Christians, individually and collectively, in bringing the Christian gospel in all its fullness to bear on every aspect of human society. We are not only to give the Gospel to all the world, but we are to relate it to all of life.

We reaffirm that war is an unchristian way of seeking to settle international problems and disputes. The war in Vietnam causes us deep concern, as do the continuing tension in the Middle East and the internal strife in other lands. We grieve for all who suffer as a result.

We hold that prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination on the ground of race or color are inconsistent with the Gospel and wrong in the sight of God.

We deplore and condemn violence, looting, rioting and the unlawful use of force, and voice our sympathy with all victims of these disorders.

We believe that it is not God’s will that people should live in poverty and wretched conditions and die of hunger or neglect.

We are perturbed that in countries where Christian communities have been strong and influential there are signs of moral decay which erodes the foundations of our civilization.

But it is not sufficient for Christians to deplore and condemn.

In our churches we must give sound instruction in Christian faith and practice, encouraging self-discipline and responsible conduct. We must foster also the patient study of the complex causes of disorder in society and conflict between communities and nations.

By spiritual, dynamic, and earnest effort, we must strive for peace and the binding up and healing of wounds. We, therefore, urge all Baptists to work toward the elimination of sinful inequalities and injustices in society, seeking in their common service for Christ to secure for every person the opportunity to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and to enjoy the spiritual and material blessings our Heavenly Father has made possible.

To this end we would commend the various agencies and means of relief of hunger and want, especially those of our constituent bodies and of the Alliance.

We appeal to our people in every nation to seek through their own governments and through the United Nations to give effective expression to their concern, and to take through proper channels all possible steps for achieving just and lasting peace. We call upon them, and indeed upon all men of goodwill, to work and pray individually and collectively for justice, freedom, stability and peace, realizing that over us all hangs the awesome threat of nuclear war.

In that it is our firm conviction that in our Lord Jesus Christ alone is there hope of justice, reconciliation, and peace, we welcome and commend all efforts to make the Gospel known to all men.

Christians cannot and should not try to constitute themselves a power bloc, using the world’s methods of pressure and coercion. The Christian way may be slow, hard, and costly, but it is the way of the Cross and of Christian love. We urge our Baptist people to be on guard against cynical despair and to give themselves to earnest prayer, honest thought, and effective work and witness in the conviction that God can overrule the folly of men and reconcile them to each other as He has reconciled us to Himself in Christ. No man can set limits to what God may do through the sincere prayer, dedicated witness, and earnest work of millions of Baptists throughout the world.

The Resolutions Committee

J. T. Ayorinde, Mrs. Edgar Bates, H. H. Hobbs, Chester Jump, Gerhard Claas, A. S. Clement, Theodore F. Adams, Chairman

MOTION was made, seconded, and carried that the report of the Committee on Resolutions be adopted as a whole, with appreciation for the work and farsightedness of the committee.

Keywords

BWA; Freedom; Hunger; Justice; Middle East; Nuclear War; Peace; Poverty; Prejudice; Racism; Religious Liberty; United Nations; Vietnam.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Nordenhaug, Josef, editor. Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Nashville, Tennessee July 31-August 3, 1967. Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1967.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Josef Nordenhaug, ed., Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Nashville, Tennessee July 31-August 3, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1967), pp. 57-58.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.5 Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1967-08.5).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Situation in Ukraine

BWA General Council Resolution 2014.5

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Izmir, Turkey, July 9-11, 2014:

ACKNOWLEDGES, with deep sadness and great concern, the current political crisis in Ukraine that has resulted in armed conflict, loss of life, displacement of many people and severe tension between Russia and Ukraine;

NOTES with concern that, in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine generally, the situation has led to increased religious persecution, especially against evangelical Christians; BELIEVES that our allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord transcends all our national allegiances and aspirations, and that Christ, by his death on the Cross has “broken down the dividing walls of hostility”
(Ephesians 2:14), now and for all time to come;

SUPPORTS all efforts by the international community towards freedom, justice and peace for the whole of Ukraine, and all initiatives towards the reconciliation of those who have been in conflict with each another;

ENCOURAGES the work of Ukrainian Baptists in reaching out in the love of Christ to those most affected by the conflict;

URGES the leaders and churches of the Baptist Unions of Ukraine and Russia to overcome prejudice and misunderstanding in the situation, to seek to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) to each other, and to continue to work together in partnership towards a common vision of mission and the growth of the Kingdom of God in their region; and

PROMISES to continue to pray for peace and reconciliation among the people of Ukraine and their political leaders, and to support our brothers and sisters in Christ in Ukraine in the challenging days to come.

“Blessed are the peacemakers…” (Matthew 5:9).

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2014 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2014.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2014 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2014), p. 142.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2014.5 Situation in Ukraine; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2014.5).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Openness in the Soviet Union

BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1

Today we commend Christians in the Soviet Union, and especially Baptists, for their positive contributions, faithfully made in season and out, to their country’s morality, culture and history.

For many years the Baptist World Alliance has appealed to the government of the USSR to permit a larger measure of religious freedom for its people.

At this General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Nassau, the Bahamas, July 1988, we:

Acknowledge, with thanksgiving to God, a widening degree of openness afforded to all citizens by the government of the Soviet Union which has licensed the printing and importation of a substantial number of Bibles and religious books and permitted Baptists to take steps toward audiovisual production;

Commend this openness and express to fellow Baptists in the USSR heartfelt and prayerful support, especially as they move toward the realization of their long-sought vision for a seminary for those called of God to proclaim the Word both to believers and unbelievers in their homeland; and

Express the hope that this liberalizing spirit will continue to the realization of a new law about freedom of conscience for all citizens, thus facilitating the availability of Bibles, amnesty for all prisoners of conscience and the implementation of constitutional guarantees in the matters of ministry and religious training, especially for children and young people.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988), p. 68.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1 Openness in the Soviet Union; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

South Africa

BWA General Council Resolution 1988.4

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Nassau, the Bahamas, July 1988:

Reaffirms its resolution dealing with apartheid adopted at its meeting in Los Angeles in 1985, and

Urges the Baptist Union and the Baptist Convention of Southern Africa to challenge the evil of apartheid by their own example of reconciliation and full equality within their own churches and the extended Christian family as well as their society.

Further, this Council urges all member bodies to:

Condemn the actions of the South African government in banning 18 humanitarian anti-apartheid organizations; detaining persons, especially children, arresting church leaders in Cape Town, and water-hosing a peaceful procession of Christian witnesses;

Deplore the intention of the South African government to legislate to prevent foreign funding of peaceful and humanitarian agencies at work in South Africa; and

Support the continuing representation being made to appropriate governments, urging them to reappraise economic policy towards South Africa and to condemn the South African government’s persistent attempts to discredit and silence the opposition of South African churches and Christian leaders.

And, further this General Council:

Requests its general secretary to convey the import of this resolution to the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, the Baptist Convention of Southern Africa and the South Africa Council of Churches to offer encouragement to these bodies in their striving for peace in their country, and

Recognizes the impact the suffering of the multicolored Baptist family in South Africa has on the worldwide body of Christ and therefore accepts responsibility to engage in every possible way in the process of establishing justice and equality within their troubled part of the world and, furthermore, urges Baptists everywhere to pray unceasingly for healing and reconciliation.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988), p. 71.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1988.4 South Africa; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1988.4).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Prayer and Concern for the Eastern Part of Europe and the Soviet Union

BWA General Council Resolution 1991.2

THANKFUL to God for the positive changes that have taken place in Eastern Europe and the whole of the Soviet Union, including the increasing freedom experienced in many aspects of the life of these nations,

THANKFUL particularly for those places where greater freedom of religion has been evidenced and new opportunities for evangelization and theological education have been made possible,

MINDFUL however, of the impact that turmoil in this region has upon the whole global community and joining with our brothers and sisters in their concern over the crises and upheavals which have been emerging in the Soviet republics, Yugoslavia and other national and ethnic groups which are striving for independence,

SEEKING to identify with our brothers and sisters in this area in their deep concern over the growing religious intolerance of the dominant historical churches that are failing to recognize that all Christian denominations and religions be guaranteed religious freedom by constitution and be treated with fairness, equality and justice by the majority groups,

THEREFORE, the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Montreal, Canada, July 10- 13, 1991, resolves to call upon the world community of Baptists to join in prayer for a peaceful and authentic solution to these political and economic upheavals and to join in prayer for those experiencing religious repression, asking for God’s intervening grace and guidance for the leaders of these peoples at this decisive moment in history.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the officers of the Baptist World Alliance and its member bodies to communicate to the political and religious leaders these concerns over religious

repression in this region and urge them to honor the standing right of all peoples two equal freedom or religious expression.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1991 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1991.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1991 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1991), p. 37.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1991.2 Prayer and Concern for the Eastern Part of Europe and the Soviet Union; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1991.2).