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

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

BWA General Council Resolution 1977.6

The Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of almost 29 of the 33 million Baptists in the world. They represent many nations and widely differing cultures and ways of life and thought. It is neither within its power nor its function to direct, or rule on the internal affairs of 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 members to speak out on religious liberty and other matters of common spiritual and moral concern. Our primary purpose is to bring persons 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. We rejoice in the good reports from the World Conference of Religious Workers for Lasting Peace, Disarmament, and Just Relations Among All Nations, held in Moscow in June 1977. We support the ideals and stated purposes of such conferences wherever held and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to participate and provide leadership to the end that tensions may be relaxed and peace established.

We believe in dignity and justice for every individual. We express good wishes to the Helsinki Final Act n Conference being held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and urge the delegates to that conference to promote further the fulfillment of all the articles of the Helsinki Final Act.

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

We deplore and condemn violence, torture, looting, rioting and the taking of hostages, and voice our sympathy with all victims of these disorders.

We affirm our commitment to religious liberty. We deplore the persecution of Christians and others by government agencies or religious bodies wherever it occurs. The Baptist World Alliance General Council voices grave concern and charges its officers to give all possible aid and support to persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

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 admonish our fellow Christians to strengthen the church which is the body of Christ to serve those who are in need.

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 lake through proper channels all possible steps for achieving just and lasting peace. We call upon them, and indeed upon all people 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.

It is our firm conviction that our Lord Jesus Christ alone is our hope of justice, reconciliation, and peace; therefore, we welcome and commend all efforts to make the Gospel known to all.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Denny, Robert S., editor. Baptist World Alliance 1977 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1977.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Robert S. Denny, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1977 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1977), pp. 46- 48.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1977.6 Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1977.6).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Resolution on Freedom of Religion in the Lugansk Region in Eastern Ukraine

BWA General Council Resolution 2018.1

The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 2-6, 2018:

EXPRESSES concern that that the situation for religious communities is precarious in the eastern part of Ukraine – the Lugansk region. The region is part of a conflict area now widely understood to be under the control of Russia, which has recognized the area as “The Lugansk Peoples Republic (LPR).” Recently the LPR launched a law on religion (LPR law #211-II “On the freedom of conscience and religious associations”) from 02/02/2018. This law violates universal human rights, restricts religious freedom, and threatens the existence of existing religious groups and organizational networks;

REGRETS that all religious organizations within the LPR, except the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), must now prove their loyalty to LPR authorities through a re- registration procedure in order to maintain their legal status. This includes an obligation for all religious organizations to report in detail their activities;

NOTES that these limitations and regulations are violating Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 of the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights;

AFFIRMS our commitment as Baptists to the biblical concept that all people are created in God’s image and endowed with freedom to worship and practice their religion according to the dictates of their own hearts;

URGES the Lugansk Peoples Republic, regarding Baptist and other churches, to change the law in order to make it compatible with Freedom of Religion or Belief as stated in the international declarations, conventions, and agreements;

ENCOURAGES the Russian Republic to influence the Lugansk Peoples Republic to change the law in order to make it compatible with full Freedom of Religion or Belief; and

CALLS upon the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to gather information on the situation in the Lugansk region and to visit the Lugansk area and the authorities in order to put pressure on them to change the law.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Brown, Elijah M., editor. Baptist World Alliance 2018 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2018.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Elijah M. Brown, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2018 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2018), p. 149.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2018.1 Resolution on Freedom of Religion in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2018.1).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Resolution on Current Manifestations of Religious Intolerance and Religiously-Motivated Violence

BWA General Council Resolution 2019.2

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Council, meeting in Nassau, Bahamas, July 7-12, 2019:

EXPRESSES its deep concern over recent instances of religious intolerance and religiously- motivated violence around the world since its last meeting in 2018, including but not limited to: the attacks against synagogues in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; and Poway, California, USA; attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand against two mosques; and the deaths and injuries to hundreds of Christians during a coordinated set of bombings throughout Sri Lanka on Easter morning;

ACKNOWLEDGES that these events remind us that various forms of religious intolerance, both from individuals and as a result of government action or inaction, continue to pose a significant threat to individuals and to societies across the globe;

DECRIES the well-documented rise of anti-Semitism around the world, for instance the marked increase in anti-Semitic crimes in western and central Europe; the increase in Islamophobia across the world, including violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar; the crackdown on religious freedom in China that has led to the detention of more than a million Uighur Muslims and the persecution of Christians and churches in China; and the significant rise in global Christian persecution as evidenced by continued violence in Nigeria, Cameroon, and India, as well as the recently published report commissioned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which found that approximately 245 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution or worse;

RECALLS that 2019 is the 85th anniversary of the historic resolution passed at the fifth Baptist World Congress in Berlin, Germany, in 1934, against the background of the rise of fascism, which opposed anti- Semitism and all other forms of religious and racial prejudice, stating in part that

BWA General Council Resolution 2019.2 Resolution on Current Manifestations of Religious Intolerance and Religiously-Motivated Violence

This Congress deplores and condemns as a violation of the law of God the Heavenly Father, all racial animosity, and every form of oppression or unfair discrimination toward the Jews, toward coloured people, or toward subject races in any part of the world.

This Congress urges the promotion of Christian teaching concerning respect for human personality regardless of race or religion, and as the surest means of advancing the true brotherhood of all people, urges the active propagation of the Gospel of Christ throughout the world.

REAFFIRMS that, in the light of the vision of the early Baptist Thomas Helwys who, in 1612, made his famous plea for Jews, Christians, and Muslims to be allowed to worship in freedom and so live at peace together in the same geographical space, we stand in solidarity and sympathy with all people who suffer violence, injury, and harm, regardless of religion, race, gender, culture, or ethnicity; in response to all of the tragedies cited above, we “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15);

ENCOURAGES all Baptists to demonstrate that by living in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18), we reaffirm that prejudice, hate, and violence cannot defeat respect, love, and faith; and

CALLS upon the BWA member bodies to offer the hand of sincere friendship to our neighbors of other faiths, as an expression of biblical teaching that all human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and as a prophetic response of God’s love against all manifestations of terrorism, violence, and religious intolerance (Romans 12:21).

BWA General Council Resolution 2019.2 Resolution on Current Manifestations of Religious Intolerance and Religiously-Motivated Violence

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Brown, Elijah M., editor. Baptist World Alliance 2019 Yearbook: General Council Minutes and Statistics. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2019.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Elijah M. Brown, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2019 Yearbook: General Council Minutes and Statistics (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2019), pp. 149-150.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2019.2 Resolution on Current Manifestations of Religious Intolerance and Religiously-Motivated Violence; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2019.2).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Resolution on Race Relations

BWA World Congress Resolution 1947.2

“Race relations is one of the perplexing problems which the Christian Church must face in the world to- day. There are many conditions and attitudes which strain and impair human relations and cause great concern; but we cannot solve the problem unless we face it forthrightly as Christians.

We have tried to ignore, evade, and attempt by platitudes to solve this most grave problem. It cannot be solved in this way. We must insist in human relations and intercourse of all people that the Christian approach be made in the matter of race relations. Appreciation for the ideals, aspirations, and personalities of all races must be insisted upon by Christians.

Whereas one of the major factors in the maladjusted country, city, or state, is the improper approach to, and an illogical dealing with, the minority within their boundary; and whereas men have tried to bring about a wholesome social order by force, by bribery, and other similar plans, and failed; and whereas the basis for better race relations is dependent upon better understanding between all groups, and a desire to build a Christian order and equality for all of the children of men: therefore, be it resolved that un- Christian practices and abuses of people, such as lynchings, race extermination, economic and racial discrimination, unfair employment practices, and denial of political rights are contrary to the principles of Christianity.”

This resolution, which had been proposed by the Rev. Roland Smith, was moved and seconded and passed unanimously.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lewis, Walter O., editor. Seventh Baptist World Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark, July 29-August 3, 1947. London: The Carey Kingsgate Press Limited, 1948.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Walter O. Lewis, ed., Seventh Baptist World Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark, July 29-August 3, 1947 (London: The Carey Kingsgate Press Limited, 1948), pp. 98-99.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA World Congress Resolution 1947.2 Resolution on Race Relations; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA World Congress Resolution 1947.2).