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

Church Burning in the U.S.A.

BWA General Council Resolution 1996.2

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Hong Kong, July 3-9, 1996:

NOTES with profound concern the continuing incidents of church burning, numbering in excess of 40 within the past 18 months in the United States of America, involving congregations with African– American membership; and

DEPLORES the racism which appears to be motivating these burnings as well as the damage to community relationships and fear and uncertainty resulting from these events; and

CONSIDERS such acts to be attacks not simply upon buildings but upon the worshiping and witnessing community which risks crippling one of society’s most effective institutions for mediation and conciliation; and

REGRETS that some insurance companies are reported to have prematurely canceled coverage on such buildings; and

APPLAUDS the support provided to the affected congregations by sister churches in the United States and other nations, and

WELCOMES positive actions by government agencies and leaders in response to these burnings; and PLEDGES the prayerful support and solidarity of its member bodies to affected congregations, and

ENCOURAGES Baptist churches everywhere to commit themselves to work together as agents of healing and reconciliation to counteract the evils of racism in any form.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1996 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1996.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1996 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1996), pp. 101-102.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1996.2 Church Burning in the U.S.A.; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1996.2).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Human Rights

BWA General Council Resolution 1997.1

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Vancouver, Canada, July 3-9, 1997:

RECOGNIZES with gratitude that 1998 will mark the 59th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights which has exerted great moral influence in the cause of justice, peace and religious tolerance;

AFFIRMS that efforts in support of human rights depend upon God’s initiative to protect and restore human dignity in a broken world;

LAMENTS that the greatest problem associated with human rights is the lack of full and effective implementation;

OBSERVES with sadness the denial of freedom of expression, religious liberty and other human rights, as well as the existence of child abuse, torture and racism even in countries whose governments are members of the United Nations and are signatories to the Human Rights Covenants;

URGES governments to affirm the universality and inviolability of human rights, and therefore to develop legal systems and practices which conform with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

COMMITS itself to expose and oppose situations involving human rights abuse and denial, and to respond more fully to Jesus’ call to justice, peace and reconciliation;

CALLS UPON the member unions and conventions of the Baptist World Alliance and their local churches to unmask everything that does violence to human dignity and to seek justice for all peoples, especially those who have no voice, no power and no friends.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1997 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1997.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1997 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1997), p. 127.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1997.1 Human Rights; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1997.1).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Racism

BWA General Council Resolution 2000.4

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance meeting Havana Cuba July 5-8 2000

COMMITTED to the Decade of Racial Justice and affirming that in the Atlanta Covenant we condemn racism and ethnic conflict;

RESOLVES to encourage member bodies to promote programmes to combat racism and ethnic violence around the world;

ASKS member bodies to submit an annual report of initiatives to enact the Atlanta Covenant and combat racism; and,

OFFERS the resources of the Baptist World Alliance to assist in resolving issues of racism and ethnic conflict, including approaching national governments in areas where racism and ethnic conflict are evident.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2000 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2000.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2000 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2000), p. 85.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2000.4 Racism; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2000.4).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

200th Anniversary of the Passing of the Act to Abolish the Slave Trade in the British Colonies

BWA General Council Resolution 2007.1

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering, meeting in Accra, Ghana, July 2-7, 2007:

Resolves to commemorate in this historic setting the two hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the abolition of the slave trade.

Admits a long history of human enslavement that has broken families, robbed identities, stripped dignity and inflicted deep and inexpressible pain.

Confesses our own sinful silence and shameful histories of implicit and complicit involvement.

Acknowledges and appreciates those who have already publicly and formally apologized for and repented of their and their nation’s involvement in these monstrous acts against humanity.

Stands in gratitude for the numerous men and women who have struggled for truth and justice, who refused to accept the enslavement of human beings, resisted enforced oppression, and lived lives of perseverance and meaning. Although often left nameless, their collective story is truly powerful.

Calls for:

Freedom for the 27 million still trapped in modern-day slavery across the world—from Brazil to Bangkok.

Freedom from the global systems of economic injustice and exploitation that create the circumstances that foster slavery.

Freedom from all forms of racism and bigotry that debase our societies.

Freedom from our silence in the face of the above realities.

Further calls on Baptists worldwide to stand against this ongoing and pervasive evil institution, support endeavors to eradicate it, study the history in order to isolate its causes and inform our present, and compassionately minister to those trapped by it.

We resolve prayerfully to join hands together, to refuse to celebrate until freedom is found for all.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2007 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2007.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2007 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2007), p. 93.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2007.1 200th Anniversary of the Passing of the Act to Abolish the Slave Trade in the British Colonies; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2007.1).