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

World Food Situation

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1974-08.1

MOTION by Mrs. Mary Ross was seconded, and passed

EC74 that the following statement be adopted:

In view of the alarming world food situation threatening multitudes of the world’s population with famine and starvation, and recognizing the gospel mandate for Christian people to meet such urgent human need:

Be it resolved that:

1. We encourage mission agencies and related church bodies to assist peoples to increase food production, and to teach good nutrition — a significant contribution to meeting the food crisis in places where people are undernourished;

2. We urge nations of the world to expedite the export and import of food, seed, and fertilizer among the nations;

3. We respectfully recommend that nations increase their budgets for relief and development efforts, and encourage the greater use of multilateral aid;

4. We encourage governments of the world to pursue migration policies that will permit equitable and stable distribution of population;

5. We encourage the United Nations and governments to enter into international agreements over fishing rights and to reduce pollution of the oceans, so that the oceans could be used as a greater food source;

6. We ask that nations free religious bodies (such as Baptist unions) from foreign exchange restrictions, sufficiently to permit them to give financial and/or material support to such international relief efforts (as Baptist World Alliance Relief);

7. We further ask governments to permit duty free entry of relief supplies to authorized church-related relief agents;

8. We encourage the United Nations and other such international agencies to continue to utilize the non- governmental organizations, including church relief agencies, in the distribution of food in areas of need;

9. We urge all persons in positions of responsibility to take all necessary steps to reduce waste and to develop all available resources for the production of more food;

10. We call upon pastors and other leaders to preach and teach the specific responsibility of those who have plenty, to pray, give, and even to reduce their caloric intake so that more of the limited food supply of the world could be made available to those who are in want;

11. It is our conviction that an efficient relief service cannot be enacted unless peace is preserved on earth. Famine and starvation — among other causes — are a natural consequence of wars. We feel that it is our Christian duty to be actively engaged in promoting understanding among nations, and action conducive to peace. Peace and justice are pre-conditions enabling nations to work with the hope of success upon meeting the urgent material needs of the world.

Following on Page 50:

Carl Tiller thanked the Resolutions Committee and stated that the adopted resolution subsequently would be presented to the World Food Conference scheduled in Rome, Italy. Certain portions of the resolution are expected to be released to the press by Communications Secretary C. E. Bryant. Tiller suggested that member conventions may wish to call appropriate paragraphs to the attention of their governments, and other paragraphs to the attention of their churches.

The following suggestion by Ruth Rohlfs regarding disposition of the resolution was accepted: “Because of the staff of the United Nations Environmental Center has extended itself to be helpful in briefing and working with members of our Baptist fellowship, and because we share concern for the quality of this earth…we recommend that the Baptist World Alliance submit a copy of the resolution to the United Nations Environmental Center, Nairobi, Kenya.”

Keywords

BWA; Aid; Environmental Care; Hunger; Peace; Peacemaking; Relief Ministries; United Nations; War.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Denny, Robert S., editor. Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Louisville, Kentucky, August 6-9, 1974. Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1974.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Robert S. Denny, ed., Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held at Louisville, Kentucky, August 6-9, 1974 (Washington, D.C.: Baptist World Alliance, 1974), p. 49; see also p. 50.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1974-08.1 World Food Situation; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1974-08.1).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Resolution on Religious Freedom in Russia

BWA General Council Resolution 2017.2

The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, July 5-7, 2017:

REAFFIRMS our historic Baptist commitment to religious freedom as a gift of God to all people, regardless of denomination or religion; and that this same commitment is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, to which the Russian Federation is a signatory;

NOTES with great concern the passage of recent legislation that restricts evangelism and missionary work by minority faiths, which has led to a deterioration of religious freedom in Russia;

REGRETS the application of this law to make Jehovah’s Witnesses illegal as a religious denomination, labelling it as an “extremist group” and seeking to criminalize its worship;

NOTES with concern that fellow Baptists and other Christian believers in Russia have been arrested and fined during the past year due to the new laws curtailing religious liberty;

COMMENDS the response of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists for standing for the principle of religious freedom for everyone, even for those with whom they have deep differences, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses; and 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”;

URGES the president, government and judiciary of the Russian Federation to restore the religious rights of all people, especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses, at the forthcoming Appeal of their being declared an illegal organization;

AFFIRMS the rights of all religious groups in Russia, especially religious minorities, to legally exist and to worship in freedom, as provided for in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the United Nations Declarations on Human Rights, Article 18.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2017 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2017.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2017 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2017), p. 146.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2017.2 Resolution on Religious Freedom in Russia; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2017.2).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

Resolution on Violations of Religious Freedom in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region

BWA General Council Resolution2016.2

The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Vancouver, Canada, July 6-8, 2016:

RENEWS its concern about the continuing humanitarian crisis in Nigeria previously addressed by a BWA resolution in 2012;

LAMENTS the deteriorating situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region that has been called “the world’s most neglected humanitarian crisis;”

UNDERSTANDS that the violence, murder, and kidnapping has directly impacted more than 14 million people with between three and five million being internally displaced, resulting in rampant malnutrition, leaving thousands of persons on the verge of starvation;

RECOGNIZES that people of faith and houses of worship have been intentionally targeted, including the damage or destruction of thousands of churches and numerous mosques; the devastation of primarily Christian Local Government Areas by Fulani militants in the Middle Belt; the deliberate efforts of Boko Haram to kill and displace those who do not adhere to their particular ideology; as well as vigilante groups who engage in reprisal attacks;

APPRECIATES that President Buhari of Nigeria and his administration have significantly worked to address these complex realities;

STANDS at this critical juncture with the Nigerian Baptist Convention, other Christian believers and people of goodwill across the region and especially all those who are suffering;

CALLS upon the United Nations to designate Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region as a “most severe large scale humanitarian crisis” (Level 3); and

URGES all Baptists to stand in solidarity with Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, to pray for the development of transformative peace throughout the country and region, and to actively work to build a context of justice, human rights, rule of law, and religious freedom for all people.

Keywords

BWA; Human Rights; Nigeria; Religious Freedom; Religious Intolerance; United Nations; Violence.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2016 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2016.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2016 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2016), p. 141.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2016.2 Resolution on Violations of Religious Freedom in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2016.2).

Message to Baptist Churches Throughout the World

International Year of Youth

BWA General Council Resolution 1984.5

WE TAKE NOTE that 1985 has been set apart as the International Year of Youth.

WE BELIEVE this to be an important emphasis in view of the following statistics published by the United Nations:

a) In 1980 there were 657 million young people under 35 years of age in the world. By 2000 it is estimated that there will be 880 million.

b) In the same period the number of young people in Africa, Asia and Latin America will have doubled.

WE CALL UPON Baptists of the world, in cooperation with other Christians, to make one of their evangelistic goals the winning of a whole new generation of young people for Christ, by sharing with them the Gospel of hope as the only answer to the many problems and dangers facing them — nuclear threat, unemployment, drugs, hunger, poverty, materialism, racism, violence, etc.

WE ESPECIALLY URGE the Alliance, the Regional fellowships, the member conventions and unions and all our churches to promote leadership training among young people under 35 and entrust greater responsibility to them in the life and mission of the church.

WE WOULD ENCOURAGE the Nominating Committee and President-nominee to give careful consideration to the placement of young people in the committees, commissions and programs of the Alliance.

WE UNDERTAKE to do all within our power to encourage and enable maximum participation by young people in the Los Angeles Congress.

FINALLY, WE UNDERLINE the three-fold motivation of this resolution:
a) to bring to the world’s young people the blessings of salvation through Jesus Christ alone;
b) to recognize and receive the significant contribution which young people have to make;
c) to develop experienced and gifted Christian leadership for the future of both Church and Society.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984), pp. 87-88.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1984.5 International Year of Youth; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1984.5).