Monday, February 27, 2006

You had me at "Hello"

Last night concluded the last of our presentations on ethnic diversity and church desegregation. In the first lecture, primarily dealing with the history of how things came to be, I referenced the SBC's repentant apology of 1995. I only gave a quick synopsis of it, but I got the impression that (a) this was big news to many and (b) this information should be widely spread.

So, while the SBC annual conventions had made statements of a contrite nature against & about racism (e.g., 1978 in Atlanta and 1989 in Las Vegas), new ground was broken in Atlanta in 1995 with regard to racial reconciliation with a denominational apology, asking forgiveness for past sin(s) in this area.


WHEREAS, Since its founding in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention has been an effective instrument of God in missions, evangelism, and social ministry; and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach that Eve is the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20), and that God shows no partiality, but in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him (Acts 10:34-35), and that God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, Our relationship to African-Americans has been hindered from the beginning by the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention; and

WHEREAS, Many of our Southern Baptist forbears defended the right to own slaves, and either participated in, supported, or acquiesced in the particularly inhumane nature of American slavery; and

WHEREAS, In later years Southern Baptists failed, in many cases, to support, and in some cases opposed, legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans; and

WHEREAS, Racism has led to discrimination, oppression, injustice, and violence, both in the Civil War and throughout the history of our nation; and

WHEREAS, Racism has divided the body of Christ and Southern Baptists in particular, and separated us from our African-American brothers and sisters; and

WHEREAS, Many of our congregations have intentionally and/or unintentionally excluded African-Americans from worship, membership, and leadership; and

WHEREAS, Racism profoundly distorts our understanding of Christian morality, leading some Southern Baptists to believe that racial prejudice and discrimination are compatible with the Gospel; and

WHEREAS, Jesus performed the ministry of reconciliation to restore sinners to a right relationship with the Heavenly Father, and to establish right relations among all human beings, especially within the family of faith.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Sesquicentennial meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, assembled in Atlanta, Georgia, June 20-22, 1995, unwaveringly denounce racism, in all its forms, as deplorable sin; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm the Bibles teaching that every human life is sacred, and is of equal and immeasurable worth, made in Gods image, regardless of race or ethnicity (Genesis 1:27), and that, with respect to salvation through Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for (we) are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28); and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest, and we recognize that the racism which yet plagues our culture today is inextricably tied to the past; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we apologize to all African-Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously (Psalm 19:13) or unconsciously (Leviticus 4:27); and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we ask forgiveness from our African-American brothers and sisters, acknowledging that our own healing is at stake; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we hereby commit ourselves to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves to be doers of the Word (James 1:22) by pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships, especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 2:6), to the end that our light would so shine before others, that they may see (our) good works and glorify (our) Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16); and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we pledge our commitment to the Great Commission task of making disciples of all people (Matthew 28:19), confessing that in the church God is calling together one people from every tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9), and proclaiming that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the only certain and sufficient ground upon which redeemed persons will stand together in restored family union as joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). [Atlanta, GA; June, 1995]


Editorial Note: It's been suggested that progress has been made here, but there is bigotry on our part toward those with the gay lifestyle.

My response to such would be ... Though I don't think we've quite got racial diversity reconciled, it was definitely a step in the right direction.

However, I'm not convinced those of an alternate lifestyle are born that way. But, that's somewhat of a moot discussion in my mind since I am convinced that all of humanity are born sinners, with various sinful tendencies that are to be stifled. Now, as you might imagine, I can't see that happening apart from divine grace.

In other words, all humans have inclinations that must be stifled before manifested as behavior. Homosexual activity is one in the category of sinful behavior.

Plus, be advised that there are some who are not on board with putting homosexual activity under the umbrella of civil rights.

The distinction is made between behavior, which one can control, and skin color, which, of course, one cannot.

For example, scope out the following link, a few quotes from which follow.
McKissic: Homosexual rights not the same as civil rights

“When homosexuals have spent over 200 years in slavery, when homosexuals have been legally defined as three-fifths human, when homosexuals have been denied the right to vote and own property because they are homosexuals, then we can begin a discussion of parallels [between the civil rights and gay rights movements],” McKissic said Oct. 13 at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

“[T]o equate civil rights with gay rights is to compare my skin with their sin.”

“At the dawn of this new millennium, the church of the living God cannot allow the gay rights movement to hitch itself to the civil rights movement without putting up a fight,” the pastor said. “We must not allow the gay rights movement to persuade this nation to approve of their sin under the banner of civil rights.”

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