LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Baptist messengers approved seven resolutions at the 2019 annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Little Rock. Below is a summary.
No. 1: Appreciation
Messengers expressed appreciation to the ABSC president, executive director, convention officers, the staff and members of Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Little Rock, and the program committee for their “diligent and sacrificial service in the successful preparation and guidance” of the 166th ABSC Annual Meeting.
No. 2: On Gender, Marriage, Sexuality, and Personal Identity
Messengers affirmed “God’s good design for persons’ gender identity based on biological sex at birth,” God’s model for marriage and family, and exhorted Christians not to “label themselves” in a way that would affirm sinful desires or unbiblical social constructs. Messengers also extended love and compassion to those struggling with gender identity and invited all transgender persons to trust in Christ. Messengers also called on Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction to forsake “any self-conception or personal identity that is contrary to God’s good and holy purposes.” Messengers further affirmed that God provides pardon and power so that Christians can “subdue sinful desires and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.”
No. 3: On Support to Pope County in Its Continued Fight Against Casino Gaming
Messengers encouraged all Arkansas Baptists to support their fellow Christians in Pope County who are fighting against casino gaming in their community and also committed, if a statewide initiative is sought to remove Pope County from Amendment 100, “to assist in the initiative including prayer, voting, funding, and volunteer labor.”
No. 4: On Opposing the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
Messengers expressed their belief that legalization of recreational marijuana will be harmful and “will adversely impact the quality of life in our communities.” Messengers encouraged all Arkansans to speak in opposition to recreational marijuana legalization and work against its legalization. Messengers also requested that all Arkansas registered voters refuse to sign petitions to place a recreational marijuana constitutional amendment on the general election ballot and to vote against any such proposals to legalize recreational marijuana.
No. 5: On Pornography as a Public Health Crisis
Messengers lamented the “devastating damage” caused by pornography, committed to lives of purity, called on Arkansas Baptist churches “to continue and to expand efforts to teach the whole counsel of God,” called on “government authorities to enact and enforce laws” to restrict pornography, encouraged Christian families to be deliberate in teaching children how to use online resources for good and to be discerning in “protecting our children from harmful influences,” and affirmed that God is “fully able to deliver and restore those who have fallen in sexual sin,” calling on churches to “foster a culture of grace, mercy, and restoration.”
No. 6: On Sexual Abuse
Messengers condemned “all forms of sexual abuse as sinful,” compelled churches and institutions to strengthen their cultures to care for victims, and encouraged churches and church leaders to cooperate with organizations that serve the abused and to call on government officials to “strengthen laws to achieve justice and protection for the vulnerable.”
No. 7: On Scriptural Integrity in Political Engagement
Messengers encouraged all believers to be “informed and proactive citizens” while keeping the Great Commission as a priority. Messengers also acknowledged the “danger of disengaging from deliberations about public issues” and disregarding “our obligation as citizens.” Messengers reaffirmed their “commitment to Christ as paramount to any commitment to any candidate, political party, or political action organization.”