2017 SBC BLOG

Live updates from the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix

PHOENIX (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Phoenix. Updates can be read here, at our Twitter account (Twitter.com/BaptistPress), or our Facebook account (Facebook.com/BaptistPress). Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at Twitter.com/SBCMeeting. A schedule of the meeting and a livestream can be found at http://www.sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc17/program.

All times Mountain Standard.

Wednesday afternoon

5:07 p.m. -- Charles Fowler, pastor of Germantown (Tenn.) Baptist Church, closed the session with prayer.

5:05 p.m. -- Gaines announced the members of a soul winning task force, which will study how Southern Baptists can be more effective in personal evangelism and evangelistic preaching.

Paige Patterson will chair the task force. Other members are: Gaines, Jeff Iorg, Preston Nix, Alvin Reid, Jim Shaddix, Adam Greenway, Matt Queen, David Allen, J.D. Greear, James Merritt, Jordan Easley, Nick Floyd, Noe Garcia, Bartholomew Orr, Robert Matz, Jimmy Scroggins, Jim Richards and Doug Munton.

5:02 p.m. -- The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission presentation focused on the religious liberty of an Illinois church.

Moore interviewed Nathan Carter, a Chicago pastor whose church sued the city for allegedly imposing illegal parking requirements on the congregation. The parking requirements have prevented Immanuel Baptist Church from purchasing the facility in which it has met since 2011.

Immanuel loves its city government and wants to serve it even in the midst of a lawsuit, Carter said.

Moore said the federal statute which protects Immanuel is the same statute to which the ERLC appealed in its friend-of-the-court brief in the religious liberty case of a New Jersey Islamic society.

The presentation concluded with a prayer for Immanuel led my Moore.

4:50 p.m. -- Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore presented the ERLC report, highlighting the commission's efforts to contend for life, engage the culture and foster racial reconciliation.

Over the past year, Moore said, it has become clear that "Planned Parenthood is no friend to women, no friend to children and no friend to life and human dignity." In response, the ERLC has launched a national campaign to tell all lawmakers in Washington "that Planned Parenthood should not receive a single cent of taxpayer money now or ever."

Moore also noted the ERLC's efforts to train believers in responding biblically to "pressing moral and ethical questions." Those efforts have included partnerships with SBC seminaries, he said.

The ERLC is "focused intensely on racial reconciliation," Moore said. Next year the commission will cosponsor a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, he said.

All ethical issues must be addressed in light of the Gospel of Christ, Moore said.

Messengers asked Moore two questions:

-- Wiley Drake of California asked whether Moore has a personal relationship with Jesus and if so, how that came about. Moore responded that he was saved through the witness of his grandmother and a local church.

-- Mark Collins of Texas asked Moore whether soul freedom is a key Baptist distinctive. Moore responded that Baptists share many doctrines with other groups of believers but are distinct from some other groups because they insist on soul freedom -- the doctrine that each individual is ultimately accountable to God, not government, and "must be born again."

4:29 p.m. -- A president's panel discussion explored topics related to financial stewardship.

Panelists were SBC President Steve Gaines; Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City; Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas; K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia; Jordan Easley, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.; Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee; and Chris Brown, a nationally syndicated radio host with Ramsey Solutions.

Williams said every believer will one day give "a systematic rendering [to God] of what" they have done with the "time, talent and treasures" the Lord has given them.

Floyd said pastors must not "shy away" from teaching biblical stewardship, which is grounded in the reality that "God owns absolutely everything and I own absolutely nothing."

Easley said he teaches his church that giving is an expression of love for the Lord.

Page said pastors should teach tithing as a means to achieve financial freedom and not merely as an obligation.

Because debt affects people's sense of security, Dilbeck said, they need to be taught not to carry excessive debt. "We need to encourage and teach" people how to get out of debt, he said.

Gaines said believers should not accept every credit card offer they receive. He advocated "saving money to pay cash" for purchases.

Brown cited a budget as "the foundation for personal finance," adding "you've got to have a plan for your money." Financial struggles generally are caused be spending habits rather than failure to earn adequate income, he said.

3:50 p.m. -- The LifeWay Christian Resources presentation focused on the Christian Standard Bible, a new translation of Scripture published by LifeWay's B&H publishing arm.

Trevin Wax, B&H's Bible and reference publisher, said the CSB is "both precise and clear ... literal and understandable."

Eric Geiger, vice president of LifeWay's resources division, said Bible reading is the number one predictor of a believer's spiritual growth. "That is why we're so excited to steward the CSB, he said.

3:36 p.m. -- LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom Rainer presented the LifeWay report.

In November, Rainer said, LifeWay will move into its new building in downtown Nashville. The move will reduce LifeWay's office space from 1.1 million square feet to 260,000 square feet, he said, noting LifeWay will remain one of Nashville's largest employers.

Among new resources Rainer highlighted was the Christian Standard Bible, released this year. Rainer presented the inaugural Christian Standard Bible Award to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. The award honors an individual for commitment to the supremacy and sufficiency of the Bible.

Rainer also reported that Forbes Magazine named LifeWay one of "America's best mid-size employers" for 2017, based on information from LifeWay employees.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

3:24 p.m. -- Executive Committee President Frank S. Page recognized outgoing and new SBC officers.

3:19 p.m. -- Because Jesus is the great high priest who grants access to God, believers should pray boldly for divine help, said H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

Preaching from Hebrews 4:14-16, Charles noted:

-- The supremacy of our great high priest

Jesus "is the Son of the Living God," Charles said. "... There is no one like Jesus."

Because He is supreme, believers must not allow anything or anyone else "to be a substitute for Jesus," Charles said.

-- The sympathy of our great high priest

Because Jesus was tempted as His fellow humans are yet was without sin, He can sympathize with them and provide power to live for God, Charles said, adding Jesus gives believers access to God as well.

Charles concluded that the gracious character of Jesus should lead believers to pray boldly.

"Because of Jesus, we can pray as confident children coming before a loving Father," Charles said.

3:03 p.m. -- Messengers adopted a resolution "on the anti-Gospel of alt-right white supremacy."

In presenting the resolution, Resolutions Committee chairman Barrett Duke said, "We regret and apologize for the pain and the confusion that we created for you and a watching world when we decided not to report out a resolution on alt-right racism."

The committee abhors racism, Duke said, adding the initial decision not to recommend a resolution condemning alt-right racist ideology did not reflect sympathy with that ideology. The committee worked into the early morning hours on this resolution, Duke said.

With this resolution, the Resolutions Committee sought to strike "a tone that honors all people, even those with whom we disagree, as men and women created in the image of God," Duke said.

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, speaking from the floor, said "white supremacy and racist ideologies are dangerous because they oppress our brothers and sisters in Christ."

"Unrepentant racism sends unrepentant racists to hell," Moore said. Let's stand "for justice and mercy in the cross of Jesus Christ."

See the resolution's full text below.

RESOLUTION 10

ON THE ANTI-GOSPEL OF ALT-RIGHT WHITE SUPREMACY

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches, "From one man [God] has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live" (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, The Psalmist proclaimed, "The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD" (Psalm 24:1); and

WHEREAS, The Apostle Peter said, "God doesn't show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him" (Acts 10:34–35); and

WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27–28); and

WHEREAS, Scripture proclaims that Jesus is purchasing by His blood believers "from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9); and

WHEREAS, Throughout eternity we will gather with a "multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language" in worship of our risen Savior (Revelation 7:9); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message conveys that all Christians are obligated to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love; and

WHEREAS, We know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred; and

WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated "historic acts of evil, such as slavery," committed "to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry," and "genuinely repent[ed] of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously"; and

WHEREAS, In recent years the Convention has nominated and elected individuals from a variety of ethnicities, including electing our first African-American president in 2012; and

WHEREAS, In recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called on "all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more" (2014); expressed continued grief "over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation" (2015); and urged fellow Christians to discontinue using the Confederate battle flag, acknowledging that it is "used by some and perceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people" (2016); and

WHEREAS, More than 20 percent (nearly eleven thousand) of our cooperating Southern Baptist congregations identify as predominately non-Anglo and for the last three years more than 50 percent of Southern Baptist new church plants have been predominately non-Anglo; and

WHEREAS, B&H Academic recently published Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention, highlighting our continuing need to root out vestiges of racism from our own hearts as Southern Baptists; and

WHEREAS, Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as "white nationalism" or "alt-right"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we earnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.

2:50 p.m. -- Ryan Wingo, worship pastor at Apex (N.C.) Baptist Church, opened the afternoon session with Scripture and prayer.

Wednesday morning

11:20 a.m. -- Jordan Easley, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., closed the morning session with prayer.

11:16 a.m. -- Messengers asked two questions during a Q&A session featuring all six SBC seminaries.

-- A messenger from Texas asked how SBC seminaries can reduce their tuition and fees to attract students who would otherwise attend theologically liberal seminaries that cost less. Jason Allen replied that the Cooperative Program keeps the cost of SBC seminaries affordable. Allen also encouraged students who would attend liberal seminaries merely because of the price to reevaluate their senses of calling.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. said some small, well-endowed liberal institutions can essentially "buy students" by allowing them to attend tuition-free. Mohler asked Southern Baptists to tell prospective students about the value of biblically-sound theological education. Free education at a liberal school, Mohler said, can "cost eternity."

-- A messenger asked Paige Patterson how his church can connect with recent Southwestern Seminary graduates in Ecuador. Patterson provided contact information for two Southwestern administrators.

11:08 a.m. -- Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson delivered the Southwestern Seminary report. He highlighted the seminary's efforts to train pastors in 146 locations across the globe, including a program to train pastors in Ecuador.

Southwestern's archaeology department is conducting digs in five countries, Patterson said, noting one dig that has opened evangelistic opportunities in a region that has been closed to Christian workers.

Patterson invited Southern Baptists to visit Southwestern Seminary in 2018 when the SBC meets in Dallas.

11:00 a.m. -- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. opened the Southern Seminary report by expressing hope messengers will "do the right thing" in response to a proposed SBC resolution condemning racist ideology of the alt-right.

Mohler noted Southern Seminary's expansion amid decline among seminaries that advocate liberal theology. Some 5,500 students at Southern in the most recent academic year constituted the largest seminary enrollment in SBC history, Mohler said.

Southern Seminary graduates are among recently commissioned IMB missionaries, Mohler said, and the institution has launched initiatives to help current students share the Gospel in North America and across the globe.

10:50 a.m. -- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley acknowledged the seminary's 100th birthday in his report, noting its establishment in 1917.

Among the focus of the seminary's 100th birthday celebration is helping the SBC reverse its trend of declining baptisms, Kelley said. To that end, the New Orleans Seminary family will seek to have 100,000 Gospel conversations in the next year, he said.

A scholarship program for ministers serving small churches has led students to have nearly 18,000 Gospel conversations over three years, Kelley said, and has witnessed 1,766 professions of faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Kelley concluded his report by highlighting the seminary's work for racial reconciliation. He expressed support for a proposed SBC resolution condemning racist ideology of the alt-right.

10:38 a.m. -- Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg delivered the Gateway report, which highlighted the move of Gateway's main campus from norther California to Southern California.

Iorg also announced nearly $2 million in gifts over recent months and said enrollment is increasing now that the move to southern California has been completed.

Additionally, Iorg announced that the California Baptist Foundation will relocate its primary office to Gateway's Ontario, Calif., campus.

10:30 a.m. -- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen delivered the MBTS report. He emphasized the seminary's "for the church" theme and said enrollment has increased from 1,200 to 3,000 over the past five years.

Financial contributions to Midwestern over the past four years, Allen said, have exceeded the combined total of gifts from 1957-2012.

Allen also noted new degree programs and a partnership with the International Mission Board that helps students share Christ across the world.

10:21 a.m. -- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin delivered the SEBTS report. He highlighted Southeastern's commitment to fulfill the Great Commission by "training and equipping disciple makers."

The seminary's Global Theological Initiative trains Baptist conventions, mission boards and strategic churches on five continents in multiple languages, Akin said. One degree program taught in Farsi will train pastors in America and Central Asia, he said. Other nations where Southeastern is working include Cuba, Brazil, Ukraine and Vietnam.

An emphasis on prayer led Southeastern to appoint Chuck Lawless as vice president for spiritual formation, Akin said.

Akin noted the seminary's Kingdom diversity initiative and said Southeastern personnel will vote Wednesday afternoon to pass a proposed resolution condemning racist ideology of the alt-right, Akin said.

10:12 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Council of Seminary Presidents, reported on the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives and Seminary Extension.

10:04 a.m. -- Amid a rapidly changing culture, the Southern Baptist Convention's commitment to preaching God's Word must never change, said Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif.

Preaching from 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Spradlin focused the convention sermon on the job description God gives pastors.

-- Our primary responsibility is to preach God's Word, not our opinion.

Although the main task of preachers "is to declare God's message," Spradlin said, preaching "has fallen on hard times," with some churches eliminating it.

Yet "God's plan has always involved preaching," Spradlin said, and saving the lost through it.

-- We should preach at every opportunity, not just when it's convenient.

"There should be an urgency in our preaching," Spradlin said.

He commended expository preaching as a helpful way to communicate the full counsel of God, including subjects pastors are tempted to avoid, he said.

-- Our preaching should be biblically balanced.

"There must always be a balance between the toughness of truth and the tenderness of grace," Spradlin said, noting the transformative "cumulative effect" of balanced preaching over many years.

-- We should preach to please God rather than men.

"Some people do not want the truth. They want someone to make them feel good," Spradlin said. Shallow sermons exist in abundance "because there is a demand."

Preachers must battle the inclination to please people, he said, and tell people the truth of Scripture.

-- Our preaching should focus on the Gospel.

"The Gospel is about Jesus," Spradlin said. "... Churches that lift up Jesus grow, and those that don't don't. I'm not just talking about growing numerically" but growing in depth.

Followers of Jesus have "living water" needed by a spiritually thirsty culture, Spradlin said. "... We simply point to Jesus."

9:20 a.m. -- International Mission Board President David Platt delivered the IMB report, fielding comments and questions from three messengers at the end of his remarks.

Platt said the IMB's finances are on "stable ground" thanks in part to Southern Baptists' giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

It's time to stop talking about the IMB's "past financial struggles," Platt said, and start focusing on the "present work we are doing."

Platt shared brief testimonies from missionaries about God's work to save lost people and disciple them across the world. "This is the work of the IMB, and this is happening every day," he said.

During the period for questions, two messengers asked questions and another offered a comment.

-- A messenger from Ohio expressed concern about the IMB's signing of an amicus supporting the religious liberty claim of a New Jersey Islamic society. He asked what process the IMB now has in place to remain focused on its "primary mission."

Platt responded that trustees "have fully looked at making sure a process in in place ... for reviewing and approving any amicus briefs in the future." The IMB wants to be focused on making disciples and multiplying churches, he said.

-- A messenger originally from Iran thanked the IMB for coming to his country and leading his family to Christ. Noting he has become a minister, the messenger stated, "Only God can save a fanatic Muslim" and make him a pastor. Platt said the IMB's goal is always to lead people to Christ and then help them take the Gospel to other unreached people.

-- A messenger from Illinois asked about the IMB's ongoing relationship with church plants once those plants establish indigenous leadership. Platt said the IMB attempts to move on and plant other churches while remaining connected with more mature church plants. He cited the apostle Paul's activities in the New Testament as a model.

9:05 a.m. -- North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell delivered the NAMB report. Among the ministries highlighted in the report:

-- Thousands have filled arenas at Send conferences to focus on Southern Baptist missions opportunities.

-- The Three Circles evangelistic conversation guide app has been downloaded more than 2 million times.

"We need a Gospel conversation resurgence," Ezell said.

-- In 2016, 732 new churches were planted and 232 existing churches began cooperating with the SBC.

"We do not plant churches to do evangelism. We plan churches from evangelism," Ezell said. Church plants, he noted, baptize on average 74 percent more people than existing congregations. Ezell highlighted state Baptist Conventions in which more than 20 percent of all cooperating churches have been planted since 2010.

"Southern Baptist work is growing stronger and stronger in these areas because your churches sacrificially give," Ezell said. Last year's Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions yielded the second highest total in the offering's history, he said.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

8:56 a.m. -- Woman's Missionary Union executive director/treasurer Sandra Wisdom-Martin and national WMU president Linda Cooper delivered the WMU report, highlighting the Christian Women's and Men's Job Corps.

8:50 a.m. -- Don Currence of Missouri has been elected registration secretary. On the second ballot, Currence defeated Waylan Owens of Texas 554 (69.25%) to 231 (28.88%).

8:48 a.m. -- Messengers voted to ask Gaines to form a task force to study how Southern Baptists can be more effective in personal evangelism and evangelistic preaching.

8:45 a.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business reported on the disposition of motions made Tuesday afternoon.

The following motions deal with internal operations or ministries of SBC entities and were automatically referred to those entities:

-- A motion that the North American Mission Board be asked not to engage in cooperative agreements with states that teach or act contrary to the Baptist Faith and Message was referred to NAMB.

-- A motion that all entities be asked to publish names and contact information for trustees was referred to the Executive Committee and all other entities. The Committee on Order of Business noted that such information already is published in the SBC Annual and on SBC.net.

The following motions affect the SBC Constitution and Bylaws and were referred to the Executive Committee:

-- That a committee be formed to study merging the IMB and NAMB.

-- That a Sunday be added to the SBC Calendar for honoring persecuted Christians.

The chair ruled out of order a motion requesting an opportunity to defund the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Gaines noted that the opportunity to alter the funding of entities occurred when messengers considered the 2017-18 CP Allocation Budget Tuesday.

8:32 a.m. -- Gentry Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church in Poteau, Okla., opened the session with Scripture and prayer.

Tuesday evening

10:07 p.m. -- Bill Street, minister of evangelism and discipleship at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., closed the session in prayer.

10:04 p.m. -- Messengers approved a request by the Resolutions Committee to present a resolution on "the anti-Gospel alt-right white supremacy movement" at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

A previous motion to amend the annual meeting agenda and schedule a time for reconsideration of a resolution on the alt-right failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority, attaining only a 57.53 percent majority. But the Resolutions Committee reconsidered its decision not to report the resolution out of committee. SBC parliamentarians and the Committee on Order of Business both affirmed unanimously the Resolutions Committee's request for time on the agenda June 14.

Gaines urged messengers, "Let's make sure that before we leave Phoenix, everyone knows we have spoken forthrightly ... that we come against every kind of racism there is."

9:35 p.m. -- International Mission Board President David Platt led the IMB presentation. He said "there is an inherent problem" if believers only carry the Gospel to people in the places they live. Churches, he said, must send missionaries to share the Gospel in places it has never been heard.

The stage is set for Southern Baptists to begin increasing their number of international missionaries, Platt said, but "such sending will involve sacrifice" by churches and individual believers.

Following Platt's message, a series of newly appointed IMB missionaries shared their testimonies of being called to the nations. The missionaries dispersed throughout the meeting hall, and messengers gathered around them for prayer.

8:55 p.m. -- Gaines asked messengers not to leave the meeting hall until the session has ended because the Resolutions Committee has an item of business for messengers to consider.

8:46 p.m. -- Ministers must extend public invitations for people to follow Christ whenever they preach the Gospel, said Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.

"I get so tired of these [so-called] experts saying [the] days are over" when people will go to a meeting to hear the Gospel, Laurie said in a sermon. But mass evangelism still works "because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation."

Laurie suggested three reasons some preachers do not give invitations:

-- They don't care about lost people.

A preacher can test whether he cares about the lost by asking how long it has been since he engaged a non-believer in a personal conversation about the Gospel. Teaching and preaching about evangelism "is not a substitute for evangelism," he said.

-- A fear of failure

"The harvest is not at the end of the service," Laurie said. "It's at the end of the age." So preachers can focus on faithful Gospel proclamation and leave the results to God.

-- We don't think invitations are biblical.

Laurie rejected that claim, noting the Old and New Testaments include invitations to follow the Lord.

Turning to Acts 2:22-41, Laurie noted five factors that make evangelistic invitations effective:

-- The preacher is filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

-- The preacher preaches Christ and Him crucified.

Every message doesn't have to be focused on evangelism, Laurie said, but "you can always save an evangelistic hook for the end."

-- The preacher preaches for a decision.

At Pentecost, Peter was "strongly urging" his followers to trust Jesus, Laurie said, adding preachers should expect people to be converted when they proclaim the Gospel.

Every church will not be large, Laurie said, but every church should "have a constant flow of new believers coming in ... We can evangelize or we can fossilize."

-- The preacher articulates the Gospel.

Two mistakes preachers make, Laurie said, are failure to make the message of salvation clear and failure to establish a simple method for people to indicate a desire to follow Christ.

-- The preacher is honest in his invitation.

At the conclusion of a message, a preacher should explain accurately and clearly how he will call people to respond, Laurie said. Leading people in a prayer to receive Christ, he said, can be a helpful aspect of an invitation.

"You never know who is out in that audience," Laurie said. "... They're just waiting for someone to give them an opportunity to believe."

7:43 p.m. -- An extended time of worship included praise music, prayer in small groups and intercession for America.

7:06 p.m. -- A messenger asked Gaines to clarify the SBC's stance on racist ideology. Gaines replied that he can only speak for himself and not all messengers. Then he said to a standing ovation, "God loves everyone ... There is only one race, the human race ... Jesus died for everyone." He added that a ministry of Bellevue Baptist Church called Bellevue Loves Memphis has ministered to many people of different ethnicities. Bellevue baptizes people of different ethnicities every Sunday, he said.

6:58 p.m. -- A motion to alter the order of business to schedule time to reconsider Dwight McKissic's resolution on the alt-right went to a ballot vote.

6:56 p.m. -- A motion authorizing the president to appoint a task force on soul winning was scheduled by the Committee on Order of Business for debate and vote at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday

Messengers elected Paige Patterson as the 2018 convention preacher, Kie Bowman as the alternate preacher and Mark Blair as the convention music director.

6:53 p.m. -- Steve Bailey's motion regarding nomination speeches for SBC officers was referred to the Executive Committee. The motion to refer was adopted by a ballot vote of 982 (52.21%) to 889 (47.26%).

6:49 p.m. -- A second ballot in the election for registration secretary featured Don Currence and Waylan Owens, the two top finishers in the first ballot. Vote totals for the first ballot were as follows:

Leroy Fountain: 282 votes (14.53%)

A.B. Vines: 213 votes (10.97%)

Don Currence: 910 votes (46.88%)

Barry Calhoun: 174 votes (8.96%)

Waylan Owens: 345 votes (17.77%)

Tuesday afternoon

5:25 p.m. -- Chuck Herring, pastor of First Baptist Church in Collierville, Tenn., closed the afternoon session with prayer.

5:23 p.m. -- A second ballot for registration secretary will occur at 6:30 p.m., Gaines announced. Neither the candidates nor vote totals from the first ballot were announced.

5:21 p.m. -- North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell led the NAMB presentation. He highlighted three stories of church planting and asked messengers to pray for church planters using the website PrayForPlanters.com.

Church planter Dan Coleman of Maine told how NAMB helped his congregation purchase a new facility that allowed it to grow from 200 worship attendees to 1,200 and baptize numerous new believers. NAMB's church loan department lent money to the congregation and helped it negotiate the purchase of a $1.8 million building for $400,000, Coleman said.

Ronnie Raines, pastor of Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., told of a church plant his congregation sponsors in Tallahassee. The pastor of the plant is bivocational, also working as a physician, and the plant is multiethnic. "We're going to need bivocational pastors" to reach North America with the Gospel, Raines said.

Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., recounted how church member Karen Watson went to Iraq as an International Mission Board missionary, where she was killed 13 years ago. A letter penned by Watson before her death inspired a worship song written by Valley's former worship pastor and has encouraged numerous others to serve as international and North American missionaries, Spradlin said. Ezell noted that North American and international missionaries often encourage and inspire one another. The report included a performance of the worship song.

"God has called each of us ... to be on mission," Ezell said, "to have Gospel conversations with people about the one who has radically changed our life. Jesus saves. He still saves."

4:39 p.m. -- Messengers adopted nine resolutions moments ago.

Resolution 8 "on the importance of moral leadership" was amended to clarify that Southern Baptists' proclamation of moral standards is a reflection of "Christ's transformative grace" and not a matter of legalism.

Messengers voted not to consider a resolution "on condemnation of the 'alt-right' movement at the roots of white supremacy," which was declined by the Resolutions Committee. Messenger Dwight McKissic of Texas argued consideration and adoption of the resolution would uphold civic righteousness and promote racial justice. Resolutions Committee chairman Barrett Duke responded that the resolution contained language that was "inappropriate" for an official SBC statement.

Following the vote, a messenger stated he "would hate for there to be any confusion" regarding where the SBC "stands on the alt-right." Duke responded that some ideologies of the alt-right are offensive to the committee, but the resolution submitted did not define precisely who is a member of the alt-right.

A messenger asked the Resolutions Committee, in light of its decision to decline a resolution "on praying for the peace of Jerusalem," whether committee members believe in praying for Palestinian Christians. Duke responded in the affirmative.

A messenger requested that in future years, reasons be stated for the committee's decision to decline certain resolutions. The convention received the suggestion.

The full text of the resolutions follows:

RESOLUTION 1: ON PRAYER

WHEREAS, Scripture reveals Jesus engaging in prayer on many occasions (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16); and

WHEREAS, The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1); and

WHEREAS, Jesus taught His disciples a model prayer to help them know how to pray (Luke 11:2–4); and

WHEREAS, Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and His future disciples (John 17:1–26); and

WHEREAS, Jesus instructed His disciples that some of the most demanding spiritual work of the church requires prayer (Mark 9:14–29); and

WHEREAS, Fasting is often associated with times of concerted prayer in Scripture (Daniel 10:3; Esther 4:16; Acts 14:21–23); and

WHEREAS, Scripture commands God's people: "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face always" (Psalm 105:4); and

WHEREAS, Psalms is primarily a book of prayer; and

WHEREAS, Prayer is the principal means of communicating and communing with God; and

WHEREAS, God answers the prayers of His people in accordance to His will (1 John 5:14–15); and

WHEREAS, Scripture records great acts of God in response to the prayers of His people (1 Kings 18:36–39; Acts 4:23–31); and

WHEREAS, Jesus taught His disciples to pray without ceasing (Luke 18:1–5); and

WHEREAS, The apostles considered prayer to be one of their two highest priorities (Acts 6:4); and

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that God works in response to prayer (Matthew 7:7–11; James 5:16); and

WHEREAS, Every great revival has been preceded by God's people praying; and

WHEREAS, Regular corporate prayer is essential to the life of the local church and regular personal prayer is essential to the life of the believer (Acts 2:42–47; 1 Thessalonians 5:17–18; Philippians 4:4–7); and

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that the chief enemy of the praying believer is Satan (Daniel 10:10–14; Ephesians 6:10–18; 1 Peter 5:8); and

WHEREAS, The theme of the 2017 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention encourages us to "Pray! For Such a Time as This," and President Steve Gaines called us to fast and pray for the twenty-one days leading up to the annual meeting; and

WHEREAS, Prayer guides and additional resources for prayer are available at SBC.net/InAllThingsPray; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, confess and repent of any lack of prayer in our own lives and our churches; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask God to search our hearts and show us if there is any hindrance in us to His work in and through us for His glory; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray and urge our fellow Southern Baptists to join us in prayer for the next twenty-one days, leading up to July 4th, for God to be merciful to Southern Baptists, empoweringnus anew with His Holy Spirit to be His witnesses in our communities, states, nation, and world; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists to make an ongoing commitment to spend at least fifteen minutes of every day in prayer, to the best of our ability, and to fast as a regular discipline, as we are able, in order to resist the desires of the flesh and focus on the things of the Spirit; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we join together in pleading with God for a great outpouring of His Spirit, leading to a revival of the churches to the end that many millions will come to faith in Jesus, be added to our churches, and dedicate themselves to following His will.

RESOLUTION 2: ON THE FIVE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION

WHEREAS, October 31, 2017, marks the five hundredth anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther's nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany; and

WHEREAS, The Reformation stressed a return to the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture as the supreme guide for faith and practice in the church of Jesus Christ; and

WHEREAS, The Reformation was driven by the biblical conviction that sinners are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone based on Scripture alone to the glory of God alone; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists trace much of their theological heritage to the events, figures, and principles of the Magisterial Reformation and the Radical Reformation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists particularly value the principles of the Reformation that inspired subsequent generations of Baptists to advocate for the religious liberty of all people; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, express our gratitude to God for the courage and conviction of our Reformation forebears; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves anew to the biblical convictions of the Reformation, calling all people everywhere to personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as taught by holy Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we will promote the sufficiency of Scripture, the power of Christ's grace, and the personal accountability of all humanity before God even as we advocate for the fundamental right of all people to exercise religious liberty; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we will proclaim the priority and preeminence of Christ and His kingdom above all earthly powers to the glory of God alone.

RESOLUTION 3: ON THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION

WHEREAS, For its first seven decades, the Southern Baptist Convention carried out its work between annual meetings through numerous ad hoc committees, electing as many as thirty-three committees in a given year; and

WHEREAS, The Convention recognized that such a cumbersome organizational structure was inadequate to accomplish its ministry purposes in the twentieth century; and

WHEREAS, In 1916, a messenger from Texas moved that the Convention "establish one strong Executive Board which shall direct all of the work and enterprises fostered and promoted by this Convention"; and

WHEREAS, Following a year of study, with input from Southern Baptists, many expressing opposition to such centralized power, a proposal was made to establish an Executive Committee with limited authority to help coordinate the Convention's work; and

WHEREAS, On May 17, 1917, during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention was created; and

WHEREAS, In 1927, the Convention enlarged the Executive Committee's scope of duties to include acting ad interim on behalf of the Convention and recommending an operating budget for the Southern Baptist Convention each year and the allocation of Cooperative Program funds to SBC entities; and

WHEREAS, Over the years the Executive Committee shepherded the fledgling Cooperative Program; helped avert a Convention-wide financial crisis in the early twentieth century; initiated Bold Mission Thrust, a campaign adopted by the SBC in 1978 "to enable every person in the world to have the opportunity to hear and to respond to the Gospel of Christ by the year 2000"; led in the adoption of the Covenant for a New Century (1995–1997) with its attendant streamlining of SBC entities; appointed numerous advisory councils to broaden representation and participation of people from numerous ethnic minority and language groups within Convention life; and continues to champion the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our cooperative outreach into the twenty-first century; and

WHEREAS, The SBC Organization Manual states, "The Executive Committee continues to exist to minister to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by acting for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for in a manner that encourages the cooperation and confidence of the churches, associations, and state conventions and facilitates maximum support for worldwide missions and ministries"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, give thanks to God for His providence in the establishment of the Executive Committee one hundred years ago; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we honor the thousands of men and women who have served the Southern Baptist Convention through the "behind the scenes" work of the Executive Committee; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the Executive Committee for almost a century of promotion of the Cooperative Program and its faithful and continued partnership with Southern Baptist churches, SBC entities, associations, state conventions, ethnic minority fellowships, and other affinity groups; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we encourage the Executive Committee to continue to champion support for the worldwide ministries of the cooperating churches of the Southern Baptist Convention until the day of our Lord's glorious return.

RESOLUTION 4: ON UNIVERSITY MINISTRY

WHEREAS, Many of the next generation of leaders are being trained on college and university campuses across America; and

WHEREAS, American higher education is becoming increasingly secular, leading to educational systems that are further removed from a biblical worldview; and

WHEREAS, There are millions of students on campuses who, apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, will spend an eternity in hell; and

WHEREAS, University ministry during the twentieth century became influenced by parachurch ministries that did not always connect students to the vital, life-giving work of the local church; and

WHEREAS, Scripture calls us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16–20), including those that come to America for education; and

WHEREAS, Our Lord called us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, necessitating a comprehensive approach to evangelism and discipleship (Matthew 22:34–39); and

WHEREAS, Many secularists and non-Christians unapologetically seek to win the next generation to their worldviews, training them to shed their religious beliefs and embrace an agnostic, atheistic, or non-exclusivistic approach to life and thought; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically acted with Gospel urgency and serious financial commitment to reach students on their local campuses through numerous ministry initiatives such as Baptist Collegiate Ministry (currently serving 860 campuses), collegiate ministry resources produced by LifeWay, myMISSION by Woman's Missionary Union, as well as the more recent Collegiate Church Planting initiative of the North American Mission Board; and

WHEREAS, The moral decay of our culture and the secularization of America compels Southern Baptists to reach college students for Christ; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, recognize the tremendous Gospel opportunity on college campuses across America; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge our fellow Southern Baptists to devote considerable prayer, strategy, and investment in

evangelistic and discipleship endeavors by strengthening existing works and increasing the connection between campus ministries and the local church.

RESOLUTION 5: ON THE NECESSITY OF PENAL SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT

WHEREAS, In recent days numerous voices from the Protestant world have boldly attacked the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement; and

WHEREAS, These voices have publicly labeled penal substitution "monstrous," "evil," "a terrible doctrine," and indicative of "the Father murdering a son"; and

WHEREAS, The "anti-violence" model of the cross of Christ weakens the Bible's teaching by recasting the atonement as a basis for pacifism (in contradiction of Romans 13:4); and

WHEREAS, God is perfect in His holiness (Isaiah 6:3) and perfect in His justice (Deuteronomy 32:4), as He is also perfect in His love (1 John 4:8); and

WHEREAS, On the cross of Christ Jesus the perfect love of God perfectly applies the perfect justice of God to satisfy the perfect holiness of God in order to redeem sinners (Romans 3:26); and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement in effect denies the holy and loving God the exercise of His justice, the overflow of which in a sinful world is the outpouring of His just retributive wrath; and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement thus displays in effect the denial of the perfect character of the one true God; and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement constitutes false teaching that leads the flock astray (Acts 20:28) and leaves the world without a message of a sin-cleansing Savior (Romans 5:6–11); and

WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement necessarily compromises the biblical and historical doctrines of propitiation, expiation, ransom, satisfaction, Christus Victor, Christus Exemplar, and more; and

WHEREAS, The Lord promised a warrior-savior who would crush the head of the serpent to obliterate the enemy (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; Revelation 19:11–16); and

WHEREAS, The sacrificial system of the Old Testament culminated in the blood sacrifice of a spotless lamb on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:11–19); and

WHEREAS, Jesus Himself unveiled the salvific mission that necessitated His incarnation (Hebrews 2:17) when He said, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28); and

WHEREAS, The confession of the Scriptures is that Christ is our passive and active righteousness, forgiving all our sin by His death and imputing to us all His righteousness through faith (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9); and

WHEREAS, An apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ called the shed blood of the Savior "precious" (1 Peter 1:19); and

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" of sin (Hebrews 9:22); and

WHEREAS, Baptist pastor-theologians and scholars with differing soteriological convictions have made the preaching of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ the foundation of their ministry, heralding the Good News all over this world; and

WHEREAS, Countless missionaries and martyrs of the Christian faith have laid down their lives in order to tell fellow sinners about the death of Christ for the wicked, thus obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20); and

WHEREAS, Baptists preach the cross of Christ, sing about the cross, cling to the cross, share the cross, love the cross, and take up their own crosses to follow their Lord, even as the world despises His cross and the proclaimers of His cross; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message was revised in 2000, incorporating for the first time the language of substitution to make plain what evangelical Baptists have long since preached and believed; and

WHEREAS, Around the throne of God into all eternity, the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, ethnicity, and nation will cry out, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain !" (Revelation 5:12, ESV); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, reaffirm the truthfulness, efficacy, and beauty of the biblical doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement as the burning core of the Gospel message and the only hope of a fallen race.

RESOLUTION 6: ON DEFUNDING AND INVESTIGATING PLANNED PARENTHOOD

WHEREAS, Scripture clearly affirms the sanctity of human life throughout all stages of development (Psalm 139:13–16); and

WHEREAS, God abhors the shedding of innocent blood and requires His people to do all in their power to rescue persons from such acts (Proverbs 6:16–17; 24:11–12); and

WHEREAS, In The Baptist Faith & Message and in many resolutions Southern Baptists have repeatedly affirmed our commitment to the sanctity of human life; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates were responsible for 328,348 abortions in America in fiscal year 2015/16, according to its latest annual report, representing an increase of more than 4,300 abortions from the prior year, making PPFA and its affiliates America's leading abortionists; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood's total revenues in fiscal year 2015/16 were $1.354 billion, including $555 million from federal government funding, record highs for both categories, resulting in a profit of $77 million; and

WHEREAS, According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Planned Parenthood's advocacy and political arms, employees, and family members of employees spent more than $38 million in the last four years to elect political candidates sympathetic with their immoral policy objectives; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood's latest annual report indicates it performs more abortions than cancer screenings, demonstrating the central role abortion plays in the immoral enterprise of this organization; and

WHEREAS, In July 2015, investigative journalists with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) began releasing a series of undercover videos in which various senior leaders of Planned Parenthood spoke in astonishingly frank, horrific, and euphemistic ways about unborn babies, their use of illegal abortion methods, and their harvesting of tissues and organs of unborn babies to further profit from the practice of abortion; and

WHEREAS, Contrary to claims by Planned Parenthood and its allies that the videos were edited in a manner to portray falsely the participants' intent, the veracity of the videos has been verified by two different experts, one of whom was commissioned by PPFA; and

WHEREAS, For their efforts in exposing the illegal activities of Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry, leaders of CMP have been subjected to censorship of their videos, politically motivated lawsuits, criminal charges, and continuing legal jeopardy, including being held in contempt of court for recently releasing new undercover videos; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. House of Representatives Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee have each made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after each found evidence that Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry may have violated federal law by the use of illegal abortion methods, including late-term, partial-birth, and born-alive abortions, and the procurement of fetal tissue for profit; and

WHEREAS, Although in 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 241–187 to approve H.R. 3134, Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, the legislation has languished and Planned Parenthood continues to receive more than half a billion dollars each year from the federal government; and

WHEREAS, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has made defunding Planned Parenthood one of its ten legislative priorities for 2017; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, reaffirm our absolute commitment to the sanctity of human life; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we denounce the immoral agenda and practices of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates, especially their role in the unjust killing each year of more than 300,000 precious unborn babies, its use of particularly gruesome illegal abortion methods, and its profiteering from harvesting unborn babies' tissues and organs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the United States Congress to defund Planned Parenthood immediately and completely of all federal government support and that all state and local government funding that supports Planned Parenthood be withdrawn immediately and permanently; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates for their use of illegal abortion methods, trafficking in and profiting from the harvesting of unborn babies' tissues and organs, and any other actions that may be in violation of federal law; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention for prioritizing in its 2017 legislative agenda the defunding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates and encourage the Commission to distribute this resolution to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, imploring their immediate attention to this urgent matter.

RESOLUTION 7: ON THE SIN OF GAMBLING

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has a long history of opposing gambling in its various forms, such as casinos, lotteries, racing, and other gambling schemes; and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of neighbor-love, necessitating the financial loss and harm of many for the gain of a few, enjoying entertainment at the expense of others (Exodus 20:17; 22:21; Leviticus 25:17; Deuteronomy 22:1–4; Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:8–10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of lordship, tempting individuals to trust chance rather than God, who provides for the needs of "the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45; 6:24; Philippians 4:18–19; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 9:8–12; Colossians 3:17; 1 Timothy 6:17–18); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of work, looking to gain something for nothing, hoping for easy money rather than pursuing responsible industry, investment, and labor (Genesis 1:28; Exodus 20:9; Psalm 104:23; 128:2; Ecclesiastes 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7–12); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of the civil magistrate, causing governments to prey on their own citizens through state-sponsored gambling rather than protecting them and seeking their good (Proverbs 8:15–16; Amos 5:10–13; Romans 13:4; 1 Timothy 2:1–2; 1 Peter 2:13–15); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of contentment, enticing individuals to greed and covetousness in the hope that in winning, others will lose financially (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21; Luke 12:15; Romans 7:7–8; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:9–10; Hebrews 13:5); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of stewardship, encouraging reckless and careless speculation with resources entrusted by the Lord while disregarding the same Lord who provides for all human needs (Matthew 6:19–34; 1 Timothy 6:17–18; 1 Peter 4:1–11); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of the Golden Rule, attempting to do to others what you do not want them to do to you (Matthew 7:12); and

WHEREAS, Gambling violates the principle of freedom, inciting destructive desires and enslaving many to habits that lead to financial ruin and broken relationships (Galatians 5:13–21); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, condemn gambling in all its forms; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our leaders at all levels of government to end state-sponsored gambling, to curtail all forms of destructive gambling, and to address its harmful effects through policy and legislation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage our Convention leaders, entities, and pastors to continue to educate Southern Baptists on the deceptive sin of gambling; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge our fellow Southern Baptists and all other followers of Christ not to participate in the sin of gambling.

RESOLUTION 8: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MORAL LEADERSHIP

WHEREAS, Scripture declares, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message says, "Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love"; and

WHEREAS, Current attitudes and practices in some segments of American life in such important areas as sex, marriage, money, and power reveal that American society is in moral decline; and

WHEREAS, God judges or blesses nations based on their morality (Genesis 6:5–13; Jonah 1:1–2; Micah 6:8); and

WHEREAS, God's Word provides guidance for living a moral life that pleases God and brings His blessing (Proverbs 3:1–8); and

WHEREAS, Leaders in every walk of life in America, such as church, government, and business, have destroyed their careers and brought shame to themselves, their families, and friends because of poor moral choices; and

WHEREAS, Regardless of their political, social, or economic status, our leaders should set a positive example for every American citizen by living and serving according to the highest moral and ethical standards; and

WHEREAS, The church has the responsibility in every season to proclaim to the culture the moral standards of God as revealed in His Word, not as legalists but as advocates of Christ's transformative grace (Matthew 5:13–16; Mark 6:18; 2 Timothy 4:1-5); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, express our appreciation to those leaders in all walks of life who have chosen to live according to God's moral standards; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude and support for those public officials who have displayed consistent moral character and uncompromising commitment to biblical principles of right and wrong, resulting in blessing upon the people they serve; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouses in order to ensure that they leave no room for temptation to lead them astray and to avoid any suspicion of wrongdoing (Proverbs 4:23–27); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on all leaders in every walk of life to conduct themselves, to the best of their ability, according to the moral standards set forth by God's revealed truth; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray for our nation's leaders to be able to resist every temptation that would create a hindrance to the fulfillment of their calling in society; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pledge to hold ourselves to the same high moral standards that we require of our leaders; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray that God will help us and all our fellow citizens to embrace the biblical moral values that will honor our creation in God's image and bring God's blessing on our nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we will endeavor to serve as examples to others of the blessings of living in accordance with God's moral guidance; and be it further

RESOLVED, That in order "to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love," we commit to "be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising [our] loyalty to Christ and His truth" (The Baptist Faith and Message); and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we reaffirm, "Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ" (The Baptist Faith and Message).

RESOLUTION 9: ON APPRECIATION

WHEREAS, The messengers to the 160th session of the Southern Baptist Convention are enjoying a time of worship, encouragement, and fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ; and

WHEREAS, We acknowledge God's providence in all these blessings; and

WHEREAS, We also acknowledge the kind hospitality of the people of Phoenix, Arizona; and

WHEREAS, We further acknowledge our local Southern Baptist churches, associational leaders, staff of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, SBC committees, staffs of SBC entities, and hundreds of volunteers from the Phoenix area who have worked so diligently to make our stay a pleasant one; and

WHEREAS, We especially acknowledge the Lord's grace in enabling our SBC president, officers, various committees, musicians, and other platform personnel to conduct the affairs of this Convention with dignity and a Christ-like spirit; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to all those through whom He is working to bring about an annual meeting characterized by prayer, grace, evangelism, worship, encouragement, cooperation, and purpose.

4:01 p.m. -- Leroy Fountain, A.B. Vines, Don Currence, Barry Calhoun and Waylan Owens were nominated for registration secretary.

Fountain, a church planting consultant with the Louisiana Baptist Convention, was nominated by Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, where Fountain is a member.

Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego, Calif., was nominated by Jim Law, who noted Vines is pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego.

Currence, the current acting registration secretary, was nominated by Phillip Shuford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ozark, Mo. Currence has been the chief assistant to outgoing registration secretary Jim Wells, Shuford said.

Calhoun, missions mobilization director for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, was nominated by Tony Matthews, pastor of North Garland Baptist Fellowship in Garland, Texas.

Owens, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor and administrator, was nominated by Dorothy Patterson, wife of Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson.

3:48 p.m. -- Messengers made the following six motions moments ago.

On behalf of Gaines, North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell moved that the SBC authorize Gaines to appoint a task force to study how Southern Baptists can be more effective in personal evangelism and evangelistic preaching.

Other motions included:

-- That a study committee be appointed by Gaines to study the feasibility of merging the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. The committee would include five members each from the IMB trustees, the NAMB trustees and the Executive Committee.

-- That the convention ask NAMB not to enter cooperative agreements with state conventions that endorse or approve behavior or teaching not in keeping with Baptist Faith and Message.

-- That the convention recognize the last Sunday of every October as a day of prayer for and remembrance of persecuted Christians.

-- That the SBC ask all entities to consider publishing online the names and contact information of their trustees.

-- That messengers be given opportunity to consider defunding the ERLC.

3:36 p.m. -- John Yeats was reelected recording secretary. With no other nominees, first vice president Doug Munton cast the ballot of the convention. Yeats was nominated by Missouri pastor Spencer Plumlee.

3:31 p.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business gave the following report on the disposition of motions made earlier today:

A motion requesting broader representation on trustee boards was referred automatically to the North American Mission Board, the International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources. The automatic referral occurred because the motion dealt with the internal operations of SBC entities.

Messengers voted to refer the following motions to the Executive Committee:

-- That the EC consider developing a strategy to help declining churches.

-- That a Sunday promoting orphan and widow care be included on the SBC Calendar.

The Committee on Order of Business recommended that the convention refer to the EC a motion that SBC Bylaws be amended to require that officer nomination speeches include the CP giving percentages of nominees. Messenger Steve Bailey of Arkansas asked messengers not to refer the motion, stating he has made the same motion multiple times and the EC has never taken his suggestion. A vote by raised ballot was too close to call, and Gaines ordered a ballot vote on whether to refer the motion.

A motion that the SBC support a repentance and prayer project was ruled out of order because it was in the nature of a resolution.

3:15 p.m. -- Jose Abella was elected second vice president. With no other nominees, Recording Secretary John Yeats cast the ballot of the convention. Abella was nominated by Georgia pastor Michael Lewis, who called him "a living picture of what we want to become as Southern Baptists" -- a bilingual pastor engaging diverse people with the Gospel in an urban environment.

3:12 p.m. -- Walter Strickland was elected first vice president by a vote of 1,295(68%) to 590 (31%).

3:08 p.m. -- Executive Committee President Frank S. Page reported on two of the EC's ministry assignments: Cooperative Program promotion and stewardship promotion:

-- Cooperative Program promotion

At the end of May, gifts to the CP Allocation budget were 3.64 percent above last year's year-to-date total, Page said. Gifts are $4.6 million above the anticipated CP Allocation Budget, a total that does not count the Florida Baptist Convention's $3.1 million gift today (June 13).

To illustrate some of the ministries funded by CP, Page introduced a team of church planters from Resonate, a collegiate church in Washington State that has planted several additional collegiate churches in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The team said 700 students have been saved through the church plants.

The Resonate team, Page said, is "the face of the Cooperative Program." He added CP "is still the most efficient, effective way to do missions and ministries."

-- Stewardship promotion

Page highlighted three aspects of stewardship the EC is seeking to promote: personal stewardship, church stewardship and SBC stewardship.

Personal stewardship

The average percentage of income American church members give to their local congregations has declined 12.9 percent since 2003 -- despite an increase in overall charitable giving for the same period, Page said.

To foster personal stewardship, Page announced a partnership with financial adviser Dave Ramsey's organization Ramsey Solutions to help believers struggling with their finances. Following a video greeting by Ramsey, Page introduced Chris Brown, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host with Ramsey Solutions.

Brown said financial struggles are among the church's greatest challenges because they make many believers feel unable to tithe.

Having "intention for ministry is nothing without position for ministry," Brown said, noting 88 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Part of the SBC's partnership with Ramsey Solutions is a campaign encouraging churches to take all members through Financial Peace University, a course published by Ramsey Solutions.

Another aspect of the EC's personal stewardship promotion, Page said, is encouraging believers who are stable in their finances to participate in a study called "It's a New Day for Financial Freedom" written by financial adviser Dave Scobey, who also addressed messengers.

The EC's stewardship promotion also will help believers strong in their finances and those who have a financial surplus. Such individuals can receive training in how to increase their Kingdom impact through estate giving.

"We recognize that giving begins with personal stewardship," Page said. "We have not talked about this enough."

Church stewardship

The average Southern Baptist church is giving 7.6 percent less to missions today than it did 10 years ago, Page said. He asked churches to increase their giving through CP as well as their giving to all missions causes.

SBC stewardship

"We must continually seek to be diligent, efficient and effective in all that we do," Page said of the SBC. To that end, the 2017-18 CP Allocation Budget approved today by messengers includes no distribution of overage to the Executive Committee, Page said, noting that change likely will yield "millions more" for missions in North America and across the globe.

2:13 p.m. -- Two candidates were nominated for first vice president.

Walter Strickland, special adviser to the president for diversity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, was nominated by James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga. He said Strickland "represents the future of the Southern Baptist Convention" as "a young, vibrant African American" believer who seeks to foster racial reconciliation in the convention.

Victor Chayasirisobhon, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Anaheim, Calif., nominated Abel Galvan. Galvan has spent more than 30 years in the ministry and "would do a wonderful job" of introducing a younger generation to the SBC, Chayasirisobhon said.

2:05 p.m. -- Messengers adopted the report of the Committee on Nominations, which nominates members of SBC trustee boards along with the Executive Committee and the Committee on Order of Business. Committee on Nominations chairman Jim Richards said the average nominee's church gives 7 percent of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program.

2:02 p.m. -- Messengers adopted the report of the Committee on Committees, which nominated the 2017-18 Committee on Nominations. Committee on Committees chairman Randy Davis said half of the nominees are members of churches with 250 members or less and 80 percent have never served on an SBC board or committee. The average nominee's church gives 8.7 percent of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program.

1:56 p.m. -- Steve Gaines was re-elected SBC president. Because he was the only nominee, Recording Secretary John Yeats cast the ballot of the convention. Grant Gaines, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., nominated his father. The elder Gaines is marked by a commitment to prayer and personal evangelism, Grant Gaines said.

1:52 p.m. -- Believers must develop a passion like the apostle Paul's to win lost people to faith in Christ, former SBC president Johnny Hunt said in brief sermon.

Preaching from Romans 9:1-3, Hunt said Paul was grieved because many Jews would not receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Believers today must have a similar "burden and compassion of heart to win" the lost to Christ, he said.

Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., made three observations about the nature of Paul's passion for lost people. He noted:

-- the sincerity of Paul's passion for the lost.

Paul called three witnesses to verify his concern for the lost: Christ, his conscience and the Holy Spirit, Hunt said.

-- the sorrow of Paul's passion for the lost.

Paul's "heart was hurting for souls, brokenhearted as though they were dead," Hunt said. Every day "the pain he felt grew heavier."

-- The sacrificial heart of Paul's passion for the lost.

"Paul confesses that he's willing to be severed and separated from Christ ... if that's what it would require to get people saved," Hunt said.

Hunt urged Southern Baptists, "It's not good news unless it gets there in time. Let's share with [the lost] what we know."

1:36 p.m. -- Russ Quinn, pastor of Enon Baptist Church in Morris, Ala., led in Scripture reading and prayer to open the afternoon session.

Tuesday morning

11:39 a.m. -- David Jett, pastor of Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon, Mo., closed the morning session in prayer.

11:33 a.m. -- The pattern of ministry that spawned missions and evangelism in Acts can yield refreshment and empowerment for believers today, Gaines said in his SBC president's address.

"If you'll do things God's way you'll get God's power," Gaines said, preaching from Acts 13:1-12.

Gaines noted three aspects of God's pattern for ministry:

-- We must minister to the Lord with prayer and worship.

The word "ministering" in Acts 13:2 signifies worship, Gaines said. "Jesus was what the worship service was about. It was not a show. It was just a worship service offering up praise to Almighty God."

The church also prayed with fasting, Gaines said, before it engaged in missions.

"Missions was birthed in a prayer meeting, not in a business meeting," Gaines said. "There is a time to have a business meeting," but "we need to do business with God first."

Ways to "minister to the Lord," Gaines said, include thanking God, meditating on Scripture, praying the Bible back to God and worshiping with other believers.

-- The Lord must minister to you with His Holy Spirit.

"Don't be afraid of the Holy Spirit. Be afraid not to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit," Gaines said.

After the church at Antioch ministered to the Lord, Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit, he said, noting a biblical pattern of believers' being filled, empowered and sent by the Spirit after they offer praise and prayer to God.

"I don't want to live a life of dullness or dryness," Gaines said. "I want to live a life that is anointed by the Holy Spirit of God."

-- We must minister to others with the Gospel.

"I want to encourage you to be a soul winner," Gaines said.

The SBC president announced he will ask the convention for authorization to appoint a soul-winning task force to explore ways Southern Baptists can be more effective in personal evangelism and evangelistic preaching.

When we share the Gospel, some will be open to it and some will be opposed to it, Gaines said. The opponents cannot stop the Gospel's advance, and those who are open to it will be saved, he said.

The message concluded with a time of "ministering to the Lord" as messengers prayed and praised God.

10:20 a.m. -- GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins introduced Gaines preceding the convention's presidential address. "There's not a shred of self-promotion in [Gaines]," Hawkins said, "and he's always passionate about bringing people to Jesus." Hawkins also recognized Gaines' wife Donna along with his four children and their spouses.

Donna Gaines led in prayer.

10:07 a.m. -- Page recognized Resonate, a congregation in Washington State that has planted additional collegiate churches in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. More than 700 college students have been baptized through the network. Resonate leaders will appear at the EC's afternoon report today, Page said.

9:58 a.m. -- EC President Frank S. Page recognized the Women's Ministry Advisory Council, chaired by Rhonda Kelley, for completing a report on ways to increase female involvement in the SBC.

9:55 a.m. -- Tommy Green, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention, presented a $3,136,500 check to the SBC Cooperative Program, an amount representing 51 percent of proceeds from the sale of the Florida convention's building in Jacksonville.

9:45 a.m. -- The convention adopted 11 recommendations from the Executive Committee moments ago. Among them:

-- That the convention authorize the EC to sell the SBC Building in Nashville if an acceptable offer arises.

-- That the 2017-18 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget be adopted.

-- That the International Mission Board be permitted to change its fiscal year.

-- That the 2017-18 EC and SBC Operating Budget be adopted.

-- That the SBC Calendar of Activities for 2020-21 be adopted along with amendments to other years' calendars as specified in the Book of Reports.

-- That the SBC Business and Financial Plan be amended to authorize a new publication and merchandizing policy.

-- That SBC Bylaw 18 be amended to grant EC representation to specified states and defined territories that do not currently have EC representation.

-- That Orlando, Indianapolis and Salt Lake City be adopted as sites for future SBC annual meetings.

-- That the convention adopt a resolution of appreciation for registration secretary Jim Wells.

A messenger requested that future EC recommendations each be accompanied by verbal explanation.

9:29 a.m. --Joel Southerland of the North American Mission Board reported 3,549 professions of faith were recorded through Crossover and the Harvest America crusade. Next year's Crossover in Dallas again will coincide with a harvest evangelism event.

9:24 a.m. -- Messengers made five motions moments ago. Among them:

-- That the Executive Committee be asked to study ways to help churches that are dying or struggling.

-- That the SBC "support spiritually the Call to Fall repentance prayer meeting."

-- That the North American Mission Board, the International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources be asked to amend their governing documents to include trustee representatives from each state convention that cooperates with the SBC in the collection of Cooperative Program gifts.

-- That SBC Bylaw 10C be amended to require that nomination speeches for SBC officers include the percentage of undesignated receipts a nominee's church gives through the Cooperative Program.

-- That the convention adopt an orphan and widow care Sunday in the 2018 SBC Calendar.

9:16 a.m. -- GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins reported that "the year of innovation" is GuideStone's 2017 theme. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled the federal government "had to work out a solution" to GuideStone's objections to the Affordable Care Act's abortion/contraception mandate, Hawkins said. He expressed appreciation for the Trump administration's executive order related to religious liberty, which helped safeguard GuideStone's ability to live out its convictions. Hawkins said GuideStone's investment funds have been recognized for high performance in the market.

Messengers did not ask any questions.

9:00 a.m. -- Former U.S. Army chief of chaplains Douglas Carver led a recognition of veterans and a time of honoring America. Nearly 7,000 American troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 16 years, Carver noted, adding, "Let us give thanks to and pray for our veterans and our families, who have given so much of themselves."

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, Gaines led in prayer for America.

8:47 a.m. -- Noe Garcia, pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church, welcomed messengers to the city. Phoenix has one Southern Baptist church per 20,000 residents, and 62 percent of residents are unaffiliated with any church, Garcia said, noting the statistics would be discouraging "if my God was not the King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Between 3,000-4,000 people professed faith in Christ at Sunday night's Harvest Crusade, he said.

8:40 a.m. -- As of 8:28 a.m., 4,366 messengers have registered, John Yeats reported.

8:39 a.m. -- Steve Gaines announced that registration secretary Jim Wells, who is battling cancer, was unable to attend the SBC annual meeting. Registration secretary John Yeats reported that doctors have told Wells he has only a few days or weeks of life remaining. Wells "wants to devote his remaining hours on the earth praying for lost people," said Yeats, who led in prayer for Wells and his wife Judy.

8:35 a.m. -- Grant Gaines, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., and son of SBC President Steve Gaines, led in Scripture reading and prayer.

8:29 a.m. -- SBC President Steve Gaines gaveled the convention to order.


David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP).
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