I have forwarded the following three resolutions to the Resolution Committee for their consideration to present to the Southern Baptist Convention 2012 Annual Meeting in New Orleans:

  1. Resolution on Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Rights
  2. Resolution on Racist Statements in Mormon Source Documents
  3. Resolution on the Recognition of Baptist Minister, George Liele, as America’s First Missionary

The first Resolution deals with same-sex marriage and civil rights; and it was primarily authored by Pastor Eric C. Redmond with minimal contribution, but full affirmation, from me. We are submitting it as a joint resolution.

I am solely responsible for the second Resolution.  This issue must be dealt with if Southern Baptists are to be consistent with what they have historically taught about Mormonism; and if they are to be viewed by Black Baptists as simply finding Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and the racist views of his Bible more tolerable than President Obama’s skin color; this is how this discussion is being played out in Black barber shops, Black beauty salons and Black churches. If Southern Baptists support this resolution, it will say to the Black Community that they find Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and the racist views of his Bible abhorrent; but if they vote for him, it will be strictly because of philosophical and policy issues and positions, and not a vote against President Obama’s complexion.

The third Resolution is to simply acknowledge a historical fact that has never been acknowledged officially by the Southern Baptist Convention; and that is, the first American to travel to foreign soil to preach the gospel and plant a church was a man named George Liele who happened to have been a former slave. This will correct the view that Adoniram and Ann Judson were the first American missionaries. I think this is noteworthy in light of the election of Fred Luter and the Convention’s initiative towards reaching and empowering minorities as mission partners.

I. Resolution on Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Rights

Whereas the Bible teaches that God is the author of marriage, and that he established marriage as an act between a male and female (Mt. 19:4-6),

Whereas the Apostle Paul affirmed that marriage of a man to a woman is patterned after that relationship of Christ to his church (Eph. 5:22-27),

Whereas marriage is an institution established by God rather than simply a human social construction,

Whereas the Scriptures indicate that all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful,

Whereas homosexual behavior is sinful, including what tis current age calls “same-sex civil unions” and “same-sex marriage,”

Whereas the Southern Baptist Convention has a long history of affirming marriage between one man and one woman,

Whereas, the Southern Baptist Convention previously recognized, “Redefining the concept and legality of marriage to mean anything other than the union between one man and one woman would fundamentally undermine the historic and biblical foundation of a healthy society (Genesis 1:28; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6),” and “equating same-sex relationships with heterosexual marriage would create a host of religious liberty and freedom of conscience conflicts; now, therefore, be it” (SBC Resolution “On Protecting The Defense Of Marriage Act (doma),” June 2011),

Whereas the sitting President of the United States previously formally certified a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing for public recognition of homosexual persons in the military, instead of honoring Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which precludes homosexual behavior among active service personnel,

Whereas the President now has publically voiced his personal support of same-sex civil unions, and that the legal approval of such unions is a matter for each individual state of our country to decide,

Whereas support of same-sex civil unions has been portrayed as a Civil Rights issue akin to the overturning of slavery and security of equal treatment under the law of African Americans,

Be it resolved that the messengers reaffirm our historic and consistent support of the biblical definition of marriage as the exclusive union of a man and a woman; and be it further,

Resolved, that we encourage individual churches to engage the culture with redemptive acts that will portray Christ’ love toward all members of society, and be it further,

Resolved, that we stand against any form of gay-bashing, hateful rhetoric, or hate-incited actions toward persons who engage in acts of homosexuality; and be it further,

Resolved, that we urge the individual governors of each of the states not yet legally supporting same-sex civil unions to refrain from signing into law any bill that would affirm such unions and/or define such unions as “marriage;” and be it further,

Resolved, that we oppose any attempt to frame same-sex union as a civil rights issue; and be it further,

Resolved, that we reject the notion that race, as a by-product of birth given by the Creator’s design, and gender-orientation, as a behavioral choice made by individual persons, are to be compared as equal social issues, or that acceptance of the equality of races necessitates the equality of sexual preferences, and be it further,

Resolved that we encourage Southern Baptists everywhere to fight for the civil rights and human rights of all people where such rights are consistent with the righteousness of God, and be it further,

Resolved that we affirm that pastors should preach the truth of God’s word on marriage, homosexual behavior, purity, and love with all boldness and without fear of reprisal, and be it further,

Resolved that we proclaim that Christ offers forgiveness for homosexual behavior for those who turn from their homosexuality and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

II.  Resolution on Racist Statements in Mormon Source Documents

Whereas the Mormon Religion has a growing awareness, acceptance and influence in contemporary American culture,

Whereas it’s growing acceptance will cause some to study or accept the Mormon Religion as valid,

Whereas in 1978, the Mormon Church has denied and denounced racism and agreed to permit Blacks to the priesthood, they are yet to denounce the racist teachings,

Whereas Mormons recognize three books in addition to the King James Holy Bible as authoritative spiritual instructions,

Be it resolved that the Southern Baptist Convention repudiates and rejects the Mormon books:  The Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants and The Book of Mormon as inspired authoritative or canonical; and furthermore, we repudiate the racist teachings recorded in The Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price that described “skin of blackness” people as being  filthy (“because of their filthiness”), “cursed,” “loathsome,” “despised” justifiably and derived the “blackness” of their skin color as a result of a Divine curse.

References:  The Book of Mormon, The Second Book of Nephi, 5:21, 25, and The Book of Jacob 3:5, 9. The Pearl of Great Price, The Book of Abraham 1:24, and The Book of Moses 7:8-12

III.  Resolution on the Recognition of Baptist Minister, George Liele, as America’s First Missionary

Whereas, Dr. Danny Akin, President of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has affirmed George Liele as the first American Missionary in a message preached in Chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,

Whereas, Adoniram and Ann Judson, who were sent out in 1812, are usually considered the first missionaries from America; George Liele chose to leave America in 1782 to start a church in Kingston, Jamaica, which was 20 years before Adoniram Judson left America to be a missionary in Burma,

Whereas, George Liele came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in 1773, was baptized and discovered his compassion for evangelizing other Black slaves and encouraged them to sing hymns and learn the meaning of the hymns,

Whereas, Buckhead Creek Baptist Church, convinced of George Liele’s ministerial gifting and interest in God’s Word, licensed him to preach; and his owner granted George Liele his freedom from slavery which encouraged and empowered him to use his gift more freely,

Whereas, George Liele was the first appointed elder and preacher of the first Black church in America (Silver Bluff, SC…later moved to Savannah, GA),

Be it resolved that the Southern Baptist Convention recognizes George Liele as America’s first missionary, and be it further,

Resolved, that:

“George Liele, born a slave, ordained in a white church in Georgia, gathered the first black congregation, and became the first Black Baptist in America.  Liele, while not being supported by a church or mission agency, also became the first Protestant missionary to go out from America to establish a foreign mission.  This unknown hero without formal education, who learned to read the Bible and became a preacher and missionary shared the gospel with thousands, baptized hundreds and discipled many who became preachers, missionaries, and world leaders.  One of those disciples was David George, who left Savannah for the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia, and then later to Sierra Leone in Africa, where he started Baptist Churches in both countries.  Andrew Bryan also one of his disciples was one of only three Black Baptist preachers to stay in Savannah after the British left during the Revolutionary War to lead the First African Baptist Church. This man of mission raised up many courageous servants of the Lord who through their legacy of influence continue to bring freedom to the world.”

Reference: http://www.thetravelingteam.org/missionarybiographies/georgeliele