The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has passed a resolution calling for the “immediate abolition of abortion without exception or compromise.” The resolution states “Because abolishing abortion is a Great Commission issue, we call upon all governing authorities to repent and ‘obey everything that Christ has commanded,’ exhorting them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance by faithfully executing their responsibilities as God’s servants of justice, and working with all urgency to enact legislation on behalf of the preborn, abolishing abortion immediately, without exception or compromise.” Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, has been one of the biggest supporters of the resolution. In a blog Ascol explained the resolution was to have been presented at the 2020 SBC meeting which was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The SBC has passed more than 27 resolutions on abortion since the 1980s, all such resolutions have been pro-life in nature, though none have been as strongly worded as the one now agreed upon. Ascol’s brother, William, who pastors Bethel Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma, led the charge to approve the resolution, telling delegates that the Bible “tells us to rescue those who are being taken away to death.” During his presentation in support of the motion, the Oklahoma preacher introduced a woman who regrets her decision to have an abortion. He said she now “lives with the trauma and the scar that she murdered her own children,” but has since found forgiveness from God. There were some, however, who, while they are pro-life, opposed the resolution, arguing it was too harshly worded.
Alan Branch, a professor of Christian ethics at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he didn’t favour the resolution “because it advocates a particular political strategy” and could ostracize “godly politicians” who are working within the political system to make gains for the pro-life movement. “This is a poorly worded resolution,” he said. “I thought about trying to amend it, but it would take me too many hours to straighten it out here on the floor.” Similarly, Josh Wester, director of research for the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is staunchly pro-life, took issue with some of the language in the resolution. “Whilst the resolution is aimed in absolutely the right direction, describing abortion as a “heinous evil, a grievous sin”, it is the wrong resolution” he said.
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