Monday, June 05, 2006

Resolution on Integrity in Church Membership revisited

I suggested last year that a resolution on integrity in church membership would be appropriate to bring before the annual meeting of the SBC. A couple of months ago I drafted one and submitted it to the resolutions committee. As I understand it, that committee has the authority to decide which resolutions to bring before the whole convention for vote. I have no idea whether or not my resolution will make it out of their committee.

However, the SBC Bylaw 20 says, "No person may submit more than three resolutions per year. The Committee on Resolutions shall prepare and submit to each annual meeting of the Convention only such resolutions the Committee recommends for adoption. Such resolutions may be based upon proposals received by the Committee or may originate with the Committee. Only resolutions recommended by the Committee may be considered by the Convention, except the Convention may, by a 2/3 vote, consider any other resolution properly submitted to the Committee" (emphasis added).

Since my resolution has been "properly submitted to the Committee," if the Committee does not see fit to recommend it for adoption, it may still be considered by the convention with a 2/3 vote. This would require, I assume, someone to make a motion that it be considered during a scheduled business time.

Bylaw 20 does not say that the author of the resolution must be the one to make such a motion. I am reprinting below the resolution as it was submitted so that anyone who wants to move that it be considered by the whole convention may do so, if the committee chooses not to recommend it. I plan to attempt to get this before the whole convention if the committee does not. However, from past experience, I know that it is sometimes difficult to make it to an open microphone and be recognized. If enough people are interested in seeing this resolution recommmended to the convention and are willing to make the attempt then the odds are greatly increased that one of us might be recognized by the chair.

So, here is a copy of the actual resolution that was sent to the resolutions committee.

Resolution on Integrity in Church Membership
Submitted by Thomas Ascol

Whereas this 148th annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention marks the 26th anniversary of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention; and

Whereas at the heart of this resurgence has been a determination to return to an unashamed commitment to the inerrancy and infallibilty of the Bible as the written Word of God; and

Whereas the Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are "the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried" (Article 1); and

Whereas the inerrant, infallible Word of God instructs us not to bear false witness (Exodus 20:16), but to put away lying and to speak truthfully to his neighbor (Ephesians 4:25); and

Whereas in 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profiles indicated that there are 16,267,494 members in Southern Baptist churches; and

Whereas well over one half of those members never attend or participate meaningfully in the life of any local Southern Baptist church and are thus no different than non-members; and
Whereas the ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, urge Southern Baptists to repent of our failure to maintain responsible church membership, and be it further

RESOLVED that we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the widespread failure among us to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-18), and be it further

RESOLVED that we plead with pastors and church leaders to lead their churches to study and implement our Lord’s teachings on this essential church practice, and be it further

RESOLVED that we encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, especially when such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally

RESOLVED that we commit to pray for our churches as they seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ through reestablishing integrity to church membership and to the reporting of statistics in the Annual Church Profile.


hashbrown said...

Would Kinko's give us a discount on printing a few thousand copies of that to pass out? :-)

If you want me to take a copy with me, I will.



Mathew Sims said...

Amen and yes. That is a good resolution and encouragment for all Bible loving churches. Too often churches are consumed with getting numbers quick without being truthful.

Unfortunately, a church in my area uses an evagelism training program where they have seen "200 people saved," but I doubt whether 50 of those have joined the church. This should not be so, or we should more careful of proclaiming numbers-success.

MBS~Soli Deo Gloria

Kevin P. Larson said...


I just listened to Ed Stetzer at the Mo Baptist Bldg in Jeff City. I know you wouldn't agree with everything he said, but he went off pretty powerfully for Baptist churches to discipline their members and to shrink the rolls to accurate numbers.

My point? In the younger, missional crowd in the SBC, people are crying out for exactly what you are writing about here.

David B. Hewitt said...

I won't be in Greensboro, but it is my prayer that this will indeed make it to the floor for a vote.


Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. A,

If it becomes necessary to bring this up from the floor, hoping for the 2/3 to get a vote, does the person making such a motion have to read the resolution, or just refer to it as "The resolution on integrity in church membership submitted by Tom Ascol"?

I'm going to be there, and I'm willing to vote, and even speak if it is needed.

Love in Christ,


Tom said...


I assume the resolution would have to be read before the whole convention since it will no be printed in the bulletin, if the committee does not bring it out. But before that--again, as I understand Bylaw 20--a motion would have to be made to bring this resolution before the convention. That would have to pass by 2/3 of those voting.

So, print out a copy and take it with you, just in case. I hope to see you there.

Steve Weaver said...

I'm printing it off and I'll be ready and willing to submit it in Greensboro!