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On Abuse

WHEREAS, God has created every person—male and female—in His own image and with equal value and dignity (Genesis 1:26–27); and

WHEREAS, God abhors violence against the weak and defenseless and calls His people to defend the hurt and oppressed (Psalm 82:4), to stand for justice (Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 31:8–9), and to deliver victims of abuse from the hands of their oppressors (Proverbs 6:17; 24:10–12); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message says that “We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick” (Article XV); and

WHEREAS, Abuse can be defined as any act or conscious failure to act resulting in imminent risk, serious injury, death, physical or emotional or sexual harm, or exploitation of another person; and

WHEREAS, Current cultural trends have opened the door for victims to voice courageously their plight and seek justice; and

WHEREAS, We deplore, apologize, and ask for forgiveness for failures to protect the abused, failures that have occurred in evangelical churches and ministries, including such failures within our own denomination; and

WHEREAS, God has designed marriage “to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship” (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article XVIII); and

WHEREAS, Biblical headship blesses, honors, and protects wives and children and does not require them to submit to sin or to abuse (Ephesians 5:25–29; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 5:3); and

WHEREAS, The biblical teaching on relationships between men and women neither supports nor fosters, but rather prevents and condemns, abuse (Mark 12:31; Romans 13:10; Ephesians 4:32); and

WHEREAS, God ordains civil government as His servant to us for good (Romans 13:4) and intends for us “to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God” (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article XVII); and

WHEREAS, Abuse is not only a sin but is also a destructive evil that distorts and disrupts the marriage covenant and the entire family and is a hallmark of the devil which must not be tolerated in the Christian community; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, condemn all forms of abuse and repudiate with a unified voice all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful and under the just condemnation of our Holy God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that spousal abuse dishonors the marriage covenant and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we strongly urge abuse victims to contact civil authorities, separate from their abusers, and seek protection, care, and support from fellow Christians and civil authorities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we extend compassion and support to all persons encountering the injustice of abuse, being careful to remind the abused that such injustice is undeserved and not a result of personal guilt or fault; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on all persons perpetrating and enabling abuse to repent and to confess their sin to Jesus Christ and to church authorities and to confess their crimes to civil authorities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we implore all persons to act decisively on matters of abuse, to intervene on behalf of the abused, to ensure their safety, to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities according to the laws of their state, and to pursue church discipline against impenitent abusers; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage leaders in our churches and Southern Baptist Convention entities to be faithful examples, through their words and actions, and to speak against the sin of all forms of abuse; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on pastors and ministry leaders to foster safe environments in which abused persons may both recognize the reprehensible nature of their abuse and reveal such abuse to pastors and ministry leaders in safety and expectation of being believed and protected; and be it further

RESOLVED, That church and ministry leaders have an obligation to implement policies and practices that protect against and confront any form of abuse; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we uphold the dignity of all human beings as image-bearers of God and the responsibility of all Christians to seek the welfare of the abused.