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Resolution On Southern Baptists And Roman Catholics

WHEREAS, Certain Roman Catholic and Evangelical leaders in the United States of America have recently issued an unofficial document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” calling for a recognition of issues of both agreement and disagreement, and a commitment to work toward greater understanding; and

WHEREAS, Many Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists have found in recent years a common area of agreement in their concern for the sanctity of human life, their opposition to the spread of pornography in our society, their commitment to traditional family values, their concern for securing the rights of all individuals without respect to differences of religion, race, gender, and class, and many other areas of moral concern; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically confessed with all true Christians everywhere belief in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the full deity and perfect humanity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His substitutionary atonement for sins, His resurrection from the dead, His exaltation to the right hand of God, and His triumphal return, and we recognize that born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ may be found in all Christian denominations; and

WHEREAS, Baptists have historically differed from Roman Catholics on such matters as: the nature and means of salvation, the character and function of the church, the role and interpretation of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, devotion to the Virgin Mary, the veneration of the Saints, papal infallibility, the structure of church government, and the relation of Scripture and tradition as sources of spiritual and teaching authority for belief and practice; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists are strongly committed to world evangelization and are commanded by Christ in His Great Commission to share the Gospel with every nation, nationality, people group, and person; and

WHEREAS, The Foreign Mission Board trustees on April 27, 1994, by unanimous resolution, expressed concern that the Evangelical-Catholic document is subject to interpretations harmful to Southern Baptist work of global witness and missionary outreach.

Therefore Be it RESOLVED, That the 137th annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 14-16, 1994, affirms the benefit of conversation with any religious group, which is willing objectively and openly to discuss their faith, and to examine it on the basis of Holy Scripture, and on such basis we encourage the Interfaith Witness Department of the Home Mission Board to pursue on-going Southern Baptist-Roman Catholic conversation while maintaining our Southern Baptist confession without compromise; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That due to the degeneration of moral values and ethical norms, coupled with the loss of meaning in people’s lives and the relative status ascribed to historic truth claims in our contemporary world, we call for endeavors to bring about cooperative efforts on the part of all Christian organizations to present united support for pressing social and moral concerns; and we call on all religious bodies to affirm the importance of religious liberty and all of its expressions including the freedom to evangelize among all peoples everywhere; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we confess the historic Baptist doctrine of justification, namely, that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without any addition of good works or human efforts; and we affirm that justification by faith alone is an essential of the Christian message, and we deny any view of salvation that adds to or subtracts from the sole sufficiency of Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Lord; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God and is the infallible touchstone by which all other authorities, teachers, and traditions must be judged; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention affirm its commitment to evangelism and missionary witness among populations and individuals not characterized by genuine faith in Christ alone, and we reject any suggestion that such witness be characterized as “sheep stealing” proselytizing or a wasteful use of resources; and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists reaffirm their commitment to evangelism and global missions and renew their intent to share Christ with all people everywhere to the end that the unsaved may be converted and the unchurched may become a part of Bible-teaching, Christ-honoring congregations.