Public Affairs Ministry and the 2022 Georgia Baptist Convention Resolutions

The 2022 Georgia Baptist Convention was truly a historic event! This year’s convention marked the 200th Anniversary of the GBC. In addition to the monumental event of celebrating our history, was the opportunity to pass resolutions that reflect the Biblical conventions and values of our congregations.

I appreciate the fine work that the members of the Resolutions Committee did on this year’s resolutions. Thank you so much to the Chairman, Christopher Sanchez and members, John Beam, Jr., John Bryan, and Anita Strickland. It was a pleasure for me and Laura Simms to work with them.

I want to remind us that resolutions are very important in the work of the Public Affairs Ministry at the State Capitol. Resolutions help communicate to the Georgia General Assembly what Georgia Baptists believe on ethical issues.

It’s important that Georgia Baptists have a seat at the table when public policy decisions are being made in the Senate and House Committee Hearings. Resolutions serve as an official voice to help educate the public and the legislature on issues facing our culture.

Public policy issues must be addressed from a Biblical perspective because they will have an impact upon our churches and their members. Our witness at the State Capitol is important because it represents and witnesses to the impact that the Gospel has on our worldviews as Christians.

It is extremely important that we give a faithful witness to the lifechanging power of the Gospel in the public square. Resolutions are an important aspect of that witness.

I would like to highlight four of the seven resolutions passed this year:

Resolution on Opposing Title IX Regulations Imposing Gender Identity Policies

Thank you to Pastor Carl Metzger, from Lenox Baptist Church, Lenox, GA. for submitting this important resolution.

This Resolution addresses recent initiatives of the Biden administration that would broaden the meaning of “sex” in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include “gender identity” as well as biological sex. Under proposed rules, the Departments of Education and Agriculture, schools would be penalized for “discrimination” if they refused to implement radical policies based on gender identity.

Such policies include denying biological reality by treating trans-identifying students as the opposite sex; opening up all restrooms, locker rooms, overnight accommodations, and sports teams to members of both sexes; and penalizing staff and students who refuse to accept the fiction that human beings can change their sex.

This Resolution also expresses opposition to the Biden administration initiatives and calls on Congress and state elected officials to reject the federal overreach and pass legislation to protect not only religious freedom but the health and well-being of Georgia children and families.

Resolution on The Church in The Post-Roe Era

Thank you to Suzanne Guy, a messenger from First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA. for submitting this resolution.

This resolution is important because as we consider the fact that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, we need to set the tone for how we should be thinking.

The church is now going to be called upon like never before for help in caring for mothers and babies. We need to make sure that we focus heavily upon families, marriage, and parenting. Families based on Biblical principles would go a long way in helping with needs related to abortion, foster care, and adoption.

It is also essential that Christians engage the culture, politics, and government policy. Though Roe v. Wade has been overturned, the issue of abortion is still not over! The fight for mothers and babies will now be moved primarily to the state level. And in some ways, the issue will be even more intense.

Resolution on Sex Abuse Prevention in the Church

Our thanks for this resolution goes to Professor Billy Puckett who is a messenger from First Baptist Church, Vidalia, GA.

According to Gregory Love with Ministry Safe:

“I work with religious organizations all over the country and the world … and there has not been one more active religious organization that has tried to communicate to its stakeholders more than then the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. Since 2012, we have done countless events, live, online, and in writing. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board has been a champion for child sexual abuse prevention and healing and the redemption part as well.”

The Georgia Baptist Mission Board – since 2015 – has been the only major denomination to support all legislation at the Georgia General Assembly that extends the statute of limitations for civil suits against predators and entities. See Standing Up for the Children: The Hidden Predator Act 2018.

In 2022, the Georgia Baptist Executive Committee, under the leadership of Convention President, Dr. Kevin Williams, appointed a Special Committee on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse. The six-member panel met for a year to find ways to stop sexual abuse. They presented their report to the Georgia Baptist Convention. See Georgia Baptists moving forward with sexual abuse hotline, other initiatives.

Resolution Opposing Sports Gambling in Georgia

Thank you to Dr. John Yarborough, messenger from Hopewell Baptist Church, Gainesville, GA. for submitting this resolution

Georgia Baptists since 1960, have approved over 20 resolutions opposing gambling in our state. 2022 is the first time Georgia Baptists have approved a resolution specifically opposing sports gambling in our state.

Over the last nine years, there has been an extraordinary amount of pressure put upon the Georgia legislature to expand gambling practices in our state. Horse racing, casinos and sports betting have now become major issues facing our legislature every year. As we prepare for the 2023 Georgia legislative session, issues like sports gambling are being discussed again.

Sports gambling, while it already exists illegally in our state, will be exponentially worse if made legal, especially in terms of addiction, costs to taxpayers, and increased accessibility to children.

Conclusion: As you can see, these are four examples of the moral and social ills that are facing our state and nation. Never has there been such a time as this when we must give witness to the life changing power of the Gospel in the public square.

Mike and Chris PA Booth at GBC

Published December 15, 2022