SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – On June 14, 2016, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) passed Resolution 7, a statement repudiating the Confederate Flag from Southern Baptist churches. The resolution passed with over 90% of the vote during the SBC’s annual meeting.
Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), has been a vocal proponent of such measures. Following the Charleston shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June of 2015, Moore spoke out against the Confederate Flag as a divisive symbol. According to Moore, “The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire.”
Moore’s thorough efforts toward racial reconciliation took a major step forward today. In response to the passing of the resolution, Moore stated:
“The Confederate flag is a symbol of horrific injustices against our African American brothers and sisters in Christ and has been used as a threat of terrorism against them. Today Southern Baptists affirmed that we are more committed to the gospel than we are to a flag and more committed to the future than we are to the past.”
Many Southern Baptist leaders have voiced their approval through social media. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted that he was “very proud and thankful” for the SBC “adopting a clear statement calling for end to display of Confederate battle flag.” Ed Stetzer, a leader of LifeWay research, concurred with those statements: “Glad that #SBC16 just passed a resolution against the display of the Confederate Battle Flag.”
James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church, made his plea for the Confederate flag’s removal by appealing to biblical compassion.
“This flag is a stumbling block to many African-American souls to our witness,” Merritt explained. “And I rise to say that all Confederate flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.” Merritt’s speech can be found online.
It is yet to be seen how this resolution will be regarded by Southern Baptist church members as a whole.
Among the resolution’s many declarations was a call for the flag’s removal from any place of display: “We call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters.”
The full text of the resolution can be found at the ERLC Website.