Below is a resolution that I submitted to the Resolutions Committee for consideration at next week’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It is nearly identical to a resolution that was approved by the SBC at our annual meeting in Salt Lake City in 1998. As Southern Baptists have a history of passing multiple resolutions, over the years, on the same or similar topics in an effort to speak clearly and in a manner that is consistent and applicable at various times, it seemed helpful to me for the SBC to speak to this issue in a manner similar to our resolution submitted and approved in 1998.
Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials
Phoenix , Arizona – 2017
WHEREAS, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34 CSB); and
WHEREAS, Serious allegations continue to be made about moral and legal misconduct by certain public officials; and
WHEREAS, The Bible calls upon all citizens to submit themselves to their governing authorities as ministers of the Lord (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13); and
WHEREAS, Scripture further teaches, “Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:2); and
WHEREAS, Governing authorities are not themselves exempt from the rule of law and must submit to the nation’s statutes, rather than mocking them (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:14; Proverbs 19:28-29; 2 Samuel 12:7; Mark 6:17-18); and
WHEREAS, Some journalists report that many Americans are willing to excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails; and
WHEREAS, Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment (1 Kings 16:30; Isaiah 5:18-25); and
WHEREAS, Many public officials and candidates deserve our gratitude and support for their consistent moral character and their uncompromising commitment to biblical principles of right and wrong, resulting in blessing upon their people.
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 13-14, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, affirm that moral character matters to God and should matter to all citizens, especially God’s people, when choosing public leaders; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we implore our government leaders to live by the highest standards of morality both in their private actions and in their public duties, and thereby serve as models of moral excellence and character; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge all citizens, including those who serve in public office, to submit themselves respectfully to governing authorities and to the rule of law; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and other Christians to fulfill their spiritual duty to pray regularly for the leaders of our nation (1 Timothy 2:1-4); and
Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character.