From Rick Lance, executive director, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, Montgomery, Ala., and Travis Coleman, Jr., senior minister, First Baptist Church, Prattville, Ala., and president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention:
We endorse the following resolutions that were adopted by the State Board of Missions on February 6. We likewise call upon Alabama Baptists to pray for our state and nation and to stand strong in support of biblical marriage as the only form that should be legal in Alabama and throughout our nation.
Even as the stay on a federal court ruling expires on February 9, we grieve over the abandonment of biblical marriage as the cornerstone of our society. We pray that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule in a way that will protect states such as Alabama where voters have by majority vote expressed support for biblical marriage only. In Alabama’s case, the vote was an overwhelming majority.
We commend to Alabama Baptist congregations and their members these resolutions as worthy of consideration by our family of churches as they seek to be faithful to God and to His teachings in all of Scripture regarding marriage and healthy human relationships.
ON REAFFIRMATION OF BIBLICAL MARRIAGE
WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists continue their faithful and unwavering support for biblical marriage as the only legally sanctioned form; and
WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists have expressed this support in various ways, including as a resolution adopted by the 2013 annual meeting of our State Convention; and
WHEREAS, Court decisions during the past several months have effectively abolished biblical marriage as the only legally sanctioned form in numerous other states across our nation; and
WHEREAS, On Friday, January 23, 2015, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade ruled that Alabama’s Marriage Protection Act and the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment are unconstitutional; and
WHEREAS, On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend a delay on the District Judge’s ruling; and
WHEREAS, The effect of the panel’s ruling is that on Monday, February 9, 2015, Alabama will become the 37th state in which marriage licenses must be issued by probate offices upon request to same-sex couples; and
WHEREAS, Several Probate Judges have expressed plans to no longer officiate for wedding ceremonies; and
WHEREAS, A landmark decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is expected within a few months regarding marriage and same-sex couples; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, meeting in Montgomery on February 6, 2015, expresses moral outrage, intense grief and strong disagreement over court rulings that have set our culture in a direction against the biblical definition of marriage; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we offer prayer and personal support for those Probate Judges who, exercising their personal religious liberties, conscientiously object to the affirmation of the marriage of same-sex couples; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we will pray for those with whom we disagree, specifically those who advocate the abolition of biblical marriage as the only legally sanctioned form; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commit to pray for the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who are expected this year to issue a landmark ruling that could abolish the sole legality of biblical marriage throughout our nation; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptists and all Christians to continue to be faithful to the biblical definition of marriage and that we call for sincere repentance, earnest prayer and a commitment to seek God’s face for a spiritual and moral awakening in America; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we reaffirm the attached resolution that was adopted by messengers to the 2013 annual meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention.
RESOLUTION NO. 4 (2013)
ON STRENGTHENING BIBLICAL MARRIAGE
WHEREAS, God established the family as the primary and most influential social institution of mankind and ordained that each human family begin only with the marriage of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-8; Hebrews 13:4); and
WHEREAS, The husband and wife forming a two-parent family is God’s ideal, ordained by God to perform a unique role in the birth, loving discipline, and nurture of children; and
WHEREAS, The New Testament plainly teaches the beauty and value of a love-filled monogamy between one man and one woman; and
WHEREAS, The viability, strength, and stability of the social order within any nation is more dependent upon the well-being of this traditional family structure than any other social institution or agency; and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message, adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000, contains “Article XVIII. The Family,” which states, “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime”; and
WHEREAS, The sacred institution of marriage is now under destructive attack throughout our society by certain governmental bodies, the military, corporations, as well as numerous other private and public entities; and
WHEREAS, The social problems of child poverty, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, violent crimes committed by children, sexual promiscuity and teen pregnancy are often related to broken marriages and fractured families; and
WHEREAS, Many people turn to divorce as an early solution to problems that could and should be solved in other ways; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention, meeting in Huntsville, Alabama, on November 12-13, 2013, express our enthusiastic support for those policies of public and private organizations which aim to strengthen the biblical marriage commitment and to reverse the trend of the disintegration of the family as defined and sanctioned by Scripture; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we affirm our conviction that the restoration of happy and biblical family relationships is one of the most critical moral imperatives of our time; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we seek to practice, and encourage others to practice, biblical family relationships which reflect Christ’s love; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge churches not only to proclaim that monogamy is Christ’s teaching for marriage but also to provide compassionate help for couples who face marital problems; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptist churches and ministers to make it a priority to provide premarital or marital counseling, or to develop effective referral relationships; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we commend the Office of LeaderCare & Church Administration as well as the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries for raising awareness about resources, such as counseling services, to strengthen marriages.