During meetings of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and Executive Committee on May 11-12, 2017, John Thweatt, president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, issued this Call to Prayer:
Dear Alabama Baptist:
For almost 200 years, Alabama Baptists have worked together, preached together, and sacrificed together for the cause of missions and the strengthening of gospel ministry in this state. We have also prayed together. We are now at a moment when praying together has become an urgency. This is letter is a call to prayer.
Since 1841, Alabama Baptists have loved, supported, and strengthened Samford University. Our partnership together is not merely historical, financial and structural; it is also spiritual and relational. We care deeply about Samford University and its future. We care about its leadership, trustees, faculty, and students.
We also believe in the full authority of the Word of God and Alabama Baptists have been consistently clear in affirming the Bible’s clear teachings on matters related to gender, sexuality, and marriage. We have every right and reason to expect our ministry partners and historic Alabama Baptist institutions to do the same.
Thus, the news that Samford is considering the granting of official recognition to a student group that would oppose those teachings and advocate for beliefs and policies that are directly contrary to Scripture is of great concern. News reports indicate that the final decision to grant such recognition has not yet been made. As Dr. Rick Lance, our executive director and I made clear in a recent public statement, any decision to grant official recognition to this group would have serious implications for the relationship between Samford University and the Alabama Baptist State Convention.
We call upon President Andrew Westmoreland and the Board of Trustees of Samford University to stand in faithfulness with Alabama Baptists and with the authority of Scripture and to uphold the Bible’s teachings on sexuality, gender, and marriage and to grant official sanction to no organization that would question or oppose those teachings.
With this letter, we also call Alabama Baptists to pray for Samford University, President Westmoreland, and the Board of Trustees. Further, let us pray for all who study, learn, and teach at Samford. Let us pray that Samford will be a university that models both respect for persons and respect for God’s truth. Pray for those entrusted with leadership for the Alabama Baptist State Convention. Please pray for God’s wisdom and truth to prevail in every dimension of our work together, and for the power of the gospel of Christ and the truth of God’s Word to be cherished and upheld in all we do.