By Thomas Whitley
At last week’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, messengers from SBC churches around the country voted on and approved a resolution concerning the recent change in membership policy by the Boy Scouts of America, which says that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
It is no secret that the SBC has long believed that homosexuality is in violation of God’s intentions for human sexuality and that it is a deplorable sin and affront to God. And as many expected, the SBC messengers voted to express their disapproval of the BSA’s decision, their approval of its member churches that feel the need to “prayerfully … assess their continued relationship with the BSA” and their “support for those churches and families that as a matter of conscience can no longer be part of the Scouting family.”
The recent decision of the BSA has, overnight apparently, turned Scouting into a new mission field, as if it weren’t already an overtly Christian institution.
“We encourage churches and families that remain in the Boy Scouts to seek to impact as many boys as possible with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, to work toward the reversal of this new membership policy, and to advocate against any future change in leadership and membership policy that normalizes sexual conduct opposed to the biblical standard.”
None of this surprises me, though it does still bother me in many ways and for many reasons. The kicker for me, though, was the final declaration of the resolution.
“We declare our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Sure, they think you’re going to hell if you believe you were born gay and that it’s just who you are.
Sure, they think your very existence is an affront to God and a grave example of the power of sin in this world.
Sure, they will tell you that you can never act on the “urges” you have, but have to remain celibate because the person you happen to love has the same genitalia as you.
Sure, they think their “sexual orientation” is true and real and pure while yours is merely “perceived” and is the result of a choice you made.
But it’s really all okay, because they “love” you.
It seems to me that they sure do have a funny way of showing it.
Having spent the majority of my life thus far in Baptist (and mostly Southern Baptist) churches, I recognize that the SBC does not speak for all members of Southern Baptist churches, nor does it speak for all who identify as Baptist or as Christian.
This is, though, the governing body, and they do hope (intend) that all member churches follow their stances on issues like this.
Churches don’t have to adopt every position approved at the annual meetings, but my experience has been that hot-button topics like this (and women as pastors, for example) often lead to churches being kicked out of the SBC, usually at the local (association) level.
— This commentary appeared previously on the ABPNews blog.