By Bob Allen
While reaffirming their previous stance against gay marriage, Southern Baptists in Oklahoma denounced a “culture of divorce” permeating society — including churches — in a resolution passed by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Nov. 9-10 in Oklahoma City.
The statement, approved by messengers meeting at Southern Hills Baptist Church, reaffirmed a 2014 resolution describing marriage as the “sacred union of one man and one woman,” before adding two sentences.
“We are grieved by the culture of divorce and marital unfaithfulness in America and even in our own churches, as seen in recent public scandals,” the resolution stated. “Understanding marriage is a portrait of the Gospel and central to God’s design for the family, we resolve to live out our biblical beliefs in our marital relationships.”
Hance Dilbeck, who was elected to a second one-year term as the convention’s president, told The Oklahoman that while Southern Baptists’ view of marriage is well known, there was a desire to encourage people to follow the biblical standard of “complete faithfulness for life.”
“We have not always lived up to our own standards, sadly,” Dilbeck, senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, told the newspaper. “Even as our commitment to the biblical definition is unchanging, we recognized in this resolution that we need to do better in living up to our beliefs, which stem from the Scriptures.”
Oklahoma Baptists have been vocal in the past opposing efforts to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. In March the state convention sponsored a workshop titled “The Gospel, Homosexuality, & the Future of Marriage,” headlined by Southern Baptist Convention leaders Albert Mohler and Russell Moore. After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, the BCGO created a resource page containing legal and theological advice for congregations resisting the cultural shift.
The resolution doesn’t specify which “recent public scandals” it references, but it comes on the heels of a couple of high-profile media scandals involving evangelicals this year.
Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian resigned in June as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after admitting an “inappropriate relationship” with a friend while he and his wife were separated. After losing his ministerial credentials, he filed for divorce in August.
Josh Duggar, the star of 19 Kids and Counting, entered rehab after revelations that as a teenager he “inappropriately touched” five minor girls, including two of his sisters, and he admitted to having accounts on the cheating site Ashley Madison and being “unfaithful” to his wife.