COLUMBUS, Ohio — Delegates of the Southern Baptist Convention voted on Tuesday to pass a resolution declaring that the denomination will stand by the biblical definition of marriage found in the book of Genesis and that no court or government authority can change God’s definition.
Southern Baptist President Ronnie Floyd, an Alabama megachurch pastor, spoke to those gathered earlier in the day, being met with a standing ovation.
“The Supreme Court of the United States is not the final authority nor is the culture itself,” he proclaimed in an impassioned speech. “The Bible is God’s final authority about marriage and on this book we stand.”
“While some evangelicals may be bowing down to the deception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage, we will not bow down nor will we be silent,” Floyd continued. “We do not need to redefine what God Himself has defined already.”
Floyd said that the Body of Christ has a duty and responsibility before God to be salt and light in the midst of darkness and quoted from the late German pastor and outspoken Nazi opponent Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act,” he cited.
“This is a Bonhoeffer moment for every pastor in the United States,” Floyd declared.
He called for a balance of love and compassion with truth.
“[W]hile we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage,” Floyd said. “Our first commitment is to God and His Word—nothing else and no one else.”
Delegates later voted on and adopted what is known as Resolution 5, or “The Call to Public Witness on Marriage.”
“Resolved, that Southern Baptists recognize that no governing institution has the authority to negate or usurp God’s definition of marriage,” it reads in part. “And be it further resolved no matter how the Supreme Court rules, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirms its unwavering commitment to its doctrinal and public beliefs concerning marriage.”
The resolution also called for “Southern Baptists and all Christians to stand firm on the Bible’s witness on the purposes of marriage, among which are to unite man and woman as one flesh and to secure the basis for the flourishing of human civilization,” and “that Southern Baptists love our neighbors and extend respect in Christ’s name to all people, including those who may disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good.”
As previously reported, the United States Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling this month regarding states’ rights surrounding the definition of marriage. While it is not yet known how the justices will rule, some on the bench expressed a hesitancy to tamper with the institution.
“This definition has been with us for millennia,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. “And it’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’”