Virtual Resolutions

An Anti-Racist Intention | A Critical Analysis of Resolution 9

Since representing Southern Baptists a year ago before the National Commission on Military, National, and Public service, I’ve been in contact with retired Navy Captain Robert H. Miller, who was at that hearing in D.C. As director of Hope for America, he’s been monitoring (and deploring) the campaign to register women for military conscription, and he’s been encouraged by Southern Baptist statements against this “progressive” conceit. Armed with the 2016 SBC resolution (“On Women Registering For The Draft”), I joined in a panel assembled to gainsay this notion, one which included a Roman Catholic, a Quaker, a woman Marine veteran, and a libertarian. (C-SPAN2 covered the proceedings, which you can see here, with Capt. Miller seated right behind us on the first row, and with my daughter Chesed and her four daughters on the back row, they being used as Exhibit A in my appeal.)

Capt. Miller has been particularly and thoughtfully keen on highlighting the biblical and theological grounds for opposing such registration, and he’s not a little dismayed at the Church’s failure to speak forcefully and persistently against it. Just the other day, he called with the bad (though not surprising) news that the Commission pressed ahead with an “enlightened” recommendation on this matter, one that was quickly translated, with bi-partisan support, into “H.R. 6415—Inspire to Serve Act of 2020.”  So it’s crunch time.

As we talked about ways to press Congress to desist on this matter, I mentioned the SBC resolution process, only to note that cancellation of the Convention in Orlando had precluded that option. But then it occurred to me that Founders Ministries might be interested in posting a “what if we were meeting” resolution on this topic, the sort of thing that might encourage some people to write their Congressmen with objections. Founders had invited me to speak on this at the pre-Convention meeting in Birmingham last year, and president Tom Ascol had shown a heart for getting strategic resolutions right. (He’d been bold to speak from the floor against the seriously-flawed #9, while passage still hung in the balance.) So I ran it by him.

Not only was he willing, but he picked right up on my further suggestion that we draft a number of these “virtual resolutions” to suggest ways in which Southern Baptists might address pressing matters of import. I mentioned several, including ones on critical race theory, complementarianism, Christian higher education, blogs, and theological angles in evangelism. And, as we’ve talked, others have come to mind. (SBC resolutions have been a special interest of mine since I chaired the committee in 1989, served as a member in 1990, and then acted as Executive Committee staff liaison to the committee in 1992, 1993, and 1994.)

So we’re looking at a series of these proposals, the sort of thing that would have been submitted to the committee in Florida had the meeting not been cancelled. We don’t have a committee as such, but different folks are pitching in, either drafting possibilities or serving as sounding boards for others’ drafts. (Chris Bolt, on whose excellent doctoral dissertation on natural causality I was able to kibbitz, is a key player in this.)

That being said, we plan to roll these out week by week, leading up to the original Convention time in June. Maybe some will be pertinent to the work of the 2021 resolutions committee. Perhaps some will enjoy leverage at this very moment or provoke useful thinking in the interim. At any rate, we hope you’ll give them a look as they appear over these next weeks.


Dr. Mark Coppenger, retired professor of philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former professor at Wheaton has given us an excellent study of how God’s lordship in creation lays the groundwork for aesthetics. Mark is an effective writer and author, an engaging teacher, has served in numerous positions of service among Southern Baptists at the national and state levels and also been pastor of churches. He is the author of a new book entitled If Christianity is So Good, Why are Christians so Bad? Also, he is an author/editor of a book highly pertinent to the topic of this Journal, Apologetical Aesthetics. Since the triune God is Creator and Sustainer and Owner of the earth, it is impossible that every aspect of it not reflect some element of his glory. The existence of everything is dependent on him and his power, intelligence, beauty, purpose, and glory. The study of aesthetics is the investigation of principles underlying our perception of beauty and awe. This could be applied to art, music, poetry, physics, chemistry, or the mere pleasure of standing in awe of natural things. Mark has given a narrative of how aesthetics has its foundation in the realty that “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” He has shown the confluence of nature and art in how the beauty, symmetry, threatening danger, and power of the one inspires the other. His article itself is an engagement with aesthetics of language.
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