1989 Resolutions Committee Report
SBC President Jerry Vines asked me to chair the Resolutions Committee at the Las Vegas convention in 1989. The other committee members were David Allen, Jerry Brown, Joy Dorsett, Ken Hemphill, David McAlpin, James Merritt, Linda Shrewsbury, Jerry Sutton, and Walt Tomme. The resolutions at the previous year’s convention in San Antonio generated some serious furor, especially one on “the priesthood of the believer.” It cautioned that this doctrine should not be used to justify misinterpreting, demythologizing, and otherwise misusing the Bible. When it passed, two hundred messengers turned in their ballots and marched to the Alamo in protest, where they got glowing coverage in the secular press, such as what you find in this piece by the Los Angeles Times. (https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-06-18-me-4652-story.html)
With that background, I floated the idea of having a year’s moratorium on resolutions, to let things cool down a bit. President Vines (who’d won election narrowly over Richard Jackson in 1988, in a contest involving 30,000 messengers at the height of the Conservative Resurgence) said we should go ahead and do our work as usual, and he was so right. It turns out that SBC entities, particularly the CLC (now the ERLC), used those resolutions to do their work, a fact I would fully understand two years later when I went to work as Vice President for Public Relations for the SBC Executive Committee. In relating to the press, I constantly drew on resolutions to explain our thinking on various issues.
I should add that the entities now only ask for resolution-tools, but also sometimes urge us to not speak on things. I think, for example, of a request from the FMB (now the IMB) to refrain from presenting one on a political conflict overseas, in that it could stir up difficulties for their personnel working there. And so we complied.
Las Vegas, Nevada,
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