Alabama Baptists "unanimously" declare support for Israel, condemn anti-Semitism

At a time when some church denominations, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), are considering or passing one-sided resolutions critical o...

At a time when some church denominations, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), are considering or passing one-sided resolutions critical of Israel or, in the case of PCUSA, divesting from businesses they see as profiting from Israel’s “occupation,” Alabama’s Southern Baptists said that won’t fly with them.

At the Alabama Baptist State Convention, held Nov. 11 and 12 at Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, resolutions were passed “In Support of the Right of the State of Israel to Exist” and “In Opposition to Anti-Semitism.”

At a Christians United for Israel pastor’s luncheon at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham on Nov. 18, Rev. John Killian informed pastors about the resolutions and that they had passed unanimously. Killian, immediate past president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and pastor of Maytown Baptist Church, told the CUFI gathering “let’s let everybody know Alabama Christians stand for Israel.”

According to the Alabama Baptist, the convention’s 13 resolutions passed with “no significant debate nor changes.”

The anti-Semitism resolution cites increasing anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in Europe and supports the right of the Jewish community “to fellowship without harassment.” It concludes that “Alabama Baptists will teach respect for our Jewish neighbors and would discourage those anti-Semitic attitudes which may seek to find a place in public policy.”

The Israel resolution notes the “historic connection” of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, and that in 1943 Alabama was the first state to pass legislation calling for a Jewish homeland.

It expresses “abhorrence” of terror, denounces “revenge in any form as a response” but supports “the right of sovereign nations to use force to defend themselves against aggressors.”

Israel, the resolution adds, must be held accountable in the same manner “as any other nation,” and the Palestinian people are called upon to “reform their government structures to repudiate terrorism and tyranny.”

One passage likely to raise eyebrows on both sides states that “We affirm God’s love for and offer of salvation in Christ to all people, including both Jewish and Palestinian people.” The next statement then says “Both Old and New Testaments affirm God’s special purposes and providential care for the Jewish people.”

The resolution concludes with “we pray that the true peace of our Lord will reign in the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people and that this peace will bring blessing to this war-torn land.”

Nationally, the Jewish community and the Southern Baptist Convention have had a roller-coaster relationship given the Southern Baptist Great Commission mandate to witness to the entire world, including the Jewish community. Calls to evangelize the Jewish community, including a controversial 1996 resolution, have been widely criticized in the Jewish community, as has Southern Baptist support for “messianic” congregations.


Below is the entire text of the 2014 resolutions:

RESOLUTION NO. 6

IN SUPPORT OF THE RIGHT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL TO EXIST


WHEREAS, We recognize that long-standing hostility has existed between Israel and her neighbors; and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures call for us to pray for the peace of Israel (Psalm 122:6); and

WHEREAS, We affirm God’s love for and offer of salvation in Christ to all people, including both Jewish and Palestinian people; and

WHEREAS, Both Old and New Testaments affirm God’s special purposes and providential care for the Jewish people (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:1-21; Romans 9-11); and

WHEREAS, The Jewish people have a historic connection to the land of Israel, a connection that is rooted in the promises of God Himself; and

WHEREAS, The Alabama legislature passed a resolution supporting the right of a Jewish Homeland in 1943, the first state to do so; and

WHEREAS, The international community restored land to the Jewish people in 1947 to provide a homeland for them and re-establish the nation of Israel; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our abhorrence of all forms of terrorism as inexcusable, barbaric, and cowardly acts; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we denounce revenge in any form as a response to past offenses (Romans 12:17-21) but support the right of sovereign nations to use force to defend themselves against aggressors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that Israel must always be held accountable to the same standards of national righteousness as any other nation, particularly in light of the Old Testament mandate that Israel maintain justice for the strangers and aliens in her midst (Exodus 22:21; Deuteronomy 10:19); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Palestinian people to reform their government structures to repudiate terrorism and tyranny; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Israeli and Palestinian people to pursue policies that promote genuine religious liberty and peace between themselves and their neighbors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the United States and the nations of the world to offer whatever assistance they can to help secure peace in the Middle East; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pledge to pray for peace in the Middle East, and especially for Israel; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pray that the true peace of our Lord will reign in the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people and that this peace will bring blessing to this war-torn land.


RESOLUTION NO. 7

IN OPPOSITION TO ANTI-SEMITISM


WHEREAS, Scripture tells us that believers are to be known for loving others (John 13:35, Matt. 5:43, Matt. 19:19, Mark 12:31); and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists have long opposed racial and ethnic stereotyping and hatred; and

WHEREAS, A recent study by the Anti-Defamation League has determined that 26% of those surveyed in 100 nations around the world hold to unjust stereotypes of the Jewish community; and

WHEREAS, International press reports indicate a great rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, including denial of the Nazi Holocaust; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, support the right of the Jewish community to fellowship without harassment; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Alabama Baptists deplore anti-Semitic attitudes, including Holocaust denial; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That Alabama Baptists will teach respect for our Jewish neighbors and would discourage those anti-Semitic attitudes which may seek to find a place in public policy.


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Southern Jewish Life: Alabama Baptists "unanimously" declare support for Israel, condemn anti-Semitism
Alabama Baptists "unanimously" declare support for Israel, condemn anti-Semitism
Southern Jewish Life
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