SBC nat'l, state leaders sign 'unity' pledge

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jun 13, 2011 10:52 PM
SBC nat'l, state leaders sign 'unity' pledge
PHOENIX (BP)--Pledging to "walk in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ," Southern Baptist entity heads, state executives and ethnic fellowship leaders signed an historic "Affirmation of Unity and Cooperation" pledge Monday during the Executive Committee meeting.

The document, which will be highlighted during the Executive Committee's report Tuesday to the convention, includes five core "pledges" that reflect a spirit of unity. Executive Committee President Frank Page and Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright also signed it.

Page said he will discuss the document in more detail Tuesday when addressing messengers.

"Isn't it time to start trusting each other again?" Page said to a chorus of "amens."

The document's five core pledges are:

-- "We pledge to maintain a relationship of mutual trust, behaving ourselves trustworthily before one another and trusting one another as brothers and sisters indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. (Philippians 4:8; Ephesians 4:20- 32; 2 Peter 1:3-8)

-- "We pledge to attribute the highest motives to those engaged in local church ministries and those engaged in denominational service in any level of Convention life -- motives that originate within hearts truly desiring to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we also serve. (1 Samuel 2:3; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 7:1-5)

-- "We pledge to affirm the value of cooperative ministry as the most effective and efficient means of reaching a lost world with the message of the Gospel. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Psalm 68:11; Acts 9:31; 1 Corinthians 16:1-23)

-- "We pledge to embrace our brothers and sisters of every ethnicity, race, and language as equal partners in our collective ministries to engage all people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 16:25-27; Revelation 7:9)

-- "We pledge to continue to honor and affirm proportional giving through the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our outreach as Southern Baptists, enabling us to work together to evangelize the lost people of our world locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. (2 Corinthians 8:1-13; 9:1-15; Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 20:20-21; Romans 10:14-17)"

Following is the full text of the document:

Affirmation of Unity and Cooperation

We the undersigned affirm our commitment to cooperative ministry as a testimony of our unity in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The passion which drives our unity is twofold: to clarify our evangelistic fervor for the souls of men and women across the nation and around the world, and to magnify the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In the past, we have identified our doctrinal heritage through adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message. In this confessional statement of faith, we affirmed our unswerving allegiance to the following:

-- Belief in the Bible as God's inerrant, infallible, authoritative, and sufficient Word;

-- Belief in and commitment to the Person and work of the one true God who has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;

-- Belief in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, accessible to everyone who believes, regardless of their heritage, race, ethnicity, language, or socio-economic station in life;

-- Belief in the ecclesiological affirmations of believer's baptism and the gathered church, each church being governed congregationally under the Lordship of Jesus Christ;

-- Belief in our duty and privilege, consciously and cooperatively, to carry the message of Jesus Christ across the street and around the world;

-- Belief in our core commitment that as members of New Testament churches we should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom.

As we look to the future, reflecting a conscious desire to walk in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ, we pledge the following:

1. We pledge to maintain a relationship of mutual trust, behaving ourselves trustworthily before one another and trusting one another as brothers and sisters indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. (Philippians 4:8; Ephesians 4:20- 32; 2 Peter 1:3-8)

2. We pledge to attribute the highest motives to those engaged in local church ministries and those engaged in denominational service in any level of Convention life—motives that originate within hearts truly desiring to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we also serve. (1 Samuel 2:3; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 7:1-5)

3. We pledge to affirm the value of cooperative ministry as the most effective and efficient means of reaching a lost world with the message of the Gospel. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Psalm 68:11; Acts 9:31; 1 Corinthians 16:1-23)

4. We pledge to embrace our brothers and sisters of every ethnicity, race, and language as equal partners in our collective ministries to engage all people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 16:25-27; Revelation 7:9)

5. We pledge to continue to honor and affirm proportional giving through the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our outreach as Southern Baptists, enabling us to work together to evangelize the lost people of our world locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. (2 Corinthians 8:1-13; 9:1-15; Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 20:20-21; Romans 10:14-17)

We affirm these principles of cooperation this thirteenth day of June, 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net