SBC Seminary Presidents: Let No Man Put Asunder - A Resolution in Defense of Marriage

( [email protected] ) May 17, 2004 06:30 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. -- The presidents of the six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries issued a joint statement supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment, and reaffirming their call to protect traditional marriage in America, as Massachusetts began legalizing gay “marriage,” May 17, 2004.

The presidents’ statement, drafted by the SBC’s flagship Southern Baptist Seminary’s president Albert Mohler, proclaimed that “Marriage is not a human contrivance,” but rather “a part of God’s perfect design for his human creatures.”

In separate interviews with the Baptist Press – the newsletter of the SBC – each of the presidents explained their reason for backing the necessary statement.

“This is a mammoth issue since the family is the fabric of all social order,” said Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. “Furthermore, the judgment of God looms before a society that cannot retain clarity on the basic unit of relational life.”

“Sincerely held convictions relating to human behavior and to right and wrong which are based on multiple passages from the Bible, including passages that define marriage, cannot be called bigotry any more than a conviction that the Bible forbids theft could be called bigotry,” continued Patterson.

“Homosexuality is not singled out by biblical Christians. All sexual behavior or even contemplation of such outside of biblical marriage is viewed in the Bible as destructive and, therefore, sinful,” Patterson said.

Phil Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo, agreed, saying: “Sexual orientation has never been an issue of personal prejudice or discrimination. It is not an issue that can be defined any way else, but as a moral choice. Therefore, it would be hard to rationalize that to oppose an issue that is clearly against God’s law as being an expression of bigotry.”

“It is clear in the minds of many people in America today that they do not understand the true meaning of marriage. It should therefore be clarified once and for all in our national law.”

Charles Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, specifically noted the need for biblically-minded Christians across the nation to speak out.

“Southern Baptists should begin now to educate themselves on the issue. This is one of the major reasons why I think this resolution is a good thing,” said Kelley.

“There is always hope,” Kelley said. “Our responsibility, however, is not to stem the tide. Our responsibility is to bear faithful witness to God and His ways and never, never, never give up laboring for righteousness.”

The following is the full text of the resolution as posted by the Baptist Press:

Let No Man Put Asunder

A Resolution in Defense of Marriage

The institution of marriage is now in crisis -- and this crisis has been generations in coming. For decades, marriage has been under assault in Western societies. Citizens of the advanced industrial nations have treated marriage as a legal and social convenience, to be made and remade in every generation. Marriage has been undermined by permissive sexuality, the availability of divorce, the assumption of personal autonomy, and now, by the prospect of legalized same-sex unions.

Marriage is not a human contrivance. Indeed, it is part of God’s perfect design for his human creatures. We affirm that marriage was designed for humanity by our Creator, who gave us marriage for the rightful ordering of human sexuality and relationships. The Holy Scripture is clear and unambiguous about the nature of marriage as a permanent bond of a man and a woman before God. Furthermore, it is a covenant that unites a man and a woman in a holy union. Marriage deserves our greatest respect and stalwart defense, even as it offers priceless joys and satisfactions to those who maintain its integrity.

Marriage is not just one institution among others. It is the central institution for the ordering of humanity at the most intimate level. Without a commitment to marriage, human society is deprived of its most fundamental structure -- and social disaster will inevitably follow.

Any legal recognition of same-sex relationships -- whether known as “marriages,” “civil unions,” or any other nomenclature -- is a direct act of defiance before God, and a rejection of God’s perfect design for human sexuality, human relatedness, and the raising of children.

Therefore, the presidents and faculties of the six seminaries serving the Southern Baptist Convention hereby jointly and publicly declare our support for the institution of marriage, our opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and our determination to uphold the integrity of marriage in all we teach, profess, and declare.

Furthermore, we call on the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention—and all Christians of good will and biblical conviction—to join us in this sacred effort, and to present the watching world with a bold witness to God’s glory in marriage.

Adopted by the seminary faculties in official action, and represented in this resolution by each seminary president:

Jeff Iorg, President

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

Mill Valley, California

R. Philip Roberts, President

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kansas City, Missouri

Charles S. Kelley, Jr., President

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

New Orleans, Louisiana

Daniel L. Akin, President

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, North Carolina

R. Albert Mohler Jr., President

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, Kentucky

L. Paige Patterson, President

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Fort Worth, Texas