Stances of Faiths on LGBTQ Issues: Southern Baptist Convention

BACKGROUND

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with over 15 million members, traces its history to 1845 when it broke off from Northern Baptists over slavery. The roots of Southern Baptist history go back to the Baptist churches established in the American colonies in the 17th century.

By 1891, the SBC formed its own Sunday School Board, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Providing standard literature for all Southern Baptist churches had a strong unifying effect, solidifying the Southern Baptist Convention as a denomination.

Among doctrines Southern Baptists emphasize is the doctrine of local church autonomy. Working through 1,136 local associations and 42 state conventions, Southern Baptists share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.

LGBTQ EQUALITY

ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION & GENDER IDENTITY

In a 1996 “Resolution on a Christian Response to Homosexuality,” the SBC declared that “even a desire to engage in a homosexual relationship is always sinful, impure, degrading, shameful, unnatural, indecent and perverted.”

In the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement, the SBC equates "homosexuality" with adultery and pornography, declaring, “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose … all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality and pornography.”

The SBC calls on its members to a “love the sinner but hate the sin” approach and affirms the possibility of reorientation from same-sex attraction and supports “ex-gay” ministries. As the SBC website states: “Christians can, and should, minister to homosexuals in a kind, yet firm manner. The church should never turn its back on homosexuals who are searching and seeking to heal the hurts within their lives. … While God hates the sinner in his sin, we are called to love the sinner and hate the sin. In doing so, Christ can work through our lives to touch those lost in a world of confusion and darkness.”

Likewise, the SBC website also asserts: “We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy – one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.’ The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.”

At the 2012 SBC Annual Meeting, the SBC passed a resolution affirming "that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception—a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design (Ephesians 4:17–18)."

In 2017, top leaders of the SBC joined ined other evangelical leaders in a statement Aug. 29 denouncing LGBTQ people and their identities as "inconsistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption."

ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

In 2003, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement reaffirming its opposition to marriage equality. It called on "Southern Baptists not only to stand against same-sex unions but to demonstrate our love for those practicing homosexuality by sharing with them the forgiving and transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)."

At at the 2012 SBC Annual Meeting, the SBC also reiterated its opposition to frame marriage equality as a civil rights issue.

ON NON-DISCRIMINATION

The SBC does not support anti-discrimnation protections for LGBTQ people and opposes LGBTQ equality. to the current repeal of the policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that prohibited LGBTQ individuals to serve openly in the military.

In June 2010, a resolution (On Homosexuality and the United States Military) passed that states: “we oppose changing current law to normalize the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces, and insist on keeping the finding of Congress that sustains current law, which states that even ‘the presence in the armed forces’ of persons demonstrating ‘a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts’ creates ‘an unacceptable risk to . . . the essence of military capability.’”

ON ORDINATION

The Southern Baptist Convention does not ordain openly LGBTQ people, nor does it ordain women. However, alternative Baptist denominations such as the Alliance of Baptists do ordain both women and LGBTQ people.


RESOURCES

The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists
Both the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Alliance of Baptists emerged from the 1980’s fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention as networks for moderate to progressive Baptist congregations and seminaries.

CONTACT INFO

If you would like to communicate with the Southern Baptist Convention, here is their mailing address:

The Southern Baptist Convention
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203-3699

Last revised: 8/3/2018 | BACK TO FAITH POSITIONS PAGE