This week, members of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) vote on three proposed resolutions: world hunger, religious nationalism and peace in the Middle East. New Zealand Baptists are part of the BWA, which gathers annually to pray, learn, and plan together.

The General Council vote is a part of this year’s BWA Congress held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Below are the details articulated and affirmed through our global connection within the ‘tribe’ of Baptist Christians – provided by the BWA Director of Global Partnerships & Unity.


BWA General Council Resolution 2024.1

World Hunger

The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, July 7-12, 2024:

AFFIRMS as Christians, we are called to demonstrate our love for God by loving our neighbours, an ethic echoed throughout the scriptures (Leviticus 19:18, 34; Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37; Romans 15:2; James 2:8). We also believe God cares for those who are vulnerable (Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5; Psalm 146:9) and urges us to do the same (Exodus 22:22; 23:6; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 15:7, 11; Jeremiah 22:3; Matthew 25:35).

ACKNOWLEDGES current estimates that around 700 million people in the world[1]—including more than 23 million Baptists—are affected by hunger, increasing in recent years due to global systemic issues like poverty, economic injustice, climate change, war, and racial and gender inequality.

RECALLS that BWA General Council Resolution 1979.1 identified the scourge of world hunger as many of the world’s peoples are threatened by starvation due to famine, war, and natural disaster. We also recall that since 1905 the BWA has spoken up for human rights and freedom and against manifestations of racially or religiously inspired injustice by adopting over 60 resolutions or statements.

UNDERSTANDS our human family experiences hunger, poverty, and interrelated issues in a variety of

ways, requiring contextual awareness to love and serve one another.

RECOGNISES addressing structural and systemic changes are necessary to eliminate hunger and poverty

disparities. This includes developing, prioritising, and proactively implementing solidarity and capacity building programs with local governments, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and farmers to create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

STANDS with Indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities in safeguarding their lands, forests, and resources from illegal or corrupt acquisition by governments and multinational corporations (BWA General Council Resolution 2023.1).

ADVOCATES for and with peoples who have been historically colonized as they pursue the development of a social, economic, cultural, and political future that erases poverty and hunger.

URGES churches, unions, and other institutions to identify ways to lament, repent, reconcile, and

transform individuals and structures, speak out against all forms of prejudice, and engage in theological reflection, dialogue, and advocacy concerning ending hunger and poverty throughout the globe.

RECOMMENDS Baptists study the annual BWA Baptist Vulnerability Index to support our global family living in the most vulnerable and challenging countries in the world as defined by hunger, livelihood, violent conflict, and religious freedom challenges.

SUPPORTS Baptist World Aid and Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development as they

collaborate and facilitate with Baptists around the globe in addressing issues of world hunger and poverty.

[1] “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World,” 2023, https://openknowledge.fao.org/server/api/core/bitstreams/a69f5540-6ee7-43f4-a8ef-9eb7b3e7b677/content/cc3017en.html.


BWA General Council Resolution 2024.2 

Religious Nationalism 

The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, July 7-12, 2024: 

LAMENTS the rise of religious nationalism around the world in all forms of government from totalitarian systems to democracies. Religious nationalism is the co-opting of the language, symbols, imagery, sacred texts, or holy figures of the dominant religion to justify wielding legal, political or social power or privilege, and may depict a nation or political party as divinely approved and guided. 

UNDERSTANDS that religious nationalism threatens religious freedom and may corrupt or exploit any religion in the pursuit of obtaining or maintaining political power. Such fusing of religion with community or national identity may create flawed expressions of devout faith and patriotism. 

DECRIES the harm caused by all forms of religious nationalism that may include discrimination against and silencing of religious minorities and other marginalized communities, resulting in vandalism, harassment, violence, arrest, forced displacement, and death.

 RECOGNISES that Baptists and other Christians are not immune to this dangerous trend. In Christian nationalism the gospel of Jesus Christ is reduced to a gospel of earthly political power. 

ACKNOWLEDGES that Christian nationalism is a form of idolatry as it makes one’s nation-state equal to if not superior to the Triune God. Christians who perpetuate and fuel Christian nationalism should repent of, not celebrate, their participation. 

REPUDIATES the theology of dominion and the way it undergirds Christian nationalism as a Christian duty. Dominionism distorts gospel values to misuse churches for political gain, spurs societal aversion to the gospel, creates divisions within the church, and silences Christians and Christian leaders who oppose this theology of power. In contrast, we endorse Jesus’s model of civic engagement characterized by love and sacrifice for our neighbours. 

AFFIRMS our Baptist heritage of fighting for more than 400 years for a radical separation of the institutions of religion and government as the best way to protect the religious freedom of all people. We further affirm a constructive and prophetic Christian strategy of civic engagement and advocacy that defends the freedom of religion or belief for everyone, protects the human rights of all, and promotes the common good. 

COMMENDS Baptists around the world who are leading the religious, academic, cultural, and political opposition to religious nationalism in their contexts and calls for an increase in multifaith advocacy in support of religious freedom for all. We also applaud efforts opposing Christian nationalism such as the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign run by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in the United States and the Freedom of Religion or Belief course from the International Baptist Theological Seminary in the Netherlands. 

CALLS on all Baptist individuals, churches, unions, and institutions—and all people of good will—to find ways to publicly and privately oppose religious nationalism, and especially resist the temptations of Christian nationalism. We also urge Baptists and other Christians to support positive Christian engagement in the public square.


BWA General Council Resolution 2024.3

Peace in the Middle East

The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, July 7-12, 2024:

REMEMBERS the biblical call to be peacemakers (Nahum 1:15; Matthew 5:9; Acts 10:36; Romans 12:18; James 3:18). As followers of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7), we proclaim “a gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15) and serve Christ as messengers of “reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

REAFFIRMS the BWA General Council’s prior resolutions concerning peacemaking in relation to the Middle East (1981.41988.51991.3; 1997.22002.52003.52011.42013.10). The Council’s 1981 resolution sets forth principles that have informed the BWA’s peace-focused agenda for the Middle East for four decades, including a “commitment to the pursuit of peace, liberty, and social justice simultaneously,” as well as a “call on Baptists in every land to pray for peace” in the Middle East.

LAMENTS the violence, wars, oppression, persecution, discrimination, and bigotry that have for decades plagued much of the Middle East.

CONDEMNS the attacking, kidnapping, and killing of civilians (BWA General Council Resolution 1982.6BWA World Congress Resolution 1985.6)  as well as the destruction of civilian property and facilities and supplies indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. We also denounce genocidal rhetoric by any party or country, especially that which utilizes biblical passages.

REAFFIRMS BWA General Council Resolution 2019.2 in condemning all forms of religious intolerance and religiously motivated violence. We condemn all forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia, and we seek to continue our commitment to multifaith dialogue for the pursuit of peace (BWA General Council Resolution 2002.5). PRAYS for the following actions to bring about a holistic peacemaking agenda:

1. URGES an immediate ceasefire in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Yemen.

2. CALLS for the immediate return of all hostages (as well as the bodies of dead hostages) by Hamas.

3. BACKS a coordinated multi-national response to the famine, medical, and housing crises on behalf of Gazan civilians. We support immediate humanitarian efforts and greater access to prevent more deaths from starvation.

4. REASSERTS the BWA General Council’s commitment to a just and lasting peace process in which Israel and the Palestinian people recognize one another’s right to exist as neighbors who seek each other’s welfare. While supporting initiatives for a peaceful resolution of this conflict, we also believe it must be a peace with justice and with a hope rooted in the equal opportunity for a flourishing freedom for both Palestinians and Israelis.

5. COMMENDS Baptists and other Christians in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and across the region who continue to faithfully share the good news of Jesus, serve the humanitarian needs of their neighbours, and work toward peace. With the significant damage to Gaza Baptist Church, we commit to support the rebuilding of a long-term Baptist presence in Gaza and the preservation of Christian community and witness throughout the Middle East.


Photo: Delegates at this year’s BWA Congress in Lagos Nigeria. BWA chief executive Elijah Brown is second from left. facebook.com/BaptistWorld

Read More Articles

Assembly Council Meeting June 2024 Image
Articles
July 18, 2024 | Rod Robson Channel: 2144749

Assembly Council Meeting June 2024

Time for more feedback on proposed changes to the Baptist Union Constitution | Continuing search for new property for key Baptist entities | Relationship with…

A Baptist overview of the Church Life Survey results Image
Events
July 17, 2024 | Peter Lineham Channel: 2144749

A Baptist overview of the Church Life Survey results

A deep dive into the recent national Church Life Survey data from a Baptist perspective.

Powerful Kiwi documentary reveals lives transformed Image
News
July 15, 2024 | Christine Stride Channel: 2144749

Powerful Kiwi documentary reveals lives transformed

Mana Atua – The Power of God is a compelling Christian feature documentary about transformed lives in Aotearoa.

';