OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — Messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention approved five resolutions without comment or debate during their closing session Oct. 29 at Tan-Tar-A Resort, including one on same-sex marriage and another on human sex trafficking.
The others included appreciation to Raymond R. “Bob” Kenison, who retired on June 30 as president of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home; an historical recognition of missions in Shanghai, China, and the efforts of Manly Juhan Breaker, corresponding secretary of the Home and Foreign Mission Board of Missouri; and the traditional courtesy resolution to all who had a part in planning and hosting the annual gathering at Tan-Tar-A.
The same-sex marriage resolution, titled “Resolution on Defending Religious Freedom,” notes that Missouri Baptists “have faithfully maintained a biblical stance on the issues of ‘marriage equality’ and the primacy of traditional marriage in society” as an institution established by God.
It notes that the electorate in Missouri in 2004 approved a constitutional ban on the practice by a 71-29 percent margin, including a ban on recognizing such “marriages” performed in other states.
The resolution takes issue with the decision by Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs on Oct. 3 that ruled part of Missouri’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, thus requiring Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and opening the door for such couples to receive a wide range of benefits formerly reserved for traditional married couples.
The resolution also calls on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to reverse his decision not to appeal Judge Youngs’ decision and instead support the Missouri Constitution, “as he pledged to do when he took his oath of office.”
The resolution calls on Missouri Baptists to call upon their elected representatives and senators to exert all due influence on Koster, insisting that he defend the state constitution and appeal Youngs’ ruling.
The final resolve expresses Christian love and concern for those who struggle with same-sex attraction or any other sexual activity outside the bounds of God’s creative design. The resolution acknowledges that “every person is of eternal value to our Creator, and that all of us are sinful and fallen creatures who desperately need the redemption Jesus provided through his death, burial and resurrection.”
The resolution acknowledges human trafficking is a $32 billion per year international industry tied to drug smuggling, prostitution and other illegal activities and that an estimated 27 million people worldwide are held in slavery with 800,000 people trafficked across international boundaries annually, 50 percent of them children and 80 percent women and girls.
The resolution says the sex trade exploits an estimated 1 million children annually, with virtually every nation in the world affected.
The resolution notes that 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States every year, and that as many as 300,000 underage girls are sold for sex in America annually.
It notes the church has a responsibility to seek justice and Christ’s healing in the face of oppression.
In the resolution, messengers resolve to condemn the practice of human trafficking and call on believers to pray for its victims. The resolution also calls for state, federal and international cooperation to end trafficking.
The final resolve calls for “Missouri Southern Baptists” to join the battle against sex trafficking through education, financial resources, publications and lobbying.
The resolution of appreciation for Kenison notes that the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home is the primary child service agency of the Missouri Baptist Convention and ministers to nearly 1,000 children and youth and more than 1,100 families annually.
It notes that Kenison joined the staff in 1977 as a development officer and was named administrator in 1980.
During his 36 years with the agency, Kenison led in the opening of multiple campuses across the state, headed six capital campaigns that raised more than $20 million and directed MBCH budget growth from $1 million annually to more than $14.5 million.
Services to Missouri children, youth and families have included residential care, foster care, adoption services, family reunification services, transitional living programs and human trafficking rescue services.
Messengers also took note of Kenison’s wife, Marjorie, and her service to the Children’s Home. With the resolution, messengers committed to pray for all served by the ministry as well as more than 200 staff members.
Missions in China
The historical recognition of missions in China recognized a “great tradition was established through Missouri Baptist Missionary Societies in years gone by” through the establishment of a theological college and seminary in China.
According to the resolution, while the buildings are no longer used for the promotion of the Christian faith, the “University of Shanghai Science and Technology has maintained their original look, name and functionality as housing for students.”
Messengers resolve to express “blessing, honor and encouragement” to the school for maintaining the historical character of what Missouri Baptists helped to establish in China and to strongly promote the Christian faith through the churches in China.
Messengers resolve to honor Breaker for his contributions as corresponding secretary for the mission board in Missouri, where he served for 12 years, raising $10,000 a year for 11 years and in the 12th year (1908) forming “The Missouri Plan” to pool the resources of four foreign mission boards from Boston; Richmond, Va.; New York and Atlanta to raise more than $50,000.
The resolution honors the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting of 1909 for voting to send $10,000 to the Shanghai Baptist College and Seminary to construct two buildings, one given the name of Breaker Hall.