The Southern Baptist wars may be over, but all the troops have yet to lay down their arms. More than half of the resolutions proposed at the 1993 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Houston took critical aim at fellow Southern Baptist Bill Clinton, or his policies.

“If you saw what we didn’t say, we’d be getting pats on the back,” said James Merritt, head of the resolutions committee, after the SBC adopted a consensus resolution critical of President Clinton’s policies on abortion and homosexuals, yet free of personal attacks on the President as suggested by some Clinton critics. After voting, Edwin Young, newly re-elected as SBC president, led the 17,814 “messengers,” or voting delegates, in prayer for Clinton.

The convention took several actions, which further clarified who is and who is not in good standing with the SBC.

There are an estimated 500,000 Southern Baptists who are Masons, the secretive, international fraternal organization. A yearlong study of Freemasonry by the SBC resulted in a compromise resolution, stating that “membership in a Masonic Order [should] be a matter of personal conscience.” The resolution passed following a brief but sharp debate on the convention floor.

The role of spiritual gifts in public worship came before Southern Baptists through the Foreign Mission Board’s (FMB) election of Jerry Rankin, who has acknowledged “praying in the Spirit.” Rankin has publicly maintained he is not an advocate for charismatic expression and was able to gain the two-thirds vote needed for election as FMB president.

The convention affirmed the 1992 amendment to its constitution, which now will bar any SBC church that acts “to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior.” With the amendment’s approval for the ...

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