Southern Baptist Convention Issues Resolution on Mental Health

August 5, 2013

Last month, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolutions Committee met in Houston to discuss the direction of the organization’s policies and to produce corresponding resolutions. Topics discussed ranged from opposing the Boy Scouts of America’s recent gay membership policy changes to supporting the fight against human trafficking. Also discussed was the Southern Baptist Convention’s resolution regarding mental health and the treatment of individuals with mental illness. The organization developed a new resolution calling for opposition to the stigma and prejudice which has become endemic for many people experiencing mental illness. Part of the resolution on mental health is reproduced below.

“ON MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS AND THE HEART OF GOD

WHEREAS, God made all things perfectly good in design for His glory and the good of humanity (Genesis 1–2); and

WHEREAS, Adam and Eve rebelled against Him, choosing their own way and the way of the Evil One, and consequently ushered sin and disorder into our world and the whole human race (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12–21; 8:22); and

WHEREAS, As a consequence of this Fall, humanity is subjected to many kinds of mental health problems including autism spectrum disorders; intellectual disability; mental health conditions like schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders; and diseases of the aged such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; and

WHEREAS, God did not abandon fallen humanity but loved the world (John 3:16–17) and launched a plan of redemption—a restoration that is incomplete in this age but will be perfected in heaven
(1 Peter 1:3–9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns, like all people, are crowned with honor and dignity, being made in the image and likeness of God (Psalm 8:4–6; James 3:9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns are disproportionately represented among the homeless and in our correctional systems, indicating a tragic neglect of these persons who are made in
God’s image; and

WHEREAS, Those who are struggling with mental health concerns often feel isolated, stigmatized, and rejected, sometimes resorting to self-destructive behaviors, including suicide; and

WHEREAS, Suicide is a tragedy, leaving heartache, pain, and unanswered questions in its wake; and

WHEREAS, Recent events in our nation and among God’s people have underscored the tragedy of mental health concerns and their devastating toll within our families, our churches, and our culture; and

WHEREAS, Jesus Christ spent time with and healed some of the most marginalized members of the culture of His day; and

WHEREAS, God has appointed His people to be the main representatives of His heart and values to the world; and

WHEREAS, God has called us to share the Gospel of Christ with all people, including those suffering various mental health concerns; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, on June 11–12, 2013, affirm that those with mental health concerns are of immeasurable value to God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to affirm, support, and share God’s love and redemption with those with mental health concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we oppose all stigmatization and prejudice against those who are suffering from mental health concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support research and treatment of mental health concerns when undertaken in a manner consistent with a biblical worldview; and be it further

RESOLVED, That families who have lost a member to suicide deserve great care, concern, and compassion from Christians and their churches, including the assurance that those in Christ cannot be separated from the eternal love of God that is in Christ Jesus; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists and our churches to look for and create opportunities to love and minister to, and develop methods and resources to care for, those who struggle with mental health concerns and their families.”

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