Guest article from KBC 2nd Vice President Josh Landrum.
On June 13-14, the messengers to the 2017 SBC Annual meeting gathered together to conduct the business of the convention. Just like every year, there were motions and resolutions that were accepted and some that were rejected. Undoubtedly, you heard this year’s resolutions included some drama concerning a resolution condemning what is commonly known as the “alt-right,” a racist movement that trumpets white supremacy. I am very pleased to say that the SBC messengers rightfully condemned the racist, ungodly and unbiblical movement.
Flying below the radar, however, was another resolution that I believe may be one of the most important resolutions affirmed by the SBC messengers in recent history. The resolution received little fanfare in introduction at the meeting or during the actual vote, but nonetheless, it holds massive implications for the church as it declares the penal substitutionary atonement as the “burning core of the gospel message.” This resolution is entitled: “On the Necessity of the Penal Substitutionary Atonement.”
It clearly articulates that, at the heart of the gospel, is the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. Simply put, the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus refers to the idea that God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and He, in our place, bore the wrath that we deserve as the full payment for sin. That act satisfied the wrath and righteous requirements of God so that He could forgive sinners who believe in Jesus without compromising His own holy standard.
This resolution clearly defines: 1. All humanity is guilty before God because of sin and rightly deserves God’s wrath for sin; 2. Jesus Christ died in our place, accepting our guilt and received God’s wrath for us; 3. In Jesus alone, humans can find salvation and forgiveness.
This resolution magnifies the heart of the gospel in a world that desires to diminish it in many ways. While theological liberals of our society try to make the gospel more palatable by adjusting it into social activism or the prosperity movement, the SBC clearly stated that it is standing for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Amid the doctrine being called “monstrous,” “evil,” “terrible,” and “child abuse” by so-called theologians in an effort to lessen the affront of sin against a Holy God, the SBC announced to the world that its hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. This is a monumental stance and is rightly taken by the 2017 SBC messengers.
Martin Luther argued 500 years ago at the onset of the Protestant Reformation that the church stands or falls on the doctrine of justification and said to finish his defense, “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me.” Similarly, the messengers of the SBC Annual meeting 2017 stated the heartbeat of the gospel that provides justification is the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. Here we stand, we can do no other. God help us. To this, every Southern Baptist should give a hearty “Amen.”