The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) adopted a resolution reaffirming the church’s support and prayers for Israel as well as condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The resolution declared that the BDS movement “seeks to isolate the nation of Israel economically and socially,” while also expressing concern about the “ongoing anti-Israel activities in this country within certain university campuses, academic and professional associations, and popular culture.”
“We support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state and reject any activities that attack that right by promoting economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel,” the SBC resolution said, adding that “at this critical time when dangerous forces are mounting up against the nation of Israel, we recommit ourselves to pray for God’s peace to rule in Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel.”
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit that promotes religious freedom and family issues, stressed the importance of the resolution’s timing.
“There has never been a more important time for Christians to support Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign nation,” he said.
Staver, a member of the SBC Resolutions Committee, added that he is “pleased that this year’s Southern Baptist Convention took a stand in support of Israel and in opposition to the BDS movement. Frankly, with Israel as a world leader in technological and medical inventions, it is foolish to boycott Israel.”
SBC’s move comes amid a debate among its Christian counterparts in mainline Protestant churches over whether to adopt resolutions supporting the BDS movement.
During the past several years, a number of leading mainline Protestant churches—including the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, and most recently the United Methodist Church—have considered or voted on pro-BDS resolutions.
SBC, which is the country’s largest Protestant denomination with an estimated 15.3 million members, recently held its an annual meeting of church delegates in St. Louis.