The debate over Southern Baptist Convention's legal stance on abortion and its effects on the SBC's resolutions has been revived as messengers prepare to convene for the annual convention next week.
The disputed abortion resolution was expected to be reviewed along with the recently revealed Sexual Abuse Task Force report that was believed to dominate the agenda at the SBC annual conference in Anaheim, California, The Christian Post reported.
A resolution issued at last year's annual gathering contained contested language that has alarmed some top Southern Baptists, and a schism has emerged over the issue with the likely reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the country.
Despite significant opposition from senior SBC ethicists and theologians, certain leaders including an SBC presidential candidate were battling for a resolution that weakens a more conventional approach to pro-life campaigning, similar to the situation last year.
Incrementalism Vs Abolitionism
North Greenville University in South Carolina Dean Nathan Finn argued that the abolitionist movement arose out of impatience with the slow progress of "incremental gains" and that many politicians have chosen practicality over principle on the topic. He added that many Christians were drawn to the abolition movement because it was persuasive and perhaps many were not fully aware of what the movement entails.
Finn explained that "Incrementalists" in the pro-life movement were those who have worked deliberately overtime to pass laws and win court cases to make significant legal victories and preserved as many unborn children as possible under the legal limits of Roe v. Wade. They also believed mothers who have abortions were victims of the practice made possible by the Roe v. Wade decision. While "Abolitionists" felt that "Incrementalists" have made a deal with evil and were undermining efforts to outlaw abortion completely.
SBC Presidential Candidate Tom Ascol also told CP through a phone call that the majority of Southern Baptists were "completely pro-life" and want abortion to be made illegal and outlawed immediately, as well as to legally recognize the unborn's right to personhood.
Ascol reiterated "It's not so much incrementalism versus abolitionism. Anything we can do to save one child, let's do. But let's not take our eye off the prize of ending abortion now."
ERLC Stance On Ending Abortion
ERLC Retired President Richard Land, an "Incrementalist" also said, "pro-life activists worked tirelessly for the past 48 years to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices so that we can overturn Roe" in an email interview with CP.
ERLC President Brent Leatherwood also denied the allegations about him not working to end abortion. He said that SBC and the ERLC both supported policies that will save one human life in whatever circumstance.
However, Ascol was not convinced by the claim of some SBC ethicists that the messengers did not completely know what they were voting on because of the wording's legal ramifications. He argued that their movement was explained over the Public Discourse in which 7,500 copies were handed to the convention messengers.
Related Article: SBC President Candidate Tom Ascol Calls To Criminalize Abortion