VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/29/14)—The Board of Directors of American Baptist International Ministries (IM) adopted far-reaching resolutions on September 11, 2014, in response to a global rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim prejudice.
The International Ministries Resolution on Anti-Semitism cites a growth in acts of anti-Semitic vandalism and attacks. In 2014, this included the defacing of an exhibition dedicated to child Holocaust victims in Paris; “death to the Jews” painted on the wall surrounding a Jewish cemetery in Odessa, Ukraine; and the murder of four people in a shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels.
The resolution notes that Christian faith is rooted in Judaism, into which believing Gentiles have spiritually been grafted. (Romans 11:17-18) Christians worship and follow God as revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, who was born a Jew, revered the Hebrew Scriptures, was crucified under the title “King of the Jews” and was buried according to Jewish burial custom. (Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 5:18; 7:12; 22-40; John 19:19; John 19:38-42)
The Resolution affirms the historic American Baptist stand against anti-Semitism and commends the U.S. government for appointing and maintaining a Special Envoy to Monitor Anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for their ongoing documentation of anti-Semitic attitudes and actions, the Baptist Union of Romania for its public denunciation of a December 2013 anti-Semitic Romanian television broadcast and the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey Council Executive Committee for issuing a “A Statement of Solidarity with the Jewish Community” following the April 2014 shooting in Kansas.
The International Ministries Resolution on Anti-Muslim Prejudice responds to growing anti-Muslim prejudice expressed in attitudes, acts of discrimination, vandalism and violence occurring in the U.S. and around the world. One of the examples cited by the Resolution occurred on January 28, 2014, when vulgar graffiti was painted on the entrance sign and raw bacon was strewn on the grounds of the Islamic Center of Manteca, California.
The Resolution affirms that all people are created in God’s image, bear God’s likeness and share a common origin. (Genesis 1:27, Acts 17:26) It urges congregations and partners in the U.S., Puerto Rico and all other nations around the world to use the Resolution as an occasion to reach out to Muslim neighbors and/or mosques to initiate mutual action toward confronting prejudice and to building relationships of understanding in which there can be mutual and respectful sharing of life and faith.
Full-text copies of both Resolutions are available online. Download the International Ministries Resolution on Anti-Semitism here. Download the International Ministries Resolution on Anti-Muslim Prejudice here.
American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, IM began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships with God and change their worlds through the power of the Holy Spirit. IM works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.