BEIRUT, Lebanon–Both Arab and European Baptists voted for a strongly worded resolution at the annual meeting of the European Baptist Federation opposing the war in Iraq.
Without mentioning the United States and Great Britain, the primary participants in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the resolution called the war “a grave historical error.”
“The experience in Iraq demonstrates that violence produces more violence and ignites a spiral death that engulfs an ever-expanding number of the innocent and unarmed,” the resolution stated.
The EBF resolution called terrorism “a crime against humanity that must be strongly resisted,” but rejected war as “a valid or effective means to defeat terrorism.”
EBF churches were encouraged to work for peace, oppose all forms of violence and respect human rights.
Organized in 1949, the EBF has 800,000 baptized members in 12,000 churches scattered from Portugal to the far reaches of Russia, as well as churches in the Middle East and North Africa.
Resolution drafts were presented several days in advance but were not considered until the final business session.
Another resolution expressed sympathy for the people of Beslan, Russia, who recently experienced a terrorist attack against school children.
“We condemn terrorism in any form,” said the resolution. “Terrorists have no right to speak in the name of God the creator.”
The resolution charged the Russian government did not do enough to save the hostages.
EBF members were urged to pray for the people of Beslan and to support Christian humanitarian relief agencies.
A third resolution voiced support for the Baptist World Alliance, of which EBF is a member regional body.
The statement rejected the Southern Baptist Convention’s allegations of the BWA.
While the allegations were not catalogued in the statement, they are widely recognized within EBF, including charges that BWA is anti-American, liberal and pro-gay.
The resolution also noted regret about the SBC’s decision to withdraw from membership in the BWA, the world’s largest global Baptist body.
The resolutions committee withdrew a proposed resolution calling for “trade justice.”
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com