Pressley addresses Law Amendment, praises ARITF

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – Newly elected Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Clint Pressley, in his first press conference following the election June 12, expressed his confidence in Southern Baptists as he responded to questions on issues dealt with in the 2024 SBC annual meeting at the Indiana Convention Center.

SBC messengers took action on a constitutional amendment and recommendations from the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF) for sexual abuse prevention.

“There’s a lot to celebrate within in the Southern Baptist Convention especially as it points to biblical fidelity, real clear mission focus,” Pressley said, referencing that 2025 marks the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Program and the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M), the SBC’s missions funding mechanism and statement of faith, respectively.

“I think that’s part of what the president’s job is to do all you can by way of influence to make sure as a convention of churches we are focused what our mission is,” Pressley said. “So, I look forward to next year. It’s a great time to celebrate.”

Pressley spoke to the failed passage of the amendment to Article 3 of the SBC constitution which required a two-thirds vote.

“The constitutional amendment, what is known as the Law Amendment, was there to provide some clarity,” Pressley said. “That’s what it was given to us for, what it was voted on about. But it’s not necessary [in order] for our convention of churches to maintain a real sense of complementarianism. We are just as complementarian as we were before that vote ever came into play.

“I was for the Law Amendment. I thought it provided really great clarity. I have brothers that are just as theologically robust as I would like to be myself, that were against it. Then we have maintained a real sense of God’s good design, not only in marriage, but how He’s given us to live as men and women.”

Pressley addressed how Southern Baptists can unite despite their differences regarding certain issues such as the Law Amendment.

“We need to be unified around not only our understanding of the Bible and our love for the Bible, love for the gospel, love for the mission. We’re unified around the Baptist Faith and Message that we affirm. And within the Baptist Faith and Message, you read it, and it’s undeniably complementarian. So there’s a lot we can really be glad of. You walk away with the Law Amendment not passing,” but, “we have not abandoned biblical truth. At all. So, you can be confident as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, as a member of a church within the Convention that holds to the BF&M that they are doctrinally robust.”

Pressley addressed sexual abuse reform and expressed confidence in the ARITF and their work in moving the Convention forward on this issue.

“I think you can be really confident as you’ve seen in the last couple of years that the Southern Baptist Convention takes sexual abuse terribly seriously and that people have worked really hard. We’ve had a whole lot of discussion about it,” Pressley said.

“The ARITF has worked so long and hard by way of being volunteers, giving so many hours to bring this to the forefront of our attention as Southern Baptists. I think they’ve done a great job, not only bringing it to our attention, but then providing resources.

“Now with Jeff Iorg at the Executive Committee, it’s great now to have a leader who seems to be very sympathetic to the plight that we’ve seen in the last few years. So, I have lots of confidence.”

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