Alabama Baptist Resolution on Gluttony and Self-Control

It’s no secret that Southern Baptists don’t like alcohol.  As someone who has never had a beverage alcohol in my life, I have been quite ashamed and disappointed by the fundamentalism that has elevated drinking wine to that of biblical orthodoxy.  Moreover, with dozens of resolutions coming out in my lifetime, folks have wondered why there hasn’t been a resolution of obesity, gluttony, and lack of self-control among Southern Baptists.

A little over a month ago, my friend Scott Slayton emailed some of us about his desire to draft such a resolution for the 2010 Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting in November.  Much to my surprise, the resolution passed the committee, and even more shocking was that it passed on the floor with a rather large majority.  Here’s to hoping this resolution makes a statement on the importance of caring for our bodies and be willing to call out the elephant in the room (no pun intended).  Here’s the text of the resolution:

Resolution on “Physical Health”

WHEREAS, The Centers for Disease Control found that 31% of the residents in Alabama are obese, which ranks sixth in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Guidestone Financial Resources reports that 73% of Southern Baptist pastors who participated in health screenings at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting were obese; and

WHEREAS, Guidestone Financial Resources estimates that an obese person spends $179,000 more in health care than a person who is not; and

WHEREAS, Obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack; and

WHEREAS, Gluttony, which the Bible likens to drunkenness, is a major contributor to obesity (Proverbs 23:20-21); and

WHEREAS, Gluttony is the opposite of self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit;

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and that we are to be good stewards of our lives and treasures; and

WHEREAS, Our failure to be good stewards of our physical health is a poor witness to our surrounding culture; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Hoover, Alabama, November 16-17, 2010, repent of our lack of self-control, over-indulgence in eating, and failure to be good stewards of our bodily health; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon all Alabama Baptists to model physical health and moderation in eating, giving thanks to God for the gift of food without abusing it; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we call upon pastors to teach their congregations about the biblical standards regarding self- control in eating and bodily stewardship.

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5 Comments on “Alabama Baptist Resolution on Gluttony and Self-Control”

  1. Bill Mac Says:

    I will be interested in seeing the response to this. In my experience hardcore abstentionists vehemently deny that obesity is related to gluttony and vehemently deny that gluttony is related to overeating. They produce a definition of gluttony that (no surprise) essentially means overindulgence in alcohol.

  2. Scott Slayton Says:

    Thanks for posting this Tim. I hope that it makes the rounds as this is a huge issue for Baptists. (No pun intended.) One thing that I do want to make clear in light of Bill’s comment is that I did not write this resolution as a backhanded way of making a point about alcohol. It is written out of a concern for the way that we overlook the issue of gluttony and overeating. It is a sinful abuse of God’s gift of food, a terrible witness to the surrounding culture, and a waste of financial resources because of the attending health problems.

    I also want to add that I am not poking people in the eyes over something that I have not personally wrestled with myself. I was over 300 pounds for 5 years before being convicted and getting the weight off. I still wrestle with this issue in my own life and have no desire to poke fun at other who do the same.


    • Good word, Scott. I am encouraged by your example and others who have made significant lifestyle changes to promote health and wellness as leaders in the church. There is so much credibility that is lost by a lack of self-discipline on all fronts, but when it comes to the body, it is most conspicuous.

  3. Greg Alford Says:

    Will the Alabama Baptist Convention now pass a bylaw, similar to Sullivan’s alcoholic beverages bylaw in Florida, prohibiting any person who does not abstain form gluttony (obese individuals)from serving or being employed with the Convention?

    I doubt it…

  4. fred Says:

    This will mean something only when they produce a document that makes their pastors vow to not be obese as they do with alcohol. And when they do gain weight to be considered obese they are fired.

    It’s a good step but too little too late in my opinion.


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