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Amid debates on race within the Southern Baptist Convention, some black pastors wonder if it’s the right denomination for their churches

Southern Baptist division

A congregant from Bethel Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor/AP)

Dwight McKissic has wonderful memories of the Southern Baptist Convention as a black youngster. He watched black and white Baptists pray and worship together, saw black and white pastors swap pulpits. His older siblings were all active with SBC-funded student groups in college. When he interned with a prison chaplain, the SBC financially supported him.

So when McKissic, now the 64-year-old senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, joined the SBC in 1983, he did so with great optimism. At the time, he only vaguely understood parts of the SBC’s history—how a group of Baptists in the South split off from Northern Baptists over whether missionaries could own slaves, how multiple founding fathers of the SBC’s flagship institutions held slaves, or how, like many Southerners, Southern Baptists defended segregation and supported the “Lost Cause” mythology until the 1940s. “But so much good was happening at the time that sort of smothered SBC’s very ugly racist history,” McKissic recalled.

In 2011, John Onwuchekwa also joined the SBC, but with much less optimism than McKissic. Onwuchekwa is the 36-year-old lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, which he planted in 2015 with some financial help from the SBC. For several years, he was active in the convention—preaching at the pastors’ conference, speaking on panels, and recruiting other black pastors into the SBC. Still, Onwuchekwa said he joined with “hopeful skepticism”—hopeful, because he met a lot of Southern Baptists passionate about justice. But also skeptical: Forty years ago, an SBC church told Onwuchekwa’s Nigeria-born parents they weren’t welcome because of their skin color.

“The irony though is six Anglo males, denouncing a racial theory, in a room where [African Americans] have been systematically denied access, exemplifies CRT.”

Many black Southern Baptists have a complex relationship with the SBC. As the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, the SBC has a rich, long-standing infrastructure of top-notch seminaries, church-planting and missions boards, programs and conferences, and lobbying arms. The SBC’s commitment to evangelism and doctrinal orthodoxy drew many black Christians, who benefited from fraternal and fiscal support: McKissic’s church received a loan of $330,000 from the SBC in 1984 and another $3 million loan in 1996, while Onwuchekwa accepted a $175,000 grant to help renovate his church. These financial benefits sometimes hold back disenchanted pastors from fully withdrawing from the SBC. (Mc­Kissic said his church has since paid back more than what it had received.) 

But some black members wonder if the SBC truly is home for them. National conversations on race have exposed deep disparities between experiences for black and white Christians. The 2016 and 2020 elections, and many SBC leaders’ public support of President Donald Trump, alienated some black members. They question: How much does the SBC prioritize racial reconciliation? Some Southern Baptists tell me the SBC has made racial progress, while others say it has regressed.

SBChistory.com

The 1950 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Chicago (SBChistory.com)

A RECENT CONTROVERSY showcases why some black members say the SBC takes one step forward and two steps back when it comes to race relations. On Nov. 30, 2020, six SBC seminary presidents released a statement condemning critical race theory (CRT). The statement declared that CRT, intersectionality, and “any version of Critical Theory” are “incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message.” In comments following the statement, the presidents acknowledged that “racism still exists” and opposed “the sin of racism.” 

Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who initiated the statement, told me the seminary presidents decided to address CRT after receiving constant questions from Southern Baptists about it. (Mohler is a WORLD board member.) The statement doesn’t contain a clear definition of CRT or intersectionality, or what specifically is problematic about them. But Mohler, who’s running for SBC president this year, told me the presidents’ purpose was “not to issue a comprehensive analysis [of CRT] but a statement that would just signal and inform Southern Baptists that we’re not going to have Critical Race Theory taught in our seminaries.” 

Legal theorists and activists in the 1970s developed CRT to attack laws and systems that they say perpetuate inequality. They looked at how once-lawful practices such as segregation and racial discrimination, though no longer legal, created residues that still affect people.  

Others objected. Conservatives emphasized the positives in the American experience. Marxists saw economic class rather than race as the crucial divide, and feminists and LGBT leaders foused on sex. A new doctrine, intersectionality, emerged: It emphasizes  multiple overlapping (or “intersecting”) identities—race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.—that may disadvantage people. 

CRT is complicated, and some CRT scholars even disagree with one another on what it is and how to apply it. But it’s become a vortex sucking Biblical Christians into heated debates: Some Christians say CRT can be a useful tool in understanding long-persisting inequalities in society, so long as Christians don’t adopt it as an ideology or worldview. Others say CRT perpetuates some form of reverse racism against whites, is no help for Christians navigating race issues, and has links to Marxism and other ideologies that deemphasize personal responsibility. 

On Jan. 20 a Stop Critical Race Theory coalition of law firms and legal foundations filed three lawsuits against public institutions conducting CRT programs, charging that they “perpetuate racial stereotypes, compel discriminatory speech, and create hostile work environments.” The coalition said CRT programs “violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the United States Constitution.”

The seminary presidents’ Nov. 30 statement contradicted the SBC’s Resolution 9, adopted in 2019, which described CRT and intersectionality as “insufficient to diagnose and redress the root causes of social ills” but also sees them as helpful in “evaluating a variety of human experiences” so long as they are “only employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture—not as transcendent ideological frameworks.” 

Mohler said the presidents’ statement in November did not directly respond to Resolution 9, but “it’s certainly a part of the background.” Some Southern Baptist leaders are trying to rescind the resolution, saying it’s a sign of secular liberalism creeping into the denomination. 

Jae C. Hong/AP

A prayer circle at a Baptist church in Los Angeles (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Early last year those leaders formed the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) “to cultivate the momentum needed for a course correction” in the SBC. They aim to reboot a version of the “conservative resurgence” that took place in 1979 when initiators tried to flush left-leaning leaders and professors out of the SBC. More than 2,500 churches signed on within the first two days of the network’s formation, and it currently has more than 6,000 members. One of CBN’s objectives has been to remove Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ELRC) President Russell Moore, whose open criticism of Trump has spurred many Southern Baptists to call for a change. CBN recently nominated Mike Stone, a Georgia pastor and member of CBN’s 48-member Steering ­Council, to be the next SBC president. Stone chaired the task force that reviewed “the past and present activities” of ERLC.

In light of the movement, some black members eyed the seminary presidents’ statement with suspicion. At least four black churches left the SBC as a result. They’re less upset with the rejection of CRT and are more concerned with the timing and implication of the statement: Why a whole statement on CRT while staying silent on other problems within evangelicalism such as Christian nationalism, which may have played a part in the Jericho March and the Capitol riot

“I’m no CRT advocate,” McKissic tweeted. “When we open our Bible, God opens His mouth. The Bible doesn’t bow to CRT. CRT must bow to the Bible. The irony though is six Anglo males, denouncing a racial theory, in a room where [African Americans] have been systematically denied access, exemplifies CRT.”

Soon after the presidents’ statement, National African American Fellowship (NAAF) President Marshal Ausberry issued a statement reaffirming the supremacy of Scripture, adding, “there are ideologies from a sociological and anthropological perspective [that] when used appropriately, help us to better understand the inner workings of living in a fallen and sinful world.” When those ideologies conflict with Scripture, “it is Scripture that governs our worldview, our decisions, our lives.” 

Another group of Southern Baptist pastors also penned a statement saying, “While some progress has occurred, recent events have left many brothers and sisters of color feeling betrayed and wondering if the SBC is committed to racial reconciliation.” 

The seminary presidents and NAAF leaders met virtually on Jan. 6 to discuss CRT and race relations. McKissic, who participated in the meeting, described it to me as “very robust” and “mutually respectful,” as did Mohler. In that meeting, the presidents said they should have consulted black SBC pastors before releasing the statement, but they refused to modify it. McKissic called their stance on CRT “a sledgehammer to a nuanced conversation.” Mohler said he recognized that the seminary presidents’ stance will “disappoint” some, but added, “I think the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists will appreciate it.” 

Kim Leeson/Genesis

Pastor Dwight McKissic (Kim Leeson/Genesis)

MIXED REACTIONS TO hot-button racial issues aren’t new in the SBC. In 1954, the SBC affirmed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in which the court ruled that state-mandated racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. That was the position of the denomination’s leadership, but many local clergy strongly opposed it. In 1964, the SBC narrowly defeated a motion to affirm that year’s Civil Rights Act, and it wasn’t until four years later, when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, that it released a statement denouncing racism—though, again, not without bitter opposition. 

In 1995, by a nearly unanimous vote, the SBC adopted a historic resolution that apologized for the denomination’s role in “condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime.” It was a striking, bold move—the first time Southern Baptists officially and directly addressed their denomination’s pro-slavery roots and acknowledged that “the racism which yet plagues our culture today is inextricably tied to the past.” 

The resolution earned national praise, but some were still skeptical, including McKissic. In 2012, the SBC elected its first black president, Fred Luter Jr., though the position doesn’t come with much executive power. Today, though, none of the major SBC institutions has a nonwhite president. “That to me speaks volumes,” McKissic said.

Many black Southern Baptists say they want to see action, not resolutions condemning racism. Some say the SBC has taken those actions. They note that after the 1995 resolution, the number of black churches joining the SBC spiked 43 percent between 1998 and 2002. Today, about 1 in 5 of SBC’s 45,000 churches is predominantly black, Latino, or Asian.

Furthermore, when J.D. Greear became SBC president in 2017, he prioritized seeking racially diverse candidates. The majority of his committee appointments are minority members, mostly from smaller churches. Many Baptist state conventions that affiliate with the SBC have elected nonwhite presidents. The International Mission Board’s goal is to have 75 black missionaries by 2025. (Its 2020 report says it has 13 black missionaries out of 3,700.) The NAAF and the North American Mission Board are also launching an outreach effort to black churches. Those are all steps the SBC has taken to show it’s “committed to heading in the right direction,” said Executive Committee CEO Ronnie Floyd: “Our heart is to do the right thing.”

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The 2018 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

CHARLIE DATES, THE  39-YEAR-OLD senior pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, which joined the SBC last year, told me he’s not impressed: “It hasn’t fixed the problem.” Dates had a tough time convincing his church members to join the SBC. When they cited the SBC’s history, Dates told them, “That was the old Southern Baptists,” pointing to SBC programs that train young black pastors. But like Onwuchekwa, he held strong reservations about the SBC’s racial commitment and also kept his church’s affiliation with the Progressive National Baptist Convention, an African American Protestant denomination. His hesitations grew last year, particularly when Mohler publicly supported President Trump.

Onwuchekwa’s “hopeful skepticism” morphed to full-blown skepticism in 2020, as crowds decried racial injustice. Though many prominent SBC leaders publicly grieved George Floyd’s death, Onwuchekwa said some in the SBC fought over terms like CRT and Black Lives Matter: “It’s actually popular to stand against racism, and it’s still not clear to you?” After nine years in the SBC, his church voted to leave the denomination last June. Dates’ church also left soon after the seminary presidents’ CRT statement. 

Last year McKissic said his church planned to stay in the SBC. But after the statement on CRT and the Jan. 6 meeting between the seminary presidents and black pastors, he announced his church is pulling out of his state Southern Baptist Convention for now and may decide to leave the national SBC if it rescinds Resolution 9 in June. 

It’s a tough decision for McKissic. He still feels indebted to the SBC. He remembers the Southern Baptist hymnals and magazines scattered throughout his childhood home and his rich theological education at an SBC seminary: “It’s a mixed bag. There is some appreciation to the convention that invested in you and birthed you. It’s like, you don’t turn on grandmama and mama because they have issues, you still love and support them.”

Sophia Lee

Sophia Lee

Sophia is a senior reporter for WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute and University of Southern California graduate. Sophia resides in Los Angeles, Calif., with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaLeeHyun.

Comments

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  • RC
    Posted: Fri, 01/29/2021 02:29 pm

    While the SBC presidents have rejected CRT yet Albert Mohler admits their rejection is not based on a comprehensive study.  The rejection of CRT is contributing to a racial divide. The Seminaries are a place to learn. So why not do a compressive study on CRT?  By a cross section of all races, together?  Allow the voices for and against to speak. When CRT is placed fully under the light, we can discover the truth, together.      

  • not silent
    Posted: Sun, 01/31/2021 03:29 pm

    I have been trying and trying to figure out how to respond to this article in a way that is meaningful and helpful; but I feel limited by baggage from my past, my own limited perspective and knowledge, and my desire not to offend as a result of my limitations.

    I think doing a study on CRT would be an excellent idea. And it would be essential to take steps to ensure that ALL voices were heard, as you said.  But I think there would be significant challenges. For one thing, does anyone know how many voices there are when it comes to something like this?  (i.e., How would the researchers know that they had included all voices?)   From what I've read, CRT is not one monolithic viewpoint; i.e., not everyone who claims to believe it or support it views all issues exactly the same way. It's tempting to want to take a stand "for" or "against" everything, but that's not always possible.  In our current society, where two people may have completely different ways of defining common words, it's even MORE challenging.  We might have to start by establishing a common vocabulary!  

    From a Christian perspective, I think we would have to enter this with the awareness that it's human nature to want things to validate our perspective, worldview, and beliefs.  Therefore, we must develop a willingness to allow emotional and deeply-held ideas to be challenged if necessary for us to get closer to the truth. We must make up our minds to trust God and let HIM reveal truth-even if it's uncomfortable and difficult.  SInce it's also human nature to avoid looking at self and instead to point to the failings of others, Christians on ALL SIDES must be willing to search our own hearts first and let God shine his light on us first. Only after taking responsibility for OUR OWN sins (i.e., acknowledging the "log" in our own eyes) can we help others take specks out of their eyes.

    For me personally, I want to be able to listen to others who have beliefs and life experiences very different from mine and to consider what God would have me learn from them. I must be willing to listen FIRST before presenting my own views; and I don't have to agree with someone on all points to have compassion on them, to consider their views, and to learn something important from them. I don't always do these things, of course; but, hopefully, I'm improving and will continue to grow by God's grace.

     

  • DCal3000
    Posted: Fri, 01/29/2021 05:17 pm

    As always, this is an exceptional piece from Sophia Lee.  And, before I write anything further, I want to note that it is absolutely imperative that evangelical churches repent of racial sins and deal with the pain that racism has caused.  I have, in the past, not been cognizant enough of those evils.  But some manifestations of critical race theory are contrary to Christian orthodoxy and to good sense, and we also have to make sure we do not adopt those ways of thinking.  Based on past columns Ms. Lee has written, she has personally witnessed problems from sources such as CRT - for instance, un-Christian pushback against interracial marriage.  The statements in the article here, meanwhile, are interesting in that at last one of the pastors (Pastor McKissic) who oppose the seminary presidents' statement seems to suggest that he is not himself a CRT advocate.  Then, why make the seminary presidents' statement a central issue? It is also interesting that that same pastor states, "The irony though is six Anglo males, denouncing a racial theory, in a room where [African Americans] have been systematically denied access, exemplifies CRT." But the seminary presidents' actions, right or wrong, do not exemplify CRT; Pastor McKissic's statement does, in that he implies six Anglo males, based in part on their skin color, may be unqualified to evaluate CRT.  I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion here trying to minimize the pain of those who have faced racial discrimination, as I assume Pastor McKissic has.  Nor am I downplaying other recent events in our country, like the evil acts during the U.S. Capitol riots.  But we cannot respond to racial sins by creating new sins through adopting the un-Christian aspects of CRT.  In fact, if people in our churches view those beside them as being inherently "other," as some manifestations of CRT advocate, we will not be addressing the sins of the past.  We will be repeating them again - over and over and over without end.  The worst forms of CRT seem to me to lead to division, and, sadly, I detect evidence of that in the statements in this article.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 01/31/2021 11:48 pm

    Does this have more to do with the Evangelical Trump divide than with real race issues? Why do we want to push a politicized hyper PC race agenda on the church? Things will only get ugly if the leftist Christians - or others - do.  Why can't we just get along? 

  • not silent
    Posted: Mon, 02/01/2021 06:01 pm

    Cyborg, I can't answer for the people quoted in the article; but I will answer for myself.  The Southern Baptist divide happened LONG before Mr. Trump came on the scene (I think the official split was 1845). I grew up in Mississippi during part of the Civil Rights Movement, which was DECADES before Mr. Trump became president. I am not old enough to receive Social Security; but, during my lifetime, there were brutal lynchings and firebombings.  Also, during my lifetime, Freedom Riders came to my hometown because African Americans were being denied the right to vote. One of my relatvies taught us to value civil rights, and I remember once seeing her stand up for a family because the ushers in my church refused to seat them.

    My point in all this is to point out what seems obvious to me: that not everything is about Mr. Trump!  Racism has been around probably as long as humans have been around; and, frankly, it's ALWAYS been ugly. I don't need these pastors to tell me it's still a problem: I've seen it promoted or excused by Christians and churches WITH MY OWN EYES.   People I know and love have suffered because of some form of racism-not just in the 60's but recently. Yes, things have changed since the Civil Rights Movement-and THANK GOD. But that does not mean we are perfect. 

    For me, it's not about being PC or about anyone's "agenda" except God's!  I can't keep up with what is PC anyway because it's always changing-and it will KEEP changing.  But I do care about fairness, equality, and justice because GOD cares about those things. If I claim to love my brothers and sisters in Christ, the least I can do is to listen to what they say and consider how they feel-even if their experiences have been very different from mine.  I can listen and learn even if  I don't agree with someone on every single thing. 

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Tue, 02/02/2021 06:41 pm

    Yes, a lot of bad things happen 50 years ago, but that was 50 years ago and a lot has changed. You would probably find more white kids dressing up pretending they are black then you would find racists today. So no I will not feel guilty about it when I have never been racist where I show respect for all people. If you applied the CRT probably every white in the church would be called a racist. I am sorry but I will not get on my knees confessing my white privilege (however much “white” I have). I will not slip a ten dollar bill in the black man’s hand because of that “privilege” like BLM requested.  

    Now you being from Mississippi and given that your family probably owned slaves then maybe it should be different for you.

  • not silent
    Posted: Tue, 02/02/2021 09:11 pm

    For Cyborg, all I did was try to answer your question.  I shared some history because it seemed relevant, but the main point of my comment was that not everything is about Mr. Trump and that it's important to listen to others. You are free to express yourself, of course; but it's very hard to have a discussion with you when you respond to a whole host of things said by someone ELSE instead of to what I actually said.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Thu, 02/04/2021 03:45 am

    Sofia seems to think it is about Trump, Not Silent.

    "The 2016 and 2020 elections, and many SBC leaders’ public support of President Donald Trump, alienated some black members. They question: How much does the SBC prioritize racial reconciliation?"

    The author seems to think that racial reconciliation requires churches to not vote for or support Trump which is irrational at best. It seems to conceal the lie the left loves to make - Trump and his supporters are racists. How could a church really focused on racial reconciliation support Trump? Supporting a lie about Trump and his followers is every bit as bad as racism.  It is ugly and unloving at best - if we care about justice.

     

  • not silent
    Posted: Thu, 02/04/2021 10:10 am

    For Cyborg, I said at the outset that I was not answering for people in the article-only for myself. I also said outright that, FOR ME, it wasn't about Mr. Trump; and I tried to tell you what it WAS about with me.  So I'm not sure why you are still debating with ME about whether it's about Mr. Trump.  Frankly, it's hard to have a discussion with you insist on answering me based on comments made by OTHER PEOPLE.   Instead of debating with me about what "Sophia seems to think," it might be more constructive to contact her directly and ASK HER.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Fri, 02/05/2021 01:19 pm

    Not Silent, maybe I should have posted this not in reply to your comment but under a new comment. It is a point that I believe is important to make. I was playing with you when I said you may need to confess your white privilege - so don't take me too serious there. I don't mean to get you all riled up. In a humorous way I was meaning to show the ridiculousness of BLM, CRT and the hyper PC race consciousness that some would push on the church. Race is used politically to divide people and we don't need that division in the church just like we don't want racist division in the church. The goal is to love people no matter their race and be united as one within the church. 

  • Ann Marshall
    Posted: Wed, 02/03/2021 11:24 am

    "Forty years ago, an SBC church told Onwuchekwa’s Nigeria-born parents they weren’t welcome because of their skin color."

     

    This is the kind of statement that tempts me to despair. Forty years ago something offensive was said and done, and it is now recorded here and is, apparently, still a live issue. I feel that I will never, ever be forgiven for being white, for looking "just like" whoever it was that refused to receive their Nigerian brother and sister that day. Forty years ago. 

     

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 02/03/2021 03:20 pm

    For Ann Marshall, I understand why you are tempted to despair.  Apparently, a lot of people in these forums think dealing with racial issues means that they must fall on their knees, confess racism and white privilege, and pay reparations; and this makes them angry because they try to respect others and do not consider themselves racist. I get it-there ARE some loud voices who are demanding these things.  But shutting off all discussion of racial reconciliation based on the most extreme views would be like the atheists I used to debate who rejected Christianity because of our most extreme representatives.  I don't have all the answers, but I would like to point out a few things:

    First of all, hopefully, we can agree that what happened forty years ago to Onwuchekwa's Nigerian-born parents was inexcusible. While the actual event may have happened long ago, I suspect the wounds that it caused have lingered-not just for the parents but for the whole family. I know a lot of people who experienced sexual assault years ago, but it still affects them every day-it affects their mood, their choices, the way they relate to others, even their physical health.  Telling them to "move on" because "that was a long time ago" feels dismissive and adds to the pain of the original wound. So, yes, events from long ago can FEEL like they are happening NOW; and anger can sometimes be triggered by someone who was not involved with the original event but acts dismissive or somehow resembles the perpetrator.

    Second, it is possible to listen to someone else's feelings and life experiences-even their anger-and express sorrow and sympathy WITHOUT having to take full responsibility for what happened. (It's true that there are some people who seem intent on blaming every person who looks like the people who hurt them or their family even to the point of demanding money and/or other compensation, but I don't think it will heal our racial divide to force people to confess to crimes they didn't commit just because they LOOK like people who committed those crimes. In fact, I think we can all agree that it's not right to assume guilt simply based on appearance or skin color.  But we may need to take action as a society to right wrongs that are still occuring.)

    Third, in that vein, I think we can all admit that, as a society, we have not always lived up to our ideals and that serious wrongs have been done as a result. Christians in particular need to be willing to let God show us if and how we could have harmed others or sinned against them; and to make amends if necessary.  (i.e., I don't know if everyone is "racist," but I DO know we are all sinners!)

    Fourth, it's easy to point out the most egregious forms of discrimination (i.e, lychings, firebombings, segreated schools and water fountains, etc) and to assume that racism ended with those things; but that would be inaccurate. Yes, things are a lot better than they were forty years ago; but that doesn't mean everything is fine!  People I know and love have RECENTLY (i.e., within the past few years) experienced discrimination (examples include being pulled over by police for no reason, being harrassed by strangers in a movie theater, and having someone describe them using racially charged and disparaging terms). They didn't DIE, but the events were still hurtful. 

    Fifth, it's much easier to care about something like this when it's personal.  This is why it's important to build relationships with others who may have had very different life experiences and LISTEN to them. It can be hard to do, particularly when there is anger; but we can acknowledge that wrong was done and sympathize without having to assume full ownership and responsibility for what happened.  The atheists I used to debate online often brought up atrocities committed by Christians or people who claimed to be Christians; and some told me stories of how they had personally experienced abuse or trauma from a church or Christian.  My first reaction was to become defensive, but it was much more helpful for me to acknowledge the wrongdoing, express sorrow about it, and point out that it was not consistent with the Bible or Christianity. Defensiveness would have instantly closed the door, but acknowledging that actions done by someone "like me" were wrong and hurtful sometimes opened the door for me to share the gospel. 

  • Ann Marshall
    Posted: Thu, 02/04/2021 06:54 pm

    For not silent

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply, I truly appreciate it. I would not want to minimize the pain of being denied access to a worship service on the basis of one's race: I totally agree that that was inexcusable. And that the concerns you mention (police stops for no reason, public insults) are live issues, I also completely agree. What troubles me sometimes is it would seem that, to some, the weight of everything inexcusable done by a white person to a black person must be borne by each white person now living. I mean, a lot has happened since 1619 and realistically, it cannot all be undone in a generation. When this thought gets me down, Psalm 130 helps: "If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared." We're not all born as slaves of a human master, but we're all born into slavery to sin...

     

    I can envision worship services wherein persons of color describe the insults and hardships that have befallen them despite living in a society that proclaims its committment to equal protection of the law and, after each personal history, forgiveness being asked for by a member of the majority race. Perhaps such a thing would help us heal. 

     

     

  • Neil Evans
    Posted: Thu, 02/04/2021 01:10 pm

    To accurately and effectively communicate with each other in resolutions, posts or any kind of "social media" is extremely challenging. Perhaps it is an even greater challenge to communicate face to face over time. But face to face, working at developing good relationships over time and through shared experiences is the only way to really understand each other. I am thankful that God has spoken to His people over a long time and through every kind of experience. Somehow, being exposed to the Bible's big picture can help us individually follow Him in our present circumstances.

    We tend to blame or credit the president, of our country, our denomination, or ... for what is going on in our world. But, God's plan for His church is wonderful beyond anything any election could ever accomplish. A relatively small group of people living near each other, committed to Jesus, the Bible and each other is the only really effective way to experience the fundamental transformations God can make in our fallen attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Interestingly God didn't give us presidents (of any size or title) to grow us. "He gave the Apostles, the Prophets" (the Bible) and the local, present-with-us "evangelists, shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

    I think we often expect our individual lives to be changed by the proclamations of distant leaders (presidents, writers, preachers, etc) when in fact God seems to have designed that the only thing that can really change us is ourselves listening to and following the Words of God. Christ's Church didn't change the world because people followed the Apostles, but because they followed what God said through them. We can thank God for faithful denominations, but it doesn't really matter what distant leaders or denominations declare, what matters is how faithfully my local church, and myself, is striving to serve God and each other according to His Word.

  • Greysmoke
    Posted: Thu, 02/04/2021 01:33 pm

    Thank you, Sophia. Black people are a treasure, a bedrock within the SBC. It won't prosper without them. My father was an SBC pastor in the 1950’s, 60's and 70's. His experience with racism stemming from Brown v. Board of Education drove him out of pastoring altogether. Years later he returned but committed himself to multi-racial and multi-ethnic ministries. As such, his chief observation was that the less members of a congregation share in terms of color, ethnicity, and socioeconomics, the more readily they’ll bond as a spiritual body. Colorful churches are vibrant bodies of worship.

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Fri, 02/05/2021 03:20 pm

    One sponsor of the Thursday, Feb. 21, podcast “The World and Everything In It” was a couple with “slightly irreverent musings on faith, food, family and marriage.” On their website, they refer to an article on Critical Race Theory’s Jewish Problem. They also conclude that there is “no room for Jesus in CRT.” [I have edited this comment. See my response to Jackie Parfet.]

  • JACKIE PARFET
    Posted: Fri, 02/05/2021 12:58 pm

    As the subjects of CRT and Intersectionality fit under the broader subject of Social Justice, here is something for consideration:

    https://statementonsocialjustice.com/

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Fri, 02/05/2021 03:21 pm

    Thank you, Jackie Parfet, for a serious source rather than the snarky sponsors of a World podcast. I’ve read the biblically based statement. In the Affirmation & Denials, those on Race/Ethnicity, Culture, and Racism especially address the issue of Critical Race Theory. Also of note is the Addendum, which includes the 2017 Nashville Statement. Marvin Olasky was one of the initial signatories of that statement.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Sat, 02/06/2021 03:57 pm

    The picture at the top gives us the solution to this problem: "Faith Over Fear." Let the faithful dialog about CRT and intersectionality. Take the best and leave the rest. Rejecting these theories without clearly defining what we are rejecting will only lead to more fear and disunity.

  • not silent
    Posted: Sun, 02/07/2021 11:04 am

    Excellent point, Brendan Bossard!  Believers can discuss CRT and intersectionality honestly and openly with a willingness to listen and learn and to take any parts that are valid and true while rejecting any parts that are harmful or untrue. I think it's human nature to view complex issues sometimes as "all-or-nothing."  I.e., we may be tempted to think we must either accept CRT and intersectionality wholesale or we should reject everything associated with it, but that would not be accurate.  

    Another piece of this is that, even when we accept that change needs to occur, we tend to focus only on our OWN ideas of what it should look like instead of listening to suggestions from others and seeking God's will above all.  Solutions don't have to be all-or-nothing either.  Instead, we can let our faith help us to be willing to allow God's spirit to teach us and convict us if necessary; to let go of any false preconceptions, beliefs, and fears which are not of God; and to take any action (if any) GOD would have us to take.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 02/07/2021 10:51 pm

    Is it fear we are talking about or is it turning "race" into a god? This hyper sensitivity about race which our culture hoists on us isn't mentally healthy.  And what exactly is this "change" that everyone is talking about? Are we trying to make an "equal opportunity environment" where a white church will hire a black assistant pastor so we are more diverse like our culture likes us to? I don't think this would be good in most cases, but it may be good for some churches, where there is some diversity and the people would support it. Diversity for the sake of diversity isn't something "more spiritual" and can be a culture idol if not handled correctly. The goal is to treat all people with love and respect in the church no matter their race, economic class, or any other way of dividing. Here I assume we aren't talking about some class that the Bible would call sin. Our culture is pushing CRT, intersectionality, white privilege and other concepts with the goal of creating divisions in society and we need to not allow this division in the church for it won't produce unity.  This notion of "change" regarding race in the church should only be imperative where there is racism - black, white or other.  Past racism that existed should be acknowledged and confessed, but there comes a point where forgiveness is needed and the issue forgotten. This endless dialogue and rehashing it seems to artificially keep the wound open and bleeding rather than letting it heal. If we let go of the notion of race and focused on loving people then I think we would make much more progress in racial harmony. 

  • not silent
    Posted: Mon, 02/08/2021 01:33 pm

    For Cyborg: You asked, "Is it fear we are talking about, or is it turning 'race' into a god?"

    My answer: first of all, I'm not exactly sure what you are asking about.  I.e., Are you asking about CRT specifically?  If so, based on which definition (different people define it differently)?  Or are you asking about the general views and motives of others?  Regardless, presenting "it" as a choice between EITHER fear OR idolatry is a false dichotomy.  Fear and idolatry are not mutually exclusive. I.e., I think one reason people HAVE idols is because of fear.  I'm sure there are other reasons, but they are beyond the scope of my comment.   

    You also asked, "What exactly is this 'change' that everyone is talking about?"  However, instead of waiting for MY answer (or anyone else's answer), you immediately provided several answers of your OWN and debated THOSE responses. I keep trying to have discussions with you, but you seem more interested in making up your own answers based on what you think someone else believes and debating them instead of discussing what I had to say.  

    Cyborg, what you believe is your own affair; and it's not hurting me if you choose to debate yourself and your own version of what someone else has said instead of what I've said.  But, since you did ask a question, I am curious to know if you TRULY want me or anyone else to provide OUR answers about the changes others are talking about or if you would rather keep creating your own straw men and burning THEM down.

    .    

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Tue, 02/09/2021 04:37 am

    For Cyborg: You asked, "Is it fear we are talking about, or is it turning 'race' into a god?"

    My answer: first of all, I'm not exactly sure what you are asking about.  I.e., Are you asking about CRT specifically?  

    Yes, and all the other trappings that goes along with it.

    If so, based on which definition (different people define it differently)?  

    That is exactly the problem with it. It is the glob that keeps on growing into a monster. You discuss CRT, think you have it all worked out, and lo and behold a new paper comes out with a whole new dimension to it. It is racism on steroids where we keep learning just how racist we are for not accepting all their framework, definitions (which are ever changing), and world view with race an idol! Do you want this monster in the church?  I don’t! 

    Or are you asking about the general views and motives of others?  

    I am taking a general view of it and realize motives range from innocently naive to extremely evil.

    Regardless, presenting "it" as a choice between EITHER fear OR idolatry is a false dichotomy.  

    But is “Faith Over Fear” a false dichotomy?  You either have “faith” and go along with CRT or you are fearful individual and reject it.  I reject this false dichotomy, and believe it is based on wisdom that I reject the CRT.  

    So it is not either fear or idolatry but it is “faith over Idolatry of race”. We either go the path of faith where we accept the notion that all people are made in the image of God showing love and respect for all or we make race into a God where everything revolves around race.  Of course, I recognize there are different degrees to this idol of race, but overall our culture is making it an either/or type since they take everything through the prism of race. 

     

    Fear and idolatry are not mutually exclusive. I.e., I think one reason people HAVE idols is because of fear.  I'm sure there are other reasons, but they are beyond the scope of my comment.

    You misunderstood what I was saying. 

    You also asked, "What exactly is this 'change' that everyone is talking about?"  However, instead of waiting for MY answer (or anyone else's answer), you immediately provided several answers of your OWN and debated THOSE responses. 

    I have every right to present my thinking how I see things. I wasn’t claiming my perspective was your view so quit pushing this nonsense. I would hope you would engage in intelligent conversation and not try to find a twisted board to hit me over the head with just because we see things differently.

  • not silent
    Posted: Tue, 02/09/2021 01:51 pm

    For Cyborg, my intent was not to "hit you over the head." I'm truly sorry that my comment came across that way.

    My actual intent was to "present things as I see them," just as you are doing. I would agree that you have a right to present your thinking and how you see things, and I am not trying to stop you from doing that.  In fact, I appreciate your letting me know how my comment affected you. 

    I will try to be more direct and less confrontational.  First of all, I think I may have misinterpreted some of your motives and intent. For example, in your most recent comment, I initially found it confusing that you quoted from my comment (i.e., "Regardless, presenting 'it' as a choice between EITHER fear OR idolatry is a false dichotomy") as if you intended to respond to what I said, but your answer didn't address the quote!  The first several times I read it, I believed you were dismissing or ignoring my point and substituting your own views-i..e, creating a straw man-and then arguing against THAT. However, since your comment said very clearly that you were not claiming my view was your perspective, I have begun to wonder if you were actually trying to point out that I misinterpreted your previous comment (i..e, you were not presenting the false dichotomy I thought you were presenting), and to clarify what you WERE saying. Maybe you can be a little more clear about this?

    It has felt like you were charaterizing anyone who feels ANY kind of discussion about race could be productive as equivalent to someone who accepts everything in any version of CRT; and I was hoping to show that it's possible to have discussions about race as believers using a Christian perspective but still being able to listen to views presented by others who may be using a different perspective. I.e,. we can still listen to others while using discernment. I want you to realize that I hear your concerns about CRT.  To be very clear: I do not accept all parts of CRT, but I think it's unwise and unloving to completely dismiss all versions of it and everyone who is talking about it because even flawed human beliefs may have some truth in them.  We can listen to others and bring what they say into the light of the gospel. 

          

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Mon, 02/08/2021 09:28 am

    Here is a Town Hall article on the craziness that is passed off as racist. If we allow CRT into the church the dialogue will be a never ending process as more and more craziness is pushed and more and more demands are made to show we are sensitive and loving, and not racist. Essentially, "racism" is shaped into a club to beat people into submission and force them to follow a racist orthodoxy. 

  • DJ
    Posted: Tue, 02/09/2021 11:11 am

    The article about the SBC by Sophia Lee this week left me somewhat unsettled. While the article was very well wretten and researched it left me with many questions unanswered and with a feeling of being adrift. My impression, likely  erroroneous, is that some things were not said out of caution or in an attempt to remain respectfully neutral.

    I am quite aware that the topic is one that is not only incredibably complex but is also being continually defined and redefined by some honest brokers and some who find truth and reality to be mearly malliable tools subservant to their agendas. Perhaps I should be settled in the knowledge that in today's melieu of relitive reality I will continue to be unsettled.

  • BB
    Posted: Mon, 04/12/2021 11:53 am

    CRT is the Apple of Discord.