From the Atlantic:
A Resolution Condemning White Supremacy Causes Chaos at the Southern Baptist Convention
Leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention were divided over a resolution affirming the denomination’s opposition to white supremacy and the alt-right during their annual meeting in Phoenix this week. On Tuesday, they initially declined to consider the proposal submitted by a prominent black pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic, and only changed course after a significant backlash. The drama over the resolution revealed deep tension lines within a denomination that was explicitly founded to support slavery.
Even if the committee’s decision was based on rhetorical nitpicks, it looked like the denomination had refused to condemn the alt-right. After a few frantic hours, around 9 p.m., the body reconvened. Pastors tweeted in all-caps trying to get people back into the convention hall, and Steve Gaines, the newly reelected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, begged people not to leave.
Over the last several years, the Southern Baptist Convention has made “racial reconciliation” one of its priorities, building on work begun in 1995 when it first apologized for its role in sustaining and promoting slavery. In 2015, the denomination passed a resolution supporting racial reconciliation, and in 2016, it called on Christians to stop displaying the Confederate battle flag.
But to many in the denomination, any progress was significantly undermined by the 2016 election. With 81 percent of white evangelicals supporting Trump, African Americans in particular felt like they had been betrayed. As Anyabwile said of his fellow Christians in an interview with me shortly after Trump was elected, “I feel like they haven’t understood any of my concerns as a racial minority and an African American.”
So in essence a clumsily worded resolution proposed by a pastor suddenly gained national prominence and by not immediately affirming it the SBC is now playing defense, because obviously not considering a resolution, one of many of which were proposed and not forwarded, indicates strong support in the Southern Baptist Convention for the alt-right. Here are some of the other resolutions not forwarded for consideration by the SBC:
The committee also chose not to act on resolutions submitted regarding Genesis, pro-life support, unity in the SBC and country, collaboration on ministry to refugees, praying for the peace of Jerusalem and encouragement of trustee representation.
So based on this logic, the SBC clearly is pro-abortion, against unity in the SBC and our country, totally opposed to peace in Jerusalem and desirous of discouraging trustee representation. That is obviously not true but thanks to a P.R. campaign and an assist from the secular media that is almost entirely absolutely opposed to the Gospel and Biblical fidelity, the Southern Baptist Convention is spending all of it's energy falling over themselves apologizing for something that they have no reason to apologize for. I also assume that everyone knows that this will do nothing to placate anyone. Of all of the large, national denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention is by far the largest and one of the only large denominations that is still predominantly orthodox. Plus it is overwhelmingly White (85%), Republican and includes the word "Southern" in their name. When you add that all together you get a group that already has a lot of issues and has a gigantic target on their back.
Don't be fooled. The Atlantic and other secular media doesn't give a crap about racial reconciliation in the Southern Baptist Convention. They simply see this as a golden opportunity to undermine an orthodox, conservative Christian group that committed the sin of largely favoring Donald Trump over the media's chosen and anointed candidate Hillary Clinton.
So why did this particular resolution failing cause such a firestorm? Well upon it not advancing the second time, people started coming out of the woodwork to declare the Southern Baptist convention a bunch of racists. Thabiti Anyabwile went on a Twitter rampage, tweeting stuff like this:
As a reminder, no one in the SBC today owned slaves or was alive when anyone else did in America. Then this:Let's be frank: The SBC wrings its hands of a very ugly history complicit in the maintenance of slavery as "consistent" with Christianity.— Thabiti Anyabwile (@ThabitiAnyabwil) June 14, 2017
So with that he writes off as dead and Jesus denying the Southern Baptist Convention with the obligatory scare quotes around the word churchAny "church" that cannot denounce white supremacy without hesitancy and equivocation is a dead, Jesus denying assembly. No 2 ways about it.— Thabiti Anyabwile (@ThabitiAnyabwil) June 14, 2017
As another reminder, Thabiti tweeted his support for "Black Lives Matter" in spite of the regular anti-police rhetoric and overt racism. Here is the tweet with what appears to be a series of raised fists which clearly invokes the black power salute of the Black Panthers:
Of course it bears mentioning that Thabiti announced in May 2016 on the pages of the Gospel Coalition that he intended to vote for Hillary Clinton, the High Priestess of Abortion On Demand, a vicious practice that actually dehumanizes people and disproportionately kills black babies. The abortion industry that was completely sold out for his candidate kills more black people in a year than all of the alt-right, White supremacist, Ku Klux Klan, etc. combined have ever killed. His post was titled A Vote To Check Unpredictable Evil With The Predictable.I support #BlackLivesMatter.— Thabiti Anyabwile (@ThabitiAnyabwil) January 7, 2016
I don't support everything under that label. Not by a long shot!
But I stand w/ #BlackLivesMatter.
To summarize: I think the evil is real. Consequently, my conscience is aroused and I feel obligated to act in a way that attenuates the evil–in this case, vote. That leaves one question: Who to vote for?
I can appreciate people who chose to not vote for Trump. I didn't vote for him, instead reluctantly casting my vote for Gary "Pass the doobie dude" Johnson. If I had to do it over I would have voted for Darrell Castle or written in Ron Paul. But I would never, ever consider voting for someone who has elevated infanticide to an unholy sacrament.
Allow me to state in as bold a way as I can:
I have no interest at all in being scolded on matters of justice from someone who voted, however reluctantly, for a candidate who would have spent every waking hour as President advancing the cause of abortion and conspiring to limit religious freedom and human liberty.
As another aside, I had no idea that Thabiti Anyabwile was born Ron Burns and changed his name when he converted to Islam before later converting to Christianity. Not really relevant, just something I discovered today. I used to have a lot of respect for Thabiti/Ron but over the last few years he has lurched leftward and now seems more concerned with a fusion of "social justice" and Reformed theology that I think is untenable and at this point I am afraid that the leftist rhetoric will win out. I am seeing some of the same stuff from para-church groups he is associated with like The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks. More on the issue of racial reconciliation and whether or not it is a Gospel issue in a future post (that I have been working on for months)
Back to the resolution. I have to give credit to Dwight McKissic. Whether intentional or not he very neatly maneuvered the Southern Baptist Convention into a corner and now it looks like he will get a version of his resolution and in the future the SBC will be cowed into approving any racially based resolution that comes forward out of fear of being raked over the coals again by the media and appearing insufficiently "woke" on matters of racial reconciliation. Well played indeed.
I would hazard a guess that far less than 5% of average Southern Baptists has the slightest clue what the alt-right is or have even heard of it. As America becomes more secular and hostile to religion and baptisms continue to decline, the SBC has their hands full already with contention over Russell Moore, the on-going jihad against Reformed Southern Baptists and other issues. What it certainly didn't need was to get ambushed by a gotcha resolution that casts the entire denomination in a largely undeserved bad light and a distraction from the critical work of the Gospel. Not to mention the reality of introducing a lot of people to the alt-right and their ideology.
There are no winners in this public relations fiasco and the biggest loser is the Great Commission. But hey, what is the Gospel when compared to the passing of an empty gesture?