Baptist Press, Seminary Presidents Reaffirm BFM, Declare CRT Incompatible:
On this twentieth anniversary year of the Baptist Faith & Message (as revised and adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000), the Council of Seminary Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in its annual session, hereby reaffirms with eagerness the Baptist Faith & Message as the doctrinal statement that unites and defines Southern Baptist cooperation and establishes the confessional unity of our Convention. Our six seminaries are confessional institutions, standing together in this classic statement of biblical truth. All professors must agree to teach in accordance with and not contrary to the Baptist Faith & Message. This is our sacred commitment and privilege, and every individual faculty member and trustee of our institutions shares this commitment. We are thankful for the theological commitments of the Southern Baptist Convention, standing against the tide of theological compromise and in the face of an increasingly hostile secular culture.
In light of current conversations in the Southern Baptist Convention, we stand together on historic Southern Baptist condemnations of racism in any form and we also declare that affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message.
Christianity Today, Two Prominent Pastors Break With SBC After Critical Race Theory Statement:
The leaders of two majority-black megachurches in major cities announced this week that they will no longer affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention.
In op-eds announcing their decisions to leave, Charlie Dates of Chicago’s Progressive Baptist Church and Ralph D. West of Houston’s The Church Without Walls both criticized SBC seminary presidents’ declaration that critical race theory was “incompatible” with the denomination’s statement of faith.
The two pastors brought up recognizing the reality of systemic racism alongside the truth and authority of Scripture. ...
Some worry that a systemic view of racism, where a person is considered privileged or disadvantaged in society because of their race, conflicts with Christian beliefs about forgiveness or people holding equal value before God.
Washington Post, Several Black Pastors Break With the Southern Baptist Convention Over a Statement on Race:
A sweeping recent statement about racial theory from Southern Baptist leaders has prompted at least four Black pastors to publicly break from the denomination and has triggered high-level, urgent meetings about whether Black evangelicals have a place in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Some think the statement, issued in a year full of racial tension, could speed an exodus of Black members and leaders from the country’s largest Protestant denomination.
In their statement, the presidents said critical race theory and a new framework called “intersectionality” are “antithetical to the Bible and the only Gospel that can save.” A new statement Tuesday from Adam Greenway, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that he and the other seminary presidents accept that structural racism is a modern-day problem and think critical race theory does “rightly decry racism and injustice,” but that they reject the theory as a comprehensive way of understanding race-related problems. ...
In a new statement issued Tuesday to The Washington Post, the presidents said they made the statement because members had asked about critical race theory’s compatibility with the SBC’s faith statement. Without defining critical race theory, they said they recognize the “reality of racism on both the personal and systemic or structural level” but still see critical race theory as incompatible with Baptist teaching.
“We regret that our statement inadvertently caused significant hurt among some black brothers and sisters,” the statement said, noting that seminary leaders will meet with Black SBC leaders in January. “This was never our intention or in our heart, even as we expressed our genuine concern about what we see as dangerous ideologies,” they told The Post. ...
Few Americans even know the meaning of the concept of critical race theory, a term coined by academics to help describe the pervasive and entrenched nature of racism. Some religious critics of the theory see it as inherently flawed because it doesn’t focus on sin as the problem and God as the answer.
Some Black church experts say the controversy is a legacy of the political alliance many White evangelicals made with Trump. These debates have made life in a predominantly White denomination more complicated for Black evangelicals, who in 2014 made up about 14 percent of all African American Christians, according to a Pew Research survey conducted that year. Eighty-five percent of Americans who identify as Southern Baptist are White, according to Pew.
An increasingly right-wing portion of the SBC is “making it untenable or unbearable for people who are moderate, let alone passionate on racial justice,” said Jemar Tisby, an author and historian who focuses on race in the church. “It’s a larger trend in U.S. Christianity, whether on family separations, a spate of federal executions, the rise of white supremacists like the Proud Boys — these are very clear moral issues that are forcing people to take sides, and it will result in separation.”