Detractors from the overall program of ensuring that the Southern Baptist Convention does not forsake the principles regained during the Conservative Resurgence often note the absurdity of believing that Southern Baptists believe in anything less than the authority and infallibility of the Bible. In doing so, they miss the current point of contention. The concern is not, and has never been for the past twenty years or so, whether or not Southern Baptists are giving up on their stated belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. Nor is the worry over whether or not we have left behind the fundamentals of the faith, like the virgin birth and penal substitutionary atonement of Christ. Rather, the problem is something like this: we say we believe them while failing to apply them to all areas of life.
Danny Slavich wrote an article in response to Tom Ascol’s post calling for pastors to step up to the plate in the Southern Baptist Convention. [Please see Danny’s Comment in response to this post here.] Slavich appeals to the popular parallel between the populist politics of President Donald Trump and the way grassroots groups like Founders Ministries and the Conservative Baptist Network are – intentionally or not – mirroring what we have seen from Make America Great Again fanatics for the past five years or so. Although such an appeal is generally little more than a smear tactic, I suspect Slavich may be on to something here.
In this article, Andrew T. Walker argues, “Democrats, with the wind at their backs, have little desire to defend religious freedom and are advancing a take-no-prisoners approach in their culture war victory.”
Christians are not ‘above’ the political process in the United States of America. Neither should they be buried beneath it. Sadly, the Southern Baptist Convention does not seem to have done a very good job with this.
A general sentiment among those raised in the past forty, maybe fifty years, is expressed clearly by Derek Webb in his song, “A King and a Kingdom”:
There are two great lies that I’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
And that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican
And if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him
A younger generation (that isn’t so young anymore) has cast off, or attempted to cast off, the lie referenced by Webb above. They’ve done so by more readily voting third party or Democrat, and they’ve certainly done so by distancing themselves from right-wing rhetoric, the Republican Party, and without a doubt, the current President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.
On Episode 20 of The CR:V Podcast Chris Bolt speaks with Stephen Wolfe about political theology, the role of pastors, and political theory. They discuss the place of morality, character, and public witness in relation to politics. They also address several articles, one from John Piper and another from Wolfe.
Michael Bird, Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, wrote a piece at Patheos the other day called, “The Fundamentalist War on Wokeness is a War on Christian Love.” The post is of interest here because it touches on several topics that are important to the justice discussion in relation to false ideologies becoming ever more popular within the church. The post also implicates Owen Strachan, a Southern Baptist professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a supposed fundamentalist war on love.
Owen Strachan recently delivered a series of six talks on Christianity & Wokeness which you can find below.