Categories
Critical Race Theory Ecclesiology Racism Reform Social Justice

What to Make of Owen Strachan’s Departure

As you likely know, Owen Strachan is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.

How should we think about that move?

For starters there are lots of people his departure is good for.  It’s great for everyone connected to Grace Bible Theological Seminary, so great that “great” really doesn’t quite capture how good it is.  Go look on YouTube for the reaction in Cleveland when the Cavs won the Lebron James lottery.  That is what I mean by “great for GBTS.”

It’s great for Dr. Strachan, in fact.  Everything he has written or said about this decision indicates he has a hopeful, aggressive, and entrepreneurial spirit as he engages in this new endeavor (example).  Clearly Dr. Strachan is ready to try his hand as a builder and I expect nothing less than his per-usual excellence in this new pursuit.

The people who it is bad – really bad – for are those of us who care about the faithfulness and future of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dr. Strachan represents rarified air within scholarly Southern Baptist circles in terms of scholarship, leadership, faithfulness – particularly when one considers his relative youth.  Give his faculty page at the old gig a read.  He’s… accomplished.  Published.  Lead.  Contributed.  Taken stands.

In short, he’s the kind of scholar coming into the very height of his powers that a wise institution not only fights like a wild animal to keep but builds its program on.

But Midwestern wished him well.

And Grace Bible Theological Seminary won the lottery.

And the Southern Baptist Convention lost.

Of immediate importance is that Dr. Strachan was the highest profile Southern Baptist working at a Southern Baptist institution who was regularly and forcefully pushing back against the attempted colonization of historic Christianity by neo-racism through Critical Race Theory.

This, in and of itself, is a catastrophic loss for the Southern Baptist Convention.  Let me ask you, reader, this question:

Dr. Strachan was clearly the #1 opponent of CRT working at a Southern Baptist entity. Who is in the #2 slot behind him?

Don’t worry – I’ll wait.

Insofar as this decision looks like the failure to retain a voice critical of Critical Race Theory the implications for the Southern Baptist Convention are increasingly distressing.

When the news broke a friend told me he is sending his daughter to MBTS’ Spurgeon College and now is questioning the decision.  Strachan, by himself, granted a degree of legitimacy to MBTS among those who see CRT for the danger it is that no other seminary can boast.  That MBTS failed to retain Strachan leaves many of us not just wondering if MBTS is a viable option but whether there is a viable option in the SBC for Seminary education.  It appears the policy of our seminaries is to deny that CRT has any place in their institution even as the content coming to light from their faculty makes clear that CRT is very much at home within those schools.  Owen offered a practical, real-world alternative – again, as I have mentioned, largely by himself – and now the door to a theological education not subject to CRT propaganda appears to have departed the SBC with him.

I once told Owen that I believed he was our Machen because he was taking an unique stand against a popular and egregious error.  His departure makes the parallels more pronounced.  Think I am wrong?  Providentially, Ligonier’s Renewing Your Mind podcast has been running lectures from Dr. Robert Godfrey’s Church History lectures.  Recent episodes have covered the 20th Century Modernist / Fundamentalist split.  This paradigm is the best we have for understanding the current developing divide between woke evangelicals and those who wish to remain within the historical Christian tradition.  Give these episodes a listen and tell me that the comparison is not painfully apt.

  1. Fundamentalism vs. Modernism in the Church
  2. J. Gresham Machen
  3. Remaining Struggles over Fundamentalism and Modernism in the Church

Machen’s departure should have prompted American Presbyterianism to rend their clothes in sackcloth and ashes.  That didn’t happen.  Princeton was lost to apostasy and continues to vomit toxicity to our day.

The Southern Baptist Convention is the place our Presbyterian brothers found themselves long ago.  May the Lord grant we learn from their lesson and act more faithfully.

Let me put a point on this: Get to Nashville.  Vote in every session.  We have two candidates who won’t allow the degradation into Church Intersectionality to continue.  We have a third who might not.  Vote for them.*

Haven’t been planning to go?  No excuses – get to Nashville.

Think the last minute planning will be too difficult?  Stop.  Get to Nashville.

Seriously.  Enough is enough.  Get to Nashville.  Need help?  Reply to this post and we’ll see what we can do.  But get to Nashville – with as many voters as your church can send.  I’m dead serious.

Owen Strachan left the Southern Baptist Convention.  He left not because he was forced out, I think, but because the options outside were better for his calling.  That the options for him outside the SBC were better is to our great shame and his departure has massive and immediate ramifications for our brothers and sisters in Southern Baptist Churches.

If we fail to act now, if we fail to learn from church history, we will find ourselves where the options outside the SBC aren’t merely better but rather the only option for faithful Christians.

————————————

A couple readers have asked that I elaborate here; I honestly assumed it was obvious.  I’ll clarify but I want it to be clear I am speaking for myself and not CR:V or any other contributors.

I think Mike Stone is the best candidate, Randy Adams is another great option. Al Mohler, who I respect as much as anyone in the SBC, is the maybe candidate; if we get the guy who reformed SBTS and speaks on The Briefing every day he’d move straight up the chart like a rocket. However, that he is also Matt Hall’s boss makes the proposition more iffy.

Ed Litton is the no-go candidate in my opinion. The current good ol’ boy network lined up to promote him at every turn, sometimes in a way that is more than a little ethically suspect. He’s also on the record perpetuating the “nothing to see here” approach to the problem of Critical Race Theory in the SBC that the same group of elites promoting him as a candidate have adopted.

I’m confident that Ed is a good man and a fine pastor. However, he is not a good candidate (for the reasons above) to fill the Presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Categories
Critical Theory Racism Reform SBC Author

Making a Statement: A Response to the New Statement on Justice, Repentance, and the SBC

I just read the new statement on Justice, Repentance, and the SBC (hereafter referred to as JRS) posted over at https://www.justicerepentancesbc.org on 12/18/2020. I’d like to offer several quick reactions.

Included in these reactions is also my reaction to J.D. Greear’s statement on the JRS statement. I guess you’re reading a statement on statements that are themselves responses to statements (like here and more recently here).

In this post-Thanksgiving 2020 season, we’ve been inundated with a cornucopia of statements. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

So, here are my initial reactions:

1. I’m not sure how many times the SBC can repent for its being founded on slavery. The JRS statement is proudly headlined with “PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 18TH 2020, THE 155TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF THE THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT, ABOLISHING SLAVERY AND INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE”

Which, to me, is in itself another statement. Praise God that slavery has been abolished in our country. But it is placed in the article in such a way as to show a union exists between the JRS and the 13th amendment that doesn’t exist between those who would oppose the JRS.

The SBC has repeatedly acknowledged its ugly, sin-laden history and repented of it. In fact, I challenge anyone to find one Southern Baptist who does not repudiate slavery.

The point, of course, is to label one’s position in such a way that to disagree with it is to disagree with the 13th amendment. As Captain Hook would say, “Bad form.”

2. The original statement is so laden with CRT categories like “power” and “influence” that it is either done in blatant ignorance or maliciously. I don’t understand how those writing this statement could not see this.

To say that those opposed to CRT are just concerned about losing power is to itself affirm the tenets of CRT even if people continue to deny holding to CRT!

3. To accuse brothers, like me, who rightly hate CRT of only caring about “winning” is the height of uncharitableness.

Faithful brothers and sisters who have given their lives to serving Christ are boiled down to simply only being concerned about “winning”. That’s a shameful move.

4. President Greear said “I, for one, remain committed to a posture of humility.” A statement on abasement I guess.

I have a few issues with that. First, J.D. could have exemplified this humility by stepping down as president and giving his position to a minority person. That is if he *actually* believed what he is writing. But it appears to me he does not. If he did, then why hasn’t he humbly stepped aside?

Secondly, why is pro CRT the “humble” position? This seems like virtue signaling to the max. Thirdly, we must be wary of the tactic over the years of moving away from certainty not with the word “doubt” but with the word “humility.” Note that I am not accusing J.D. of being sinister.

But I am saying this historically orthodoxy moves from certainty, to “humility”, to doubt, to rejection. This is not the type of humility we want to have.

Fourthly, and I am not the one who initially pointed this out, this statement reeks of the “Trumpism” so many rail against. It sounds like, “I’m the most humble person I know.” A leader who is humble doesn’t have to tell people how humble he is.

5. “Great Commission Baptists” is going to mean woke Baptists isn’t it? It’s going to mean that if you’re not woke, you don’t care about the Great Commission. This is sad.

6. The SBC presidents’ statement against CRT has stirred this up. Good. It needs to be stirred up.
We need the battle lines drawn so that Southern Baptists can clearly see what is going on and what is at stake here. I don’t agree with the JRS statement (as you have probably discerned) but I’m glad it now exists because it helps to identify that there are two diametrically opposed views here.

7. The issue remains over the sufficiency of Scripture. I don’t care how many times someone says they hold to the sufficiency of Scripture. If they employ CRT categories, they practically deny it (whether sinisterly intentional or just ignorantly).

8. Please pray for the SBC. Nashville is going to be telling toward our future. I remain committed to the Southern Baptist Convention because I refuse to hand over our institutions to a liberal trajectory and wokism. May God bring reformation.

Categories
Abortion Abuse Complementarianism Controversy Critical Race Theory Critical Theory Gender Homosexuality Intersectionality Methodology Racism SBC Author Scripture Social Justice

Will Southern Baptists practice biblical conservatism or acceptable progressivism? (Ronnie Floyd)

In this article from Ronnie Floyd’s Advancing the Vision series, Floyd writes, “The future is not in having cultural conversations apart from the Bible. This will always lead to division. Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, and churches need to be having biblical conversations about cultural matters.”

Categories
Critical Race Theory Critical Theory Gender Homosexuality Intersectionality Racism SBC Author Social Justice

Taking on the Revolutionary Program of Ibram X. Kendi (Denny Burk)

In this post, Denny Burk reviews How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, explaining, “as American cities began to burn (including my own) due to the violence of radicals, it became clear that what we are facing is more than an academic theory. This ‘theory’ has hands and feet, it’s on the street, and it’s spreading at the popular level—including among those in evangelical churches. These ideologies are well into the mainstream, and every follower of Christ will have to reckon with them one way or the other.”

Categories
Racism SBC Author Social Justice

“Vietnamese Baptist Church burns amid Philadelphia unrest” (Baptist Press)

According to this Baptist Press article, “SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd said he was ‘deeply saddened’ to learn of the burning.”

Categories
Controversy Critical Race Theory Critical Theory History Intersectionality Racism SBC Author Scripture Social Justice

What Wokeness Is Not, and What it Is (Owen Strachan)

In this post, Owen Strachan argues, “while wokeness supposedly shares a vision for equity and virtue, it is radically different from Scripture and the biblical worldview. When you actually delve into woke literature, and when you study Critical Race Theory and intersectionality in particular, you come away shocked by what you see in many senses.”

Categories
Critical Race Theory Critical Theory Intersectionality Methodology Non-SBC Racism Social Justice

A Model Conversation: Jonathan Leeman’s Rebuttal (Timon Cline)

In this post, non-SBC author Timon Cline comments on the nature and content of a recent exchange he had with Jonathan Leeman of 9Marks on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.

Categories
Critical Race Theory Critical Theory History Intersectionality Racism SBC Author Scripture Social Justice

What Does it Mean to Be “Woke” and How Does Church Discipline Apply? (Owen Strachan)

In this post, Owen Strachan responds to critiques of his recent lecture series on Christianity and wokeness, defining wokeness as:

…first and foremost a mindset and a posture borne of Critical Race Theory and related systems of thought. The term itself means that one is “awake” to the true nature of our society where so many fail to see it. In the most specific sense, this means one sees the comprehensive inequity of our social order and the corresponding need for racial and social justice.

Categories
Complementarianism Controversy Critical Race Theory Critical Theory Gender History Homosexuality Intersectionality New Liberalism Politics Racism SBC Author Scripture Social Justice

Christianity & Wokeness (Owen Strachan)

Owen Strachan recently delivered a series of six talks on Christianity & Wokeness which you can find below.

Categories
Debate History Methodology Missions Racism Reform

Dispatch from the Future on the Southern Baptist Convention Name Change

CR:V has received a leaked copy of an article planned for release during next year’s Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.  For the purposes of documentation it is provided below.