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.
According to a November 30, 2020 article from The Wall Street Journal titled, “Covid-19 Likely in U.S. in Mid-December 2019, CDC Scientists Report: New analysis of blood donations finds virus was present on West Coast earlier than previously believed” by Betsy McKay, “The new coronavirus infected people in the U.S. in mid-December 2019, a few weeks before it was officially identified in China and about a month earlier than public health authorities found the first U.S. case, according to a government study published Monday.” For some, the content of this article is quite the concession, since they were long ago questioning whether or not the infamous virus was in the States prior to the time scientists and health officials thought it had arrived. Not only did the timeline of learning about the virus from China indicate an earlier arrival, but inferences based on travel and speculation concerning stories of unprecedented flu-like symptoms in the population seemed to point that way as well. Those who highlighted these evidences as a basis for their belief that the virus was actually in the US prior to the official reckoning were generally dismissed as conspiracy theorists, accused of peddling the communist narrative that coronavirus came from the US, or even thought to be putting others in danger through misinformation and conflation of the seriousness of COVID-19 with that of other flu-like illnesses. So much for that.
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 post, Tom Ascol writes, “To put it bluntly, the Southern Baptist Convention needs to be led by pastors. Granted, there are some pastors who are eager to be enablers of or fellow travelers with wayward bureaucrats. I am not talking about those guys.”
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 this episode of The Sword and the Trowel, Dr. Voddie Baucham discusses, “the current fault lines in American Evangelicalism and the catastrophe of the social justice movement. When CRT, Intersectionality and Antiracism have become our new confession, and false unity has been exposed, how do covenantal and biblically confessional Christians navigate this spiritual war?”
According to the description for this episode of UNSHACKLED! titled ‘The Enemy Within,’ “In this homage to CS Lewis’s ‘The Screwtape Letters’, a Senior Tempter instructs a Junior Tempter how to secure the damnation of their latest ‘patient.’ The fact that this patient is part of a Bible study only emboldens their efforts.”