Kyle Whitt has released a video with several specific and distressing claims about the doctrinal fidelity and inner workings of the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board discovered during his two years working to plant a church in Washington state.
For the past two years I’ve been working with NAMB to plant a church in Washington state. After hours of research and conversations, I came to the conclusion that NAMB’s church planting arm, the Send Network, is pushing us to teach a false gospel. There are many other serious issues at Send and NAMB, but this video only covers the biggest and most important. I get that this is a big accusation, and believe me this is not something done lightly or without a lot of prayer. I ask that you watch the whole thing, look into what I’ve pointed out, and use this as a starting point to answer this question. I’m extremely nervous right now, as I have no idea what posting this video will result in for me, so it might take me a little bit to reply to comments. I plan on doing some follow up to help answer questions/clarify things (livestream? AMA?), but for right now I’m taking this one step at a time.
Some [at NAMB] are adding specific works as a “key component of the gospel.” I assumed they were wording it poorly, talking about obedience to Christ, and the good works we do as a result of the gospel transforming us. After lots of research, and conversations (including with Dhati Lewis, head of NAMB’s church planting arm, the Send Network) it was clear that no, they’re attaching these things directly as a part of the gospel.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
In this sermon from Love Worth Finding, Adrian Rogers answers, “What does the Bible say about Christian citizenship? What are our responsibilities, duties, and rights? What are Christians to do, to think, and how are we instructed to behave?”