Some very important and quite disturbing news continues to flow out of the Southern Baptist Convention in recent days as bombshell accusations of plagiarism regarding Ed Litton, the newly elected president of the SBC, sweep across evangelicalism and are spotlighted by major news sources.
As problematic as plagiarism is as a sin that reveals pride, laziness, and attempts of self-exaltation—the greater problem that has now been solidified in recent weeks in the SBC is the canonization of critical race theory and intersectionality as analytical tools for gospel ministry.
The Adoption of Resolution 9 (On CRT/I as Analytical Tools)
When the resolutions appeared in the morning’s bulletin of the 2019 SBC in Birmingham, a series of political maneuvers prevented any friendly amendment to the controversial Resolution 9, “ON CRITICAL RACE THEORY AND INTERSECTIONALITY.” The amendment attempt was opposed as a “non-friendly” amendment and the SBC adopted Resolution 9 which stated the following:
WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory and intersectionality alone are insufficient to diagnose and redress the root causes of the social ills that they identify, which result from sin, yet these analytical tools can aid in evaluating a variety of human experiences, and
Needless to say, that decision was fueled by deception and used as a weapon against those in the SBC who are considered to be ultraconservative. The adoption of Resolution 9 has caused a great chasm of division and distrust of the SBC elites who know exactly what’s going on behind closed doors long before the first messenger of the SBC arrives at the annual meeting.
Ambiguous Language as Protective Language
When the attempt to rescind Resolution 9 was opposed at the 2021 SBC, many SBC messengers continued to raise concerns about CRT/I in both public business sessions and private meetings with connected SBC organizations. However, when it came to Resolution 2, “ON THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE FOR RACE AND RACIAL RECONCILIATION” as presented to the 2021 SBC, it was quite clear that many people wanted to name the pink elephant in the room, but the leadership of the SBC refused to do so—repeatedly.
In Resolution 2, the phrase “any theory” was repeated a total of three times. It appears in the third, fourth, and fifth resolved:
RESOLVED, That we reject any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reject any theory or worldview that sees the primary problem of humanity as anything other than sin against God and the ultimate solution as anything other than redemption found only in Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, We, therefore, reject any theory or worldview that denies that racism, oppression, or discrimination is rooted, ultimately, in anything other than sin; and be it further
The resolutions committee defended the strength of the “any theory” language, but in all reality—it serves to weaken the argument and avoids identifying a divisive ideology by name. The intentional ambiguity and the evasiveness of the leadership was clear as they repeatedly dodged attempts at amendments that would specifically name CRT/I as ungodly and divisive ideologies that are antithetical to Scripture. Such attempts at amending Resolution 2 were rejected as “unfriendly” by the resolutions committee. If the SBC is unable to publicly denounce CRT/I what exactly is the SBC communicating?
Everyone knew that CRT/I would be openly opposed at the 2021 SBC, but the greater question is, why was there such a firm stance taken by everyone from J.D. Greear to the resolutions committee regarding CRT/I? In other words, why was there a calculated decision to remain ambiguous as to where we stand on CRT/I within the SBC? The simple answer is that they had to do so in order to canonize CRT/I within the SBC and protect those who are currently teaching or promoting the ideology. This includes pastors in local churches and professors in SBC entities.
By remaining ambiguous within Resolution 2 by the use of the phrase “any theory” allows the resolution to essentially function to communicate the following:
RESOLVED, That we reject any theory (other than CRT/I) or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reject any theory (other than CRT/I) or worldview that sees the primary problem of humanity as anything other than sin against God and the ultimate solution as anything other than redemption found only in Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, We, therefore, reject any theory (other than CRT/I) or worldview that denies that racism, oppression, or discrimination is rooted, ultimately, in anything other than sin; and be it further
Since we officially adopted CRT/I as analytical tools and in 2021 and since we did not rescind Resolution 9 nor did we officially oppose CRT/I in any capacity—we officially condoned the continued use of a dangerous ideology. Sadly, soccer moms and common citizens of our communities across the nation are openly opposing CRT/I while pastors and theologians of the SBC cannot go on record to publicly condemn it. At this point, it’s necessary to put on political lenses and view this entire scene properly. None of this was by accident. It was all designed long before the annual meeting started. In short, the elites were well prepared.
As the dumpster fires of plagiarism continue to burn, remember, as bad as that sin is regarding a preacher of the gospel—it will have a much smaller impact on the SBC in the long run than CRT/I will as the cancer is allowed to grow and fester within SBC entities. Not only will it corrupt the institutions that were built to serve local churches—more importantly is the reality that local churches will suffer as this cancer continues to go unopposed within the SBC. Dumpster fires are extinguished rather quickly. Cancer must be cut out with precision and treated with careful attention. When cancer is left untreated the result is deadly.
When Charles Spurgeon fought against the Downgrade of the Baptist Union in England, he once made the following statement:
The first step astray is a want of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the sacred Scriptures. All the while a man bows to the authority of God’s Word, he will not entertain any sentiment contrary to its teaching. “To the law and to the testimony,” is his appeal concerning every doctrine. He esteems that holy Book, concerning all things, to be right, and therefore he hates every false way. But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without chart to guide him, and without anchor to hold him.
It appears that a similar move is being made today within the SBC as leaders are wiling to embrace ideologies that are “false ways” intended to divide and destroy. Such an unwillingness to stand openly opposed to CRT/I reveals the hand of the elites in the SBC who claim to be inerrantists and claim to hold to the sufficiency of Scripture.
If Scripture is indeed sufficient and if the SBC elites embraced that doctrinal position without equivocation—we would have gone on record publicly to denounce CRT/I. What actually happened was the largest protestant denomination in the world canonized CRT/I and God was watching as it happened.