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The Southern Baptist Convention Can't Get Out Of Its Own Way

How lust for political power and influence is destroying one of America's largest denominations.

Everything is political.

Soccer jerseys are political.

Chicken sandwiches are political.

Football games are political.

At its annual meeting being held this week in Dallas, Texas, the Southern Baptist Convention had a chance to change that, just for a few days. Instead, they pretty much said, “Hold my beer.”

Sorry.

Bad analogy.

“Hold my fried chicken leg.”

That’s more like it.

Vice President Mike Pence will be speaking to the convention on Wednesday.

This only further cements the notion that the SBC is a wing of the Republican Party. Now of course, those leaders in the SBC who like the idea of inviting prominent Republican leaders to speak to them would disagree with that assessment. They say things like, failure to show hospitality to those in authority, “would be a bad testimony for Southern Baptists.”

I’ve been a Southern Baptist my whole life.

I can assure you that this “hospitality” would not have been extended to President Obama or Hillary Clinton had she been elected.

And it shouldn’t be. The SBC is not meant to be a platform for the Democratic Party. It’s just too bad that some of the leaders in the SBC can’t see that carrying the water for the GOP is just as foolish. This has nothing to do with Pence or the president he serves. It has to do with a denomination that, coming off a scandalous season of its own, chooses to associate itself with a political party rather than repenting for its recent indiscretions.

The Southern Baptist Convention is being used. This is nothing new. It's happened before when other presidents and political leaders took the stage at the annual convention and in its churches every election cycle.

But our nation has never been more divided as we are now. Now, when the world needs to hear about how Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, the Southern Baptist Convention has settled for picking sides in our culture's ongoing political debate. Rather than being above the nonsense, they're diving in head first. Instead of preaching Christ to all, they're getting dangerously close to just preaching the GOP platform to cultural conservatives.

Perhaps one day those Southern Baptist leaders who continually allow themselves to be used by politicians will see that those politicians do not care about them, their amendments, or where their Cooperative Program dollars go. All they care about is their votes. Some of the SBC power brokers like to pretend like they’re big shots because of their political ties. They’re proud of their seat at the table. In reality, the table they are sitting at is sort of like that card table you got assigned to during the Thanksgiving meal when you were a kid and the message they proclaim has been tainted by what they became and who they ignored in order to earn that coveted seat.

The Southern Baptist Convention does a lot of good. It is filled with good women and men who love both God and neighbor. It has a long history of biblical faithfulness, helping in times of great need, and caring for the least of these. But a few powerful leaders are willing to risk overshadowing all of that for their seat at the table.

Years from now, maybe even sooner, those power-hungry leaders will look out over the landscape of their denomination and wonder what happened. They’ll wonder where everyone went. They might even wonder why they have a hard time reaching women and minorities. And as they continue to shrink, they’ll just tell themselves that its the cost of being faithful to Jesus in a decaying culture.

They’ll be wrong.

In reality, it’ll be the cost of decaying with the culture in an effort to score political capital.

As a Southern Baptist, it hurts me to write this but unless genuine repentance happens, the history books will remember my denomination for locking arms with a political party that they claimed they didn’t belong to while completely ignoring a Savior who they claimed to be serving.

I don't doubt his sincerity, but I do question his judgment and his lack of winsomeness at times. He advocated bringing all of the Syrian refugees and refugees from other countries to the U.S. and mocked the very real security/safety concerns of his fellow American Christians. He did not define "refugee," but he did say, “It is a sure sign of American self-centeredness that we would take the suffering of millions of people and turn it into an issue that is all about us. . . . flowing from a view of the world that is far more American than it is biblical and far more concerned with the preservation of our country than it is with the accomplishment of the Great Commission.” Wow! Really? Pretty dismissive and arrogant. He was the head of missions, and he insults people who sacrifice to fund his mission work? Is the nation that has sent missionaries into the world for generations so disposable, so trivial? He also mangled Scripture to apply the term refugee to modern, political times. He uses the left's favorite club against Christians...Jesus was a refugee. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were temporary refugees, not the modern equivalence of the term and hardly the young males that have swamped Europe, raped women, and murdered innocent people. There is no Scriptural basis for the idea that God blesses Christian nations like ours by flooding them with non-believers so we can convert them. He is a gifted young man, but like all of us, he is human and subject to the same errors and biases as the rest of us. He and Russell Moore advocated building mosques and labeled it religious liberty. I understand the concern that leftists in California could turn it on us, but California is turning it on us now, but I have not heard a peep from Moore and Platt on those concerns. Maybe I missed it. To draw an equivalence between a Southern Baptist church and a mosque is offensive on its face. Will they accept responsibility for what flows from the building of that mosque since many mosques are havens for radicals who wish us harm and harbor folks who kill people. Moore and Platt decry the politicization of the Gospel while they split churches over temporal issues that only the Gospel can cure.

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Thanks, @Reaganite -

Where did you find the info? There's no question that Platt sees the world outside "The American Dream" (thus the subtitle of 'Radical'), but I'd love to investigate some of this in context. He's one of the better Biblical teachers (especially coming from the Millennial generation) in recent years, IMO, and I'd enjoy exploring it a bit. There are others places I've disagreed with him before (such as eschatology), but I've found him pretty sound overall. At the same time, I'm not one to be afraid of disagreeing with him.

@mtnavarre , I consider Jimmy Carter to be a strong Practicing Christian and we walked away from the SBC...

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@Reaganite
One thing I want to point out is that countries that have accepted refugees have actually seen revival in churches that were previously dying. As Steve Berman pointed out in January,

"Hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world have no access to the Gospel. The New Testament is generally a banned book in Islamic countries. Yet millions of Muslims have emigrated as refugees to the west--mostly to Europe. While we focus on the security threats of radical jihadists, there's another movement quietly going on. Muslim refugees are taking over European churches which had long been empty due to post-Christian apathy and secularism."

Also, regarding Russell Moore "advocating" building mosques, he has done no such thing! What he has done is oppose a government being able to prevent the building of a house of worship based on their religious beliefs. This is exactly what he answered when asked about it at the 2016 SBC

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