Of Politics and Pergamum, and the Southern Baptist Convention Leadership is …

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Only the things of God will endure.

J. Jeff Toler | Shenandoah Christian Alliance

Perhaps we should be concerned not with demanding our rights, but with exercising our responsibilities. The only things worth defending are the things of God, and established by God. The short list includes the family and the Church. The things established by man… maybe not so much.

The Church should not be smugly satisfied in her relationship with politics. It is her relationship with the God who gave her our understanding of, and appreciation for, good governance.

We can begin by declaring the ideals of this government are, by and large, based on biblical principles, and practiced by biblically literate and principled people. For the most part, America’s founders knew the Bible and the God of the Bible very well. They were also the beneficiaries of the fresh fruit of the Age of Enlightenment. They drew from luminaries like John Locke and Sir Isaac Newton. There were others of course, but it is important to understand, “There was no single, unified Enlightenment. Instead, it is possible to speak of the French Enlightenment, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the English, German, Swiss or American Enlightenment.” (From history.com)

Good government should include honest politics

No more resounding rebuttal to the argument that The Church has no role in politics than the 2021 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention last month in Nashville, Tennessee. This is because hard politics was on full display there. 

This is a harsh indictment to be sure, but there are reliable witnesses who can testify to this: Dr. Russell FullerJ. D. Hall, and Rod D. Martin, just to name a very few. These men are well-known within the SBC. For those who are not familiar with them, they are, admittedly, polemicists and contrarians, because they oppose the current hierarchy’s trajectory. For this reason they garner their share of pushback. Yet they have the bona fides to weigh in on the future of the denomination. Interestingly, Hall flatly states that the SBC is actually not, in fact, a denomination! (This is not difficult to entirely rebut considering the composition of the SBC is more of a cooperative of independent churches; bound by association for the purpose of shared resources, training, education, and an immense church network.)

It was this meeting that the SBC elected Ed Litton, to succeed JD Greaer as president. (Greaer, it should be noted, has voiced strong support for CRT. For his part, Litton claims CRT is a “conspiracy theory.”) Now, the story is unfolding that Litton’s election has generated unintended embarrassment following ample video evidence of him plagiarizing none other than Greaer himself! Even mainstream media is reporting on it, giving Southern Baptists a real black eye.

Previously, during the 2019 annual meeting, Resolution 9 was passed, which incorporated CRT/intersectionality into seminary curriculum, among other venues. This year, it was predicted that the more conservative “wing” of the association would strip out this resolution, and bring in conservative leadership as well. Instead, by many accounts, the politicking by liberal, progressive factions took advantage of the high heat of the current cultural memes of CRT/I and social justice. Is it possible being called a racist is worse than actually being a heretic? 

As the news stories begin to filter out, it is becoming increasingly evident that one of the world’s largest evangelical bodies has devolved into a political organization where financially accountability and transparency, controversies with the Ethics and Religious and Liberty Commission, Beth Moore, and the growing CRT/I disputes are drawing increasing and undesirable attention around the world. Ironically, “The world is watching” was a popular maxim at the convention.

Baptists, and more broadly, evangelicals, have a long tradition of upholding the inerrancy of the Bible, missions, and evangelism.

They have established a network of theological seminaries that produce upwards of a third of the pulpit supply throughout all of America’s churches. They have considerable weight in and outside of contemporary Christianity.

SBC’s historical roots are the General Baptists and the Particular Baptists

The General Baptists got their name because they believed in a general atonement. They believed Christ died for all people generally, and that whoever would believe in Christ could be saved. The first General Baptist church, led by John Smyth, was founded in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1608/09. Its members were English refugees who had fled England to escape religious persecution.”

The Particular Baptists came into existence a generation later than General Baptists. Named for their view of particular atonement, they believed that Christ died only for a particular group, the elect. They were deeply influenced by the teachings of John Calvin.” (From baptisthistory.org)

Today, the SBC includes both traditions within its large tent, and has historically always maintained an unshakable fidelity to the authority of scripture, truth, and honesty. 

Like many of the mainline denominations, the SBC seems to be on the cusp of compromise in embracing ideologies with roots in Marxist dialectic. Progressivism, deconstructionism, and a host of new issues are leaving their handprints all over post-Christian Christianity. It’s no longer your grandfather’s SBC when “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9) used to be merely a sermon topic.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.’ (Revelation 2:12-15, ESV)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Shenandoah Christian Alliance
Shenandoah Christian Alliance is a Christian organization devoted to the promotion and education of biblical truths, faith, and spiritual equipping. We believe in the sanctity of marriage as defined in God’s revealed word. We oppose the practice of abortion, and respectfully object to its funding and facilitation as currently promoted by our elected leaders. We understand homosexuality to be something that God—whom we worship and honor—does not approve among his creation. Our faith in God as revealed in scripture is not something we are ashamed of, or for which we must apologize.