Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear (below) issued an important statement to his constituents on Monday: “God did not call on Southern Baptists to save America.”
While that sounds less than inspirational, that was actually meant as a warning shot to conservatives in his group who believe they must defend the Republican Party at all costs, no matter what violence they cause or corruption they promote or lies they spread.
Greear implored them to choose faith over politics:
“We are not, at our core, a political activism group,” he said in an address to the SBC’s Executive Committee. “We love our country, but God has not called us to save America — he’s called us to build the church and spread the gospel and that is our primary mission.”
Greear called his fellow Baptists to focus on the gospel instead of things that divide them. And the gospel, he said, demands diversity.
“If we are going to be gospel above all people, it means that we will be a church that engages all of the peoples in America, not just one kind,” he said. “And that’s hard. Bringing together people of different backgrounds and cultures and ethnicities into the church creates challenges. Anybody that says it’s not hasn’t actually done it.”
In the end, he said, Southern Baptists have to decide what is more important to them.
“Do we want to be a gospel people, or a Southern culture people? Which is the more important part of our name — Southern or Baptist?”
All of this came on the same day that the Executive Committee voted to expel two churches for the crime of being too LGBTQ-friendly. The problem isn’t that the SBC is getting too political. It’s that their gospel message remains as toxic as ever.
And that’s before we even get into the issue of racism, which has embroiled the SBC for decades and recently got even worse when leaders of the organization voiced their opposition to “Critical Race Theory” which basically argues that America’s historical racism is still present in our society through our laws and institutions.
The people once fought to preserve states’ rights to own slaves continue promoting racism whether they want to admit it or not.
Forget Southern Baptists trying to “save America.” The question ought to be how America can save itself from Southern Baptists.
This denomination always finds new ways to embarrass itself and it refuses to part ways with its most hateful beliefs. Even Greear’s well-intentioned statements wouldn’t fix the underlying problems because even he supports the bigotry at the root of their faith.