The events in Charlottsville this past weekend has brought our attention to the very real reality that racism and white supremacy is alive and feeling more emboldened. What is even more saddening is that many of the people wearing Nazi symbols, flying the stars and bars, and shouting hate filled rhetoric claim to be doing so from a Christian position and probably are members of evangelical and even Baptist churches in their towns. I saw one gut-wrenching picture where an African-American police officer was protecting these people, and in the background a man held a sign with hate-filled words, and under it references to multiple texts of Scripture including several in the Gospel of John. It also revealed the definite need for the Gospel-loving church to speak with incredible clarity and in a prophetic way against the evil represented in this movement and the stain of racism that is a large part of our history. There have been so many good articles from solid Christian leaders who have spoken with clarity against the hatred, racism, and white-supremacy, so this blog won’t go over all of those.
But I do want to speak in clarity for us. The Elders at Genesis are unified in our belief that racism, white-supremacy, and the values of the so-called Alt Right are satanic and do not represent Christ, the Scriptures, or Gospel-Christianity at all. We affirm the beauty of the Imago Dei in every person, and see the wonder of the Gospel for all races and cultures.
The denomination of which we are partners passed a resolution on the Alt-Right and white supremacy this past Summer at their annual meeting in Phoenix. The resolution predates the events of this weekend by two months, but the message is right on point. The SBC does have a past full of failures on issues of race, that include both active support of things like slavery and Jim Crow laws, and silence when a prophetic voice was needed. But I have also seen my denomination work diligently to move us in the direction of repentance and reconciliation. So I am thankful for these words, because we need them now. Please take a few minutes to read this, and know that we stand in agreement with the ideas expressed here.
SBC Resolution on White Supremacy and the Alt Right
WHEREAS, Scripture teaches, “From one man [God] has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live” (Acts 17:26); and
WHEREAS, The Psalmist proclaimed, “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord” (Psalm 24:1); and
WHEREAS, The Apostle Peter said, “God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34–35); and
WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27–28); and
WHEREAS, Scripture proclaims that Jesus is purchasing by His blood believers “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9); and
WHEREAS, Throughout eternity we will gather with a “multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language” in worship of our risen Savior (Revelation 7:9); and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message conveys that all Christians are obligated to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love; and
WHEREAS, We know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred; and
WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated “historic acts of evil, such as slavery,” committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry,” and “genuinely repent[ed] of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously”; and
WHEREAS, In recent years the Convention has nominated and elected individuals from a variety of ethnicities, including electing our first African-American president in 2012; and
WHEREAS, In recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called on “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more” (2014); expressed continued grief “over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation” (2015); and urged fellow Christians to discontinue using the Confederate battle flag, acknowledging that it is “used by some and perceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people” (2016); and
WHEREAS, More than 20 percent (nearly eleven thousand) of our cooperating Southern Baptist congregations identify as predominately non-Anglo and for the last three years more than 50 percent of Southern Baptist new church plants have been predominately non-Anglo; and
WHEREAS, B&H Academic recently published Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention, highlighting our continuing need to root out vestiges of racism from our own hearts as Southern Baptists; and
WHEREAS, Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right”; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we earnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.