This downgrade involves compromise on theological levels such as complementarianism (roles of men and women in the church), ecclesiology (the office and function of elder), and most important of all is the gospel (the social justice movement has replaced theology with victimology—resulting in the rise of a new religion). For that reason, our church which is 180 years old and predates the SBC by three years, has determined by a 100% congregational vote led by the elders who voted in a 100% eldership vote to lead the church away from the SBC due to such compromise. The SBC has failed. The leaders have compromised.
One of the great joys of my life has been serving as the pastor of three different churches that have been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. I currently serve the church where my wife and I grew up as children on the west side of Atlanta—Pray’s Mill Baptist Church. Although our church is 180 years old and predates the SBC, our congregation has maintained a longtime affiliation within the SBC. However, in recent days we came to the conclusion that there was no profitable path forward for us within the SBC and we made the decision to officially separate.
Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of transition and change within the Southern Baptist Convention. That’s a nice way of describing the devious deconstruction plan that has been at work for many years behind the scenes. Along the way, we have witnessed scandals, controversies, and division. It is not my desire in this article to add fuel to the fire, however, as a lifelong SBC member and pastor I believe it’s necessary to provide a reason for our church’s decision to officially separate from the SBC effective on January 1st, 2022.
What I will say in this article should not be seen as a denial of the fact that there are many good and gifted professors who are serving in the SBC entities and doing a good job of training men for the pulpit and church planting. When I look back on my time at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I am grateful for many of the professors who invested in me and helped prepare me for the work of gospel ministry.
Alongside professors are many good pastors and local churches who have been healthy and profitable in supporting Christian education and church planting for many years within this network that we know as the SBC. Therefore, we can be thankful for these gifted individuals and churches who have sacrificed much to accomplish much for the glory of God.
But, all is not well within evangelicalism and that also includes the SBC. In recent years, we’ve witnessed quite a transformation take place within the once beloved SBC that has necessitated separation for what I believe is far more than preference matters.
Over the past decade or more, things began to shift with the SBC leadership that moved the once theologically conservative denomination in a leftward direction. The biggest catalyst to this leftward movement undoubtedly was the acceptance of the social justice agenda which has resulted in the greatest downgrade in our modern era of church history. Any denial of this downgrade is simply a refusal to report the facts about where the SBC is today, where the SBC was yesterday, and where the SBC is moving tomorrow.
While this shift did not take place overnight, it began to pick up the pace drastically over the last 4-5 years. Back in 2018, I was part of a group who assembled in Dallas, Texas for a meeting regarding the problems of social justice. As we assembled, I was concerned but hopeful. Little did I know that our meeting and subsequent Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel would not only serve as a means of confirming what was already in motion beneath the radar, but it would expose many people and institutions within the SBC and their involvement in this devious movement.
Sadly, the top tier SBC leaders continue to double down on their positions. They have sought to deflect charges of theological capitulation and rigorously work to protect their positions through cultural virtue signals and theological word salads.
During this downgrade we have witnessed once trusted voices and institutions accept the ideologies of the social justice movement and platform notable voices within their hallways, classrooms, and conference circuits. They came together under the banner of the gospel only to embrace a social justice gospel that resulted in confusion, division, and in some cases—a complete derailing altogether. This must not be overlooked. If left unchecked, the social justice agenda will leave an indelible mark upon preachers who will be sent out into local churches to serve as pastor.
The SBC once fought a war on the inerrancy of Scripture during what has become known as the “Conservative Resurgence.” After claiming a victory over the “Battle for the Bible” the SBC has moved into a new era where this once theologically conservative denomination has adopted the controversial “Resolution 9” at the 2019 SBC in Birmingham. How could the SBC who openly champions inerrancy at the same time adopt a resolution stating that we need to employ Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I) as “analytical tools” for gospel ministry? This was done, in all reality, without much public debate and through sly political schemes.
Moving beyond the 2019 SBC, after a break in 2020 due to COVID-19, the SBC reconvened in Nashville in the summer of 2021 to discuss business and make decisions as a group of churches. During the meeting, there were multiple attempts from the floor to call upon the SBC to openly renounce the teachings of CRT/I. At each juncture, all of these attempts were rejected and generic language was adopted in place of specific language that openly rejected CRT/I.
One must ask the honest question as to why there was such an open refusal from the SBC leaders at this point? In the past, the SBC openly challenged Disney and eventually boycotted Disney in 1997. One must ask why the SBC was willing to boycott the gospel according to Disney but failed to boycott the gospel according to social justice?