Big Lake Baptist Association
Saturday, July 13, 2024
United in Him, One for Him! 1 Peter 3:8


Pastor Tom was able to go to the Southern Baptist Convention this month, and the following letter relates to his experience.
“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:3) Paul was purposeful and put Timothy in Ephesus as a safety net, as a guard over the church of God so that the gospel would be proclaimed, and His church would be protected by truth and not by man’s opinions. This calling was to remain so that he may charge and challenge some, those who were under his charge not to teach any other doctrine.  
Doctrine is important, if it were not necessary then Paul would not have commanded Timothy to charge those whom he is leading not to teach any other doctrines or teachings other than what they have been taught. Never should we minimize the truths of right doctrine but should embrace it and defend it.  
Well, what can be said? The SBC, The Southern Baptist Convention, is sinking or has sunk in pragmatics under the pressure to conform to the culture and its narrative, instead of following the commands set for in Timothy. Two years ago, the convention voted for a resolution, a resolution called Resolution 9 “On Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. “CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture.”  
This ideology is birthed in Marxist ideology and divides the world into categories of oppressed and oppressors. We, who are white, are the hegemony which need to be unseated so that the oppressed can be given positions of authority. White people must repent of their whiteness and submit to the voices of the oppressed. Intersectionality follows close behind and shows who the oppressed people are, the more marginalized and oppressed depending upon how many marginalized groups they belong to and intersect with.  
Resolution 9 was originally a resolution against CRT/I that was gutted and rewritten to support it. This resolution was the catalyst that brought the convention to the brink of collapse. This is the “Downgrade Controversy” of our day, the fight for biblical authority and sufficiency.  
Before beginning, look to history. Martin Luther stood against the church and its teachings that were against scripture, like the sale of indulgences, for conformity to the word of God which brought about the reformation. Charles Haddon Spurgeon stood against biblical infidelity, and he stood alone. In the eighties the SBC fought for the sufficiency of Scripture and the battle was won. There is a new “Downgrade Controversy” and the problem with this new controversy is, that it is being driven by CRT/I, men whom we have trusted have set forth to dissuade those who disagree with CRT/I to be shamed into silence. 
The passing of Resolution 9 is incredibly problematic and has caused great strife in the convention. When the Resolution was first offered, there was a friendly amendment given that could have thwarted the ensuing issues that have come as a result of the passing of Resolution 9. Here is the amendment that was given. “RESOLVED that we remind Southern Baptists that Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality emerged from a secular worldview and are rooted in ideologies that are incompatible with Christianity; and be it further. RESOLVED, that we repudiate all forms of identity politics and any ideology that establishes human identity in anything other than divine creation in the image of God and, for all redeemed humanity, our common identity, together eternally united to Christ…” This friendly amendment was deemed unfriendly and rejected. After a short exchange the resolution passed and most did not even know what CRT/I really was.  
This sparked no little stir. Pastors in the association of Big Lake Baptist Association began seeing the problem and were ready to be at the convention of SBC 2020, but alas, it was cancelled. President JD Greear told SBC churches in the 2020 message on the state of our convention that the ten percent were full of rancor, referring to those who were against CRT/I. Pastors were discerning the dangers.  
Fast forward to this year, it was looking up, they had received the motion to rescind Resolution 9 made by Tom Ascol, and it was seconded. That was very promising. Then it happened, President Greear made his presidential speech and said, “It looks like an SBC that expends more energy decrying things like CRT than they have done lamenting the devastating consequences of years of racial bigotry and discrimination." In the past the convention made an honest confession and asking for forgiveness for the role it played in slavery, and forgiveness was granted. The Bible speaks of mourning with those who mourn and weeping with those who weep, but should the church be lamenting or be about the gospel while standing fast that they would charge some that they teach no other doctrine, so that no godless ideologies are taught in the church? 
For godless ideologies have not only affected the convention, but it has also infected the convention, otherwise Resolution 9 would never have been made, yet alone accepted. There are men of color who are fighting the good fight of faith, standing for biblical fidelity, authority, and sufficiency against CRT/I, so are these men not also lamenting the devastating consequences of years of bigotry and racism? Virgil Walker, who has a podcast called Just Thinking, holds that the repudiation of CRT/I is a common theme, while being centered on the gospel. James Pittman a pastor from New Hope Community Church who preached at the Founders conference about CRT/I. Voddie Bachman who wrote the new book Fault Lines, The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe, specifically exposing the fault lines that CRT/I has birthed in the convention, the culture and the world. 
 To appease those who have opposed Resolution 9, there was a resolution made this year called Resolution 2: On the Sufficiency of Scripture for Race and Racial Reconciliation. There was a friendly amendment given to add a repudiation of CRT/I, but it was seen again as an unfriendly amendment and rejected. It was not a bad resolution; it was just not enough of a resolution. Due to the passing of Resolution 9, naming and repudiating CRT/I would have solved much of the division and brought unity. 
Here is the third “resolved” that could have been changed to include the wording CRT/I. “RESOLVED, that we reject any theory such as Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic.” Italics should have been added to show that there was a way to bring their dissenting brothers alongside, and in the conversation, but it seems they do not want the conversation. All this talk of unity and yet no desire to be united. James Merritt said, “If some people were as passionate about the gospel as they were CRT, we’d win this world to Christ tomorrow.” Who are “some people”? Oh, that is right. It would be those who are fighting against CRT. If “some people” were as passionate, about biblical fidelity, authority, or sufficiency as they were about avoiding clarity about CRT/I that would shore up His church against godless ideologies. How does it look to have statements made of them as they have made of the dissenters? In speaking about decrying CRT/I it was said by James Merritt that, “There is a world watching out there, and this is exactly what they want.” James Merritt and many others who have shared are more concerned with the world that is watching instead of the God who sees all. 
Another resolution on CRT/I was killed in the resolution committee, it was not allowed to come to the floor. Dr. Carol Swain, a woman of color, said this in her interview with Tennessee Star “And I was there to try to explain to people how dangerous Critical Race Theory is and how it manifests itself and how it is destroying churches. I never got to speak during the time of the business meeting. And, they used parliamentarian rules to control what it’s about.” The convention president JD Greear has said that we need to listen to the wisdom of people of color, yet they would not let black dissenters speak. She continued in this interview and said, “Our resolution was killed by the resolutions committee, and they put forth a substitute (Resolution 2 addressed above) that was vaguely worded and did not mention Intersectionality or Critical Race Theory itself." Parentheses added for clarity. 
So onward and forward the convention went. It has been stated by convention speakers at the SBC 2021 that CRT/I are godless ideologies that are antithetical to scripture. It was rejected in speech by each speaker at the convention, which was most definitely encouraging. Yet, they would not repudiate in writing.
Then, there was one more smack in the face. The convention preacher Willy Rice began his sermon, he rightly divided the word of God and wrongly applied it to those who wanted to stick to the Scriptures alone, those who were combating CRT/I. “This past season has been marked by unusual strife, name-calling and even slander. You can be right and still be wrong,” implying that it is only one side filled with strife, but what was not seen is a repudiation of the slander campaigns against presidential candidate Mike Stone. The narrative today is if one disagrees, they are cancelled and sidelined. There seems to be only one right side and it is not the other side. Rice spoke of the slander and name calling and then he called the dissenters jerks. This sounds somewhat contradictory and even hypocritical. Grant Gaines touted that his candidate was a uniter who would bring unity, yet he speaks maliciously about Conservative Baptist Network. In one fail swoop he painted CBN as dividers.  
The convention ended and one more damaging disappointment came. President Ed Litton had an interview with CNN where he was asked about CRT/I, he both denounced CRT and then affirmed it by saying systemic racism is “obvious.” He confirmed that these ideologies of CRT/I reign in the SBC. Friends this must not be so.  
As part of this convention of autonomous churches, what should be done? Prayer for our convention to return, for leaders that have pushed this agenda to repent, and for our churches to be equipped with the truths of scripture. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) If churches that are for biblical fidelity remain with the convention, then we must commit to speak out on the problems, while being gracious and kind, naming names that are a part of the problem, so that those in the pew would not be caught up in teaching that would lead to unbiblical conclusions. If His church would continue to associate with the SBC, then there must be a commitment to be at the coming conventions, to call them to look to the word and not ideologies that are godless and man driven. Just remember, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” These false teachings arise so that the faithful would stand. Let the church stand! 
Pastor Tom
At the convention, abortion was another topic of conversation:
“Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
The preciousness of life which did begin in the womb. The Prophet Jeremiah was told that he was known while in his momma’s womb. “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
The Psalmist knew that it was God who was in control in his mother’s womb and put him together. Fearfully and wonderfully made. There is an intrinsic worth that man has, a worth that comes from being made in the image of God, wonderfully formed and fashioned, marvelous masterpieces. Man is God’s crowning achievement, and the church should esteem life for God esteems life. 
Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.” (Jeremiah 3:34)
 In rebellion of God, God has found the blood of innocents. They have killed the innocents and their blood is on their clothes, they cannot hide their sin. This search was not exhaustive, their sin was clear and they were guilty. Today, Americans have bought into rights over life including many within the church. There is a guilt that this nation holds to its continual slaying of image bearers. This ought not be, the church, the Southern Baptist Convention, should have strong convictions to stop the murder of abortion.
The SBC has taken on the task of making some strides to slow the tide and limit abortion, which is a noble task, but is it enough to slow the tide or should the goal be abolition? 
There was Resolution 3 on Taxpayer Complicity In Abortion and the Hyde Amendment with wording at the end that said, “RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists should work through all available cultural and legislative means to end the moral scourge of abortion as we seek to love, care for, and minister to women who are victimized by the unjust abortion industry.” This statement was weak, not because it was wrong, but because it calls women who abort their children victimized, now are some victimized and forced to get an abortion? Yes, but women who choose abortion are guilty of taking a life. It was soft peddling the sin of abortion as murder. If they are victims, then they are not responsible for their sin. There was an amendment to clarify but it was seen as too harsh. The discussion did not go much farther and the resolution passed.
Hindsight is always 20/20. It could have been clarified in this way, “and minister to women who are victimized by the unjust abortion industry” and those who have willingly and volitionally chosen to end the life of their child, by sharing the gospel and calling them to repentance.  
That was not the only resolution on abortion. Bill Ascol brought a resolution on the abolition of abortion that did not make it out of committee, but with a two/thirds vote it was brought to the floor for discussion. It was an amazing resolution that would not be based on incremental steps of defeating abortion but the total desire to end the massacre of innocent image bearers. “RESOLVED, that we will not embrace an incremental approach alone to ending abortion because it challenges God’s Lordship over the heart and the conscience and rejects His call to repent of sin completely and immediately… (Gen 3:1; John 8:44; Rom 2:14-15; 2 Corinthians 11:3)” The italicized word alone was an amendment to the resolution, that was accepted and took away from the power of the resolution.
As a Great Commission people this convention of churches must have a strong view on life. Abortion should be abolished, this is not to say that individuals cannot fight with incremental approach to limit abortion, but the SBC should strive for abolition. This is a gospel issue; image bearers of God are being slain in the millions. Why will the SBC not take a strong stand? Josh Wester said that “This resolution, while it is aimed in absolutely the right direction, is the wrong resolution,” Josh is the director of research for the ERLC. The question is that it is a resolution as to what the SBC holds. 
Many have said, resolutions are not actionable, so how will this resolution affect the incremental work to thwart abortions? It does not. Ambiguity is the way of the convention nowadays. This way you can have churches that can have prochoice leanings without those churches being penalized and disciplined by the convention. Though Josh Webster claims that the convention is “resolutely against abortion” and calls it a “heinous evil, a grievous sin” yet Mr. Wester is not willing to hold to a strong resolution as Bill Ascol stated, “to call for the immediate abolition of abortion without exception or compromise.” 
Pastor Tom