Even though I am no longer affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention or an SBC church, the SBC has marked my theological education and Christian identity in many ways. I continue to interrogate some of the Denomination’s practices of racial and gender exclusion and underrepresentation in its affiliated theological schools and congregations (the SBC churches), its unholy union with a particular political ideology and worldview: the Republican party, and the SBC’s refusal to deal effectively and honestly with the profound problems of sexual sins and abuse and deep racial division and wounds in its churches and institutions.
Personally, I am not optimistic about the future of the SBC and its affiliated theological institutions and churches (that is why I left!); yet I applaud its present (hopeful) attempts to listen to the voice of minority Christians and to deal with some of its contemporary demons and terrors: cases of sexual abuse, the underrepresentation of black and brown Christians in positions of leadership and power, and the exclusion and invisibility of Christian women in spheres of influence and power. What the SBC needs is long-term, practical, and permanent solutions on these crucial and existential matters that are shaping and reshaping the Convention and its affiliated churches and theological schools. Such attempt must be achieved at nine inseparable levels and dimensions: structural, institutional/organisational, administrative, theological, political, ethical, gender, racial, and moral. Thankfully, the good Lord still has a remnant in a Convention that is falling apart and has fallen from grace. I support progress and growth at all levels.
“The convention approved Vision 2025, a five-year plan setting a series of goals for Great Commission advancement. Messengers added to the EC’s five proposed Vision 2025 goals on missions, evangelism and CP giving a sixth stating the convention’s intent to eliminate all incidents of racism and sexual abuse. They also amended a goal placing emphasis on reaching teenagers to those under age 18.
The SBC constitutional amendment against racism was among several ways messengers attempted to catalyze ethnic diversity in the convention.
Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, became the first Hispanic elected convention preacher. He will deliver the convention sermon next year in Anaheim, Calif. Messengers also elected a Hispanic first vice president, Ramón Medina, lead pastor of the Spanish ministry at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston. Medina was elected in a runoff over another Hispanic nominated for the post, Georgia pastor Javier Chavez.
Southern Baptists tapped to serve on committees likewise were diverse. A majority (51 percent) of Greear’s presidential appointments to committees were non-Anglo, as were 30 percent of those elected to serve on boards and committees.
In his final presidential address, Greear drew a standing ovation when he addressed racial tension within the SBC and told “people of color”: “We need you.”
Critical race theory (CRT) – the subject of a 2019 SBC resolution that has sparked controversy over the past two years – drew several mentions during the convention, including messenger motions and resolution submissions calling for its denunciation as well as questions to SBC presidents during their reports. Yet no official convention action addressed CRT by name.
Instead, messengers adopted a broad resolution regarding race and racial reconciliation. The resolution repudiated “any theory or worldview that denies that racism, oppression, or discrimination is rooted, ultimately, in anything other than sin.” It also reaffirmed a resolution regarding racial reconciliation on the SBC’s 150th anniversary in 1995 in which messengers apologized to African Americans for “condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism.”