By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

My wife recently walked into my home office with two pictures in her hand, and asked me, concerning one of them, “Who is this?” To which I responded, I don’t know.” I then asked her where she got the picture. “From this envelope, cleaning out a box on the back porch.” She then handed me the envelope; and the first thing I noticed was my father’s handwriting on the outside of the envelope, where he had written, “Dwight” and “Rev. West.” I then took another look at the picture and told my wife, “That’s Ralph West.” The reason neither one of us recognized “Rev. West” initially is because both pictures were taken over forty years ago.

My father, Rev. J.E. McKissic, invited the late Rev. A.L. Patterson of Houston to preach a revival meeting at his church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, in the mid-eighties. Rev. Patterson could not come but recommended a largely unknown young preacher at the time, Rev. Ralph Douglas West, to come in his place. My Daddy accepted Rev. Patterson’s recommendation, and Ralph West came.

Rev. West’s office sent the above photo to my daddy for promotional purposes. After my daddy passed in 1997, I took a few keepsakes from his file; and one of those was the envelope containing the above two pictures. Honestly, I had forgotten I had these pictures, until a few days ago.

Rev. Ralph West is an internationally hailed preacher today, some forty years later. I thought some would appreciate seeing what he looked like in the mid-eighties. I also thought I would prove that once upon a time, I did have hair also.

Periodically, across the past forty years, on many occasions, I have encountered Ralph West. He was gracious enough to preach for Cornerstone, where I pastor today when we were about 10 years old.

Whenever he and I have moments of intermittent fellowship, he will always evoke brief memories of my dad, for which I am immensely grateful. I just wanted to share the now, Dr. Ralph Douglas West’s picture capturing him in his late twenties or early thirties.

I honestly believe my picture was probably taken in my early to mid-twenties—Pictures Capture Memories.

Seeing my daddy’s handwriting on the envelope containing the pictures evoked an emotional moment for me. I was reminded of how he encouraged and opened his pulpit to younger preachers. He set aside the fourth Sunday in each month to invite a younger preacher. My daddy was in his mid-sixties when he started this practice. Preachers like Maurice Watson, Marvin Wiley, Ralph West, C.D. Edwards, and myself, all stopped by my daddy’s pulpit, on their way to make major impact in ministry. I was and am the least among these brethren. But I am grateful with my wife’s discovery of these pictures, I have had a few days to reflect, ruminate, and rejoice over the fact—Pictures Capture Memories.

I would love for some other preachers/people to post some pictures that might contribute to folksy and anecdotal Black Church History—because Pictures Capture Memories and record history that can inform and inspire the next generation.


I am not sure of the final outcome of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) exploration to disfellowship Rick Warren for affirming women in ministry within biblical and BFM2K parameters without compromising male leadership. However, I am believing that history will remember Warren as a reformer having elevated the status of women in SBC life to be aligned with Scripture. The SBC may choose to make him a martyr, and that will be to the detriment of the health of the Convention.

A discussion evolving around the role of women in ministry the parameters of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM2K) statement erupted in volcanic fashion in SBC life to a full-blown controversy, with Rick Warren at the center. The SBC Credentials Committee, in June 2022, asked the floor of the Convention to empanel a committee to offer clarification(s) on the following words found in the BFM2K:

“While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

It is a settled conviction and largely agreement by consensus in SBC life that the role and “the office of the pastor is limited to men.”

The question at the heart of this controversy is this:  Does the phrase “the office of the pastor” in the BFM2K reference the senior or lead pastor in a local church exclusively—that is clearly identifiable to all congregants and usually the community the church is located in? Or is that phrase also inclusive of any person on a local SBC church staff, who may have the word “pastor” included in their job title—such as “Women’s Pastor,” “Children’s Pastor,” “Youth Pastor,” “Young Adult Pastor,” “Senior’s Pastor,” “Executive Pastor,” etc.?

Is it biblical and BFM2K compliant that the word “pastor” in a job title be solely and exclusively reserved for males on a church staff? Or can a female on staff who is gifted by God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:11-12) to serve a local church in their area of giftedness also assume the title pastor, as an adjective or descriptive term in their area of giftedness, such as “worship pastor,” “spiritual formation pastor,” “teaching pastor,” “administration pastor,” etc.?

Succinctly stated, the following two questions facing the SBC regarding women in ministry are:

1. Is the BFM2K violated if a female on a church staff has the word “pastor” in her job title?

A related question not asked by the Credentials Committee, but is also smoldering around this controversy is:

2. If a female fulfills the role of the preacher in a coed worship context within a local SBC church (who is not a pastor, nor wears the title), has that church violated the BFM2K Article 6 clause that says, “the office of the pastor is limited to men”?

In the opinion of a sizeable segment of the SBC, answers to these two questions are not made clear in the BFM2K, as evidenced by:  (1) The fact that the Credentials Committee asked for clarification of the first question; (2) the standing ovation and applause Rick Warren received on the floor of the Convention when he made it clear that he sees a distinction from exercising and functioning in the giftedness of “pastor,” and serving in “the office of the pastor”; and (3) the large number of SBC churches who allow women to speak/preach in worship service who do not interpret the BFM2K to prohibit them speaking.

Amid fresh infighting over race, a reckoning with abuse, heated debates over the role of women, and a Credentials Committee considering whether to disfellowship arguably the best known and most influential SBC pastor historically and currently—I must ask myself again and again…what is the future of the SBC? And what is the future of the relationship with the SBC with those of us who have non-negotiable convictions and beliefs on both sides of these questions?

For those unaware, one year ago, a messenger requested the SBC Credentials Committed to consider disfellowshipping Rick Warren and his wonderful congregation, Saddleback Church. What was this grievous sin that Saddleback had committed? Churches in the past had been disfellowshipped for affirming homosexuality, issues of racism, and harboring sexual predators on their pastoral staff. Surely, the reason for such a motion to disfellowship the church indicated some sort of grievous sin? What “sin” had Saddleback committed? The answer is that they had ordained women.

It is a common practice for the SBC to “commission” women to serve as missionaries around the globe. Lottie Moon admitted to “preaching” to men on foreign soil. Women often function as church planters, or in key support roles to church planters, as did Lydia, to the Apostle Paul (Acts 16). Rick Warren ordains women to function in key ministry roles based on their Spirit giftedness to shepherd specific areas of Saddleback’s ministry, under the oversight of 12 male elders and a male Senior Pastor; and the SBC blows a gasket and seeks to disfellowship an iconic figure in SBC history, who even Paige Patterson honored with a stained-glass portrait at SWBTS.

SBC’s historic attitudes and actions relative to devaluing women and minorities may inform their resistance to Rick Warren and Saddleback equally, or more so, than the posture Warren and Saddleback themselves have adopted on “Women in Ministry” issues.

Let me be clear. Saddleback Church has 12 male elders. Rick Warren is the male lead pastor at Saddleback. Members of the BFMK 2000 committee are on record stating that phrase “the office of pastor” in the document refers to the “senior pastor.” Therefore, it begs the question…what exactly and specifically is the sin or violation committed by Warren/Saddleback that merits disfellowshipping? This is the question that the Chair of the Credentials Committee was asking, and was disrespected by Al Mohler and Tom Ascol, in my judgment, with the spirit and manner in which they addressed the Chair.

Many SBC churches have women on staff who are “pastors” of various ministries, though they do not inhabit the senior pastor position. In a cordial call for clarity, the committee offered what I though was a sensible solution. This solution, however, was publicly opposed by Dr. Mohler in tandem with Tom and Bill Ascol.

On the other hand, Dr. Adam Greenway, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered to the Credentials Committee’s report a thoughtful amendment that he would end up explaining and defending in a powerful Baptist Press column.

It is worth noting that (as Dr. Greenway has so eloquently done) various reports and records exist that indicate that the BFM revision committee intended for the scope of the revision on the article considering the pastorate to apply only to “senior pastors.” This is a reasonable interpretation and is the practice of many SBC churches.

Moreover, Dr. Mohler, who spoke against the Credentials Committee recommendation, was reported as saying back in May 2000 that women could serve in “assistant pastor” roles. And what is more, Dr. Mohler added in an interview with Baptist Press around the same time that the revision committee “would never presume to tell another church whom they may call as pastor or tell another person whether or not they may serve as pastor.”

How Dr. Mohler’s concern that the Credential Committee’s recommendation would somehow pose doom to the BFM2K because it would require “defining every word” is beyond me and contradicts his own words. If authorial intent matters, then Dr. Mohler’s recent words should be scrutinized by the public remarks he put forward while serving on the BFM2K revision committee. Why Dr. Mohler has blatantly contradicted his own words remains a mystery to me, but I pray he will have the integrity to address his past remarks. But, more importantly, the SBC faces the question: are we going to disfellowship any church with BFM2K committee members arguing before the adoption of BFM2K in June 2000, that “the office of pastor” refers to “senior” pastors?

Dr. Sam Storms argues, “There is no indication in the NT that the spiritual gift of pastoring, unlike the office of Elder, is gender specific. The Holy Spirit may well grant this gift to both men and women. Therefore, I believe that one may continue to embrace a biblically based complementarianism while speaking of certain women as ‘pastors’ in the local church.”

Dr. Mohler has argued that when it comes to Sunday worship hour preaching, you cannot separate the function of preaching from the office of pastor since “the function is the office, and the office is the function.” Aside from being a convoluted argument, it also does not stand up to Baptist confessional history.

Article XLIV of the 1646 First London Baptist Confession of Faith states that “Christ for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion, placeth some special men over the church, who by their office, are to govern, oversee, visit, watch…” But it also adds in Article XLV that “Also such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to prophecy according to the proportion of faith, and to teach publicly the word of God, for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.”

Likewise, the Second London Confession (1689) indicates that “although overseers or pastors of churches must be engaged in preaching the word as a function of their office, yet the work of preaching the word is not totally restricted to them… Others who are also gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit for it and approved and called by the church may and should preach.”

How foolish it is to oppose non-elders preaching in the name of confessional fidelity when the very confessions used for that argument refute it!

But ultimately, this discussion revolves not around confessional history or theological distinctions, but the witness of the Holy Spirit both in Scripture and in the lives of women in the church who have been called of God to exercise their gifts.

How tragic it is that if Huldah, Phoebe, Priscilla, Junia, Jael, Deborah, and other God-called women from Scripture were to show up at some SBC churches, they would more than likely be told to “go home” in direct conflict with Scripture’s clear and direct witness that God gifts women.

Pastor Aarron Schwartz posed a very provocative question in a Facebook post a year ago that I believe is more pertinent to this discussion than ever: “If we claim the authority of scripture, we must consider its entire testimony. I encourage you to examine these passages [which support women in ministry] for yourself. So… what about that 1 Timothy passage? Does the Bible give mixed or even contradictory messages concerning women in ministry?”[1]

Surely the answer is “No!”

History will label Rick Warren a martyr or a reformer in SBC life surrounding issues of women in ministry. Warren’s legacy is sealed as having written the second best-selling book in history and having led the largest SBC church in history.

The SBC’s legacy is also sealed. The legacy will be one of theologically and practically embracing slavery and segregation for nearly 150 years and offering a formal apology 150 years into their existence. If Warren is disfellowshipped, history will remember the SBC as having disfellowshipped her most influential and largest church for the “sin” of ordaining and affirming women in ministry without compromising male leadership. Documented racism and sexism will be the noticeable stains on SBC history, that undermines the powerful and positive legacy of phenomenal church-planting, seminaries launched and sustained, evangelism and international missions. If the SBC makes the right decision regarding Warren, she redeems her stained legacy. If she makes the wrong decision, she exacerbates her stained legacy. Which will it be, SBC?

If Warren is not disfellowshipped, it will be unnecessary for someone to write the book one day: “Removing the Stain of Sexism from the SBC.”

If Warren is removed from the SBC, history will record that White Supremacy dominated the first 150 years of her existence, followed by “male supremacy” dominating at the dawn of the 21st Century and the foreseeable future.

The SBC ought to be remembered for having the strongest missionary force, seminaries, and church plants in the history of Christianity. Time will tell if racism, sexism, and sexual abuse be her dominate legacy.

I never speak for other churches. I am not authorized to speak for the one I pastor. But suffice to say, in my judgment, a vote to disfellowship Warren equates to a vote to not allow women to serve in the wide breadth of roles they are seen serving in Scripture. For me to cooperate with such a system would be contribution to the theological and systemic oppression that my people were afflicted to by the SBC for 150 years. I dare not partner and engage in contributing to such affliction and oppression of SBC women. An SBC that is not big enough for Saddleback and Rick Warren is not big enough for me.

Again, as previously stated, I am not sure of the final outcome, I could rest in peace with my epitaph saying either “Martyr” or “Reformer” if I were Warren. I am believing God, hope against hope, that Warren will be remembered as a reformer having elevated the status of women in SBC life to be aligned with Scripture.


When one reflects on the history and current reality of systemic injustice in America, there are some tenets that have been handed down to us that are beneficial in discussing and assessing structural racism in America. Structural racism in America today is not as potent and prevalent, or as visible and vicious as it was in previous generations, but it still exists. Therefore, it must be prophetically, educationally, and legally addressed and readdressed. We see it present in real estate appraisal differences based on color, prison sentencing differences based on color, job hiring discrimination toward names indicative of minority ethnicities, school discipline disproportional meted out toward minorities, income and net worth disparities that are generationally impacted, etc.

What are some tenets that have been handed to us that can inform society in grappling with structural racism today? Let me identify just three:

1. The value of storytelling. Many Americans are simply unaware of the racial atrocities of the past, that have an economic impact on today, regarding passing on generational wealth. The 1921 Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK, massacre of 300 African Americans, and the destruction of their buildings and businesses by an angry White mob over an alleged sexually inappropriate contact between a young Black male and White female. The White female refused to press charges; and the Black male was released after several months in jail. Yet, vigilante justice ruled. The most vital economic center for Blacks in America was destroyed, and insurance companies refused to make them whole. Not one arrest was made, for the White Tulsa citizens, who perpetrated this vicious and violent act. Similar stories can be repeated in at least 19 other southern cities.

An 88-year-old man in my congregation, with tears in his eyes told me the story of being physically and sexually violated by a White male in a rural area, of a southern state he was raised in. When I asked him, if he reported this incident to the law at the time, he said, No! Because law enforcement at the time in America would arrest you if you reported a White person violated you, sexually. He has simply had to live with the pain and shame. All the White pastors and the Council of Seminary Presidents have never had to listen to such stories. Every SBC Black pastor, have people in their congregations with similar stories. We dare not allow the SBC to devalue, regulate, or invalidate the stories of our people, due to their misunderstanding and biases against a theory designed to acknowledge the value of telling these stories.

2. The value of recognizing and including diverse people racially in all aspects of American society. We learn from the past that if we exclude persons on the basis of race, it prohibits a segment of America from contribution to society at large, in a way that is beneficial to all. Can you imagine baseball without Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron? Can you imagine golf without Tiger Woods or Lee Elder? Can you imagine historical theological contributions without J. Deotis Roberts, James Howard Thurman, James Cole, Tony Evans, or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Can you imagine the American church landscape without the AME Church, founded by Richard Allen, and the Pentecostal churches and the Church of God in Christ, whose roots can be traced back to William J. Seymour, Charles Harrison Mason, and C.P. Jones? Even the Assembly of God roots spawn from these movements.

Can you imagine the suffrage movements without Sojourner Truth, traveling across the country preaching “Aint I a woman?”

American life is much richer because of diversity that has had to be fought for long and hard against all odds, in order for substantial progress to take place. The diversity, inclusion efforts led to America electing, in 2008, a Black president of the USA, that many of us thought we would never see in our lifetimes.

To ignore the value and need of diversity is to be satisfied with, and to accept, exclusion. The advances in inclusion we see throughout America, are a result of marches, protests, demonstrations, legislation, prayer and exposing the fact that White America is often content to function without any minorities holding cabinet lever, corporate entity head or leadership positions as has been in the Southern Baptist Convention throughout her history.

Jesus affirmed the value of diversity and inclusion when He commissioned His disciples to evangelize the world from the theological and spiritual foundation of unity surrounding His incarnation (John 17:21).

3. There is value in acknowledging where systemic injustice exists and is embedded in societal structures, and applying biblical principles to root it out, as we see in Acts 6, where the complaint of the Grecian widows with regard to food distribution, was responded to with the appointment of Greek men to serve in the distribution, assuring fairness.

These aforementioned tenets are central to Critical Race Theory, and they are also compatible with the Bible and the BFM2K.

Derrick Bell, who is considered the father of Critical Race Theory, denied any Marxan influence or European scholarly influence on his development of CRT. He purposefully excluded them, he said, so that his work would be only influenced by persons such as Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglas, WEB Dubois, and Martin Luther King. If you want to know what CRT is, it is everything Martin Luther King has written, including his “I have A Dream Speech.”

It is totally dishonest and intellectually bankrupt, to discredit CRT by falsely associating it with Critical Theory. Again, Derrick Bell denies any connection. You would have to call him a liar to believe or write such.

If, as some argue, CRT declares all White people everywhere are racists, solely by virtue of being White—I reject that, and so does the Bible.

If CRT declares, as some argue, that Blacks cannot be racist, I reject that notion—and so does the Bible. Racism is a sin, and there are no sin Black people cannot commit—including racism. Because there are those who hold some aberrant, unbiblical views who may place them under the rubric of CRT, is not a valid reason to throw out the entirety of CRT, as the SBC is poised to do.

It would be a slap in the face of Sid Smith, George McCalep, L.B. George, Emmanuel McCall, and so many of the Black SBC pioneers to denounce CRT in its entirety. The SBC may indeed do so, though. If they do, I will not be leaving because they rejected CRT. I will be leaving because they dishonestly rejected CRT; and in the process, denied and denounced (1) the value of storytelling; (2) the value of diversity and inclusion; (3) the value of intentionally opposing systemic and structural injustice and racial sins—all in the name of rejecting CRT.

Honestly, it takes great audacity, given the SBC’s history, to take such a bold step, to denounce the entirety of CRT—particularly with the National African American Fellowship of the SBC unanimously opposed to denouncing CRT in its entirety. I am often asked how many Black churches may leave the SBC if Resolution 9 is rescinded. I honestly have no idea, and no desire to influence any to leave, which is one major reason why I am not going to attend the Nashville meeting. I do not want to be accused of leading churches away from the SBC. But what I do know is—as for me and my house—if the major thesis and thrust of Resolution 9, passed by a majority in Birmingham 2019, is gutted or rescinded—we will exclusively align with the National Baptist Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

I am sure those who adamantly opposed Resolution 9 from the 2019 Birmingham SBC Annual Meeting, will inevitably oppose The Lost Cause Theory, Christian Nationalism and QAnon. Please read the following resolutions that I am forwarding to the 2021 SBC resolutions committee. Thanks.

  1. On the Dangers of QAnon and Related Conspiracies
  2. On Christian Nationalist and Christian Identity Groups
  3. On the Lost Cause Theory of the Civil War

by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has a tragic and dark racial history steeped in the legacy of white supremacy and slavery, a history acknowledged in the 1995 “Resolution On Racial Reconciliation On The 150th Anniversary Of The Southern Baptist Convention”; and

WHEREAS, In 1863, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the “Resolution on Peace” as a response to the then-ongoing Civil War, a resolution that stated, “we justify ourselves in this conflict with our enemies” and hailed Confederate General Stonewall Jackson as a “noble Christian warrior” who had left a “glorious example” for Christians to follow; and

WHEREAS, In 2016, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the resolution “On Sensitivity And Unity Regarding The Confederate Battle Flag,” which called on “our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African American brothers and sisters”; and

WHEREAS, In 2017, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the resolution “On The Anti-gospel Of Alt-right White Supremacy” which decried “every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ”; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky recently expressed deep lament, established a multimillion-dollar scholarship for African American students in the coming years, and vacated the Joseph Emerson Brown Chair of Christian Theology as a response to the sinful slaveholding legacy of its founders; and

WHEREAS, Article XV of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 states, “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism,” along with many other sins; and

WHEREAS, Revisionist accounts of the Civil War began to spread among Southerners, including among those in the Southern Baptist Convention, almost immediately after the War; and

WHEREAS, Some of these revisionist accounts have persisted even to this day in public, private, and homeschooling curriculum, academic journals, white-supremacist organizations, and so-called Confederate “heritage” groups; and

WHEREAS, One such revisionist account, commonly known as “The Lost Cause,” maintains the following, among other things: that the Confederate cause was noble, justified, and righteous; that the issue of slavery was not a primary cause of the War; that Northern Aggression and states’ rights were the primary cause of the War; that historical accounts and descriptions of the godless and barbaric practice of chattel slavery were often exaggerated or inaccurate; that the Union sought to destroy the noble Southern way of life; and, finally, that secession from the Union was lawful; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 15-16, 2021, condemn, repudiate, and reject the revisionist account of the Civil War known as “The Lost Cause” as pseudo-historical, false, and racist; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we reaffirm the following words of the 1995 “Resolution On Racial Reconciliation On The 150th Anniversary Of The Southern Baptist Convention”: “RESOLVED, That we lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest, and we recognize that the racism which yet plagues our culture today is inextricably tied to the past”; and be it finally RESOLVED, That we commit to continue to address the sinful remnants of this Southern Baptist Convention’s legacy whilst celebrating what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do through us as we joyfully cooperate

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture indicates that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight” (Prov. 12:22); and

WHEREAS, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ affirmed that He alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 15:7); and

WHEREAS, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ further affirmed that God’s Word “is truth” (John 17:17), and that this truth “will set you free” (John 8:32); and

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture commands Christians to love one another “in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18); and

WHEREAS, God loves and delights in those who are faithful in telling the truth (Ps.  51:6; Prov. 16:13); and

WHEREAS, Christians serve a God who, by His very nature, does not and cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18); and

WHEREAS, Recent unrest in our nation, such as the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, has been both the intentional and unintentional result of the widespread dissemination of false conspiracy theories on social media and other platforms; and

WHEREAS, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicated in an unclassified report on May 30, 2019, that “anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to engage in criminal or violent activity”; and

WHEREAS, Some families, organizations, local churches, and many in our nation have been tragically divided from each other because of the rise of such conspiracy theories; and

WHEREAS, Article XV of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 affirms, “Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 15-16, 2021, condemn in the strongest possible terms every form of disinformation, conspiracy, gossip, slander, vain speculation, and violent domestic political extremism; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we admonish all spreaders of disinformation and sowers of discord to repent of their sins and receive the grace of God as offered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, assuring them that they can be forgiven if they will place their faith in the sin-atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on elected officials spreading disinformation that is harmful to our nation to cease doing so immediately, and for other elected officials to hold their colleagues accountable in this matter; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on social media platforms and web service providers to adopt clear and enforceable content policies that prohibit the dissemination of extremist ideas, demonstrably false information, and hate speech and calls to violence toward our fellow image-bearers of different biological sexes, races, ethnicities, national origins, creeds, disability statuses, and political persuasions, while also steadfastly maintaining a commitment to the free dissemination of diverse ideas; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we recommit ourselves to the commands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Scripture to love and disagree peaceably with one another if and when there are any differences of opinion among us in matters unrelated to our cooperation in evangelizing a lost and dying world (John 13:34; Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:2).

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

In 2006, Dr. Jim Richards, the recently retired (2020) executive director of the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention (SBTC), made a startling statement regarding pastors in the SBT—which included me—who believed in the continuation of all the gifts of the Spirit listed in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4, and their practice in the life of believers and churches today, gifts that are particularly often exercised in private worship. The backdrop of Dr. Richard’s comment was in response to a sermon that I preached in chapel at Southwestern Seminary in August 2006 entitled, “The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit.”

In this message, I challenged the International Mission Board of the SBC to rescind their policy adopted in 2005, that placed absolute restrictions on the SBC missionaries from praying and praising in tongues in private, because their policy was simply in direct contradiction to the plain teaching of Scripture; and it violated the religious liberty and conscience of the missionaries who were gifted by the Holy Spirit to pray, praise and give thanks to God in tongues, as practiced and preached by Paul (I Corinthians 14:2-5).

Dr. Paige Patterson responded to the sermon by releasing a public statement declaring my message was “harmful to the churches”; and he removed the recording of the message from the seminary archives, making it unavailable to the public. No chapel message in SWBTS chapel history had been treated like mine, not even the one preached by Dr. Karen Bullock in chapel, prior to Dr. Patterson’s arrival.

In 2015, under David Platt, President of the IMB at the time, the SBC-IMB reversed their anti-tongues policy and permitted missionaries to pray in tongues in private. In 2018, Dr. Jeffrey Bingham, then Interim President of SWBTS, restored my sermon to the seminary archives. Dr. Adam Greenway said to me, that if Dr. Bingham had not restored the sermon, he would have restored it upon becoming SWBTS’ new president. I love and appreciate Southwestern Seminary.

Back to Dr. Jim Richard’s statement: In 2006 in response to my chapel sermon, he stated, “If you have a private prayer language, you may ride on the bus at SBTC, but you will not be able to drive the bus.” I found that statement incredibly offensive as an African American and as one who has been spiritually gifted to pray, praise, intercede and give thanks in tongues, under the inspiration and influence of the Holy Spirit, as is taught in I Corinthians 14. I shared my pain and disagreement with Dr. Richards. He assured me that his comment was not intended to imply a racial connotation, only a theological one. Dr. Richards was gentle, respectful, and kind in his response to me, although he disagreed with my beliefs and practice. I visited him in 2006 to express to him why our church was withdrawing membership in the SBTC. However, I remained a member from then until today, simply to not break fellowship over a tertiary issue. I DECIDED TO STAY ON THE BUS FROM 2006 UNTIL JANUARY 2021. But, today, I have decided it is time to “get off the bus.” I no longer want to ride, and I certainly do not want to drive!

In November 2020, the SBTC adopted a strongly worded, anti-CRT policy that denounces all aspects of Critical Race Theory.  There are certain aspects of CRT I also disagree with. For instance, if it is an accurate representation of CRT teachings that only Whites can be racists, I totally disagree with that premise. Racism is a sin. And there is not one sin a Black person is incapable of committing, including racism. However, there are beneficial aspects of CRT that cannot be denied. And because the SBTC, and it appears the SBC, are poised to deny any beneficial aspects of CRT, in a most dishonest fashion, I have decided to get off the bus. The purpose of this article is to explain why.

There is a current debate in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT). The SBC , in her Annual Session in Birmingham, AL, June 2019, adopted a Resolution regarding CRT (Resolution 9). The resolution committee was chaired by Dr. Curtis Woods, who at that time, was a professor in the Black Church Studies Department at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and also Associate Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist State Convention, which is affiliated with the SBC. Dr. Woods is the most articulate person in SBC life about CRT, having completed his doctoral dissertation related to the subject.

Resolution 9 was passed by the “Messengers.” In the time since the 2019 Convention, there has been major opposition to the Resolution from various sources in SBC life. The opposition disagrees in totality with any beneficial aspects to CRT. Those of us who support Resolution 9 agree with aspects of CRT. Dr. Tony Evans, who is associated but not affiliated with the SBC had the following comment on the subject:

“Members of the 2019 Resolution Committee of the SBC, without my awareness or permission, used my name in recent Affirmation of Recent Statements from Christian Leaders on Critical Race Theory. Upon reading this affirmation, I need to state that their use of my name and what I said in a sermon titled Race & Reconciliation released on 11/15/20 needs clarification of what I fully said. They have referenced a portion without giving it the context of my sermon. I have a great deal of respect for the SBC and the work that they do around the nation and the world, and this misunderstanding does not diminish that in any way.

“As I stated in my sermon, which I encourage everyone reading this to watch, I again affirm that the Bible must be the basis for analyzing any and all social, racial or political theories in order to identify what is legitimate or what is not legitimate. But I did not say, nor imply, that CRT or other ideologies lack beneficial aspects—rather that the Bible sits as the basis for determining that. I have long taught that racism, and its ongoing repercussions, are real and should be addressed intentionally, appropriately and based on the authority of God’s inerrant Word.”

The reason this is a major concern for me, and by extension, the Cornerstone Church family, is because of the practical implications and ramifications of what could happen if Resolution 9 is rescinded or a 2021 resolution supplants/trumps the 2019 resolution. The most respected and major opposition is coming from the Council of Seminary Presidents (CSP) of the SBC. It is unprecedented for the CSP to take a defiant position to the resolution committee’s decision and the majority vote of the messengers. This link contains the seminary presidents’ (CSP) full statement. The crux of the CSP statement, which is the last 25 words, is the point of disagreement. The rest of the statement is innocuous, and we agree with it:

“In light of current conversations in the Southern Baptist Convention, we stand together on historic Southern Baptist condemnations of racism in any form and we also declare that affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message.”

The following are the reasons why the existing CSP statement (and the proposed SBC statement) could have impact upon our churches, and by extension, African American SBC churches, at large:

1. If this CSP statement is adopted in the June 2021 SBC Annual Session, in any form or fashion, thereafter when one addresses the subject of CRT or “race” from a seminary class, local church pulpit, or Sunday School class, “it could be interpreted” by the SBC/CSP policy as violating the SBC/CSP statement/policy on CRT, which could make any professor, pastor, preacher, or Sunday School teacher that is judged by this SBC/CSP policy, “incompatible with Baptist Faith and Message (BFM).” This could be used as grounds to dis-fellowship that church from the SBC or dismiss professors from their teaching assignments.

I am not willing to concede that type of power to the SBC/CSP based on an academic policy that originated with six Anglo seminary presidents.

2. The perceived image or impression by persons outside of the SBC/CSP will be to view Cornerstone and African American churches as being subjected to the SBC/CSP regarding what we can teach about CRT, and by extension, race, and remain in compatibility with the BFM2K based on the CSP existing statement, and what could become the SBC statement in June 2021.

I am not willing to allow them to dictate what the belief systems, definitions and authoritative binding, academic and ecclesiastical decisions regarding how race is to be communicated in the local church or be subject to SBC interrogations and investigations for having spoken outside of the CSP-SBC CRT policy.

3. We are not willing to sign-off on SBC seminaries and affiliated entities to be able to indoctrinate African American congregations and seminary students regarding CRT. Why? (A) Because this policy was developed without consulting with at least one African American in its origination; and (B) this policy fails to acknowledge that there are beneficial aspects to CRT. To affirm this policy is to affirm a dishonest approach to CRT.

4. The existing and proposed CSP/SBC policy empowers entity heads who happen to be all Anglo, to be in a final decision-making authority to determine the content of all literature that flows to our churches on the subject of CRT, and by extension, the subject of race.

4. Given the SBC’s history on race, it is preposterous to ask African American churches to blindly trust their interpretations regarding CRT—and by extension, “race.”

5. I have absolutely no clue what Dr. Malcolm Yarnell was addressing in the following tweet. However, it is applicable in my judgment to the Council of Seminary Presidents statement on CRT.

“Theologically speaking, to require an affirmation of something not addressed by Scripture or to require a condemnation of something not addressed by Scripture—both of these equally contradict the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture.”

Make no mistake about it, I believe the Bible speaks with supreme authority in every area, including race. Where any racial theory contradicts Scripture, Scripture rules overall! This is applicable to the CSP/SBC CRT kerfuffle.

7. The SBC is openly rejecting the collective wisdom of men like Fred Luter, Tony Evans, Marshal Ausberry, The National African American Fellowship of the SBC, hundreds of African American pastors, and her own African American professors by dismissing our claims that there are beneficial aspects to CRT.

For these reasons, we are pulling out of SBTC; and if the CSP/SBC policy is ratified in June, we are discontinuing our affiliation with the SBC also. We are “getting off the bus”!

Finally, let me be clear: we are maintaining and strengthening our relationship with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT); we are also maintaining and strengthening our relationship with the National Baptist Convention, which I am humbled for the opportunity to serve as a member of their Executive Committee. Furthermore, we may explore partnering with and launching a church planting, disciple-making, cross cultural fellowship—Kingdom collective, whose DNA is interracial from the outset.

A gentleman said to me, “Please pastor, wait for a season. Just as the SBC in 2006 rejected your message on respecting liberties in private worship, and reversed course in 2015 and 2018, they may reverse course and recognize certain beneficial aspects to CRT.” The gentleman could be right.

However, a better solution is to treat CRT in the same way we treat a bruised apple. If you cut out the bruised part, no matter how large it may be, and you consume the rest. If the SBC would take a “bruised apple” approach to this controversy, the division over CRT immediately halts.

My Response to the SBC Seminary Presidents’ CRT Statement


“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (I Corinthians 13:11 CSB)

I am often asked the question, why do I remain in the Southern Baptist Convention? A recent joint statement on race made by the six seminary presidents of the SBC has brought that question back into discussion once again. The crux of the seminary presidents’ statement is as follows:

“In light of current conversations in the Southern Baptist Convention, we stand together on historic Southern Baptist condemnations of racism in any form and we also declare that affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message.”

Initially, for the sake of unity and in the name of Christian charity, I was supportive of the statements released by the council of presidents and the resolutions committee. However, it then became apparent to me that these statements were merely paving the way for rescinding Resolution 9 at the upcoming annual meeting.

The first half of the above quote is innocuous. All believers and Baptists could and ought to give a hearty “Amen” to every single word up to the word, “and.”

The bombshell comprises the phrase on the other side of “and”: “we also declare that the affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message.” Those 25 words have created a fault line in the SBC that will have lingering repercussions and ramifications until Jesus returns or God sends a revival.

The repercussions are already occurring. African American SBC pastor, Rev. Joel Bowman of Louisville, Kentucky, upon reading the seminary presidents’ statement posted:

“I’m done with the Southern Baptist Convention! It took them 150 years to condemn chattel slavery, but only 1 year to condemn Critical Race Theory. It has no credibility on the issue of racism! None!!!

President Obama’s election was historic. However, it did not remove white supremacy from the US. Likewise, Fred Luter’s historic election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention did not remove white supremacy from it.

Many “Reformed” theologians aggressively teach the “total depravity” of Man. Yet, they won’t admit that depraved humans can create racist systems that must be confronted? Such denial is evidence of their own depravity.”

There may be one, but I am unaware of any SBC African American lead/senior pastor who would sign on to the seminary presidents’ statement without qualifications and caveats. Therein lies the fault line. Black pastors and churches, almost without exception, would oppose the above SBC presidents’ council statement.

Do Black pastors oppose the seminary presidents’ statement because we are advocates and proponents of Critical Race Theory (CRT)? Absolutely not! Black pastors do not preach CRT; we preach C-H-R-I-S-T. Black pastors do not preach Karl Marx; we preach from the gospel of Mark.

Dr. Tony Evans’ statement regarding this subject should be embraced by all Southern Baptists, no matter their race. Dr. Evans was prompted to comment on this controversy because he was unfairly quoted out of context. Here is a link to his full quote, lest I also be guilty. Dr. Evans’ tweet that includes his statement and sermon link:

“Members of the 2019 Resolution Committee of the SBC, without my awareness or permission, used my name in recent Affirmation of Recent Statements from Christian Leaders on Critical Race Theory. Upon reading this affirmation, I need to state that their use of my name and what I said in a sermon titled Race & Reconciliation released on 11/15/20 needs clarification of what I fully said. They have referenced a portion without giving it the context of my sermon. I have a great deal of respect for the SBC and the work that they do around the nation and the world, and this misunderstanding does not diminish that in any way.

As I stated in my sermon, which I encourage everyone reading this to watch, I again affirm that the Bible must be the basis for analyzing any and all social, racial or political theories in order to identify what is legitimate or what is not legitimate. But I did not say, nor imply, that CRT or other ideologies lack beneficial aspects—rather that the Bible sits as the basis for determining that. I have long taught that racism, and its ongoing repercussions, are real and should be addressed intentionally, appropriately and based on the authority of God’s inerrant Word.”

There is only one phrase in Dr. Evans’ statement that would differ with these seminary presidents’ statement: “I did not say, nor imply that CRT or other ideologies lack beneficial aspects.” That one phrase is considered controversial, untrue, “liberal,” “Marxist,” “woke,” and in the minds of some, in conflict with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and/or the Bible.

There it is, my friend. The current dispute, dissension, division, and debate in the SBC would boil down to who would agree or disagree with that statement.

Most SBC voters in the annual meeting in Birmingham approved of a resolution including language very similar to Dr. Evans’ statement. Here is a complete copy of the Resolution (Critical Race Theory, Resolution 9):

“WHEREAS, Concerns have been raised by some evangelicals over the use of frameworks such as critical race theory and intersectionality; and

WHEREAS, Critical race theory is a set of analytical tools that explain how race has and continues to function in society, and intersectionality is the study of how different personal characteristics overlap and inform one’s experience; and

WHEREAS, Critical race theory and intersectionality have been appropriated by individuals with worldviews that are contrary to the Christian faith, resulting in ideologies and methods that contradict Scripture; and

WHEREAS, Evangelical scholars who affirm the authority and sufficiency of Scripture have employed selective insights from critical race theory and intersectionality to understand multifaceted social dynamics; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states, “[A]ll Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried” (Article I); and

WHEREAS, General revelation accounts for truthful insights found in human ideas that do not explicitly emerge from Scripture and reflects what some may term “common grace”; and

WHEREAS, Critical race theory and intersectionality alone are insufficient to diagnose and redress the root causes of the social ills that they identify, which result from sin, yet these analytical tools can aid in evaluating a variety of human experiences; and

WHEREAS, Scripture contains categories and principles by which to deal with racism, poverty, sexism, injustice, and abuse that are not rooted in secular ideologies; and

WHEREAS, Humanity is primarily identified in Scripture as image bearers of God, even as biblical authors address various audiences according to characteristics such as male and female, Jew and Gentile, slave and free; and

WHEREAS, The New Covenant further unites image bearers by creating a new humanity that will one day inhabit the new creation, and that the people of this new humanity, though descended from every nation, tribe, tongue, and people, are all one through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:16; Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14); and

WHEREAS, Christian citizenship is not based on our differences but instead on our common salvation in Christ—the source of our truest and ultimate identity; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention is committed to racial reconciliation built upon biblical presuppositions and is committed to seeking biblical justice through biblical means; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, June 11–12, 2019, affirm Scripture as the first, last, and sufficient authority with regard to how the Church seeks to redress social ills, and we reject any conduct, creeds, and religious opinions which contradict Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That critical race theory and intersectionality should only be employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture—not as transcendent ideological frameworks; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the gospel of Jesus Christ alone grants the power to change people and society because “he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6); and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists will carefully analyze how the information gleaned from these tools are employed to address social dynamics; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptist churches and institutions repudiate the misuse of insights gained from critical race theory, intersectionality, and any unbiblical ideologies that can emerge from their use when absolutized as a worldview; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we deny any philosophy or theology that fundamentally defines individuals using categories identified as sinful in Scripture rather than the transcendent reality shared by every image bearer and divinely affirmed distinctions; and be it further

RESOLVED, That while we denounce the misuse of critical race theory and intersectionality, we do not deny that ethnic, gender, and cultural distinctions exist and are a gift from God that will give Him absolute glory when all humanity gathers around His throne in worship because of the redemption accomplished by our resurrected Lord; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptist churches seek to exhibit this eschatological promise in our churches in the present by focusing on unity in Christ amid image bearers and rightly celebrate our differences as determined by God in the new creation.”

From my 46 years of being engaged in SBC life, there are two unprecedented things happening here:

  1. The presidents of the seminaries have never, ever, attempted to redress a resolution passed by the Convention.
  2. The SBC has never, ever in her history rescinded a resolution, as now those opposed to Resolution 9 have pledged to do. The seminary presidents’ statement gives them the greenlight to now do so.

I have deeply appreciated Dave Miller’s recent remarks article about Resolution 9 (What’s YOUR Problem with Resolution 9 – Be Specific). He has graciously asked critics to provide substantive criticism of its text, and it appears no one has been able to do so without overgeneralization or name-calling.

The seminary presidents’ statement represents a broken promise to the SBC, and especially to the African Americans in the SBC. In 1995, the SBC approved the following in a resolution:

“Be it further RESOLVED, That we apologize to all African-Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously (Psalm 19:13) or unconsciously (Leviticus 4:27); and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we ask forgiveness from our African-American brothers and sisters, acknowledging that our own healing is at stake; and”

The centerpiece of CRT is the existence of systemic racism and injustice, or the lingering repercussion and effects of the Jim Crow era. By denouncing CRT in totality, the seminary presidents have contradicted and taken back the words of the SBC in 1995. This is painful to watch. It is understandable why hundreds of African American Southern Baptists are reassessing their relationship to the SBC.

I am grateful that Dr. Danny Akin has offered helpful and clarifying words since the publication of their statement. Dr. Akin granted me permission in writing to reference his view on systemic injustice. The following was sent to me in a direct message:

“Dwight…I believe in personal and structural (systemic) racism. Sinful humans will inevitably build sinful structures. Again, I have been clear.”

Just as we all can embrace Dr. Evans’ statement, we all should be able to embrace Dr. Akin’s statement. It really feels icky belonging to a convention that debates the reality of systemic injustice and whether or not, as a means of general revelation or common grace, a secular ideology may express something beneficial.

As a boy, I appreciated the SBC. Although our church was and remains NBC, back home in Arkansas, we enjoyed great fraternal relations with Arkansas SBC churches. Dr. Robert Ferguson was the director of National Baptist relations for the SBC in Arkansas. He built a great rapport between Black and White Baptists in our state. He preached revivals in our churches. He funded, through Southern Baptists, the Arkansas AM&N/UAPB Baptist Student Center. He opened Camp Paron to Black churches in the summer to conduct camps that were otherwise unavailable to us. He funded scholarships for Black ministerial and missionary students to Baptist colleges. I was the recipient of one to Ouachita Baptist University. He hired me as a chaplain intern at Tucker Prison in Arkansas to minister full-time in the summers and on weekends twice a month while I was a college student. My point is my relationship and view of Southern Baptists in my early years were quite positive, and that remains true (though there is some tarnish on it now).

When I planted the church I currently pastor at age 27 through a partnership with Tate Springs Church, Tarrant Baptist Association, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, they provided our congregation over $200,000 during the first three-four years of our existence. That included pastoral funding, building payments and general budget expenditures. This was from 1983-1986. I was told at the time that our funding exceeded most White church plants. They wanted to use me as a test case to determine the potential of an adequately funded Black church plant. By God’s grace, we passed the test! I am grateful!

I have really been blessed with wonderful experiences being a Southern Baptist. I have had an opportunity to preach on many platforms all over Texas and America. In some instances, this was directly connected to my SBC affiliation. I am grateful!

It has taken me 39 years to complete my Master of Theological Studies Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The past two years on campus under Dr. Jeffrey Bingham (Interim President) and Dr. Adam Greenway (current President) have been wonderful. I have nothing but praise for Southwestern. My wife also graduated from SWBTS this year. My youngest son, J.E., is currently enrolled in their Master of Worship program. I highly recommend SWBTS and have watched them do everything possible to make Black students welcome and be extraordinarily generous in providing scholarships. I was blessed to have been granted opportunities to preach in chapel under the Dilday, Hemphill, and Patterson administrations. Grateful!

For many years, I looked at the SBC through the eyes of a boy; and I really saw a very beautiful picture. But as Paul said, when I was a child, I thought like a child; I reasoned like a child. [But] when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (I Corinthians 13:11).

As a man, I have sat at SBC tables and watched White churches pay 0% interest on small church loans, while Hispanic and Black churches had to pay 6%.

As a man, while touring the SBC Nashville headquarters and requesting information concerning the highest-ranking person in the seven-story facility, I was introduced to the head custodian.

As a man, I watched the SBC EC in Nashville grant the SBTC the right to launch another Texas convention because they wanted to be distinct and clear regarding inerrancy. When I requested the EC to allow another convention in Texas to be affirmed so there could be doctrinal distinction and clarity within the Baptist Faith & Message on spiritual gifts, my request was denied. The only difference was the skin color of who was making the request.

As a man, I watched the Chair of the Resolution Committee in Phoenix, Arizona, from the floor of the SBC, critique my alt-right resolution—something that was unprecedented—and call it, “poorly written and incendiary.” Never has any other resolution been criticized from the podium before.

As a man, I am watching the 2019 resolution committee having to eat humble pie and walk back Resolution 9—again, in an unprecedented fashion—led by a Black professor, Dr. Curtis Woods.

As a man, I was threatened to be removed by convention vote from SWBTS Trustee Board for making it known that I would vote against investing SWBTS money in liquor, cigarette, and gambling stocks. They labeled it “violating confidentiality.” Another man, who happened to be White, actually violated trustee confidentiality; he was never threatened with removal from the trustee board.

I know what it is like to participate and benefit from the SBC as a boy. I also know what it is like, as a man, to have contributed financially to the SBC far, far more than they gave our church in those early years.

I have been a boy in the SBC, and like most Blacks, I have sat at the kid’s table. Blacks have systemically been excluded from entity head positions in SBC life. In 70 years, the SBC has never seen it fit to appoint a qualified Asian, Hispanic or African American to serve as an entity head.

But on this issue and Resolution 9, we will not take this like a boy. We are going to fight back, like a man.

The reason I have not and will not leave the SBC is because I would rather fight than switch. This is my Convention too! I regret deeply that the seminary presidents would release a statement regarding race, but not have other races sit at the table for discussion. It is also worth noting that, historically and systemically, African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics have been excluded from that room.

There is on overwhelming consensus among African American pastors in the SBC on this issue. I have been very encouraged by the recent remarks of the president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Marshal Ausberry (NAAF, Ausberry respond to seminary presidents’ statement).

Think about this for a moment: a council of seminary presidents (that, again, has never once seated a minority) released a statement that has labeled and limited what an African American pastor must say in his pulpit regarding race and CRT in order to remain within this new SBC “orthodoxy.” This is staggering!

Resolution 9 does not contradict the Baptist Faith & Message. Resolution 9 does not contradict the Bible.

Just as Richard Land invited eight Blacks and eight Whites into a room to hammer out the 1995 statement on race (a unifying moment for our Convention), I am saying to our Convention, as a man, that you need to bring all races into the room. If Resolution 9 is to be tweaked, all of us should have a say—not just six White men—because some of us have paid our dues to the SBC as boys. We are now ready to stand up and be men. We will not take this sitting down!

I am beginning to field questions regarding whether or not African Americans should enroll in or maintain their current enrollment in SBC seminaries. I believe in the mission of the six Southern Baptist Seminaries. A quality ministerial and theological education can be attained at our seminaries. I am partial to SWBTS. My wife and I recently graduated with the Master of Theological Studies degree. I have found Dr. Adam Greenway and Provost Randy Stinson to be friendly, faithful, accessible, and affirming. I love Dr. Greenway’s “Big Tent” vision, which is in part why I yet affirm and appreciate SWBTS. My prayers and financial and moral support will continue at SWBTS.

I remain enamored and highly recommend the Kingdom Diversity initiative at SEBTS led by Dr. Walter Strickland. Like Adam Greenway, I also totally believe in the heart of Danny Akin on the issue of race. I also remain extremely grateful for Southern Seminary’s $5,000,000 scholarship commitment named in honor of Garland Offutt, the first African American graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It certainly represents fruit worthy of repentance.

However, for those who feel if trust between the SBC seminaries and your convictions and sensibilities have been breached beyond repair, I highly recommend you consider Truett Seminary as a viable evangelical alternative to pursue theological studies.

I am grateful for a long-term friendship with Dr. Joel Gregory, who was a professor of mine in the 80’s at SWBTS. Dr. Gregory has preached for me at Cornerstone Church many times. I requested he forward me a statement expressing the thinking of his current teaching post. This is Truett Seminary’s position on matters currently under discussion:


In the living of these days, every institution has a moral responsibility to speak clearly and transparently addressing the issues of our times related to justice, equity, and biblical solidarity with persons of color.  Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of color in our ongoing cohesion and commonality with every effort of shared aims.  We are humans only as we are in community with other humans.  “God has made of one blood all people of the earth” (Acts 17:26).  There is no place for ambiguity in opposition to racism, either individual or embedded in systems of oppression.  We further believe this must not only be an expression of empathy or sympathy, but rather active intervention to right historic wrongs, confront the powers, and stand with others in unity.  To that end George W. Truett Seminary.  We deplore any effort that marginalizes or diminishes the seriousness of the situation of the struggle.

Truett Seminary:

-Has established a black church studies program led by Rev. Malcolm Foley, noted leader and PhD candidate at Baylor, who is also on President Linda Livingstone’s cabinet as a special advisor on racial issues.

-Has inaugurated the African American National Preaching Conference with an emphasis on the history and present practice of prophetic Black preaching;

-Has entered into an agreement with the alumni of now closed (1988) Bishop College to be a center of reserving the legacy, spirit, and documents of that storied school;

-Has for years has had an empowered Truett Black Students Association that regularly stages events and brings speakers that keep issues before the entire student body;

-Has for 15 years observed a two-day E.K. Bailey preaching event, honoring the life and legacy of that famed black preacher;

-Has joined with the larger Baylor African American community to stress campus-wide at the world’s largest Baptist University a zero tolerance for racism in any of its demonic forms and to stand in solidarity with brother and sisters of color to transform every area of university culture.  One impact of this is a student body that is 37% visible minorities;

-Has joined with Proclaimers Place® as an academic sponsor certifying the attendance of nearly 1500 African American ministers in biblical exegesis and preaching.

-Has identified with Compassion International in its global effort to relieve children from poverty in Jesus name, most of whom are children of color.  An African American graduate of Truett, Rev. Arbra Bailey, leads the Compassion African American team.

In each of these and more beside Truett stands with our African American brothers and sisters in the fight against racism, oppression, marginalization, tokenism, and stereotyping of any kind.

In this COVID-19 and George Floyd era, African Americans will make choices about where they invest their money, time, votes, and ministry alignments based on where there is a mutual, reciprocal, and beneficial relationship. Unfortunately, these six seminary presidents’ statements moved in the opposite direction.

I recognize, however, the pain the seminary presidents have caused. A group of White alumni and current seminary students will soon release a statement voicing their displeasure with the presidents’ statement. For that I am grateful. Their objection to the presidents’ statement was not just based on race, but also the unwise notion of making what one believes about CRT something more than a matter of conscience, but a test of orthodoxy.

I am grateful for the $5,000,000 scholarship commitment named in honor of Garland Offfutt, the first African American graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It certainly represents fruit worthy of repentance. It speaks to the past and to the future. Hats off to Dr. Mohler and the trustee board for this historic decision that is a step toward healing. It remains my deep conviction that there is a moral inconsistency with the orthodox Christian Faith that cannot reconcile the celebration and honoring of men stealers and child abusers with the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

Here is a letter I penned to Dr. Mohler this past Friday in anticipation of today’s decision that summarizes my full response.

October 9, 2020

Dr. R. Albert Mohler
2825 Lexington Rd.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, KY 40206

Dear Dr. Mohler,

Thank you for the candor and transparency you expressed in our 35-minute cordial conversation on Thursday evening, October 8, primarily regarding my request to remove the names of the slaveholding founders of SBTS.

You honored me by asking, what message would I want you to deliver to the trustees at Southern Seminary. I hope that you will convey to them this entire email, or whatever sentiments that I have expressed here, that you would want to pass on.

It remains my deep conviction that, there is a moral inconsistency with the orthodox Christian Faith, that cannot reconcile the celebration and honoring of men stealers and child abusers, with the inerrant and infallible Word of God (I Timothy 1:10; Matthew 18:6). There is an orthodoxy within me that will not permit the advocacy of an idea that is not biblically grounded. Honoring those who dishonored the Imago-Dei in others for profit, is simply not an honorable thing to do, or continue to do.

I am also persuaded that the next generation will not accept this moral inconsistency and will change the names of these unrepentant abusers of mankind, in their lifetime. They will be driven by biblical and ethical values, that will weigh heavier to them than the legitimate historic, emotional, and administrative challenges and ties, that makes this decision a heavy one on all involved. I pray the Lord will let me live long enough to see it.

It was, and is, my desire to obey God by bringing this matter to your attention and the SBTS/SBC’s attention.

For the sake of unity and peace in the Southern Baptist Zion, I too, accept your recommendation regarding the disposition of this matter and appreciate the serious deliberations you and the trustees are giving to this matter.

Furthermore, I honor you, Dr. Mohler, and the SBTS trustees for your preliminary proposed initiative to honor Garland Offutt, the first Black graduate of SBTS, with the generous funding of generous scholarships to be awarded to African American students. In a practical sense, the funding of these scholarships will be more meaningful to the recipients, than removing the slaveholder’s names.

Additionally, I am really elated by any consideration and recommendation that you may give to honoring the 51+ slaves, who actually contributed greatly to the initial funding of SBTS by virtue of the wealth they provided to Boyce, Broadus, Manly, and Williams, with their involuntary free labor.

Honestly, if the unnamed slaves are given a significant memorial, tribute prominently displayed on campus, it would go a long way toward reckoning and righting the wrong (the moral wrong) of the founder’s names being prominently displayed. I will be glad to contribute to a noteworthy, highly visible memorial in honor of the slaves who have never been recognized for their mammoth financial contribution to the school. I am grateful for your heart to consider giving honor to whom honor is due. This may be a “Solomonic” solution to addressing needs and concerns of all who care about this situation.

Finally, thanks again for your phone call. I sincerely enjoyed and was edified by the conversation. Much appreciation and respect for you! May God continue to smile upon your ministry at SBTS.

For His Kingdom,

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., 
Senior Pastor
Cornerstone Baptist Church

When the Past Meets the Present

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

 “Sitting in Broadus Chapel waiting for my Christian Preaching Class to begin. Oddly enough the man who this chapel is named after would have likely observed me as an individual that he just had to deal with or even in his own words, ‘one who belongs to a very low grade of humanity.’ As I’ve walked across the campus today, I realize that an unfortunate reality is that the attitude and heart of John A. Broadus still exists. Nevertheless, I know who I am. I know what I am. I know who I belong to. I know what I’ve been called to do and I’m thankful to be learning under the teaching of Dr. York.” (Deryk Hayes)

The reason I am so passionate about addressing the topic slaveholders’ names being prominently embedded in the life of Southern Seminary, can be illustrated by this Facebook Post of a current SBTS student, Deryk Hayes, having to reckon with the words of John A. Broadus, the namesake of Broadus Chapel, speaking of his assessment of African descendants: “one who belongs to every low grade of humanity.”

The past and the present shook hands as Deryk Hayes began his seminary journey at SBTS. Those in the undergraduate school at SBTS, Boyce College, must wrestle and reckon with an equally racist posture of their namesake, Dr. James P. Boyce. No student of any race should have to begin the first day of class having to process an unwelcoming posture, advocated by prominent historical personalities in the school’s history.

The late Dr. T. Vaughn Walker was a well-known, highly respected preacher, professor, and pastor who, if I am not mistaken, was the first Black tenured professor in SBC seminary history. He predates Al Mohler at SBTS. My congregation recently donated $5000 to a scholarship fund in honor of Dr. Walker, that we are now requesting be given to Deryk Hayes.

My friend, Dr. Tom Nettles, recently responded to my letter to Dr. Al Mohler, wherein I requested the name of Dr. James P. Boyce no longer be given the place of honor it has been given at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He specifically called me to task by arguing that the removal of the name of Boyce would require the removal of the school’s commitment to engage in theological education at the undergraduate level and at the doctoral level. Moreover, he implied that to deny Boyce the place of a hero at Southern Seminary would cast into doubt the need for the school’s Abstract of Principles, and for the truths it upholds, such as biblical hermeneutics and Baptist polity.

While I have not responded to Dr. Nettles at length before now, please allow me the privilege of addressing certain questions about Boyce and the racist slave legacy which hinders the future prosperity of our Louisville seminary. I will not defend my previous arguments, since there is nothing within Dr. Nettles’ presentation which undermines the fundamentals of what I previously said. (I do appreciate Dr. Nettles affirming that we should seek freedom if possible, according to 1 Corinthians 7:21. I hope he will one day see that the whole message of the Bible is for human freedom, in body and soul.) Here, I only want to engage with Dr. Nettles about Boyce in particular. Dr. Nettles has written a large biography full of appreciation for Boyce, among other books and articles detailing his professional passion for the early Southern Baptists.

Please remember I am fully supportive of the educational mission of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as it has been authorized by our Southern Baptist Convention of churches. I am merely arguing for the removal from their current place of honor the names of Boyce and others who bought, sold, or continued to hold kidnapped human beings precisely. I am arguing for this so that Southern’s mission can be maintained with integrity. As long as our seminary makes heroes of those who were “menstealers,” she elevates those who taught “contrary to the sound teaching” (1 Timothy 1:10).

Southern Seminary wants to be “trusted for truth,” but if it continues to elevate Boyce, it contradicts the truth given to the Apostle Paul, which he said was “committed to my trust” (1 Timothy 1:12). I want to help Southern Seminary be trusted fully among those who love God and believe his inerrant Word but who do not, like Nettles, see Boyce as a hero. Many of us see him as a problematic person with a checkered legacy, who does not deserve the status of hero that he has been given.

Second, I disagree with Nettles’ contention that to remove these names somehow undermines the educational mission and theological integrity of the seminary. He argued in flowery language that maintaining respect for persons like Boyce is necessary for maintaining respect for the principles of the seminary. He said Boyce and other slaveholders constructed, or even are “immovable pillars, made in denominational identity and theological perpetuity in the establishing of the institution itself.” Nettles seems to believe that persons and principles are so bound together that if you disagree with a person then you must reject everything he said. I certainly do not believe this. As we preachers used to say, “God can make straight licks with crooked sticks.” But the sticks must still be seen as crooked.

Nettles’ way of thoroughly integrating truths with persons, making the truth itself dependent upon the messenger of truth, is what encourages the “cancel culture” he says he dislikes. Nettles’ method feeds into “cancel culture” because it encourages “hero-worship” toward fallible men. One of us exalts Boyce as a hero; the other reminds us of his moral failure. Dr. Jonathan Arnold, one of Nettles’ own former colleagues at Southern Seminary, says in a recent podcast we must be careful to avoid the opposite errors of “hero-worship” and “cancel culture.” I agree. Let’s remove the hero-worship and, in this way, avoid the cancel culture. Let’s keep Boyce in our studies. But let’s not exalt him as a hero. Let’s treat him as a real person with real faults who gloriously confessed Jesus as Lord but then went on to say some true things and some false things.

Third, let’s talk about Boyce for a moment. Perhaps Nettles wants us to treat Boyce as if he actually repented of his support of slavery. Nettles cites one letter, written immediately before the Civil War, in a number of different places. In that letter, Boyce said, “I believe I see in all this the end of slavery. I believe we are cutting its throat, curtailing its domain.” Boyce then conceded, “Yet I bow to what God will do. I feel that our sins as to this institution have cursed us.” Such a concession almost sounds like repentance for the institution of race-based chattel slavery itself. But this most certainly is not repentance. For, in the sentence between his prophecy of slavery’s demise and his concession to divine providence, he states unequivocally, “And I have been, and am, an ultra pro-slavery man.” The letter itself was written in defense of secession from the United States and for the establishment of the Confederacy.

What is going on with Boyce? Why did he say these things? John Lee Eighmy, a highly respected historian who taught at Oklahoma Baptist University disclosed in his book, Churches in Cultural Captivity: A History of the Social Attitudes of Southern Baptists, that such sentiments were part of the southern apology for white supremacy and slavery. Southern Baptist slaveowners developed a strategy for supporting slavery, by expounding first, “on the fanaticism of abolitionism,” second, “the scriptural support of slavery,” and third, “the need for humane treatment and religious instruction of slaves.” Boyce wasn’t arguing against slavery but against inhumane practices within slavery, all while failing to recognize his racist chattel slavery is not biblical and not humane.

Eighmy also says the Southern Baptist slavery apologists argued for the institution as a means of reaching the heathen: “justification of slavery ultimately rested on the opportunity the system provided for the African’s salvation from heathenism.” Nettles himself buys into this same argument for the institution of race-based chattel slavery. In Teaching Truths, Training Hearts, Nettles writes, “Dagg’s vision of the evangelistic advantages of the providence of slavery is not wholly indefensible.” I appreciate the founders’ concern for the souls of my ancestors, but there was a better way to bring them the gospel than by kidnapping them, chaining them, abusing them, selling them, buying them, and holding them as property. Evangelism is very, very important, but the human beings we evangelize are important, too. The founders could have followed Jesus’ Great Commission by “going” to my ancestors with the biblical message of freedom rather than by forcing them to come in chains to the “masters” who bought them like things.

Whatever Boyce’s daughter said about his treatment of his own slaves, before or after the war, I am not aware that Boyce ever actually repented of his own actions and support for an institution established for the stealing of precious human beings made in the image of God. Conceding to providential judgment is not the same thing as repenting of “man-stealing.” This is why, with all due respect to Dr. Nettles, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary should bring down their names from the place of heroes so that we can remember that they were but men. Southern’s first president was a man, who could be saved by grace through faith in the abused Son of God, just like any of us can be. But Boyce was also an “ultra pro-slavery man” and not a hero. Jesus Christ, who never owned a man but bought us freedom with his own blood, is our true hero. 

NOTE: Due to the demands of two seminary classes, three outside speaking engagements, and regular pastoral responsibilities, my time for commenting and responding to comments, will be very limited.

Dr. Albert Mohler and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
2825 Lexington Rd.
Louisville, KY 40206

Dear Dr. Mohler and Board of Trustees,

Greetings in the Name of our Triune God, “in whom we live, move and have our very being” (Acts 17:28).

The impact you have made on the SBC and the nation will be felt for generations to come (Psalm 145:4).

The purpose of this correspondence is to humbly and respectfully request that the President and Board of Trustees at SBTS remove from SBTS campus, any memorabilia of the founders: James Pettigru Boyce, John Broadus, Basil Manly and William Williams.

Why? The founders should be acknowledged and appreciated for their role in the establishment and development of SBTS. However, it is biblically inappropriate to celebrate them though, due to the following reason(s): Because of the patriarchy, prejudice, and the promotion of “putrid exegesis,” practiced and preached by the founders of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, their names need to be removed from the Seminary as memorabilia; this includes the names of Boyce College, Broadus Chapel, and any other places where the names of the founders are displayed, including coffee mugs.

The founders stated motivations to relocate SBTS from Greenville, South Carolina, to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1877 was to escape the presence of freed slaves in Greenville, that they viewed as a “incubus and plague.” They expressed their desire to relocate the Seminary “in a White Man’s country.” Pastor Steve Bezner, who holds a PH.D. in history, recently tweeted: “Boyce helped found the school because the SBC was founded on a pro-slavery hermeneutic and needed a seminary which would support that hermeneutic.” Those scathing words alone merit revisiting this matter.

The founders should be acknowledged and appreciated for their role in the establishment of and development of SBTS. However, it is simply inappropriate and unbiblical to hallow and honor these men in a prominent and celebratory manner.

By allowing the names of the founders to continue to be plastered on walls and memorialized publicly as men of high moral character—you are in effect upholding their legacy of being theological and practical proponents and defenders of White Supremacy and Black inferiority. Furthermore, you are stuffing it down

the throats of those of us who find their actions incompatible with their faith and Baptist orthodoxy. As ministers of reconciliation, we can and ought to do better than this (II. Corinthians 5:18-20). When you build a monument, or highlight names of people in significant places, you are telling people, “they did good.” When you build a monument to evildoers, you are telling people, “These evildoers did good!”

The Bible says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Honoring slaveholders by naming a college, chapel, library and attaching their names on other high-profile places on campus is honoring them. By having done so, you have effectively called “evil good and good evil.” To defend and honor slaveholders, is to defend and honor slavery.

It is a slap in the face of God’s people, and an affront to the Kingdom of God to keep saying slaveholders were theologically right but morally wrong. You cannot divorce theology and morality.

Currently, the BFM2K is the standard for doctrinal orthodoxy in the culture and life of the SBC. The founders of SBTS could not and would not meet the qualifications of being classified as orthodox, because they could not affirm the BFM2K, Section III, “Man.”

The first three sentences in this section reads, “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation.”

The final sentence in Section III, “Man,” reads: “The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.”

Boyce, Broadus, Manly and Williams did not believe that, “every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.” These men also opposed the suffrage movement and women voting as messengers in SBC annual sessions. These two positions were evidence of misogyny and patriarchy, which is counter culture to the spirit and the letter of the BFM2K, Section III, regarding “Man.”

Therefore, based on SBC’s doctrinal statement, these men cannot be classified as orthodox. To label these men as “orthodox” radically redefine the historic meaning and usage of the term.

Defending their beliefs and behaviors by suggesting that they were mere men of their times, simply do not justify their heterodoxy, or practices. The Quakers, Wilberforce, Spurgeon, James Madison Pendleton and the Sandy Creek Baptists, all were spiritual leaders during the era of slavery, but they chose to honor Scripture and the fact that man was made—male and female—in the image of God—the Imago Dei.

Throughout biblical and cultural history, God has often chosen to hit straight licks, with crooked sticks, to accomplish His will. That statement would fit all of us to a certain extent, certainly me. Men and women who engaged in a multitude of sins are listed on the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11). I am grateful that God has more grace, than we have sin (Romans 5:20). All of the names in Hebrew 11 were repentant sinners. The Founders of SBTS either left no record of their repentance, or in the case of Broadus, later in life, there is a record of him having changed his tune on practicing slavery; but I am yet to read where he changed his tune regarding his beliefs about the inferiority of the Negro.

When did the founders of SBTS face accountability for their racial and gender sins? They did not! When did the founders repent of their racial and gender sins? They did not!

I am aware that President Mohler and SBTS faculty have released a 71-page, well researched document, in recent years. This document acknowledges the Seminary’s complicity in participating and contributing greatly to the diabolical institution of American chattel slavery—which, by the way, was radically different than biblical slavery. One was much more brutal, and degrading than the other.

I applaud and appreciate SBTS for releasing this brutally honest document on SBTS slavery report. However, acknowledging their heinous sins, while leaving their celebratory memorabilia intact is shortsighted and incongruent. “If a person kidnap, steal and sell your child, where do you want to place the statues [memorabilia] of that person?” Absolutely nowhere! (Rev. Joel Bowman’s quote) Yet, that is exactly what SBTS has done.

We would all agree that the four founders of Southern Seminary could not imagine or fathom, that a day would come, that sons and daughters of their slaves would be admitted as students and serve on the faculty. They did such a good job of instilling the sin of White Supremacy and Black inferiority into the fabric, theology, policies and image of the school, until it was almost 100 years later before a Black student was admitted to SBTS. Is it really fair to ask this generation to honor these men in light of their heterodoxy and immoral lifestyles? If the founders had been drunkards and adulterers, rather than being men stealers and kidnappers, would you honor them? No! Why then are you honoring them? Is it because you don’t see the sin of slaveholding as wicked as drunkenness or adultery?

If there is one major takeaway to recent protests of police brutality and systemic racism, it is—this generation is not going to tolerate, accommodate, or defend the racial hypocrisy and sins of the forefathers. Black students and faculty currently have to walk the halls of SBTS always remembering and being asked to appreciate the captives of their ancestors. That’s a tall ask. Again, future generations will not tolerate what previous generations have accepted. Take note of the departure of Pastor John Onwuchekwa and the Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, from the SBC, if you don’t believe me.

One pushback to my request may be: shouldn’t we extend grace, forgiveness, forbearance, etc., toward the founders? Absolutely! Beyond a shadow of a doubt; and I do. But I can forgive you, and be gracious toward you, without hanging your pictures and memorializing your name in a celebratory fashion around my home.

You are honoring men who never repented of their rebellion and treasonous acts against the United States by serving in and supporting the confederacy. Why then honor them?

The founders were felons while engaged with the Confederacy. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men, who never recanted or repented for teaching and modeling White Supremacy. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men whom according to Dr Mohler, engaged in “putrid exegesis” of the Scripture in order to justify the enslavement of descendants of Africa. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men who would not have allowed T. Vaughn Walker, Curtis Woods, or Jarvis Williams to have taught at SBTS. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men who would not have allowed Martin Luther King, Charlie Dates, or HB Charles to have preached in chapel at SBTS. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men who would not have allowed your wives to cast a vote for President Mohler’s choice for President, Donald J. Trump. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men, who some were praised for being benevolent slaveholders. That is tantamount to honoring a person for being a benevolent kidnapper. Who would do that? No one, in their right mind. Why then honor them?

The founders were also child abusers. It is impossible to be slaveholders and not simultaneously be child abusers. Why honor them?

You are honoring men, who dishonored Black people and women of all colors. Black people and women had no say so in the decision to honor them. Why honor men who were elected to be honored by other men who essentially found no fault with their beliefs and behaviors?

To say that it is permissible to honor the founding slaveholders of SBTS because they were not primarily known as slaveholders, is simply an inaccurate statement. The slaves knew them exclusively as slavemasters. Shouldn’t they count? The slaves did not call the founders “Professor”; they called them “Massa.” Do you really want to continue honoring them? And one can’t study the history of the founders, without soon discovering that they were slaveholders and their wealth derived from slave labor helped to subsidize SBTS, mightily. To ignore the reality of the slaves’ relationship to the founders, is to abuse them posthumously. To downgrade the prominence of the founders being wellknown as slaveholders is being dishonest.

Do you want to continue the legacy and sins that were passed down to you, by passing over this God-given, perfect moment to “remove the stain of racism” from SBTS campus? Why continue to honor them?

Being slaveholders was very much their identity. They were also known as being providers of a theological license to the church and larger society to justify slaveholding. Why then honor them?

Christ should be honored above culture. This is your opportunity to redeem SBTS’ slavery legacy, for the Kingdom of God.

Please don’t let this moment pass. Please make the right decision for the health of the school and for future generations to not have to wrestle with the question: Why is our college and seminary buildings named after “putrid exegetes,” White Supremacist and misogynist, and men who were not orthodox according to the BFM2K and the Bible?

I am formally requesting that Dr. Mohler and the SBTS Board of Trustees, prayerfully and deliberately take up this matter in the 2020 Fall Trustee meeting, and publicly report their findings. Future generations will

honor you and hold your great legacy even higher, if you will make a wise decision, in the best interest of the SBC, SBTS and the nation’s health—that so desperately needs racial healing. Dr. Mohler, to paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, “Tear Down Those Names.”

For His Kingdom,

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Faith and Fruit Are Inseparable

Regarding SBTS Founders

By: William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The cultural war over Confederate statues, monuments, and naming colleges, buildings, and other memorabilia after slave masters – is not simply cultural warfare – it is also spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is an eternal and cosmic conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. It is also a conflict or battle between Baptist orthodoxy and Baptist heterodoxy.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was founded in 1859 at Greenville, South Carolina. After being closed during the civil war, it moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1877. President Al Mohler acknowledges that James Petigru Boyce and other founders of the seminary were involved either in the Confederacy or the support of the Confederacy. All of them were involved in slavery.

Dr. Mohler writes,

“Indeed, we cannot tell the story of the Southern Baptist Convention without starting with slavery. In fact, the SBC was not only founded by slaveholders; it was founded by men who held to an ideology of racial superiority and who bathed that ideology in scandalous theological argument. At times white superiority was defended by a putrid exegesis of the Bible that claimed a “curse of Ham” as the explanation of dark skin, an argument that reflects such ignorance of Scripture and such shameful exegesis that it could only be believed by those who were looking for an argument to satisfy their prejudices.” Quote taken from the book, Removing The Stain of Racism From The Southern Baptist Convention, page 3. Edited by Jarvis J. Williams and Kevin M. Jones.

The Bible College on the campus of SBTS is named after James Boyce. Steve Bezner recently tweeted a seldom spoken insight about the theological foundation(s) of SBTS:

“Boyce helped found the school because the SBC was founded on a pro-slavery hermeneutic and needed a seminary which would support that hermeneutic.”

Larry Johnson explains why you cannot separate beliefs from behavior relative to orthodoxy:

“His theological work is irrelevant if his life doesn’t match his practice. Don’t ask a person if Boyce was a believer ask John the Apostle 1 John 4:20 straightforward exegesis. Can’t Love God if you hate your brother. John’s word is more sure than our opinions.”

Dr. Mohler defends naming the college and buildings after slave masters and Confederate soldiers thusly:

“Their names on the buildings and institutions, however, are there not because of their dedication to slavery or the Confederacy. They are in there because of their steadfast commitment to the formation of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Without them and their leadership, there would be no Southern Seminary. It was Broadus who said, “Let us quietly agree that the seminary may die, but we’ll die first.” The founders of this seminary established an explicitly theological confessional heritage and confessional identity that governs our institution to this day. There is no school without them, and not just at the foundation. Their theological convictions define us even now.”

Mohler’s mainline of defense is the orthodox theology he maintains the founders of SBTS were committed to. The root question at the heart of whether or not James Petigru Boyce, John Broadus, Basil Manley and William Williams should have a college and buildings named after them is this:

Can you be orthodox and simultaneously hold to a White Supremacy construct, Black inferiority and servitude, misogyny, and the denial of Scripture by practicing slavery and denying women the right to vote within the SBC and secular society, solely based on gender?

If you can be considered orthodox and hold these views, Mohler is right not to change the names on buildings at SBTS. The men who founded Southern Seminary supported and practiced the oppression of Black men and White and Black women. Baptist orthodoxy doesn’t embrace either one of those practices.

I maintain that a White Supremacist, Scripture denying, men stealing, misogynist, and child abusers – cannot be labeled orthodox – as Mohler labels them.

“If someone kidnapped your child and stole them, where would you want to put a statue of that person?” Joel Bowman writes. I agree with Pastor Bowman. Al Mohler wants the names of these persons to forever be celebrated at SBTS. Acknowledged? Yes; celebrated with buildings and colleges named after them – NO!

It took 150 years for the SBC to acknowledge and repent of the sin of slavery and their complicity with this evil institution.

It took 156 years for the SBC to acknowledge that the Confederate flag represented racism and the oppression of an entire race of people.

It took 73 years before the SBC allowed women to vote as messengers in their annual sessions. The SBC has never repented to women for denying them a right to vote and their example and complicity in denying women in America their constitutional right to vote.

President Donald Trump supports the protection of honoring the legacy of White Supremacy by his adamant posture of honoring the names of Confederate soldiers on military bases and statues and monuments that celebrate White Supremacist. Al Mohler says he’s embarrassed by this President, yet he publicly announces he plans to vote for him. Mohler is following President Trump’s example by the insistence of honoring White Supremacist on the campus of Southern Seminary.

Therefore, I’m not surprised that Mohler will dig in his heels and continue to honor enslavers, which clearly violates Scripture, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,” (1 Timothy 1:10). My huge disappointment is that Mohler compartmentalizes the aberrant theology of the founders of SBTS, relative to the imago-Dei and the curse of Ham, from their theology related to Christology. The Bible teaches that the “Scripture cannot be broken”, (John 10:35). Dr. Mohler attempts to break the Scripture by separating their theological beliefs from their theological practices. The Bible condemns those who engage in the abuse of children, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6). It’s impossible to be a slave master and not abuse children.

You cannot have an orthodox view of soteriology while denying an orthodox view of anthropology. If you have a flawed view of one, you have a false view of the other. These men were not orthodox as Mohler purports. These men were racist and deniers of the very inerrant infallible Word of God that Mohler claims is the reason he still wants to honor them. The logic, theology and cultural hermeneutics of 1845 birthed the SBC. It’s that same line of thinking, compartmentalization, and current SBC cultural theology, that’s driving Al Mohler’s thinking on this matter. Again, given the SBC history, it’s not surprising that Mohler would refuse to deny these kidnappers, men stealing, child abusing, Scripture denying, White Supremacist men – honor. It’s simply the DNA of the SBC for Mohler to cover and protect these men. They separated orthodoxy from orthopraxy in order to justify slavery. Mohler is doing the exact same thing in order to justify not removing the name of these heterodox men.

Princeton University, the State of Mississippi, County Governments, City Halls, and many other institutions all over America are re-examining and removing symbols, statues, signs, and memorabilia to slave holders. Two of the holdouts are President Trump and Al Mohler. Perhaps Jesus had situations like this in mind when He said, “for the children of this world are in their generations wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8).

Given history, I suspect by 2040, the names on those buildings will come tumbling down. Truth crushed to the ground will rise again. The universe is so constructed that a lie just won’t stand, because the world was framed on the truth of God’s Word. Buildings and colleges that inherently honor White Supremacy on SBTS campus, simply will not stand. As he did in 1998, when Mohler affirmed American chattel slavery, and called his position “stupid” twenty years later, we are going to see history repeat itself. The next generation will call his rationale for maintaining the names “stupid” even if Mohler does not. As a matter of fact, all over America, except in the White House and Southern Seminary, they are already calling honoring the Confederacy, “stupid.” The argument to defend these men leaves the appearance that they were noble.

“People like to do bad things. People like to do bad things together, that’s systemic racism.” SBTS was founded to perpetrate and defend systemic racism, cloaked in “orthodoxy.” The four men who founded the school deserve remembering but not honoring. I pray that the Lord will let me live long enough to see the names changed. It happened in Mississippi; it can happen in Louisville.

The stronghold of racism that engulfed the SBC from her beginning, still has a grip with building names that memorialize and remind Baptists of a period of heterodoxy, misogyny, “putrid exegesis” and unrestrained racism. The only reason SBTS would resist changing names is because they would allow culture to trump Christ. “This means war.”


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.


I sometimes process grief by writing.

Most persons who read this article never met, or heard of my best friend over the past 33 years, Rev. Robert E. Fowler. I encourage you to read the entire tribute though, because I assure you as I unpack memories of our friendship and his mentorship in my life, at some point you will be encouraged, enlightened, and ministered to, in a manner worthy of your time investment. You will also be ministering to me, as you help me celebrate and memorialize the life and legacy of Bob Fowler.

A familiar name flashed across my cell phone caller ID, at 11:23 a.m. yesterday, specifically Vance Pittman, a well-known SBC pastor in Las Vegas, Nevada. After exchanging the pleasantries of the morning, Vance informed me that news was beginning to circulate in Vegas that our mutual friend, Bob Fowler, also a Vegas pastor, passed. Vance knew the depth of my friendship with Fowler, so he assumed I might know. If indeed true, he wanted to gear up to minister to his family. That was the first inkling of knowledge that my dear friend may no longer be “tabernacling” among us.

The thought of that possibility overwhelmed me. I wanted to immediately get off the phone with Vance to seek confirmation before I allowed my emotions to spin out of control. In our less than two-minute conversation, I told Vance I would call him back, when I learned more. Before our conversation concluded with the traditional goodbye’s, another call was coming in. This call came from another pastor, a Southern California pastor and mutual acquaintance/friend of Bob Fowler and mine, Rev. Weaver. I had not talked to him in 5-7 years or so. Early in the conversation he made it known that he was calling to console me relative to the home-going of my dear friend, Pastor Fowler. I wanted clarification, so I asked him was this simply a rumor or was it true that Bob Fowler was dead. He said, “no reverend, it’s not a rumor; it’s the truth.”

I lost it. I didn’t even bring the conversation to a close. I threw my cell phone down on the carpeted floor and fell down and balled like a baby. My wife picked up the phone, and I assumed, closed out the conversation with Pastor Weaver.

Denial is the first step in the grief process, I learned in seminary many years ago. After I collected myself many minutes later, I told myself, it can’t be true. Maybe I did not hear Pastor Weaver out. He may even be confused. I reflected on the fact that twice in the past rumors circulated in certain pockets of the Black preaching community that I passed, about 12 or so years ago. I actually answered the church phone when two friends called to confirm my death and were shocked that I answered, because it was publicly announced in a church in New Jersey that I had passed. I also remembered hearing an announcement of a man who had passed at the close of a revival meeting where I was visiting; and it was misinformation. The man had been hospitalized, but remained alive. Based on those two experiences, I was hoping against hope that Pastors Pittman and Weaver were mistaken, or had been misinformed. I decided to dial Fowler’s number, no one answered.

I then remembered that the last time I preached in Las Vegas for Pastor Fowler I had an unusual experience as I was dismounting the pulpit, on my way to my seat. I literally inexplicably fell to the floor, head first. I did not faint, because I was fully cognizant of what was happening. My legs just gave away, and I could not muster the strength to erect myself. I heard the congregation give a collective gasp. Several men rushed to pick me up from the floor and helped me to my seat. They encouraged me to go to the hospital, but I refused. As Bob was driving me back to my hotel after the service, I received a phone call from Rev David Wade of Mesa, Arizona. He said, “Dwight, I heard you fell tonight, are you alright?” I then asked David how did he get the news so quickly, I had fallen less than 15 minutes before he called. He said, “I got too many friends in Vegas for something like that to happen, and I not be informed.”

Aha, as I thought about that, my mind said, call David Wade. He would know for sure if Fowler was dead, so I did. When David answered he said, Dwight, I just got some of the worst news in my life, Bob Fowler died this morning. By then, I knew for sure it was true. I had to give up my denial. My son and daughter-in-law came to console me. My wife had sent the message to my kids. Other calls from around the country began to come in. I made a few phone calls. We were all in stark disbelief that Dr. Bob Fowler, pastor of the Victory Baptist Church of Las Vegas for 24 years, had passed.

I want to share several memories of our 30+ year friendship that I trust will somehow be an encouragement to your life and ministry.

Bob and I both pastored in the Tarrant Baptist Association in the Ft. Worth area, where we met in the mid to late 80’s. We were often the only two Black pastors who regularly attended the TBA weekly meetings, therefore we forged a natural affinity. Bob was single at the time, and I was honored when he asked me to be the best man in his wedding to Joyce, whom he remained married to till his departure early Tuesday morning. Bob and Joyce were gracious and kind to Vera (my wife) and our four children who were just above toddlers then. They were always willing to babysit on several occasions, and even during one or two times when we were out of town a couple of days. My kids affectionately call him, Uncle Fowler, to this day.

In one of our TBA meetings, as Bob and I were seated together waiting on the meeting to begin, the guest speaker for that day came in, walked by our table and began to dialogue with us. He was touted as “The Billy Graham of Australia,” so we were all eager to hear him. Bob and I only knew who he was because of his Australian accent. He reached out to shake our hands and asked us, “Do you speak English?” Bob and I assumed he was joking, so we simply politely laughed, while he stood as if he was awaiting an answer. He then repeated the question. Bob and I recognized then, that his question was a serious one, and we then gave sort of a clumsy answer, “well, yea, yes.”

Bob nor I thought the gentleman was being racist in his question, but as far as we could tell, as he worked the room, shaking hands, we do not think anyone else was asked that question. We could only conclude that he thought maybe we were the American equivalents/counterparts of the Australian Aboriginals, who do not (as a rule) speak English. I mention that because that incident occurs over 30 years ago, but Bob and I would revisit that incident at least annually, because it documented to us, we stand out in a majority White setting; and upon meeting people in that context, there are assumptions about you, that you usually simply are not privy to–maybe some good, maybe some bad. Clearly, we were the “others” in the room. We never forgot that lesson. We were even thought of as speaking a different language.

When Russell Dilday was being voted out as President of SWBTS, by the trustees, Bob and I were summoned early that morning to go to the seminary and join a protest with other pastors to the firing of Russell Dilday. Rev. L.B. George, a highly respected Black TBA pastor and the first Black moderator of the TBA, asked Bob and I to join the protest.

Pastor George’s requests presented a dilemma for us. He assumed we supported Russell Dilday, but he never asked us, if we agreed with the protesters, he just ordered us to join in. That is often a common practice as to how seasoned, senior, respected Black preachers, relate to younger, up and coming, aspiring Black preachers. The protesters were singing “We Shall Overcome,” the mantra of the Civil Rights Movement.

Bob and I thought that song was inappropriate for that occasion. We also had mixed feelings about Russell Dilday. We liked him personally. He had even invited me to preach in chapel at SWBTS in my early 30’s. But he was being painted as a theological liberal and one who rejected inerrancy. Bob and I philosophically agreed with the “conservatives” as opposed to the “moderates” in the SBC. We wanted to honor Rev. L. B. George though, by complying with his request to protest. So, we stood there with the protesters and sang, halfheartedly with our shoulders slumped. Later, Pastor George and Pastor Charles Wade told us that they sensed our not being fully with the program and our hearts were not in the protest. We apologized to them, explained our conflicting emotions and asked for his understanding and forgiveness. They were gracious to us, and we remained great friends until Pastor George passed. I still remain good friends with Charles Wade.

Bob was later asked to serve on the old Sunday School Board (if my memory serves me correctly, which was the forerunner to Lifeway, I think) and some 12-15 years later, I was asked to serve on the Board of Trustees at SWBTS, the very board that fired Dr. Dilday that day. That was one of the saddest days in the history of SWBTS. In hindsight, I believe Dr. Dilday was greatly mistreated. His book, “The Doctrine of Biblical Authority,” is crystal clear that he is not a theological liberal; and he holds a high view of Scripture. His book was even published by the SBC’s, publishing arm. I honestly believe the never-ending unrest and bickering in the SBC is rooted in the unrepentant acts of mistreatment of Dr. Dilday. Ken Hemphill followed Dr. Dilday. He and I became friends. I respect him immensely. He also invited me on several occasions to speak in SWBTS chapel. Bob Fowler and I throughout our friendship would also revisit our experiences at SWBTS the day Dilday was unceremoniously fired.

Bob was pastoring the Eastland Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth at the time. Eastland was once a predominately Anglo SBC church; but by the late ‘80s, it had become predominantly African American. Bob was the second AA pastor in their history. While at Eastland Street, Bob’s Church and Cornerstone where I pastor, partnered together to construct a church building in Lebowa, South Africa, in the late ‘80s, while Mandela was still in prison. Members of both churches spent 15 days there holding VBS and doing construction work. That was a wild and wonderful experience. Too much to unpack now though.

Bob and I invited Pastor Lionel Malebono, pastor of the South African congregation, to Texas. While the three of us dined for breakfast at Denny’s, Pastor Malebono, literally started crying. Bob and I did not understand his tears. We thought we had unintentionally offended him, somehow. He finally explained to us that he was crying because that was his first experience being served by a White waitress. And for her to treat him with dignity, respect and call him “sir,” and clearly interact with him as a servant, it was an historic, unprecedented moment for him. He thought he would never, ever know what that experience was like. Therefore, experiencing the reality was quite dramatic and emotional for him. Another 30-year marker for Bob and me.

Bob’s dad was 16, when he was born. He did not know him. Later, his mother married a wonderful man, whom Bob loved dearly and he never experienced father deprivation except for the brief period before his mother married and blessed him with a wonderful stepfather.

At age 32, having graduated from SWBTS with an MDiv, and pastoring in Fort Worth, Bob became intrigued with the notion of meeting his biological father. He hired a lawyer to search for him, with success. The lawyer after two weeks gave Bob a man’s name, address, phone number and other biographical data, and told Bob, it is a high, high probability that this name is your father.

Armed with that information, he caught a plane to White Plains, New York, and registered in a hotel a couple of blocks from the man’s address. He then called the phone number, got the man on the phone, and began to ask him a series of questions, trying to confirm the man’s identity to see if it matched the information provided by the lawyer; and it did. As Bob was interrogating the man, he interrupted Bob and said, “you must be my son. I have wanted to connect with you for a long time.” As Bob listened to the man’s answers, he started to realize that he was talking to his biological father for the very first time in his life. Unlike me, Bob Fowler is not emotional. But, hearing his father’s voice for the first time, brought a river of tears to his eyes. I had never thought to give God thanks, or to appreciate and value the voice of my father. I simply took it for granted. But I began that day, as Bob called me from New York and told me the story, to regularly give God thanks for my father’s voice. Bob gave me permission to share his story many, many years ago. I have done so many times, because if you are blessed to have been raised by your biological father, learn to value and appreciate his presence and voice.

Fowler was called to pastor the St John Church in Lawton, Oklahoma in about 1993. He honored me by having me preach his installation service. In 1996, he was called to pastor the Victory Church in Vegas, where he remained until his death.

Interesting story how he was called to Victory. A San Diego pastor, Dr Timothy Winters, invited me to preach three nights at his church surrounding my book, “Beyond Roots: In Search of Blacks in The Bible.” I had a scheduling conflict and could not make it. Fowler, helped me research the book, and checked a book out of the library at SWBTS entitled, “Noah’s Three Sons: Human History In Three Dimensions,” by Dr. Arthur C. Custance, published by Zondervan Press. That book was the major extra-biblical source that informed my book. When I asked Fowler, if there were any Blacks in the Bible, he said, “I don’t know.” But he sought to help me answer that question and helped me tremendously with research, freely given.

Consequently, I recommended Fowler to go and speak in my place in San Diego, for Dr. Winters. Dr. Winters accepted him, loved his preaching, and later recommended him to preach at Victory in Vegas in view of a call. The rest is history.

Because Bob pastored the largest African American Church in the state of Nevada, politicians flocked to his church. The State Attorney General and many prominent politicians are members of his congregation. I have preached there on many occasions, and the reigning Republican Senator Ensign, at the time, was worshiping there. He loved my message and stayed around to chat. Senator Joseph Liberman was at his church one Sunday, and he is a practicing Jew. Bob asked him permission to share the gospel with him. Senator Liberman said, under one condition: “You cannot use Scripture from the New Testament.” Bob said, “fine,” and gave an exposition of the Gospel of Christ based on Isaiah 53. The Senator did not accept Christ, but he told Bob that he appreciated learning about Jesus in that passage.

Bob was still pastoring in Fort Worth in 1994 when my mother passed. His schedule would not allow him to attend my mother’s funeral; but, he and Rev. Lee Hill, his understudy, drove to my father’s home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, two days before the funeral, to sit with and comfort my father.

My father, also a Baptist pastor, loved to travel to National Baptist gatherings, with Bob and me. Daddy would have been proud of both of us, as we mounted the lecture stage together this past September in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the National Baptist Convention to lecture on Church Growth and Development.

In November, this past year, I was preaching at a conference in Los Angeles. Bob drove down from Vegas to support me and hang out for a couple of days. He affirmed me and my message in a manner way beyond anytime in the past. I did not realize that would be the last time he heard me preach in person.

Bob and Joyce maintained a house in Fort Worth, and often he would preach for me while in town. Cornerstone absolutely adored him.

Obviously, I could tell many other stories about my friendship with Bob Fowler, that has impacted my life like none other. Let me conclude with this one. The last time I saw Bob was in January of this year. He came to town with his wife to visit family, and to check on three investment properties that he owns here. While in town, he spent a day with Vera and I. We had a Systematic Theology III class that morning; he came with us. He also wanted to experience SWBTS again, and we had a blast, sitting in class like teen-age boys, as we were whispering to each other regarding Dr. Madison Grace’s great lecture. Afterwards the three of us enjoyed a hearty breakfast. It was a very special time. I had recommended to Dr. Paige Patterson to invite Dr. Fowler to preach in chapel at SWBTS a few years earlier. Dr. Patterson invited him. I attended chapel that day and was so blessed to hear my friend preach. Fowler recently completed a DMin in Church Growth from Biola. He also earned a DMin from Tyndale Theological Seminary. Bob Fowler was my theological, exegetical and ecclesiastical mentor, in addition to being the best friend I have ever had.

I am going to miss my friend. I am awaiting the details regarding his funeral services. I have not traveled since the virus outbreak. But, if The Lord says the same, I am going to Vegas and love on my friend’s family and congregation. And, I want to go on his turf and bid him farewell. I need that for closure and healing. Thank you for sharing my grief and listening to my long story. I pray that there was something said that was inspirational and a blessing to you! More importantly, as Bob would have it, I pray that this tribute glorified our Savior and Lord.

Al Mohler is a tried and trusted leader among Southern Baptists. His election as President of the SBC in June 2020 is probably inevitable.

The timing of his announcement, I find unusual and unprecedented. I believe there is an agenda—a specific agenda—associated with his nomination. I just don’t know what all it might include.

As with all nominations, for the SBC President, H.B. Charles’ nominating Al Mohler is a strategic move. H.B. is lending his enormous credibility and influence to Mohler, and that will bode well in Mohler’s favor with a wide variety of people. I applaud and appreciate H.B. Charles’ nominating Al Mohler. Mohler will inherit a reservoir of good will from all of us who love H.B. Charles.

I do not plan to attend the Orlando SBC as my way of protesting the five entity head vacancies over the past two years, choosing to not elect, or in some cases, even interview minority candidates. This decision was made before Mohler’s nomination.

If I had concerns about Mohler, they would be: I am afraid he might be representing a certain SBC constituency who wants to move the clock back in certain ways. Mohler loves to inter-mix his personal opinion—not backed by the BFM2K—that a female, such as Beth Moore, should not be allowed to preach to a coed audience. There were more women platformed at the ’19 SBC Birmingham meeting than any other convention in SBC history. I hope that we will see this continue in a Mohler-led Convention.

Mohler supported the IMB policies that restricted SBC missionaries from praying in private according to the dictates of their own conscience and biblical convictions. I would hope that he does not try and turn the clock back on the decision for freedom exercised in private prayer among IMB missionaries.

I celebrate the fact that Mohler refused to publicly support Donald Trump due to character issues. His consistency here trumps many of his evangelical counterparts. Much respect to him for his position. I also appreciate the fact that Mohler would not sign John MacArthur’s anti-social justice statement. He showed a backbone in doing so that I greatly admire.

I do not share Mohler’s beliefs regarding Calvinist soteriology. I believe that Christ died for all, and all can be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. I do not embrace the idea that only the elect can be saved. God elected those, who based on His foreknowledge, would elect Him. I find Mohler’s view of soteriology lacking biblical support and particularly, historically anathema, to the Black church. Calvinism is the theology that drove slavery in America, and provided a false theological justification for its existence. The African American Baptist Church is largely anti-Calvinistic. I would hope that Calvinism does not exponentially increase as a result of Mohler’s election in SBC life.

I appreciatively applaud Mohler leading SBTS to acknowledge their complicity with slavery and the corresponding benefit to the institution. That is a huge counter-culture move in SBC life. Much respect I give to Mohler for this.

Unless a better candidate emerges—such as Beth Moore or some other well qualified woman—or male pastor that share my convictions—I would be comfortable with Al Mohler as President, because he is tried, trusted and tested as leader, with regard to character and competence.

Some are afraid that the SBC is beginning to run off the rails. Al Mohler’s agenda, I believe, is to keep that from happening. In doing so, I question whether or not, he might be more tradition-driven, than biblical and Spirit-driven. I am watching his nomination with prayerful and careful eyes. I pray that he will not turn the clock back.

1 Timothy 2:12
“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

There is no single verse in the Bible that has generated more controversy than 1Timothy 2:12. Dr. Maurice Pugh is correct in his assessment as to why there is so much controversy surrounding this verse.

“The crux of the controversy: some would say take it as it is written, others would say what is going on behind what is written; then others compare it with the other verses that have been written.”

Paul taught that women in the Kingdom were to model the pattern of leadership God set forth in creation whereby leadership is exhibited by male and female God-given dominion. The male is given leadership responsibilities in the partnership and the woman is the follower. The temple of Artemis at Ephesus had a woman at the center and men were followers. This was a reversal of the creation model. Paul writes what he does in 1 Timothy 2:12 as a corrective to say women should not swap roles with the man. Women can preach on the Lord’s Day of worship if they follow leadership as did Huldah, Phoebe and the New Testament prophetess and not rebel against leadership as did Eve and Jezebel.

  1. Inconsistent Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-12: The same stringent interpretation we have for v. 12 is not used for vv. 9-10, which states: “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” If the instructions in vv. 9-10 are relative to the church in Ephesus and their particular situation, then why do we try to take v. 12 to its logical extent, without focus on why Paul would give such instructions?  We would not dare instruct a woman that she should not wear braids, pearls or costly clothing based on vs. 9; thus, we should not take a different hermeneutical approach with vs. 12. To do so presents an impermissibly inconsistent interpretation of 1Timothy 2:9-12.
  2. 1 Timothy 2:11 – There is a misunderstanding and misapplication of the text related to “silence” and women applied to preaching/speaking opportunities in worship: Silence does not mean silence. As in 1 Corinthians 14:34, the instructions for silence must be taken in the context of the situation. Paul cannot mean that women must be completely silent; otherwise women cannot publicly declare their own salvation in church.  The context must suggest that women be allowed to learn in an environment with order.  The problem Paul is addressing in Ephesus is similar to Corinth where women are stepping out of their roles opposing the men.  Why else would Paul have to address their appearance as he did in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16? Again, the definition of the term “silence” has been misunderstood and misapplied.
  1. 1 Timothy 2:12 – There is a failure to understand the historical context of Paul’s instructions when he referenced “Teach” and “have authority.” This was not an outright prohibition but rather was instructional on “how” the teaching should occur. When Paul says that he does not allow a woman to teach or have full power over a man, he is saying this with focus on abuse of authority and teaching.  In classical Greek the substantive form of the verb used (to have authority) is referring to a person who acts with so much unrestraint that they are like a murderer or someone who takes one’s life by force.  Paul does not mean that women should not be able to teach, preach, or have any ability to speak in church.  If he meant that, then 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 would be contradictory.  So, either Paul meant for his instructions in Ephesus to be different from Corinth, or we are misinterpreting what he meant for Ephesus.  Paul is speaking of women dominating the man in worship.  Women should not have complete or full authority over the men.  Rather, women should be allowed to preach and teach under the counsel and authority of men.
  1. 1 Timothy 2:13-15 – Applying The Creation Story to Eve—but not to Adam is flawed: “There is a serious theological contradiction in telling a woman when she comes to faith in Christ, her personal sins are forgiven but she must continue to be punished for the sins of Eve” (Richard Clark Kroeger, Catherine Kroeger, I Suffer Not A Woman, Baker Book House, pp. 21-22).

The Creation Story is meant to protect women not oppress them. Paul mentions Adam’s creation prior to Eve not to argue that women are to be beneath the heel of a men but that women are to be covered and protected by men (1 Corinthians 11:3ff).  Especially in this setting, where the cultural climate lent itself to empowering women in mystical and religious matters, Paul was urging the church to buck the trend of the world and keep biblical order.  If there are women who are attempting to overrule the men in the congregation, or there was a temptation to allow Christian women who believe there was neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28) to dominate; there is a failure to understand the historical context of Paul’s instructions when he referenced “Teach” and “have authority.” This was not an outright prohibition but rather was instructional on “how” the teaching should occur. Just as we abuse Scripture today, it was easy to abuse Galatians 3:28 and argue that there were no longer any differences, and women should be the heads now.  Paul had to support his position with the Bible.  The Scripture taught that when God’s order got perverted, women were the ones who were deceived. That meant that men should help them learn in silence, in an orderly environment.

  1. Too many people are overlooking Hermeneutics 101: It demands all to interpret Scripture with Scripture. It is necessary to compare Scripture with Scripture to find the correct meaning. We must understand 1 Timothy 2:12 in light of every other relevant message concerning gender roles in ministry in the Bible. By doing so, we could not possibly conclude what Paul meant in 1 Timothy 2:12, is for a female to never, ever, be given the opportunity to preach in the Lord’s Day of Worship.

The Bible may contain paradoxes, perplexities, and problems but not outright contradictions.

Quoting the late L.E. Maxwell, he “declared that more than a hundred passages in the Bible affirm women in roles of leadership, and fewer than half a dozen appear to be in opposition” (Kroeger, p. 33). We must seek to understand the role of women by the more than hundred affirmative verses, not just the few that appear to be unduly restrictive.

Phoebe and Jezebel are examples of females who addressed the congregation on the Lord’s Day of worship (Romans 16:1-2; Revelations 2:18-23).

Phoebe addressed the congregation at the direction of Paul. Jezebel addressed the congregation at Thyatira by the permission of “the angel of the house”—male leadership. Phoebe followed instructions. Jezebel spoke contrary to the Word and Will of God. But the speaking hour was not off limits to her based on gender. Her disqualification was based on false teaching, which is the same thing that men are often rebuked for in Scripture.

I think we need to acknowledge that, however firmly we hold our convictions; there might be some things we don’t know. It seems those who hold firmly to “I don’t suffer a woman to teach” will often dismiss “let the women keep silent.”

Opening Statement by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Ascol/McKissic Debate/Dialogue
Westin Birmingham
June 10, 2019, 4:00 p.m.

In the Kingdom, God values women. Neither complementarianism, nor egalitarianism are biblical terms, and they fall short of biblical definitions and parameters when it comes to certain gender roles in Kingdom ministry. Jesus would not label Himself a complementarian or an egalitarian; therefore, neither will I. The word I have coined to label my position on gender roles in ministry is –“Kingdomarian.”1 This appellation—‘kingdomarian”—focuses on Jesus’ central teaching on all things as matters “pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

A Kingdomarian is one who believes men and women are coequal under God.  Both are valued by God in their essence and function.  Both are called into the ministry of disciple-making and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the Earth.  And both do this with the recognition that in the local church, women and men function under God’s authority, under the leadership of a Kingdom-focused, male lead pastor because of God’s sovereign purpose(s) and Kingdom assignment(s) (Matthew 24:14).

My thesis proposes that the Bible reveals that in God’s Kingdom, God gifts and calls women to preach to whomever He wills, on any day He wills, at any gathering He wills, without limitation with respect to gender (Acts 2:17-18; I Corinthians 11:5).

The Son of God, The Spirit of God and The Saints of God, have sanctioned and commissioned women to preach the Gospel wherever and whenever “God would open…a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3).

I. The Son Of God Affirmed Women in Proclamation Ministries Without Regard to Gender under His Authority.

A. At Jesus’ birth Anna the prophetess “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). She “did not depart from the temple” (Luke 2:37). Whatever prophesying Anna engaged in occurred at the temple in Jerusalem, and we know she spoke to “all”—men and women (Luke 2:38).

B. During Jesus’ life “many women…followed Jesus” (Matthew 28:55), funded His ministry (Luke 8:2-3), were discipled by Him (Luke 10:38-42), stood by Him at the Cross (Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40), and came to His tomb, “very early in the morning, on the first day of the week” (Mark 16:2), “that they might…anoint Him” (Mark 16:1). Male disciples (with the exception of John) were conspicuously absent at the cross and at the tomb (Mark 14:50). John, alone, eventually stood by Jesus at the cross (John 19:25-27).

C. Jesus rewarded women for their faith and faithfulness to Him, by commissioning two women (Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” Matthew 28:1) to deliver the first Lord’s Day Worship Sermon, in the history of the Christian Church (Matthew 28:6, 10).

Jesus fully entrusted women to deliver the first Lord’s Day message to men. The angel told the women, after inviting them to inspect the empty grave, “go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:7). Jesus instructed these women, “Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me” (Matthew 28:10).

I agree with Southern Baptist pastor, Steve Bezner2:

“In the days after the Resurrection, as the church was formed, the New Testament is clear — women were integral. Women were the ones to discover the empty tomb, and, therefore, the first to preach the gospel. We read that Philip’s daughters prophesied. We read that the Spirit falling at Pentecost was a fulfillment of Joel’s prediction that sons and daughters would prophesy. We read that, in Christ, there is neither male nor female — there are no categories of salvation in Jesus. We read that Phoebe is a diakonos of the church — a word usually translated as “deacon.” We read that Junia is “highly esteemed among the apostles,” which means that either a) Junia was a woman highly respected by the apostles or, b) that Junia was a woman who was a highly respected apostle (but not one of the Twelve). We read that Lydia hosted a church in her home. We read that Priscilla helped disciple Apollos — a popular early Christian teacher.”

Basically, Pastor Steve Bezner’s point emphasizes that: “Women were…the first to preach the gospel”; they preached the gospel to men, including on the Lord’s Day of worship (Matthew 28:1-10); and women were gifted and allowed to use those gifts in the early church.

II. The Spirit Of God Anointed And Appointed Women To Preach The Gospel, Under God’s Authority, Without Regard To The Day Of The Week, Under God-Appointed Male Authority.

A. Women were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, when God poured out His Spirit upon the church (Acts 1:14).

B. God poured out His Spirit upon women at Pentecost to proclaim “the wonderful works of God” just as He did the men (Acts 2:11).

C. Peter quoted Joel on The Day of Pentecost, as a promise being fulfilled at Pentecost:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” (Acts 2:17. Joel 2:28-29)

Obviously the text of Joel is appropriated to establish an authoritative basis which underscores the significance of Pentecost for both men and women.

D. The Holy Spirit distributes to “each one for the profit of all” (I Corinthians 12:7). The Holy Spirit distributed to “each one” individually as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). One of the gifts The Spirit gave without regard to gender was “prophecy” (I Corinthians 12:10).

E. What is prophecy? The common reformation answer appealed to 1 Corinthians 14:3 (Prophecy & Hermeneutic in Early Christianity, E. Earle Ellis, Baker Books, 1993) 3:

“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”

Prophecy also includes learning (I Corinthians 14:31), and evangelism (I Corinthians 14:24-25).

The gift of “preaching” is not listed among the list of spiritual gifts. No one would argue that men and women are gifted by God’s Spirit to preach. So where is the gift of preaching among the list of spiritual gifts?

I agree with the Late Dr. Jack Gray, 4 who believes that the gift of prophecy equates to the gift of preaching. The gift of prophecy is mentioned in all three lists of spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:7-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11). Prophecy is the Spirit’s gift to preach the message of God with clarity and power, to be God’s spokesman to His people, both forth telling and foretelling. It is the gift to receive and deliver God’s message to people.” Prophecy is primarily communicating the gospel, with a view towards persuasion.

In I Corinthians 11:5, Paul affirms women praying and prophesying with their heads covered, which was customarily indicative of male presence and a sign of modesty in that culture. Women prophesied without any restrictions on the day or location where they would prophesy.

III. The Saints of God in Baptist History Have Sanctioned Women Preaching under God’s Authority and Kingdom Male Leadership.

A. The Second London Confession of Particular Baptists (1689) states: 5

“[T]he work of preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to the [elders]; but that others, also gifted and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.”

Note that these other preachers, who did not hold the pastoral office preached because they were “gifted” to do so. In other words, the local church recognized the gifting by the Holy Spirit and approved of their preaching. An autonomous local church can approve of anyone they desire to occupy the preaching hour as they deem “fitted by the Holy Spirit”—male or female.

B. Dr. Curtis Freemen, a Research Professor of Theology and Director of the Baptist House of Studies of Duke Divinity School, wrote an 842 page tome entitled: “A Company of Women Preachers: Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England; A Reader,” 6 in which he documents, details and delineates the messages of seven Baptists Women who preached in Baptist churches in Britain from 1641-1679. Their names were Katherine Chidly, Sarah Wright, Elizabeth Poole, June Turner, Anna Trapnel, Katherine Sutton, and Anne Wentworth.

C. Leon McBeth, “The Baptist Heritage, Four Centuries of Baptist Witness” (pp. 690-695), 7 states that, “Women served as deacons and deaconesses, and sometimes preached, among the English Baptists from the 1600’s. In the American South, the Separate Baptists recognized both deaconesses and eldresses, and some women, like Martha Stearns Marshall, were notable for their fervent preaching and praying in public.”(pp. 690-691) (The Sandy Creek tradition).

D. In more recent history, we know that Missionary Bertha Smith delivered the “Lord’s Day” morning message at Bellevue, Memphis, FBC, Dallas and Atlanta and many other SBC churches during her career. Retired Oklahoma SBC Pastor, Paul Burleson, writes about the privilege of hearing “Miss Bertha” many times in conferences where they shared being keynote speakers. Burleson summarizes a Denver speaking engagement within a SBC context where, “Miss Bertha did not give a testimony, she did not bring a devotional, she ‘preached the Word in power.’” Burleson goes on to write:

“The SBC historically has been blessed by women, anointed by the Spirit, sharing the Word of God. It may not have been mainstream, but it was God, from my perspective.” (Paul Burleson, Friday, May 31, 5:49 p.m., Istoria Ministries Blog, comment section).8

Charles Stanley stated in Baptist Press, October 24, 2003:

“There are a number of women who are preachers who are preaching the gospel today, and they are being very successful at it and they are meeting people’s needs…You can’t tell a woman who is called by God to teach that she cannot teach the Word of God…so I think that there’s a difference between the authority of a pastor and a Bible teacher.”9

R C Sproul stated in a “Lecture from the Teaching Series The Role of Women in the Church:

”I see nothing in Scripture that precludes a woman from being a preacher…I believe you [a woman] can be a preacher in the church on a Sunday Morning Service.” 10

I give God praise for Sproul’s affirmation of the proclamation gifts given to women biblically allowed in worship.

Dr. W.A. Criswell stated, “The apostle [Paul] says that the woman is to pray and to prophesy (speak out for Christ) in the church. She has a worthy place of honor in the household of God’s redeemed.” 11 Dr. Criswell’ wife, Betty Criswell, taught men and women in church on Sunday’s in a group three times larger than the average SBC church.

E. God has raised up Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer and hundreds of Baptist/Evangelical women who are filling pulpits on Sunday morning at a male pastor’s request.

F. If God’s Word is true (and it is), we will see more of this in Southern Baptist churches in the future. Let the Church Say Amen!

“The Lord gives the Word, Great is the host of women who proclaim it” (Psalm 68:11).

Dr. Sheri Klouda Sharp, a Hebrew scholar, comments on this verse:

“The Hebrew actually says:  The Lord gives forth His word, the ones who are proclaiming it a great host (company, etc.). The piel participle is feminine plural and you could even translate the participle as “the women proclaiming it a great host (number, company, etc.). The participle has a definite article on the front, typically translated as “the ones who are ‘doing an action.’”12

G. Bill Victor raises a great question on this topic: “If Phoebe came to your church with a letter from Paul, would you let her read it in the church?” 13 And I will add—will you let her read it on Sunday morning in worship? My answer would be, “yes”!!! Hard complementarians would answer, “No”!!!

There is something profoundly wrong with the idea that a woman cannot speak or preach from the pulpit, because that is exactly what Paul instructed Phoebe to do, and instructed the men  to, “assist her in whatever business she has need of you” (Romans 16:1-2). It is time for the church to let Phoebe, be Phoebe, Priscilla be Priscilla, and Phillip’s four daughters conduct the ministries under God’s authority, and God ordained male leadership, as He has instructed them to do, even preaching in a Lord’s Day Worship service.


1 “Kingdomarian – arian is a suffix that forms the ending for nouns corresponding to Latin adjectives that ended in -arius. The suffix is for personal nouns.” (Statement Providing Etymological Support for the term “Kingdomarian” by Marcus Jerkins, New Testament, PH.D. Candidate, Baylor University, Waco, TX, June 2019).

2 Pastor Steve Bezner Blog, “Room for Moore”:

3 Prophecy & Hermeneutic in Early Christianity, E. Earle Ellis, Baker Books, 1993.

4 Dr. L. Jack Gray, Studies of the Holy Spirit, Self-published Class Notes, Paper, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX.

5 William L. Lumpkin, The Second London Confession of Particular Baptists (1689), Baptist Confessions of Faith, Judson Press, 1969, p. 288.

6 Dr. Curtis Freemen, “A Company of Women Preachers: Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England; A Reader”

7 H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, Four Centuries of Baptist Witness.

8 Paul Burleson, Friday, May 31, 5:49 p.m., Istoria Ministries Blog, Comment Section.

9 Charles Stanley, Baptist Press, October 24, 2003

10 R C Sproul, “Lecture from the Teaching Series The Role of Women in the Church,

11 W.A. Criswell, Chriswell’s Guidebook for Pastors, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1980, p. 94.

12Dr. Sheri Klouda Sharp, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Former Chair and Director, MARS Program, Taylor University, Upland, IN. (Statement).

13 Bill Victor, Tweet by Bill Victor on Twitter, Bill Victor (@billyv_33), 6/1/19, 9:29 PM.

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

I. I seriously internally and externally debated about attending SBC ’19 Birmingham because SBC entities repeatedly refuse to hire minorities as president of one of the entities, even when they are highly qualified. There have been five entity head vacancies in the SBC over the past 18 months. Four of the five have been filled. No minorities have been hired to date. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement.

II. The ten entity heads of the SBC assemble at least biannually, in a meeting known as the Great Commission Council. In a Convention comprised of 20% minorities—Asians, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, it is disheartening that SBC entity trustee boards, always find a way to deem minorities less than the right fit or not the best qualified candidate to be offered an entity head president’s job—consequently, disqualifying any minority service or the Great Commission Council. For the Great Commission Council to look like the White Citizens Council in the SBC is painful and shameful.

III. It is my intention to ask the chairman of the five entities who have hired, or will be soon, to answer these questions: (1) Were there any minorities interviewed as finalist for the job of president of the entity that you represent? (2) If not, why not?

IV.   I have received three responses from the five entities that I wrote letters to asking pointed questions regarding minority hiring/interviews as entity head presidents.

The SBC Executive Committee and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary did not offer a response to my letter of inquiry regarding minority interviews or finalist; again, I am very disappointed with their non-response. I did get an email from Ronnie Floyd, recently elected President of the EC, stating that the Chairman of the Search Committee and/or the Chairman of the EC Trustees would have to respond to my letter because he was new on the job and literally did not have the information to answer my questions. In a brief text message exchange with Dr. Adam Greenway, recently elected President of SWBTS, he responded similarly to Dr. Floyd; new to the job, did not know the answers to my questions; answers would have to come from the search committee for President, from SWBTS or Trustees.

Dr. Chuck Kelly, the recently retired President of NOBTS, responded with a thoughtful and thorough four-page letter. Honestly, I was encouraged by Dr. Kelly’s letter.

Regarding the report that he had stated that a minority hiring at NOBTS would not be good for fundraising reasons—Dr. Kelly said he has “been misrepresented, but have no intention of responding in kind with criticisms…or making elaborate defenses.” Dr. Kelly further stated:

“To get to the point of your question, I believe any person of any race can raise money effectively when they are doing what God wants them to do. Based on my experience as a candidate for a seminary presidency, I will say that any candidate, Anglo or minority, should expect Trustee perceptions about their ability to raise the millions of dollars required by academic institutions in today’s world, to be an important factor in candidate evaluations. It is not a racial issue. It is an experience issue. What evidence will Trustees see that you can do this?”

Dr. Kelly laid out four recommendations at my request, to increase the odds of a minority being hired as an entity head at NOBTS:

1. “Doctorate required, PhD strongly preferred; extensive, effective ministry experience in SBC churches expected; have a healthy marriage with no divorce in your past; clearly know and have a long-standing commitment to CP, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and the NOBTS Articles of Religious Beliefs (required of all faculty members and Trustees); and get clear experience in as many elements of a President’s role and/or the school’s mission and story as possible.”

2. “[G]et connected to the NOBTS family in as many ways as possible, such as participation in alumni activities, MissionLab ministry involvement, interaction with professors, etc. In other words, know the school and be known by people in the NOBTS family.”

3. “Get recommended…The number of recommendations can make a difference and the significance of the people making a recommendation can matter. I would advise against recommending yourself. For many Baptist search committees, self-nomination to be a President will send you to the bottom of the stack.”

4. “Understand and be able to articulate how and why you believe you fit into the larger NOBTS story…”

5. “We have forty Trustees. At present those forty Trustees include one African American, one Korean and three women.”

I know from independent sources that NOBTS actually interviewed two African American candidates who were finalists. In my judgment, the single most important factor related to why neither of the African American finalists was selected: because there is only one African American Trustee. That is where the crime is! Minorities in the SBC are experiencing taxation without representation.

Dr. Kelly would disagree with me: “You think the system is broken when it comes to hiring minorities to serve as entity heads. I disagree. I think it is undeveloped…The problem is a lack of focused attention on minority leadership development.”
I do not totally disagree with Dr. Kelly’s assessment. The truth probably lies somewhere between his position, and my position, that minorities are not being hired, because minorities are woefully not being appointed to trustee boards.

Dr. Kelly responded as a sage. My respect for him increased exponentially after reading his letter. In response to allegations of racism being hurled at him, because of a reputed remark that he recommended to the NOBTS Trustees, not to hire a minority President because of their inability to raise funds, Dr. Kelly’s response: “Flaws I have in abundance, but I am not a racist.” I accept Dr. Kelly’s explanation of the reputed racist remark. To the extent, I accepted and publicly articulated my view of his remark is racist, without the benefit of his broader and genetic application of the fundraising requirements of a NOBTS President—I apologize to Dr. Kelly for believing and further spreading the remark.

LifeWay has not hired a President as of this date. Brad Waggoner, Interim President, responded to my inquiry. He revealed that there are four minority trustees at LifeWay. Of these four, I have no idea if one is African American or not. I have been encouraged by Jim Richardson and Steve Gaines tweeting their support for a woman entity president at LifeWay, if the search committee made such a recommendation.

President J.D. Greear is advancing the SBC forward with the increased appointments of minority trustees. For that, I am grateful.

V.  I am looking forward to a debate/dialogue with Tom Ascol regarding “Does the Bible Permit Women to Preach in The Lord’s Day Worship Service?” on Monday, June 10, 4:00 p.m. at the Westin Birmingham. God has been gracious to me in my preparation. I am grateful to Rev. Ascol for accepting my challenge to debate this issue. Tom and I are often on opposite sides of many SBC hot-button issues. We both are “scrappy fellows.” My appreciation for him is sincere though, and I tell you why. In the early years of my attending the SBC, Tom reached out to me a hand of welcome and friendship. He invited me to a breakfast at a Founders Gathering and paid for my meal. Hardly two people in the SBC at the time even knew my name. Somehow, Tom knew of me, and extended a hand of welcome and brotherhood. That meant a lot to me; when you are a minority, at a SBC meeting, it helps when a member of the majority, goes out of their way to offer fellowship and friendship.

VI. The “For Such a Time as This Rally” is a significant gathering, that I am grateful to be asked to serve as one of their speakers on Tuesday, June 11, 6:15 p.m.

VII. “The Dangers of Social Justice Panel” is perhaps the only place where the potential for sparks to fly at an unofficial convention-related gathering, will take place, Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m., at the Westin Birmingham. Tom Buck and Tom Ascol are both on this panel. I consider both “frenemies”; no, we are friends who simply often disagree. I love those brothers. I have never met Josh Buice. Whoever approved of the panel subject matter with the Black Power symbol in the background, simply do not appreciate or understand racial insensitivity. Thankfully, the Black Power sign from the promo materials has recently been removed. I pray that this event will be less explosive than I anticipate. At Tom Buck’s request, I submitted four questions, that I hope are asked and answered:

1. Will you please specify any “dangers” that you would associate with the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 50’s and 60’s?
2. Do you view the battle to end legal abortion as a social justice movement? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. Why is it that White SBC pastors do not address clear cases of police brutality, as they do the abortion issue?

And, with these seven concerns, and objectives, off to Birmingham I go!



Five Entities: Southern Baptist Executive Committee (EC), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), International Mission Board (IMB), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) and Lifeway.

There are five questions that I plan to forward to five SBC entities (listed above), who have hired, or will be hiring a President for each entity, in the months ahead. If I get actual, specific answers to these questions in writing before the Annual Session of the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, in June, I will not find it necessary to ask these questions during each of these five entities’ report to the Convention. If I don’t get answers to these questions, I will feel compelled to ask these questions on the floor of the Convention.

  1. Will you please share with me the total number of minority applicants for the Presidency of the IMB, SWBTS, EC, NOBTS and Lifeway, by the date of this letter?
  2. Will you please share with me the total number of minority applicants that made the list of the top three finalist for the presidency of each entity (IMB, SWBTS, EC, NOBTS and Lifeway)?
  3. Will you please share with me the total number of minority applicants who were interviewed at each entity (IMB, SWBTS, EC, NOBTS and Lifeway)?
  4. Will each entity give your answer to the question that was reportedly expressed by a retiring entity head (that hopefully was simply an innocuous, objective and pragmatic question, as opposed to a racist question): Do you believe that a minority entity head would adversely affect the donor base of the SBC and her entities?
  5. Will you give your answer to the question regarding your comfortability and compatibility with numerous resolutions of the SBC expressing the aspirational goal of minority inclusion and empowerment at every level of SBC life: If there are no minorities hired as entity heads between now and the near future, is that philosophically and pragmatically, a picture and a reality that your entity would be comfortable with?

Thanks for your consideration and contribution of the answers to each of these five questions. The answers to the questions will be very helpful in understanding the diversity pool of SBC potential leadership, who has expressed an openness to serve our Convention. The answers will also provide valuable information needed to be proactive in recruiting minorities to apply for future vacancies. Finally, it will give trustee board members a scientific, statistical analysis of what progress is being made toward the SBC Great Commission Council, reflecting the diversity of the scope of the Great Commission. I am really grateful for your anticipated response/answers to these questions.

For His Kingdom,

William Dwight McKissic, Sr.


Reflections on Recent SBC Sexual Abuse Reports

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Christa Brown of has been sounding the alarm for many years that there was a major problem, widespread, among Southern Baptists regarding sexual abuse. Unfortunately, she was largely marginalized, rebuffed, rejected, and her claims were met with denial, by high profile SBC personalities and official entity responses. History has vindicated her. The recent Houston Chronicle article documents and details a pattern of sexual abuse and cover-ups in SBC Life. Ms. Brown actually deserves an apology from the personalities and entities that questioned her motives and veracity.

In 2010, my heart bled for how the SBC was treating Ms. Brown ( I wanted to encourage and affirm her, and let her know that, I, for one, thought her story was authentic, and her claims were valid that there was a larger problem in SBC Life regarding this issue.

God always sends warning before judgment. The SBC ignored the warning from the “prophetess”—Christa Brown. Now, the SBC is facing judgment.

Another warning: Sherri Klouda, Karen Bullock, and Wendy Norvelle are three SBC women who were all mistreated professionals in SBC institutional life. They were all denied tenure, positions, demoted or fired, simply because they were women. The same conservative, inerrantist, trustee board that hired Sherri Klouda to teach the Hebrew alphabet at SWBTS, fired her because she was a woman teaching the Hebrew alphabet. Sherri Klouda’s firing was inexcusable and indefensible. Yet, SWBTS did so, unapologetically. It is no secret that SWBTS is experiencing major enrollment decline and financial challenges. Judgment for the ill treatment of Sherri Klouda and denying Dr. Karen Bullock, tenure, may have already begun.

I would hope that SWBTS/SBC does not wait for a secular newspaper to document and detail all the women who have been professionally violated and mistreated in SBC Life before they repent, lament, and declare a change of heart, leading to a change of actions.

Wendy Norvelle was appointed Interim VP at IMB. But trustees would not support a woman being permanently named to such a position, although there is nothing scripturally that forbids a woman functioning in such a capacity. Junia, Phoebe, Huldah, Deborah, Priscilla and Lydia are excellent biblical role models that would have not been allowed to function in today’s SBC, because of views toward women, out of sync with Scripture. The three SBC women were serving in roles analogous with their biblical role models; yet, the SBC denied these women.

I, for one, want to go on record, again, acknowledging the SBC’s complicity and guilt in the maltreatment of Sherri Klouda, Karen Bullock, and Wendy Norvelle. I pray that the powers that be in the SBC would offer an apology to these women before judgment fully comes.

In 2007, I resigned as a trustee after serving for only one year for several reasons. Included were health concerns, church leadership and my wife’s feeling as if I had been rejected by the trustees and SWBTS leadership; therefore, I could not be effective as a trustee; and Cornerstone needed, respected and appreciated my time and input, more so than SWBTS. In many respects, when SWBTS leadership recommended to the SBC that I be removed as a trustee, they were attempting to silence and marginalize me, just as they had done Sherri Klouda and Karen Bullock. Later, they recanted their recommendation and asked me to remain a trustee. By then, I was exasperated. Those factors did weigh heavily upon my thinking. But an underlying factor, that I have never expressed publicly before was, I did not feel comfortable serving on a board that could treat Sherri Klouda as she was treated without any repentance or remorse. My presence on the board made me complicit; in my conscience, I could not live with that thought. Therefore, I resigned.

The same mentality that says Sherri Klouda cannot teach Hebrew, Wendy Norvelle cannot be a VP at IMB and Karen Bullock cannot teach church history or speak in Chapel—all on the basis of gender—is the same mentality that devalues women, solely on the basis of gender and contributes to a mentality of abusing women, because they are viewed as less valuable. God, forgive us and grant us mercy as you give us space to repent (Revelation 2:20-23).

Just as sexual abuse is systemic in SBC Life, denying women professional opportunities outside of the role of senior pastor is also systemic in SBC Life; and…God is displeased with both practices in the SBC.

In January, my wife and I have re-enrolled as students at SWBTS. We are enjoying every second of it. But, I pray that the day will come that apologies are extended to Dr. Klouda and Dr. Bullock before judgment comes.

 Church honors advocate for abuse victims


ARLINGTON, Texas (ABP) — A sometimes-controversial black Southern Baptist preacher recently honored an also-outspoken advocate for victims of sex abuse by Baptist clergy.

Dwight McKissic and Christa Brown

Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, presented Christa Brown of with an award Nov. 21 for sacrificial service by a Christian woman.

The Phoebe Award is named for a woman mentioned in the Book of Romans as “a servant of the church” and “helper of many.” McKissic’s church gives it to a woman “who has made a difference in our world” or “someone who stands up for truth and right,” said Veronica Griffin, Cornerstone’s minister of communications and special events. She said the award is presented every three to five years.

Brown is former Baptist outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support-and-advocacy group formed in 1989 in response to Catholic pedophilia scandals but with a focus that has expanded in recent years to clergy sexual abuse in other denominations. Brown tells her personal story of sexual abuse at the hands of a Baptist youth minister when she was a teenager — and of decades later tracking the perpetrator down and finally getting him removed from the ministry — in a book titled This Little Light.

After hearing from others with similar experiences, Brown set out to pressure the Southern Baptist Convention to set up safeguards like an independent panel where individuals could report abuse and a database of ministers guilty or credibly accused of sexual abuse.

For her efforts Brown and other leaders of SNAP have been publicly branded by prominent SBC leaders as “evil doers,” “just as reprehensible as sex criminals” and “nothing more than opportunistic persons who are seeking to raise opportunities for personal gain.”

Time magazine ranked the Southern Baptist Convention’s refusal to create a database of child molesters one of the 10 most under-reported stories of 2008. More recently a review of Brown’s book appeared overseas in The Times Literary Supplement. A translation just out in the Paris publication Booksmagazine carries the headline, “L’Église baptiste, paradis des pedophiles,” French for, “The Baptist church, paradise for pedophiles.”

A Cornerstone Baptist Church press release said Brown “works tirelessly to protect the next generation of innocent girls from abuse by Baptist pastors and clergy.”

“Although Ms. Brown has been disrespected, shunned and treated harshly by some in the Baptist family, she has chosen to take her abuse, hurt and shame and turn it into an opportunity to protect other women and girls from the same abuse, hurt and shame,” the release continued. “Realizing that not all Baptist preachers are predators, Ms. Brown desires to make parents aware of predators while educating the parent to become more aware and savvy in protecting their children.”

“She deserves to receive dignity, honor and acknowledgment for her life’s mission to protect others from clergy sexual abuse and change the Baptist infrastructure so that children and families are safe,” the release concluded.

Brown, an appellate lawyer now pursuing a Ph.D. at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, said that traveling to Texas to accept the award was the first time — except for funerals — she had set foot in a Baptist church in more than 30 years.

“I am grateful to the people of Cornerstone Baptist Church and to Rev. Dwight McKissic for the message of hope they have sent in the making of this award,” Brown said. “Like many other clergy sex-abuse survivors, I yearn for a day when kids in Baptist churches will be a great deal safer, and when abuse survivors will be heard with compassion and care.”

“As Dr. McKissic so wisely recognizes, the work of protecting against clergy predators is not work that attacks the church but work that seeks to serve the church,” she said.

“Though the stories of clergy sex abuse survivors may be deeply troubling, in truth, we bring a gift to the faith community. Our stories may serve to illuminate the care that is needed for the faith community itself, so that Baptists may bear a more faithful witness in the world and may become more true to their own vision of who they are.”

McKissic is no stranger to controversy. He was forced to resign as a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after saying in a chapel sermon that he uses a “private prayer language,” a practice common among Pentecostal and charismatic groups but controversial for many Southern Baptists.

More recently McKissic proposed amending the Southern Baptist Convention’s constitution to exclude churches that support “racial discrimination and bigotry in any form” and called for a resolutionapologizing for the convention’s mistreatment of women.


Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

It’s interesting that Democrats are being questioned about the integrity of their faith, from Republican loyalists who elected a man who own casinos, strip joints, thrice married, engaged in multiple affairs while married, who will not answer the question whether or not he paid for an abortion, defends taking children from their mothers at the border, and announced at the outset of his candidacy that he would not try and overturn the sanctioning of same-sex marriage.

The truth of the matter is that the Democrats demonstrate a greater reflection of Christ’s Kingdom on issues of providing a safety net for the poor, immigration reform, social and economic justice and equality, fairness and policy brutality issues.

The Republicans provide a greater reflection of Christ’s Kingdom on issues regarding the sanctity of life and their platform position against gay marriage.

I’m neither Republican nor a Democrat. The Kingdom of God does not ride on the back of a donkey or an elephant. Jesus did not come to take sides; He came to take over. I’m solely on the side of the Lamb who is worthy. The Donkey and the Elephant both fall short of the Kingdom of God, by a long shot. To tout one party spiritually and morally superior to the other, is divisive and alienating to the vast majority of believers who tend to vote along party lines racially. The implications racially of labeling Democrats “godless” are staggering.

Such false, misleading, and ill-thought labeling places the vast majority of Black and Hispanic evangelicals in the category of “godless.” It is very painful and offensive to be labeled “godless” by a people who elected a person who prefers immigrants from Norway over African immigrants and refers to the alt-right as “very fine people.”

My Comment Concerning the Decision to Post My 2006 Sermon in the Online Archives of SWBTS
by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
The spirit on Southwestern’s campus this week has been one of repentance, reconciliation, and renewal. I do not know all the factors that went into the seminary’s decision to make my 2006 sermon available online after more than twelve years of censure. I am grateful for that decision, and it could not have come at a more perfect time. My family and my church have always been supportive of Southwestern Seminary. We will continue to be as the Lord gives us health and strength.


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

How Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is treated by the Senate as a woman who confesses that she was victimized by Brett Kavanaugh during their high school years is not a matter of politics, from my perspective. It is a moral, justice, ethical, due process, and gender-fair treatment matter. I am equally as concerned that Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, receives the same equal and fair treatment by the Senate and the process, related to Dr. Ford’s accusations against him.

Because elections have consequences, and I am passionately pro-life, I am not among those who hope that Dr. Ford’s accusations would derail the Kavanaugh nomination. My heart would rejoice if Judge Kavanaugh casts the decisive vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. My purpose in addressing this issue is simply to add another voice to those who are concerned that Dr. Ford receives the utmost respect, fairness, and justice from the Senate regarding how her case is handled, by the powers that be.

I am deeply concerned by the Senate’s unwillingness to require a FBI investigation, and depositions be taken on all related parties involved in Dr. ford’s attempted-rape allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Two of the senators currently serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee also served on the Committee during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill saga. Those senators requested FBI investigation/depositions then, but are not in favor of FBI investigations/depositions on the Kavanaugh /Ford accusations. This speaks hypocrisy and duplicity.

References to Dr. Ford being confused, a pawn, and unreliable because she did not report this matter to the law at the time of the alleged occurrence, by President Trump and Republican Senators have been disheartening, because it demonstrates a certain insensitivity and indifference to Dr. Ford—and by extension—women victims. These kinds of dubious and ill-informed expressions by political figures in high places are beneath the dignity of their offices. Those comments do not bode well that she will be judged fairly and impartially.

Therefore, my plea is for the Senate Judiciary Committee and President Trump to demonstrate to the world, America’s value, respect, and due process rights, to all of her citizens including women who bring accusations against, powerful men.

Judge Kavanaugh’s due process rights and fair and respectable treatment are not in question. But, if from Democrats or anyone else tempted to demonstrate a lack of fairness, due process, disrespect or male bashing toward Judge Kavanaugh, my plea is the same: Let’s demonstrate to the world the greatness of America by conducting the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings, with decency, dignity, and cross-gender fairness, respect, and equality. America, our daughters and the women of the world are watching. Let all things be done decently and in order.

A Book Review by William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.



A response to a question Blacks have been asked for years, is finally answered in this great book of epic insights by Terry Turner entitled, God’s Amazing Grace:  Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families. “Why don’t you just get over it,” is a question many non-Blacks often ask of African Americans, in regards to any civil rights matter. For most Blacks, the answer is not a simple reply because it is so complex. In this book, Turner does an excellent job of breaking down the issues in the Black community that have stifled growth and positive outcomes in their marriages and families. He even begins the book as an African American male addressing the question to his race, asking, “What is wrong with my people?” As I read the book, my mind began to categorize into four different sections that may be helpful to the reader. For me, the book can be broken down, to help answer these questions, into the foundation of the problems, fatherlessness being at the forefront of the issues, faith being a saving grace for what is to remain of the family structure, and remedies to build the future.

Looking at a newly constructed building, one may notice wooden planks holding a temporary structure in place that workers stand on while building the permanent edifice. These beams however, will not remain once the building is completed. They simply are put in place to help build the foundation until the building can stand on its own. This practice is called scaffolding. In African American families, scaffolding came in the form of people who did not have their best interest in mind. The Black family foundation is built on lies and deceit, and therefore is an imbalanced entity, comparably speaking. Turner addresses The Trickle Down Effect, Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome, mistreatment of prisoners and slaves and even sexual abuse as defects in the foundation of Black homes. His research is eye opening to its readers and will shed much light on the many many cracks in the foundation of the Black family structure.

Every child’s first hero usually lives in their house and sleeps with them each night. This idol protects them from harm, provides a place of stability and makes sure they never go to bed hungry. He can even be responsible for ensuring they are educated and a well-rounded member of society. They go by the endearing name, Daddy. A dad is born into a family as a son and is groomed to one day assume the position of the patriarch. In the Black family, this position is often left void. Whether the father has been killed at an early age, died of natural causes, or just chose not to be in the child’s life, absenteeism is a true problem that plagues the foundation of many Black homes. Turner even expresses his personal situation where his father lived in his home but was still absent emotionally and eventually physically due to medical issues. Some fathers live in the home but due to drug abuse, extra marital relationships, and other setbacks, they still do not engage with their children and wife in a positive manner. All of these hardships have made it difficult for Black families to thrive. Without being taught how to be a superhero, how exactly does one learn? Even Robin had Batman to show him the way. Often times, young boys grow up to be men raising families of their own, with not a single instruction from their Batman. The early example of masculine leadership in the Black families was slave masters beating, raping and deceiving families to follow instructions that were necessary for their survival. With this treacherous way of living as the introduction to fatherhood in the African American family, it comes as no surprise to people of color why their homes are unstable in comparison to their white counterparts.

As with any damage structure, hope remains that it can be restored. The African American family is no different. For centuries, it has been faith in Christ that has held the Black family together. This faith is well documented in how it helped slaves maintain their livelihood and even escape. This faith was an outlet to the troubles that continued into the civil rights movement. Many African American pastors have been at the forefront of social injustices, as Blacks use their faith as a pathway to freedom and rely on their spiritual advisors to lead them.

Moving through history and into the current century, marriages in the African American families have evolved and albeit a struggle, the integrity of marriage must be maintained to ensure strong families in the future. Imagine being stripped from a husband and kids and being forced into adultery, fornication and even incestuous relationships against your will. This was the plight of most African American women in slavery. While not even classified as a human, these women were defenseless and unable to protect themselves. Turner points out that contrary to the scriptures they were taught on sexual immorality, they were not given the chance to abstain. For these reasons, families were completely mutilated and scattered. Presently, some of these ill effects still haunt Black families. Sexual sins are not always viewed as such, because for years, under the law, incontinence, fornication, adultery, bigamy and other sexual crimes, were not considered as such for slaves and Blacks. Fast forward to 2018, many of these acts still exist and are rampant in Black homes. Now that marriages are legal and laws are in place to protect the sanctity of marriage, Blacks must take advantage of the opportunity and stop destroying their families due to sexual misconduct.

By God’s Amazing Grace, there is hope for the Black family in America. With excuses that can run four centuries long, it is imperative that African Americans rid their families of these cracks in their foundation. “Just get over it! What is wrong with my people? What is wrong with me?” The answer: Nothing. Our past has been reconciled and by His Grace, our families will be healed.

Terry Turner has done an excellent with this awesome work, “God’s Amazing Grace:  Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families.” The content of his message is relatable to the needs of the African American Community concerning the issues we face today. This book about God’s Amazing Grace engages and equips all people concerning African American families and history. Terry Turner is a compelling and persuasive teacher/preacher. I endorse and highly recommend “God’s Amazing Grace:  Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families.” It is a really great read! I believe you will be blessed, encouraged and greatly benefited by reading Turner’s book.


William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Pastor, Cornerstone Church, Arlington, TX


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

When Trayvon Martin was shot and killed because he simply looked “suspicious,” initiated by the fact that Zimmerman viewed him as “suspicious” and chose to pursue him against the order of the police department, it was a personal, powerful, picturesque and emotional moment for me to hear Dr. Fred Luter address this matter as President of the SBC. I never thought I would live long enough to hear a SBC President redemptively, righteously and prophetically address a matter when a young Black man was needlessly shot because the idea was stimulated by unfounded suspicion and his killer not following a police order.

If a Hispanic person was addressing immigration issues while serving as President of the SBC, it would likely have a radically different tone and project the SBC as compassionate on the immigration question.

Imagine for a moment with me, what if the person serving as SBC President at this hour was a competent, accomplished, biblically sound, orthodox female who could address the multitude of questions and issues the SBC is facing regarding women issues? The criticism and skepticism would be less dramatic if the SBC historically had demonstrated confidence and belief in the gifts and value of SBC women serving at all levels of leadership in SBC institutional life within the boundaries of the Bible.

To say this is a critical hour in the life of the SBC is an understatement. The presidency of the SBC is by design weighted more toward symbolism than governing. There is no budget, personnel, office space, and extremely limited authority that are presumptive or inherent in occupying the office of President of the SBC. Yes, the SBC President appoints the committee on committees that appoints all of the SBC committees. Yes, the SBC President presides over the Annual SBC gathering. Yes, the SBC President serves as an ex-officio trustee of all SBC entities. Yes, the SBC President serves on the committee on order of business. Yes, the SBC President serves as an official representative of the SBC to the public at large and as a representative to other parachurch or denominational gatherings. Beyond those aforementioned responsibilities, the SBC presidency has no decision-making authority. Again, the SBC presidency is largely symbolic, not authoritative. Therefore, a woman would not be usurping authority over a man by serving as SBC President.

The SBC is an entity head and trustee-driven governmental system. The SBC President is not an entity head or voting trustee of any of the entities. The President of the Executive Committee of the SBC, which is a job currently vacant and most recently held by Frank Page, has oversight of a colossal budget and staff and is appointed by the EC Trustee Board. That position, totally distinct from The Office of the President of the SBC, inherently has much more authority than the elective office of the President of the SBC. Clearly, the SBC President has a large “bully pulpit,” if they choose to use it; and a great deal of influence, but very limited constitutional authority. In NBC life the role of the EC and President of the NBC are synonymous. In the SBC, this is not so. My reason for explaining the above is because I have observed that there is widespread ignorance in SBC life regarding the role and authority of the President of the SBC, succinctly stated; The President of the SBC is not a position of inherent authority, but usually widespread name recognition and influence, based on ministry history and convention support.

I’ve never met or communicated with J.C. Greear in any context, to the best of my recollection. His ministry reputation is impeccable. His record on race is impressive. Greear’s noble act, in standing down, so that unity and the election of Steve Gaines would stand up, was so impressive to me that made up my mind then that I was going to vote for him in ’20, regardless to who his opposition might be. I tweeted my support for Greear before Dr. Ken Hemphill announced his candidacy for the presidency. I remain true to my commitment to vote for Greear.

However, Ken Hemphill is a man that I know personally. Hemphill is a man that I deeply love and respect. If he had announced first, I would have been not only supportive of his candidacy, I would have voted for him, based on my personal history with him. As many have noted, we will be in good hands as a convention with either Greear or Hemphill.

My appreciation for Hemphill lies in the fact that he was an incredible President at SWBTS. He was and is deeply loved, respected and appreciated by Black seminarians, because he was kind and fair toward us. SWBTS National Black Alumni held a once in a lifetime reunion during Hemphill’s tenure at SWBTS and honored him. A portion of that two-day reunion was held at Cornerstone Church, Arlington, where I serve as pastor. Hemphill’s record concerning women is also impeccable. Black female seminarians loved Hemphill. They were allowed to take preaching classes with males, without any professor speaking despairingly toward them. Dr. Hemphill was pressured to resign at SWBTS, because of his favorable disposition toward women in ministry. Dr. Karen Bullock taught church history during Dr. Hemphill’s tenure and preached in chapel at SWBTS. Allowing her to preach infuriated certain SWBTS trustees; and that led to his untimely departure. Sheri Klouda was hired by Dr. Hemphill to teach Hebrew, approved by the trustees. She was later fired by the same inerrantist, conservative trustees for being a woman teaching men. Her gender had to be observable when they hired her. Later, her hiring was labeled “a momentary lapse in parameters.”

Dr. Hemphill was exemplary and biblical in how he affirmed, valued and elevated women in SBC life within biblical parameters. Hemphill is a continuationist and has documented that in his book on spiritual gifts. When many were criticizing a chapel sermon, that affirmed continuationist that I preached in 2006, Hemphill released a statement to the Baptist Press affirming continuationism. He could have chosen silence. There was nothing for him to gain by affirming continuationism in the context of my chapel sermon, but he did. Much respect for Ken Hemphill. Honestly, I feel disloyal to our history, by not voting for him. Furthermore, during his tenure and Dilday’s tenure, I probably preached chapel ten times at SWBTS. Chapel preaching invitations from SWBTS ceased after my 2006 sermon affirming continuationism. I have continued to support SWBTS with generous annual contributions and funding SWBTS with tuition assistance for students who attend Cornerstone, Arlington.

Many Black female seminarians confided in me that there was an atmospheric change on campus and mainly in classrooms, after the departure of Dr. Hemphill, which in part may also explain the drop in enrollment after he left.

The two greatest institutional systemic sins that the SBC has practiced throughout her history are racism and sexism. Those twofold demons seem to inevitably and periodically raise their ugly heads in SBC life. The SBC system produced and covered the racism and sexism. This cannot be laid at the feet of any one person. None of what’s being questioned and voted as unacceptable today, would not have even been questioned in the ‘70’s, ‘80’s, ‘90’s and even 2000. The initial info that caused the recent uproar was widely publicly known in 2000, and it was met with a yawn. What have changed are the SBC people, who are no longer willing to tolerate certain behaviors as they once did. The SBC sin of sexism was passed down generationally and is only now being seriously challenged. To deny a woman from serving as a SBC president or vice president is purely sexist from my vantage point. But if this is the SBC’s position, it needs to be stipulated in the bylaws/constitution. It is fundamentally dishonest and a colossal integrity issue, to know for certain that the SBC would not elect a woman president or allow a woman to serve as a vice president of an entity, but yet not put this practice/belief in writing. We owe it to women to be honest with them regarding their mobility and potential in SBC institutional life.

If I thought Beth Moore would accept the nomination or be agreeable to being nominated, because of her qualifications and the current context the SBC finds herself in…I would nominate her for SBC President.

The SBC is a parachurch organization—not a church. Therefore, there is absolutely not one Bible verse, or SBC constitutional bylaws prohibitions, nor any BF&M 2000 prohibitions against a woman serving as SBC President. Tradition, sexism, fear and other non-biblical factors would probably prevent any woman, including Deborah, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Lydia, Junia or Priscilla, or Lottie Moon from being elected President of the SBC; but, I repeat…there is not one Bible verse or SBC constitutional prohibition.

Therefore, I could vote for a qualified woman with a clear conscience for President of the SBC. The I Timothy 2:12 passage is reference to local church leadership, not parachurch leadership. The statement on gender roles in the BF&M 2000 does not prohibit female leadership in the SBC Convention or entity life. To impose I Timothy 2:12 as a prohibition on a female SBC President would be tantamount to imposing Genesis 9:25-27, as a prohibition for a Black, Asian, or Hispanic SBC President. Neither Scripture is addressing prohibitions in parachurch offices. Historically, though, they have been used or misused to draw such erroneous conclusions.

I Timothy 2:12 is the verse that erroneously cost Karen Bullock and Sheri Klouda, their jobs at SWBTS. In 2010, I submitted a resolution that was denied that appealed to the SBC to repent for their attitude, actions and disposition toward women. Women have been denied VP roles in SBC entities because of I Timothy 2:12; that’s sinful and shameful, God’s judgment has come upon us, “shall we continue in sin?” Had the SBC repented of her proclivity toward sexism in 2010, we may not be facing our current crisis.

To elect Beth Moore would do more to heal our Convention, seal women within our convention who have lost hope and right historic patterns of wrong toward women, without compromising qualifications, integrity, competency, or Scripture. The questions are, “Are we there yet?” or do we have to wait 100 more years and experience more of God’s judgment? SEBTS recently elected a woman as chairman of their Trustee Board. Progress is being made. Serving as an ex-officio officer of SBC entity trustee boards is one of the duties of an SBC president. By already permitting women trustees and a woman chairperson, the precedence is already set.

I believe The Sovereign God of the Universe is responsible for the current happenings in the SBC. God wants the SBC to set her house in order—racially and gender wise. He is cleaning the SBC house, so that He can bless the SBC house with a mighty manifestation of His presence to equip, empower, and enlighten His people to be His salt and light on earth. We are experiencing a purging, that is a necessary prerequisite for the empowerment of His people.

The purpose of this article is simply to stimulate our thinking, so that we will begin to ponder how to empower and value the gifts of SBC women within the boundaries of Scripture, rather than majoring in how we can restrict them. Could it be that what was intended toward women as evil in the SBC, God will now turn it around and use it for good (Genesis 50:20)? There are too many cases of women prophesying to men, in Scripture, publicly to hide behind I Timothy 2:12 as an excuse to not elect a woman as president or vice president of our Convention.


WHEREAS, the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention, William B. Johnson indicated in his inaugural address that Southern Baptists were “free to promote slavery” arguing that slavery was a legal and civil matter, not a church matter; and

WHEREAS, many Southern Baptist churches once misappropriated and distorted the Bible to attempt to legitimize white supremacy, slavery, and racial hierarchy, including through the so-called “curse of Ham” narrative which errantly construed Genesis 9:25-27 to say that God ordained the descendants of Ham to be marked with dark skin and be relegated to a subordinated status based on race; and

WHEREAS, the residue of this doctrine remains in use today by white supremacists and continues to distort the witness of the church and present a stumbling block to the Gospel we preach; and

WHEREAS, racial tensions in our churches and our nation would be significantly better if Southern Baptists, instead, had rightly applied the second great commandment, “You shall love our neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39); and

WHEREAS, while Southern Baptists have repented (1995) and have elected their first African-American SBC president (2012), and have begun implementation of action steps from the 2015 report of the African American Task Force, there is still a need for more action; and

WHEREAS, our associations have rightly disfellowshipped churches that insist on excluding from fellowship anyone on the basis of race or ethnicity; and

WHEREAS, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 affords our nation, and our churches, with an opportunity for reflection, repentance, and renewed resolve toward racial unity; and

WHEREAS, we are called by Christ to “live worthy of the calling [we] have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3); now be it therefore

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12-14, 2018, renew our commitment to the pursuit of reconciliation, justice, and unity in our churches and our communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we maintain and renew our public renunciation of racism in all its forms, including our disavowal of any attempt to distort or misappropriate the Bible to justify this evil; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we confess before the watching world that ultimately it is only through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ that our ethnic and racial hostilities can be overcome; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we declare our abhorrence of any cooperating SBC church that tolerates or advocates racism; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on our civic leaders to uphold justice for all and to pursue legal avenues to strengthen our national commitment to justice and equality for all; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to proclaim boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation regardless of race, ethnicity or genealogical descent (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) for the good of the church and the glory of God; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we invite all Southern Baptists to dedicate themselves to prayer, both as individuals and as local churches, in a spirit of humility and love, pleading with the Lord to display his power and glory by making us more faithful ambassadors of reconciliation for “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1).

This Resolution “On Racial Unity Among Southern Baptists” will be submitted to the SBC Resolution Committee to be considered for the June 2018 Convention in Dallas, TX, by:

  1. Danny Akin, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, 3328 Forestville Rd. Raleigh, North Carolina 27616
  2. Cameron Triggs, Grace Alive Church, 870 N. Hastings, Orlando, Florida 32808
  3. Mike Turner, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, 253 Oconee Station Rd., Walhalla, South Carolina 29691
  4. Dwight McKissic, Cornerstone Baptist Church, 5415 Matlock Rd., Arlington, Texas 76018


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The most loved and loathed personality in SBC history is, without a doubt, Dr. Paige Patterson, current President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. Dr. Patterson remains a figure held in the highest esteem by many SBC pastors, who find no fault with his controversial and now well-known remarks, spoken on the subject of spousal abuse in 2000 at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Patterson is loathed by many in the SBC, not only for the spousal abuse comments, but for many miscues, missteps, mistakes and positions taken, that many find unacceptable. [Wade Burleson’s link, Ed Stetzer, Jonathan Merritt, SBC Voices…you can read about some of those issues.]

Southern Baptists of all stripes are beginning to weigh in on the Patterson controversy. Alabama Pastor, Rick Patrick, has come out strongly in support of Patterson. Oklahoma Pastor, Wade Burleson, is calling for Dr. Patterson’s resignation…voluntary or forced. Tom Rainer, President of Lifeway, the book-selling arm of the SBC, took a strong stand supporting women victims of spousal abuse, without criticizing Dr. Patterson.

In SBC culture, for an entity head to weigh in on a public controversy involving a SBC entity head, with a statement widely interpreted as flowing counter current to supporting Patterson, is unprecedented. It was extremely bold within the SBC context, but correct of Thomas Rainer to make a statement. On his heels, Danny Akin, President of SEBTS, weighed in similar to Rainer; and Russell Moore affirmed Rainer’s comments publicly. Clearly, these statements are designed to clarify the SBC’s and their entities’ position regarding spousal abuse, as opposed to a retort or rebuke to Patterson; yet in SBC culture, anything short of, “I support Dr. Patterson,” is interpreted as, “I’m against Dr. Patterson,” particularly with regard to this issue. These outstanding entity heads should not be viewed in a negative light for supporting women victims of spousal abuse and protecting their entities and the SBC Brand. I applaud and appreciate these men.

I consider myself an independent, free-thinking, theologically orthodox, Kingdom-focused and driven African American Southern Baptist. My viewpoints usually are not totally in alignment with SBC mainstream establishment; neither do my views usually align with SBC moderates or liberals. The late great National Baptist Preacher, Dr. C.A.W. Clark stated, “John the Baptist was too early to have been a New Testament Apostle and was too late to have been an Old Testament Prophet.” I was too young and too fundamental to have been a part of the moderate-liberal arm of the SBC. I was too independent and too knowledgeable of SBC racial history to be a full card-carrying member of the conservative resurgence. Therefore, like John the Baptist, I just became a voice, often a lone voice in the SBC wilderness, able to speak truth and love and receive truth and love on both sides of the SBC political/theological spectrum.

That brings me back to the subject matter: “My conflicting emotions regarding Dr. Patterson’s spousal abuse counsel/crisis” and its implications. Remember, I told you that I am an independent voice, beholding to no one and not posturing for anything. I am free, a rare breed in the SBC; but I will have it no other way. Speaking “truth to power” is an inherent part of my National Baptist Faith tradition.

  1. I do not support the notion that Paige Patterson is disqualified to preach the Annual Convention sermon at the SBC Annual Convention this June in Dallas. Everyone needs to pause and take a long breath, before we rush to the verdict that his remarks (as problematic and unpopular as they were/are) should disqualify Dr. Patterson from preaching the annual sermon.

Which one of us, who’ve been preaching any length of time, could be subject to someone pulling a tape/video from the archives of something we’ve said many years ago; but we would not say the same thing today, or certainly, not in the exact same way. Yet, if brought to public light today, it would create for us a similar PR crisis?

Again, that’s not to excuse, or agree with, what Dr. Patterson unwisely spoke (in my judgment); it’s to say, “The punishment is much greater than the crime.” Let the SWBTS Trustees rebuke Dr. Patterson for his remarks, if they must. Let the SBC in session adopt a strong statement making it crystal clear that we do not support spousal abuse of at any level of gradations—Period—if we must. But to punish and embarrass him on the Convention floor, a venerated figure like Dr. Patterson, by denying him a well-earned slot of being the Annual Convention preacher in the sunset of his life and ministry, is simply overkill. Separate the punishment from the sermon.

2. My feelings are conflicted because I certainly understand the opposing viewpoint and find merit obviously, in many of their arguments. My hunch is Paige Patterson would agree with the immediate previous sentence. Those who are calling for Patterson’s resignation and him stepping down from preaching are driven by pure motives, in my opinion. They believe that to speak a word of support and compassion for victims of spousal abuse is more important than being silent; and by silence give consent, to one who has spoken in such a way that can be reasonably interpreted as inappropriately addressing the subject and speaking non-representative of SBC views in doing so. I get that!

Please consider for a moment though, what if the Hebrew writer excluded Moses from the Hall of Faith because he murdered an Egyptian? What if David was removed because of his adulterous affair? What if Rahab had been removed because of her harlotry history? What if Abraham had been removed because of his lying? You get the picture. We should not remove Patterson from the honor of preaching what could very well be his last SBC Convention sermon, because of a series of poor word choices, in an ill though out attempt, to rightly communicate a biblical truth-opposing divorce. The SBC has not removed memorabilia of Boyce and Broadus, from their walls—slave-holders/Confederates. Yet, we are going to remove Paige Patterson from preaching the Annual Sermon, because of an isolated incident of unwise counsel.

3. I believe Dr. Patterson’s retirement schedule should in no wise, be impacted by the 2000 poorly worded sermon or a Q&A dialogue. Again, we need to be careful about the precedent we are setting here; others may fall victim as well.

There is a colloquialism often sang and expressed in the Black church that says, “If you set one trap, you may be setting two; because, the trap you set for others, may also be for you.”

4. Finally, it is no secret that Dr. Patterson and I have had our share of disagreements. Yes, I appreciate the fact that in 2002 or 2003, Dr. Patterson invited me to preach in Chapel at SEBTS, largely because he appreciated my uncompromising convictions, standing for the inerrancy of Scripture.

I appreciate the fact that Dr. Patterson offered me two or three opportunities to preach in Chapel, upon assuming the presidency of SWBTS in 2004.

I appreciate the fact that Dr. Patterson has responded favorably during those few times I’ve asked for his assistance in being a blessing to others.

Dr. Patterson hired a personal friend and my college roommate for a semester as an adjunct professor, in part, because of my request.

Dr. Patterson housed a student assigned to the Dallas area one summer, who was enrolled full-time in a Black seminary in Virginia, in part, because of my request.

Dr. Patterson, on a snowy day in February, three-four years ago, when school was closed because of the weather, Dr. Patterson entertained (in his house) the only Black professor in the world (I’m told) with a PhD from the University of Manchester whose study focused on The Dead Sea Scrolls. He later provided a guide to tour Dr. Hopkins through the exhibit on display at the time. I found their technical conversation about the Dead Sea Scrolls fascinating, although I understood very little of what was being said.

I even asked Dr. Patterson to host a group at SWBTS that he had major theological disagreements with. He reluctantly agreed to do it, but I received a good Baptist chewing-out for forcing his hand. The group later decided not to accept the offer. I was disappointed.

I now have a request in for the Seminary to house an MDiv student from Princeton Theological Seminary who wants to intern with me this summer.

Dr. Patterson awarded Eugene Florence at the age of 100 a Master of Divinity Degree. Although he had completed the coursework in 1951, because of segregation he was not awarded the degree. Patterson corrected a historic wrong by giving him the M.Div. degree, and he also named scholarships in Eugene Florence’s honor.

For all of those reasons and more, I genuinely value and appreciate Paige Patterson. I really hate to see him experience this kind of end of career pain.

Dr. Patterson and I had a major public disagreement about my last Chapel message in 2006, where he objected to my affirming the biblical validity of praying in tongues in private (I Corinthians 14:2) and challenging the IMB Trustees to rethink their position. In 2015 the IMB adopted a position identical to what my sermon called for, and that is freedom of worship in private, regarding prayers. Therefore, I will soon ask Dr. Patterson and the SWBTS Board, to remove the censorship from my sermon, based on their stated reasons for removing—“criticizing an SBC entity”; and now, that entity is agreeing with me. However, if Dr. Patterson doesn’t remove the censorship, after I present my case and protest to the fullest extent, so be it. I want to hear him preach this Annual sermon and follow whatever timetable he and the Trustees have set for his retirement, regardless to what’s ultimately decided about removing the censure from my 2006 chapel sermon.

I’ve always disagreed with Dr. Patterson’s position on a female teaching the Hebrew alphabet at SWBTS. I find that position totally unbiblical, unnecessarily alienating; and the thinking behind it played into the unwise 2000 remarks that have gotten him on the hot seat now.

Nevertheless, none of this is new. It is sort of baffling to me that the SBC would wait until now to punish a man for a “crime” committed in 2000. Everyone needs to put their guns back in the holster, or “slow your roll” as the old folk used to say, “Calm down!” “Chill out!” “Come now let us reason together says the Lord!” Time out! Pause this “run Patterson out of town train” leaving him with a legacy of shame and pain.

There is a way to resolve this without the leader of the conservative resurgence leaving town under a cloud of suspicion and rejection. The SBC can hold Dr. Patterson accountable for the inappropriate remarks; make crystal clear our position on spousal abuse, and at the same time, give honor to whom honor is due—Dr. Paige Patterson.

I’m as conflicted as many are. But inasmuch as his sin was misjudgment of words as opposed to deeds; can we err on the side of grace and allow Dr. Patterson to leave the SBC platform with his dignity and legacy intact? Would you want your dignity and legacy stripped from you because of poor word choices, on a given day. Selah. Pause. Think about it.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” ought to be the guiding principle here. Selah.

In conclusion, I was called to pastor a church at 21 years of age in 1977 in Pine Bluff, AR. One Sunday evening after worship service, I was approached by a young adult parishioner who asked for a counseling session with me. I said yes, and invited her into my office. She laid out the following scenario: She was in an abusive marriage with a financially irresponsible husband. She was working two full-time jobs and at times a third part-time job just to make ends meet. She already had six children at home who were forced to manage themselves most of the time since she had to work day and night. She was pregnant again and asked me if she should get an abortion. At that time, abortion was not a political or theological “hot button” issue in 1977 as it became a few short months and years thereafter.

I personally had not formed a strong opinion or conclusion about abortion in 1977 and 1978. I had no reason to form one. Abortion was not discussed in homes, churches, or schools/colleges/seminaries in ’77-78. Therefore, I counseled her based on situational ethics. After listening to her situation, I was sure the last thing she needed was another baby. I advised her if an abortion was what she wanted, then go ahead; and she did. Several months later, an abortion battle emerged in Arkansas Legislature. I was reading about it and noticed my Pastor’s comments regarding how life begins at conception based on Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-14. I thought to myself, “Oh, My God, I gave the young lady very unwise and unbiblical counsel.”

I had never heard my Pastor or any one teach that lesson until I read his remarks in the newspaper. So I gave this young lady some horrible advice.

If I had been asked that question in a panel setting, I would have given the same answer. That counseling session took place 40 years ago. I have confessed publicly and privately my unwise, unscriptural advice, and asked God for forgiveness. My horrible counsel is one among several reasons, Paul advised New Testament churches, not to call a novice as pastor.

My point is: What if my speaking engagements (at least nine scheduled as of today) or the several awards that I have recently received (including a Distinguished Alumni award that I will be receiving at Ouachita Baptist University in September) were revoked because of wrong advice that I gave 40 years ago? This is why I am sympathetic toward Dr. Patterson and his plight. To retroactively punish Dr. Patterson for remarks he inarticulately and wrongly made years ago is unfair in my judgment and not a way to treat a modern day patriarchal figure in SBC modern history. Selah. Pause. Think about it!


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

A Response to Lorine Spratt and Others

The recent MLK50 Celebration in Memphis was a phenomenal success: Almost 4000 in attendance; over a million have listened online; 25% of the live audience were minorities, predominately African American; incredibly powerful, persuasive prophetic, biblical and redemptive preaching, teaching, panel discussions, fellowship and networking across racial lines. The most diverse gathering in my 40 years of observing SBC Life, with approximately 1000 Blacks in attendance. The Annual Convention of the SBC has nowhere near that kind of Black attendance. Obviously, with a million listeners online, it has generated major positive word of mouth publicity, and print journalism publicity for the SBC. A generation of younger Black pastors, who had written the SBC off, is now giving her a second look because of the quality, content and inclusiveness of the MLK50 Celebration.

This event was appreciated and viewed as educational, edifying, inspirational, therapeutic and sparked hope for a “brighter day ahead” on the racial front in the SBC and our nation. Job well done, Dr. Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention and the ERLC!

Yet, there is an underbelly, subterranean, disagreeable, element in SBC life that view the MLK50 as “race baiting,” “cultural Marxism” advocacy; and a “social justice warriors” convocation. Of course, this element views “social justice” and “social Justice warriors” (their terms not mine) as a pejorative, although the Bible addresses justice, repetitively and affirmatively.

 Sister Lorine Spratt has emerged, post MLK50, as a spokesperson and face of a subterranean SBC minority, who opposes the MLK50, its message; and strongly oppose Dr. Russell Moore—to the extent, that they want him fired. Rumor has it, that they will make an appeal to the SBC in June in Dallas, to express their dissatisfaction with Dr. Moore, on the floor of the Convention, with the view of influencing the ERLC Board to relieve Dr. Moore of his employment.

Russell Moore’s crime? Bringing the SBC together in an unprecedented fashion, to bring racial healing, hope and understanding to the SBC and the Nation. For this, they label Dr. Moore, “divisive.” GO FIGURE!!!

It is quite strategic and most unusual to have as a spokesperson for the subterranean group, Sister Lorine Spratt. She describes herself thusly:

“I am a born-again Christian, Conservative, Black attender of a White, Southern Baptist, Evangelical Church in Louisiana. In fact, I not only attend, I also work there and I am very concerned about the narrative that I’m hearing from our ERLC leadership. I am absolutely appalled by the comments perpetuated by Dr. Russell Moore concerning racism within the White Evangelical churches.”

Her twitter feed, identifies her as a loyal voter with the conservative, Republican, voting bloc. A popular SBC-related Blog (not sanctioned by the SBC) has affirmed Sister Pratt and her statement of opposition toward Russell Moore.

Systemically, culturally and historically, the SBC has not placed a high premium on the voices of women. That is the reason it is most unusual for Sister Spratt to emerge as the de facto leader, spokesperson of the MLK50, Russell Moore opposition. I respect her right to be a spokesperson. I support and celebrate her right to challenge Russell Moore and the MLK50. I am excited to discover, within certain context, the SBC will embrace a woman spokesperson, to address an issue not directly pertaining to women issues. I love the precedent being set here, irrespective of motive.

Sister Spratt offers the following objections to Dr. Moore:

“White churches are not advocating racism but Dr. Moore is. He is fueling racial tensions. I view his comments as divisive and antagonistic. His words do not promote unity!”

Interestingly, Sister Spratt does not offer one quote or one example of Dr. Moore advocating “racism.” Sister Spratt provides absolutely zero evidence that Dr. Moore’s comments are “divisive,” “antagonizing” and “do not promote unity!” I regret for her sake, her opinion does not equate to facts. Although, again, I support and celebrate her right and celebrate the subterranean group for affirming a woman and a Black woman in her role. I see this as progress, for which I am thankful.

Sister Spratt further accuses Moore of “wreak[ing] verbal havoc in our churches and assists in causing unrest in our society and it is even sadder if we continue to let him do so.” Again, Sister Spratt provides no documentation for these unfounded and untrue allegations. She tips her hat toward the SBC forcing Dr. Moore out of office.

Sister Spratt does provide a link to quotes of Dr. Moore, cautioning Southern Baptists to weigh the ethics of candidates having a presidential election. She reveals her angst with Dr. Moore for challenging the ethics of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Dr. Moore also cautioned the SBC about supporting Hillary Clinton for ethical reasons. He voted for neither candidate. Sister Spratt expressed her vehement opposition to Dr. Moore for addressing candidate Donald Trump.

“During the presidential election, he did the same and I am totally against anyone, especially a leader in our SBC, who sows discord among the brethren.”

She concludes by saying, “This matter deeply concern and disturbs me!”

It is hard to place a percentage number on the number of SBC congregants that share Sister Spratt’s perspective. But I assure you, the vast majority of Southern Baptists of all colors in the pew support Dr. Moore, I would go as far to say Dr. Moore is an iconic figure to many Black SBC pastors. Only, the late Dr. T.B. Matson, Ethics Professor at SWBTS, belongs in the same sentence with Dr. Moore relative to positively moving forward in bringing unity to the races. The large Black attendance at MLK50 is evidence of Black SBC persons’ appreciation and affirmation of Russell Moore.

If there is an effort to embarrass or remove Russell Moore, it will ignite a Civil War in SBC life.

The Spratt faction of the SBC and the Russell Moore faction hold irreconcilable positions relative to addressing racial matters. But my prayer is that we will come together under the cross and learn to live together in harmony, in spite of our differences. I am willing to live with the Spratt faction, without asking her to change. I pray that she will be willing to live with the Moore faction, without asking him/us to change. If so, we can avoid a Civil War. If the Spratt faction and Moore faction do not heal and come together, as MLK said, “We will perish together as fools.”


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

If Dr. King were alive, he would be utterly amazed that The Southern Baptist Convention, this year will be hosting a party in his honor in Memphis, Tennessee. When he penned “The Letter from The Birmingham Jail,” King had his “Christian and Jewish brothers” in mind, including Southern Baptists, when he wrote the following words in April 1963:

“While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities ‘unwise and untimely.’”

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.’”

The Clergyman in Birmingham also referred to King as an “outside agitator.”

In April 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr., was gaining national fame and spoke in Chapel at the flagship theological seminary, among The Southern Baptists’ six seminaries, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. As historian, Taylor Branch, wrote in his biography of King, concerning the response of powerful Southern Baptists who opposed Martin Luther King’s visit and Southern Seminary’s invitation to Martin Luther King:

“Within the church [SBC], this simple invitation was racial and theological heresy, such that churches across the South rescinded their regular donations to the seminary.”

During his lifetime, Dr. King experienced criticism, rejection and at best, “lukewarm acceptance” from the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fast forward to today. Over 3500, primarily Southern Baptists have registered in Memphis in 2018 to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, who was assassinated by an Anglo son of the South on April 4, 1968. What a difference 50 years make! The SBC attitude toward King has gone through a metamorphosis over the past 50 years, as the entire Convention has made substantial and measurable progress on the racial front.

In 50 years, the SBC has moved from castigating to celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. In 50 years, the SBC has moved from denying Blacks seats at the table of leadership, to electing Fred Luter as the first African American President of the SBC in 2012 and H.B. Charles as President of the Pastors Conference in 2017. In 50 years, the SBC has moved from viewing Blacks almost exclusively as a mission’s project, to engaging Blacks as mission partners and co-laborers. In 50 years, the SBC has moved from opposing the Civil Rights movement to passing resolutions overwhelmingly in favor of denouncing the Confederate Flag and the Alt-Right. Within 60 years, the SBC has moved from non-admittance of Blacks in Southern Baptist Seminaries, to appointing Walter Strickland as Vice President of Kingdom Diversity and Professor of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Within 50 years the SBC has shifted from the highest ranking Black in the SBC Executive Building headquarters being the “head custodian” to, Ken Weathersby, serving as a Vice President of the Executive Committee. The SBC passed a resolution acknowledging the historic election of President Barack Obama in 2009. Dr. Russell Moore, Dr. Frank Page, Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Fred Luter, Dr. Steve Gaines, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Dr. James Merritt and a host of others, have worked diligently to move the ball down the road in advancing God’s Kingdom Agenda for racial inclusion and empowerment in the SBC. Yet, there is a vocal minority in the SBC that has registered opposition to the 50 Years King Celebration, as did their forbearers, 50 years ago, perhaps for different reasons though.

The SBC ERLC has spoken out against police brutality and in favor of comprehensive immigration reform under the prophetic and transformative leadership of Dr. Russell Moore. Never would this kind of prophetic advocacy occur during King’s lifetime. The SBC has by word, deed and repentance, earned the right to legitimately celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.

The largest racial hurdle the SBC has yet to overcome is the exclusion of Blacks and other minorities serving as an entity head. Entity Heads also constitute the Great Commission Council of the SBC. How can you have a Great Commission Council that reflects only one ethnicity within the Convention? Currently, with two entity head positions vacant, the all-White Great Commission Council should soon change, in the spirit of Martin Luther King’s dream.

Doctrinal and moral concerns are the two most common objections raised regarding reasons to suggest that the SBC ERLC not honor and celebrate the 50th year death of Dr. King.

Many have called attention to some writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recorded in his dissertation for his PH.D. work at Boston University that reflects liberal theological leanings.

Admittedly, Martin Luther King casts dubious questions and doubts on orthodox views of the virgin birth, deity of Christ, and the resurrection, reflected in his graduate school writings. I even recall reading that while in Sunday School as a youth at his father’s church, he raised questions concerning the validity of the gospel accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Even John the Baptist, while in prison, sent word to Jesus, “Are you the Christ or shall we look for another?” Doubt and questioning usually take place at some point in the pilgrimage of every believer. Many of us simply have not recorded our thoughts or spoken aloud when battling with doubt. John the Baptist experienced days of doubt, but he died devoted to the belief that Christ was King of God’s Kingdom—so did Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Carl Ellis, reports that Martin Luther King applied to two conservative seminaries, and was rejected by both because of his color. He matriculated in the M.Div. and PH.D. programs at liberal theological schools in the ‘40’s. Conservative schools simply were not enrolling Black students at the time. Dr. Ellis testifies that one of the schools that rejected Martin Luther King as a graduate seminary student also rejected him for the same reason. It’s really arrogant to criticize a man for embracing liberal theology, when you refuse to allow him to enroll in theological conservative institutions. SBC seminaries did not enroll Black students until the ‘50’s, when they announced they would only enroll “highly qualified Negroes.” Not allowing Blacks to enroll in SBC seminaries was a practical denial of the faith, equally as problematic as King’s liberal theological leanings during his graduate work.

The good news after completing his PH.D. and while pastoring the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. King returned to the faith of his father—Martin Luther King, Sr. Dr. King testified that he was returning to the “God that would make a way, out of no way.” That’s common phraseology in the Black church to refer to The God of the Bible. Furthermore, King announced that he was embracing his father’s God; again, which was also another way of expressing in Black theological circles that he was returning to orthodoxy. He made those statements on the heels of bombs being blasted at his home in Montgomery, potentially endangering the lives of his wife and children.

In one of his lesser known sermons, preached at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on Easter Sunday, April 1957, in a message entitled “Questions That Easter Answers,” Dr. King made the following statements that ought to lay to rest his beliefs in orthodoxy:

“Easter is a day above all days. It surpasses the mystery and marvel of Christmas with all of the glory of the incarnation.” (MLK believed in the incarnation, which would include the virgin birth and Christ’s Deity.)

“Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have fit testimony that this earthly life is not the end…”  (Martin Luther King’s confession of the resurrection in his own words)

 “…men through the generations have learned when they live close to Jesus Christ, that Easter can emerge, and that all of the darkness of Good Friday can pass away.” (You cannot live close to Jesus, unless He is the living Lord.)

“And this means that life is meaningful, that life is not doomed to frustration and futility but life can end up in fulfillment in the life and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

“We thank you, this morning, for your Son, Jesus, who came by to let us know that love is the most durable power in the world, who came by to let us know that death can’t defeat us, to take the sting out of the grave and death and make it possible for all of us to have eternal life. We thank you, oh God. And God grant that we will be grateful recipients of thy eternal blessings. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.” (I am baffled as to how anyone can read Martin Luther King’s Easter 1957 sermon and prayer and conclude that he did not believe the gospel.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. shed his liberal views on Christology expressed during his graduate school years and preached the powerful Easter message in 1957 (previously referenced) that affirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His Lordship. It would certainly be appropriate for those claiming that Dr. King did not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ to now acknowledge this misunderstanding.

Many are unaware that Al Mohler and Frank Page embraced liberal views on women in ministry while in graduate school studying under more moderate/liberal professors at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Later, as did Martin Luther King, Jr., they shed their liberal views and embraced a view on women in ministry more akin to the BF&M 2000.

The second objection to the King celebration has to do with his “alleged immoral lifestyle.” The reason I say alleged is because I am unfamiliar with any female or male, or their descendants or relatives, who have testified to a personal sexual encounter with Dr. King. That is not to say, one or more did not transpire, it is simply to say, I find it interesting that no one has come forth to claim such a personal encounter.

Nevertheless, my response to this objection will be relatively brief. I was recently asked: how can the church reconcile Martin Luther King’s adultery, plagiarism and doctrinal deviancy with a celebration?

My answer: Whatever sins Martin Luther King was guilty of were a matter between his God, his wife and children, his congregation and himself. The church does not have to reconcile, King’s sins with any celebration of him. Just as the church does not have to reconcile the racism of W.A. and Betty Criswell, who are both on record unrepentantly claiming Africans were cursed and assigned to servitude. The Criswell’s will have to give an account to God for their racism. My father, knowing Criswell was a racist, loved to hear him preach and had several of his books in our home, during my formative, ministerial years. I would celebrate Criswell today, not because of his sin, but because of his good. And that is why the SBC ought to celebrate Martin Luther King. I hope many others will join the celebration in Memphis as a testimony to the grace, goodness and redemption of God, in all our lives and as another major step in the SBC toward racial healing.

May the Spirit of God breathe upon The King Memphis Celebration! May Southern Baptists come from the North, South, East and West! Job well done SBC ERLC!


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

In the past three months, I have been chosen to receive three distinguished awards and given an opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees of a Historically Black College and on the Advisory Board of an evangelical revival ministry with an incredible vision. There are numerous awards, certificates, plaques and tributes I have received across a forty-year span of public life and ministry. I am equally thankful and godly proud of all those as well. Typically, I am not one who desires or broadcasts awards, honors and Board appointments. However, I am so thankful and thrilled to serve and be associated with these awards and institutions. I feel unworthy of each one. I wanted to write a statement to promote each ministry that has entrusted their name to me; and given me the honor of promoting, praying for and supporting their significant and substantial ministries. I pray that you will join me in praying for, supporting and appreciating these ministries. I guess it is a sign of old age that these most recent awards and appointments are unusually meaningful to me. They all came suddenly and unexpectedly.


I will travel to Los Angeles, April 6-8, 2018, to receive the William Joseph Seymour Award and speak at related events. Who was William Joseph Seymour? Yale University historian, Sidney Ahlstrom, stated before his death (July 3, 1984) that Seymour personified a black piety “which exerted its greatest direct influence on American religious history”—placing Seymour’s impact ahead of figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, WEB Dubois, E.C. Morris, C.H. Mason, Booker T. Washington, Richard Allen, Frederick Douglas, Marcus Garvey and a host of other religious and cultural-impact iconic figures in Black American history. Although Seymour is not as well known in cultural Black history, when one measures the height, depth, width, breath, and longevity of Seymour’s historic and current impact, I agree with Ahlstrom: William Joseph Seymour “exerted its greatest direct influence on American religious history.”

Perhaps, many are unaware of the legacy of Seymour because truly his incredibly impactful and fruitful ministry centered not on himself or his legacy, but rather on the Spirit of The Living God. The Holy Spirit is the ignored member of the Trinitarian Enterprise. The Holy Spirit is the only God on planet earth. Yet, The Holy Spirit historically and currently does not receive the worship, study, fellowship and celebration, such as given to God The Father and God The Son. Seymour was a game changer as it relates to the church ignoring of The Holy Spirit, particularly in the African American community. No theological system or denominational stream has influenced the Black worship experience as much as Pentecostalism.

Globally, the fastest growing churches and churches that are retaining membership, in this season of “a great falling away,” are charismatic/Pentecostal churches. The cofounder and single most important influence on the widespread growth and development of Pentecostalism was William Joseph Seymour. Oral Roberts University, Hillsong Church and music, The Church of God In Christ, The Assemblies of God, CBN and TBN Christian Television, C.H. Mason, C.P. Jones, Oral Roberts, T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Ulmer, Jack Hayford, Paul Morton, G.E. Patterson and Tua Tagovailoa, the amazing Alabama quarterback that led them to win the 2018 College Football Championship, all can trace their spiritual and theological roots in whole or in part to William Joseph Seymour.

When one considers the phenomenal widespread growth of Pentecostalism in Black America, and arguably the largest spiritual influence in African American communities, and how charismatic/Pentecostal worship and some theological tenets have almost totally impacted all African American churches, how could anyone dispute Ahlstrom’s claim that William Seymour is the most influential religious figure in Black American history. Yet, by name and face recognition, he is far less known than Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, E.V. Hill, Tony Evans and T.D. Jakes, in many evangelical circles.

If you were asked to name the one person who has brought to the masses—the person, work, doctrine and ministry of the Holy Spirit—in post biblical history—more so than any other—who would you name? If one gave an honest, objective, historically accurate and truthful answer to that question, the answer would be: William Joseph Seymour. Seymour is primarily known as the man who eventually led a prayer movement in Los Angeles from about 1906-1922 that literally expanded around the globe in a ten-year period. The prayer movement led by Seymour was thoroughly interracial and interdenominational.

At a time when blending races and denominations in worship was virtually impossible; and even today, it is a difficult feat to accomplish. By the power of The Holy Spirit, thousands upon thousands of persons of every race from throughout the world, and persons from every denomination made their way to Los Angeles, Azusa Street, in order to experience an unusual, historic, outpouring of The Holy Spirit. The Azusa Street outpouring of The Holy Spirit was kindred to the first and second great awakening.

Seymour was born the son of former slaves in Centerville, Louisiana, in 1878. His first name, William, means: Determined helmet or protection—later meaning “conqueror.” His middle name, Joseph, means: Add or increase. His last name, Seymour, means: Dark-skinned saint. Seymour’s name is filled with prophetic insight that he fulfilled throughout his life.

In light of the illustrious, iconic, and impactful life, leadership and legacy of William Joseph Seymour, I am thrilled beyond measure to accept The William Joseph Seymour Award.


Rev. Norman Lee Robinson served as the proud pastor of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas, for fifty years. His congregation grew from 17 to 10,000 under his leadership. His motto was: “Live a Clean Life.” And that he did. His integrity and lifestyle were impeccable. Rev. Robinson fell into the arms of Jesus in 2017. I was so delighted that his successor, Rev. James Thompson, his church’s leadership and community leaders chose me to receive this distinguished award. Arlington’s mayor, Jeff Williams, read the reasons for granting me the award. I was deeply humbled being associated with the character and leadership traits of the most venerated Pastor—period—in the history of Arlington, Rev. N.L. Robinson. I received this award in February 2018. In 1983, (27 years old) the year I planted Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX, my father took me to Rev. Robinson’s church and said to him, “Take care of my son.” I was 60 years old when “Pops” passed. Rev. Robinson was affectionately called by everyone, “Pops.”


In January 2018, I received the Distinguished Senior Pastor Recognition Award from One Community Church, Plano, TX, led by Dr. Conway Edwards. This church is only ten years old, and the average attendance currently is 9,500 (documented numbers). They hosted their 2nd Annual National Leadership Seminar where they chose to bestow this honor upon me. Last year’s recipient of this Distinguished Senior Pastor Recognition Award was Dr. Tony Evans, the internationally known expository preacher/pastor of Dallas. I was grateful and humbled to follow him as the honoree and receive the large cash gift award that Pastor Edwards prefers to give as an award, rather than plaques, trophies, certificates, etc. I was extremely pleased and thankful for the generous gift. The world will hear about One Community Church Plano.

Their Annual Leadership Conference is already up to 800 registrants in their second year conducting it. One Community Church is one of the most innovative, biblio-centric churches in America. As Jesus said to James and John, when they asked Jesus about His residence, Jesus said “Come and see.” Every young—and, not so young—pastor and church leader would do themselves a great service in January 2019, if they attend the One Community Church Leadership Conference, “Come and see” (John 1:38-39).


I was asked by the current Board of Trustees at Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) to join them as a board member in February 2018. My parents were married on the campus of ABC, while my father was a student there; so the college holds a special place in my heart. The College was founded in 1884 by former slaves. E.C. Morris was their first President, who also was the first President of the National Baptist Convention. E.C. Morris was also one of the early pastors of St. Paul Baptist Church, Pine Bluff, AR, where I was born again, baptized, licensed and ordained as a preacher.

As a youth, we made annual trips to ABC, and each youth was asked to donate two cans of pork and beans to the College, for the student cafeteria. The Cornerstone Church, Arlington, where I pastor, has donated over $225,000 to the College over the past 25 years. We believe in their mission and their potential. The late Dr. Sandy F. Ray, Pastor of Cornerstone Church, Brooklyn, NY, Rev. Jerry Black of Atlanta, GA, and Rev. C.D. Edwards of Little Rock, AR, are a few distinguished individuals who are proud graduates of the College. Bishop C.H. Mason, founder of The Church of God in Christ, also matriculated at ABC.


 Life Action Revival Ministries, based in Buchanan, MI, is an evangelical ministry uniquely focused on revival and disciple-making. Across the past 20 years, they have conducted five revival meetings at Cornerstone Church, Arlington. Three of these meetings were two weeks in duration. Their approach to revival has wrought wonderful changes in the lives of our people, healed marriages, evoked repentance and a clear conscience before God with many of our people and enhanced the prayer and devotional Bible reading among our people. I highly recommend Life Action to local churches of every ethnicity, if you want to see God do an in-depth work in the lives of His people that result in fruit that remains.

Rev. John Avant was recently selected as President of Life Action Ministries. Churches where Rev. Avant has pastored have experienced an awakening during his tenure. An extended Revival broke out at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth while John was preaching in Chapel, during the ‘90’s.

John Avant and his executive team recently cast a fresh and exciting vision for their ministry. Their vision: “Millions of God-Astonishing Lives in Action with Him Shattering Division, Injustice, and Lostness.” It is most unusual to see an evangelical ministry make the centerpiece of their vision addressing “injustice” and “division.”

God may sovereignly choose Life Action to partner with Black, Asian and Hispanic church leaders throughout America to unite our hearts–those longing for revival, to pray together for a spiritual awakening in America. Just recently, Rev. Avant asked me to serve on Life Action Ministries Advisory Board.

It is my prayer that you will pray for me as I attempt to continue to serve Christ’s Kingdom and His people. Hopefully, my grandchildren and great grandchildren will get a hold of this writing, at some point, and it will be a source of inspiration, information, affirmation and encouragement to them (Psalm 145:4).


By Wm. Dwight Mckissic, Sr.

Dr. Doug Weaver, Professor of Religion and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Baylor University, recently asked me to share some insights/reflections that I hold regarding The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Dr. Weaver is writing a book on The Holy Spirit in Baptist Church Life, and my reflections would simply be a part of his back-story research/information gathering. I found his request delightful, after having enjoyed a meal with him and some of his colleagues in Waco recently, including my spiritual son who is a New Testament PH.D student at Baylor School of Religion, Marcus Jerkins. We were also joined by the distinguished Baptist historian, Dr. Bill Leonard; Dr. Bill Bellinger; and Dr. Mikeal Parsons. What a delightful evening!

I want to share with you the reflections I shared with Dr. Weaver regarding the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship.

The FGBCF was preceded by The Baptist Free Spirit movement, led by Bishop Otis Floyd of Flint, Michigan. I was made aware of The Baptist Free Spirit movement in the seventies, comprised primarily of National Baptists with a strong charismatic bent. I observed the assimilation of The Baptist Free Spirit movement into the Full Gospel Baptist Church movement in the early nineties. Like The Baptist Free Spirit movement, the Full Gospel Baptist Church movement largely comprised National Baptist Convention pastors and churches who desired a greater emphasis on The Holy Spirit. Knowing The Holy Spirit as a person; understanding The Holy Spirit as a doctrine; practicing the gifts of the Spirit, according to His will (I Corinthians 12:7); for the edification of Christ’s body, seemed to have been the heartbeat of The Baptist Free Spirit Movement of the seventies and the FGBCF of the nineties. They eventually formed one group led by Bishop Paul Sylvester Morton in the early nineties.

I am grateful, indeed, for the evolution of the FGBCF. When Bishop Morton announced the advent of the FGBCF in the early nineties, he simply raced to the front of the line and got ahead of a marching army. The FGBCF provided leadership, affirmation, identity, training, fellowship and a denomination-like expression or outlet for thousands of Black Baptist Churches, who adhered to Baptist doctrine, but a Pentecostal or native African-type worship style.

I was overwhelmed with joy at the news of the soon-coming FGBCF in the early nineties. My worship style preference and doctrinal bent resonated with what this fellowship proposed to offer. The name presented somewhat of a pause, because there is only one gospel. The tag, “full gospel,” leaves room for one to consider by implication, that there were other options as it relates to the gospel.

Bishop Morton’s wife served as his Co-Pastor. Whereas, I affirm women in ministry and women who exercise proclamation gifts, I believe scripturally, that the office of Pastor (particularly the Senior or Lead Pastor) was assigned exclusively to men.

Not only did the name, initially give me pause and the seeming affirmation of women pastors, I was also concerned about what would be the doctrinal and practical position adopted by the FGBCF on the topic of tongues. From having read a few of Bishop Morton’s books at the time, it was apparent to me that he personally embraced speaking in tongues, not only as a gift of the Spirit, but also as a gift that places the tongues speaker in a spiritually superior category, to the non-tongue speaking believer. This hierarchy of believers based on speaking in tongues was going to present a huge barrier to me as a pastor to lead my congregation to affiliate with the FGBCF. Morton’s published view that tongue speakers were riding in first class while non-tongue speakers were riding in coach was a biblically indefensible position from my understanding of Scripture.

Bishop Kenneth Ulmer was and is a dear personal friend of mine. Bishop Morton had charged Bishop Ulmer with the task of writing the initial doctrinal statement of the FGBCF. Bishop Ulmer was kind enough to allow me to have input and consultation with him in the development of the initial doctrinal statement, for which I shall forever be grateful.

The language officially adopted in the original doctrinal statement made it quite clear that the FGBCF would be distinct from classical Pentecostalism in that tongues would be affirmed as a gift of the Holy Spirit; but the phraseology, “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues” was intentionally left out of the original document. Furthermore, another distinction from classical Pentecostalism was made when the statement asserted that “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” occurs simultaneous with salvation, as opposed to a subsequent experience. These are extremely important distinctions and explicit differences with classical Pentecostalism.

Tongues as a necessity, and absolute universal requirement or evidence, for all believers as an “indicator” or sign of being filled or baptized in the Spirit, was not a doctrinal belief affirmed in the original FGBCF statement. Tongue as an “indicator” of the Spirit’s presence was added to the doctrinal statement many, many years after the original statement. Dr. Paige Patterson recently used that “indicator” line as a reason to deny the Texas State Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship led by Bishop Kenneth Spears from renting the facility at SWBTS to accommodate the annual Texas State Full Gospel Baptist gathering.

There was recognition that “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and “The fullness of the Holy Spirit” are often used as synonymous terms. Yet, how it was defined in the statement made it clear that “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” occurred at salvation, and it may or may not be accompanied by a tongues-speaking experience.

I was extremely thrilled with the original FGBCF doctrinal statement. The pauses over the other aforementioned issues, gave way to my excitement over a sound, solid, biblical and theologically defensible FGBCF doctrinal statement.

However, there was one hurdle left for me before I could consummate a relationship with the FGBCF. And that was, the doctrinal statement adopted, directly contradicted Bishop Morton’s published and often preached views as it related to tongues. Bishop Morton was kind enough to have lunch with me and Bishop Ulmer at the famous Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans to talk through my dilemma.

Bishop Morton was extremely gracious, kind and congenial in our dialogue. He was rather resolute in his positions though. I could never reconcile in my mind, how could the official FGBCF doctrinal statement and the Bishop Morton position “dwell together in unity.” We departed lunch as friends, but I chose not to officially unite with the Fellowship, because I thought inevitably, these two “visions” would result in “division.” And actually a few years later, that’s exactly what happened. Several Bishops and pastors departed from FGBCF, because of the insistence of Bishop Morton holding all Bishops and pastors accountable to speak in tongues and leading their memberships to do the same.

Later, the following statement was added as a “Compendium on Distinctives” to the original doctrinal statement, after Bishop Ulmer departed the fellowship.

“We believe in tongues, as our heavenly language that builds us up in our most holy faith. Tongues are an indicator, not a qualifier. (Jude 20, Acts 19:5-6; Acts 2:1-4, I Cor. 14:14-15)

“Tongues” as an “indicator” is an extremely unbiblical, “unbaptistic” and a theologically problematic statement. “Tongues”……”not a qualifier” is somewhat of a confusing statement to me; not exactly sure what is meant by that statement. If what is meant that Tongues is not a qualifier for salvation, that would certainly be a true statement. This doctrinal statement would have been far, far better if they had left this confusing, controversial and incorrect statement out.

Finally, as it relates to doctrine, a statement on the doctrine of eternal security or perseverance of the saints is conspicuously absent from the FGBCF doctrinal statement. Honestly, I recognized that glowing absence from the outset; but, never paused to ask about or address the matter. By the time, I could not get my other doctrinal concerned resolved, I decided not to ask about the absence of a statement on eternal security, because I would not be a member. I earnestly believe that the vast majority of the Bishops and pastors in the movement believe in eternal security. But even the current, updated statement, presently on the FGBCF website, does not address eternal security.

I have huge respect and appreciation for Bishop Paul Sylvester Morton. He would be welcome at any time in my pulpit, and indeed recently preached at my church, for a meeting under the auspices of Bishop Marvin Winans. The FGBCF was and is a game changer. Thank God for Bishop Morton and the FGBCF!

Prosperity Gospel

In response to Dr. Weaver’s inquiry regarding the FGBCF and “the larger Prosperity gospel of which it is a part,” I wrote:

That’s news to me. I have not had an engaged presence with FCBCF since the early ‘90’s. I’m simply unaware of any teaching or emphasis of the prosperity gospel among FGBCF churches or in their gatherings. But, I yield to your knowledge. I am aware that the NBC is strongly opposed to the “prosperity gospel” and have released statements warning churches about its dangers.

Joseph Walker

A response to Dr. Weaver’s mentioning of the FGBCF current Bishop, Bishop Joseph Walker and the FGBCF’s relationship to the NBC:

I’ve heard a similar story about Bishop Walker’s congregation being “booted” out of the Baptist World Center. However, when the NBC met in Memphis just a few years ago, Bishop Walker was welcomed to the stage, enthusiastically received, and asked by the current NBC President, Dr. Jerry Young, to address the audience.

I don’t sense any current tension between the NBC and FGBCF. Many pastors/churches hold dual membership in the NBC and FGBCF. There are many of us in the NBC who hold theological and worship practice convictions very similar to the FGBCF. The worship life in the NBC is quite animated, dynamic and would, by most White Baptist standards, be labeled—charismatic.

These two groups may not be as far apart as one might think. Dr. Jerry Young stated at his inaugural installation service as President of the NBC, in Jackson, Mississippi, in January 2015, that as Baptists “We need to go by Calvary to get our pardon, but we need to stop by Pentecost to get our power.” Yes, these two groups have different emphasis, and the NBC has a doctrinal statement, quite similar to the ’63 BF&M—that simply does not address in detail—charismatic beliefs as does the FGBCF statement. But, from my vantage point, there is not enough difference to really separate the groups. The difference is more in emphasis, than distinctions, in my judgment.

The NBC by design is a denomination. The FGBCF by design is a fellowship. Therefore, it’s quite understandable that they would have a difference in focus and emphasis. However, the NBC is theologically diverse and does not exclude or include Pastors/Churches beyond the parameters of their doctrinal statement. Consequently, the adherents to a doctrinal and worship bent quite similar to the FGBCF would be huge within the NBC. Many NBC Pastors/Churches belong to both. The NBC addresses and focuses on denominational-like stuff. The FGBCF has an almost singular focus on The Spirit and His impartation, empowerment, enablements (gifts) and presence. Therein, lies the difference!

The Cornerstone Baptist Church of Arlington, where I pastor, is dually aligned, exclusively, with the NBC and SBC. Yet, we have great appreciation and admiration for the excellent ministry and fellowship led now by Bishop Joseph Walker, The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Bishop Morton was certainly led by the Spirit of God in choosing Bishop Walker as his successor. Bishop Walker is a very effective, affable, accomplished and charismatic leader.

Alabama Voters Will Determine Whose Voice Matters Most


William Dwight McKissic, Sr.


The Chairman of the Deacons approached me about a rumor floating around the church during my tenure as an Arkansas Pastor from 1977-1983. The rumor: the pastor is engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with girls between the ages of 13-17. Although astonished by the deacon’s inquiry, I hurriedly and truthfully assured my deacons that there was not one iota of truth to the rumor. I then asked the deacons the source and basis of the rumor. The source of the rumor was the church’s janitor. His evidence; “feminine napkins” he often had to discard from the trash can in my office after youth choir rehearsal.

It later dawned upon me after I watched my wife shed my newborn baby’s diaper in my office trash can, that the 85 year old church janitor was apparently misconstruing the smallest pamper made with a feminine napkin. Yet the rumor continued until every girl in the youth choir (that I also accompanied and directed) was asked, had the pastor inappropriately touched her in his office or elsewhere. It was only after every single young lady (without failure) denied any inappropriate contact or even ever coming inside my office alone, that the rumor died. Had just one of those girls claimed I touched her inappropriately, I would have been in serious trouble and my pastorate and freedom would have probably come to a screeching halt.

My point is, that I know what it feels like to be falsely accused. My salvation rested in the fact that the allegation was coming exclusively from an 85 year old man rather than a 14 year old girl. There was not one teenage girl making such an allegation, let alone nine. However, if one of the girls would have made such an allegation, she deserved to be heard. Their allegations must had been taken seriously. And although, I believe in the presumption of innocent until proven guilty, I answered any and all questions from parents, church members, church deacons and leaders. And yes, I would have gladly answered questions from news reporters or law authorities if I had been asked.

Judge Moore will not answer questions from the media on this matter and that’s troubling for a man who claims innocence. Moore has literally walked away without answering questions from reporters asking probative questions on this matter.

The probability that all nine ladies are lying is highly unlikely. The 14 year old told a couple of people about the sexual assault back at the time it happened. That lends credibility to her allegation.

If the Alabama voters elect Judge Roy Moore, the message that they are sending to teenage girls is, if an older man denies an accusation, his word automatically trumps theirs and that’s tragic.

For the sake of our teenage daughters, Alabama please don’t disregard, discount and devalue the personhood and the voices of our daughters. The male and female voice should weigh equally in any matter. But with Judge Moore refusing to answer any and all questions related to this matter, we simply can’t get his account on record. Therefore, Alabama voters, you should give the benefit of the doubt to the female. History will judge you harshly if your vote is nine ladies corroborated lies on Judge Moore beginning 35 years ago. Unbelievable Alabama and you know it. Now show it.

Alabama, you are famous for being on the wrong side of history in the not too distant past. Please don’t make the same mistake on this issue and side with the oppressor rather than the oppressed.


President Donald Trump needs to be crystal clear in his condemnation of the so-called alt-right, a group of Southern Baptist and other evangelical leaders said in a letter addressed to the commander in chief. The document, first obtained exclusively by CNN and published September 29, urges Trump to “join with many other political and religious leaders to proclaim with one voice that the ‘alt-right’ is racist, evil, and antithetical to a well-ordered, peaceful society.”

The letter—drafted by the Reverend William Dwight McKissic, senior pastor at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, and Keith Whitfield, a professor and dean at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary—comes in the wake of Trump’s varied and widely criticized responses to white nationalist rallies that turned violent in August in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president alternated between blaming both sides for the violence and condemning groups like white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan.

The events in Charlottesville “reminded us of a time years ago when such brazen displays of bigotry and white supremacy were common and were upheld by political leaders,” reads the letter, which is now also available on a site where leaders beyond the original 39 signatories can add their names. “We have overcome much racial injustice, but we fear that without moral clarity and courageous leadership that consistently denounces all forms of racism, we may lose the ground that we have gained toward the racial unity for which so many of us have fought. Our nation remains divided racially and ideologically.”

The letter includes a section thanking Trump for signing a joint resolution on September 14 that condemned the violence in Charlottesville and rejecting white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. But that document did not mention the alt-right.

“This movement has escaped your disapproval,” the letter says, despite the racial supremacy expressed by leaders such as Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer. It continues:

We believe it is important for this movement to be addressed, for at its core it is a white identity movement and the majority of its members are white nationalists or white supremacists. This movement gained public prominence during your candidacy for President of the United States. Supporters of the movement have claimed that you share their vision for our country. These same supporters have sought to use the political and cultural concerns of people of goodwill for their prejudiced political agendas. It concerned many of us when three people associated with the alt-right movement were given jobs in the White House.

After Charlottesville, McKissic says, he tried to get a sense of where the president stood on the events that transpired and the groups that participated, including the alt-right. “It was unclear to me then and unclear to me now,” he tells Newsweek. “Obviously, he knows how to be very clear and specific and leave no room for doubt when he opposes something.”

But Trump has allowed his public feelings about the alt-right to remain ambiguous, even as leaders of both the National Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention denounced the movement.

McKissic worked with Whitfield, who he says led the effort to write the letter to make it clear this was a united response. “This is not a racial response. This is a kingdom response. The kingdom of God stands opposed to what the alt-right stands for. We ask the president to stand with kingdom of God,” he says.

It’s also not political, he emphasizes. “Whenever the church gets in bed with politics, it’s the church that always gets pregnant,” he says. “We’re not aligning with either political party. We’re talking about calling out darkness, and the alt-right represents spiritual darkness on the offensive, attacking our Pledge of Allegiance, our Constitution.”

The goal of the letter is to try to elicit an explicit statement from the president condemning the alt-right movement and the bigoted views many of its members espouse. McKissic says he prays it will get president’s attention. Trump “clearly has some history of a relationship with alt-right,” he says, pointing to former members of his administration as well as the support Trump received from the movement during and after his election campaign. “It needs to be made clear that people with alt-right ties and connections are not welcome in this administration.”

Dozens of people have added their names to the letter, including Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. McKissic says Rodriguez’s affiliation as a member of Trump’s informal evangelical advisory boardadds weight to the letter.

However, “this is not an attack on the president. This is a loving plea to the president to stand with religious leaders, to uphold the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance and the Declaration of Independence,” says McKissic, who calls the country a “racial tinderbox.” He says he’s never seen the level of polarization, division and distrust he sees today.

“A house divided cannot stand,” he says. “Our land needs healing, and we need our president to lead the way.”

The White House has yet to release a statement about the alt-right in response to the letter and did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

Dr. Steve GaiYoung NBC and Gaines SBC together 2nes, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and Dr. Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention are signatories on a letter released September 28, 2017, denouncing the Alt-Right and respectfully calling upon President Trump to speak out against the Alt-Right movement, noting “This movement has escaped your disapproval.”

An additional thirty-five well known Pastors, professors and religious leaders have endorsed the letter, including Dr. Tony Evans, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Fred Luter, Dr. J.D. Greear, Dr. Joel Gregory, Dr. John Jenkins, Dr. Maurice Watson, and Dr. Bruce Ashford. Many more prominent Black and White leaders have signed the letter. The initial forty (40) signatories are almost perfectly balanced evenly racially. That is a rare feat. This may even be unprecedented. Sam Rodriguez added his name to the list after the initial publishing at CNN. He is first member of President Trump’s advisory council to do so.

The goal is for Charlottesville to never repeat itself and this letter was written to cast salt and light into the world, to hopefully season and change society in such a way that race relations will improve and the display of darkness, August 12, in Charlottesville will not repeat itself in a scheduled Alt-Right rally in Charlotte, NC in December.

Furthermore, we’d like to see President Trump unite with the Pastors with one voice and with passion, denouncing the Alt-Right and aligning with us to lead our Nation into racial healing. May The Lord use this letter for His glory and to these ends.

To read and/or add your signature to the letter click this link:

Read a CNN article about the letter here:




Dear President Trump:

The events that took place in Charlottesville, VA on August 12 grieved us. We were deeply troubled by the public display of racism on that day, and it was a reminder of a time years ago when such brazen displays of bigotry and white supremacy were common and were upheld by political leaders. We fear if something does not soon change we may return to such a time in our country.

We love the United States of America. We have overcome much racial injustice, but we fear that without moral clarity and courageous leadership that consistently denounces all forms of racism, we may lose the ground that we have gained toward the racial unity for which so many of us have fought. Our nation remains divided racially and ideologically. We struggle to stand together to denounce racial inequality and injustice in our country.

Mr. President, you have, on occasion, denounced the KKK and the Neo-Nazis by name. And, on September 14, 2017, you signed a joint resolution condemning white supremacy. With your signature on that important statement, you also said, “No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.”

We thank you for signing the resolution and for your words expressing the profound solidarity of the American people regardless of skin color and ethnic heritage. The joint resolution was needed to provide moral clarity that white supremacy and white nationalism are outside of American values—indeed, it is outside human values—and will not be accepted in our country. We are grateful that the resolution addresses your role, Mr. President, to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy.” Further, we commend your commitment to “use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Now, we respectfully call upon you to respond to the resolution by speaking out against the alt-right movement. This movement has escaped your disapproval. We believe it is important for this movement to be addressed, for at its core it is a white identity movement and the majority of its members are white nationalists or white supremacists. This movement gained public prominence during your candidacy for President of the United States. Supporters of the movement have claimed that you share their vision for our country. These same supporters have sought to use the political and cultural concerns of people of goodwill for their prejudiced political agendas. It concerned many of us when three people associated with the alt-right movement were given jobs in the White House.

Alt-right ideology does not represent constitutional conservatism. The Constitution promotes the dignity and equality of all people. It maintains that we all have the ability to contribute to a just and free society.

The alt-right, however, attributes the uniqueness and achievements of America to the so-called superior capacities and virtues of Anglo-Europeans. American Renaissance editor and alt-right leader Jared Taylor said, “The alt-right accepts that race is a biological fact and that it is a significant aspect of individual and group identity and that any attempt to create a society in which race can be made not to matter will fail.” The core of the movement is the protection of white identity. Richard Spencer, a prominent leader in the alt-right movement, desires to transform our country into an ethno-state that serves as a gathering point for all Europeans.

We request upon you to join with many other political and religious leaders to proclaim with one voice that the “alt-right” is racist, evil, and antithetical to a well-ordered, peaceful society.

While addressing a political convention in Illinois in 1858, in a climate and country divided over slavery, Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus, saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The current and growing racial divide in America must be confronted, or the divided America of which Lincoln spoke will revisit us. We can see the haunting potential of this turn. Ferguson and Charlottesville may be a foreshadowing of things to come. We must set aside our political, ideological and racial differences, particularly on the issue of the alt-right. We cannot be divided and still defeat this new demonic racist force.

Yes, it is time now for Christian churches to come together for the sake of the nation and the Kingdom of God. Recently, two major denominations, which have not always seen eye to eye on social and political issues, have come together on the issue of racial bigotry and injustice. In the aftermath of violence and protests in Charlottesville, leaders of these denominations called white supremacy and the alt-right racist and evil. Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention USA, said white supremacy cannot be dismissed with moral ambivalence. He explains, “There are not two sides when it comes to white supremacy. It is a belief system that is anti-Christian at its core and must be repudiated without confusion.” Steve Gaines, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, condemned the alt-right, describing the gathering in Charlottesville as “a gathering of hate, ignorance and bigotry” and stating the ideology violates core Christian beliefs.

These are powerful and strong words coming from the leaders of two historic Baptist Conventions, denouncing the alt-right by name. We also need healing and unifying leadership from our political leaders. President George H.W. Bush and Pastor Edward Victor Hill II modeled this type of leadership for us 25 years ago. They worked together to address the shared pain of the African American community and the nation in the aftermath of the exoneration of the police officers associated with the Rodney King brutality.

Our country desperately needs unifying leadership again. We need you, President Trump, to lead us in such an effort. America needs your voice and your convictions to defeat racist ideologies and movements in every form that they present themselves. America is profoundly fractured and divided. We can envision the change that could emerge if you would provide the moral leadership we so desperately need for racial healing. Our polarized nation could unite around your leadership on this critical issue.

We are praying, and call upon God’s people to humble themselves and pray that you would take the bold and moral step to denounce the alt-right. And we pray that we may see the beauty of people from all racial backgrounds dwelling together in unity, from which the blessings flow; and then we may see—God Bless America (Psalm 133:1).



Dr. Danny Akin


Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, NC


Dr. Bruce Ashford


Professor of Theology and Culture

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, NC


Dr. Michael Bell

Senior Pastor, Greater St. Stephens First Church

Fort Worth, TX


Rev. R. Marshall Blalock

Pastor, First Baptist Church

Charleston, SC


Dr. René F. Brown

Pastor, Mount Zion First Baptist Church

Baton Rouge, LA


Rev. Alan Cross

Executive Director, Community Development Initiatives

Missional Strategist, Montgomery Baptist Association

Montgomery, AL


Dr. Tony Evans

Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship

President of The Urban Alternative

Dallas, TX.


Dr. Nathan Finn

Dean of the School of Theology and Missions, Union University

Jackson, TN




Dr. Robert E. Fowler

Senior Pastor, Victory Missionary Baptist Church

Las Vegas, NV


Rev. Micah Fries

Senior Pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church

Chattanooga, TN


Rev. James D. Gailliard

Pastor, World Tabernacle Church

President – The Impact Center

Rocky Mount, NC


Dr. Steve Gaines

President of the Southern Baptist Convention

Senior Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church

Cordova, TN.


Dr. Ronnie W. Goines

Founding Pastor, Koinonia Christian Church

Arlington, TX


Dr. J. D. Greear

Pastor, The Summit Church

Raleigh-Durham, NC


Dr. Joel Gregory

George W. Truett Endowed Chair in Preaching and Evangelism

George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University

Waco, TX


Dr. T. D. Jakes

Bishop of the Potter’s House

Dallas, TX


Dr. John Jenkins

Pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenarden

Glenarden, MD


Rev. Kenneth Jones

Senior Pastor, Como First Missionary Baptist Church

Fort Worth, TX


Dr. Ed Litton

Senior Pastor, Redemption Church

Mobile, AL


Dr. Fred Luter

Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church

New Orleans, LA


Dr. Rayford E. Malone

Pastor, Greater Beulah Baptist Church

Dothan, AL


Dr. William Dwight McKissic,

Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church

Arlington, TX


Dr. James Merritt

Lead Pastor, Cross Pointe Church

Duluth, GA


Dr. John Ogeltree

Senior Pastor, First Metropolitan Church

Houston, TX


Rev. Vance Pitman

Senior Pastor, Hope Church

Las Vegas, NV


Dr. R.A. Redwine

Senior Pastor, Soldier Creek Baptist Church

Oklahoma City, OK


Dr. C. J. Rhodes

Pastor, Mt. Helm Baptist Church

Jackson, MS


Dr. Manuel Scott, Jr.

National Evangelist for the National Baptist Convention

Los Angeles, CA


Dr. Ed Stetzer

Executive Director, Billy Graham Center for Evangelism

Wheaton College

Wheaton, IL


Dr. Walter Strickland

Associate Vice President of Kingdom Diversity

Assistant Professor of Systematic and Contextual Theology

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Mr. Jemar Tisby

President, Reformed African American Network

co-host “Pass The Mic” podcast


Mr. Lawrence Ware

Co-Director of the Center for Africana Studies and Diversity Coordinator

Philosophy Department of Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK


Dr. Maurice Watson

Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Baptist Church

Largo, MD


Dr. Keith S. Whitfield,

Dean of Graduate Studies

Assistant Professor of Theology

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, NC


Rev. K. Marshall Williams

Pastor, Nazarene Baptist Church

Philadelphia, PA


Dr. Jerry Young

President of National Baptist Convention

Senior Pastor, New Hope Baptist Church

Jackson, MS

What Evangelical Advisors Should Say to President Trump

by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Mr. President,

We respect and support your commitment to place conservative judges on the Supreme Court; but we disagree with your Charlottesville commentary regarding there being “fine people” among the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally. We disagree with your position that those protesting people are just as evil as the KKK—Neo Nazi and White Supremacist.

We need you to speak with a certain sound that the Alt-Right is racist, evil and wrong; and “fine People” would not have any association with the Alt-Right. Your comments give oxygen to racists and racism; and by association, we give oxygen to you…and therefore by extension, to racists and racism.

Please repudiate your Charlottesville comments, or we will be forced to repudiate you. We respect you and the Office of the President, but we do not respect your Charlottesville comments.

For His Kingdom,

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

President Young’s Statement on Charlottesville, VA

By President Jerry Young |  August 19, 2017

The events that occurred recently in Charlottesville, VA were neither unclear in goal or purpose.  The “Unite the Right” rally was a gathering of White Nationalist groups: the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and “Alt-Right” groups.  These groups gathered for the express purpose of protesting the removal of an image that epitomizes White supremacy, the statue of Robert E. Lee.  For them, the protest was about much more than preserving something of cultural worth.  They marched through the streets proclaiming racist and Anti-Semitic rhetoric. It seemed that they wanted the world to know that their movement was based on white supremacist ideologies.  Why else would some of the featured speakers for this event be leaders who champion White Nationalist thoughts?  This rally’s goal was to declare to the world that the evil of white supremacy is not dead.  It was to demonstrate that white supremacists are willing to do as they have done for centuries, commit acts of violence to spread their beliefs.  Ultimately, a young counter-protester, Heather Heyer, died as a result of this hatred.  Her name has been added to the list of those who died at the hands of White supremacists, like Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others.  A young African American, DeAndre Harris, was seriously injured; a helicopter crashed resulting in the death of two police officers who were monitoring this event; and nineteen persons were injured by a weaponized vehicle used as a terrorist weapon, all at the hands of White Supremacists on one weekend in Charlottesville.

We must not and cannot meet the evil of White supremacy with moral ambivalence.  We cannot equivocate when confronted with such a diabolical movement. There are no two sides when it comes to White supremacy.  It is a belief system that is anti-Christian at its core and must be repudiated without confusion.  Is this not the colossal failure of our president in dealing with this issue? His first response to the events strangely condemned hate “on many sides.”  On Monday, President Trump seemed to have understood the weakness of his first statement.  He provided a stronger condemnation of the white supremacist groups and acknowledged young Heather Heyer, who had been needlessly killed.  But, oddly, on Tuesday, he doubled down on his first comments, making the focal point of his discussion the violence that had occurred.  Speaking of the groups involved he stated, “You have some very bad people in that group [Antifa and other groups] but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”  There is no moral equivalency here.  White supremacy fueled the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and led to the Holocaust.  It has led to the deaths of many Blacks, particularly here in the south, through lynching.  It promoted segregation and the codification of racism called Jim Crow in America and Apartheid in South Africa.  Its origin is a direct assault on the biblical account of the origin of the human race.  As, I understand it, the other side did not gather because they hated white people.  They gathered because they wanted to protest what they perceived as hatred personified.  This is not to condone any aggression on their part.  But we must acknowledge, first and foremost in my judgement, that white supremacy is the culprit in this matter.  Thus, there could not have been any “fine people” marching alongside Neo-Nazis and the KKK.  The president, by his words and his work, has empowered these groups and has given them a degree of respectability and acceptance.  And thus, he has either by intention or inadvertently given indication to these groups that they have a friend in the White House.  By focusing only on the violence, it appears that he has tacitly given his support and approval to the racism practiced by these groups.

Now, the president calls the removal of Confederate statues “foolish.”  He claims that they are “beautiful.”  There appears to be no ambiguity in these comments.  He seems to be implying that he supports what these groups supported when they gathered in Charlottesville, VA.  Simultaneously, one must conclude that he is not on the side of those counter-protesters who stood against the White supremacist groups.  Whatever condemnation that he has spoken about these White Nationalist groups has been undermined by his own latest comments.

The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., as a group standing on the side of Christ the Lord, rejects the views of these White Nationalist groups.  We stand against the president’s ambivalence on the matter.  We make it clear: the evil present in Charlottesville was the result of the divisiveness of White supremacist racism.  We condemn this evil in the strongest possible terms.  We, also, call on the president of the United States to change his words, both in tenor and tone, towards groups that support such repugnant ideas.  We call upon him to let such groups know that they may have a legal right to exist in this country but they have no moral right to exist.  They represent the worst kind of ideology, and therefore, should not feel welcomed in our nation.  We call upon him to stand on the Lord’s side who calls us to remember that of one blood God made all humanity.  Therefore, he must not be ambivalent; he must call out this evil in no uncertain terms.  In so doing, he will help to create the context that will become advantageous and conducive to bringing unity to this country and thereby undermine the plans of those intent on promoting the heretical and evil agenda of White supremacy.

The law of Christ demands that Christians of every creed, confession, and convention denounce the racist, toxic ideology of the alt-right movement and stand united against its every expression and aspiration for cultural and political correctness. The deadly consequences our nation will reap, should we tolerate the alt-right’s murderous quest for legitimacy, were seen in Charlottesville this past week, and they are frightening.

The failure of President Donald J. Trump to perceive the true nature of this evil, his unwillingness to denounce its exponents in unambiguous terms, seems to speak volumes regarding whether he plans to be the president for ALL of America.

We must all remember that lawlessness cannot be met with indifference.  Racism cannot be met with equivocation. Hatred cannot be met with uncertainty. Not only must President Trump, but all our leaders from both the secular and the sacred communities must speak with one voice to declare that this kind of hatred, bigotry and racism is totally unacceptable.

The alt-right is antithetical to Christian principles. Its leaders are purveyors of racism. And those who would tolerate this growing menace or suggest that the First Amendment affords protections for their inducements to violence are morally bankrupt as is the alt-right movement itself.

I call upon on all people of faith to bear prophetic witness against the alt-right, to expose its teachings and teachers for the evil menace they promote, and to reject any claim that racist nationalists should find acceptance in our country. I call on people of good will to continue to pursue racial harmony and unity for the good of our nation.

God bless America!

Dr. Jerry Young, President
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

“These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.”
(Genesis 9:19 NKJV)

God created one race—the human race—through the blood of Noah, his wife, their three sons and wives. John MacArthur stated (The MacArthur Study Bible, Footnote on Page 29):

All physical characteristics of the whole race were present in the genetics of Noah, his sons, and their wives.” (Genesis 9:19 NKJV)

While preaching to a predominately White audience, the late Rev. E.V. Hill spoke these words:

“If you are looking for your roots, if you promise not to go back to Europe, I’ll promise not to go back to Africa, and we’ll meet up somewhere on Noah’s Ark.”

The Bible clearly teaches that all mankind is derived from Noah and his three sons. Noah’s three sons’ names were Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis 9:18). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1956 Edition, states that the word Ham means “dark or black,” Shem means “dusky or olive-colored,” and Japheth means “bright or fair.”
Biblical scholars, and at least one prominent anthropologist, consider Ham to be the ancestral father of Negroes, Mongoloids and Indians; Shem is considered to be the ancestral father of Semites (Arabic and Jewish); and Japheth is considered to be the ancestral father of Caucasians. Are the scholars correct? Based on the etymology of the three sons’ names, the nations associated with these names in Genesis 10, historical research and biblical data, I’m inclined to agree with the scholars: Noah’s three sons were the progenitors of the three basic races of mankind. I was puzzled though as to how could a monogamous Noah produce three sons of three different complexions, and, consequently, ethnic identities. This seemed biologically impossible to me. I was forced to consider the ethnicity of Adam and Eve.

Vince Lombardi was a fanatic for fundamentals. And when the Green Bay Packers lost two games that they should have easily won, Vince Lombardi called his men in for a special session, held a football high in the air, and said, “Men, this is a football.” I’ve simply come to say, this is the Bible. The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. And the Word of God says in Genesis 2:7, “God formed man from the dust of the ground…”

Dirt comes in a wide variety of colors, but it usually has a color component to it. The name Adam in Hebrew means “red” or taken out of red earth. The name “Adam” is also translated “man.” Adam was the first human. The prefix “hu” in “human” means color. Adam, made from dirt, was a man of color.” He and Eve possessed the genetic capacity to produce all of the colors you see on the face of the earth today.

Therefore, with all of us descending from one common origin, we must be unified. We all can trace our roots back to Ham, Shem, Japheth, Noah and Adam. That makes us one family.

  • We must be unified because Jesus said His Kingdom missionary agenda is intertwined with His followers being in unity (John 17:21).
  • We must be unified because Acts 2:1 is clear that the Holy Spirit descended when the church was unified.
  • We must be unified because the Psalmist said it’s a beautiful picture, and blessings flow when God’s people are unified (Psalm 133:1-3).
  • We must be unified because we cannot stand against the wiles of the devil, if we are not in unity. Jesus said, “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25).
  • We must be unified because the church cannot defeat the Alt-Right unless we are unified (Ephesians 6:10-12).
  • We must be unified, now. The early church was unified (Acts 13:1), and the hand of the Lord was upon them (Acts 11:21). They were a multi-ethnic church in a multi-ethnic city—“and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.”

During the days of slavery, a woman became temporarily separated from her fairly newborn baby on a very large cotton plantation. After many hours of unsuccessfully searching for the child, the idea was suggested that all the workers should join hands and walk down each row until they found the baby. Sure enough, this method worked. But when they found the baby, the baby was lifeless, dead, because of the many hours in the sun without water. Someone then remarked, had we joined hands earlier, we could have saved the baby. My brothers and sisters, if the White Church, Black Church, Hispanic Church and Asian Church join hands, we can save America. If we join hands, we can defeat the Alt-Right. If we join hands we can show the world a beautiful picture and win the world for Christ together. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32)

“How to reach the masses, men of every birth; for an answer, Jesus gave a key. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I’ll draw all men unto me.”

Let the Church say, Amen!


Bibliography (Cited Work):

The MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV), Holy Bible, John MacArthur, Word Publishing, Nashville, TN, 1997, p. 29.

Noah’s Three Sons; Human History in Three Dimensions, Arthur C. Custance, Vol. 1 of “The Doorway Papers,” Zondervan Publishing House of the Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, MI, 1975.

Beyond Roots: In Search of Blacks in the Bible, William Dwight McKissic, Sr., Renaissance Productions, Wenonah, NJ, 1990.

DFW Area Churches And Pastors Come Together To Host A Kingdom Conversation On Race And The Alt-Right Sunday, August 20 At 6:30pm.

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Jason Paredes, Lead Pastor of Fielder Church Arlington and Ken Jones, Senior Pastor of Como First Missionary Baptist Church are co-hosting a gathering and bringing the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Steve Gaines to Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX ~ August 20, 2017 @ 6:30 pm.

ARLINGTON, Texas – August 17, 2017. With the climate of our Nation clouded by increasing racial tension, uneasiness, violence, anger, hatred, and separatist movements, leaders are gathering together to confront the issues at hand with the hope of bringing healing and unity to our communities, churches and conventions.

McKissic made a tremendous impact on breaking down the historical stigma of racism in the SBC by presenting a Resolution Against The Alt-Right at the Annual Southern Baptist Convention in June of 2017. The SBC now has the credibility to address the Alt-Right and their White Supremacist/Nationalist ideology. Local Southern Baptist Pastors, Dwight McKissic, Sr., Jason Paredes, and Ken Jones are looking to bring a healing balm to the convention and the Nation. Taking the lead in bridging the gap and healing the convention, the President of the SBC, Dr. Steve Gaines, will speak at Cornerstone Sunday night and participate as a panelist at the event entitled, “A Kingdom Conversation On Race and The Alt-Right.”

During the first hour of the gathering the audience will hear from the choirs of Fielder Church in Arlington, TX and Cornerstone Church. Dr. Gaines will present his message (A Baptist View of Race) followed by messages from Pastor Ken Jones (Who Is The Alt-Right) and Pastor McKissic (A Biblical View of Race).

During the second hour there will be a panel discussion on Race and The Alt-Right. Panelists include, Dr. Steve Gaines, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson, Pastor Ken Jones, Dr. Joseph W. Caldwell, Pastor Jason Paredes, Dr. Ronnie Goines, Min. Oza Jones, and Pastor Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. The purpose of the discussion is to answer questions, bring healing and understanding, and gain insight into how race has impacted the influence of the church on our Nation.

The service and panel discussion will be streamed live at 6:30pm via the following link: . You can also view it via the Cornerstone website at and click the live stream icon.

Cornerstone Church is located at 5415 Matlock Rd. in Arlington, TX and you’re invited to attend this discussion August 20 at 6:30pm. The service is free and open to the public.

It is our hope that this gathering will be the beginning of rebuilding the unity our Nation so desperately needs and by denouncing all separatist movements and taking a stand for unity, love, and togetherness as one Nation under God.

Contact: Veronica Griffith, Cornerstone Baptist Church, 5415 Matlock Rd. Arlington, TX 76018
Telephone: 817.468.0083 ext. 203 / Fax: 817.468.0309 / Cell: 817.903.0283
Email: Web:; FB and Twitter @CornerstoneTX



By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s response in its Annual Session in Phoenix, June 2017, to the White Supremacy/Alt-Right Resolution that I submitted, may be recorded by historians as a defining moment in SBC history, particularly on the racial front. Phoenix may prove to have been a pivotal turning point and place in how racial matters are dealt with in the SBC for years to come. To reflect on the Resolution and to offer a road map to navigate through uncharted racial waters as an interracial Baptist Convention—are the twin topics of this article.

The major news story emanating from Phoenix should have been the historic election of Pastor H.B. Charles—arguably the best preacher in the history of the SBC—being elected as President of the Pastors’ Conference. Thirty-one full-time International Mission Board missionaries being appointed to serve is a phenomenal accomplishment worthy of celebratory heralding also. Passing the Alt-Right Resolution fulfilled the commandment of Jesus to “be the salt of the earth.” Salt keeps meat from decaying and the prophetic witness of the SBC on the Alt-Right issue makes it crystal clear that the SBC renounces that movement, and no one affiliated with the SBC should be in any wise connected to the Alt-Right. The passing of the Resolution will help keep American society from decaying. May The Lord bless the SBC for doing so! President Steve Gaines is to be commended for his leadership in this matter. Job well done!

If the Resolution had been approved smoothly, the Alt-Right Resolution would not have been the primary news from the Phoenix SBC and would not have garnered so much attention, of which I regret. The cumulative effect of the decision of the Resolutions Committee and subsequent votes by the messengers to affirm their decision to reject the White Supremacist/Alt-Right Resolution sent a stunning message to the Nation: The SBC may be complicit with the Alt-Right and White Supremacy. The majority of the messengers, twice, thankfully disagreed with the Resolutions Committee and wanted to bring this to the floor of the Convention for discussion, and I believe, ultimate approval. Unfortunately, it was not a two-thirds majority either time. Therefore, it appeared there was no other logical explanation as to why the SBC would deny thrice a resolution denouncing White Supremacy and the Alt-Right. The majority of the messengers were feeling like the majority of the folk on the outside. Is the SBC complicit with White Supremacy and the Alt-Right? Barett Duke, the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee, denied that the Committee’s inaction demonstrated in any capacity, complicity, or sympathy, toward White Supremacy or the Alt-Right. I tend to agree with Barett, but it begs the question: Why then did the Committee reject the initial Resolution? Duke’s answer was it was “poorly written” and “inflammatory.” What metrics did Duke use to determine that my resolution was “poorly written” and “inflammatory”?

It is unprecedented for a resolution, once voted down by the messengers, to be publicly discussed positively or negatively after the vote. I’ve never heard of a resolution publicly condemned by the Chairman or anyone else across the 34 years I’ve attended the SBC. This is an example of the majority culture mindset that rules the SBC. Who determined the Resolution was “poorly written” and “inflammatory”? Were those determinations factual? Did one Black person agree that it was poorly written and inflammatory? Why didn’t the Resolutions Committee reword the Resolution to their satisfaction, and then submit it to the messengers for approval, on the front end of the process, rather than on the back end? That is the normal course of action. Why was this Resolution handled so differently?

The National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention certainly registered their disagreement with the rejection of the original Resolution and their support of the original wording. They did not agree with the assessment that it was “poorly written and inflammatory.”

I do not believe Barrett Duke or any of the ten mainly White Resolutions Committee members are racist. I do believe that there is a systemic majority culture mindset that still dominates and rules the SBC, and often dictates policies, agendas, protocol, practices and resolutions. This will only change as committees become more diverse. The Resolutions Committee rejected my Resolution not because of a sympathy or support of White Supremacy or the Alt-Right. Their rejection was personal, directed toward me because of my outspokenness on race and other issues. The Committee subjected the entire Convention to a crisis-like situation, because of their personal rejection and failure to anticipate the backlash from the Convention floor. This is no longer your great grandfather’s convention.

Joseph Caldwell, “a white guy who has spent most of his life and ministry in SBC churches and institutions,” spoke the unadulterated truth from the perspective of many Black pastors who have volunteered their view with me on this matter, in an article entitled “Why Pastor McKissic’s Language Matters and the Southern Baptist Convention Should be Ashamed.” Caldwell is President at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies.

For any White SBC brother or sister who wants to know what it feels like to be Black and belong to the SBC, please listen to the Podcast by the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) ( concerning the Resolution. It is quite introspective, transparent, and eye opening about how most Blacks felt during the deliberations in Phoenix. Even after the vote, most Blacks still were not pleased…not even with the final wording of the Resolution. I attended a gathering of Black pastors in Fort Worth this morning. The pain behind the Resolution is still being felt among many. The exclusion of significant Black input on the final wording of the Resolution is considered the most egregious error in the entire process.

Because I’m of an older generation, I was pleased with the final wording of the Resolution that passed with the exception of the removal of the “curse of Ham” section. Many Black pastors were sorely displeased with the fact the original wording was rejected by the committee; but I assured them that by denouncing White Supremacy and specifically naming the Alt-Right, the two most important matters of the Resolution were dealt with. By ultimately passing the Resolution, the SBC avoided a mutiny with Black pastors and churches who I’m hearing daily were highly offended by how the Resolutions Committee and the Convention’s two votes to approve the Committee’s decision made them feel. There is still some mending work to be done, in my opinion.

Barett Duke expressed to me a non-specific apology regarding the Resolution—that I accepted for peace and unity sake. I believe it’s time to put this matter behind us (now that I’ve expressed myself) noting lessons that we’ve all learned something, and it’s time to move forward.

Therefore, I offer the following as a suggested road map for the SBC to consider regarding moving forward on racial matters in the days to come.

First of all, the SBC needs to lay the axe at the root of the tree and corporately confess and repent of their complicity in the teaching of the “curse of Ham” theory, in order to root out any vestiges of racial residue remaining from persons yet alive (which is most of us) when that doctrine was prominently taught. The reoccurring racial problems we face as a Convention may be directly connected to the lack of corporate repentance for this hideous sin of abusing the Bible in this manner.

Dr. Al Mohler in discussing the origin of the Southern Baptist Convention stated:

“Indeed, we cannot tell the story of the Southern Baptist Convention without starting with slavery. In fact, the SBC was not only founded by slaveholders; it was founded by men who held to an ideology of racial superiority and who bathed that ideology in scandalous theological argument. At times white superiority was defended by a putrid exegesis of the Bible that claimed a “curse of Ham” as the explanation of dark skin, an argument that reflects such ignorance of Scripture and such shameful exegesis that it could only be believed by those who were looking for an argument to satisfy their prejudices.”

This “putrid exegesis” concerning the “curse of Ham” continued to be taught into the ‘70’s, by select Southern Baptists, and in isolated places, reports are, it is still being taught. I purchased the Smith’s Bible Dictionary at a Lifeway Bookstore in 2000 where this doctrine was taught. Lifeway has since removed Smith’s Bible Dictionary. I listened to Mrs. Criswell teach this doctrine on a DFW radio station in the late ‘90’s. “You can’t get good fruit, from a bad root,” and therefore the place to begin, post-Phoenix, is to repent of the “curse of Ham” teaching in Dallas 2018 or Birmingham 2019. This would signify a new start for the SBC on the racial front; and as far as I’m concerned, I would join the chorus with David Brumbelow and others saying, there’s no more need for any other apology on race, unless new incidents occur—from either side—that determines such.

Slavery was the fruit. The curse of Ham was the root. The SBC has yet to repent of the root which is—“the curse of Ham”—that gave rise to White Supremacy—that gave rise to—Alt Right. Therefore, repentance for teaching “the curse of Ham” is necessary, in order for the Convention to be totally right in the sight of God.

Secondly, I want to boldly proffer that the SBC follows a biblical model in the future as it relates to appointing leaders and entity heads, by intentionally balancing qualified and called persons of all races appointed to serve throughout the life of our Convention.

When there was a complaint by the Grecian widows, with regard to the “daily distribution,” there were seven men with Greek names selected to meet the need, and all were pleased (Acts 6:5). That was a bold move, to have only Greek men responsible for the “daily distribution.”

When God established the first Gentile congregation in Antioch, He specified the geographic origin of the leadership: Barnabas (Acts 4:36, 13:1, “a native of Cyprus”); Cyprus was located in Southern Europe. “Simeon” who was called Niger (Acts 15:1); “Niger” is a Latin term meaning black and indicative that Simeon was darker than the Mediterranean norm; “Lucius of Cyrene” (Acts 13:1); Cyrene is located in North Africa (Libya). “Manaen, a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch”; Manaen is believed to have been from Rome; and Saul (Acts 13:1); Saul was from Damascus. My point is that, if the Lord intentionally selected leadership from Europe, Africa and Asia to lead the very first Gentile congregation He formed, shouldn’t the leadership of the SBC also in every area, and on every trustee board reflect a similar kind of racial makeup and balance? What if the Resolutions Committee had looked like the leadership team at Antioch?

When God sent wise men to honor the coming of His Messiah, as a babe in Bethlehem, He chose men of African, Asian, and European descent—or descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth (Psalm 72:10, 15). An African, a Roman and a Jew showed up at the crucifixion and were changed. We can change the Nation following this model.

The biblical authors, including the gospel writers, were also men descended from Japheth (Europeans), Shem (Middle Eastern/Asian) and Ham (African). My point is, if the Lord intentionally called the early church leaders and biblical writers to be multi-racial, shouldn’t the SBC follow the same model? The SBC has an opportunity going forward to pattern after the biblical model.

If there are 100 persons on the Executive Committee, maybe the ethnic makeup should be more like a third of each people group. As entity vacancies occur, we should be intentional that they begin to reflect God’s will as revealed at Antioch. Your hesitancy may be the same as mine. Frank Page and Russell Moore, two of the relatively recent entity head appointments that I’m totally supportive of, may have been overlooked if we made race the priority. That’s possible. But who believe it was not intentional that all seven men selected in Acts 6 were Greek, and not Hebrew? My point again is to reach the diversity reflected in Scripture, going forward we must be intentional. I celebrate Jim Richards in leading our Convention to a 14% increase in minority appointments this year. Yet, the SBC has a 20% minority membership; and again, the biblical model looks more like one third of each race in leadership. The 14% increase is far greater than what it was in times past; so my heart rejoices.

Finally, our land needs to be healed racially. Only the church can do this. I believe only the SBC and her churches have the potential and racial constituencies to pull this off. But in order to do so, our churches must become interracial, and we must plant interracial churches. Going forward, if the SBC strategizes and prays as hard to plant interracial churches and to seek to allow God to remake existing churches into interracial churches, we will see our churches revived and our nation healed as never before. The Convention that’s currently “stained” and branded with racism will then become branded with racial healing and reconciliation. May the Lord help us to move pass the resolution rankle in Phoenix, appreciate the recovery and move to racial healing and harmony for Kingdom advance!


In Romans 16:13, Paul said to the saints at Rome, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been mother to me as well.” Many scholars believe that Rufus was the son of Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21). Cyrene was a North African city, located in Libya. Paul referred to Rufus’ mother as his own. Mark was the only gospel writer to record the names of Simon’s sons, Rufus and Alexander *Mark 15:21). Thomas C. Oden, in his ground breaking book, “The African Memory of Mark” provides a compelling argument that Mark was an African Jew born also in Cyrene, and was personally familiar with Simon and his sons. Consequently, that’s why he was the only gospel writer to name Simon’s sons, according to Oden.
Furthermore, if Oden is correct in his belief that the Gospel writer, Mark, was an African Jew, that would make at least three of the Gospel writers descendants of the three continents: Luke, a descendant of Europe/Gentile (Colossians 4:14), Matthew and John, descendants of the Middle East (Asia), and Mark a descendant of Africa. It is possible that three of the gospel writers emanated from the three continents that comprise the biblical lands.

“In February 2015 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary addressing “The Table of the Nations, the Tower of Babel, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Ethnic Diversity and the Radical Vision of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” R. Albert Mohler Jr. stated, African and Asiatic people may well be rooted in the sons of Ham.” It is rare that a white Southern Baptist—particularly with academic pedigree—would affirm an African/black presence in Scripture to that magnitude. The implications of his statement are staggering.” (Removing the Stain of Racism From the Southern Baptist Convention, by Jarvis J. Williams and Kevin M. Jones, p. 134)

If Mohler is right, the color landscape of the Bible is different from what many of us thought growing up, and from what we’d been taught. Mohler makes it clear that color diversity is a reality throughout the Scripture; and Oden makes it clear the Gospel writers were diverse as well as the New Testament Church and her leaders.

The late Dr. Oden (Ph.D., Yale University) was an evangelical scholar and missionary. Dr. Paige Patterson served on his board. Oden argued that the Simon of Cyrene and Simeon called Niger of Acts 13:1 might be one and the same person. “It is based on the confluence of eight facts or probabilities,” according to Oden. The eight are listed below:

1. The names Simeon and Simon are varied spellings of the same name.
2. It is Mark alone of the four Gospel writers who earliest provides this unique and personal information about Simon of Cyrene: He was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mk 15:21). Other Synoptic writers may have learned from Mark that Simon was from Cyrene.
3. If other arguments from Coptic historians should prove correct that Mark was from Cyrene, and Simon came from Cyrene, that would make more plausible that Mark alone of the three Synoptic writers knew Simon and his sons personally. The hypothesis is that Mark and Simon had ethnic and cultural affinities with the same Diaspora Jerusalem synagogue referred to in Acts 6:9—at that time messianic and activist.
4. It is an anomaly that “Simeon called Niger” had a Jewish name. Niger is Latin for “black.” This would fit the ethnic profile of a Jew known within the circle of disciples to be from Africa, and perhaps (though not necessarily) having darker skin. Whether he was the same person as the cross-bearer remains debated. We do not know, but what is clear is that Simon of Cyrene has a Jewish name, also spelled Simeon, and that he was a foreigner traveling to Jerusalem at feast time. In any event we must posit some reason why this Simeon was called Niger.
5. It has been overlooked that there is a mountain in Libya named Niger in the Garama region.
6. Remember that Jews had resided in Cyrene for three hundred years. The skin pigment of Berber Jews is unspecific, but could range from light to dark.
7. We know that Simon of Cyrene was a visitor to Jerusalem, remembered in a personal fashion by Mark and perhaps by Paul. We know that Simon called the Black was first mentioned as being among the “men of Cyrene” (Acts 11:19-20) who first undertook the mission to Greek speakers in Antioch and Cyprus. Saul of Tarsus himself had cultural affinities with these “prophets and teachers.” Some common link bound together Saul and the Cyrenians.
8. Simon the Black was a leader in a church founded by Cyrenians. These vectors point in the same direction: Simon of Cyrene was likely called Simon the Black.” (Early Libyan Christianity; Uncovering a North African Tradition by Thomas C. Oden, pp 101-102).

The point that I’m trying to make is simply this: In the early church descendants of Africa, Europe and Asia who had submitted themselves to the Kingdom of our God and His Christ, regularly fellowshipped together (Romans 16:13), planted churches together (Acts 13:1-2), worshiped together (Acts 13, Ephesians 2) and received and proclaimed Christ together (Acts 2:5, 17).

It is fairly common for African Americans to engage in worship in venues sponsored and led by Anglo leadership. It’s less common for Anglo’s to engage in worship in venues sponsored and led by African American leadership. It’s high time the Body of Christ break those barriers as did the early church.

Dr. Joel C. Gregory was scheduled to preach eight consecutive Sunday evenings at our church about 20 years ago. An Anglo gentleman read the announcement in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram and called our Church to ask if he attended, would he be welcome, and would he be safe. I sensed that his questions, although ill-informed, were sincere. I assured him the answers to both of his questions were a resounding, YES. The brother came the first night with his wife and attended every subsequent night. About mid-ways the eight weeks, he asked me how much was I providing for Dr. Gregory as an honorarium. I thought it was rather an invasive/intrusive, unnecessary question; but contrary to my nature, I decided to give the brother an open, honest, specific answer. Upon hearing the answer, he said, “Good. I will write your church a check for the entire amount.” And he did. The check cleared the bank too. He later blessed our congregation with a substantial generous gift, separate from the Gregory-inspired gift. This brother crossed a cultural chasm in a mighty way. We remain friends.

The Forrest Park Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a once thriving, growing Anglo SBC Church, had recently declined to fifteen active congregants, due to changing demographics in their community. They voted to pass the baton of the legacy of their church to a nine-year-old African American SBC church plant who was renting—by signing the deed of their well-maintained, fully-operational facility over to the New Fellowship Baptist Church, accompanied by a $21,000 check as a gift. A couple of the Forrest Park members are contemplating remaining with the New Fellowship Church. The ultra-benevolent and missionary act and cross-pollination of the congregations are truly crossing cultural chasms as was done in the New Testament. Shiloh Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL, recently assumed financial responsibility for a predominantly Anglo SBC church and merged with them. They jointly worship, crossing a cultural chasm.
The whole point and purpose of this article is to challenge SBC and NBC believers to practice crossing cultural chasms in volunteer worship services in each other’s venues, when there’s no formal joint worship service planned.

Pastor H.B. Charles will be preaching at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington, TX, Sunday evening, July 9, 7:00 p.m. to kick off the Annual Galilee Griggs Baptist Association meeting. I’m inviting everyone to come, but particularly I am inviting SBC Anglo persons to come worship with us and cross this cultural chasm, as did Rufus, Paul and “their” mother; and also Simeon and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-2).

Please join me at Cornerstone Church (5415 Matlock Road, Arlington, TX 76018) this coming Wednesday evening, July 12, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. for a Metroplex-wide gathering of 40-50 participating churches, to hear an incredibly dynamic preacher, Dr. Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention and Pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, Jackson, MS. Two great choirs will minister: St. John, Grand Prairie and Shiloh Baptist Church, Plano.

This will be a historic occasion—the first time a National Baptist President has spoken in Arlington; the first time a National Baptist President has spoken during the Galilee Griggs Baptist Association; the first time a National Baptist President has spoken at Cornerstone Church; and the Koinonia Church and Cornerstone Church of Arlington, coming together with St. John Grand Prairie, Shiloh Plano, Como First Baptist and, again, 40 other churches as one Metroplex Baptist family celebrating our common faith in Christ, and strengthening our bands of brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ. What would make this even more historic would be hundreds of our Anglo brethren and sisters in the Kingdom of God joining us for worship to celebrate our oneness in Christ.

We look forward to the fellowship. A reception will be held for President Young following the gathering. Finger foods (wings) will be served; ALL ARE INVITED, to come and cross this cultural chasm reflecting and demonstrating the Kingdom of God and the early church. The world needs to see us in harmony, not wrestling in havoc. We can do it! Please join us.
817-468-0083 (ext. 205)


Please join me at Cornerstone Church (5415 Matlock Road, Arlington, TX 76018) this coming Wednesday evening, July 12, 2017, at 7pm, for a Metroplex-wide gathering of 40-50 participating churches, to hear an incredibly dynamic preacher, Dr. Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention and Pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, Jackson, MS. Two great choirs will minister: St. John, Grand Prairie and Shiloh Baptist Church, Plano.

This will be a historic occasion—the first time a National Baptist President has spoken in Arlington; and the Koinonia Church and Cornerstone Church of Arlington, coming together with St. John Grand Prairie, Shiloh Plano, Como First Baptist and, again, 40 other churches as one Metroplex Baptist family celebrating our common faith in Christ, and strengthening our bands of brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ. We look forward to the fellowship. A reception will be held for President Young following the gathering. Finger foods (wings) will be served; ALL ARE INVITED.

Resolution on “Kingdom Unity in the SBC and the Nation” Submitted to the SBC Phoenix Convention 2017

by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, we recognize that there always has been and always will be a diversity of opinions on political parties, presidential candidates, policies and positions—but we will endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, undivided by secular politics (1 Peter 2:17); and

WHEREAS, the SBC we recognize and joyfully accept our mandate to care for the “least among us”—we simultaneously allow for diversity of thought among our constituency as to what responsibility the federal government has as it relates to meeting the needs of the poor (Acts 6:1-7); and

WHEREAS, we recognize that if one believes in the fundamentals of the faith and the Lordship of Christ, believers who vote with their freedom of conscience for either party or candidate should not be viewed as spiritually suspect or be rendered ineligible from serving in the life of the SBC, based on their voting patterns, party affiliation, or ideological views that do not conflict with God’s inerrant and infallible Word. The SBC allows for diversity of thought on matters not clearly addressed by Jesus, not mandated in Scripture, or not addressed in the BF&M 2000 (Lev. 19:18); and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge, along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, historic discrimination and abuse of minorities; and therefore, we encourage law enforcement officers to demonstrate respect and equal treatment toward all persons—regardless of their background—as it relates to police practices in law enforcement (Gen. 1:27); and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge that there are citizens in our nation who view police persons with disdain and disrespect—the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention encourage all people of all backgrounds to hold police persons in high esteem and to respect and honor the necessary and life-threatening work that they do daily for the benefit of all American citizens. We condemn all police shootings by citizens as rebellious, defiant acts against the almighty God that police persons represent (Romans 13:4); and

BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the 2017 SBC, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the “bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3); and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recognize the different legitimate philosophical, ideological, political and cultural differences that exist between faithful Southern Baptists, understanding that no one has a monopoly on what is right except what is clearly set apart in God’s word; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respect each other’s differences while maintaining the oneness and unity that has made the SBC the most evangelism focused, discipleship driven, service focused, mission minded denomination in the history of the church; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we will continue to commit to bridging the differences that have plagued our society for decades, including putting an end to racial discrimination, gender inequality in the work place and any idea that one human is less desirable than another; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that in our recommitted unity, that we will encourage the faithful giving of tithes and offerings from our churches, without threat of withholding or escrow, to the Cooperative Program, that great endeavor that has aided in the fulfillment of the Gospel reaching the ends of the earth while not neglecting our own back yards and has continued to advance the Gospel by the training of young people in seminaries. May God bless us in our unity and forgive us when we are not of one mind and one heart.

Resolution on the Condemnation of the “Alt-Right” Movement and the Roots of White Supremacy” Submitted to the SBC Phoenix Convention 2017

by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that from one man God made every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, the prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when the Lord would judge between the nations and render decisions for many people (Isaiah 2:4); and

WHEREAS, the Psalmist proclaims the Kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations; and

WHEREAS, the promise of heaven includes the eternal blessings of the Tree of Life for God’s people, which includes the healing of the nations that comes from the leaves of that tree; and

WHEREAS, the supreme need of the world is the acceptance of God’s teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love; and

WHEREAS, all Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our 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, just societies will order themselves as free men and women and organize at various times and for various purposes to establish political order and give consent to legitimate government; and

WHEREAS, the liberty of all nations to authorize such governments will, at times, allow for the rise of political parties and factions whose principles and ends are in irreconcilable conflict with the principles of liberty and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing; and

WHEREAS, this toxic menace, self-identified among some of its chief proponents as “White Nationalism” and the “Alt-Right,” must be opposed for the totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples; and

WHEREAS, the roots of White Supremacy within a “Christian context” is based on the so-called “curse of Ham” theory once prominently taught by the SBC in the early years—echoing the belief that God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos—which provided the theological justification for slavery and segregation. The SBC officially renounces the “curse of Ham” theory in this Resolution; now be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017, denounces every form of “nationalism” that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called “Alt-Right” that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system; and be finally

RESOLVED, that we earnestly pray, both for those who lead and advocate this movement and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of their perverse nationalism, 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 tongue.


Opposite Sides of the Window Interpretations of the SWBTS Preaching Professors Gangsta Gate Twitter Photo

By: William Dwight McKissic, Sr.


Rev. Otis Moss III, the eloquent and winsome young preacher who succeeded Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Pastor of The Trinity Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois, posted on Facebook a brutal response—tantamount to  A rebuke—of the five Preaching professors at SWBTS pictured  above, and by extension, a rebuke of the Seminary and the SBC. Moss’ intellectual and insightful mind is on full display in his “Standing on the Outside of the Window—Looking In” Interpretation of the Twitter photo.

Four years ago, I was privileged to be a table mate of Rev. Moss for three hours, during an invitation-only Phoenix gathering of high-profile Black pastors that I didn’t qualify to attend. I walked away from that table and the topic-driven table discussion impressed with Moss’ humility and quest to pursue excellence in ministry. Rev. Moss is well known and highly respected in the Black Church Community across theological camps, as the son of an iconic Civil Rights leader/pastor who was a co-laborer with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; a man with earned degrees from Morehouse, Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary. Pastor Moss made history by being the youngest person to deliver the Lyman Beecher Lecture Series at Yale Divinity School in October 2014.

Rev. Moss and Dr. Hall , Vice President of Academic Affairs at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, have engaged in a friendly dialogue about the history of racism in evangelicalism. The Moss-Hall dialogue is a much more effective way to reach across the aisle to Urban Communities addressing felt-need issues from a Kingdom perspective. An urban student would be attracted to enroll in a SBC Seminary by a substantive Kingdom dialogue, on an issue relevant to the Urban Community, between a respected SBC academician and a respected urban pastor, much more so than a gangsta rap parody/caricature picture of Preaching Professors.

Moss and Hall

This post is my second public pushback of a published Moss statement that I’ve felt compelled to give a public rebuttal. I strongly, biblically disagree with Moss’ support of “same gender loving couples”—his description of same-sex marriages, or homosexual relationships. Both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama were frequent attenders of the Trinity Church of Christ, while pastored by Dr. Jeremiah Wright, who shared the same views on homosexuality as does Otis Moss III. Undoubtedly, the theology of the Trinity Church on homosexuality influenced Barack Obama, who later forever changed America on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Now because of the Twitter photo from SWBTS, here we go again! I will provide a “Standing on the Inside of the Window—Looking Out” Rebuttal to Moss’ Brutal, but Fair Statement Regarding the Twitter photo. What was lacking from Moss’ statement was an Insider’s perspective.

Please don’t misread or misunderstand my analogy. Anyone who knows my history with SWBTS and the SBC wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination consider me to be a “House Negro.” Inasmuch as our church was planted while I was a student at SWBTS and I’ve maintained a relationship with the SBC for over 42 years—dating back to my college days—that makes me somewhat of an insider in SBC life, compared to Moss, who has no known history with the SBC that I’m aware of, except that I’ve referenced above.

In addition to offering a gentle rebuttal and friendly, sympathetic critique regarding Rev. Moss’s positon on the Gangsta Gate Photo, I want to offer Rev. Moss’ full Facebook Post. A good friend and former adjunct Professor at SWBTS shared with me after visiting with Dr. David Allen, Dean of Preaching at SWBTS, and also pictured on the Twitter photo, that the disposition and posture of the Preaching faculty is that of “being a learner and listener” in the aftermath of the controversy. Believing Dr. Allen, Dr. Patterson, Dr. McCarty (who reached out to me in response to my previous Article on this subject), and all involved to be sincere, there’s no better outside critique, interpretation, evaluation (or whatever you want to call it) of the photo than you could get than the one following from Dr. Otis Moss III. I believe he voices the sentiments of most African Americans, who would view this photo similar to how Dr. Moss views it, without any prior relationship with the SBC or SWBTS. Dr. Moss’ Facebook statement:

“The Southern Baptist convention has had a long storied history of racialized thought and action beginning with the inception of the convention in Augusta, GA. The largest of the Protestant denominations has consistently stood on the wrong side on issues of race. I have over years made the claim evangelicals choose “whiteness” over Jesus because the real religion of Americanized Christianity is maintaining the structure of white supremacy. The rhetoric of “We are one in Christ” is used freely in evangelical circles as a veneer to cover-up the rotting flesh of a broken faith that no longer speaks for the vulnerable, but worships Eurocentric and racialized assumptions about humanity especially people of African descent. This article below is more than insensitivity, but a bold proclamation of privilege, ignorance and illegibility of black bodies. These “preaching professors” (I use this term loosely) demonstrate their clear homiletical bias not to preach Jesus, but proclaim the Gospel of George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. How devastatingly ugly for grown men to live in a sophomoric bubble where racial appropriation is not only okay, but the appropriate response for the farewell of a colleague. How cruel to preach a visual sermon that will outlast their words on the internet and injure hundreds if not thousands of women and men. These are the teachers of the new generation of leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention? Now I know why Steve Bannon, Jeff Session and Mike Flynn advise Trump maybe they were taught by professors at Southern Baptist Seminary. If these are the best minds of the Seminary America can expect graduates who colonize minds, injure spirits and mis-educated communities.

Tragic and beyond tragic”


The SBC publicly apologized for their history of racism in ’95; yet they must recognize that America will always view the SBC as being birth in racism and continuing in that trajectory. The scars of some sins remain for a lifetime. I believe it was fair for Moss to connect the picture to the SBC’s racist history based on his—outside the window—interpretation of the picture. That’s why the SBC entities have to be mindful of perception, which is reality, to many.

As Dr. Fred Luter has so accurately and eloquently stated: “We cannot change our past—it is what it is; but we can change our future.” And Luter’s election as the first African-American President of the SBC provides a modicum of hope that the SBC may be willing to move in a different direction in her future. However, for many, the Twitter photo was reminiscent of the era when White males portrayed themselves as “Amos and Andy” complete with made-up Black faces. For those who argue that the twitter photo could reflect Vanilla Ice or Eminem—too late. There was an admission that “Notorious Biggie Small,” a Black Gangsta Rapper, was the inspiration for the “Notorious SOP” wall graffiti.


The photo lends itself to an interpretation of fostering White Supremacy. How? If you view, Gangsta Rap as having originated with and primarily associated with Blacks—as most Blacks do, and history verifies—then the picture represents five White men mocking or making fun of an aspect of Black culture. The only reason that you would do that is out of a feeling of superiority or supremacy.

The SBC has repented of their history of racism, but they’ve never repented of the White Supremacist Theology and ideology that provided and fed the racist attitudes and actions that still residually occur in various pockets throughout the SBC. I offered the SBC an opportunity to repent of their White Supremacist Theology a few years back, but they refused. ( Inevitably, a racial brouhaha erupts in the SBC every few years and will continue to do so, until the SBC repents of the White Supremacist Theology that yet shackles her, and reoccurs openly on occasions (

SBC Pastor Rick Patrick admits that there is a “bit” of an Alt-Right element in the SBC. The Alt-Right unashamedly promotes White Supremacy. I am considering submitting another resolution giving the SBC another opportunity to reject White Supremacy and White Supremacist Theology.


His interpretation of the picture and the preaching professors is that “it demonstrates their clear homiletical bias not to preach Jesus, but proclaim the Gospel of George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.”

In essence, Moss is saying that it is impossible to harbor the kind of feelings or insensitivity, that would allow you to dress for and proudly take that photo, without passing on to your students a similar kind of insensitivity. Mindsets, who could take such a picture, may not be able to equip men to preach the Gospel in an urban culture from Moss’ perspective. I agree that the picture represents a huge cultural disconnect with the Black Community. Ironically, the picture was designed to appeal to the Gangsta Community that can only be reached with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.


Although, I don’t disagree with Moss’ premise that racism and White Supremacy are yet present forces within evangelicalism and SBC Life, I strongly disagree with what appears to be his premise that SWBTS professors cannot homiletically properly equip Black seminarians. Yes, there is a cultural gap in training and connectivity to the Black context and Community. I get that. Usually, the difference is made up for in the local church or attending preaching seminars and conferences as the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference, H.B. Charles Preaching Conference, Tony Evans Conference, National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, etc.

The current Preaching Department at SWBTS has produced one of the featured preachers for the upcoming SBC Pastors Conference in Phoenix, Jamar Andrews, recommended by Dr. Paige Patterson, SWBTS President. Jamar has also preached in SWBTS Chapel. Dr. Bart Barber, a Southwestern Trustee, also recommended Jamar, even as a small church pastor—to preach in the Annual Pastors Conference.

Dr. Barry McCarty, Professor of Preaching and Rhetoric at SWBTS requires his students to study the preaching of the following Pastors: Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Ralph West, H.B. Charles, Dr. Fred Luter and Dr. Tony Evans. Pastor Rick Patrick and Seth Dunn are two White Southern Baptist personalities that have labeled me a “race baiter.” Dr. McCarty, whom I’ve only met once on stage at the Annual SBC meeting in Baltimore—shook my hand and said, “I appreciate your heart for racial reconciliation.” His words have ministered to me ever since and bring healing when others falsely accuse me. Dr. McCarty will never know how those few words blessed me. I am encouraged by his exposing his students to excellent models of Black expositors.

Beloved Former Preaching Professors at SWBTS that are greatly loved and appreciated by scores of Black Seminarians would include Dr. Al Fasol, Dr. Joel Gregory, Dr. Calvin Miller and Dr. Raymond Spencer. The sermons that I preach that are considered my best, are homiletically structured following the pattern taught to me by Dr. Al Fasol.

A current SWBTS student attending the church I pastor, Larry Williamson, recently completed a class taught by The Dean of the School of Preaching at Southwestern—Dr. David Allen. Larry’s preaching has improved dramatically from two years ago—and he attributes the improvement to SWBTS. He described his interactions with Dr. Allen as affirming and positive and is appreciative of Dr. Allen encouraging him toward PH.D Studies. All the “Negrotics”—Negroes +Politics = “Negrotics”—which would include learning to fill in the cultural gaps from what SWBTS don’t know to teach—that Larry needs to know—Larry can learn from me.

The late S.M. Lockridge, the late E.K. Bailey, James Meeks, Ralph Douglas West, Ross Cullins, Fredrick Douglas Haynes, the Late Dr. Raymond Spencer, Ken Jones, Robert E. Fowler (pastor of the largest Black Baptist church in Las Vegas), Louis Rosenthal (Senior Pastor of McKinney First Baptist Church), Ronnie Goines—who pastors a fast-growing church in Arlington, TX—and most recently, Jamar Andrews are just a few of the names of great Black preachers trained at Southwestern. Interestingly, both the largest Black Baptist churches in Chicago (James Meeks) and Las Vegas are pastored by SWBTS graduates.

None of these men preached the gospel of Strom Thurmond or George Wallace.

Southwestern has also featured a cadre of Black preachers in Chapel across the years: Manuel Scott, Sr., E.V. Hill, Rick Armstrong, Tony Evans, H.B. Charles, Eric Redmond, William J. Shaw, the late Gardner C. Taylor, and a host of others. The cultural gap is in part made up for by the Chapel speakers and the Professors who require their students to study excellent Black role models in preaching. I would agree, though, none of this supplants or substitutes for a Homiletics professor who understands the African American Church experientially.


  • I do not believe there was an inkling of racial or racist intentionality involved in posing for and the displaying of the photo.
  • I believe the spirit and intent behind the picture of celebrating a departing colleague was sincere, but sincerely wrong; because the photo was open to multiple and misinterpretations.
  • I believe that the picture represented a sincere attempt by the Preaching professors to be relevant to the culture, connect with the times, affirm the departing Professor, and appeal to the current generation.
  • Whether one views the picture as a parody or a caricature, as insensitive, or racist—or even as innocuous—I’m baffled as to how a picture with imaging and symbolism of guns, gangs, “Benjamins”—money, “Bling-Bling”—materialism, Misogny-synomous with Gangsta Rap, coupled with, violence, alcoholism, drugs, fornication, adultery, anti-police rhetoric, etc.—is compatible with the Kingdom of God, the mission of the Seminary , and the departure of the Professor? Forget Racism. The photo is an affront to the Kingdom of God.
  • The real evidence of whether or not this picture is a real problem or just a temporary distraction, won’t be known for 15-20 years. By then we’ll know if this Preaching faculty has produced 10-15 Black preachers of distinction, who belong in the same sentence with Ralph West, S.M. Lockridge, E.K. Bailey, James Meeks, Robert Fowler, Ken Jones, Freddy Haynes and Ross Cullins.

Conclusion:  I believe all have learned from this unfortunate occurrence. I’ve labored to write this post, for the above stated reasons. Furthermore, when I was a 25-year old student at SWBTS, if something like this occurred, I would have wanted someone to help me interpret not only Moss’ post, but my SWBTS inside experience. I highly recommend SWBTS, particularly to those who share similar theological convictions and doctrinal points of views compatible with theirs. This photo should not be a disqualifier for current or prospective Black students. There are many good predominately Black Churches in the DFW area to help fill the cultural gap between the classroom and Sunday morning. Furthermore, they are working toward hiring a Black Preaching Professor.

Pray that God leads them to the right one and prepare his heart for SWBTS.

As it relates to racism in the SBC and evangelicalism as a whole? Again it’s a reality. But at some point, we are going to have to look through the front window, more so than the rear-view window. We must not interpret every incident racially. At times we must give the benefit of the doubt. This is one where I choose to be gracious. We must also count blessings that have come our way; not just perceived or real injustices. It could be that the good that has come to many of us in the SBC, has outweighed the bad.

Yes, there have been challenges and regrets along the way, but without the SBC I am not ashamed to say, our congregation, my family, and my ministry would not be where it is; and for that I’m grateful. I have an older brother who planted a church in Arkansas nine years ago. An SBC congregation just deeded their nice modern, fully functional facility to his congregation in a transitional section of town free of charge.

Yes, I could complain about a picture and several other things, but when Cornerstone needed a $3 million loan to move our ministry to the next level, an affiliate of the SBC provided it in 1995. I don’t belong in the same sentence with the great White, Black, Asian, or Hispanic Preachers Alumni from SWBTS, but without the mentorship of Dr. Al Fasol and later, Dr. Joel Gregory, I shudder to think, where I would be as a preacher. We should not let one picture—which admittedly was a bad decision—to cause us to dismiss a great Seminary and a great Convention. We need to work together to make it better.



By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

When the suggestion was made by one of the preaching professors at SWBTS to dress in “gangsta rap garb,” while brandishing a pistol and displaying gang signs—someone on the preaching faculty should have gently pushed back. Immediately and intuitively the inherent pitfalls in that idea should have been recognized by at least one of those Professors. No matter how noble the stated reasons given for such a photo-op might have appeared on the surface, the primary reason for not posing for and publishing the photo should have been obvious: Rationalizing and defending the optics of middle age to older, White—Southern Baptists Professors—dressed in “gangsta rap,” flashing a gun—would have been impossible to defend—even by highly educated men who make a living “word-smithing.”


As is often said in the Black Community when the obvious goes unnoticed…”Ray Charles could have seen that.”  So the question must be raised, why could one of these five preaching professors not see this? Why was there no push back from one of the five?  If those five professors couldn’t be trusted to exegete the culture correctly, why should students from minority cultures trust the professors to guide them in exegeting a text correctly? After all, we all bring biases, backgrounds, blind spots, cultural insensitivities, etc., to the text…just as we do the culture. We miss the obvious at times, when we view matters through a singular lens. Many seminarians are attracted to schools with diverse faculties, because cultural needs are often more effectively addressed and cultural sensitivities are less offended or violated, because persons are in place that know, appreciate and respect your culture.

The scandal reflected in the SWBTS Preaching Professor “Gangsta” Garb/Image may be the lack of diversity represented in addition to the unwise images depicted. The willingness to demonstrate appreciation for diversity through displaying the symbolism of “gangsta” garb/images; but, the unwillingness to demonstrate the reality of diversity by hiring a diverse faculty is the real scandal represented by this picture. Offering to bring LeCrae to address the matter is like putting a Band-Aid on a cancer. I appreciate him declining such meaningless, window-dressing offer. Offering to hire—if even in an adjunct capacity, Monday-only classes—Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Ralph West, Dr. Claiborne Lea, Dr. Maurice Watson, Dr. Robert E. Fowler, H.B. Charles, Marcus Jerkins or any number of others, would be the proper response to this matter. Bringing in LeCrae doesn’t resolve anything. Demonstrating fruit worthy of repentance is diversifying your staff, as did the early Church when they faced charges of cultural and racial ethics issues in Acts 6: 1-6.

A Black Preaching Professor would have no doubt persuaded his co-laborers of the single most important reason why this “gangsta rap” photo idea should have been a non-starter. He would have argued it would be impossible for the larger culture to appreciate the optics as being genuine and sincere.

Middle-age and older White Republican Evangelical males, organically, have no history of identifying with or appreciating in the least bit, the “gangsta rap” culture. Therefore, the picture would be viewed as a caricature—which it was—or an insincere attempt to celebrate a culture that you really don’t, nor should, appreciate. The picture is offensive to me in representing contradictory viewpoints to my biblical values. Make no mistake about it; there is nothing conservative, orthodox, fundamental, biblical, kingdom-minded, evangelistic, holy, righteous, or sensible regarding this picture. Who would have ever thought such a picture would have come from a Paige Patterson-led seminary?

No one would take me serious dressed in Confederate garb, waiving a Confederate Flag as a sincere tribute to a departing Paul Pressler. Neither would anyone take that picture seriously as an appeal to the “gangsta rap” culture to come learn to “rap the Word of God”—one of the two stated purposes of the ill-thought picture. The other stated purpose was to pay tribute to a departing faculty member that had a proclivity toward rap, but not “gangsta rap”—which also made it disingenuous.

What is also obviously missing from this picture is a Black Professor.

Maybe Ray Charles couldn’t see the pitfalls in the preaching professors “gangsta” garb/gate proposal, not because Ray Charles was blind, but rather, because, “Ray Charles” is not on the faculty there. Had there been a Ray Charles among the five or in the upper level administration at SWBTS, he would have pointed out again, intuitively and immediately the pitfalls of the infamous SWBTS Preaching Professors twitter picture.

The late Dr. Raymond Spencer was the first Black Professor and only Black Preaching Professor in the history of SWBTS hired by SWBTS former President, Dr. Ken Hemphill. I enrolled in a Preaching class under him in about 2002. The first day of class he made it clear that he believed in women preachers and would allow women who were also enrolled in the class to preach to the class. He expressed his affirmation of the BFM 2000, and explained why his beliefs and practices regarding women in ministry didn’t violate the BFM 2000. He further stated Dr. Hemphill was aware of and supported his viewpoints. If any of the students objected to his views on women in ministry he encouraged them to report him to the Board of Trustees at SWBTS. He indicated he’d welcome an opportunity to have the conversation with them.

I invoked Dr. Spencer’s memory for several reasons: (1) A diverse faculty brings needed diverse viewpoints to the table; (2) A diverse faculty challenges the status quo often where it needs to be challenged; (3) A diverse faculty models ministry for a diverse student body. In some ways Dr. Spencer in respectfully requesting students to report their objections to his views on women preachers to the Trustee Board was modeling the social justice ministry tradition of the Black Church and representing the oppressed; (4) A diverse faculty retains and attracts a diverse student body. The singular reason I was taking that class is because Dr. Spencer was teaching it. And I got what I needed, not only preaching training but insights and modeling related to providing pastoral leadership within a Black Church context. Dr. Hemphill and Dr. Spencer represented soft complementarianism theology, as oppose to the hyper complementarianism theology currently reigning at SWBTS that restrict women’s functionally in ministry beyond the BFM 2000 and the Bible. Dr. Karen Bullock would not be allowed to speak in Chapel at SWBTS today. The women in Dr. Spencer’s Preaching class would not be allowed to attend or preach in those classes today. Dr. Spencer would not be allowed to teach at SWBTS today unless he compromised or changed his convictions. And that’s why we must see the big scandal here as the lack of diversity represented by the picture, not just the obvious insensitivity represented by the photo. “Out of the abundance of twitter, the heart speaketh,” so says a friend of mine. What does this picture say about the heart of the Seminary, in spite their denials. What does the lack of diversity say about their heart?

I had a chance to preach at SEBTS while Dr. Patterson was there. I actually met three-four Black Professors. They were in Chapel and came to lunch with us. The only SBC seminary with a growing Minority population seems to be SEBTS. It seems as if they are intentional in this regard and have more minority professors than other SBC schools. Dr. Patterson is in part responsible for SEBTS’ growing minority population. He laid the foundation; Cast the Vision; Set the mold. I’ve been told Southern has a serious decline in minority student population; and it once was the “go to” school for Black Seminarians. Truett Seminary is now gaining that reputation and traction in the Black Church Community. Only a few years old, I’m told they have at least 50 Black students. Not sure if Southern or SWBTS have as many. All of my info is anecdotal conversation though. I’m sure someone will check out the facts. I hope to be corrected.

Three of my sons in ministry, all serving as Senior Pastor’s in DFW recently enrolled in Truett Seminary. Their attraction to Truett was their diversity is staffing and course offerings. Truett offers courses in Black Preaching and Preaching and Pastoring in the Black Church. They also have 3-4 Black Faculty members including Dr. Ralph West who teaches the course on Preaching and Pastoring in The Black Church. My guys were attracted to the theological diversity, course diversity, and faculty racial diversity represented at Truett.

There are two names in particular I’d recommend SWBTS reach out to—Marcus Jerkins and Robert Fowler. Robert Fowler pastors the largest Black Church in Las Vegas. He holds an MDIV from SWBTS and a DMIN from Tyndall. He is the greatest preacher on the planet in my opinion and needs to be invited to preach in Chapel. He would probably consider flying in to teach a Preaching class on Mondays. Marcus Jerkins is completing a PH.D at Baylor in New Testament and is a teaching assistant for Ralph West at Truett. SWBTS couldn’t go wrong with either gentleman.

I pray that a miracle comes out of this mess. I pray that diversity is birth from this debacle. I pray that God will turn this around and work it for His good.

A young man who I’d recommended to SWBTS and had actually come down from Illinois, stayed with me and visited the campus, tremendously impressed just sent me this text regarding the “gangsta” gate photo scandal: “Racism and insensitivity is so deeply rooted in the SBC and SWBTS that it is fun to them. I believe their orthopraxy fails to line up with their orthodoxy and this is the result.”

Neither Dr. Patterson, nor the five “gangsta” Preaching Professors are flaming racists. They can be, and in this instance were culturally insensitive-borderline racists-clearly out of touch-needed to have apologized-and need to be forgiven. All six have apologized, sincerely and rightfully so. I forgive them. We need to work together to heal this matter constructively and redemptively. Considerable damage to SWBTS’ image has been done by this photo as evidenced by the prospective Illinois student analysis, and the many, many negative responses recorded on social media. However, the damage can be reversed in one felt swoop if the right person is hired as a professor and course offerings that directly address Black Church Issues are offered in the future.


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Introducing Bobby and Othello Baptist

“Bobby Baptist” is a term that I recently encountered in an article written by Brad Reynolds, who serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Christian Studies at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, GA. His article is entitled “Bobby Baptist and the ERLC.” The ERLC—Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission—an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, is headed by Dr. Russell Moore who according to one news article was required to apologize to seven SBC pastors in order to retain his job. The “offense” Russell Moore allegedly committed was to criticize Donald Trump and SBC voters who supported him.

According to Reynolds, “Dr. Jerry Vines [in yester years] introduced Southern Baptists to a hypothetical character in his Sermon ‘A Baptist and his Bible.’ The character, Billy Baptist, represented the typical Baptist in Southern Baptist churches.” Reynolds now presents to us “Bobby”—Billy’s younger brother—who is “a twenty-first century hypothetical typical member of a Southern Baptist rural church.” Reynolds further reveals that Bobby Baptist “is really not concerned that leaders within the SBC are seeking unity in their differences.” Apathy with regard to unity makes Bobby an agenda-driven Baptist-believing that his agenda should TRUMP unity. Bobby Baptist is a feisty fellow when it comes to driving his agenda.

Take serious note of the fact that Reynolds describes “Bobby Baptist” as a twenty-first century, rural, “typical” Southern Baptist. Reynolds’ profile of “Bobby Baptist” gets even more interesting. Bobby does not get his news from “CNN” or “NY TIMES.” “Bobby and Bonnie” get their news from their Facebook, whereby they interact with family. It goes further: Bobby is not interested in issues addressed by the President of the ERLC:  “1) what it means to be “an evangelical;” 2) the importance of sexual immorality; and 3) racial divisiveness. Rather, what disturbed Bobby was that these concerns seemed of more importance to Dr. Moore than the murderous torture of infants and real religious liberty…”

Bobby Baptist’s objective is not to remove Russell Moore as President of the ERLC, but rather to ask Dr. Moore “to either represent ‘us’ or remove himself for ‘we’ do not desire to pay someone who doesn’t represent ‘us.’” That representation would begin by an admission that abortion, Supreme Court Justices and the judicial system is rightly our main focus.” Bobby Baptist’s final conclusion is, “we… do not shirk our responsibility to vote to protect LIFE because Ethics demands such.” Translation: Bobby Baptist wants the ERLC to encourage Southern Baptists to vote for Donald Trump—under the guise—“to vote to protect LIFE”—because “Ethics demand such.”

WOW!! Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump—who said about women—put Tic Tacs in your mouth and “grab ‘em by the crotch.” Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump who called women “pigs and slobs.” WOW! Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump who settled two lawsuits out of court for racial housing discrimination.

WOW!!! Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump who insisted five young Black men exonerated for rape in New York, by DNA evidence, were guilty and should be retried. Ethics demand that we vote for Donald Trump although he willfully failed to pay scores of vendors and subcontractors, is thrice married and filed bankruptcy four times. Wow! That is absolutely astounding that a Baptist professor would argue that “Ethics demand” that Southern Baptist should vote for such an unethical man, and the ERLC should push such an agenda.

Professor Reynolds identified Bobby Baptist as a “rural” Southern Baptist, and it was in the rural areas where Trump received the votes that helped him cross the finish line. Professor Reynolds serves in a rural area of Georgia. Reynolds described Bobby Baptist as “typical” Southern Baptists. It’s that description of “Bobby Baptist” that really triggered my drive to write this article. What does a “typical” Southern Baptist look like?

I’ve been affiliated with the SBC from my college days at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, since 1974 through today—non-stop. I consider myself just as much a Southern Baptist as Bobby. Unlike Bobby, though, I’ve never lived or pastored in a rural area. I get my news from CNN, NY TIMES, Fox News and MSNBC, not just Facebook. I celebrate and appreciate Russell Moore’s critique of “what it means to be “an evangelical,” “the importance of sexual immorality,” and “racial divisiveness.” I find it interesting and disturbing that Bobby Baptist does not share my appreciation for these three concerns and emphasis of the ERLC and Russell Moore. I’m even more concerned that Bobby Baptist is not concerned about unity. The price Bobby Baptist believes that must be paid for unity is the President of the ERLC being exclusively focused on abortion and SCOTUS appointments.  I strongly stand against abortion and voted for Republican candidates for the past 42 years, with the hope that they would outlaw abortion, but they’ve failed me. I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election because she is by far a more ethical person than Trump—even with all her baggage—and certainly much more committed to racial justice and equality. Therefore, given those two choices, if my vote boils down to the more ethical of the two—hands down, I vote for Hillary, especially when I consider my twelve grandchildren and who will best protect them from the  International Association of Chiefs of Police admitted historic problem of police discrimination and brutality.

Professor Reynolds used words like “we” and “us” referring to the majority of Southern Baptists represented by Bobby as “typical.” Professor Reynolds was by and large describing Southern Baptists yesterday, which were largely rural, White, Republican, Suburban and now aging. Southern Baptists today are broad, diverse, free thinkers, independent voters, people of color, and sometimes, young, restless and reformed—not just the Bobby Baptist type. The bond that hold Southern Baptists together today is a common experience of having been “born again into the Kingdom of God,” a common belief in the BF&M 2000, and a common commitment to International Missions, Evangelism, Disciple Making and Church Planting.

Bobby Baptist’s commitment to “vote to protect LIFE” is a noble one and a commitment that I share. But my definition of “Life” is more expansive than Bobby’s. “LIFE” to me includes the three issues the ERLC addressed so ably and adequately, that Bobby has dismissed as being priority issues. Bobby reduces “LIFE” to life in the womb. Voting for Trump will not overturn abortion laws. If I were assured of that, I would have voted for Trump. Therefore, we can’t allow Bobby to be considered a “typical,” average, or representative Southern Baptist. Or else, we reduce what it means to be Southern Baptist to “rural,” White, Republicans and a single-issue voter—exclusively. And yes, Dr. Reynolds, “it is more complicated than” looking myopically at one issue—that has proven time and time again to not result in a legislative abolishment. Some of us will no longer vote exclusively on one issue. That may be what typical, average, rural Southern Baptists would do; but that’s fool hardy from my perspective giving equally as important “LIFE” issues to give consideration to regarding voting.

The Republican Party may be just using this one issue to garner evangelical votes with no real intent to ever outlaw abortions. The purpose and point of this article is to simply highlight the fact that there is no longer a typical, average, Southern Baptist. Bobby Baptist is too non-descriptive of current SBC demographic reality, to represent “typical” reality. Therefore, Dr. Reynolds, I plead with you to allow Bobby Baptist and “Othello Baptist” to dwell together in unity, bonded by a common commitment to God’s Kingdom and the BF&M 2000. Failure to do so marginalizes a multitude of Southern Baptists or reduces them to non-typical and below average and sets in place a “them” vs. “us” mentality.

Many “typical” Bobby Baptists feel exactly as the sentiments expressed by Bobby Baptist/Joe Blackmon in a “Baptist Identity” Blog—edited by Rick Patrick—regarding Baptists who vote Democrat:

“And as anyone know, good Christians don’t vote or support democrats.”

Many Bobby Baptists share Joe Blackmon’s erroneous, shallow, myopic, and unbiblical viewpoint. But may I introduce you to Othello Baptist, who may be an independent voter, or vote Republican or Democrat, depending on the candidate?

Who is “Othello Baptist”? “Othello Baptists” may support affirmative action, affordable health care, police brutality accountability, adequate safety net for the poor, racial equality and justice, equal rights and pay for women, unity and full inclusion/empowerment in the SBC for all persons. Othello wants SCOTUS justices appointed favorable to his positions on the above issues. Othello Baptist may be White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, older, younger, rural, suburban, urban, or inner city. Billy and Bobby Baptist have little to no regard for any of Othello Baptist’s issues. Bobby Baptist is concerned only about abortion and Supreme Court Justices. Othello Baptist values all people’s lives from the womb to the tomb.

Currently, Bobby does not want Othello to express his opinion about President Trump without repercussions.  Yet Bobby can rip anyone he chooses with no repercussions. Bobby and Othello need to figure out how both of them can sit at the same SBC table and both are welcomed and equal. Their different political views should not be political litmus tests for membership, leadership, or exclusion in the SBC. Bobby Baptist currently excludes Othello Baptist or forces apologies if he voices his views.

Barry Cook loves the Confederate Flag and sees it as a symbol of heritage, not hate. I deplore the Confederate Flag and see it as a symbol of treason against the United States and a celebration of White Supremacy. Nevertheless, Barry and I have genuine respect, appreciation and brotherly affirmation for each other as gospel-centered, genuine born-again believers, and fellow Southern Baptists. We will never agree on the Confederate Flag. But we do agree on the Gospel. And that’s the beauty and hope of the SBC that Barry Cook and I can belong to the same Convention, and cooperate for the advancement of the Kingdom. Barry may be Bobby Baptist, and I may be Othello Baptist, but together we are Kingdom Baptists. And that ought to be our focus, rather than Republican Politics, abortion, or Donald Trump. Let’s focus on the Kingdom. Let Russell Moore be Russell Moore. And let the ERLC carry out her mission without undue interference and distractions with baseless and unbiblical criticisms.

Bobby Baptist is typical of many Southern Baptists. He’s singularly focused on abortion with tunnel vision, but has little or no regard for providing a safety net for the poor; Affirmative Action for descendants of the slavery and the Jim Crow Era, who were economically and physically raped by the slave owners and their descendants; affordable health care for the masses; equal rights for women; and to aggressively investigate and hold accountable police persons who abuse and brutalize citizens. Bobby Baptist does not represent me; neither does he represent countless others.





I plan to present a “Resolution On Kingdom Unity In The SBC And The Nation” to the SBC June 2017 Phoenix Resolutions Committee that if accepted and adhered to will advance the Southern Baptist Convention toward the goal(s) of reconciliation, healing, unity, cross-cultural respect, appreciation for freedom of expression, and diversity of viewpoints; based on one’s convictions, conscious, cultural considerations, and more importantly—the Spirit of Christ. When the Southern Baptist Convention become one in the Spirit and be empowered by the Spirit—we will be the most potent Kingdom disciple-making movement in the history of the Christian Faith since the Book of Acts. I offer this resolution with the prayer that what I just declared will become reality; and this generation will see it in our lifetime.

I want this resolution to reflect the majority sentiments of all SBC messengers regardless of racial, regional, economic, educational, ideological bents, philosophical persuasions, political party orientation, or affiliations. I want the final product to be a statement of unity that all Southern Baptists can say “Amen” to. I know this seems like an impossible feat, but the SBC need healing and unity, beyond the ERLC—Prestonwood kerfuffle that hopefully has been resolved in recent days. The Graham-Moore controversy uncovered a political, philosophical, racial, and doctrinal divide that is not totally resolved by the much-needed recent reconciliation between the two of them.

If this resolution is passed, understood, believed and practiced—it could help to lead the SBC in experiencing what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the beloved community”—which is a greater sense of unity and bridging the gaps between the fault lines of all persons from all socioeconomic backgrounds. And from a biblical perspective, where there is evidence of unity, there is an increase in a greater spiritual harvest; and that’s our ultimate goal. Therefore, please offer criticism, critiques, suggested changes, etc. I thank you in advance for doing so. Here’s the proposed rough draft of the resolution. I’m also looking for co-contributors who are willing to attach their names as coauthors and/or contributors to the final draft that will be submitted.


WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize that convictional and demonstrable unity is essential to our mandate given by our Lord to evangelize and disciple every people group. Jesus prayed that His followers would walk in unity, so that the world would be convinced of His Incarnation (John 17:21); and

WHEREAS, we recognize in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention that our unity is centered around our Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God who is the Father of all (Ephesians 4:4-6); and

WHEREAS, we recognize in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention that our unity is not centered in any political party of any stripe; and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention recognize that there always has been and always will be a diversity of opinions on political parties, presidential candidates, policies and positions—but we will endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, undivided by secular politics; and

WHEREAS, the Bible extols the virtues, value and visual beauty and blessings of Kingdom unity (Psalm 133:1-3); and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize that a house divided against itself cannot stand; and

WHEREAS, our Lord Jesus prayed for unity among His followers (John 17:21); and

WHEREAS, God placed His stamp of approval on visual, verbal and vital unity in the Kingdom of God on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 5) by the outpouring of His Spirit and the promise to do it again in the last days (Acts 2:17); and

WHEREAS, the first Gentile congregation in the history of the faith demonstrated ethnic unity in leadership with spiritually gifted men from Africa, Asia and Europe listed as leaders in the Church at Antioch (Acts 13:1-2); and

WHEREAS, within the Kingdom of God and within the Southern Baptist Convention there is a recognition that God’s Kingdom rules over all (Psalms 103:19), and neither the Democratic nor Republican Parties represent the Kingdom of God, but the kingdoms of this world (John 18:36); and

WHEREAS, racial and ideological polarization has been increasing dramatically in America since the Carter-Reagan era—and some would argue as far back as the Kennedy-Nixon era—and continues through this present hour; and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize and joyfully accept our mandate to care for the “least among us”—we simultaneously allow for diversity of thought among our constituency as to what responsibility the federal government has as it relates to meeting the needs of the poor (II Corinthians 3:17); and

WHEREAS, within the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention there is unity in the Spirit surrounding biblical teaching regarding the common origin of the races of mankind (Acts 17:26); the equality of the races of mankind (Malachi 2:10); the fairness and favor of God toward all races of mankind (Acts 10:34); and the need to prophetically address biblical social and economic justice for all the races of mankind (Amos 5:24, Luke 4:16-21, Matthew 25:34-40, Ezekiel 16:49-50).  We believe that heaven will be comprised of people of every tribe, tongue, race and nation that have trusted the shed blood of Jesus as atonement for their sins (Revelation 5:19, 7:9); and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention there is unity in the Spirit surrounding The Biblical Command to Pray with Purity of Hearts and Hands for secular political leaders; and therefore, we gladly assume the responsibility and requirement to pray for President Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS, his family, and Cabinet; and

WHEREAS, within the Kingdom of God and within the Southern Baptist Convention there is a recognition that if one believes in the fundamentals of the faith and the Lordship of Christ, believers who vote with their freedom of conscience for either party or candidate should not be viewed as spiritually suspect or be rendered ineligible from serving in the life of the SBC, based on their voting patterns, party affiliation, or ideological views that do not conflict with God’s inerrant and infallible Word. The Southern Baptist Convention allows for diversity of thought on matters not clearly addressed by Jesus, not mandated in Scripture, or not addressed in the BF&M 2000; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge, along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, historic discrimination and abuse of minorities; and therefore, and therefore, we encourage law enforcement officers to demonstrate respect and equal treatment toward all persons—regardless of their background—as it relates to police practices in law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge that there are citizens in our nation who view police persons with disdain and disrespect—the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention encourage all people of all backgrounds to hold police persons in high esteem and to respect and honor the necessary and life-threatening work that they do daily for the benefit of all American citizens. We condemn all police shootings by citizens as rebellious, defiant acts against the almighty God that police persons represent (Romans 13:4); and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention, we affirm marriage between one man and one woman; therefore we encourage President Trump and the Congress to proffer a constitutional amendment that places into law the traditional definition of marriage; and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention it is taught that God created male and female. Therefore, we commend President Trump for reversing President Obama’s Executive Order sanctioning transgender restrooms among school students; and

 WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention, we support the protection of innocent unborn life in the womb; and encourage the defunding of Planned Parenthood and commend President Donald Trump for defunding the Mexico policy; and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize that the beauty of diversity within unity, often is accompanied with challenges, misunderstandings, suspicions, infighting and even sometimes temporal separation; and



Biographical Reflections and Ruminations on the SBC


Responses to the Graham-Moore Controversy

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

At the conclusion of a recent Chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 8th, I stood in line to shake Judge Paul Pressler’s hand—an iconic and venerated figure in Southern Baptist Convention life. Judge Pressler greeted me warmly, as he always does. I immediately noticed that he was visibly and emotionally shaken at my presence; and I soon discovered in our friendly, but brief, conversation the reason why. My presence reminded him of a not-so-pleasant experience for him that took place at the Annual Southern Baptist Convention that met in St. Louis this past June.

Let me explain. I was not present in St. Louis, but a resolution that I submitted regarding the Confederate Flag generated much discussion and diverse opinions. Thankfully, the resolution overwhelmingly passed, and that action documented and evidenced a major turning point and quantum step forward regarding race relations and biblical righteousness in the SBC. It brought hope and encouragement to many American Americans in the SBC and unity to the entire Convention. However, due to parliamentary procedures and convention-established protocol, Judge Pressler was not permitted to address the Confederate Flag Resolution; and that decision may impact his desire to attend future SBC Annual Meetings. Not being allowed to address the Confederate Flag Resolution on the floor of the Annual Convention inflicted a deep wound or was received as one—on Judge Pressler that remains. Not being allowed to speak on the floor was the roots and fruit of Judge Pressler’s lingering rage and contemplation of never returning to a SBC Annual gathering. It was not the fact that I submitted the resolution that caused the rage. Our relationship and friendship remains intact. Not being able to speak on the floor of the Convention caused the rage.

I left our conversation with heartfelt identification with Judge Pressler’s pain, over feeling rejected because of a sense that my (our) freedom to speak was censured—rightly or wrongly—in different contexts—by an SBC official—on a SBC platform. We both felt entitled in our perspective forums to say what we wanted to say and what I did have an opportunity to say; but we were both publically censured, and we both felt rejected. Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, censured a sermon that I preached in Chapel in August 2006, that appealed to the SBC to not restrict the private prayers of IMB missionaries. Dr. Patterson favored the restriction of the private prayers of IMB missionaries. Dr. Patterson and I enjoy a relationship today not impacted by his decision to remove my message from the Seminary Library and release a statement that essentially denounced my Chapel sermon. I will go down in history as the only Chapel speaker in SWBTS history whose sermon was publically denounced. Yet, we have a mutually respectful and friendly relationship because of our shared Great Commission goals.

Therefore, I could feel Judge Pressler’s pain as I left his presence, weeping with him. I obviously disagree with his position on the issue. However, I’ve always loved, admired and appreciated Judge Pressler. Our personalities, convictions, and willingness to fight for what we believe to the bitter end, are similar. Nevertheless, the resolution passed without Judge Pressler being allowed to speak to it. I deeply regret that a decorated Southern Baptist patriarch, Christian soldier and aged sage was wounded in the process. Again, I share his pain, in spite of our different positions on the issue.

The passing of the Confederate Flag Resolution stands second only to the election of Dr. Fred Luter as President of the SBC, as the pinnacle signature moment in SBC history, regarding a statement on racial unity, healing and reconciliation. Judge Pressler’s legacy may have suffered damage had he spoken his sincere, valid and innocuous reasons for opposing the resolution. His speaking would have also resulted in generating huge, negative publicity for the SBC, based on the content of his speech and his emotional outrage toward the resolution.  A SBC church planter that my church sponsored was seated on the floor of the Convention and sent me a text while Judge Pressler was standing on the floor waiting to speak, describing “a guy screaming because he is upset about it” [The Confederate Flag Resolution]. This young church planter didn’t recognize Judge Paul Pressler’s face; but I was watching on live stream and immediately knew who this was “screaming” because he was upset about the Flag resolution and/or not being able to speak. For that reason I’m grateful that circumstances didn’t allow him to speak. But my heart bleeds that the Southern Baptist Convention is filled with tension, wounds, division, uncertainty and distrust over a plethora of issues—that include, but not limited to: the ever simmering Traditionalist/Calvinist debate; the Cooperative Program/Prestonwood/ERLC/Trump debate; the residual divisions over the IMB baptismal/tongues policies; and the Confederate Flag Resolution debate.

Our Convention needs healing and a baptism of unity. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I pray that Judge Pressler’s heart is healed and love for attending the SBC Annual Meeting will return soon. We don’t need to leave any Southern Baptists behind—especially one with Judge Pressler’s illustrious history, as the father and architect of the much needed Conservative Resurgence in the SBC. Because of his historic role in restoring, systematizing, and mainstreaming the theological foundation of biblical inerrancy throughout SBC life, Judge Pressler is a celebrated figure among those of us who appreciate the Conservative Resurgence. Biblical Inerrancy was/is “A Hill on Which to Die” (which is the title of the book written by Judge Pressler detailing the inerrancy battle in the SBC).  The Confederate Flag Resolution was/is not “A Hill on Which to Die.”

Neither is an alignment with and official sanctioning of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party “A Hill on Which to Die.” I join with my President, Pastor Byron Day, of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention in appealing for unity in the life of our Convention. Although I’m unsure of whom the target audience might have been, but I concur with a recent tweet by my friend Bob Roberts: “mixing the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of man always leads to a fake kingdom.” The SBC will morph into a “fake kingdom” if they continue this horrid love affair and identification with the Republican Party, particularly while Donald Trump is President.

Tony Evans is renowned for saying, “God is not riding the backs of donkeys or elephants. He doesn’t take sides, He takes over.” God is neither Republican nor Democrat. It would be a travesty for our Convention to make a decision that would be widely and rightfully interpreted as aligning us with the Republican Party. It would be equally unwise and unholy to align the SBC with the Democratic Party. We must always, at all times, on all matters adopt biblical positions on issues that align us with the Kingdom of God and not political parties of this world (John 18:36). The SBC should hammer out a biblical position on all issues; but never should we be branded or identified with either party. We must speak prophetically to both.

We must find a way to come together under one tent at one time, in spite of our various and sundry views on a multitude of issues. We must gather under the banner of Jesus, the Christ and affirm our unity and belief in One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Hope, One Calling and One God, who is the Father of All.

I am hopeful for the SBC. The following statement will sound arrogant and prideful, but I believe it. The SBC is the only denomination because of its current racial diversity and theological orthodoxy that I believe is primed and pumped to be a conduit that God will use to bring revival to our nation again. But there are a few rough edges, yet, for God to knock off in the SBC before He can use our denomination to the fullest extent.

Somehow the SBC has to figure out a way for  a patriarchal and yet-needed figure, as Judge Pressler, who opposed the Confederate Flag Resolution—to work side-by-side in harmony and mutual respect and love with Kyle J. Howard—a young African-American Church Planter and Southern Seminary graduate who is excited about the Confederate Flag Resolution passing, yet troubled and baffled by the SBC love affair and duplicity related to President Donald Trump; as are many African-American SBC constituents.

Kyle J. Howard: “…As an African American church planter in the SBC, I wept and rejoiced at last year’s convention as the denomination denounced the confederate flag. Within a year, it went from denouncing racism to embracing a white nationalist who is also clearly a racist to anyone with ears to hear. I am disappointed in the SBC but also not surprised. I am a year out or so from planting, I will most likely not plant with NAMB at this point.” (Kyle Howard’s reply on Brent Hobb’s comment on a Facebook post;

The simple point and purpose of this article is to plead for unity in our Convention and to make sure that the SBC understand that alignment with the Republican Party is not “A Hill On Which To Die.” My prayer for Frank Page is that God will give him the grace to orchestrate these diverse views and opposing factions toward a common good. Each person must give up their right to be right and bury the hatchet for the advancement of the Kingdom. The beauty of the SBC is that a Judge Pressler and Kyle Howard belong to the same Convention. The challenge of the SBC is that both men are quite wounded at the moment for obviously different reasons. It is not easy to administrate diversity in the most diverse evangelical denomination on the planet. Again, Frank Page needs our prayers.

How can a Judge Pressler and a Kyle Howard love each other and—in spite of their different positions on The Confederate Flag and work together in harmony in the same Baptist Convention? How can a Paige Patterson and Dwight McKissic love each other and—in spite of our differences over the biblical legitimacy of praying in tongues in private, and the freedom that should be allowed IMB missionaries to pray in private as led and gifted by the Spirit—and yet work together in harmony in the same Baptist Convention to advance the Kingdom of God? I tell you how: by focusing on the Kingdom of God and prioritizing His Kingdom over our political and theological differences. If our unity is centered in the Kingdom of God and not our culture, politics and secondary and tertiary theology outside of the BF&M 2000—we will learn to live with our differences and love each other through them. The Parable of the Dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50) recognizes that there will be diversity in God’s Kingdom. How can Frank Page, President Steve Gaines, the Executive Committee of the SBC, or anyone else for that matter—manage the diversity in the Southern Baptist Convention? The answer to that question may be found in a seldom taught Parable of The Kingdom:

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

The point of the parable is to allow diversity that does not contradict the Scripture—to coexist in harmony until “the end of the age” and then “the angels will come forth and do the separating.” Until then we must allow for diversity within our unity, while we all remain committed to God’s Kingdom. Our commitment to World Evangelism and Discipleship requires that we remain committed in spite of our differences.

In the SBC, there are “gathered some of every kind.” We must learn to live together in harmony to advance God’s Kingdom in spite of our differences. Jesus told us His Kingdom would constitute diversity—“gathered some of every kind.” That could be the SBC’s greatest asset. Diversity and differences organically breed discontent and frustration. And that’s what we are currently experiencing. To remain committed to the SBC, you have to learn to endure and overcome the adversity that often accompanies diversity. But that’s a part of life in the Kingdom.

I understand Judge Pressler’s and Kyle Howard’s frustrations. I resigned from the Trustee Board at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary overwhelmed with my frustrations. But I remained committed to “the Southern Baptist Kingdom” and will continue to do so, as long as they remain committed to the King of Kings and not the Republican Party.

I shall forever be grateful to Frank Page, because when I felt wounded and rejected by the SBC for daring to take literally I Corinthians 14:2, and believe that the same God that Paul prayed to in a language that God understood, but not men—was yet moving in the Body of Christ—among men and sovereignly bestowing gifts to His body as He wills; it was Dr. Frank Page who publically addressed the issue in a redemptive, unifying manner:

“Page cited 1 Corinthians 14 as a passage which may be interpreted to permit a private prayer language, while noting that he does not personally have a private prayer language.” (Frank Page discusses SBC theological issues by James A. Smith Sr./Florida Baptist Witness)

“Churches must deal with charismatic issues and theology as a part of their own autonomous structure. I think that many charismatics function well within traditional Southern Baptist churches. In fact, we have several in our church. Some are more vocal and sometimes disruptive. Churches must deal with those kinds of attitudes on a case by case basis. Trustee bodies must do the same.” (

I was blessed by his statements and felt there was room in the SBC for a Baptist with my beliefs, based on Page’s words. Therefore, I remained in the SBC, and I’m glad I did. It was courageous and risky for Dr. Page to make the above statements at the time he made them, because they were viewed as supportive or sympathetic toward me and my position on the issue. Frank Page’s comments were in support of the principle of upholding unity in the midst of our diversity. His goal was not so much to support me personally. But I received his words as affirmation, because I was so deeply wounded. His words were like a balm in Gilead. A part from my relationship with God, it was Frank Page’s words that gave me the strength and identification to remain Southern Baptist. However, the ill treatment of Russell Moore has caused many African American Southern Baptists to ask the question: Should we remain Southern Baptists?

In 2015, Dr. David Platt led the IMB to change their policies that directly contradicted I Corinthians 14:2, and I greatly rejoice to see the SBC return to the pre-2005 policies that were aligned with the Word of God. I’m hopeful that under the leadership of Dr. Page unity can be restored to the SBC. Cessationism was/is not “A Hill on which to Die” in the SBC, and I’m grateful that Frank Page and David Platt would not let the SBC die on such a molehill. I was encouraged listening to David Platt preach a recorded sermon affirming all of the spiritual gifts and interpreting I Corinthians 14, similar, if not identical to how I interpret it. When Platt led the policy change at IMB, it was consistent with sermons he’d preached from his pulpit before ever being elected President of the IMB. Matt Chandler, an increasingly popular SBC pastor, is also on record affirming all the gifts of the Spirit, and an interpretation and application of the controversial tongues passages similar to the way I interpret them. Thank God that the SBC now allows diversity on the praying in tongues in private issue. Again, that was/is not “A Hill On Which [the SBC] Should Die.” The IMB 2015 policy reversal decision, inadvertently affirmed my August 2006 Chapel sermon at SWBTS that pleaded for freedom regarding the missionaries’ private prayers.

Judge Pressler feels wounded by the SBC just as I felt when the sermon I preached during Chapel at Southwestern was censured, simply because I echoed the theology of Jack McGorman, Matt Chandler, Jack Gray, Jack Taylor, David Platt and Joyce Rogers, Dr. Adrian Rogers’ widow (all Southern Baptists) on spiritual gifts and praying in tongues in private that the IMB later affirmed. Yet, I’ve had to—long time ago—let go of my wounded feelings for Kingdom unity. I pray Judge Pressler can do the same. When you’re right, time has a way of vindicating you. In the meantime, in the Kingdom, you often have to learn to live with diverse views and people, who sometimes think and believe different from you on non-essential matters.

Oxtails are a delicacy in most African American homes in the South. Many White Southerners have never heard of or eaten oxtails. While serving as a guest speaker in my pulpit a few years ago, I invited Frank Page and several SBC Anglo and African-American Pastors to my home for dinner. We had a great time of fellowship. Mostly all attendees ate oxtails that night, except Frank Page. I forgive him for not eating oxtails with the Gentiles that night. J But what a joy it has been to watch his ability to serve as President of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, in the midst of as much division and disunity over various issues more so than I’ve ever seen in my almost 40-year history with the SBC, including during the days of the inerrancy battle. Dr. Page has a tough job. He needs our prayers.

WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITH DIVERSITY IN THE SBC, OR SHE WILL DIE A SLOW DEATH. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” We must all pray for Frank Page because somewhere in his job description, he’s required to bring all of those warring factions together. Wouldn’t it be great if one night in the Phoenix 2017 Annual Meeting be declared “Unity Night,” and all opposing factions drop their swords and come together to seek God’s face, crying out for unity.

Ironically, Russell Moore and I debated the biblical legitimacy of praying in tongues in private at the SBC Annual Meeting in June 2007. Moore argued cessationist theology. I argued continuationist theology. But, I believe that was the day we formed a certain level of friendship. While engaged in independent study at Southern Seminary, many months later following our debate, Russell Moore learned I was on campus in the library; he sought me out, extended a hearty welcome, ordered library staff to make all reference resources available to me, although I was not a Southern Student, and genuinely affirmed brotherhood and love toward me, although we hold diametrically opposing views on spiritual gifts. He allowed a spirit of love and unity to triumph over our theological differences. Russell Moore treated me as a brother in Christ and a fellow Southern Baptist, rather than with a John MacArthur spirit that says I represent “Strange Fire” and should be disfellowshipped. Thank God that Southern Baptists have rejected the MacArthur “Strange Fire” cessationist theology as a ruling policy theology position in SBC life. We need more of Russell Moore’s and Frank Page’s unity spirit (Ephesians 4:3) in the SBC, and our divisions would soon be healed.

I had no million dollars to threaten withholding from the SBC. Frank Page’s support for me was based on the principle of Christian unity and respect for the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000,” that I did not violate in my sermon that was censured at SWBTS in 2006. In many ways I’ve been marginalized in SBC life since then. But I remain committed for Kingdom purposes.

Republicanism, Cessationism, Confederate Flag Resolutions and Calvinism are not “Hills On Which to Die.” Biblical inerrancy, The Person, The Work, and Deity of Jesus Christ and the equality, dignity, and mutual respect of all races of mankind are “hills on which Baptists must be willing to die.” Frank Page and Russell Moore have proven to be Southern Baptists who are willing to die on those hills, and therein lay my hope for the future of the SBC.

My hope for the SBC can be summed up in the words of the great hymn:

“My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, [Southern Baptists should] stand;

All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.”

It is in this Hope—Christ—that ultimately the lions and the lambs will one day lie down together. Certainly Russell Moore and Jack Graham—because of their common hope in Christ—ought to be able to peacefully resolve this matter.

Finally, I close with lengthy and various quotes gleaned from three to four comment streams that truly reveal and provide hope and encouragement, and yes, also some disappointments with the current debate in the SBC. Frank Page and Russell Moore are so desperately needed in the SBC, because they represent the future as opposed to the past. If the SBC—in spite of our many differences—continue to refuse to die on either of these mole hills that currently confront us—our future is bright and prosperous. We must continue to find a way to let unity and love triumph over our differences. I’m believing God that the Graham-Moore debate will soon heal. It is certainly not a hill on which to die.

Quote by Chad Edgington:

Chad Edgington says

March 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

“The ‘referendum’ on Dr. Moore is really a choice between the past and the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. No doubt there are wonderful things about our collective past, but it’s also full of shameful, hurtful things. In Dr. Moore’s leadership we see the fruit of corporate repentance, but in his opposition we see a hanging-on to old attitudes that aren’t helpful.”

Additional significant quotes follow:

Louie Thinktank Gibbs Dr. Russell Moore‘s comments expose the deep rooted bigotry and comfortably arrogant position of many SBC pastors and members. To hear both the under and overtones of his critics is not only disheartening and sad, but spits in the face and laughs at those of us within the sometimes one sided denom, hopeless. I already have a tough time reconciling much of what I see, but now even more. God be with us!” (Comment from

arvan campbell says: (;

December 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

“Perhaps the greatest weakness of the SBC is its inability to respect those who they do not agree with. That lack of respect also meant not working with someone even when you agree on many other things. The SBC seem to have a [mine] way or the highway attitude. Over the last 20 years, the SBC while down in attendance, baptisms, and the lack of diversity in their Agencies, has increased each year in the political arena. The SBC emphasizes its Great Commission status. Less so, is the SBC talking about the Great Commandment which emphasizes love for our brothers and sisters. Most of the “world” is made up of brown people. The SBC needs more Dr. Moores not less if we are going to win the “world” for Christ.” (“Hard-Pressed But Not Beaten: A Word of Support for Dr. Russell Moore and the ERLC”)

Jason Gray says (

March 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm

“I have known Dr. Moore personally for about 15 years, and I cannot think of a person more fit for the position he currently holds.

The task of ERLC President means that he will at time take positions and voice concerns that will be at odds with some segments of the SBC populace. In fact, at some point, he may offend and be at odds with everyone in the SBC. I do not always agree with the positions he takes, but I am always challenged to re-evaluate why I believe what I do. IMO, that is precisely what he is supposed to do.

That is why I support Dr. Moore.

The fact that people are mad that he isn’t just an echo chamber of their beliefs is both extremely arrogant and a denial of the task he was called to do at the ERLC. If you want to disagree with him, do so. If you want to publicly respond to his comments, do so. But to try and leverage political power and money in the way we are seeing is shameful, if not sinful.

I encourage SBC leaders and pastors to recognize differences and to not try and force a monolithic approach to politics on the SBC. The attempt to do so will trade our future and growing diversity in exchange for a meager amount of money in the present. That would be disastrous. May we not leverage our future as a convention and our Gospel witness over a politician and policy disagreement.”

Craig Eastman says:

March 7, 2017 at 10:35 am

I am white, but love biblical social justice for the poor and minorities, because they are God’s positions and commandments. I am licensed and ordained to preach by a large Southern Baptist Church, and have been active in jail and juvenile detention ministries for 18 years. Sadly, I have found white conservative evangelicals in the pews (on average as a whole) to actually hate the poor and minorities, based on their ubiquitous ugly Facebook memes and comments in response to my social justice posts, and their own posts on their own Facebook pages, even well before the recent election cycle. I am about done with it. If even one major black church finds it necessary to leave the SBC over this or any other issue connected to different paradigms on race matters, I will have no choice but to also withdraw from the convention. God’s word is clear about racial justice issues, and about how we are to work for racial justice (Isaiah 10:1-3, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 31:8-9, Micah 6:8, and on and on), and about our attitudes toward, and our treatment of the poor. But many Southern Baptist preachers (e.g., Dr. Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, and others) are twisting the scriptures to justify unbiblical and covetous paradigms in the pews toward the poor (e.g., falsely teaching that government has no biblical role in fighting poverty). God is not at all pleased with the very unholy marriage between the white conservative ‘evangelical’ church and the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Theologians and imminent preachers like Reinhold Niebuhr, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Rev. Billy Graham have been warning against that for a century now. The attitudes and actions in the white conservative evangelical church have forsaken our Great Commission, and are causing the world to flee from Christians. Christ, and from the church. They have set the cause of Christ back at least 100 years. The world knows a hate group and a voting block weaponized against the poor and minorities when it sees one. I pray rhea SBC will repent, but fear that it won’t, especially if strong exhortation towards racial justice is silenced from the pulpits (not that there is more than a scintilla of it emanating therefrom in the first place). The church should be in the forefront of the fight against racially disparate mass-incarceration, minority voter suppression, and our nation’s 44,000 “Second Prison Laws,” but instead, we aren’t even a taillight, but have chosen to not speak up or lift a finger. And 81% voted for the Party that is actively working to suppress the minority vote. That’s all big-time sin, and God will hold the white Southern Baptist Church and its members and voters accountable for their oppression of the poor and minorities He loves so dearly.”

Scott Gordon says:

March 6, 2017 at 8:29 am


I read Dwight’s post when I saw it on Facebook and had the same thought you did…we all need to read this thoughtfully trying to put ourselves in Dwight’s shoes. Over the past couple of years, my eyes have been opened to just how skewed my political thinking had been the point of advocating a “to be a good Christian, Southern Baptist you better be a card-carrying Republican.” I now see that is the antithesis of Kingdom-minded thinking.


Thank you for posting your thoughts on this. I appreciate your candor and conviction. You are a great brother in Christ.”

Matt Gregory says:

March 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Pastor Dwight McKissic, I agree wholeheartedly with your thorough assessment and conclusions. I am a white pastor who was relieved to hear Dr. Moore speak out and challenge the unholy alliance the SBC has often had with the Republican Party. Such an alliance has hurt our credibility and diverted our focus and commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus. If this “investigation” concludes without an affirmation of Dr. Moore, there will be a brutally chilling effect throughout SBC churches – black and white. I am standing with you!

Various comments from

Berrien Sutton Says:
March 4, 2017 at 2:38 pm e

History will show that Russell Moore and his surrogates are liberal activists
in the fast lane of political correctness . Moore uses his position to advance his elitist agenda. Moore would be better suited for an academic position in a liberal university where he would be amongst his friends who believe the little people in the SBC are “deplorables” and weak minded. We don’t need Moore to tell us who to vote for or what to believe.

Velma Brooks Says:

March 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Black churches need to get out of this organization. Please! Immediately. Jesus has set us free from oppression. Why would you place your congregation under the thumb of this organization?

Facebook Comment Stream –;

Gerald Britt

Gerald Britt Dr. McKissic, I’m sure you have your reasons for affiliating with the SBC. Let me just say, I read halfway through and stopped. It’s just ONE of the reasons I never have wanted to be identified as a ‘Southern Baptist’…GOOD GRIEF! (March 4 at 7:39pm)

Richard Wingfield

Richard Wingfield IN other words, Dr. McKissic, nothing has really changed. (March 4 at 7:41pm)

Bob Cleveland

Bob Cleveland If the EC examines and criticizes Dr. Moore, I could easily consider leaving the SBC. They would really have become a group with which I would not want to be identified. I also note that I also quit the Rotary Club some years ago, for a similarly moral reason. (March 4,7:47pm)

Bob Cleveland And lest I be negligent in the obvious, yours is an excellent dissertation on the facts of the situation. (March 4 at 8:15pm)

Crystal Mullins

Crystal Mullins Jack Graham lost all credibility with me when he so quickly attached himself and the endorsement of the church to Trump’s candidacy. At the very least, he has and continues to display an egregious conflict of interest. The withholding of funds in this scenario only lends evidentiary support to same. (March 4 at 7:55pm)

Michael Linton

Michael Linton Know that as an SBC pastor, and newly elected member of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board, I will do all I can to end this ridiculous ‘investigation’ of the ERLC and Russell Moore by the LBC. I voted against it when it came up at the annual meeting in November, and I will fight it in the board meetings. (March 4 at 8:03pm)

Michael Linton I also did not vote for Trump, was very vocal about it, decried the SBC sleeping with the Republican Party, and thought Moore’s comments were spot-on. I am also EXTREMELY conservative, have voted Republican in every election in which I’ve voted, and could not vote for either the Democrat or the Republican in this presidential race.

(March 4 at 8:07pm)

Michael Linton Please allow me to BEG minority churches to continue to join and partner with the SBC. A reformation within the Convention is critical to our health, and it is more easily achieved from within than without. We need a strong, multi-ethnic, multiracial voice from WITHIN to work and cry and pray for the change that is necessary. From without, we’re merely throwing stones from a glass house, but from within, we can overhaul and remodel the very structure of the organization.
I face a similar situation in my church now. I have young people that want dramatic change, but are frustrated enough with the snail-like pace that is necessary right now that they want to leave. I understand the frustration. But I need those young people beside me as tangible and vocal evidence of the need for change. I need them to help lead the charge.
Those of us who want to see the needed change in our Convention happen need those beside us who benefit most from the change and are living, breathing examples of why change MUST happen.
Please, join us; don’t leave us. We need you in so many ways.

March 5, 3:37pm

Michael Linton 1. The body of Christ needs each member
2. The Southern Baptist Convention is stronger with diversity
3. Each of us has much we can learn from the other
4. A diversity of voices creates a more robust and effective ministry
5. The evil of racism is best fought by a unity of diversity
6. Unity in diversity, especially in crisis, is a powerful agent of change in stubborn or reluctant hearts
I could come up with more, but our evening service is about to start. I hope this will suffice for now. March 5 at 5:45pm

John L. Byrd Sounds like a Southern Baptist Convention discussion held in 1845, March 5 at 8:45am

Wilson Laura Green William Dwight McKissic Sr., I 100% fully agree. I was in the “never Trump” camp because of his past immorality. Al Mohler and Russell Moore championed this thought. As you clearly stated our membership in the kingdom supersedes any earthly, temporal affiliation. I support only democrats or republicans based on their closeness to Biblical principles. Thank you for your articulate response. God bless you brother.

March 5 at 10:31am

Jennifer Hardy Lusher Why does there need to be a “solution?”
What exactly has been done to that needs to solve?
Specifically and most directly considering Scripture. What has Russell Moore done that conflicts or rejects biblical standards?
I would like to show my cards and say I can’t find one thing he’s done…
If nothing then can’t we just call a spade a spade? March 6 at 6:18pm

Gerry West The presence and opinions of black evangelicals needs to be a part of all large and influential organizations such as the SBC but not just to affiliate with the culture and beliefs but we should be there to serve as a redemptive agent in shaping the application of biblical doctrine and kingdom minded theology. March 5 at 3:44am

Patricia Gray SBC sounds like the arm of the RNC. March 5 at 10:41am

Matt Brady Dwight, The issues with Dr. Moore’s leadership go far beyond the latest presidential election. Not all of Dr. Moore’s detractors were Trump supporters, neither are all, or probably any, of those detractors racists. Some were dissatisfied with Dr. Moore’s leadership long before the Presidential race ever began, and their dissatisfaction has nothing to do with racial issues. Further, I read the comment stream that you quote in your post. I wish I could find that conversation and link to it, because I believe you misrepresented the conversation and your comment that Scot was responding to concerning leaving the SBC. If you want to link back to it, that would be great. Perhaps you can refresh my memory, but my recollection of that conversation is very different. March 5 at 1:50am

Patricia A. Ashley Thank you Dr. McKissic for the courage to speak the truth. The church is late on addressing this subject in an honest manner. I was also blessed by many of the comments to your article. It has always been my belief that racism exist to the degree that it does because of the church.
We (the church) are the solution but if we are ignorant, or indifferent then we are impotent. I am glad to see now that there is real dialogue. I pray that hearts will hear the voice of the biblical Jesus and not the religious SBC Jesus. March 5 at 3:46am

Laurence Robinson Withholding funds from someone or a group that is not in agreement with another is the new way Satan is using to cause division or have someone sellout on their beliefs. The Federal Government and corporate entities like the NFL does it against the states, and unfortunately so does large financial contributors influence what is preached in a lot of churches. Because the preacher is afraid to lose financial contributions. It is time for the people of God to practice what God commands in Amos 5:23-24. March 5 at 12:22am

Barry Lyons Why are Black pastors even IN the SBC again???

March 4 at 11:32pm

Lee Kessee Dr. Mckissic,
I have just read your piece on what’s being contemplated by your SBC constituency. It seems to me that instead of raising the bar to one more level…i.e. whether Moore is investigated or not…to decide whether you should pack your bags and leave, you have cited several reasons already for doing so. When people show you who they really are, believe them. And…my friend, read through what you wrote again and see all of the ways you listed that the SBC shows you who they are. March 4 at 11:57pm

Barry Cook I said, Bro. McKissic, when the ban was placed on the Confederate Flag was issued, the alienation would begin, and political correctness would be the result. We are not racist, and grow weary of the inferences. How can one deny the effect Mike Pence, Dr. Carson, Scott Pruitt, Jeff Sessions and other openly evangelical Christians will have. That, at this point, is more than enough to have supported Trump and to support him now. March 4 at 10:10pm

Warren H. Stewart Sr. William Dwight McKissic Sr., Stand on the wall, prophet!
I worked with Land when I was Chair of the National Immigration Forum in DC. Found him to be a breath of fresh air on immigration.
I believe Moore worked with the Forum also with its “Bibles, Badges and Business” endeavor.
Without a doubt, 81% White Evangelicals voting for Trump spoke loudly and clearly to African-American Evangelicals like us. And the message is deafening that “Make America Great Again” really means “Make America White Again”. Moreover, the WEs set aside the Bible and all the family morals they claim to advocate and voted for a megomaniacal, profane, arrogant, narcissistic, dangerous man who is an insult to the Christian faith and who in less than two months is leading our nation down dark, decadent path of self-destruction.
Lastly, on my birthday last December, I registered as an Independent because neither Democrats or Republicans advocate the holistic Biblical values by which I leave. No longer will I be taken for granted by Democrats and ignored by Republicans.
Enough said. Keep the faith and be encouraged!

Jay Camp Dr. McKissic –
I do not travel in SBC circles and had never heard of you until today. That being said, let me lend whatever aid and comfort I can to your article as it was posted. The SBC MUST rid itself of its marriage to the GOP if it intends to communicate the Gospel and to model Christian theology and practice to a world that is in need.
Grace and Peace to you, sir!

Ryan Rice Sr.

Ryan Rice Sr. Thankful for this post pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr. I think this is a part of the issue that is not being discussed. The surge of many minorities in SBC life has come from church planting as well. Sad to say that the attitude of pack your bags and leave is now invading the kingdom of God.

Tim Ahlen

Tim Ahlen Simply on the basis of Russell Moore’s stance on religious liberty for all Americans, he’s got my support. His statements about certain SBC leaders sleeping with Trump and the Republican Party serve to cement my support. They are a disgrace to the Kingdom for selling their birthright for a mess of political pottage. And I also am a conservative who did not vote for either Trump or Clinton.


By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The Prestonwood Baptist Church of Plano, TX, (a Dallas suburb) led by Dr. Jack Graham, a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, has determined to escrow funds totaling $1 million, that were previously designated for the Cooperative Program—the premier funding mechanism of the Southern Baptist Convention’s agencies— because of positions and policies taken by Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Other predominantly White Southern Baptist Churches are also threatening to withhold Cooperative Program funds surrounding public positions taken by Russell Moore and the ERLC.

Consequently, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has decided to investigate and explore the depths of why some churches aren’t giving and the best way to address the whole matter. They want to keep churches giving to the Cooperative Program while seeking a peaceful solution to the reactions to Russell Moore’s policies and position. Because of the Executive Committee’s approach to resolving this matter comprehensively, inevitably, the investigation will require determining the compatibility of Moore’s statements with the values, beliefs, and convictions of Southern Baptists.

Additionally, the Louisiana Baptist Convention has called for an investigation specifically targeting Dr. Moore. They are hostile toward Dr. Moore and would like to see him gone. Dr. Fred Luter, the first African-American President of the Southern Baptist Convention, who pastors the largest Southern Baptist Convention church in Louisiana, and Pastor David Crosby of First Baptist New Orleans have signed a statement vigorously dissenting to the Louisiana Convention’s call for an investigation of Dr. Moore.

The outcome of this investigation will speak volumes to Black Southern Baptist Convention Churches as to whether or not any church leader or entity head who publically, critically evaluate President Donald Trump will be welcome in the Southern Baptist Convention and eligible to serve in any and all levels of denominational life.

If Russell Moore cannot give a candid evaluation of Donald Trump without being publically humiliated and without White Churches withdrawing and threatening to withdraw funds, and the Southern Baptist Convention and a state affiliate, launching an investigation, I pity the Black SBC officeholder who would dare whisper a word of disagreement on a Trump statement or action.

Before increasing Cooperative Program gifts or affiliating with the Southern Baptist Convention, Black Baptist Churches may want to consider awaiting the Executive Committee’s investigation results regarding Russell Moore. Why am I singling out Black Churches to take a cautionary attitude toward supporting the Cooperative Program pending the outcome of this investigation? Why am I encouraging Black Baptist Churches who are considering affiliating with the Southern Baptist Convention to take a probative and aggressive approach to understanding the dynamics, roots, results and implications of the investigation before affiliating?

Estimates are over 80 percent of White evangelicals supported presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Russell Moore did not support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for President. In keeping with his responsibilities as the designated prophetic voice to Southern Baptists and the nation on ethics issues, Moore gave critical, ethical evaluations of both candidates. However, it was his critique of Trump that has caused a tremendous backlash that appears to be potentially as divisive as the “inerrancy battle” in SBC life that birth the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and consequently tremendously weakened the numerical, financial, and more importantly, the missionary strength of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The implications of such an investigation are clear, and the outcome will speak volumes to Black Southern Baptist Churches, and the Convention as a whole. History has proven that God often places prophetic voices in a community to lovingly and authoritatively challenge the powers-that-be on controversial moral, ethical, spiritual and political concerns.

Why such huge implications for Blacks in the Southern Baptist Convention? It is because the vast majority of Black Southern Baptist Convention Church leaders and pastors and future potential entity heads are not Trump-leaning, blindly loyal Republican voters. The majority of Black Baptist Church leaders would agree with Moore’s assessment of Trump, wholeheartedly. Therein lies the potential for the outcome of this investigation to be tremendously and racially polarizing.

There has never been a minority entity head in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Until the advent of Frank Page in recent years as President of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the highest ranking Black person working on staff at the seven-story Southern Baptist Convention Executive Building in Nashville, TN, was the head custodian.

If the Executive Committee’s investigation results in reprimanding, marginalizing, or firing Russell Moore—the message being sent is strict adherence to Republican Party loyalty is absolutely necessary to be elected as an entity head and to maintain one’s position in SBC organizational life. The implications of the Executive Committee’s investigative report is staggering and could be tantamount to an earthquake in the Convention. If Moore is marginalized or fired, 80-90 percent of Southern Baptist Black Churches who share Moore’s views on President Trump, would also simultaneously feel as if their political convictions regarding the current President of the United States would also be officially reprimanded, rejected and rebuked by the Southern Baptist Convention. Unintended consequences as a result of this shortsighted investigative decision should be weighed by the Executive Committee before they render a verdict. The attempt to mute a respected voice amongst us is plainly a step in the wrong direction.

The investigation was triggered because Prestonwood Church in Dallas announced on February 16 that it was escrowing $1 million in Cooperative Program funds. Mike Buster, Executive Pastor for Prestonwood, explained why:

“various significant positions taken by the leadership of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission that do not reflect the beliefs and values of many in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

A Southern Baptist layman and attorney in private practice, sums up the roots of the Moore controversy in a comment stream at SBC Voices ( (He blogs using the name “Louis”):

“This goes beyond last year’s election. It also involves ERLC initiatives on things such as immigration and race. Sometimes, as on immigration, there are real differences of opinion. The ERLC has gone on record as having a very convictional view of the immigration issue. I suspect that position and the policy prescription advocated by the ERLC is very different than most common folks in the SBC. On that issue, and others, I suspect the ERLC is going to have to pull back.”

“I believe that Dr. Moore and the ERLC may handle racial issues differently from some Southern Baptist churches. I believe that is a matter of strategy and emphasis. I do not believe that all SBC churches might agree on the strategy. And that would include things such as which groups to meet with, what policy prescriptions to support, how to balance concerns about race with law enforcement concerns etc.”

“On issues like race, there is not really a substantive disagreement, but a question of tone and cobelligerance. Most in the SBC are very comfortable with our good brothers like Fred Luter and Dwight McKissic, but they are not comfortable with groups like Black Lives Matter. I believe the ERLC is more comfortable with affiliating with some groups than the SBC base.”

There has been no contact at all between Russell Moore and “Black Lives Matter.” But the association between the two is often mentioned to rile the SBC base against him without any supporting evidence. Louis’ comment does not specifically state that the ERLC works with “Black Lives Matter.”

Louis is a friend of mine. He is not in favor of Dr. Russell Moore being fired, and my interactions with him have been mutually appreciative and respectful. I totally agree with Louis’ assessment of the roots and reasons of the Moore controversy. Moore’s “tone” is a Kingdom “tone” seldom heard in SBC life on matters of race and justice. This newness of his “tone” in SBC life is what his critics are responding to. Moore speaks with a prophetic mantle that is more common to African American Baptist church tradition than historic Southern Baptist tradition. Many of us find his “tone” refreshing and biblical. It’s the same Kingdom “tone” that Southern Baptists sound on abortion and homosexuality; but for some reason, Southern Baptists are uncomfortable with this same tone being sounded on race and justice.

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee is largely White, Republican and Trump-supporting. Immigration, tone and emphasis on race relations and positions taken on race and law enforcement are the root causes of the Moore controversy. On each of the positions, Moore tended to voice the pain, fears, hopes and dreams of the majority of the minorities in the SBC. Trying to find a SBC minority person, who would object to Moore’s published statements on the above three items, would be like attempting to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. Minorities in the SBC are ecstatic about Moore and his leadership.

What is it about the “tone” of Moore on race that is problematic for White Southern Baptist Churches?

When Prestonwood questions Moore’s “beliefs and values” not reflecting the Southern Baptist Convention, just who are they referring to?

When David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, said to the Wall Street Journal: “The question before Southern Baptists now is, ‘Does the ERLC share our convictions and thus deserve our financial support’?” Whose “convictions” are Mr. Hankins referring to? In both instances they are referring to the White Republican constituency of the SBC.

Russell Moore’s “tone” is offensive to the base constituency of the SBC, but his text is a breath of fresh air for those of us who have longed for the SBC to address matters of race and justice. He is an anomaly in the SBC on race, and therefore he has to suffer for his “tone” while many of us celebrate his text.

One of the attractive features of the Southern Baptist Convention is its multi-ethnic inclusion and cooperation. However, most of the minorities in the Convention do not march in lock step with the Republican Party. The Executive Committee, by even launching this investigation, has moved dangerously close to consummating the obvious alliance between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Republican Party. If the alliance is consummated as a result of this unwarranted investigation, the message sent to all non-Republicans and to Black SBC churches is: “Pack your bags and leave.” This is the message that was recently spoken to me by Scott Young  in a Facebook comment section of The Baptist Message, “SBC Executive Committee creates two panels to investigate SBC entities,” February 25, 2017, by Will Hall, Message Editor.

In response to my position that Black Churches may want to voice our displeasure of the investigation by reducing funds to the Cooperative Program; and Black Baptist Churches contemplating joining the SBC may want to await the outcome of the investigation before making a decision: “If that is truly your view, then pack your bags and leave the convention!” Scott Young was bold, unfiltered and brazen enough to say what I suspect the 80% Trump voters in the SBC want to say to Russell Moore and those of us who couldn’t get on the “Trump train” for ethical, convictional and racial reasons. Will the Executive Committee, based on their decision, in essence say to those not on the Trump train: “Pack your bags and leave”? It is profane to the Kingdom of God to intertwine ecclesiology and secular politics in a manner that is foundational to the concerns and complaints regarding Russell Moore.

All four issues Russell Moore is being investigated over have a race-based component: immigration, race relations, police brutality denouncement and his Trump critique. Moore has attempted to provide a Kingdom perspective to these issues. His critics are responding to the political and racial overtones of his message, while missing the Kingdom perspective.

President George W. Bush, whom I proudly voted for twice, because of his commitment to protect traditional marriage, stated concerning President Trump’s racial views:

“’I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,’ Bush told People magazine in an interview…”

While not plainly labeled, President Trump is viewed as a racist by a Republican President. Yet, the Southern Baptist Convention is now investigating the Chief Ethics Officer for speaking a truth that a secular President can say, but not a Kingdom representative, assigned to ethics issues? Something is wrong with that picture.

Dr. Russell Moore is essentially under investigation by the Southern Baptist Convention for his accurate, biblical, prophetic and outspoken views regarding race in America. Prestonwood, Louisiana Baptists, Abilene Baptist in Augusta, GA, did not challenge or withhold funds or threaten to withhold funds when former ERLC President Richard Land made controversial racial remarks:

“In The Tennessean article, dated April 14, 2012, Travis Loller reports:  

Land, who is white, said in an interview that he has no regrets. And he defended the idea that people are justified in seeing young black men as threatening: A black man is ‘statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man.’”

Land referred to racism as a “central myth” in response to charges of racism relative to the Trayvon Martin shooting. Land dug in his heels and publically claimed that he’d received overwhelming email support from the Southern Baptist Convention people and leaders in support of his views. Yet, no large SBC church pastor withheld funds or criticized Richard Land. Russell Moore has only spoken the truth about race and four race-based issues, and they now condemn him. This is painful to watch. Thank God that Richard Land—after many weeks of stalling—apologized. I believe he was sincere, and I accepted his apology. Russell Moore has apologized for crimes he did not commit. Yet, the Convention wants to proceed with an investigation? Is the SBC troubled by Russell Moore because he does not view racism as a “central myth” as his predecessor once claimed?

I’m grateful and proud to be a Southern Baptist. I also hold dual membership in the National Baptist Convention, USA, because it is important to me to be a part of a Convention where entity heads include people who resemble me. The National Baptist Convention, USA, membership, contrary to the SBC, primarily has members who support the Democratic Party. The two most celebrated National Baptist preachers in the past 40 years are the late Dr. J.H. Jackson and the late Dr. E.V. Hill. Both were proud Republicans, and both were accepted and beloved in the National Baptist Convention. Admittedly though, there were times when there was strong opposition expressed in the National Baptist Convention regarding their political affiliations. Neither was investigated or threatened to be booted from office because of their politics. Dr. J.H. Jackson publically endorsed Richard Nixon for POTUS during his annual address as President of the National Baptist Convention back in 1972. His endorsement was met with loud, boisterous, boos from the massive audience. Yet he served as President of the Convention for 29 years and was elected annually following his Nixon endorsement until 1982. Although not affecting Jackson in his capacity as leader, Dr. Hill’s political leanings possibly did. Dr. E.V. Hill served as Vice President for many years under Dr. Jackson; but when Dr. Hill ran for President of the Convention, he lost to lesser-known, Dr. William Shaw. Many would say Hill’s defeat was in part due to his Republican affiliation. The Southern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention tend to blindly follow the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively, regardless of the candidate. The Kingdom of God cannot be pleased with either Convention, relative to this partisan blind loyalty.

However, in SBC life, it is all but political suicide to admit that you vote Democratic. This becomes a huge problem for the SBC as it relates to minority outreach. I once read in a SBC blog comment stream that Fred Luter was the first SBC President that the Convention did not know how he voted for POTUS. Neither do I know; but what I do know is, if he voted Democrat and let it be known, the Southern Baptist Convention would have rejected him; and that would have been tragic, sinful and shameful.

Why is it that we know for sure that every previous President of the Southern Baptist Convention since the Reagan era voted for Republicans, but we don’t know how Dr. Fred Luter, the only Black President in SBC history voted? It’s because if Luter even hinted at supporting anyone other than the Republican Presidential Candidate, he likely would have been booed at the Southern Baptist Convention just as J.H. Jackson was booed at the National Baptist Convention. Our loyalty to the Kingdom must supersede our loyalty to political alignments and the breaking of fellowship if one gets out of line.

If Russell Moore is reprimanded or rejected, it would be difficult for me to be able to continue to say, I’m proud and grateful to be a Southern Baptist.  I am not sure how a reprimand will affect many like-minded Black Baptists who are members of the SBC. For sure, it would be disheartening and disappointing. Therefore, this question must be raised: Should minority churches in SBC life financially increase or maintain their level of giving to a Convention that appears poised to respond punitively to an entity head, who would dare speak honestly and ethically—regarding a Republican Presidential candidate and race matters? Each minority SBC church will have to reach its own conclusion regarding this matter, pending the outcome of the investigation

Just as Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated by his generation, yet celebrated by the next generation; just as C.H. Spurgeon was vilified by his generation for preaching against slavery in Alabama, but he was lionized for preaching against slavery “out of season” by subsequent generations; and just as Jesus came unto his own, and “his own received Him not”; Dr. Russell Moore has brought a prophetic word to “his own” and “his own” receives him not. I predict in the next generation, Dr. Russell Moore will be celebrated as the Southern Baptists who had the greatest impact on race relations in her history and policies and positions that are objectionable to some Southern Baptists today, will be representative of the vast majority of Southern Baptists of all races in the next generation. The late Dr. T.B. Matson, former Ethics Professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, may be the only other Southern Baptist that would belong in the same sentence as Russell Moore in Southern Baptist history with regard to impacting race relations systemically and globally; thus, improving the image of Southern Baptists regarding racial issues, which is important to our Great Commission objectives.

History will vindicate Russell Moore. Now we will wait and see if the Executive Committee will.

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, on January 6, 2021, armed insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to prevent a joint session of Congress from counting the electoral votes that certified Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Kamala D. Harris of California as the duly elected President and Vice President of the United States, respectively; and

WHEREAS, photographs and videos taken outside the Capitol showed the disturbing appropriation of Christian symbols by the rioting mob; and

WHEREAS, multiple Southern Baptist leaders and every Southern Baptist entity head condemned the attack and appropriation of Christian symbols as unbecoming of both American citizens and Christians in various statements; and

WHEREAS, Christian Nationalism is an ideology that maintains that one cannot be a productive and patriotic citizen if one is not a Christian; and

WHEREAS, Christian Nationalism seeks to restrain the religious liberty of those who are not Christians; and

WHEREAS, leaders of Christian Nationalist and Christian Identity groups, along with those who subscribe to their ideologies, have engaged in various acts of domestic terrorism; and

WHEREAS, Article XVII of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 affirms that “no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others,” and that “The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends”; and

WHEREAS, religious liberty, soul freedom, and liberty of conscience are all historic Baptist distinctives; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 15-16, 2021 condemn Christian Nationalist and Christian Identity groups, along with their respective sinful ideologies; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we further condemn any and all attempts—past, present, or future—to overthrow human government, an institution ordained by God for the good of all people (Rom. 13:1-7), so that it may be replaced with a Christian theonomic state; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists vigorously and proudly renew their commitment to religious liberty and soul freedom for all people, recognizing that these are implicates of our Lord Jesus Christ’s call to precious souls to follow Him.

Last Monday I posted a letter I received from John V. Rutledge, that was clearly racist and expressed low regard for the intellectual capacities and Christian understanding and commitment to the biblical faith. A common response to the Rutledge letter from some Southern Baptists (SB) was that he was not representative of the SBC, and he has not been active in the SBC for the past 20 years (although he was active for 50 years).

The reason I posted the Rutledge letter was to make people aware that racist attitudes exist among some SB; and I raised the question, “what percentage of the SBC is represented by the mindset conveyed in this letter by John V. Rutledge?” I have no way of quantifying this percentage.

Today, I am publishing a letter written by Dr. Paige Patterson, former president of SWBTS, to Dr. Jimmy Draper, President Emeritus of Lifeway Christian Resources, an SBC entity. Roughly, from 1975 to 2020, Paige Patterson will be viewed by historians as the most influential personality in the SBC and the one who shaped the trajectory and doctrine of the SBC more so than anyone during that time frame.

My point is Paige Patterson is not a peripheral figure in SBC life and he currently is an active participant in SBC life. A copy of this letter is posted below. My sincere question is: what is the difference between the Patterson and the Rutledge letter? For sure Dr. Patterson does not use vile language to describe persons of African descent. But he does express a very similar discomfort with African American leadership and engagement with the SBC based on his perception of their lack of understanding of SBC issues—which is a polite way of referring to SBC African American pastors as ignorant of SBC doctrine.

Furthermore, he acknowledges that the election of a Black man as president caused him “quaking…a bit.” The letter indicates he believed the election of a Black pastor, Dr. Fred Luter, could result in a “slide a long way back” for the Convention. I am struggling to find—other than Patterson’s use of diplomatic and less offensive or alienating language—a difference between the Rutledge letter and the Patterson letter. They are both in agreement that Black leadership is unsettling and unwelcomed in the SBC, due to a perception that Blacks are somehow intellectually and doctrinally deficient.

Finally, you will never convince me that Paige Patterson’s mindset is not a significant current mindset of SBC pastors and congregants, although I want to believe they will be less than 50%.  The Conservative Baptist Network organized in 2020, represents the Patterson faction of the SBC. In their inaugural announcement, they made it very clear that they were anti-social justice. The Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) has also come out expressing full support for the Council of Seminary Presidents (CSP) statement that is a total denunciation of Critical Race Theory (CRT), and it is incompatible with the BF&M and the gospel.

The mere fact that the CSP, CBN, and former President Donald Trump are all in agreement on this issue is quite troubling for African Americans in the SBC. I am not sure why people want to paint Rutledge as an outlier when his views are represented in this Paige Patterson letter. The CSP statement is sanctioned by the Patterson-Trump faction of the SC which is a large segment of the SBC. How large? We don’t know. For all those SBC leaders who denounced the Rutledge letter should also denounce the Patterson letter. Rod Martin, a current member of the SBC Executive Committee called Ralph West a “Marxist.” Steve Swofford, also a current member of the SBC EC, called Madam Vice President, Kamala Harris, “Jezebel Harris.” Neither have been denounced by the SBC EC board.

Furthermore, there needs to be a walking back of the CSP statement if there is to be a rebuilding of the trust between African American Southern Baptists and the SBC. I assure you…trust has been broken, and it needs to be restored before we get to Nashville in June 2021. Evidence flies in the face of the SBC, that Rutledge is merely a lunatic and outlier, detached from current SBC mindsets. The current racial posture of the SBC is extremely disturbing.