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.
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A PLEA TO THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO TREAT DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD WITH FAIRNESS, DECENCY AND RESPECT

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.

GOD’S AMAZING GRACE:  RECONCILING FOUR CENTURIES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES

Author – PASTOR TERRY TURNER

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

VOTING GREEAR, COULD AS EASILY VOTE HEMPHILL, TEMPTED TO NOMINATE BETH MOORE, FOR SBC PRESIDENCY

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.

RESOLUTION “ON RACIAL UNITY AMONG SOUTHERN BAPTISTS”

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

HARBORING CONFLICTING EMOTIONS REGARDING PAIGE PATTERSON’S COUNSEL ON SPOUSAL ABUSE AND THE RESULTING IMPLICATIONS

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!

THE LOOMING CIVIL WAR IN THE SBC?

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.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND DESTINY WILL MEET APRIL 3-4, 2018, AT THE SBC ERLC KING CELEBRATION

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!

GRATEFUL FOR WILLIAM SEYMOUR, N.L. ROBINSON, ONE COMMUNITY CHURCH AWARDS, AND ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE TRUSTEE AND LIFE ACTION ADVISORY BOARD APPOINTMENTS

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.

THE WILLIAM JOSEPH SEYMOUR AWARD

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.

THE N.L. ROBINSON 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.”

ONE COMMUNITY CHURCH AWARD, PASTOR CONWAY EDWARDS

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).

ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPOINTMENT

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 MINISTRY ADVISORY BOARD APPOINTMENT

 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).

A BRIEF AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL REFLECTION REGARDING THE ADVENT OF THE FULL GOSPEL BAPTIST CHURCH FELLOWSHIP

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

By

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.

TRUMP MUST PROCLAIM THE ALT-RIGHT ‘RACIST’ AND ‘EVIL,’ EVANGELICAL LEADERS URGE IN LETTER

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: https://www.unifyingleadership.org/

Read a CNN article about the letter here: https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/09/28/politics/trump-alt-right-evangelicals/index.html

 

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP FROM AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS:

WE NEED YOU TO SPEAK

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).

Respectfully,

 

Dr. Danny Akin

President

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, NC

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford

Provost

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.

A BIBLICAL VIEW OF RACE AND UNITY
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: http://www.lifestream.tv/cbca/ . You can also view it via the Cornerstone website at www.cbcarlington.org 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: vgriffith@cbcarlington.org Web: cbcarlington.org; FB and Twitter @CornerstoneTX

 

A ROAD MAP ON RACE IN THE SBC IN LIGHT OF THE PHOENIX ’17 ALT-RIGHT RESOLUTION

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) (https://www.raanetwork.org/pass-mic-sbc-alt-right-condemning-white-supremacy/) 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!

CROSSING CULTURAL CHASMS: AN INVITATION TO HEAR DR. H.B. CHARLES AND DR. JERRY YOUNG
BY
WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

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.

http://www.cbcarlington.org
817-468-0083 (ext. 205)

AN INVITATION TO HEAR DR. JERRY YOUNG, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION

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.

THE MOSS PERSPECTIVE VS. THE MCKISSIC PERSPECTIVE:

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

By: William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

allen-photo-1

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”

MOSS CONNECTS THE PHOTO TO THE HISTORY OF RACISM IN THE SBC:

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.

MOSS CONNECTS THE PHOTO TO HIS BELIEF THAT THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH PROPS UP WHITE SUPREMACY:

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. (https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/three-resolutions-and-an-amendment-to-the/) 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 (https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/lessons-from-the-animal-kingdom/).

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.

MOSS CONNECTS THE PICTURE TO A SKEWED VIEW OF THE GOSPEL:

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.

WHERE I DISAGREE WITH MOSS:

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.

MY INTERPRETATION OF THE PICTURE VS. MOSS’ INTERPRETATION:

  • 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.

 

THE ABSENCE OF A DIVERSE FACULTY AT SWBTS, CREATED AND ENLARGED THE CURRENT CULTURAL CHASM

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.”

McCarty-photo-1

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.

WHO IN THE WORLD IS “BOBBY BAPTIST”?

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.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTION ON KINGDOM UNITY IN THE SBC AND THE NATION

WORKING DRAFT

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

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.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION

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

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, THAT THE JUNE 2017 SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION GATHERING IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA, RESOLVE TO ENDEAVOR TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE “BOND OF PEACE” (EPHESIANS 4:3); RESPECT LEGITIMATE PHILOSOPHICAL, IDEOLOGICAL, POLITICAL PREFERENCES—CULTURAL AND “SHEEPFOLD” DIFFERENCES AMONG US—WITHOUT THOSE PREFERENCES AND DIFFERENCES BECOMING UNNECESSARILY DIVISIVE AND THE SOURCE OF THE BREAKING OF FELLOWSHIP AND REDUCING OR ESCROWING FUNDS EARMARKED FOR THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM.

A HILL ON WHICH [“NOT”] TO DIE

Biographical Reflections and Ruminations on the SBC

And

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; https://www.facebook.com/brent.hobbs)

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.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwight_McKissic#Position_on_speaking_in_tongues)

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 https://www.facebook.com/brent.hobbs)

arvan campbell says: (http://joinnoba.com/moore/);

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 (http://sbcvoices.com/important-statements-of-support-for-russell-moore/#comments)

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

Brent,

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.

Dwight,

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 https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com:

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 – https://www.facebook.com/william.mckissic.1/posts;

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.

THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION’S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE RUSSELL MOORE HAS HUGE IMPLICATIONS FOR BLACK SBC CHURCHES

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 (http://sbcvoices.com/prestonwood-and-the-erlc-the-ec-responds/) (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.

Will The Church Die On The Streets of Sodom?

Four Distinct Last Days’ Church Positions On Sodomy (Homosexuality) Rev. 11:8

Here is the link to the message I presented Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Arlington, TX.

http://www.lifestream.tv/m/cbca/video.php?f=t5nq649p

 

WILL THE CHURCH DIE ON THE STREETS OF SODOM?

FOUR DISTINCT LAST DAYS’ CHURCH POSITIONS ON SODOMY (HOMOSEXUALITY)

“…the great city which spiritually is called Sodom…” (Revelation 11:8 NKJV)

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

A firestorm of controversy erupted surrounding a message preached by gospel singer, Kim Burrell, recently, because of biblical values and views she expressed regarding homosexual activity. I will address Sis. Burrell’s remarks later in this message.

Interestingly though, according to the Bible, the very last two witnesses in the history of the Christian Church are slain in the streets; and the issue that the fight is surrounding may be the spirit of sodomy. The very last two witnesses of the church—before Christ returns—will lay dead in the streets of a city called Sodom. The history of the Christian Church will come to a fatal end in a great city which is spiritually called Sodom.

NOTE: The text says, “the great city which is spiritually called Sodom.” The spirit of Sodom had taken over the city where the two witnesses were slain. These two witnesses were slain in a city that was ruled by a spirit of sodomy. Even those who didn’t practice sodomy accepted it, applauded it or approved of it. The spirit of Sodom will be dominant in the world and in many churches at the end of the age.

The city is called Sodom for a reason. The name indicates the dominate sin of the city and the dominate sin of the church in the era in which her witness will die. The church will cease when Sodomy is pervasive on planet earth. Why was this city named Sodom where the witness of the church ceased? What was the sin of the city of Sodom in the Bible? I’m glad you asked. In Jude 7, the brother of our Lord reveals the dominant sin of the city of Sodom:

“as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)

The Greek word for “strange” means “different” from the norm, outside of the normal.

To be sure, sexual immorality was not the only sin of Sodom. Ezekiel 16:49-50 list other sins of Sodom:

49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”

Jesus indicated that when He returned, the world would be reminiscent of the period in biblical history in the days of Noah and Lot, specifically as it related to marriage and the sins of Sodom (Luke 17:27-29).

America is on a bullet speed train ride to that “great city which spiritually is called Sodom” (Rev. 11:8).

Jesus said, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: (Luke 17:26).” “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot…but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:28-29 NASB). John, in Revelation 11:8, and Jesus, in Luke 17:29, clearly prophesied that sodomy and issues related to marriage—would be prominent and prevalent practices and issues before Christ returns. The spiritual state of the world could be summed up in one word: Sodom. Sodomy was a crime in the state of Texas and most of the South until about twenty years ago. What both Jesus and John are saying is, when we begin to see the acceptance and approval of sodomy, know that the end is near. This is the first generation in world history that is witnessing the approval of homosexuality in every sector of society including the church.

The Church of The Lord Jesus Christ must interact with individuals inclined toward homosexuality with compassion, yet without compromise. MY THESIS IS CONSENSUAL—HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY IS A SIN—PERIOD. Just as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, pride, laziness, racism, sexism, ingratitude and a host of other vices are also sin. By sin, I mean missing the mark; or falling short of the Glory of God; thinking or behavior displeasing to God. Yet, God loves homosexuals as He loves all sinners. God loves us while we are yet sinners, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain in our sins. He has called us to maturity, growth and holiness.

Just as the historic Black Church has stood strongly against the legalizing, normalizing and institutionalizing the immorality and insanity of racism, we must do likewise with homosexuality and with the same intensity and tenacity. Many have said that this is a battle that the church will lose or has already lost. And I must admit, viewing this subject through the eyes of prophecy, I’m not overly optimistic myself. But even if we lose the battle, there are some battles you fight simply as a matter of principle. We are living in an age where some men would rather switch than fight. With regard to this subject matter, I’d rather fight than switch. In the movie, Glory, a regiment of soldiers strategically decided in order for the Union to win the war, they would likely lose their lives in a strategic battle. Yet, they determined, if we go down, we’re going down standing up! I’m not convinced that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ will even convince all of the Church, let alone the world, that homosexuality and homosexual marriage is displeasing to God. But if we lose this battle, we go down standing up. Standing for righteousness; standing up for holiness; standing up for truth; standing up for Jesus. And eventually, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Amen!

We will see four distinct models of church in the last days on the position of sodomy or homosexuality.

I.  THE END TIMES APOSTATE CHURCH MODEL (1 TIMOTHY 4:1)

 flunder-and-miller

If you want to see where the Black Church may be in 40 years—if we don’t hit the brakes on this now—is to simply look at Yvette Flunder and Shirley Miller. They are legally married and pastor a gay church in the Bay area of Northern California. Yvette Flunder is the voice on Walter Hawkins “Love Alive IV” singing “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me.” Shirley Miller is the voice on Edwin Hawkins, “Oh Happy Day.”

While speaking at the American Baptist College in Nashville, TN, a National Baptist institution, in 2014, Yvette Flunder made a statement on the nature of Scripture:

“God will not be fixed; God will not be stuck; God will not be concretized.”

She made that statement while intentionally flipping both ends of the Bible, to symbolize that God could not be “concretized” in the canon of Scripture. She further stated:

“My theology is alive and shifting and it’s not stuck between the corners and the pages of a book. Just like God spoke to them, God is speaking to us. I’d like to see Martin’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” canonized one day…maybe in a Testament III—because God is still speaking…Thank God for theological evolution.” [Emphasis Mine]

Referring to the Third Testament, equivalent to the Bible, that Flunder proposes, because “God is still speaking” Flunder suggested that it could include “skype,” “in-vitro fertilization,” and…”somebody will write about me and Shirley in 30 years.”

And, of course, Flunder released a statement in opposition to Burrell’s statement:

“I will not reciprocate and attack or seek to diminish you, but you must know the injury of your words…” (http://blackchristiannews.com/2017/01/homosexual-clergy-members-are-coming-after-kim-burrell-for-her-sermon-condemning-homosexuality/)

swearingen-and-sarratt

Pictures of White Lesbian pastors: Maria Swearingen and Sally Sarratt: (historic Baptist Church (Calvary Baptist Church) (https://baptistnews.com/article/same-sex-married-couple-to-lead-historic-baptist-church/#.WJp8v1MrKM9)

dc-gay-pastors

DC Gay Black Church Celebrates 4th Anniversary with Gay Pastor (https://bossip.com/927303/jesus-approves-dc-black-church-celebrates-4th-anniversary-with-gay-pastor-his-first-gentleman/)

cincinnati-gay-pastors

Black Gay Church Opening in Cincinnati; Black Gay Church Opening In Cincinnati-Pastor Mike Heard And First Gentleman Leigh Set To Start The Good Life Church! (https://obnoxioustelevision.com/2012/10/15/black-gay-church-opening-in-cincinnati-pastor-mike-heard-and-first-gentleman-leigh-set-to-start-the-good-life-church/)

Their justification is that they say they were born that way. But science disagrees with them.

No Scientific Evidence That People Are Born Gay or Transgender, Johns Hopkins Researchers Say (http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-scientific-evidence-that-people-are-born-gay-or-transgender-johns-hopkins-researchers-say-168263/)

Another justification they use is that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality. Wrong again! When Jesus affirmatively addressed the judgment of Sodom in Luke 17:29, He addressed homosexuality.

“ but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”

Jesus taught that homosexuality is sin.

Mark 7:21, 23: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Where is homosexuality mentioned in this verse? The word “fornications” in Mark 7:21 is the Greek word “porneia” from which we get the English word “pornography.” The word “porneia” means illicit, various acts of various kinds. “Fornication” or “porneia,” here, means “of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” This includes homosexuality. Jesus placed “homosexuality” under the broad category of “fornications.”

II. THE LIBERAL END TIMES CHURCH MODEL

reginald-sharpe-jr-blog

Any Pastor that affirms same-sex marriage is a liberal pastor—at least on the subject of homosexuality. A liberal church may adopt an “evangelical” or theological conservative doctrinal statement that I could embrace as opposed to the apostate church. But the liberal pastor would “liberally” interpret texts of Scripture that addresses homosexuality and respond with great opposition to Kim Burrell’s traditional, conservative position on this subject matter.

A brilliant, gifted, scholarly young preacher pastor (Vanderbilt Divinity School graduate), bursting on the national scene—Reginald Sharpe, who affirmed same-sex relationships in a chapel message at Morehouse ITC recently, responded to Kim Burrell’s traditional message on homosexuality with these words:

“And let me say a word to all of you secret supporters of Kim Burrell’s comments. You are a part of the reason the church is trouble! It was the secret supporters of Donald Trump that put a megalomaniac in office. She may be a wonderful person but what she said DID NOT represent the Jesus, the God, or the Holy Spirit I have come to know. God is love. Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and find a way to heal our country with more love and wisdom. Hatred and ignorance has never helped heal anyone.”

Reginald Sharpe Jr. appears to embrace an extreme liberal view of homosexuality that would not declare homosexual activity as sin. He’s a generation younger than his Pastor, and my concern is that if the current patriarchs of the Black Church don’t sound the alarm, when we go in our graves—Reginald Sharpe’s theology will be the ruling theology of the Black Church on homosexuality. It will also spell the death of the Black Church as we know it today. To label Burrell’s views as “hatred” and “ignorance” is to deny the Bible and to deny her the respect and love that he’s anxious to give to gays. Sharpe’s pastor, Dr. Smith, was careful not to do that, and I appreciate him for that. If what Burrell spoke was hateful and ignorant, then what the Bible teaches is hateful and ignorant. Sharpe’s published statement reflects liberal theology and a denial of biblical truth on this topic.

III.  THE BIBLICAL BRIDGE-BUILDING END TIMES CHURCH

dr-smith

  • THE TRIANGULATION END TIMES CHURCH

dr-forrest-harris

Building bridges with the LGBTQI Community in order to establish grounds for friendship evangelism and to communicate and interact compassion, respect, dignity and respect is a strategy that Jesus employed in reaching persons outside the sheepfold (Luke 15:1-2; John 4). Liberal and Conservative churches find common ground in the deployment of a Bridge-Building Strategy to reach the homosexual community. My personal practice and by extension—our congregation—is taught to build bridges of respect and friendship with all people groups with the hope of winning some to authentic faith in Christ and citizenship in God’s Kingdom. E. Dewey Smith is a great example of a biblical bridge builder to this community, while affirming the biblical view of marriage between a man and woman, exclusively.

Many who adopt a Bridge-Building Strategy sometimes also attempt to engage in a Triangulation View of Homosexuality also as a matter of church policy. In other words—Liberal, Moderate and Conservative theological viewpoints regarding homosexuality are all given some level of respect; and neither view is declared the official position of the church. This seems to be the position taken by Dr. Forrest Harris and American Baptist College. For two consecutive years, Dr. Harris invited Bishop Flunder to American Baptist College. However, the official position of the National Baptist Convention is marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman.  Dr. Harris’ statement:

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,”

When asked to define “idolatry of the Bible,” Harris said:

“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.” [Emphasis mine] http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/03/10/pastors-oppose-lesbian-bishop-at-baptist-college/24727465/

IV. THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF THE END TIMES CHURCH

kim-burrell-blog

Kim Burrell’s Biblical, Historic, Traditional Views on Homosexuality:

One could quiver with the tenor and tone of Kim Burrell’s speech; but the text of what she had to say is in line with Scripture and the traditional theology of the Black church on the subject. Burrell represented “The Old Landmark.” She spoke in graphic and no uncertain terms; but she captured the simplicity and summation of what the Bible teaches believers regarding engaging in homosexual activity.

“I came to tell you about sin. That sin nature. That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women, and it’s caused a stain on the body of Christ…

You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted, and you cannot tell me ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’ You’re perverted. You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”  (http://www.dailywire.com/news/12057/gospel-singer-attacked-expressing-christian-views-frank-camp)

As I close, you ask what about those two witnesses lying dead in the streets of Sodom.

“Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet…And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.” (Revelations 11:11-12)

In the end, the Church is going to win. Just like it appeared that the Super Bowl game was over, but in the end the best team won. I need to tell you that with all of the Church’s faults, she’s still the mother of the best in society. And in the end, we are going to win. Those of us who hold to biblical standards may be rejected and ridiculed; but hang in there, because on the third day, God is going to raise us up. In the end, we are going to win. He’s going to say “Come up here.”  Churches that maintain biblical fidelity on homosexuality may experience verbal, physical and legal abuse, rejection and ridicule from the world and liberal churches; but if we are faithful to God’s Word, on the third day He will raise us up and restore us to new life. Therefore, I shall not be moved.

“I SHALL NOT, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED”

“I AM GOING WHERE THE WICKED SHALL CEASE FROM TROUBLING AND THE WEARY SHALL BE AT REST AND ALL OF THE SAINTS OF THE AGES ARE GOING TO SIT AT HIS FEET AND BE BLESSED!”

FOUR EMERGING/COMPETING VIEWS OF THE BLACK CHURCH ON HOMOSEXUALITY

REPRESENTED BY:

KIM BURRELL, E. DEWEY SMITH, REGINALD SHARPE JR. AND YVETTE FLUNDER

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

   e-dewey-smith600yvette-flunder

Are Kim Burrell, E. Dewey Smith, Reginald Sharpe Jr. and Yvette Flunder representative of the evolution and competing views of the contemporary Black Church on Homosexuality?

A Sunday morning sermon at the close of 2016 preached by noted gospel singer Kim Burrell in her Houston pulpit has erupted into a national controversy/discussion in the Black Church regarding various views that Black pastors and gospel singers hold on the topic of Homosexuality; and calling into question: What does this generation’s Black Church believe on the subject of homosexuality? Does the Black Church of today still hold a monolithic position regarding homosexuality?

No one would seriously dispute or debate that the absolute historic universal position of the Black Church regarding homosexuality has been and officially remains: Consensual Homosexual Sexual Activity Is A Sin—Period. Just as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, pride, laziness, racism, sexism, pride, ingratitude and a host of other vices are also sin. By sin, I mean missing the mark; or falling short of the Glory of God; thinking or behavior displeasing to God. Yet, God loves homosexuals as He loves all sinners. God loves us while we are yet sinners, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain in our sins. He’s called us to maturity, growth and holiness.

However, in recent years—particularly since the declaration by the nation’s first African American President in 2012 affirming same-sex marriage and homosexuality—we have seen some cracks in the dam from high profile Black pastors and preachers who openly affirm homosexual marriage and by extension, homosexuality. The question before us is: Will the cracks in the dam become an avalanche and in short order crumble and crash the fortress of protection that has kept the act and lifestyle of homosexuality from being viewed as acceptable, normal, and approved as God-ordained behavior in the hearts and minds of most Black people in and outside of the Church? Historically, the Black Church has resisted homosexuality equally as strong as we have racism. With the bold affirmation of President Obama, we have lessened our resistance to homosexuality.

If the Black Church had not fought racism in America on her knees, in her pulpits and in the streets, the battle would have been lost. If the Black Church does not address homosexuality as a matter of spiritual warfare, demonstrating love and kindness, evangelizing and disciple-making—the battle will be lost.  My thesis is, just as the historic Black Church has stood strongly against the legalizing, normalizing and institutionalizing the immorality and insanity of racism, we must do likewise with homosexuality and with the same intensity and tenacity. Failure to do so may result in us seeing homosexuality mainstreamed in our lifetime.

Homosexuality is knocking hard, fast and furious at the door of the Black Church. And this generation appears to be the one that is attempting to pry the door open with all the strength they can muster in an attempt to radically alter the Black Church’s historic opposition to homosexuality. If homosexuality continues to infiltrate the Black Church, it will destroy it from within rendering it impotent and unable to fulfill her mission to exalt the Savior, evangelize sinners, edify saints and elevate society. Neither will the Black Church be able to combat racism if she’s destroyed from within because of homosexuality. Have we forgotten the lessons from Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19; Ezekiel 16:49-50). It is time for the patriarchs, matriarchs and gate keepers of the Black community to step up to the plate with the Word of God in our hand and the Holy Spirit as our guide and lovingly shut the door on allowing homosexuality to become unofficially and officially accepted, mainstreamed, and affirmed in our churches, communities and families.

By and large, we have been very effective as a church in fighting racism. God has used the Black Church and her leaders to bring about wonderful changes on the racial front in America. Will we allow God to use us to now fight and thwart the onslaught of homosexuality that seeks to ravish our churches, families and community? Do we have the character and courage to tackle homosexuality as we have tackled racism? Do we see homosexuality as a sin equally as evil as racism? Are we willing to fight it with the passion and reckless abandon as we have done with racism? It’s time for the Spiritual Adults in the Hood to come to the forefront and prophetically and lovingly address this issue. We need our denominational leaders to weigh in and take a stand on the Kim Burrell controversy.

The evolving and competing views of the Black Church can be illustrated with the published views of Kim Burrell, E. Dewey Smith, Reginald Sharpe and Yvette Flunder. They represent four distinct views:

I.  Kim Burrell’s Biblical, Historic, Traditional Views on Homosexuality:

One could quiver with the tenor and tone of Kim Burrell’s speech; but the text of what she had to say is in line with Scripture and the traditional theology of the Black church on the subject. Burrell represented “The Old Landmark.” She spoke in graphic and no uncertain terms; but she captured the simplicity and summation of what the Bible teaches believers regarding engaging in homosexual activity.

“I came to tell you about sin. That sin nature. That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women, and it’s caused a stain on the body of Christ…

You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted, and you cannot tell me ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’ You’re perverted. You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”  (http://www.dailywire.com/news/12057/gospel-singer-attacked-expressing-christian-views-frank-camp)

Who would argue that what she spoke is essentially what the Bible teaches in the following Scriptures?

Galatians 6:16-20; I Cor. 6:9-10; I Tim. 1:8-10; Jude 5-7; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:18-32; Leviticus 18:22.

II. Dewey Smith’s Biblical-Bridge Building—Triangulation View of Homosexuality

One of the more interesting responses to the Kim Burrell’s message came from Atlanta pastor, Dr. E. Dewey Smith. Dr. Smith has made it clear in a previous message in July 2015 that he affirms marriage is between a man and a woman. Tiga Finn, Executive Assistant to Smith, released a statement saying, “by no means is Smith now, nor has he ever been a proponent of same-sex marriage. Smith has always believed and taught that marriage is only designed for a man and woman.” I have no reason to believe that Pastor Smith has changed his view at all on biblical marriage. The Negro Baptist Preacher Table Talk report that during his tenure as a pastor in Macon, before he became, internationally known as he is today, he preached a sermon against homosexuality and repeated the tag line—“Get the Punks Out of the Church.” Dr. Smith has clearly moderated his tone since then and seeks to build bridges and lines of communication with the LGBT Community by speaking of them with compassion, understanding, and respect. So-much-so, he has been mistaken to now be affirming their lifestyle.

In response to Burrell, Smith gave five points:

#1: Smith raises the question: “Do we believe that 60% of African American women have been given the gift of ‘celibacy’ and will live their entire lives without any sexual relations or intimacy, based on what their churches teach?” Atlanta has a high Black single population, as does the rest of America. Smith is correct—these are practical questions our churches must address. But we must also make it clear that statistics and sociology does not drive our theology; our theology dictates our sociological beliefs and practices. The Word of God does not bow to contemporary culture. Contemporary culture must bow to the Word of God.

#2: Smith affirmed Burrell’s right to share her message without stating agreement or disagreement with her message. He affirmed Ellen Degeneres’ right to cancel Burrell’s appearance without expressing agreement or disagreement with Ellen’s decision.

#3: Smith referenced biblical passages that address homosexuality such as Genesis 19, Leviticus, Romans 1:26-27, and briefly highlights how opponents and proponents of homosexuality interpret those passages differently; and he does not give the readers his interpretation of those passages.

#4: Smith makes a case for peaceful coexistence with opponents and proponents of Burrell’s theology. I don’t find his emphasis here disagreeable, but I do find it interesting. No one argues for peaceful coexistence with proponents of adultery or “swingers”—not quite understanding why there’s a need to argue for peaceful coexistence with proponents of homosexuality—particularly within the Bible-believing churches.

#5: Smith asked eight questions that are critical and necessary in light of today’s changing views on homosexuality.

As I read E. Dewey Smith’s statement, it reminds me of Bill Clinton’s political philosophy which was “triangulation.” Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy; his “Three Strikes You’re Out” Policy; and his “Welfare” Policy all represent “triangulation”—where he combined conservative, liberal and moderate views on the issues in one policy. E. Dewey Smith has mastered “triangulation” as it relates to homosexuality in the Black Church. I find more in agreement with Smith than I find disagreement. Particularly, I support his non-negotiable view on marriage strictly being between a man and woman. I also agree that our tone and tenor in addressing these matters as the Bible says must be “truth spoken in love.” My concern in Smith’s approach, though, is that the truth that homosexuality is sin may get smothered in his effort not to offend. You cannot preach against sin without offending. Jesus, Himself, is a Rock of offense.

III. Reginald Sharpe’s Liberal, Bible-Denying View of Homosexuality

Whereas, E. Dewey Smith did not take a definitive position on Kim Burrell’s statement, his satellite pastor at his Macon location of House of Hope headquartered in Atlanta, GA, did.

Reginald Sharpe Jr. had this to say in response to Kim Burrell’s message:

“And let me say a word to all of you secret supporters of Kim Burrell’s comments. You are a part of the reason the church is trouble! It was the secret supporters of Donald Trump that put a megalomaniac in office. She may be a wonderful person but what she said DID NOT represent the Jesus, the God, or the Holy Spirit I have come to know. God is love. Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and find a way to heal our country with more love and wisdom. Hatred and ignorance has never helped heal anyone.”

Reginald Sharpe Jr. appears to embrace an extreme liberal view of homosexuality that would not declare homosexual activity as sin. He’s a generation younger than his Pastor, and my concern is that if the current patriarchs of the Black Church don’t sound the alarm, when we go in our graves—Reginald Sharpe’s theology will be the ruling theology of the Black Church on homosexuality. It will also spell the death of the Black Church as we know it today. To label Burrell’s views as “hatred” and “ignorance” is to deny the Bible and to deny her the respect and love that he’s anxious to give to gays. Sharpe’s pastor, Dr. Smith, was careful not to do that, and I appreciate him for that. If what Burrell spoke was hateful and ignorant, then what the Bible teaches is hateful and ignorant. Sharpe’s published statement reflects liberal theology and a denial of biblical truth on this topic.

IV. Yvette Flunder’s “Third New Testament” View on Homosexuality

If you want to see where the Black Church may be in 40 years—if we don’t hit the brakes on this now—is to simply look at Yvette Flunder and Shirley Miller. They are legally married and pastor a gay church in the Bay area of Northern California. Yvette Flunder is the voice on Walter Hawkins “Love Alive IV” singing “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me.” Shirley Miller is the voice on Edwin Hawkins, “Oh Happy Day.”

While speaking at the American Baptist College in Nashville, TN, a National Baptist institution, in 2014, Yvette Flunder made a statement on the nature of Scripture:

“God will not be fixed; God will not be stuck; God will not be concretized.”

She made that statement while intentionally flipping both ends of the Bible, to symbolize that God could not be “concretized” in the canon of Scripture. She further stated:

“My theology is alive and shifting and it’s not stuck between the corners and the pages of a book. Just like God spoke to them, God is speaking to us. I’d like to see Martin’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” canonized one day…maybe in a Testament III—because God is still speaking…Thank God for theological evolution.” [Emphasis Mine]

Referring to the Third Testament, equivalent to the Bible, that Flunder proposes, because “God is still speaking” Flunder suggested that it could include “skype,” “in-vitro fertilization,” and…”somebody will write about me and Shirley in 30 years.”

And, of course, Flunder released a statement in opposition to Burrell’s statement:

“I will not reciprocate and attack or seek to diminish you, but you must know the injury of your words…” (http://blackchristiannews.com/2017/01/homosexual-clergy-members-are-coming-after-kim-burrell-for-her-sermon-condemning-homosexuality/)

Kim Burrell’s words were only injurious if they were false or contradicted Scripture. And, they did not.

By 2040, I predict if the Black Church does not act with the same urgency and intensity by which she did with the Civil Right Movement, we will see open/ practicing homosexuals occupying our pulpits, serving on our ministry teams and in leadership in our churches. Flunder and Miller will be the norm.

The time is now. The crisis is apparent. Shirley Caesar is correct:  Someone should have spoken up in 2012 when President Obama came out in support of homosexuality. Nevertheless, the future of our families and churches hang in the balance. Will The Church of Jesus Christ Stand Up? And just for the record, my view is somewhere between Burrell’s and Smith’s; but I lean closer to Burrell’s view.

Anybody who does not believe that homosexual activity is sin is on the wrong side of the Bible. I’d rather be on the wrong side of history, than the wrong side of the Bible.

IF RUSSELL MOORE IS FIRED, “UNTO US” A TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION IS BORN

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The first cabinet member that soon-to-be President Donald Trump will fire, may not be in his White House Cabinet. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics, and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC–a cabinet level entity head position within the SBC org chart–will be the first person fired by the direct influence of Donald Trump and his influential supporters within SBC circles, if they are successful in their unprecedented public attempts, to discredit and dismiss from office the most compelling and effective spokesman ever to hold that office in the history of the SBC. The lynch mob in SBC life who is going after Moore are taking their cues from Donald Trump who was among the first to attack Moore with one of his infamous tweets during the primary season:

“Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!”

What has Russell Moore done to generate such vitriol and hatred from Trump and his supporters and sycophants in SBC life? Moore dared asked the SBC if it is in keeping with their values to support a person for POTUS who mocks the disabled; engages in race baiting; owns strip joints and casinos; admits to sexual predatory behaviors; wants to create a Muslim registry, which violates the religious freedom beliefs of the SBC; and speaks of unlawfully targeting non-combatant in war acts. One would think that a person assigned to address the SBC regarding ethical issues is fulfilling their assignment in addressing these matters.

Future Supreme Court Judges and Reversing Gay Marriage were believed to have a better chance of lining up with SBC values under a Trump Administration. Therefore, many SBC personalities argued in spite of Trump’s misgivings and failures in the aforementioned areas, he’s still worthy of support because of who he might appoint to the Supreme Court who would reverse Roe vs Wade and Gay Marriage. To which Russell Moore responded, how can we count on Donald Trump to keep his word on these matters any more than anyone named Mrs. Trump could depend on him to keep his word to them? This was a brilliant and prophetic response.

Shortly after he was elected, Trump announced that Gay Marriage was settled law, and he would not revisit that matter. Ironically, Pastor Robert Jeffress at FBC, Dallas agreed with Trump on this. Go figure? He has already gone back on his word even before he took office, and many SBC persons voted for him under the delusion that Trump would somehow reverse or, at least, redress gay marriage. With a majority Republican House, Senate, soon to be Supreme Court—and of course occupying the White House–there is absolutely no reason why gay marriage can’t and shouldn’t be reversed; other than Trump doesn’t want to reverse it. Now, a prominent SBC leader is backing Trump in this bait and switch campaign tactic. Rather than holding Trump accountable for his pre-election position supporting traditional marriage, they’d rather spend their time attacking Moore. Again, Moore warned us that Trump’s history did not lend itself to counting on him to keep his word. You would think he would be given credit for his insight. Instead, they’re crushing him. If President Elect Trump—not candidate Trump—view is that gay marriage is settled law, why is it not his view that Roe vs Wade is settled law, using the same logic? Already Moore has proven to be 50% accurate in the lack of trust worthiness of Donald Trump on an issue important to Evangelicals—gay marriage. If and when Donald Trump says the same thing about Roe vs Wade, Moore will be 100% correct in saying that Donald Trump was not a trustworthy candidate in addressing matters important to Southern Baptists. On what grounds then are the ones calling for Moore’s dismissal upset?

Make no mistake about it. The union between the SBC and the Republican Convention is an unhealthy and unholy one, particularly with Trump as President. But that would be equally as true with anyone else as President and equally as true if such a union existed with the SBC and The Democratic Party. It is detrimental to our witness, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, race relations and the identity of our seminaries. This is a malignancy that must be excised from our Convention.

To fire Russell Moore though, cements and consummate the relationship between the SBC and The Republican Party. We shouldn’t give Trump that kind of influence over our Convention. We shouldn’t by default say to the public we value loyalty to the Republican brand over a critical evaluation of a Republican nominee for President.

It’s not enough to say that Russell Moore was speaking against the majority of the SBC and those who pay his salary, as a reason to silence his voice. The Bible is inerrant and infallible, the SBC is not. What’s been missing from SBC history to often was a Russell Moore.

When the majority of the SBC embraced the diabolical institution of slavery, we needed a Russell Moore, even if he was being paid by the SBC. When the majority of the SBC denied women the right to vote as messengers within the SBC annual meetings, and supported laws forbidding women the right to vote in the secular realm, we needed a Russell Moore. When the majority of the SBC voted to support Jim Crow laws and would not support Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, we needed a Russell Moore. When the majority of the messengers in the ‘mid ’70’s voted in a SBC annual meeting to support abortion, we needed a Russell Moore. When the IMB created unbiblical landmark baptismal policies and unbiblical policies restricting missionaries’ private worship in 2005, God raised up a Wade Burleson to prophetically address these matters; and he was publicly maligned and marginalized, and now the same attempt is being made toward Russell Moore.  In 2015, everything Wade Burleson was asking the IMB to do, they did: Return to the pre-2005 private prayer policies, and the prior baptismal policies. Now that they have done so, Wade Burleson is owed an apology, because their actions now prove he was right from the beginning.

SBC, are we going to now make the same mistake with Russell Moore as we did with all of the aforementioned matters that we later reversed policies on? Are we really going to place that much stock in Trump and choose Trump over Moore?

Honestly, a convention that would even consider this is a severely spiritually sick convention. If it were not for a great health insurance plan that I appreciate (connected to GuideStone), and a small life insurance and small retirement account that may be useful at some point, I’d seriously consider whether I could actually belong to a convention that’s so invested and identified in every way with the Republican Party and Donald Trump. To fire Russell Moore will have far-reaching consequences than most persons realize. It defines being SBC as also being Republican, or at least not publicly criticizing a Republican candidate. Minorities tend not to be Republican because they view Democrats as being more sensitive to social and economic justice, equality and fairness issues. They also view these matters as life issues and equally as important as abortion and gay marriage issues. Russell Moore is one of the few Southern Baptists that really have a heartfelt identification and understanding of social justice issues from a minority perspective. There are those who think that this backlash against him is rooted in his outspokenness on race issues and police brutality issues. Russell Moore really feels our pain. In many ways he is being treated as a racial minority by the Convention in this situation. So to fire Russell Moore is to say to minorities, you are only welcome in the SBC if you remain silent regarding your political views. Seriously? Is that what you really want? If so, continue with this lynch party and proposed firing. And Congratulations!!! You will have just birth THE TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION.

Russell Moore has spoken as a prophet. The late Professor Jack Gray defined the spiritual gift of prophecy as the ability to communicate a particular truth, to a particular people, at a particular time. This is what Moore has done. To fire Russell Moore is in effect to make the statement that the gift of prophecy is unwelcome among Southern Baptists if it conflicts with our politics. Russell Moore would have gotten the same kind of treatment in SBC life had he spoken prophetically against slavery in 1845-1863 as he is getting now. Southern Baptists can and should do better than this. I pray that we drop this vendetta against Russell Moore. He has asked for an apology if he was misunderstood or crossed over a line. Let’s forgive him and move on. Threatening to withhold funds over a critique of Donald Trump is too small of an issue for us to divide over. During this yuletide season, let’s practice our faith and seek peace on earth and in the SBC and good will toward all men. Brethren, let’s drop our swords and be The Southern Baptist Great Commission Convention and not the Trump Baptist Convention.

ONE BLACK EVANGELICAL METAMORPHOSIS ON THE 2016 ELECTION

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Like most Americans, I’m not enamored with either of the major parties’ presidential nominees. Furthermore, I have burdens in my bosom about both parties’ platforms and actions.

The Democrats have totally abandoned God’s definition of marriage and the protection of life in the womb. The Republicans have abandoned President George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism and Daddy Bush’s 1000 points of light philosophies.

President George H.W. Bush spoke out against the unwarranted beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. President H. W. Bush traveled to Los Angeles and met with Pastor E.V. Hill and other Black pastors in order to identify with the pain Blacks were feeling over the Rodney King verdict. Today’s Republicans primarily remain silent or supportive of unarmed Black men being shot in the streets by policeman. The life of the people being mistreated by policeman—regardless of the color of the police or the victim—is just as much a quality of life issue as abortion. The Republican Party should not be silent while Black men and women are being killed by policemen—unarmed, with hands in the air, while serving autistic persons; college students being told to get their license, and being shot in the process of doing so; unarmed man in the middle of the street with car trouble being killed while threatening no one; Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland are all unjustified police killings, in my opinion. Any one of them could easily have been one of my four children or grandchildren. I cannot reconcile my Christian Faith with the silence, seemingly consent, or justifications/defense given by Republicans for these and other unjustifiable cases of police brutality. Where is the Daddy Bush of the Republican Party?

I’ve identified in the past and voted in my early adult years, as a Democrat. While yet a young (but older) adult, I also converted and identified as a Republican. When once asked by a news reporter if I was a Ronald Reagan Republican; I answered No!!!  I am a Jesse Jackson Republican.  Why? Because I so strongly disagreed with a strong pro-gay rights message—and strong “women’s reproductive rights” message—that Jackson delivered to the Democratic National Convention in 1984, it forced me to evaluate and rethink my relationship to the Democratic Party. Later I read their platform and discovered the Democrats strongly supported gay rights, “gay families” and abortion. I found it impossible to reconcile the Democratic platform positions with my Christian Faith.

I hold strong views regarding Pro-Life, Natural Marriage, Social Justice, Providing an economic Safety Net for the least among us, Strong Defense, School Choice, Pro-Affordable Healthcare, Fiscal Responsibility, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and government-funded abortions, and smaller government. As you can tell, my values don’t so easily fit into a Democratic or Republican box. Consequently, I now consider myself a political independent.

Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic Presidential Candidate that I voted for. I have consistently voted for Republican presidential candidates since then for the aforementioned reasons. The only one I didn’t vote for was Mitt Romney, because he would not distance himself from beliefs in his Mormon Bible(s) that teaches that dark-skinned people are inferior to Whites and other derogatory remarks regarding dark-skinned people recorded there. I voted down line that year but did not cast a vote for President.

While voting Republican to try and protect traditional marriage since the ’80’s, we’ve witnessed gay marriage become the law of the land. While voting to try and reverse the abortion laws back to a pre-Roe V. Wade posture, we’ve watched the expansion of abortion to a great degree. Abortion is legal in all 50 states. Republican presidents, congressmen, senators and judges have failed to protect America from same-sex marriage and the expansion of abortion. One has to stop and ask himself/herself: Is it wise to continue to vote for these ideals and principles, and the Republican Party if they are not delivering on your vote; and settled law has ruled in favor of gay marriage and abortion?

Many people are quick to make clear and take pride in the fact that they are not one-issue voters. I am quick to make clear and take pride in the fact that I can be and often am a one-issue voter. Some issues are just that important to me. Life as it relates to abortion is one of those issues. Redefining the definition of marriage in this Country is one of those issues that I proudly would be and have been a one-issue voter on. If I had any reason to believe that casting a vote for Trump would reverse the same-sex marriage laws or abortion laws within the next four to eight to twelve years, Trump would have my vote in a heartbeat. If I had any reason to believe that Trump held deeply rooted convictional values regarding same-sex marriage and abortion that he was willing to fight for to change—he’d have my vote in a heartbeat.

However, I must accept the dark, grim, stark, cold, and cruel reality this year, that…Republicans have absolutely no chance of making any headway toward reversing Roe V. Wade, defunding abortions or Planned Parenthood, reversing gay marriage, or reversing transgender public school bathroom issues with Donald Trump in the White House. I am not convinced that Donald Trump holds any convictions regarding any of these positions that he’s willing to really fight for. I’m not convinced that Donald Trump will appoint SCOTUS Justices that will make the right decisions regarding these issues. Donald Trump has been all over the map on these issues. When asked if he’d ever financed an abortion, he wouldn’t answer the question. If Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Jeb Bush, or Dr. Ben Carson were the Republican Presidential nominees waving the flag to lead the charge to address these issues, I would be on board. Donald J. Trump? Never in a million years.

There is simply no track record to justify the confidence the Party has placed in Trump. I’m amazed at the confidence that certain evangelical leaders have placed in Trump to champion these aforementioned righteous causes, while he currently owns a strip club and casinos. The delusion these evangelical leaders are under staggers the imagination. They have forfeited all moral authority in the future to ever attack a Democratic candidate on the basis of morality. Furthermore, I should never have to answer another question about how Black Christians could vote for Democrats, if White evangelicals find Trump vote worthy. Unfortunately, the issues we all agree upon aren’t on the ballots. It’s the candidates’ names on the ballots. Therefore, the argument that you are not voting for a person but a platform or principles—does not resonate with Trump as the face of the platform and principles.

Given my propensity to be a one-issue voter; and given the fact that the one-two issues that have primarily driven my voting the past 30 years seem to be at this point settled issues; and given my complete lack of confidence in the character and competence of Donald Trump to serve as POTUS; I watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with great interest and intensity.

Prior to watching the debate, it was my intent to vote for a write-in or third party candidate. When the debate moderator asked both candidates a question regarding “racial healing” in America, my listening antenna rose to an all-time high.

As I listened to two radically different answers the two gave to questions regarding racial healing and police brutality issues, I begin to think about how one of these two persons will shape the world that my 12 grandchildren grow up in over the next 4-8 years, and beyond considering the Supreme Court appointments.

The priority voting issue for me has always been LIFE and quality of life. Donald Trump’s answer to the question of “Racial Healing” was “Law and Order” and “Stop and Frisk.” I thought to myself: you’ve got to be kidding me. That spoke volumes to me. He saw Black people as criminals. In order to heal the racial divide, his solution would be to stop and frisk my 12 grandchildren and, upon sight, see them as in need of law and order supervision. His answer was horrifying to me. And how his administration would address these issues are very much as important as life issues in the womb from my vantage point. Listen to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump answer the question “So how do you heal the [racial] divides?” in their own words: (Reported in The Washington Post)

“HOLT: Well, we’re well behind schedule, so I want to move to our next segment. We move into our next segment talking about America’s direction. And let’s start by talking about race.

The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African-Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap.

So how do you heal the divide? Secretary Clinton, you get two minutes on this.

CLINTON: Well, you’re right. Race remains a significant challenge in our country. Unfortunately, race still determines too much, often determines where people live, determines what kind of education in their public schools they can get, and, yes, it determines how they’re treated in the criminal justice system. We’ve just seen those two tragic examples in both Tulsa and Charlotte.

And we’ve got to do several things at the same time. We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.

CLINTON: Right now, that’s not the case in a lot of our neighborhoods. So I have, ever since the first day of my campaign, called for criminal justice reform. I’ve laid out a platform that I think would begin to remedy some of the problems we have in the criminal justice system.

But we also have to recognize, in addition to the challenges that we face with policing, there are so many good, brave police officers who equally want reform. So we have to bring communities together in order to begin working on that as a mutual goal. And we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African- American men, more than the next nine causes put together. So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them. And we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we’re seeing today.

HOLT: All right, Mr. Trump, you have two minutes. How do you heal the divide?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s law and order. And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.

And when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, a city I love, a city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s — I mean, I can just keep naming them all day long — we need law and order in our country.

I just got today the, as you know, the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, we just — just came in. We have endorsements from, I think, almost every police group, very — I mean, a large percentage of them in the United States.

We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African- Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.

In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st. Thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing? And we have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order. In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years, in fact, almost 4,000 have been killed since Barack Obama became president, over — almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed. We have to bring back law and order.

Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.

We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they’re illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.

We have to be — we have to know what we’re doing. Right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything. We have to protect our inner cities, because African-American communities are being decimated by crime, decimated.

HOLT: Your two — your two minutes expired, but I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s allowed.

HOLT: The argument is that it’s a form of racial profiling.

TRUMP: No, the argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people that have them and they are bad people that shouldn’t have them.

These are felons. These are people that are bad people that shouldn’t be — when you have 3,000 shootings in Chicago from January 1st, when you have 4,000 people killed in Chicago by guns, from the beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama, his hometown, you have to have stop-and-frisk.

You need more police. You need a better community, you know, relation. You don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible. I have property there. It’s terrible what’s going on in Chicago.

But when you look — and Chicago’s not the only — you go to Ferguson; you go to so many different places. You need better relationships. I agree with Secretary Clinton on this.

TRUMP: You need better relationships between the communities and the police, because in some cases, it’s not good.

But you look at Dallas, where the relationships were really studied, the relationships were really a beautiful thing, and then five police officers were killed one night very violently. So there’s some bad things going on. Some really bad things.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton…

TRUMP: But we need — Lester, we need law and order. And we need law and order in the inner cities, because the people that are most affected by what’s happening are African-American and Hispanic people. And it’s very unfair to them what our politicians are allowing to happen.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I’ve heard — I’ve heard Donald say this at his rallies, and it’s really unfortunate that he paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country.

TRUMP: Ugh.

CLINTON: You know, the vibrancy of the black church, the black businesses that employ so many people, the opportunities that so many families are working to provide for their kids.There’s a lot that we should be proud of and we should be supporting and lifting up.

But we do always have to make sure we keep people safe. There are the right ways of doing it, and then there are ways that are ineffective. Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.

Now, I believe in community policing. And, in fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.

But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

We need to have more second chance programs. I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system; I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans. So there are some positive ways we can work on this.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/26/the-first-trump-clinton-presidential-debate-transcript-annotated/)

Police brutality is one of the most pressing, unresolved social issues of our time. It certainly is a life and quality of life matter. It will certainly impact the environment my grandchildren are raised in. Therefore, I must ask myself which candidate will do a better job and be more objective and fair in making sure the citizens and the police are being treated fairly? Who best understands and empathize with both sides of this issue? Whose justice system and attorney general’s office would I rather see be involved in these matters? Whose answers to Lester Holt’s questions will set the trajectory for a better quality of life for my 12 grandchildren growing up in a climate where the criminal justice system and police brutality discriminate against them based on color?

So after much soul searching, I have reached the conclusion that the Life issues that I’m voting to protect this year will be my grandchildren. The racial healing atmosphere and the level of accountability that police know that will be expected from a Clinton administration, suggests to me that police persons will be slightly more cautious in pulling the trigger in the future than they have been in the past.

Blacks comprise 15% of the population; but we are involved in 29% of the police shootings. Certainly there are police shootings that are justifiable. Conversely, there would be some unjustifiable. To resolve or reduce the number of police shootings, the one being shot must take responsibility and try not to put him/her in this position. The one doing the shooting must exercise restraint and use a Taser, patience, wait for backup, or whatever it takes. Hillary Clinton mentioned establishing National Standards to help guide and govern these issues.

These matters will happen with more frequency and with less accountability under a Trump administration and justice system. Just as attorney General John F. Kennedy intervened and delivered Martin Luther King from racist injustice systems in the South in the ‘60’s, Hillary Clinton will make sure that these matters are handled objectively. Facts and truth will prevail wherever they fall in favor of the police or the citizens under Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s history on race is atrocious. He was raised by a man who was arrested for marching with the KKK and who refused to rent to Black people. Trump was sued by the Federal government for refusing to rent to Black people in the ’70’s and settled out of court. One, of his employees reported that he never wanted a Black man to count his money. Trump thought an American judge of Mexican heritage should be disqualified from a case involving him because of his Mexican heritage. Trump refused to apologize for lying on the first Black President in America’s history regarding his birthplace. After five young Black men were exonerated for a rape crime they did not commit in New York, Donald Trump placed an ad in a New York newspaper decrying the overturning of their conviction and asking for the return of the death penalty. Given the offensive comments Donald Trump has made regarding Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, and women, I’m thoroughly convinced, the quality of life for all persons, will be better under Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. I’m voting for the highest quality of life for all Americans.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SBC REGARDING THE CONFEDERATE FLAG

From “Hearty Support” 1863 to “Discontinue the Display” 2016

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

At the near beginning of the 21st Century, The Southern Baptist Convention recently made the decision to address a heretofore unaddressed aspect of her history, and that is the SBC’s historic identity and complicity with the Confederacy. A vote was taken to ask Christians to discontinue the public use of the Confederate Flag (CF), in order to show solidarity with other Christians, including African Americans.

Perhaps this was one of the most heart wrenching and gut checking decisions ever made by the SBC. Why? Because the SBC and the Confederacy were connected at the hip historically, emotionally, psychologically, philosophically, geographically, politically, and even genetically. This connection is deep, intertwined, and multi-layered. Many in the SBC literally have the blood of Confederate Soldiers running through their veins.  That made it a thorny and testy issue. This, inevitably, had to be a tough decision for the SBC to make. It was a seminal moment in the life of our Convention, having taken 253 years to arrive at the point of radically departing from and denouncing, a heretofore proud symbol of Southern heritage.

The emotional response exhibited on the Convention floor, to the passing of the CF resolution, is indicative and evidence of the emotional upheaval some would experience in processing and coming to grips with the decision to renounce the CF.

The greatest influence in the outcome of the vote was the blood of the Charleston Nine. Their pictures and brief bio’s had been presented to the convention earlier that day. Dylann Roof’s intent was to start a race war when he murdered the Charleston Nine. The irony is, his actions have led to a greater unity of the races within the SBC and the Charleston community.  Roof’s actions led to the SBC repudiating the Confederate Flag. It was the spirit of the Confederate Flag that demonically drove Dylann Roof to murder nine Kingdom-citizens. What Roof meant for evil, God through the SBC is turning it around and using it for good (Romans 8: 28).

The SBC was not being asked to vote on this resolution to prove that they were not racist. They were being asked to vote on this resolution to identify with the pain of those grieving the murders of the Charleston Nine, to help heal the hurt, and to honor The Charleston Nine, by renouncing the CF. In the process of addressing this issue and making the right decision, the SBC would be cleansing and clearing her own conscience.

The messengers cast a vote looking futuristically, rather than to affirm seeds of division and White Supremacy sown by their forefathers.

The messengers’ affirmative vote, in effect, confessed and rebuked the sins of their forefathers.

The messengers’ courageous vote brought healing, hope, forgiveness, restoration, and wholeness to the Convention.

The messengers exonerated an ugly stain on the legacy of the SBC. From a legacy and spiritual perspective, they removed the guilty stain, by disavowing The Confederate Flag.

Now, we no longer have to look at our Baptist forefathers with contempt. The vote of the messengers reconnected and reconciled some of us to their significant spiritual heritage and contributions. Their wrongs were philosophically corrected by their descendants.

The messengers voted to cleanse and clear the collective conscience of the SBC by voting to discontinue the display of the Confederate Flag. In one felt-swoop, the messengers’ vote reduced the CF from a symbol of pride, to a symbol of scorn and shame.

Allegations that the SBC would be moving down a slippery slope by renouncing the CF are totally baseless. The vote to denounce the CF also, by extension, addressed and negated the earlier resolution of support of the Confederacy. This vote also, by extension, renounced and rebuked all Southern Baptist churches and personalities who were complicit with The Confederacy in any manner.

It serves no good purpose to go down the trail of singling out historical figures for rebuke. I read somewhere, “Never pick a fight with a dead man; you’ll lose every time.” The vote, itself, rebuked and philosophically corrected their errors as it relates to support of the Confederacy and slavery.

God be praised! The SBC connection to the Confederacy was officially severed on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in St. Louis, Mo. at approximately 4pm. The SBC made the statement in that meeting to choose Kingdom over Culture. They chose Hope over Heritage. They chose Righteousness over Race. The SBC and the resolutions committee should be commended for this.

As stated so eloquently by Dr. James Merritt, “All the confederate flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.” And whenever God’s people seek His Kingdom first, addition of some kind takes place (Matthew 6: 33). I have never in my life been more thrilled to be a part of the SBC as I am today.

The resounding, joyful, and celebratory response to the decision made to affirm the amended version of the resolution was powerful. It indicated the healing of the hearts of the messengers and the hope of a positive racial future. The only other time that I’ve experienced that kind of exuberant joy, clapping, verbal praise, and a strong sense of God’s presence in a SBC gathering, was when Dr. Fred Luter was elected President of the SBC in New Orleans.

As Dr. Floyd stated, “The church can’t call the nation to repent ’till the church repents.” As the SBC continues to flesh out the will of God and obey it, racially, it has the potential of changing the nation. Thanks to Dr. Floyd, the ’95 apology, the election of Fred Luter, and the renouncing of the CF; the SBC is beginning to gain the credibility to address the nation regarding race.

Because of previous commitments and a scheduling conflict, I was not able to attend the meeting; but, I watched some of the events via live stream.

The response to James Merritt’s amendment and commentary will forever be etched in the memory of the SBC.  The power of that moment transcended the screen. It could be felt by observers who were live-streaming the Convention. Truly the presence of The Lord was in that place. The impact that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech had on the nation, James Merritt’s amendment speech had on the outcome of the vote and, consequently, the redemption of the SBC. The SBC is beginning to gain the credibility to address the nation regarding race.

In a way, that vote and the response to it were like a new start, or rebooting of the convention, from a racial perspective. We have to be in unity, before we can reach our nation and world. The Lord blessed the SBC with a baptism of unity on June 15, 2016, almost in an unprecedented manner from my observations.

I shed the same tears Russell Moore was shedding for the same reasons as I watched the proceedings on the Convention floor through the live stream. God is healing our Convention and correcting the only previous statement made by the SBC concerning the Confederacy, and that was to proclaim the SBC’s “hearty support.” The SBC entered into that auditorium on Flag Day—and coincidentally, my birthday—officially in support of the Confederacy—and by extension—the CF. But they departed the auditorium, having decided to “discontinue the display” of the CF. What a mighty God we serve!!!

The beauty of the passing of this resolution is that it was not a victory for any one person or group. The major leaders and entity heads in the SBC supported this resolution, even the stronger amended version. The resolutions committee, who obviously had a tough job, brought to the floor a great proposed resolution, although I obviously preferred one much stronger, similar to what The Merritt Amendment proposed. The fact that no one on the resolutions committee opposed the Merritt amendment indicates to me that they too were in favor of a stronger resolution, but, for peace and unity sake, had no doubt crafted a resolution that they’d hoped would please the multitude. I thought the resolution committee performed exceptionally well, especially given the controversial and multifaceted layers to the CF resolution. But this was not a victory for The Resolutions Committee, the entity heads, James Merritt, or certainly not for William Dwight McKissic, Sr. This was not even a victory for the messengers. This was a victory for The Kingdom of God and The SBC’s vision to reflect the Kingdom of God in all aspects.

By voting to renounce the CF, the messengers laid the axe at the root of the tree. I use to think it was necessary for the SBC to formally repent of the “curse of Ham” theory, once prominently taught in the SBC, to provide a biblical/theological covering or rationale for slavery, the Confederacy, segregation, and systemic, institutionalized racism. However, because of the decision to renounce the CF, and by extension the Confederate States of America (CSA), the SBC also denounced in St. Louis the false theology that undergirded the CSA/CF—the formation of the SBC—and the noted leaders in the SBC who were also slaveholders and CSA sympathizers/supporters.

The dialogue between the SBC and NBC is also groundbreaking and incredibly important. The St. Louis decision gives the SBC more credibility. I’m already hearing how respect for the SBC has gone way up in many, many circles. The reality is, everyone on both sides of this resolution is in agreement, we are surprised that the Merritt Amendment passed at all, and with over 90% of the vote. That had to be God.

Finally, it’s important that the construct of the resolution represented a collaborative effort of the Resolutions Committee, Merritt, me, and others who Merritt and I consulted with in preparing our content. Merritt and I had absolutely no discussion with each other about this matter prior to the vote. The Holy Spirit orchestrated all things relative to the passing of this resolution. The beauty of this resolution is that it represents the collaborative efforts of Blacks and Whites working together. No one can legitimately call the outcome pandering to a certain constituency, or to an attempt to be politically correct. This was a move of the Holy Spirit. And to make it anything other than that, may border on blasphemy.

Arguably, the strongest statement ever made by a SBC personality on the subject of race, was made by Dr. Ronnie Floyd:

“I believe the issue of racism is from Satan and his demonic forces of hell. Why do I believe this? Racism is an assault on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the essence of the Gospel is spiritual adoption that releases us from our prior state, anything contradicting that must be a lie about Christ and subversive of His finished work on the cross. Racism is completely opposite of the message of Christ. Racism is completely opposite of the message of love. Racism is completely opposite of the message of reconciliation. While our nation is being divided across racial lines, uniting His people across racial lines best reveals God’s heart for all the nations.

In this desperate time in our nation when the racial tension is building rapidly, our Southern Baptists churches must rise together as one and decry this atrocity and lead through it in the gospel way. Southern Baptists, silent denominations die and their message dies with them. Let’s be clear and not be silent.

We are not black churches. We are not white churches. We are not Latino churches. We are not Asian churches. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. We are members of the same body. The hope for all racism to end in America is in Jesus Christ and in His triumphant church. This is why we are having in this morning’s session, A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America. Let the church rise. The stakes couldn’t be higher!” (Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/ronnie-floyd-2016-presidential-address-sbc-southern-baptist-annual-meeting-165260/#mxK3LvMuvmEFTuJf.99)

These are exciting times that the quest for racial inclusion and empowerment is being championed by White leaders. God can’t help but to bless that! May our land, our churches, our families, and each of us experience revival! And may the Lord use the SBC as a catalyst! Our hearts and hands are now clean. God is preparing us for something special. I’m glad I’m on board the ship for this ride.

THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION AND THE CONFEDERATE FLAG

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

I love the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC has had a direct or indirect impact upon me, all of my life. What was then called The Baptist Student Union on college campuses—particularly in the South—greatly impacted my older siblings, providing discipling, ministry and mission opportunities. In Arkansas, Camp Paron (SBC affiliated) always had a week set aside for the National Baptist Churches’ young people to attend. Dr. Robert Ferguson, who led the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, National Baptist work (SBC affiliated) made sure Black Seminarians and college students at SBC affiliated schools, received scholarships. Two members of my family were blessed to have their college and seminary training subsidized with Cooperative Program (SBC) dollars. In my formative years we would occasionally hold joint services with SBC churches. There were at least two gatherings comprised of Southern and National Baptists held at War Memorial Park, Little Rock, and at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock. Those are fond memories. There was a special dynamic present in those joint services that was radically different and unique. God would kiss those services with His presence.

When I planted the church that I continue to serve as pastor, it was a SBC congregation, Tate Springs Baptist Church of Arlington that sponsored our plant. Over a course of a three-year period, CP dollars and TSBC dollars combined, provided our church plant with approximately $200,000 to help us get started. Additionally, TSBC (SBC affiliated church) co-signed for a $330,000 building loan to finance our first church building. When we outgrew that facility, after 14 years, the Baptist Church Loan Corporation (SBTC/BGCT affiliated) provided my congregation with a $3 million loan, enabling us to relocate and to more than triple our membership. Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that the first 10 months of our church’s existence, we met rent-free in the Chapel of the Tate Springs Baptist Church, Arlington. We were ill-equipped to handle our own Sunday School at the outset; so they provided the Sunday School to our children and youth. Without the SBC and her affiliates, including predominately White churches, Cornerstone Church, where I pastor, simply would not be where we are today. I would be an ingrate, to not honor and give God praise, and express appreciation to the SBC in my heart and to anyone who would listen. I thank God for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Even when the SBC has disappointed me, I’ve watch them make course corrections. In the ‘70’s, the SBC adopted—by way of resolution—a liberal view of abortion. But, God be praised! A few short years later, they reversed their course. In 2005, the SBC/IMB adopted Landmark-like baptism policies, and exegetically indefensible cessationist/praying in tongues in private policies. However, in 2015, under the able and affable leadership of Dr. David Platt, the SBC made a course correction and reversed those indefensible policies that simply could not stand in a Convention that prides itself on doctrinal truth/orthodoxy, and the inerrancy of Scripture. William Cullen Bryant was right:  “Truth crushed to the ground will rise again.” Those controversial policies at the IMB had to eventually fail, because as the late Rev. John H. Nolen would say, “The universe was built on truth…therefore, a lie ultimately cannot stand.”

Our church increased our CP giving when these baptismal/tongues policies at the IMB were changed to line-up with the Scripture, as opposed to lining up with a certain ilk of Baptist traditions. When the SBC employs Blacks or other minorities as an entity head, our church will increase our CP giving again, because at that point the SBC will actually model the racial inclusion and empowerment that they preach. This brings me to the elephant in the room whenever the SBC meets—and that’s racial division and disparity.

Tremendous progress has been made on the racial front in SBC life, perhaps more so than any other mainline denomination in America. I applaud and appreciate the progress made in SBC life when it comes to racial matters. The SBC is probably better poised for revival to come to our denomination, more so than any other, because of the widespread racial and ethnic diversity that exists among SBC affiliate churches.

What we have not seen historically or currently in SBC life is the Convention entity heads and elected leadership reflecting consistently, the racial and ethnic diversity of the SBC membership. Could it be that the SBC is having a difficult time escaping the racial and racist vice-grip in which she was birth?

In Savannah, Georgia, 1861, the SBC adopted a resolution that stated, “RESOLVED, That a committee be appointed to recommend such vital changes in the Constitution and Minutes as may be necessary, growing out of the recent formation of the Southern Confederacy., “

In Augusta, Georgia, 1863, almost two years before the Civil War ended, the SBC passed a resolution declaring “hearty support to the Confederate Government in all constitutional measures to secure our independence.” This resolution also “acknowledge[d] the hand of God in the preservation of our government [Confederate Government] against the power and rage of our enemies…we confidently anticipate ultimate success…we justify ourselves in this conflict with our enemies.”

Clearly, the SBC supported the Confederacy and was emotionally and philosophically attached to the Confederacy. The SBC, to this day, has never corporately repented for her allegiance to the Confederacy. The Dylan Root love affair with The Confederate Flag (CF) and his murdering of nine innocent Black Kingdom-citizens (Christians) has brought this matter back to the forefront. The SBC has an opportunity to get it right this time. Blanket apologies, and broad, generic repudiation of racism does not suffice for specific declarations of support for the Confederacy (racism) unrepentant of. Especially, when there is an element in SBC life that yet justifies and supports the CF, as they did in 1861 and 1863.

Billy Bearden Stated:

June 2, 2016 at 12:24 am

“As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, part of my obligations and duty is to place Confederate flags on graves of Confederate soldiers every April. If this resolution is passed, SBC churches whose cemeteries include Confederate graves will forbid this sacred honor to American Veterans.”

Edward H. Sebesta, in a letter to Dr. Ronnie Floyd (dated October 27, 2014), stated:

“Dear Dr. Floyd:

I regret to report that the Ashley River Baptist Church, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, hosted an event for the 2014 National Reunion of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). It is reported in the July 30, 2014 issue of the Times Examiner.  I enclose a copy, and the article can be read online athttp://www.timesexaminer.com/historical/1914-2014-national-reunion-of-sons-of-confederate-veterans.

“I did not write any organizations of Southern Baptists in South Carolina since I thought Southern Baptists wouldn’t do such a thing. The Southern Baptist church had seemed to be moving forward on the issue of race with such notable actions as the 1995 apology for slavery. It had seemed that the Southern Baptists comprehended that Christianity was a global effort with no one race or nation privileged over another. Yet this doesn’t seem to be the situation.

“The Southern Baptists may have apologized over slavery in 1995 but in 2014 it is aiding and abetting an organization that is promoting pro-slavery theology and a neo-Confederate ideology that condemns the Southern Baptist Convention.”

The spirit of the Confederacy is not dead in the SBC. Alexander Stephens delivered his “Cornerstone Speech” which would be the Confederate States of America equivalent of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” This speech was delivered by Stephens in Savannah, Georgia, in March 1861. Stephens served in the cabinet of the Confederate government:

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.”

You would think repudiating the blatant racist’s ideology and symbolism of the CF would be a “no brainer.” Yet, some in the SBC, yet support the unrestricted usage of the CF. Others proudly display the CF. Whoever reads Alexander Stephens’ quote above and still maintains that the Civil War was not about slavery, and the Confederacy was not organically racist, that person is a very dishonest person. And a Convention who denies it is also very dishonest. So how then can the CF be innocent?

The blood of the Charleston Nine, are crying out for racial healing and unity. The survivors, in the Spirit of Christ, readily forgave their transgressor. The least that we can do is to repudiate the symbolism (the CF) of the spirit that drove his diabolical actions. I’m confident that the majority of the SBC messengers will side on the right side of history, truth and the Bible. But, just as the SBC has made wrong decisions before (previously mentioned) they are capable of making a wrong decision again. It’s my prayer though, that just as the SBC is on record supporting the Confederacy, and they will now go on record disavowing the CF. What a great honor that would be for the Charleston Nine!!!

Regardless to the outcome though, I’m encouraged. Russell Moore has been a jewel of a champion in taking stands on the right side of racial issues during his tenure at the ERLC. I have much respect and appreciation for him. Dr. Fred Luter addressed the Trayvon Martin tragedy with compassion, balance, and prophetic truth in a way that I thought I’d never live to see an SBC President speak to a racial issue in the manner Dr. Luter did. Much love, much respect, much appreciation for Dr. Luter. Dr. Ronnie Floyd is charting new and needed ground in the dialogue he has opened up with the National Baptist Convention and her President, Dr. Jerry Young. I’m thrilled and excited about the racial progress I see in the SBC. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. I am praying for Dr. Floyd, Dr. Young and the SBC as they have the courage and character to tackle this issue head on. May God bless the SBC!

The way Ronnie Floyd, Russell Moore and Fred Luter have addressed the race issue, makes me proud to be SBC. May their tribe increase! The way Dr. Platt led the IMB to move toward adopting a biblical position on those IMB policies makes me proud to be a Southern Baptist. To not repudiate the CF, though, would be extremely difficult for many Americans to comprehend.

As a proud son of the South, I agree, there are many, many great values, virtues, and customs embedded and inherent in Southern culture that I too celebrate and appreciate.

For some, the Confederate Flag (CF) is a symbol of Southern culture that affirms and applauds a strong work ethic, personal responsibility, fierce independence, state rights, faith, family, the right to bear arms, hospitality, congeniality, sharing, and a Bible-belt, church-going assumption. However, honesty also demands that Southerners admit that the CF—at least in part—represents “a slave society and a society bent on keeping Blacks living in the Jim Crow style.”

The above quote came from a member of an SBC church who requested that I consider withdrawing or modifying the Resolution that I proposed to the SBC eliminating the CF from public life. (https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/resolution-on-the-elimination-of-the-confederate-flag-from-public-life/).  I appreciate the honesty and transparency of those who admit that the CF is complicit with racism, even while parsing out the positive aspects of Southern culture, that they maintain that the CF also represents. I feel and sense their pain and consternation, and I understand why they want to throw out the bathwater—the racist aspects of Southern culture—and keep the baby—the positive aspects of Southern culture. There are those who fly the CF high while repudiating the racist aspects of Southern culture, and simultaneously celebrating the positive aspects. My heart bleeds for those who compartmentalize in this manner and are sincere in doing so.

However, here is why the compartmentalization approach will not work. All will not agree with the illustration that I’m going to use to make my point, but it graphically explains my position. Rat poison is comprised of 90% corn meal and 10% strychnine. The corn meal is certainly not the problem. It is the strychnine that taints or poisons the whole bottle, once mixed.

To the extent that the current banner wavers of the CF intend to symbolize or celebrate the non-racist and positive aspects of Southern culture—I suggest to you that because of the racial animus also historically and currently associated with the CF, it is disqualified to fly as a symbol of Southern pride. You cannot separate the strychnine from the corn meal once mixed. At this point, you cannot separate the White Supremacy/Black Oppression values/views from the CF. It was birth in that atmosphere and to perpetuate racist causes.

Therefore, I cannot modify or withdraw my resolution. The move to remove the CF from public life is not a move toward political correctness. It is a move toward biblical righteousness (Acts 10:34, 17:26; Malachi 2:10; Revelation 5:8-9). Southern Baptists need to be viewed as continuously moving toward biblical righteousness and racial healing. This would be another—and in my judgment the most significant—step in the right direction on the subject of race.

Why Christians and African Americans Should Boycott Target

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

To compare the plight of a transgender-person (one who chooses a gender identity different from the one on their birth certificate)—to the plight of the African American Civil Rights struggle of the 60’s is not only illogical, but is also racist.

It is illogical because you are comparing a matter of choice (transgender-ism) with a matter of consequence (racial identity). Racial Identity is not a matter of choice or feeling, but rather a matter of consequence. One cannot change the race; their race is not a matter of feelings, it’s an innate characteristic. Transgender persons choose to identify with a gender other than their birth gender; it’s a matter of choice.

The transgender person is telling God that He (God) made a mistake; therefore, I’m going to choose to be something other than what you made me to be. The African American is telling God no such thing.

Therefore, to compare the African American struggle with the transgender issue is racist because it connects the skin of the African American person with the sinful choice to be a transgender person. That is a slap in the face to African Americans and a grossly unfair comparison.

I personally believe African Americans and Christians should boycott Target until they change the wrong-headed and racist policy. I have not shopped at Target and do not plan unless they change their morally wrong policy.

I am humbly asking Target CEO, Mr. Brian Cornell, to publicly apologize to African Americans for making a gender identity confusion issue comparable with a legitimate racial discrimination issue. Again, to do so is racist, offensive, insulting, demeaning, illogical and wrong.

Resolution on The Elimination of The Confederate Flag from Public Life
Submitted to the Resolutions Committee of the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention
By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington, TX

WHEREAS, SBC President Ronnie Floyd has rallied Southern Baptists to “rise up and cry out against the racism that still exists in our nation and our churches,” recognizing we are in a “desperate hour” that calls us to “replace these evils with the beauty of grace and love;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has repudiated “historic acts of evil such as slavery” and committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has repented “of any past bigotry” while bearing “witness to the devastating impact of racism;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has affirmed that “the race problem is a moral and spiritual problem as well as a social problem” and committed “to do all that we can to improve race relations among all races as a positive demonstration of the power of Christian love;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has gone on record as “strongly opposing” racist organizations that attempt to recruit members and promote “racial terrorism;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has urged “the members of the churches of the convention to refrain from association with all groups that exist for the purpose of fomenting strife and division within the nation on the basis of differences of race;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has called on “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has expressed continued grief “over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation;” and

WHEREAS, racial tensions and ongoing bigotries are inflamed by the continued use of the Confederate Battle Flag, also known as “The Southern Cross” or the “Battle Flag,” by groups that have been perennially repudiated and denounced by the Southern Baptist Convention; and

WHEREAS, the Confederate Battle Flag is utilized as a symbol of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred, oppression, and murder which offends untold millions of people; and

WHEREAS, on June 17, 2015, nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ were murdered at a mid-week Bible study and prayer meeting at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, by a young man often pictured draped in a Confederate Battle Flag; and

WHEREAS, the State of South Carolina, under the leadership of Governor Nikki Haley and the South Carolina State Legislature – in response to the hatred and racial terrorism demonstrated in Charleston and often associated with the Confederate Battle Flag – permanently removed said flag from the South Carolina State Capitol; and

WHEREAS, the Confederate Battle Flag had flown over the State Capitol since 1962 as an act of protest over desegregation; and

WHEREAS, Oklahoma Baptist University President, Dr. David Whitlock, announced in February 2015 that the university would remove an image of the Confederate Battle Flag from the campus chapel; and

WHEREAS, these redemptive actions by elected officials in the State of South Carolina and the Oklahoma Baptist University deserve commendation; and

WHEREAS, the nine fellow believers murdered in Charleston are true martyrs of the faith and thus deserve commemoration; and

WHEREAS, while the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from public display is not going to solve the most severe racial tensions that plague our churches or our nation, it does symbolize another development in ongoing efforts to eliminate systemic racism that has divided our people for too long; now

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 14-15 in St. Louis, MO, acknowledges the controversial and necessarily divisive symbol of racism conveyed by the ongoing public display of the Confederate Battle Flag; and be it further

RESOLVED that we grieve over the ongoing racial tensions in the St. Louis area, specifically the pain and anguish that have afflicted the city of Ferguson, MO; and be it

FINALLY RESOLVED that we call on all persons, along with public, governmental, and religious institutions to discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag and work diligently to remove vestigial symbols of racism from public life as evidence of the fruits of repentance that we have made for our past bigotries and as a step in good faith toward racial healing in America, to the end that we truly become – in word and deed – “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

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JERRY JONES, GREG HARDY AND THE AFFIRMATION OF DOMESTIC PHYSICAL ABUSE

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Bill Clinton’s license to practice law was taken away from him by the Arkansas Bar Association because there was a zero tolerance policy in effect for lawyers who came before Arkansas Courts and deliberately lie, as he did.

LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, has been eternally banned from ownership or involvement with a NBA basketball team because there is in effect a zero tolerance policy for a NBA Executive who is a blatant racist.

Bernie Madoff could never be appointed to lead the Federal Reserve Bank, because there is in effect a zero tolerance policy for persons who have demonstrated untrustworthiness with money; serving in a position of trust over public and private money and monetary policy.

Former Congressman, William Jefferson, could never be elected as POTUS because there is in effect a zero tolerance policy for a person who has been convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors serving in the highest office in the land.

You get the picture. There are some offenses that so violate the trust of the American public, that once found guilty, a zero tolerance policy sets in motion, to disallow that individual from ever occupying certain high profile positions of trust ever again. Why?

Because to allow Bill Clinton to practice law in Arkansas again is to say in effect, it’s permissible to swear to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth—and then tell a big fat lie.

To allow Donald Sterling to continue in ownership and operation of a NBA franchise is to say in effect that an open racist owning a NBA franchise is permissible.

To allow Bernie Madoff to be in charge of the Federal Reserve Bank is to give permission to a thief to impact and influence America’s economic policies.

To allow William Jefferson to serve as POTUS would cause us to lay to rest the old adage “Crime Doesn’t Pay.” None of the aforementioned persons could continue to serve in the capacities mentioned because they would stigmatize and poison the brand of the entities they represented.

This brings us to the primary reason why Jerry Jones should immediately cut Greg Hardy from the Cowboys’ roster. If the bruises and wounds that Hardy inflicted upon Nicole Holder had been inflicted upon his dog, he would have been arrested and found guilty of animal endangerment and abuse. The pictures of the dog’s wounds would have been enough to convict him.

Michael Vick inflicted wounds upon a dog. Some will disagree with me; but because it was a dog, I believe a zero tolerance policy should not apply to Michael Vick.

Greg Hardy inflicted wounds upon his girlfriend. Rather than being the protector, he became the predator. There ought to be a greater punishment of wounding a domestic partner than for wounding a Doberman.

If Greg Hardy had inflicted that level of pain on Jerry Jones’ daughter, he would not have on a Cowboys uniform today. God is no respecter of persons, nor should Jones be.

Rather than take responsibility for his evil actions, Hardy is hiding behind double standards, racism and public misinformation. He adds to the physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse with his not-so-artful denials and obfuscation of the truth. If Jerry Jones allow Greg Hardy to remain on the team, he is endorsing the evil practice of domestic violence.

Jerry Jones is sending the signal to every existing and aspiring NFL player that if you physically abuse a woman, and your skill sets are at a superior level, it’s all right; we’ll make room for you. It may be all right with Jerry Jones to place money over morality, but that’s not the Jesus way. As of this writing, the Cowboys have not won one game with Hardy in uniform.

Finally, the University of Missouri football team and head coach exhibited a great deal of courage and character by making clear that they would not tolerate or passively cooperate with a lackadaisical response toward racist allegations. On Mizzou’s campus they agreed to not practice or play until their concerns were addressed.

It is time for someone in the Cowboys organization/team—Jason Garrett or Jerry Jones—to step up to the plate and follow the Mizzou Model. Some Cowboys players who would not want their mother, sister, or daughter treated like Hardy treated his former girlfriend—and be celebrated and heralded by Jerry Jones as if domestic abuse is permissible—needs to come forth and declare—“I will not participate in a Cowboy event unless and until Hardy has been dismissed for stigmatizing the Cowboys brand and sending the wrong signal to future Cowboys.” Every high school and college football player needs to understand, to strike a woman is a death blow in the NFL. The Cowboys have a great opportunity to make this statement, which so desperately needs to be made.

Domestic abuse is equally as evil as racism. Which Cowboy will pony up and make this statement?

If the Cowboys won’t take responsibility to signify the value of women in relationships, then the fans need to take responsibility and boycott the Cowboys if Greg Hardy is re-signed by Jerry Jones. I am already hearing of persons who will not attend or watch a Cowboys game until Hardy has been released. At the end of the day, it’s not Greg Hardy’s fault that he is allowed to play as a known domestic relationship abuser. Jerry Jones must take ownership and responsibility for presenting a “wife beater” to the nation each week. At this point, only Jerry Jones can correct this error. This is a matter worthy of fasting and prayer.

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION:

“ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

“Are you a Christian?” was the question that the gunman in the recent Oregon community college shooting asked many of his victims. The individuals who answered “Yes,” were shot in the head. The ones who did not answer, or answered “No” were shot in the legs. Why did the gunman deliberately target “Christians” for the severest punishment? The Bible indicates that the world would be hostile toward people whose faith is centered in Christ in the last days.

Paul, Peter and Jesus did not write or speak prescriptively, but rather descriptively, concerning the end times. They had been shown by Divine insight and foresight what would happen futuristically. Amazingly and accurately they described, what’s unfolding before our very eyes. In 1 Timothy 4:1-2, the Apostle Paul stated:

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” [underline and bold print mine]

The Oregon gunman, the Charleston shooter (Dylan Root), the Roanoke, VA, shooter and the ISIS beheaders, all had their “conscience seared with a hot iron.” You cannot commit the heinous crimes that they committed unless you have a seared conscience. While writing this post, eleven followers of Christ were beheaded in Syria because of their faith.

Jesus described a world that would be hostile toward His followers in the last days.

“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11).

The Apostle Peter wrote, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7)

In light of the fact that the end time is near, my thesis is:

Believers are to be devoted to prayer and depend on the Holy Spirit to inspire answers to end- time persecution.

Jesus said that He “was hated without a cause” (John 15:25). Jesus taught that the world hated Him before they hated His followers (John 15:18). Jesus declared that His followers would be hated by the world (John 17:14). In Luke 21:17, Jesus said one of the signs of His coming would be “And you will be hated by all for my name sake.” “…and they will put some of you to death” (Luke 21:16b).

In Charleston, in Oregon, the beheading of the Coptic Christians in the Middle East, the church burnings and in the arrest of Kim Davis, we are seeing these Scriptures fulfilled concerning the persecution of believers in the last days.

Kim Davis exhibited the courage, character and biblical values of Rosa Parks and Bree Newsome. Newsome took down the racist Confederate flag in South Carolina. All three ladies paid a sacrifice for standing up for the values and faith of the Lord Jesus. Kim Davis is being asked to deny her faith in order to maintain her job. No one in America should be asked to do that. I applaud and appreciate Kim Davis with every fiber of my being. Indeed, her stand is analogous to Rosa Parks’ stand.

In Oregon, the shooter asked, “Are you a Christian?” Is “Christian” the correct word to label Christ’s followers? The word “Christian” is found only three times in Scripture: Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16.

In Acts 11:26c, “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” [Underlines mine]. The disciples were “called” Christians by the people who lived in Antioch. Antioch was largely a Gentile city. One of the meanings of the world “Gentile” is “people without God.” The disciples were called Christians by people without God in Antioch.

In Acts 26:28, Luke records, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’” Who was Agrippa? He was a Gentile king and a non-believer. Paul said to Agrippa, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become…such as I am, except for these chains” (Acts 26:29). Paul did not call himself a “Christian” here. It was a pagan king who invoked the term “Christian.”

In 1 Peter 4:16, Peter recorded, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.’’ The language used in official indictments against believers, referenced the believer as a “Christian.” Peter lifted this term (“Christian”) from the indictment papers. Peter referred to believers as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:9-10). The word “Christian” originated with pagans, who used that term as a term of derision and disdain toward authentic followers of Christ.

What words were used to describe Christ’s followers in the Bible? The primary word used to describe Christ’s followers was “disciple”: Isaiah 8:16, Matthew 13:51-52, Matthew 28:19-20. Believers were also called “saints” (Romans 1:7). Christ’s followers were also known as:

  • “members of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10)
  • “fellow citizens with the saints” (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20)
  • “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • “brother in the kingdom of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9)
  • “people of the way” (Acts 9:1-2)

Major Point: neither Jesus nor the biblical writers called Christ’s followers—“Christians.” Jesus did not say “go make Christians.” He said “go make disciples.” Disciples are referenced over 200 times in Scripture; “Christians” only three times. Even if one views the 1 Peter 4:16 reference as affirming the word “Christian,” the preponderance of evidence still weighs heavier toward our identity being that of a disciple. The Oregon gunman may have shot no matter how one answered the question; so that is not my point here. My point is, the Bible does not teach that followers of Christ were to be labeled “Christian”; so, why should one feel obligated to answer a demon-filled maniac who ask you to identify yourself in a way the Bible never affirms such a moniker for believers.

How should a believer or follower of Christ have responded to the Oregon shooter?

  1. There was no biblical obligation to answer his question.
  2. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will direct you in that hour as to what to say. One would have to trust the Holy Spirit to give him or her exactly what to say at that hour.
  3. From a biblical point of view, a believer could have responded with any of the above biblical answers if you so choose.
  4. In no way, shape, form or fashion would I have denied Christ.
  5. If I chose to answer the Oregon gunman, I might have answered, “I am a disciple of the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:51-52). “I am a disciple of Christ”; “I am a brother in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

I would not have answered, “I am a Christian,” because I really don’t know how the gunman defined “Christian.” Mormons, Ku Klux Klan and Louis Farrakhan all call themselves “Christians.” I certainly share none of their belief systems or Christology. Again, not knowing what the Oregon gunman meant by “Are you a Christian,” I would have had to rely totally on the Holy Spirit to know whether or not to answer or what answer to give. After all, Jesus said the Spirit would provide us with the answer in the hour that we need it (Mark 13:11).

A REPLY TO DR. DELMAN COATES FROM PASTOR DWIGHT MCKISSIC,

CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS

APRIL 15, 2015

Dr. Coates, grace and peace to you in the Name of our Great King, Jesus Christ. Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough response to the National Baptist Concerned Pastors Press Release regarding three pro-gay marriage speakers who recently appeared on the campus of American Baptist College, Nashville, TN. The tenor and tone of your response posted at “Many Voices:  Black Church Movement for Gay and Transgender Justice” seeks to communicate truth, wrapped in a veil of tenderness. As you know, with regard to same-sex marriage, you and I don’t share agreement on what the truth is. Nevertheless, it is my desire to “speak the truth in love” in reply to your response, just as you sought to do. When and if an opportunity presents itself, I too would welcome an opportunity to dialogue concerning this matter.

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors (NBFCP) believe that the Bible teaches that all sex outside of God’s plan for marriage, and sex between same-sex partners, married or unmarried, is sin. This is the historical tradition held by the Church and most societies on the planet for more than 5000 years. Therefore, if there is anyone pushing a divisive agenda, it would be those who are seeking to undermine and overturn 5000 years of established tradition. Dr. Forrest Harris, President of American Baptist College, in extending an invitation to three proponents of same-sex marriage that contradicts the published positions regarding marriage on the NBC website—is the one responsible for fostering division. Blaming those of us who are “currently contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” “for the potential division,” is simply a dishonest response to the facts.

Allow me to address your concern that our request to ask American Baptist College to rescind the invitation to Bishop Flunder “seems contrary to what one would expect from an institution of higher learning that seeks to encourage the free exchange of ideas.”  You are correct, Dr. Coates:  Colleges are historically places where “free exchange of ideas” is encouraged.

Just as there are limits on free speech, there are also limits on a “free exchange of ideas” even in a college setting. As you know, one cannot yell “fire, fire” in a movie theater or any similar gathering place, unless there really is a fire. One can’t articulate language that’s designed to incite a riot, while addressing an emotionally charged audience. These are well-known exceptions to the idea and principle of “free speech.”

Likewise, there are limits and parameters that contextually a Baptist college speaker must honor, respect and not violate. Prostitution is legal in certain cities in Nevada. Yet, it would be inappropriate to affirm prostitution on a Baptist College campus. Payday lending loans that carry exorbitant interest rates are legal in many states, and some are owned by Black investors. But, it would be inappropriate to affirm payday lending loans in a message at a Baptist College, with young impressionable minds having to sort through the pros and cons of such a loan. Consenting sexual relations between an adult male and a sixteen year old male is legal in some states. Again, it would be inappropriate to affirm that “legal” act in a speech at a Baptist college. Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in the state of Tennessee. It is inappropriate to affirm same-sex marriage that’s in violation of the laws of Tennessee. Currently, on the NBC website, chaplains are only authorized to perform heterosexual marriages. You get the point. Even on a college campus all “free exchanges of ideas” are simply not wise or appropriate. I’m sure that you would agree with me on this.

Dr. Coates, you are correct that National Baptists permit a wide range of views on many different doctrinal topics, to repeat some that you’ve named: “Speaking in tongues…whether women can be deacons or ordained to preach, the return of Christ, whether there should be Baptist Bishops; the list goes on and on.” Honestly, I love the diversity of theological views permitted by National Baptists. I find this compelling and attractive, more so than any other existing Baptist denomination that I am aware of. However, we don’t offer a “range of views” on the applicability of the Ten Commandments, the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, the sinless life, the bodily resurrection, and the return of Christ. We don’t offer a “range of views” on “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Historically, we have not offered “wide range of views” on the sanctity of marriage, and marriage is a union between one man and one woman. The same holds true for each individual Commandment. There is no wide range of views regarding “Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not covet. Thou shall not commit adultery.” Dr. Coates, it is simply not true that National Baptists offer a “range of views” on any and all theological subject matters. And when it comes to same-sex marriage, you know and I know, National Baptists have offered only one view…just as there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:6).

Dr. Coates, you are right again: the autonomy of the local church is a cherished Baptist freedom. American Baptist College is an institution whose charter clearly indicates that its Board of Trustees is to be appointed by the NBC and her President. Therefore, ABC should reflect the beliefs of the NBC.

If National Baptists allow any and all theological viewpoints, as your letter suggests, that literally means that a National Baptist pastor and church could embrace polytheism and bigamy; and based on your argument, the NBC should tolerate such a pastor based on local church autonomy, and the four “freedoms” referenced in your letter. Dr. Martin Luther King said “Freedom must always be within the framework of destiny.” What you are arguing for is an abuse of freedom in the name of Baptist autonomy.

With regard to the NBFCP not addressing other sins that clergy sometimes commit, my question to you is this: Of all the distinguished lecturers in the history of the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, which one has publicly announced their sin, affirmatively preached their sins, and the congregation applauded their sin? I submit to you, Bishop Flunder is the only one that has come in and “worn her sin as a badge of honor,” to borrow language from Dr. Randy Vaughn. But to this extent I agree with you; when or if a lecturer comes to ABC and wear their sin “as a badge of honor” the NBFCP will be compelled to address that sin with the same tenacity that we’ve addressed Bishop Flunder’s. Please notify us if that happens, and we’ll get right on it.

At the heart of what it means to be an evangelical is to believe that the Bible is inspired and infallible. In my judgment, it is impossible for one to label himself or herself an evangelical while rejecting Matthew 19:4-6, where Jesus clearly taught the exclusivity of marriage between a man and a woman.

I don’t quiver or disagree with your distinctions regarding “civil law” and church law as it relates to marriage. In a Democratic society—as we see unveiling before our very eyes—indeed the democratic, legislative, and judicial  processes may eventually redefine marriage in every state in the Union. It’s at that point that for the believer, God’s laws ought to trump man’s laws (Acts 5:29). There is a moral law for the believer that should supersede man’s law. And what you consider to be “marriage equality” the Bible would consider that to be moral insanity and gender identity confusion (Romans 1:14-32). It is baffling to me why preachers would quote and cite the Constitution in juxtaposition to the Bible.

Finally, “there may be indeed strong perspectives on all sides,” but ultimately the Word of God does not bow to contemporary culture; contemporary culture must bow to the Word of God.

I do not question whether or not one can be a Christian, and because of civil law, affirm same-sex marriage. I do question whether or not one can be an evangelical, and hold to a belief in same-sex marriage.

Regardless, though, I receive you as a Christian brother, I respect your success as a pastor, and your scholarship achievements. I respect your preaching/teaching gift. One of my members heard you deliver two messages at the ABC Lecture Series and was greatly impressed. She placed you in the tradition of C.A.W. Clark, E.K. Bailey and other great lecturer/preachers who’ve lectured at ABC.

I also humbly submit this reply in hopes that it will engender open dialogue and reflection. Compassionate faith and understanding are important traits for believers. I share your quest for these traits. If at any point that Bishop Flunder and/or yourself wish to dialogue further, I will gladly host. Dr. McMickle has offered to do the same at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. I’m in Arlington, TX, in the DFW Metroplex. I will even provide first class hotel accommodations and meals, if you all travel here for a one-two day dialogue. We know going in, none of us are going to change our minds; but the understanding, love, “exchange of ideas” and various understanding of text, would certainly be informative. And I believe that we all are committed to mutual respect and compassion.

By the way, Bishop Flunder boldly stated that the press conference held by the NBFCP was “paid for by people who do not have our community’s best interest at heart.” For the record, Black pastors and Black Christians who want to preserve the sanctity of marriage in the Black community as being between one man and one woman, have paid for all expenses in total related to the travel, press conference and public relations firm. I would appreciate it if Bishop Flunder would retract this totally untrue misrepresentation.

Dwight McKissic

817-468-0083, ext. 205

dmckissic@cbcarlington.org

WILL LEE DANIELS, BISHOP YVETTE FLUNDER AND DR. FORREST HARRIS CONVINCE THE BLACK CHURCH/COMMUNITY TO AFFIRM HOMOSEXUALITY?

ORTHODOX CHURCHES MUST ADDRESS AND ADJUST TO THE NEW REALITY OF A GAY AFFIRMING AMERICA

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

April 1, 2015

Most churches in America were birth in an era when consensual sex between two persons of the same sex was a criminal offense; same-sex marriage was illegal; and homosexuality was viewed as deviant behavior. Until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association literally classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The old adage is true; however, “Time brings about a change.”

In the dawning of this new millennium, homosexuality has burst out of the closet and into the mainstream of American life and society. Satan has strategically and successfully sought to secure sanctioning for same-sex marriage in every sector of American society. The same-sex marriage quest for success is now knocking at the door of God’s sanctuaries, seeking a seat at the leadership table, under the banner marked “justice” and “equality.”

Along beside Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestant Liberals—the LGBTQIA wants to be recognized, respected and seated at the table of Christian brotherhood under the banner of “Welcome and Affirming Churches.” To deny the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Allies—allies are persons like President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton who passionately support the LGBTQIA community—a place at the table is considered discrimination, bigotry, homophobic, theologically and biblically ignorant; and practicing Bible idolatry. Interestingly, when President Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jesse Jackson said before the 2008 Presidential elections that they believed marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman, none of them were called or viewed as bigots. If today you hold such a view, you are considered by the LGBTQIA and—“welcome and affirming churches” as discriminating toward homosexual couples.

There are many denominations, churches, affinity groups, and divinity schools, who have granted the LGBTQIA community a seat at the table. The orthodox, traditional Bible-believing conservative, evangelical wing of the church has not recognized the LGBTQIA community as a valid social category, or denominational—similar to “welcome and affirming churches”—for three primary reasons:

  1. We believe that the Bible teaches that all sex outside of marriage is sin.
  2. We believe that the Bible teaches that no person is born a homosexual or with a homosexual orientation.
  3. We believe that the Bible speaks clearly, unequivocally, and eternally regarding homosexuality and strongly condemns same-sex relationships, married or unmarried, and condemns fornication and adultery as well.

Therefore, in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “Just like a tree planted by the water, I [we] shall not be moved.” For evangelicals, to change the Bible would have to change; and obviously that’s not going to happen.

The lines are being drawn fast, hard, and irrevocably among church groups and denominations surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage. Historically and currently, the Black church has held to biblical standards on the subject of homosexuality, but we are now being tested from within and without. In the past 40 years, how did we move from homosexuality being a “mental illness” and a felony and same-sex marriage being illegal, to it being “justice” and “equality,” “welcome and affirming” and approved of by every sector of society, except the evangelical church?

Reportedly, major high profile charitable foundations, have donated several million dollars to gay-friendly, Black-led, non-profit educational, ecclesiastical, and “social justice” entities, in order to persuade the Black Community to accept homosexuality. Lee Daniels—the creator of “Empire,” who is also Black and gay—was bold and brazen enough to admit that the purpose  of “Empire” was to “blow the lid off homophobia” in the African-American community, with a depiction of the show’s lead character’s hostile relationship with his gay son. “Empire” is phenomenally popular and shows on Wednesday nights—going head to head with mid-week worship, and winning.

Lee Daniels is quite transparent about his goals as it relates to converting African Americans to accept and affirm homosexuality. In a response to the question regarding a gay character in “Empire,” Lee Daniels offers the following in Time Magazine:

“There are so many themes, but part of [my goal with Empire] was really to address homophobia in the African-American community and in the impoverished community. To educate people. Not that this is a gay show, but it’s one of many subject matters we hit on. There’s so much homophobia in the hip-hop community. It’s the civil rights of our time, and I think I am making a little bit of a contribution, because I’ve seen people change who were homophobic, after seeing this. “

Slowly, but surely, we are beginning to see leaks in the dam in the Black Church as it relates to compromising on same-sex marriage. We recently witnessed Bishop Yvette Flunder—the face of the:  I’m Black, I’m Gay, I’m a Christian and I’m Proud Movement—introduce her legal female spouse in a worship setting at the headquarters of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., in the Baptist World Center, on the campus of American Baptist College, to an enthusiastic applause from a primarily “welcome and affirming” audience. This was truly a historic hour in a Black Baptist worship context—one that I’d thought that I would never, ever see. It would be my guess that no same-sex couple has ever been presented publicly in a traditional Black Baptist Church setting before.

The objection to Bishop Flunder’s coming was based on her same-sex marriage and practicing, proud lesbian lifestyle which was/is in violation of the Bible. Dr. Harris does not deny what the Bible says, but makes it relevant only for the First Century. Dr. Harris’ adamant stand in support of gay marriage is in defiance of the accrediting agency that has accredited ABC for the next ten years. The Association for Biblical Higher Education—the accrediting agency—requires that schools that they grant accreditation to affirm the following statement:

“We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.”

For a college president whose accreditation requires that he believe the Bible is “infallible,” his invitation and defense of the Flunder invitation is simply incomprehensible and impossible to reconcile with a belief that the Bible is “infallible.” The Bible cannot be “infallible” and irrelevant simultaneously. Harris’ view of intolerance must bow to the infallibility of Scripture.

It is impossible to reconcile the above requirement confession of the ABHE with Dr. Harris’ view of the Bible. Dr. Forrest Harris, President of ABC, defended Flunder’s appearance as a matter of not tolerating intolerance (“The Tennessean” article):

“What does Harris define as ‘idolatry of the Bible?’ ‘When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,’ he said. ‘We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.’”

Reported by The Associated Press supporting Dr. Forrest Harris:

“In a phone interview, Harris noted the college’s long commitment to social justice. ‘We will not tolerate intolerance,’ he said.’”

It is a high, high probability that by late June of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States will sanction same-sex marriage in every State in the nation. Currently, it is approved in 37 states. The only hope that same-sex marriage does not become the law of the land this calendar year, is that the church comes together across racial and denominational lines, and hold a solemn assembly, seeking God’s face to Divinely intervene and prevent this from happening. Nevertheless, the Church needs to be prepared to address our position on homosexuality regardless to the decision that the Supreme Court takes.

Every Evangelical church needs to be prepared to provide rational and biblical answers for the following questions before 2015 ends:

  1. Are acts of homosexual behavior sin?
  2. Is it discrimination to fail to perform a wedding ceremony between two people of the same sex?
  3. What will we do if a same-sex married couple seeks to join our church next Sunday?
  4. What will we do if a same-sex engaged couple wants to rent our facility for a wedding?
  5. What would we say/do if we are asked to perform a wedding for a same-sex couple?
  6. What would we do if the legal spouse of a same-sex partner wants to be recognized by name in a funeral program because they are related to a deceased family member?
  7. What would you do/say if you are asked to allow your facility to be used to hold a funeral service for a same-sex married partner?
  8. What if you’re asked to perform a dedication ceremony for a same-sex couple who adopt a child?
  9. Do you already have policies in place to address these inevitable scenarios that are going to become real life, real soon?
  10. What are the legal ramifications of the decisions that we make, if any?

Orthodox evangelicals who hold to a biblical view of marriage are going to have to answer these questions soon, and very soon.

The major social question that had spiritual, theological, ecclesiastical, and political ramifications that America faced the first 200+ years of her existence—that took a war to partially resolve—was the question of civil rights for people of color.

The next major social question that America and her churches will face the next 200+ years if the Lord tarries His coming—is the question of should the LGBTQIA community be recognized by churches and in every realm of society as a distinct social category deserving the same kind of constitutional and ecclesiastical rights that people of color are entitled to? Resolving this question will not result in another civil war, but I predict it will produce a social/ecclesiastical war the likes of which we’ve never seen.

The difference between the rights of the people of color, and the non-rights for the LGBTQIA is this: This is not a color issue, it is a character issue; this is not a justice issue; it is a righteous issue. The Orthodox Church has to decide if she is going to view the act and sin of homosexuality as a “skin color-like” issue, or a character issue? Will we view it as a “justice issue” or a righteousness issue? Dr. King not only talked about his four children not being judged by the “color of their skins…he also talked about them being judged by “the content of their character.” Dr. King not only sounded a clarion call for justice, but also for righteousness. On this issue, the Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian Church ought to be able to stand together across color and denominational lines. What we didn’t do together during the Civil Rights Movement, we have an opportunity to do together now. Let’s pray that God raise up some anointed men and women of God who would call the Orthodox Churches of this nation to a solemn assembly. May God’s hand be upon His Church as we must now address and adjust to the new reality of a gay-affirming America! Will we let Lee Daniels, Bishop Flunder, and Dr. Forrest Harris change our minds? HEAVEN NO!!!

An Open Letter Response to American Baptist College President Dr. Forrest Harris

And

Colgate Rochester Crozer President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

By Rev. Dr. John H. Grant, D. Min., Pastor

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville, NC

March 27, 2015

I am affiliated with the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors and endorsed a recent letter objecting to same-sex marriage advocates Bishop Yvette Flunder, Dr. Delmen Coates and Dr. Allan Boesak being invited to preach at our American Baptist College in Nashville.

If we concerned pastors are guilty of “idolatry of the Bible” as Dr. Harris alleges, then what kind of idolatry is he guilty of?  Has he elevated as synonymous with truth his opinion and the opinions of those who agree with him?  A kind of idolatry of self?  Do people like Dr. Harris and his allies discredit the Bible because they, in the words of Dr. Ben Carson, “need to remove any authority other than themselves as the arbiter of right and wrong?”

A statement from John R.W. Stott is compelling:

The Scriptures have the content, authority, and power for a proper evangelistic message. … God has clothed His thoughts in words, and there is no way to know Him except by knowing the Scriptures. … We can’t even read each other’s minds, much less what is in the mind of God.

If we are not to discern the mind of God on homosexual conduct from the Bible, where else are we to discern God’s mind on the subject?   From the opinions of fallible, vacillating and “evolved” minds like those of Dr. Harris or Dr. McMickle, or any of the rest of us, or even of our President Obama?

Contrary to Dr. Harris’s claim, if anyone has “misappropriated the theology of the National Baptist Convention,” evidence would indicate in this instance that it is he and Dr. McMickle.  Consider the theology in the Statement of Faith posted on our Convention website:

The Scriptures. We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.

Every single one of the 18 Articles of Faith posted on our Convention website begins with the affirmation We believe the Scriptures teach . . .” In light of this affirmation, it is excessively remarkable that Dr. Harris would denigrate our embrace of biblical truth, dismiss and relegate it to the ash heaps of history as a “first-century worldview” by which we moderns “can’t be guided and dictated” and from which the more enlightened mortals (as himself) have evolved. I guess we are supposed to evolve beyond Jesus. To his credit, however, Dr. Harris does not deny the biblical truth about homosexuality. He just denies that that truth has relevance beyond the first-century.

It is worthy of note that not only do National Baptists have a high regard for Scripture, but so did Jesus:

  1. He treated it as fully authoritative. (Matthew 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-12)
  2. Praying for His disciples, He asked the Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17, NKJV)
  3. He taught that it points to him, and that He is its fulfillment. (Matthew 21:42-44; Luke 24:27, 44; Matthew 5:17)

Harris also stated: “It’s tragic these conservative pastors are in opposition to what education ought to be about, to expose students to critical moral thinkers and a broad education.”  If anyone believes having Bishop Flunder preach at American Baptist College was about exposing students to critical moral thinkers and broad education, all one has to do is read the transcript of her speech given on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015 at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College, which was posted on a Kingdom Global Strategy blog.   Among other things contrary to academia, her speech was effectively and essentially a pep rally promoting sexual behavior which our Convention has historically characterized as perversion.

As a 1979 graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and with all due respect, I am personally embarrassed by our school president’s (Dr. McMickle) comments in defense of Dr. Harris, including his patronizing insinuation regarding our “biblical and theological standing” and whether any “noted biblical and theological scholars” are among our number.  Those promoting the radical homosexual movement often and openly use harsh rhetoric, nasty name-calling, and display blatant intolerance toward others who dare to differ with their more “morally superior” perspectives for the purpose of intimidating or embarrassing them into silence.

To them, anyone who dares to differ with their “more enlightened minds” on this subject has to be displaying disrespect and bigotry, among other similarly disgraceful things. They claim for themselves the virtues of tolerance and open-mindedness while at the same time displaying intolerance and close-mindedness toward perspectives that differ from theirs. In America people with different perspectives are supposed to be able to discuss their differences courteously and respectfully without resorting to personal attacks. It should be about respectful debate, not about accusing others of hate.  However, people with weak arguments and inclinations toward one-sided monologue rather than constructive dialogue are notorious for resorting to nasty rhetoric.  Erwin W. Lutzer’s words are apropos here:

Ours is a battle that cannot be won by reason, scientific data, or dialogue.  The radical homosexual movement that preaches tolerance will not itself tolerate alternate opinions.  Everyone must move in lockstep with their agenda—or pay a price.

The price to be paid for reasoned and respectful disagreement is character assassination, demonization, denunciation and vilification as reflected in such words (also used by Dr. McMickle) as “ignorance” and “bigotry.”  To so label others who disagree with him is very judgmental on his part and represents the virulent vitriol so prevalent today from pro-homosexual activists toward those who take exception to the “sex-style.” His own comments are also self-revealing, indicating guilt of the very kind of intolerance he condemns in others.

He asks, “Who has authorized these pastors to speak so broadly about Baptist doctrine and biblical faith?” I ask, who has authorized him to question so broadly our theological standing and insinuate that we are intellectually and theologically inferior to himself and to those who agree with him. I would submit that in regard to what is posted on our Convention website, our position is more authorized than either his or Dr. Harris’.  Consider, for example, the following statements from our website:

  • In all matters of Faith and Practice, National Baptists are guided by Holy Scriptures. Genesis 2: 18-25 shows God’s concern for relationships by creating the woman to be a partner with man. National Baptist Endorsed Chaplains, although serving in a pluralistic environment, are not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union. ( Charles F. Thomas, Sr., Office of the Ecclesiastical Endorser, Home Mission Board National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.)
  • . . . the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. affirms that marriage is a sacred biblical covenant between a man and a woman. (Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, Immediate past President)

Dr. McMickle further opines:

Why are they so enraged by same-sex marriage and homosexuality, but apparently not equally concerned about adultery, fornication, and divorce; all of which are spoken against in the Bible and all of which are currently occurring in black Baptist churches and black Baptist pulpits? This selective reading and enforcement of biblical teachings is infuriating to me.

Even if it were true, as Dr. McMickle alleges in his self-righteous infuriation, that we are not equally concerned about other sins spoken against in the Bible, that failure to be equally concerned about the others would not justify the affirmation of homosexuality. Failure to equally address one sin does not justify the affirmation of another.

Also, I don’t know of any adulterer or other types of fornicators demanding their sexual behavior be accepted, advocated, celebrated, legalized and elevated to the legal and moral equivalent of its opposite. If anyone is not “equally concerned” about these other sexual sins, it would appear be the mainstream secular and liberal media, much of corporate America, so-called Hollywood and intellectual elites, activist courts and judges, who have inundated our public airways, institutions and courts of law with a steady diet of prime-time homosexual propaganda.  Many of the advocates of this pro-homosexual propaganda are now postulating the absurd position that a right to same-sex marriage exists in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that they expect the U.S. Supreme court to rule accordingly this summer.

Scholars like Carson Holloway have reminded us, however, that members of the Supreme Court are fallible human being with their own partisan biases, can be and have been wrong in the past, as in the cases of Brown v. Board of Education and Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), in which it held that the Constitution gave Congress no power to forbid slavery in the federal territories and that even free blacks could never be citizens of the United States. (This is a reason why we have) the other branches of government (that each may balance and hold in check the other).

Carson goes on to quote President Abraham Lincoln’s problem with the notion of judicial supremacy:

the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14410/)

If the Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage the law of the land, then citizens of this country may find ourselves ruled by what Lincoln called that “eminent tribunal” rather than by “we the people.”

To be sure, as Dr. McMickle and others contend, it may be true that adulterers and other kind of fornicators, in addition to homosexuals, have preached at the American Baptist College without objection from groups like ours.  But even if they have, they have not come brazenly and openly promoting, advocating, advertising and wearing their sin, in the words of Dr. Randy Vaughn, as a “badge of honor.”

Since Dr. McMickle seems to be so much concerned about civil rights and equality, what about the civil and equal rights of children to be raised by their mother and father? Same-sex marriage necessarily deprives a child of either the child’s mother or father or both, and is therefore antithetical to the well-being of children. Research shows that, in general, children in homes without their biological mother or father are at greater risk of abuse. Further, same-sex marriage, particularly among male same-sex couples who desire children, is now resulting in babies/children being severed from the inevitable bonds of their biological parents and treated as commodities to be commercially bought and sold, with the creation of a subclass of women who are treated as breeders, all for the purpose of birthing babies to satisfy the whims of adults. Who will fight for the civil and equal rights of these babies, many of whom as grown up adults are now speaking out against this abuse?

Also, if the real issue is civil rights, why isn’t there organized advocacy for the equal rights of those who practice other types of sexual sins like adultery, etc.?  The civil rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s was about people being victimized for an immutable trait, skin color, not about legitimizing one’s sexual behavior. While it is universally indisputable that race is an immutable trait, there is no science to prove that homosexual conduct is.   Thus, the argument equating one’s sexual conduct to skin color and calling it immutable is, as a matter of fact, without merit. There are documented cases – based on clinical experience, peer-reviewed research and personal testimonies – of many former homosexuals, but there are no known instances of a former black person.

According the scholarly National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (“NARTH”):

Although many people have been misled to believe that homosexuality is biologically based and therefore unchangeable, researchers acknowledge that people are not simply born homosexual.  Researchers have never found a biological basis for homosexuality (APA, 2008).  Anyone familiar with the research knows clearly that many factors contribute for sexual orientation. There are many pathways into and out of homosexuality. 

There is disturbing scientific evidence/proofs, even from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, of the harmful effects of this “sex-style” on the individuals who practice it and upon the larger society.  Not long ago in a letter to the editor of our local newspaper (Asheville Citizen-Times), I raised the question of why the indisputable public health consequences of  men who have sex with men (MSM) are not being more widely debated and disseminated in the mainstream media. The CDC reports that Gay and bisexual men is the only risk group in the U.S. in which the annual number of new HIV infections is increasing.”

  • MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year (53%, or an estimated 28,700 infections).
  • While CDC estimates that MSM account for just 4 percent of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the U.S. is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522–989 per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men). (http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/fastfacts-msm-final508comp.pdf)

Other researchers report that the HIV-positive rate for homosexual men is as high as fifty-times more likely than for heterosexual men. The CDC also reports that MSM are at “elevated risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.”  Studies also show that women who identify as lesbian are at a higher risk for more gynecologic cancers and increased likelihood of bacterial vaginosis compared to heterosexual women.

It’s not ignorance and bigotry to point out these adverse health consequences.  The real danger to public health is the pro-homosexual bigotry that would keep the public in ignorance about these consequences. Who is really being unloving?  Those who shine the light on these troubling statistics, or those who try to prevent these statistics from becoming widely disseminated and legitimately debated?  In this instance, the debate has nothing to do with the Bible or religion but with public health.

Our culture and courts are elevating a known risky sexual behavior to the level of a civil right, enshrining it into law, criminalizing dissent, prosecuting non-cooperating business owners with stiff penalties and the threat of being deprived of their businesses, reputations and livelihoods – all for advocating a view of marriage which Christians and adherents of other major world religions have universally affirmed for thousands of years. This view of marriage as between a man and woman was even advocated by President Obama just a few years ago prior to his “evolution” before the previous presidential election.

Finally, as a 1987 graduate of Erskine Theological Seminary’s doctoral program, I fully endorse and support my Alma Marta’s position on homosexuality:

We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position . . . Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator.

There are numerous compassionate, competent, credentialed scholars and theologians, as well as other persons of impeccable character, academic credentials and intelligence who do not agree with Doctors Harris and McMickle on the subjects of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

In addition to those of us affiliated with the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, here are a few more noted scholars/theologians, among others, who do not agree that disagreeing with homosexual behavior is a matter of ignorance and bigotry:

Their disagreement, like ours, is not due to ignorance, homophobia or hatred of homosexuals, but due to a sincerely-held, well-grounded and researched conviction on the nature of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Today there is alarming and widespread animus, as well as brazen intolerance, against those of us who hold to this conviction, and there is being hurled at us a disturbing brand of anti-Christian and anti-Bible bigotry.  It is high time that more of us start naming and challenging this brand of bigotry.

I say to those who disagree with our conviction about the nature of marriage that we stand where we stand respectfully, unapologetically, unequivocally and compassionately.  Compassion does not require the compromise of convictions which are based on biblical truth. I welcome ongoing and respectful dialogue on this subject. We can agree to disagree without attacking each other’s character, intelligence, or theological standing.

Contact Information for the Author:

Rev. Dr. John H. Grant, Pastor & President
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville, Inc.
47 Eagle Street
Asheville, NC  28801
Office: 828-252-0515
Cell: 828-713-0583
www.mtzionasheville.org

A SAD DAY IN THE HISTORY OF BLACK BAPTISTS AT AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE

What President Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess” Jezebel Have In Common

By William Dwight McKissic, SR.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Revelation 2:20-21 KJV)

An incredible, unprecedented, and thus far un-repented of, event took placed on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015, at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College (Dr. Forrest Harris, President). It was reminiscent of an event strongly rebuked by Jesus, that’s recorded in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:18-25). The purpose of this article is to summarize and capsulate that awful evening for posterity sake, and to communicate to the larger National Baptist family the sad state of affairs, theologically and spiritually, at American Baptist College, Nashville, Tennessee.

The “angel of the house”—the messenger or Pastor of The Church at Thyatira—permitted Jezebel, “which calleth herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication.” Jezebel taught the congregation at Thyatira that sexually deviant practices, contrary to the Word of God, were permissible. Jesus rebuked the pastor and the church at Thyatira for permitting this false teaching to take place in His Church.

What President Forrest Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess” Jezebel have in common is this: They all three affirm deviant sexual behavior and believe that the Bible is an insufficient guide in matters of sexual conduct for today’s believers.

In response to the lesbian bishop speaking controversy at ABC recently, Dr. Harris stated to the “Tennessean,” a local newspaper:

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,”

When asked to define “idolatry of the Bible,” Harris said:

“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.” [Emphasis mine]

That statement, and that statement alone, ought to be enough reason for the ABC Trustee Board to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties. Dr. Harris’ statement not only contradicts the Words of Jesus, that equated God’s Word with truth (John 17:17); his statement also contradicts the official doctrinal statement of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., that holds a much higher view of the Bible than does Dr. Harris. In the Articles of Faith adopted by the National Baptist Convention, the very first article states the opposite of Dr. Harris’ view of the Bible as an insufficient guide, and not being synonymous with truth:

“We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.”

Where the NBCUSA, Inc. stands on the Bible, and where the President of ABC stands on the Bible are light years apart. Therefore, National Baptist churches can no longer trust ABC to educate our college students and they return to our churches holding the beliefs that are consistent with our doctrinal statement.

President Harris affirmed Bishop Flunder’s same-sex marriage before she preached that dreadful Tuesday evening. Dr. Harris asked 30-40 freshman students seated on the first couple of rows to stand, and stated to Bishop Flunder, “These students are here to support you.” Bishop Flunder introduced Shirley Miller whom she’s been in a lesbian relationship with for 30 years, and legally married her when laws in America permitted it. When Yvette Flunder recorded “Love Alive IV” in 1990 on the album with Walter Hawkins Singers, and did the lead role on the popular gospel tune that’s sung almost unanimously in Black churches—“Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done For Me”—she was in a lesbian relationship with Shirley Miller—who after Dorothy Combs Morriston left the Edwin Hawkins singers to establish a solo career—Shirley Miller, Yvette Flunder’s spouse, was the voice of the phenomenally popular gospel hit, “Oh Happy Day.” “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me” is married to “Oh Happy Day.”

On January 30, 2015, I emailed and forwarded to Dr. Harris a letter that contained the following questions that he refused to answer:

  • “Is the pro-Gay lifestyle and same-sex marriage affirmed and taught as acceptable at ABC?”
  • “Does ABC believe that homosexual acts are sinful within or outside of a “marriage” context?”
  •  “Dr. Harris, are you aware that Dr. Yvette Flunder is a practicing lesbian, legally married to a woman?”

To this date, Dr. Harris has not responded to my letter. He told Baptist Press that he decided to “let his supporters respond” to me.

Dr. Harris posted on ABC’s website a letter from “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” who is a group of churches led by gay pastors, or pastors sympathetic and supportive of “same-gender loving couples” and “marriage equality.”

As reported to the Baptist Press—letting “his supporters respond”—the following quotes are from “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” in support of Dr. Harris; and obviously these are his answers to my questions:

“No matter its denominational roots or current relationships, ABC is right to maintain its commitment to academic integrity by introducing students to a fuller witness of the Christian faith and life, including that of Bishop Funder and other same-gender loving Christians.”

“The Christian community cannot make sanctuary for biblical idolatry and interpretive inertia, grounding our stubbornness and phobias in shaky notions of denominational heritage. We must instead seek a new and continual revelation in our sacred text that continues to breathe life and preach liberty to those most vulnerable and marginalized, including same-gender loving and transgender people.” [Emphasis mine]

American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing, and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships. http://www.awab.org/statement-of-support-for-dr-forrest-harris-and-the-american-baptist-college.html [Emphasis mine]

On the opening night of the lecture series at ABC, the worshippers were asked to participate in a “Responsive Reading” where the worship leader stated the following:

“We are committed to a love and justice ministry that shuns all forms of oppression and hates based on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.  We are committed to fostering leaders who uphold cultural and racial diversity, gender justice, and developing effective leadership for a more inclusive church and society.” [Emphasis mine]

There is no biblical or biological proof that a person is born with a “sexual orientation” that causes them to be attracted to the same sex. Romans 1:24-32 seems to indicate that individuals choose to become homosexual “through the lusts of their own hearts” (24), “changing the truth of God into a lie” (25), changing the natural use into that which is against nature” (26), “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burning with lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly” (27). To ask worshipers at a Baptist College to affirm “sexual orientation” as an undisputed social category without any scientific or scriptural backing for such a notion is beneath the integrity, intellect, honor, and holiness that you would expect from a Baptist College.

In a letter supporting Dr. Harris, Marvin A. McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, stated, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we do not yet know the degree to which sexual orientation is simply a matter of ‘how we have been made.’” Maybe Dr. McMickle doesn’t know “how we have been made,” but the apostle Paul claimed to know; and he clearly argued that we were not made to engage in homosexual activities.

After Bishop Flunder gave a $500.00 gift to ABC, Dr. Harris pledged to raise an additional $9,500.00 from gay and gay affirming churches in order to name a dormitory room in honor of Bishop Yvette Flunder on the campus of ABC. To form a fundraising alliance, recruit students from gay and gay affirming churches, and enshrine Bishop Flunder on the walls of that institution on the basis of her same-sex marriage is tantamount to high crime and treason by Dr. Harris, in light of the NBC’s statements in support of marriage being between one man and one woman.

A Nashville news station broadcast Dr. Harris greeting Bishop Flunder upon her arrival at ABC with, “You’re a Great Woman.” Here is what Dr. Harris’ “Great Woman” preached at ABC:

When Bishop Flunder mounted the pulpit at the World Baptist Center, she acknowledged, Dr. Emily Townes—the lesbian Dean at Vanderbilt Divinity School; Bishop Alex Byrd, pastor of a Dallas gay church. Flunder then asked “All the Fellowship pastors who are here to please stand, because these are some powerful preaching and leading sisters and brothers.” A large segment of the audience was from the gay community. Flunder then introduced her “spouse”—“Mother Shirley Miller”—to which there was a hearty applause from the audience—which included at least three ABC board members, and former NBC President, Dr. Julius Scruggs. In another context, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPOktKBBwJ0) Flunder said sometimes Shirley plays the husband role and vice-versa, depending on which day of the week it is. Shirley Miller is twelve years older than Yvette Flunder. She then recognized Bishop Elect Dennis Meredith—who is a self-proclaimed “openly gay-bisexual.” He pastors the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta.

In another context, while speaking at Pastor Dennis Meredith’s church in Atlanta, Bishop Lawrence Kirby, a current trustee at ABC, issued a resolution in support of Dennis Meredith becoming a bishop in an official ceremony. There seem to be an above average number of individuals who are sympathetic and supportive of gay marriage on the ABC Trustee Board. Their views are way out of the main stream of the majority of the NBC. But it provides a plausible explanation as to why Flunder was able to come representing a gay marriage and to affirm gay persons in the audience. The spirit of Jezebel is alive and well at American Baptist College.

Bishop Flunder acknowledged her Church of God In Christ roots at the outset; but she failed to mention that she has been rejected by the COGIC because of her lesbianism. Why did ABC not hold to the standard the church of her roots held to?

Flunder referred to ABC as a “neo-Pentecostal institution.” She further elaborated:

“This prophetic neo-Pentecostal institution filled with the Spirit where great minds are in this room and space to speak in new tongues. Somebody hear what I’m saying. And fearlessly guide people beyond where God has been to where God is. Somebody hear what I’m saying…brand new Pentecostals.”

It was news for me to learn that ABC is now a “neo-Pentecostal” school. I am probably the most COGIC/Pentecostal-friendly Baptist pastor on the planet. Indeed my wife was genuinely born again in a COGIC Church. I take the Bible literally and affirm all the gifts of the Spirit—including tongues. I am a continuationist as opposed to a cessationist when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. I firmly believe in biblical and demonstrative praise and worship; spiritual warfare; and the Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18-21). I even believe if there is interpretation, there can even be speaking in tongues in a worship service (I Cor. 14:27-28), no more than three though, as the Scripture says. If there is no interpretation, I believe that person who is gifted to speak in tongues should do it within as Paul instructed (I Cor. 14:27-28). My point is, I am not anti-Pentecostal. My challenge with her statement is that a Baptist College does not have to take on an identity, the theology, or doctrine of “neo-Pentecostals” in order to fulfill God’s vision.

You can be Baptist, and make sure that you stop by Calvary and receive your pardon—and stop by Pentecost and receive your power. That does not make you “neo-Pentecostal.” That makes you a Spirit-filled Baptist. There is only one baptism in the Spirit that all genuinely born-again believers receive upon salvation (I Cor. 12:13); but there are many fillings of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-23). What we need to be is Spirit-filled Baptists, not neo-Pentecostals. Even at Pentecost, there were some who were filled with the Spirit who did not speak in tongues (Acts 2:43-47). There were others who were filled with the Spirit who did speak in tongues (Acts 2:4). Our calling is to be Spirit-filled Baptists; not neo-Pentecostals irrespective of our beliefs and practices regarding tongues. I must admit that the only section of her sermon that did not receive enthusiastic verbal support was when she attempted to label ABC a neo-Pentecostal college. I interpreted the virtual silence during this section of the sermon to mean they were not buying that.

The late Dr. L. Jack Gray, a former professor at SWBTS, stated in his booklet, Studies of the Holy Spirit:

“Baptism with or entrance of the Holy Spirit is simultaneous with conversion. It happens once, is permanent, and cannot be repeated. (Jn. 3:5-6; Acts 2:38; Rm. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19; 12-13; Gal. 4:4-7). The fillings of the Holy Spirit are God’s acts of continued nur­ture, growth, empowerment and equipping for life and service. Fullness of the Spirit is temporary and must be daily repeated. (Lk. 9:23; I Cor. 15:31; II Cor. 4:11; Eph. 3:16-19; 4:13; 5:18). The gifts of the Holy Spirit are means of equipping the church for her varied and total ministries. (I Cor. 12:4-7; Eph. 4:8-16). The fruit of the Spirit is the result of being filled with the . Holy Spirit. We are known by our fruit, not our gifts. (Gal. 5:22-23; Rm. 5:5; 12:11; Matt. 7:16, 20).”

I’m a Kingdom man. I have no problem with persons from other denominations speaking at a Baptist school. But to pronounce a different identity, direction, and doctrine, stepped over the line.

Flunder’s most egregious statements had to do with her views on the nature of Scripture. Her being a lesbian, legally married to a woman is less problematic for me than her beliefs that the Bible is insufficient and incomplete. Flunder taught at ABC:

“God will not be fixed; God will not be stuck; God will not be concretized.”

She made that statement while intentionally flipping both ends of the Bible, to symbolize that God could not be “concretized” in the canon of Scripture. She further stated:

“My theology is alive and shifting and it’s not stuck between the corners and the pages of a book. Just like God spoke to them, God is speaking to us. I’d like to see Martin’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” canonized one day…maybe in a Testament III—because God is still speaking…Thank God for theological evolution.” [Emphasis Mine]

Referring to the “Third Testament,” equivalent to the Bible, that Flunder proposes, because “God is still speaking” Flunder suggested that it could include “skype,” “in-vitro fertilization,” and…”somebody will write about me and Shirley and 30 years.” Flunder dared to have the audacity to place her and her spouse in a “Third Testament” that she would consider canonical based on her evolution theology.

Flunder suggested that Jesus was also theologically evolving when the Syro-Phoenician woman responded with faith and determination to Jesus’ response to her request to heal her daughter. Flunder said, “Jesus’ eyes popped open.”

Flunder said, “There’s a new gospel afoot.” Bishop Flunder was introduced as the successor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ushering in a new era of “justice” in America.

She closed her message affirming LGBT persons. Flunder said that she was surrounded by “loving men—straight and gay.” She has no better friend and supporter in the work than President Forrest Harris. His hospitality to her is subsidized by National Baptist dollars. This is her second consecutive year speaking at the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series at ABC.

“We are going to pray together because Jesus had the oil. The prophet has the oil of anointing. Oil…God’s symbol of affirmation and ordination and enablement. Oil does not come cheaply… Jesus had the oil…Malcolm had the oil…Martin had the oil…American Baptist College has the oil…God sent the oil…and the oil is in the room…Tell your neighbor, I see your oil…bring your oil, your Pentecostal oil, your Baptist oil, your straight oil, your gay oil…bring your prophetic gifts.”

The request to bring “your gay oil” is nothing more or nothing less than an attempt to mainstream the gay lifestyle, in what were heretofore orthodox churches.

I close by repeating my thesis: What does President Forrest Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess Jezebel” have in common? They all three affirm deviant sexual practices; teach contrary to the Word of God; and sees the Bible as something less than the final authority, in guiding and governing the affairs of man.

I pray that what took place at ABC on Tuesday evening, March 17, at the Baptist World Center, will never repeat itself again.

Bapt. college ‘ground zero’ in gay marriage debate

by David Roach, posted Wednesday, March 18, 2015

“For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, American Baptist College has” become “ground zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist church,” Dwight McKissic, co-coordinator of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, said at a March 17 press conference in Nashville.

The fellowship is a coalition of pastors who minister at congregations in cooperation with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., America’s largest predominantly African American Baptist denomination.

Other pastors present at the press conference alongside McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, were Robert White of Freedom Church in Bedford, Texas; Ronnie Goines of Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas; Patrick McGrew of Higher Praise Family Church in Fort Worth, Texas; Calvin Barlow of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville; and Randy Vaughn of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Texas, fellowship co-coordinator.

McKissic, Goines and McGrew pastor churches that cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention in addition to the NBC USA Inc.

The coalition of concerned pastors, which includes some 150 members, objects to American Baptist College’s speaking invitation to Yvette Flunder, an open lesbian and United Church of Christ bishop, Delman Coates, a pastor who led a campaign in Maryland to legalize gay marriage, and Allan Boesak, a South African minister and politician who urged the South African Dutch Reformed Church to affirm same-sex marriage.

Much of the objection seemed to focus on Flunder, a vocal advocate of the homosexual lifestyle.

Members of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors asked in a news release that American Baptist College President Forrest Harris rescind Flunder’s invitation; that NBC USA Inc. President Jerry Young release a statement expressing his position on Flunder’s invitation; and that Flunder’s addresses be moved from the college’s facilities.

Harris said previously that it is inappropriate to oppose homosexual behavior by employing “idolatry of the Bible,” which he defined as “when people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth,” the Tennessean reported. He added, “We can’t be guided by a first century worldview.”

American Baptist College trustees should either ask the NBC USA Inc. for permission to advocate the homosexual worldview, McKissic said, or they should fire Harris if they disagree with his statements and invitation of pro-gay speakers.

White noted the college’s long association with the convention.

“The American Baptist College has historically been connected to and supported by the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., an organization which on more than one occasion has addressed this very issue of same-sex marriage through statements affirming marriage as being between one man and one woman,” White said. “… The American Baptist College has no right or authority to teach or endorse a doctrine or position other than that of this convention.”

A statement by immediate past NBC USA Inc. president Julius Scruggs on the convention’s website states, “The National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated does not dictate to its constituent churches what position to take on issues because we believe in the autonomy of the local church. However, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. affirms that marriage is a sacred biblical covenant between a man and a woman.”

Scruggs, who is also a trustee at American Baptist College, did not respond to a request for comment by BP’s publication deadline. Former trustee Kelly Miller Smith Jr. also did not respond to BP’s request for comment by the publication deadline.

American Baptist College’s response

Harris’ media spokeswoman released a letter to BP in which Harris defended the speaking invitations to Flunder, Coates and Boesak by appealing to federal law and the college’s mission.

“Based on good advice from the college’s Board Chair, I have decided as president of the college not to respond to [the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors’] negative message as it would be counterproductive at this time,” Harris wrote. “I do, however, want to share … the college’s vision of education in light of this negative document which has been disseminated around the country” — a reference to a press release distributed by the concerned pastors.

Harris said “the college expresses neither favor not disfavor” with the various viewpoints to which students are exposed, “in accordance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination.” He noted that the college receives federal funding. Harris added that the lecture series which has drawn criticism is a “significant component of the college’s academic legacy.”

Harris also wrote, “The fact that the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. serves a conservative constituent base that renders a different view of education will not distract the college from its educational mission.”

Governing structure questioned

Who controls American Baptist College appears to be in dispute. “We don’t really know who owns the college,” McKissic said.

Monchiere Holmes-Jones, a spokeswoman for American Baptist College, told BP the school “is not directly correlated” with the NBC USA Inc. “even though they are associated by history and being next door” to the NBC USA Inc. offices.

The NBC USA Inc.’s website describes American Baptist College as “an independent college for the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” The school’s legal charter on file with the Tennessee secretary of state says, “The corporation shall be governed by a Board of Trustees, who shall be directors, and who shall be appointed by the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.”

Jim Guenther, an attorney for the Southern Baptist Convention, told BP the charter “is the primary controlling governing document” of an entity. The charter cannot be superseded by any other document unless the legal entity amends its charter, he said. Records on file with the secretary of state reflect no such amendment of the NBC USA Inc. charter.

“If a corporation has a board of directors inconsistent with the charter,” Guenther said, “then the corporation is fatally flawed and the actions of the board are null and void. … If the charter says the convention elects the trustees, then the convention needs to elect those trustees.”

Jerlen Nelson, the NBC USA Inc.’s director of media and press relations, told BP that American Baptist College’s board is in practice self-perpetuating and that the convention has not elected trustees in recent memory.

Pastors who are displeased with American Baptist College’s actions and believe the school is acting in violation of its charter could attempt several courses of action, Guenther said. Among them:

— If the convention is not electing trustees as called for in the charter, a messenger to an NBC USA Inc. annual session could make a motion that the convention elect to the college’s board specific individuals sympathetic to the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors. If elected, those trustees would replace any improperly appointed trustees and govern the school.

— A concerned pastor could file a complaint with either the Internal Revenue Service or the Tennessee attorney general, stating that the college is violating its charter.

— A messenger to a convention annual session might have legal standing to challenge in court the seating of any unauthorized trustees by the college.

At the press conference, Vaughn lamented that the gay agenda “has already won support from organizations that are dear to our heart, like NAACP and the National Urban League — organizations that use the black church as human capital. And now this sin, this same-sex nonsense wants to preach in our holy place.”

Vaughn challenged the NBC USA Inc. to act.

“The National Baptist Convention has held its mouth in silence while allowing this sin to be publicized over our websites, in our national publications and using our national facility to house what we believe is a desecration of our temple,” Vaughn said. “So today we challenge our national leadership, our national president Dr. Jerry Young to make a declarative statement because silence is not an option.”

Young announced in January that he would appoint a resolutions committee to develop a position statement on same-sex marriage for National Baptists to vote on later this year, according to McKissic’s blog. Last year, the NBC USA Inc.’s Home Mission Board released a statement instructing board-endorsed military chaplains “not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union.”

For more information about American Baptist College, please see related story.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.
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AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE: GROUND-ZERO IN THE BATTLE OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

In his sermon, “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated:

“The whole history of life is a struggle between good and evil. There seems to be a tension at the very core of the universe…in traditional Judaism and Christianity [this tension is called] a conflict between God and Satan.”

The question that we are facing in the Baptist Church today is whether or not God sanctions same-sex marriage. Concerning the question of same-sex marriage, God has spoken, and He didn’t stutter; and humans cannot redefine what God has eternally assigned. Man cannot redefine a week into three days, or four days, because God assigned a week as seven days. Neither can man redefine a marriage consisting of two people of the same sex; because, God defined a marriage in His word as a union between one man and one woman.

Satan has strategically and successfully sought to secure sanctioning for same-sex marriage in every sector of society, including our spiritual houses of worship. The battle over same-sex marriage in America is a matter of spiritual warfare.

Spiritual warfare is a conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, ABC has been chosen as Ground-Zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist Church. The church of the living god—the moral guardian of society—and the pillar and ground of truth—is the last holdout in American society steadfastly opposed to same-sex marriage. Satan has decided if he can get the ABC and the NBC to succumb to same-sex marriage, he can get every other denomination to fall like a stack of dominoes. But in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “just like a tree planted by the waters, I shall not be moved.” Therefore, we have no choice but to fight for the sanctity of marriage as being between one man and one woman as God set it up from the beginning (Matthew 19:4-6).

It was nothing short of a declaration of war against the Baptist Church and the Church of the Living God, for Dr. Forrest Harris to invite an unrepentant lesbian bishop to lead worship and preach to Baptist college students on a campus that was once dedicated to advancing the Kingdom of God.

The Apostle Paul said, “God is not the author of confusion“(I Cor. 14:33). Who then is responsible for the confusion surrounding an unrepentant lesbian bishop preaching at ABC? Jesus said that the Kingdom of God has suffered violence from the days of John the Baptist until now, but the violent must take it by force. It is way past time for the church to be simply a cruise ship; it is the time in the life of the church, once again, that we must become, a battle ship. A lesbian bishop preaching at a Baptist college is evidence of the gates of hell assailing against the church, but the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Therefore:

  1. We have come to Nashville to answer Dr. Harris’ declaration of war on the Baptist Church over same-sex marriage. The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds believers that there is “a time for war,” and that time is now. The Church of the Living God is now under attack.
  1. We have come to Nashville so that it will not be recorded in the annals of history, that a lesbian bishop spoke to our precious Baptist students, for two consecutive years, and no one raised an objection. We’ve come today to throw a penalty flag on Dr. Harris and the ABC Board, and announce that ABC has violated God’s rules.
  1. If the ABC Board disagrees with Dr. Harris’ decision to invite a lesbian bishop to preach, we’ve come to ask the ABC Board of Trustees to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties as President for violating God’s rules. And if the ABC Board agrees with Dr. Harris’ decision to allow a lesbian bishop to speak, then we are asking the NBC USA, Inc. to remove the ABC board of trustees of their duties in your next annual meeting.
  1. We’ve come to ask ABC Board of Trustees to clarify the governance relationship between ABC and NBC.
  1. We’ve come to ask ABC Board of Trustees, if you support Dr. Harris’ decision to affirm same-sex married partners, would you be so kind to give an official notice of such approval to the NBC for this calendar year?

To redefine a sin issue as a justice issue is a serious matter. Civil rights are rooted in moral authority; Gay rights are rooted in a lack of moral restraint. Civil rights are rooted in constitutional authority. Gay rights are rooted in carnal antinomianism. The Civil Rights Movement was birth in the Church. The gay rights movement was birth outside the church. At ABC, the Gay rights agenda is masquerading as “sexual orientation” and has boldly and brazenly entered into the Baptist Church at the invitation of Forrest Harris in the name of social justice. To compare gay rights to civil rights is to compare their sin to my skin.

Finally, in the late ‘90’s the late great celebrated NBC pastor from Florida, Dr. Mack King Carter, against the backdrop of another NBC scandal of a different nature—yet, highly publicized—told an unforgettable, relevant and applicable story, similar to this:

The owner of a country meat house discovered early one morning that a fox had come in overnight and ravaged his spoils. He noticed upon entering the meat house that the butcher assigned to close the gate and secure the facility had neglected his responsibilities. As the meat house owner stood among the ravaged spoils and contemplated his losses; he was in a quandary trying to determine who was most responsible for his loss: the fox that ravaged the spoils, or the butcher that left the gate open.

Who is responsible for a lesbian Bishop legally married to another female preaching at ABC? Dr. Harris, the President, and the Board of Trustees are responsible for the ABC/lesbian bishop scandal. Ultimately, it is the ABC Board of Trustees who is responsible. And they must now, close the gate.

If the NBC and ABC lose the battle, other Bible-believing denominations will retreat. Therefore, it is time for war. Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” We must do something, and that something is nothing short of warfare. It’s time for spiritual war. And if the Church of the Living God go down in this war, we will go down standing up! And that’s why we’ve come to Nashville today.

THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:         Heidi McDow, 214.679.3409, heidimcdow@yahoo.com

Pastors Call for Accountability as American Baptist College Hosts Lesbian Bishop;

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors to hold Press Conference to Address Objections to Same-Sex Marriage Advocates at Lecture Series

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Mar. 12, 2015 In response to a controversial choice by American Baptist College (ABC) leadership to invite three active proponents of same-sex marriage to speak and lead worship at the College’s distinguished annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series and preach at the worship services, a group of pastors within the National Baptist Convention (NBC) have informally convened to express their concerns at a press conference to be held at the Renaissance Hotel on Tuesday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CDT.

The three presenters to which the group objects are United Church of Christ Bishop Yvette Flunder, who is legally married to a woman and who has advocated for her position publicly; Pastor Delman Coates, who successfully led the campaign to win the popular vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland; and Alan Bosaek, who attempted to persuade the South African Dutch Reformed Church to affirm same-sex marriage.

Known as the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, the pastors want to hold accountable the president and board of trustees of ABC, which is owned and operated by the orthodox, Bible-believing denomination which holds to a biblical view of marriage, for their misguided decision to invite the chosen speakers to helm the lecture series, “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice.”

The pastors have attempted to reach out to ABC President Forrest Harris in hopes of starting a constructive conversation around this issue, but he has not responded to their phone calls or emails. Speaking for the group, Pastor W. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, is troubled by ABC’s implicit application of the word “justice” to the positioning of same-sex marriage within the context of Christian orthodoxy.

“The board and administration of ABC have adopted our vocabulary, but not our dictionary,” McKissic said. “This is a moral issue, rather than one of social justice; our concern about Bishop Flunder preaching at the worship service is not about intellectual or educational inquiry, but indoctrination of a worldview placed on the pedestal of theological authority.

“As a result,” Pastor McKissic continued, “ABC is deliberately exposing young people to unorthodox views in a worship and preaching setting that wrongly affirms them as biblical truth, rather than more appropriately discussing them in a solely academic exercise.” 

The move by ABC to affirm same-sex marriage through these three speakers violates the official position of the College’s governing religious body, the NBC, which declared in a statement issued in January 2014 that, “In all matters of Faith and Practice, National Baptists are guided by Holy Scriptures. Genesis 2:18-25 shows God’s concern for relationships by creating the woman to be a partner with man.”

The NBC additionally asserted that while endorsed NBC Chaplains serve in a “pluralistic environment,” providing compassionate pastoral support to all individuals based on a traditional interpretation of Scripture, they are “not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same-sex marriage or same-sex union.”

Additionally, Pastor McKissic and his colleagues wish to make the parents of ABC students aware of controversial messages contrary to the denomination’s adherence to biblical standards for marriage and sexuality that their sons and daughters may receive through the lecture series’ speakers.

“The decision on where to educate one’s child requires a great deal of prayer, financial resources and faith in a higher learning institution’s tradition, values and leadership,” Pastor McKissic said. “Our main reasons for making this information public is so that parents can (1) be properly made aware, (2) correspondingly make informed decisions, and (3) so that history and posterity can record that a group of NBC pastors prayerfully and publicly opposed the invitation that was extended to a widely known (and presently married to another woman) same-sex proponent and participant to preach in public Christian worship at our coveted denominational college.”

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is also distributing a petition for other faith leaders to sign in support of the group’s concerns, available at www.change.org. The pastors stress that they are in no way officially or unofficially representative of the NBC, but speak out for the sake of an informed and aware public.

EDITOR’S NOTE: to RSVP for the press conference, please contact Heidi McDow at heidimcdow@yahoo.com or call 214-679-3409.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ABC BOARD OF TRUSTEES
“Who Left The Gate Open?
THE AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
By William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.

How is it possible that an unrepentant lesbian bishop, legally married to a female, be invited to preach and lead the Tuesday night worship service, at the prestigious 58th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, on the campus of American Baptist College, Nashville, TN?  Who opened the gate and let Bishop Yvette Flunder, for two consecutive years, come and preach/lecture to impressionable students—while she is arguably the face of the rapidly growing—“I’m Black, I’m Gay, I’m a Christian, and I’m Proud”—movement?  This is a critical question that National Baptists must answer, address and redress:  Who left the gate open? How did we get here?

If National Baptists don’t close this gate, now—and I mean “soon and very soon”—we will see more and more episodes of same-sex married partners leading worship and in any and all capacities in our churches. Does Bishop Flunder’s appearance at ABC signify the future for our churches, or is this simply an unfortunate and momentary lapse in administrative judgment?

While contemplating this clear question of responsibility and accountability for National Baptists and ABC, I recalled an applicable story told by the revered and fondly remembered Dr. Mack King Carter, one of our beloved, now departed colleagues in the NBCUSA, out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  On the floor of an Annual Session of our Congress back in the late ‘90’s, amidst a different, but yet highly publicized controversy, Pastor Carter cited an illustration similar to this:  The owner of a country meat house discovered early one morning that a fox had come in overnight and ravaged his shop. He also noticed on his way to the meat house that the butcher assigned to secure the facility had failed to do so the previous night.  While assessing the damage, he thought to himself, “I actually don’t know who is to blame; the fox that ravaged the spoils, or the butcher who left the gate open.”

As many of us contemplate the question—“How did we get here?”—I am much like the country meat house owner; I’m trying to figure out who actually is to blame: The fox that ravaged the meat or the butcher who left the gate open!

Bishop Yvette Flunder did not invite herself to ABC.  Regarding any responsibility or accountability for her invitation, Sister Flunder is certainly most innocent. There is no attempt to make her out to be a villain in this real live case scenario, or “reality show.” Who, then, is ultimately responsible and should be held accountability for Bishop Flunder’s dubious appearance? Clearly, a gate has been left open, our trust has been violated, and history alone will sadly reveal the incalculable damage resulting from this tragic blunder!

Ultimately, the American Baptist College Trustee Board are the individuals responsible for Bishop Yvette Flunder—a lesbian bishop, married to Shirley Miller—preaching and leading worship at the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series. The ABC Board of Trustees has remained silent during this whole discussion. Not only are they silent, but to the public at large they are invisible. But, back to the question, who left the gate open? Namely, ABC 2015 Board of Trustees:

Dr. Albert G. Berry, Board Chair
Berry Consultants
Nashville, Tennessee

Bishop Lawrence Kirby, Board Vice Chair
St. Paul Baptist Church
Racine, Wisconsin

Rev. Dr. Julius R.Scruggs
First Missionary Baptist Church
Huntsville, Alabama

Mr. Frank C. Davis
Frank C. Davis & Associates
Nashville, Tennessee

Ms. Linda Rose, Esq.
Rose Immigration Law Firm
Nashville, Tennessee

Dr. Iva Carruthers
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap
President Emerita – Author – Educator – Lecturer
St. Petersburg, Florida

Mr. Dennie Marshall
Sun Trust Bank
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Samuel Hale
Zion Baptist Church
Springfield, Illinois

Rev. Dr. Wilma Johnson
New Prospect Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

Rev. Don Darius Butler
Tabernacle Community Baptist Church
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ms. Sherri L. Neal
Hospital Corporation of America
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Dr. Darrell Drumwright
Temple Baptist Church
Nashville, TN

Mr. Webb Campbell, Atty.
Sherrard & Roe, PLC
Nashville, Tennessee

Ms. Latrisha Jemison
Regions Bank
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Derrick L. Jackson
First Baptist Church of Gallatin
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Tellis J. Chapman
Galilee Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

James A. Crumlin, Jr., Attorney
Bone McAllester North, PLLC
Nashville, Tennessee

These prominent and good-hearted men and women of God, owes it to their National Baptist family, answers to the following questions:

1. Did you and do you support the decision of President Forrest Harris to have invited Bishop Flunder for two consecutive years? And, if so, why?

2. What are the governance, ownership/proprietary, and legal relationship between ABC and NBC? The technical, accurate, actual, functional, and working answer to that question, seems to be shrouded in mystery and uncertainty?

3. Just as Vanderbilt School of Divinity makes it absolutely clear on their website that they affirm same-sex relationships; and it is promoted, protected, and respected…if this is now where ABC is as a school, is this a matter of official policy as it is at Vanderbilt? Or did ABC simply morph into this pro-gay agenda during the Forrest Harris administration?

4. Shouldn’t the ABC Board of Trustees come to the floor of the NBC and in a transparent and truthful manner report to the NBC, ABC’s current pro-gay philosophy and practice mindset?

5. How are board members appointed at ABC? Are they appointed by the NBC, or are they internally appointed?

6. Most, if not all, Christian colleges have an official doctrinal statement. What is ABC’s doctrinal statement?

7. How much money has the NBC donated to the ABC over the past five years?

8. Does the following quotes by President Harris as they appear in a Nashville, TN, newspaper—the Tennessean—accurately reflect the thinking and theology of ABC?

Pastors Oppose Lesbian Bishop Speaker at Baptist College

A Baptist college president in Nashville said Tuesday evening that people should not use “idolatry of the Bible” to discriminate against homosexuals.

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,” American Baptist College President Forrest Harris said in response to criticism involving the decision to allow a lesbian bishop to speak there.

What does Harris define as “idolatry of the Bible?

“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.”

The decision by the Nashville college to schedule a married, lesbian bishop to speak at the school next week has enraged some conservative black preachers who believe homosexuality is a sin and have called for the college president to rescind the invitation.

The National Baptist Convention, the largest predominantly African-American Christian denomination in the United States and the one with which the Nashville college is affiliated, has promoted the event on its official website.

American Baptist College has defended its decision to invite Bishop Yvette Flunder to speak at the annual Garnett Nabrit Lecture Series at the school, March 15-18. She is scheduled to speak about her work advocating for the rights and needs of people suffering from HIV and AIDS. The event will be the second time Flunder has spoken at the school, a historically black college with many connections to leaders in the Civil Rights movement.

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, also affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, questioned Harris and the president of the National Baptist Convention.

“For a Baptist college president to invite a lesbian bishop legally married to a woman, to be a guest speaker and worship leader on a Baptist college campus is irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God,” the news release said.

The group asked Harris to rescind Flunder’s invitation, for National Baptist Convention President Jerry Young to release a statement revealing his stance on Flunder and for Young to remove promotion of Flunder’s appearance at the college from the National Baptist Convention website.

If Harris and Young refuse to rescind Flunder’s invitation, the groups asked that the event be moved from American Baptist College facilities.

Reverends Randy Vaughn and Dwight McKissic, co-coordinators of the conservative pastor group called Harris’ words “disheartening” “heretical,” and said he “trampled on the beliefs of the school’s founders.”

“It is so disappointing and disheartening that at the American Baptist College, where the land was bought and paid for by Baptists who took the Bible literally, their blood, sweat and tears are being trampled on,” said McKissic, senior pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. “We believe the Bible and its teachings. We believe homosexuality – as a matter of fact all the Bible talks about as sin – is sin.”

Vaughn, pastor of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Texas, said the moment can’t go forward without there being a recorded protest.

Both pastors said more than 150 conservative National Baptist Convention Christians have joined their group.

But Harris said the group of pastors that has criticized his decision does not understand and has misinterpreted the theology of the large Baptist denomination to which they belong.

“I think they have misappropriated the theology of the National Baptist Convention which says that churches and individuals can hold their own theological beliefs about what they think is right and wrong,” Harris said. “It’s tragic these conservative pastors are in opposition to what education ought to be about, to expose students to critical moral thinkers and a broad education.”

The concerned pastors want Young and Harris to alert students, parents, alumni and all National Baptist Convention pastors and churches that Flunder has been invited to the school for two years.

Harris has said the demands of the group of pastors and their requests “fly in the face of everything that ABC stands for as an institution of higher education rooted in the cause of social justice and equality for all,” according to a news release sent to The Tennessean on behalf of the of the school Tuesday.

Harris also said the American Baptist College has received federal funding and expresses “neither favor nor disfavor of positions, groups or individuals (who speak at the school) in accordance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination.”

Reporter Jordan Buie can be reached at 615-726-5970 or on Twitter @jordanbuiehttp://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/03/10/pastors-oppose-lesbian-bishop-at-baptist-college/24727465/The Tennessean

9. Do you support the following quote in a letter in support of President Harris and Bishop Flunder which says the following:

“American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived and preached by faithful people, who are in committed, same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships.”

10. Again, do you approve or disapprove of the decision of Forrest Harris to invite Bishop Flunder, and his belief that we cannot be guided by a “first century worldview”—a reference to the Bible?

There are 200 supporters who’ve signed petitions, thus far, in disagreement with the Bishop Flunder invite. I respectfully await your answers as to whether or not you agree.

“Who Left the Gate Open?”

A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE NATION AND THE NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION

Ten Reasons Why American Baptist College President Forrest Harris Should Rescind Lesbian Bishop Yvette Flunder’s, Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Invitation

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Discussions, deliberations and decisions, regarding the legality and morality of same-sex marriage—have wound their way through courts of justice, halls of Congress, city councils and county governments, local school districts, voting booths and the office of the President of the United States. These discussions have been a part of American families’ table talks for many, many years, because many American families are impacted personally by an immediate or extended family member who is engaged in a same-sex relationship, or contemplating and evaluating their sexual identity.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America is scheduled to debate the legal fate of same-sex marriage in the United States on April 28 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-to-hear-same-sex-marriage-arguments-on-april-28-1425573877).  They are likely to issue an opinion before they adjourn this summer. Consequently, gay marriage could be legal throughout the length and breadth of America by the end of June. The Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage will be a defining moment for our nation; and their decision will have a trickle-down effect, and incredible influence and impact on every other sector in society. Gay marriage will then be the law of the land.

Not only are these discussions, deliberations and decisions taking place in the secular realms of society—they have also landed on the doorsteps of America’s churches and denominations, Christian colleges and universities. Needless to say, these are serious and often uncomfortable conversations for the Christian community to hold and process. Nevertheless, the changing culture in our society has made these discussions, deliberations and decisions absolutely necessary.

The Southern Baptist Convention has gone on record many, many times, officially, by way of resolution, declaring a non-negotiable, non-compromising, emphatically clear position that marriage is between one man and one woman. President William J. Shaw and President Julius Scruggs (immediate past presidents) have gone on record declaring personal convictions in writing, that the NBC believes that marriage biblically is between a man and a woman; but there has never been an official declaration, voted on by the NBC in their annual session that specifies that the NBC believes that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. I was present in Jackson, MS, at the NBC Mid-Winter Board Meeting, this past January when the newly elected President (September 2014) of the NBC, Dr. Jerry Young, announced that he will appoint or already had appointed a resolutions committee to develop a resolution/position statement to be voted on by the NBC later this year, on the subject of same-sex marriage. It is certainly high time that the largest organized body of Black Christians anywhere in the world take a definitive, official stand on this subject.

Previously, the NBC had issued a statement instructing its’ chaplains to only perform marriages between a man and a woman. I am so grateful and proud of President Young for making a decision to lead the NBC to adopt an official position on same-sex marriage. I anticipate that we will get an update on this resolution in June in Detroit, at the Annual National Baptist Congress gathering, or in September of this year, in Memphis, at the Annual Session of the NBC. We certainly need to be in prayer for President Young as he guides our beloved NBC through these turbulent and unchartered waters related to developing a resolution/policy on same-sex marriage.

In the meantime, Dr. Forrest Harris, President of American Baptist College in Nashville, TN—a school we are often told during the NBC Annual Session, is owned and operated by the Convention—has very aggressively made his decision regarding affirming persons in same-sex marriages. For the second consecutive year, Dr. Harris has invited lesbian bishop, Yvette Flunder, to serve as a guest lecturer and worship leader at the 58th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, held on the campus of ABC, and in the World Baptist Center facility, that’s owned by the NBC.

The land that ABC and the World Baptist Center sit on in Nashville, TN, was purchased by Negro Baptists in the first quarter of the 20th Century. The Black Baptists of that era were adamantly opposed to same-sex relationships based on biblical grounds. It is a dishonor, and an act of disrespect to those sainted souls, for President Harris to now host a lesbian bishop on those hallowed grounds.

Bishop Yvette Flunder, the lesbian bishop invited by Dr. Harris, and Dean Emilie Townes, the lesbian Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, where Dr. Harris also works, are both on record stating that the Bible does not address consensual same-sex relationships. It is disheartening to discover that Dr. Harris is introducing this false and heretical teaching to the campus of ABC. By extension, he is associating and influencing the Baptist students at ABC, and all the NBC churches to Flunder’s, Townes’ and Harris’ point of view that the Bible does not address same-sex relationships. This is a very serious matter. Bishop Flunder is expected to lead worship, preach and deliver a luncheon lecture on March 17-18, on the NBC, ABC campus. What a horrible day to trample on the history of those who sacrificed to buy the land for ABC, and to validate the heretical teaching of Flunder and Townes, that the Bible does not address homosexual relationships.

Bishop Flunder’s UCC denomination validates same-sex marriages. Emilie Townes’ Vanderbilt School of Divinity affirms same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships. Forrest Harris’ American Baptist College has not sanctioned same-sex marriages, nor has the NBC, that Harris is accountable to. Dr. Harris’ NBC constituency does not sanction and support gay marriage as does Flunder’s and Townes’ affiliations; therefore, the NBC must hold them accountable for this breach of trust.

There are ten reasons why Dr. Harris ought to rescind the invitation of Bishop Flunder to speak at ABC. It is also my prayer that Bishop Flunder would respect the history and biblical traditional beliefs of the NBC on this subject and voluntarily refrain from fulfilling Dr. Harris’ invitation.

  1. Bishop Flunder’s presence and preaching at ABC gives a false legitimacy to gay theology, gay apologetics, and gay exegesis. Her false views regarding what the Bible says and does not say regarding same-sex relations are validated by her welcome and acceptance at ABC.
  2. Bishop Flunder is legally married to Shirley Miller. Her presentation at ABC as a partner in a same-sex marriage makes an “incarnational” powerful statement to the students at ABC that her lifestyle is accepted and affirmed by the ABC administration and their denominational affiliation—NBC.
  3. Consequently, Bishop Flunder’s presence raises serious questions about the belief system, doctrine, and practices of the NBC constituency with regard to same-sex relationships. It is not a stretch to believe that Bishop Flunder would not be invited unless her “marriage” was thought to be approved of by the NBC.
  4. Bishop Flunder’s presence advances the gay agenda within and outside of the church. Does the NBC really want to play a role in that advancement? If practicing homosexuality is approved by the Black Baptist church—and her presence implicitly says that it is –on what basis then do we proclaim that fornication and adultery is wrong?
  5. Bishop Flunder’s presence presents a model of family life that the Bible does not support.
  6. Bishop Flunder’s presence exposes a lack of accountability structures in place within the NBC. Almost without exception, every NBC pastor, including our President Dr. Jerry Young, does not support Bishop Flunder’s appearance; yet, we are all powerless to stop it. That’s a huge problem and one that needs to be fixed in short order.
  7. Bishop Flunder’s coming represents a departure from the faith of our fathers, including Martin Luther King. King wrote a statement disapproving of same-sex relationships that can be accessed here: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/what-did-mlk-think-about-gay-people/.
  8. Bishop Flunder’s presence as a lecturer reinforces the false notion that gay-rights, civil rights, and justice issues are synonymous and compatible. ABC is aiding and abetting the gay community to hijack the language of the Civil Rights Movement with their affirmation of Bishop Flunder’s same-sex marriage.
  9. Bishop Flunder is scheduled to address the subject of AIDS at the prestigious Nannie Helen Burroughs Luncheon. Does ABC really believe that a person who affirms and advocates same-sex relationships is the most qualified person to address this subject?
  10. Bishop Flunder’s presence calls into question, if ABC and NBC could affirm the following statement adopted by Erskine college after two male athletes on their campus involved in a same-sex relationship became public knowledge:

“Christ affirms that marital union is to be between a man and woman (Matt 19:4-6). The Bible teaches that monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is God’s intended design for humanity and that sexual intimacy has its proper place only within the context of marriage (1 Thes. 4:3-5, Col. 3:5-7). Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-11).

We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.” (Emphasis mine)

Our current structure and system can’t stop a college president who does not believe that homosexuality is sin, from advancing his non-biblical views and pro-gay agenda on the students at ABC. Many of those students will become pastors and staff members at our churches. They will ultimately bring a different viewpoint to the people in the pews, than what National Baptists have historically believed. That is why Bishop Yvette Flunder’s coming is an ill-thought idea. Perhaps Bishop Flunder will do ABC and the NBC family a great favor and save us from this national embarrassment and scandal, by simply deciding that she will not appear at the Lecture Series at ABC. And prayerfully, the resolution/position statement that the NBC will adopt will convey to the College a clear position that the NBC does not in any way, shape, form or fashion endorse gay marriage. Consequently, if the College respects the position/statement of the NBC, “institutional decisions will be made in light of this position” and this kind of decision will never happen again. If Dr. Forrest Harris insists on following through with the invitation of Bishop Flunder, he needs to be forced to resign or be fired by the Board of ABC for violating the trust, the Bible and beliefs of the vast majority of National Baptists. Contrary to the thinking of Dr. Harris, Bishop Flunder and Dean Townes, the Bible is crystal clear on the subject of same-sex relationships. By comparing the Civil Rights Movement with the gay rights movement, they are comparing one people’s sin with another people’s skin. To do so is tragic, sinful and shameful. And this is what Forrest Harris is leading the American Baptist College to do, partially funded by NBC dollars. National Baptists need to rise up and let their voices be heard on this issue.

THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS
LESBIAN BISHOP AND TWO PRO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PASTORS TO LECTURE AT THE AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE IN NASHVILLE, TN

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is an informal fellowship of pastors with an affinity to the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (NBC) who are deeply concerned about the state of our nation, our families, our churches, and our schools. We have mobilized to address these issues because of our grave concern over our collective, downward drift morally as a nation. Therefore, we declare our support to the NBC’s efforts that addresses these concerns, and all Bible believing ministries that are proffering biblical, Spirit-led solutions to the ills of our nation.

We are praying for and in support of our President, Dr. Jerry Young, as he develops and deploys initiatives to address these concerns. We also stand with Dr. Young as he gives leadership to our Convention in strengthening and encouraging existing efforts to curb the downward moral tide of our nation.

We are praying and believing that God would use the National Baptist Convention, USA, in a mighty way, once again, to exalt Himself, evangelize the unchurched, educate and edify believers, and elevate our society. We seek to stand shoulder to shoulder with all pastors who recognize that our nation is in trouble, and ill-at-ease; and only through the adoption and passionate pursuit of a Biblical/Kingdom worldview will we find meaningful and lasting answers to the problems that plague us. Nothing short of Divine intervention and a Kingdom movement is going to save this great nation of ours.

Because the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors seeks to strengthen our families and churches, and to constructively address the ills of our nation’s educational systems, we acknowledge that we were/are disheartened to discover the current state of affairs at the American Baptist College (ABC) in Nashville, TN.

ABC hosted a lesbian bishop, who is legally married to a woman, to be a lecturer last year, and invited her back this year (March 15-18, 2015) to serve as the Tuesday Evening worship leader and preacher, in addition to serving as the Wednesday afternoon speaker for the prestigious Nanny Helen Burroughs Luncheon.

Dr. Forrest Harris, the President of ABC, who simultaneously serves as a professor at Vanderbilt Divinity School—where the Dean at Vanderbilt Divinity School is also a practicing lesbian (http://christiannews.net/2013/10/07/outspoken-lesbian-minister-promoted-to-dean-of-vanderbilt-divinity-school/) —is fully aware that Bishop Yvette Flunder is married to Shirley Miller. Dr. Harris is also aware that Bishop Flunder presides over 37-40 “welcome and affirming churches,” and she is affiliated with the United Churches of Christ denomination, that do not maintain the historic Baptist view that homosexuality is a sin, and the Bible is inspired, infallible, and inerrant.

For a Baptist college president to invite a lesbian bishop legally married to a woman, to be a guest speaker and worship leader on a Baptist college campus is irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God.

The National Baptist Convention needs to hold Dr. Forrest Harris accountable for his actions as it relates to the lack of wisdom involved; poor judgment displayed; the violation of the sacred trust exhibited; the failure to disclose this breech of Baptist tradition to the ABC Trustee Board, and the NBC constituency; failing to restrain his inner impulse to invite Bishop Flunder twice; and his failure to respect parental authority by not notifying the parents that he had chosen to expose their sons and daughters to a lesbian, legally-married bishop, on a Baptist college campus. It strains credulity to believe that Dr. Harris could not see that this decision was wrought with complexity, controversy, and complicity as it relates to the duality of the relationship that ABC has with NBC.

President Forrest Harris is heavily influenced by, and is heavily bringing the theological liberal views of Vanderbilt School of Divinity to ABC. Affirming same-sex marriage as ABC-Nashville has done by endorsing Bishop Flunder, is beyond the boundaries of Baptist/Evangelical thought.

This situation in Nashville is a scandal and travesty of the highest order, and a great disservice and injustice to the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., perpetrated by the American Baptist College. Therefore, the National Baptist Fellowship Of Concerned Pastors makes the following nine requests:

1. We are asking President Forrest Harris to rescind the invitation to Bishop Flunder to serve as a guest lecturer and worship leader at ABC in the upcoming Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, solely on the basis that she is a proud, practicing, and public advocate of same-sex marriage.

2. We are asking Dr. Jerry Young, the President of the National Baptist Convention, to release a statement that reveals to his constituents where he stands on the scheduled appearance of Bishop Yvette Flunder at ABC during this year’s lecture series at ABC. It is our belief that Dr. Young is not in support of a lesbian Bishop speaking at ABC. We are requesting that he publicly make his position known.

3. We are asking Dr. Jerry Young to remove from the National Baptist Convention website the promotion and advertising of Bishop Flunder’s appearance at ABC.

4. We are requesting that if President Harris insist on bringing Bishop Flunder—in spite of what we believe to be against the wishes and in violation of the belief of the vast majority of the National Baptists—then we are asking that the event be held somewhere other than facilities owned by the National Baptist Convention.

5. We are requesting of President Young and President Harris, if Dr. Harris move forward with Bishop Flunder’s scheduled appearance, then they inform in writing the students, parents, alumni, and all NBC pastors and churches, that for two consecutive years American Baptist College has invited a lesbian United Church of Christ bishop to lecture at our school. Integrity demands that parents of the students at ABC be informed of the marital status of Bishop Flunder. Integrity also demands that all NBCUSA Churches be officially informed of the marital status of Bishop Flunder.

6. We are requesting that President Forrest Harris provide answers to the following questions:

A. Is the pro-Gay lifestyle and same-sex marriage affirmed and taught as acceptable at ABC?

B. What is the current and historic position of the National Baptist Convention on the subject of same-sex marriage and the gay lifestyle? Has that position changed recently? Does the NBC believe that homosexual acts are sinful within or outside of a “marriage” context?

C. What was the dollar amount given to ABC from the NBC over the past 3-4 years?

D. If we send students to ABC, will they be taught in the classroom that same-sex marriage is acceptable and the gay lifestyle is an alternative lifestyle?

E. Dr. Harris and Dr. Young, are you aware that Dr. Yvette Flunder is a practicing lesbian, legally married to a woman?

F. Would the NBC constituency embrace their mission funds going in partial support to subsidize a practicing lesbian speaking at our college that we own and operate?

G. What is the governing relationship between ABC and NBC? Is the responsible party for Bishop Flunder speaking ABC or NBC?

The information in this Press Release was sent to Dr. Jerry Young, Dr. Fred Campbell, Dr. Forrest Harris and also to several members of the Board of Trustees of the American Baptist College. As of to date no response has been received.

Therefore, we feel as if we have no other recourse, but to make this public appeal, with the hopes that someone with knowledge and answers to these questions may provide them. Our churches, associations and state conventions need to know the answers to these questions. We are sure that there are pastors who would share our concerns also, that may be able to persuade President Harris to provide some answers.

7. We are encouraging fellow National Baptists and all Baptists who have any strong passions and convictions about this issue—no matter what they are—to contact the offices of President Forrest Harris and President Jerry Young and register their convictions about this matter. More importantly, we are encouraging all Baptists to add these concerns to your prayer list, and if you are so inclined these concerns can be added to your church’s prayer ministry requests.

The phone number and email addresses to Dr. Young’s office and Dr. Harris’ office are as follows:

Dr. Jerry Young, president@nationalbaptist.com,
Phone: (601) 362-6265, Fax: (601) 362-1854
New Hope Baptist Church, 5202 Watkins Drive, Jackson, MS 39206

Dr. Forrest E Harris, officeofthepresident@abcnash.edu,
Phone: (615) 256-1463, President and CEO, American Baptist College
1800 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207

8. We are asking the National Baptist Convention to hold Dr. Forrest Harris accountable for his actions.

9. We are also concerned about two proponents of same-sex marriage sharing the lecture platform with Bishop Flunder—Pastor Delman Coates, who successfully led the campaign to win the popular vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland, and Alan Bosaek who attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the South African Dutch Reformed Church to approve of gay-marriage. It appears that under the theme of “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice,” ABC is poised to promote implicitly same-sex marriage. Pastor Coates is scheduled to do a lecture on “Doing Justice” twice at ABC. He views the same-sex marriage issue as a “justice” issue. We view it as a moral issue. To redefine a sin issue as a justice issue is a serious spiritual violation and one that the NBC should not be a participant in, even by association.

The Forrest Harris’s same sex marriage issue is driven by a simple failure to believe and apply the Bible where the Bible speaks clearly and authoritatively. He has also opened the door for liberal theology of the worst kind to creep into the NBC. If what Dr. Harris has done is allowed to stand without accountability, he will inflict a wound and a debilitating disease upon the NBC with long-term and far-reaching consequences.

If there is a redeeming value to this scandal, it will force the NBC to take a stand on what we believe about biblical authority and application—at least on the issue of same-sex marriage—and that can’t help but be a good thing.

Our main reason for releasing this information to the public is so that history will record that a small group of NBC pastors went on record opposing the notion of a lesbian bishop lecturing at our institution—American Baptist College. Furthermore, we seriously want answers to the questions above and inasmuch as we could not get the answers from ABC we want anyone who has these answers to share them with us that we might share them with our constituencies.

Finally, thanks for your consideration of these matters. If there are other Baptist pastors and parishioners who want to add their names to this signatory list, we will provide a way for you to do that. Go to https://www.change.org/p/national-baptist-convention-usa-inc-and-american-baptist-college-your-signature-on-the-following-petition-is-documentation-that-president-forrest-harris-of-abc-and-president-jerry-young-of-the-national-baptist-convention-usa-inc-are-duly-notified-tha-2 .Your signature indicates that you are in support of the concerns and positions addressed in this statement. We will provide the entire list of signatures to Dr. Young, so that he will know where we stand, and so that history will not record that a lesbian bishop lectured at ABC for two consecutive years, and there was no registered, documented objectors to her appearance. Because Dr. Young believes in the authority of Scripture, we are confident that he will guide the NBC ship in the right direction.

The coordinating pastors, who are signing this list, do not officially or unofficially, in any way, represent the National Baptist Convention, Dr. Jerry Young (President). Each coordinator only represent themselves and perhaps the ministry that they are associated with. The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors has absolutely no official relationship with the National Baptist Convention. We are simply proud members of the National Baptist Convention who love it and are concerned about the ABC matter.

In the Will of God,
National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, Coordinators,

Pastor Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Cornerstone Church, 5415 Matlock Road, Arlington, TX 76108

Pastor Randy Vaughn, Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Port Arthur, TX

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: vgriffith@cbcarlington.org; Web: http://www.cbcarlington.org

Contact: Cheryl Brewer, InView Communications, Cell: 214-493-1180; Email: mscbrewer1@gmail.com