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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!

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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.

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