The Southern Baptist Convention is in the middle of an all-out war between traditional Christians and ‘woke’ Social Religionists, largely thanks to a misguided appointment of a key liberal leader at its flagship seminary, Albert Mohler. Believing him to be a conservative, Mohler appears to have been a latent liberal who – like many progressives who found themselves being the minority in the famed ‘Conservative Resurgence’ of the 1980s – kept his progressive beliefs to himself until, at such time, he could steer the denomination leftward.
Mohler, who has distanced himself from his once good friend and fellow pastor, Dr. John MacArthur – and event cast shade at the elder theologian in social media for holding the line on the doctrine of complementarianism (the belief that both genders are equal but have different God-assigned roles) – has done everything within his power to place his liberal minions in control of not only his seminary, but all five other Southern Baptist seminaries and each and every Southern Baptist entity. Mohler’s provost, Matthew Hall, was famously caught teaching Critical Theory – an ideology initially formulated by Marxists in the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism. Mohler deleted those videos, but then immediately extended Hall’s contract. Within months, Mohler had fired the last three professors at Southern Seminary who have stood against the racist views of Critical Theory.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, boasting 14 million members, roughly 4 million of whom are in church on any given Sunday. It contains roughly 40 thousand independent congregations, although that number is dwindling in recent years as conservative Christians have fled the denomination to join more conservative bodies or become independent churches without denominational affiliation. These believers have left the denomination over the leadership’s promotion of Critical Theory and abject liberalism. Denominational leaders like Russell Moore have lobbied for a Mosque to be built in New Jersey in the name of “religious liberty” while simultaneously demanding that Southern Baptist churches shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic and not lifting a finger with his Ethics and Religious Liberty Foundation to help pastors who have been arrested, detained, fined, or threatened for meeting to worship.
The first Southern Baptist Church in the United States to publicly leave the SBC over their bent toward liberalism was the Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Montana. Their departure, largely over a Critical Theory propaganda event called the MLK50 Conference (honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, who denied the deity of Christ, the resurrection, and the plenary inspiration of Scripture, made national and international news at the time. The Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney left the Montana Southern Baptist Convention several years previously, over demonstrable corruption within the MTSBC and North American Mission Board.
With leaders in the SBC picking sides prior to their June meeting, in which the denomination will consider over-turning Resolution 9 from several years previous (the resolution was a measure to support Critical Theory as a “helpful analytical tool”), it seems that Montana Southern Baptist Convention’s executive director, Barrett Duke, has chosen a side.
Duke replaced Floridian and disgraced former MTSBC president, Fred Hewitt, several years ago as Montana’s SBC director. Chiming in on social media regarding a controversy caused by SBC president, JD Greear, Duke repeated the Critical Theorist accusations that the SBC has not yet done enough to apologize for their support for slavery during their founding in 1845 and lead-up to the American Civil War. For the record, the Southern Baptist Convention messengers, which meet each summer there isn’t a viral chest cold going around, has officially apologized for slavery roughly 20 times since 1960. The Convention elected their first black president, Fred Luter of Louisiana, and first black president of its pastor’s conference, H.B. Charles, two years later. Nonetheless, some are still striving for reparations.
Some controversy has arisen from the SBC’s national president, JD Greear, a left-leaning pastor with a ‘frat boy’ persona who closed his church for COVID for most of the last year, when he unilaterally decided to retire a gavel used at Southern Baptist annual conventions for more than a century. The gavel belonged to John Broadus, one of the founders of the Convention, an astute Bible preacher for whom is named the chapel at Southern Seminary. But Broadus, like other SBC founders, held pro-slavery sentiments, believing that slavery was a more humane treatment of Africans when held by Christian masters that freeing them as impoverished and underprivileged people who would have to fend for themselves.
Clearly, Broadus was both theologically and pragmatically wrong on the subject, and the SBC has made amends on the subject since at least the beginning of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
Discussing the eradication of denominational history to reduce the “micro-aggressions” against perceived oppressed identity groups, Barrett spoke up in defense of erasing history for the sake of the fragile.
Barrett wrote, “The Broadus Gavel needs to stay in retirement. The last time I checked, we were still trying to reach African Americans with the gospel and trying to involve them in leadership in the Southern Baptist life. Why would we persist in celebrating a symbol associated with a man who participated in the brutal subjugation of their ancestors by our spiritual forbears?”
Thanks to the friends of Barrett in leadership, the SBC has invoked a quota system for choosing denominational leaders based upon the color of their skin, precisely the opposite of the color-blindness promoted by Dr. King.
Ironically, Barrett was silent as the Southern Baptist honored Dr. King, who was not only a heretic according to anyone vaguely familiar with Biblical orthodoxy, but a woefully permitted man who engaged in bi-sexual orgies, adultery, and plagiarized his doctoral thesis. Just as important to these other moral and theological failures, but King was sympathetic to the Communist Party, which is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th Century alone.
It seems that Barrett is indeed a respecter of persons, so long as those persons have a certain skin color.
Meanwhile, no Southern Baptist celebrates John Broadus because he was a slave-holder, but because he held to the inerrancy of Scripture, justification by faith, the autonomy of the local church, and other denominational distinctives. Like the race rioters that tore down statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln over last summer, Barrett is sympathetic with those trying to erase history.
Those clamoring the loudest to remove Southern Baptist history include most prominently Pastor Dwight McKissic, who provided travel for seminary students to the Ferguson race riots and, most recently, endorsed Joe Biden – and before him, Hillary Clinton – for president.
As Barrett claims in the above comment that he “doesn’t know where this will lead,” we do. It will lead Southern Baptists down the same road as the ELCA, UMC, American Baptists, and United Church of Christ, which have all abandoned the Gospel of Christ for Social Religion.
Racial disharmony was at a fever pitch during the days of the New Testament, most notably between Jews and Greeks. To solve this racial crisis, the Biblical authors did not posit theories from Marxists. Instead, the Apostle Paul wrote…
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)
That’s a message that Barrett Duke needs to understand. We will not find racial harmony by continuing to focus upon skin color, past grievances, and forgiven sins. Duke also needs to grasp that Montana is an incredibly conservative state, and perhaps he would be better off serving the Baptists in California or New England.