Some Christian leaders and academics are criticizing the Council of Seminary Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention for declaring in an approved resolution that critical race theory is incompatible with SBC beliefs.
The council did approve a statement in the Baptist Faith & Message denouncing racism, but the council also denounced critical race theory, the theory that race is a socially constructed concept and a framework of the relationship between race, law and power.
“In light of current conversations in the Southern Baptist Convention, we stand together on historic Southern Baptist condemnations of racism in any form and we also declare that affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message,” the council said.
The statement was part of the 20th-anniversary celebration of the adoption of the revised Baptist Faith & Message.
In response, some, including Dallas pastor Tony Evans, say they do not agree with the council’s decision.
“Members of the 2019 Resolution Committee of the SBC, without my awareness or permission, used my name in their recent Affirmation of Recent Statements from Christian Leaders on Critical Race Theory. Upon reading this affirmation, I need to state that their use of my name and what I said in a sermon titled Race & Reconciliation released on 11/15/20 needs clarification of what I fully said.
“But I did not say, nor imply, that CRT or other ideologies lack beneficial aspects—rather that the Bible sits as the basis for determining that. I have long taught that racism, and its ongoing repercussions, are real and should be addressed intentionally, appropriately and based on the authority of God’s inerrant word,” he added.
Evans also said the “misunderstanding” did not change his “respect for the SBC.”
John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College, called the statement “another example of Southern Baptist anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism.”
Jemar Tisby, president of the black Christian group The Witness, said the statement shows the SBC’s “commitment to whiteness.”
“The seminary presidents could have simply acknowledged the 20th anniversary of the Baptist Faith and Message’s adoption and stated that they remain dedicated to its doctrines. Instead, they focused on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Intersectionality. By highlighting ‘Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory’ as particularly acute threats to Southern Baptist orthodoxy, the seminary presidents take aim at virtually anyone who advocates for racial justice beyond hugs, handshakes, and symbolic statements,” he said.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.