To members and delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention 2017 Annual Meeting in Phoenix AZ: We will be there!
How do Southern Baptists overcome the internal strife over Russell Moore’s new slant on issues, Donald Trump, and the “Sin of Racism.” And, how do you reverse the stampede of your youths leaving the SBC, as recently discussed in the Atlantic? You need to give your youth causes they can understand. No logically-minded teenager can understand Pro-life, and in the same breath, Pro-War. A war-willing message from the pulpit is the ultimate selective racism, that has been the Southern Baptist position for many years. No wonder you are losing your youth!
*WHTT.ORG visited your annual meeting in Phoenix some years ago when the SBC had millions more members than you have today, and, those now missing from your ranks are your future. At that time, your issues-leader, Richard L. Land, had taken an official position in favor of the attack on Iraq. He also supported Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. But, for every war killing of a native in Iraq or Afghanistan, Southern Baptists have lost about one member! You should always be for all life, unborn and born, and of all colors and religions, including Muslims! That is how you can overcome the “Sin of Racism” and get your youth back in the pews and occupying your pulpits. Do what makes sense to those who read Jesus words!
Where are the Peacemakers? This year’s delegates are older, and, it’s time to be wiser. Look around you. Are you losing your young people because you haggle over the precepts of men, not those of Jesus? Listen to Jesus’ words: “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.’ He (Jesus) answered them, ‘And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…. This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Matthew 15:2-3, 9 .
Southern Baptists, don’t be Pharisees. Tolerance of war is ignoring the killing of innocents and is a position of men, never of Jesus! This author was a Southern Baptist Deacon when I wrote the following words in 1990, days before the first bombing of Iraq: “May God forgive us if, by our inaction, we allow genocide against Muslim women and children and the sacrifice of even one of our own children. The average Christian could not even tell you the name of the deposed King of Kuwait, or provide a single reason why we should sacrifice the life of one American boy to put him back in power…”
In recent years no less then five major Christian denominations have signed various pro-peace initiatives delivered to Congress. The SBC was never a signer. But, to oppose war, you must recognize that there are men in power who want and need war to further their own ends. Some of these may be Sunday Southern Baptists!
The apostle Paul wrote of civil government: “Render to all their due. To whom tax, tax, to whom tribute, tribute, to whom fear, fear, to whom honor, honor. To no one owe anything except love one another, for he who is loving another is fulfilling the law.” Romans 13: 7-8 *
Yes, Paul was talking about civil government when he warned us to be discerning. We must recognize who has the power to take tax and demand tribute (bribes) from us. We are to fear, but not to yield to those with power to terrorize us; and, to honor only those who deserve it. Do your politicians in Washington deserve your honor and trust? Ask your youth and they will set you straight!
Do not be naive, delegates, but know that when you turn and oppose war, you will be standing against those Jesus warned us of, who want and use wars. Don’t yield to them, but recognize that Jesus is greater!
Charles E Carlson (email@example.com)
1. “Southern Baptists and the Sin of Racism,” Emma Green, 4/7/2015, the Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/southern-baptists-wrestle-with-the-sin-of-racism/389808/
2. “Southern Baptists see 9th year of membership decline,” Travis Loller, 6/7/2016, AP: https://apnews.com/e1afa2371ff44136ae3683ff0eb8c6e7/southern-baptists-see-9th-year-membership-decline
3. “Where do Southern Baptists go when they leave? The answer in one chart,” Tobin Grant, 66/28/2016, Religion News Service: http://religionnews.com/2016/06/28/southern-baptist-gains-and-losses-in-one-chart/
4. “Russel Moore and the Fight for the Soul of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Emma Green, 3/14/2017, the Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/russell-moore-southern-baptist-convention/519540/
5. “Vigil at First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale ” for peace, Charles Carlson, 11/10/2002: https://whtt.org/our-first-event-first-southern-baptist-church-20021002/
6. “Iraq: Americans Prepped for ‘War’ A letter to Southern Baptists Deacons and Leaders Everywhere,” Charles Carlson, Baptist Deacon, 12/26/1990: https://whtt.org/iraq-american-prepped-for-war/
7. We Hold These Truths Vigil reported in 2003: “Peace Monger,” Tony Ortega, 2/13/2003, New Times: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/peace-monger-6409337
*Concordant (Greek) Literal New Testament Romans 13: 7,8
Here is an accompanying flier that is designed to challenge Christian Zionist dogma using the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. The actual, half page, handout flier can be down loaded here.