Most every group has its “aha moment” at some point. In theater it’s known as the denouement — the moment that everything becomes clear, or at least it’s going to need to become clear because of the crisis at hand in the movie or play.
Perhaps now is that time for the Southern Baptist Convention. I have been a Baptist — a Southern Baptist, at that — my entire life. And for most of my life have been proud to be just that.
But let’s be clear: I’m a Christ-follower first and foremost, as I have heard Baptists say all of my life. Meaning it shouldn’t be difficult to say we follow Christ first; we simply happen to be such-and-such denomination.
As a denomination, Southern Baptists have done much to put missionaries all over the world and arguably are at the top of the list when it comes to reaching other nations and people in a practice way for the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
So, I have been able to justify, to some extent, the power grabs that began a couple decades back, telling myself that there is in fact a difference between theological arguments regarding the Bible, we view our approach to governance differently, and the list goes on almost ad nauseam.
In fact, the church I pastor is an SBC church and we contribute to both it and our state convention, despite the hurtful and incorrect information often put out at the state level. In fact, despite our official Missouri Baptist publication looking more like a propaganda piece for a political party, I am still able to see more good than harm.
At the moment.
However, it’s time to make some shifts as a denomination. It’s time to elect someone to head up the SBC who is interested in scriptural accuracy when it comes to race relations; someone who is interested in leading with the heart of Christ over any other motivation.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President and SBC presidential candidate Albert Mohler may be tempted to call me names as he did the Word&Way editor, but he’s the not the right man to lead the SBC forward — not even close. His history on race, lack of empathy/understanding, political obeisance, and seemingly spiritual arrogance would be a disaster for the SBC.
We have other choices when the time comes for a new SBC president. The denomination needs change now more than ever.
Christopher Dixon is chief operating officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo. He is also a Word&Way trustee.