SBC Elections

Chris Salzman

June 11, 2008

I'm not a member of the SBC either. I'm not any kind of Baptist. I belong to another denomination that traces its roots to the Great Awakening. I did occasionally attend a Baptist Church in West Virginia, where a pastor trained in the American Baptist tradition observed "When you get two Baptists in a room, you have three opinions, but we can all fellowship and worship together." The SBC of course is the opposite of that confidence.<br><br>Let's be real about the SBC. It first separated itself out from other Baptists in the early 19th century, because the Baptist church generally condemned slavery and favored manumission with (not that they used this exact phrase) all deliberate speed. However, since the great revivals of the 18th century, some Baptists had become rich enough, and some plantations owners pious enough, that there were Baptists who had a serious economic investment in human capital. The SBC has, in one way or another, been imposing their own rigid notion of Biblical Truth ever since. True, they no longer endorse slavery, nor even racial discrimination, they have expressed appropriate regrets for their institutional predecessors' sins, but, they still reflect an approach to Truth that belies their ancestors' reliance on the Act of Toleration.<br><br>Jimmy Draper has it about right. You don't have to endorse prostitution to reach out to prostitutes, but you can't win them if you shun them. You can't find a consensus that most of your fellow citizens can live with on controversial subjects like abortion if you don't stop to listen to other sincere viewpoints, and then reiterate your own, taking what you just heard into consideration. If you get enthusiastic about the sound of your own voice proclaiming the virtues of Creation Science, you miss out on your brother or sister who gently suggests that evolutionary biology was first revealed in the first two chapters of Genesis.<br><br>The SBC has no obligation to cease teaching the literal truth of Biblical revelation. They might reconsider whether their particular assembly of fallible human beings is always right in its understanding of what they are all so diligently reading.

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