An Open Response to “A Statement on Justice, Repentance, and the SBC”

This morning I read a statement released by leaders I respect called, ”A Statement on Justice, Repentance, and the SBC.” I am thankful to my friends for such a gracious and important statement. I encourage all Great Commission Baptists to carefully and soberly consider these words. The SBC was founded with the unjust and ungodly assumptions about race, and even though we have acknowledged and repudiated these injustices, we recognize sin, being a reproach to any people, leaves a long tail of destruction. It corrupts our institutions and subtly shapes our perspectives in ways that deserve careful introspection and humble listening. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. I, for one, remain committed to a posture of humility and leading from it as God enables me. I need my brothers and sisters of color in the body of Christ, and our witness is greatly diminished without each other.

We recognize that though worldly philosophies like Critical Race Theory arise from worldviews in direct conflict with our own, there are often things we can learn from questions raised and observations made. These are things we can discuss openly and learn together. As we do, we remain committed to judging all things by the Scriptures and bringing every thought captive to Christ. We must not default to labeling believers who parse certain questions differently “Marxist” or “racist.” This uncharitable spirit is not only intellectually lazy, it is a sin against the body of Christ. Great Commission Baptists can remain united around the inerrancy, supremacy, and sufficiency of the Scriptures, even as we vigorously discuss the helpfulness and applicability of various insights.

We lament not only the damage left by the sins of our ancestors, but I also lament my own sluggishness in addressing ongoing pain in the lives of my brothers and sisters caused by the legacy of sin. As those committed to our glorious gospel, we must fight against anything that diminishes the image of God in our fellow man, anything that hinders full restoration, and anything that undermines the truth that in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, we are all one in Christ Jesus. Wherever we find damage caused by the legacy of sin, we must be committed to pursuing healing and restoration.

In the two and a half years I have served as President, I have found that Great Commission Baptists across this nation long for greater diversity in our convention and for that diversity to be reflected in our leadership. We believe it is profoundly scriptural: Our leadership should reflect the diversity of our communities and proclaim the diversity of Christ’s coming kingdom (Acts 13:1–2; Revelation 7:9). To that end, I have aggressively sought to appoint people of color into trustee spots and other positions of influence. Gospel unity across ethnic diversity is God’s plan for his church (Ephesians 3:10–11), and we yearn for it. I lament that our past actions and often present dullness hinders that, and I pray for God’s grace and mercy to bring his church to the unity the Spirit desires for us.