If you’re like me and you’re not a member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), you might think the convention’s direction isn’t important.
But you would be wrong—and many unbelievers would say the same.
Recently, especially after the sexual abuse report last month, the media have stressed the SBC’s crucial role in shaping evangelicalism in America. After all, with almost 14 million members and almost 48,000 churches—the Southern Baptist convention is the biggest Christian denomination in America.
Therefore earlier this week, Vox published an article titled “Why the Southern Baptist sexual abuse scandal is such a big deal”. Vox said: “problems within the SBC aren’t just the problems of the SBC. They’re problems within evangelical churches more broadly — and within America.”
If unbelievers care about what happens within the SBC, all believers should care about it too. After all, the SBC’s recent history with critical race theory is one of the major reasons why many evangelicals have abandoned a Biblical theology on race and justice.
The SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) organized the MLK50 Conference in 2018 (with The Gospel Coalition). Then at their annual meeting the following year in 2019, the SBC adopted critical race theory as merely “a set of analytical tools that explain how race has and continues to function in society.”
The SBC’s relationship with critical race theory undeniably influenced many evangelicals to embrace the ideology, especially after the George Floyd protests in 2020. Therefore the direction of the SBC is emblematic of the direction of evangelicalism.
That is why you and I should care about the SBC’s annual meeting this Sunday to Wednesday, especially since they will have an opportunity to dramatically change their direction by electing Tom Ascol as their president and Voddie Baucham as the president of their Pastors’ Conference.
Tom Ascol is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. He is also the president of Founders Ministries and Institute of Public Theology. He’s been a faithful teacher and advocate for Biblical and Baptist values for many years. In fact, he started addressing much of the theological and cultural issues I write about before I was born. His track record on the sufficiency of scripture has been a blessing to me, and it will be a bigger blessing to the SBC if they elect him as their president.
Voddie Baucham is the Dean of the School of Divinity at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. And he’s the author of my favourite book in 2021, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe. Many of you know that as one of my heroes in the faith, Voddie Baucham has significantly impacted my theology, worldview, and apologetics. Like Tom Ascol, he will be a blessing to the SBC if they elect him as the president of their Pastors’ Conference.
So even if you’re not a member of the SBC, you should absolutely care about its future—especially the annual meeting next week. Pray that Tom Ascol and Voddie Baucham would secure the votes they need to change the direction of the SBC.
And if you’re a member of the SBC, consider heading to Anaheim next week to advocate and vote for these two men. Just as their ministries have already changed many churches’ directions on critical race theory, feminism, and other worldly philosophies—they would also help change the direction of your convention.