The theme this year at the Southern Baptist Convention seems to be ‘let’s be diverse’. I’m not so sure, though, that electing a black man to the First Vice President position is really diversity. To be sure, lots of tweets from the Convention are touting the election as though it were some sort of major breakthrough.
But electing one black man to one position of prominence and calling it diversity is like walking through a mall and buying a pair of sunglasses and calling yourself a ‘power shopper’.
Furthermore, though the quest for diversity is desirable (certainly!) and though the election of minorities to positions of leadership is meaningful and necessary (absolutely!) it will do nothing to curb the decline of the SBC. That because the decline isn’t based on some sort of lack of diversity. The SBC is in decline because too many have decided that being popular is more important than being biblical. The preaching of the gospel has been replaced with pandering to the perceived needs of the seekers.
In other words, the SBC has been hijacked by the ‘seeker sensitive’ movement in an operation that has been subtle and clever. This is precisely the reason that the SBC elects mega church pastors to its leadership positions. Mega churches are anthropocentric rather than theocentric and are consequently more concerned with being one stop shopping malls for spiritual wants than bastions of Christian doctrine and worship.
The decline of the SBC will be reversed when Churches return to their biblical roots; not when the SBC becomes more willing to compromise with society in order to appear relevant. The quest for relevance sans biblical rootedness is the cancer killing the SBC and all other Christian denominations as well.
UPDATE: Oops… seems the optimism at the election of the first black VP was a bit historically uninformed. As the editor of the Baptist and Reflector notes – Fred Luter is not the first African American to be elected as an SBC VP. Gary Frost was a VP in the 1990s. Messengers are excited about nothing. And the election of a black VP didn’t muster much change in the 90’s.
- Southern Baptists are putting fewer people in the pews (chron.com)
- Reasons I’m Glad I’m Not at the SBC in Phoenix (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- More from the Annual Meeting of the SBC… (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Southern Baptists poised for historic election (thegrio.com)