Stone had fought aggressively, including speaking in churches across the country and even performing at Fox & Friends the Tuesday before the vote. And the Conservative Baptist Network had encouraged supporters to attend the meeting as voting delegates.
But in the end, the message that seemed to resonate with voters that Stone – who supported a motion to reject critical racial theory, an academic construct designed to shape systemic racism targeted by religious and political conservatives – seemed a divisive choice was.
“We’re a family, and at times it seems like an incredibly dysfunctional family.” Litton said after the results were announced. “But we love each other.”
The two-day meeting will end on Wednesday when delegates will discuss proposals for a full review of the SBK’s response to abuse in their churches, an issue that has recently erupted with secret records and leaked letters with top executives.
Also on Tuesday, the delegates rejected a proposal that would have explicitly denounced the critical race theory. Instead, they approved a consensus measure that does not mention it by name but rejects any view that sees racism as rooted in “something other than sin”.
The move also confirmed a 1995 resolution apologizing for the history of racism in a denomination founded in 1845 to support slavery and apologizing for “condoning and / or condoning individual and systemic racism in our lifetime perpetuate”.
A white delegate called on the convention to denounce critical racial theory by name and said it found him “guilty of the melanin content of my skin.” However, another argued that the convention should not be swayed by a political movement that has already seen some state lawmakers banning the teaching of CRT.
“If some people in this room were as passionate about the gospel as they were about critical racial theory, we would win this world to Christ,” said James Merritt, chairman of the resolution committee and past president of Congress.
Several black pastors have voiced their frustration over critical racial theory debates in the SBC rather than the denomination facing systemic racism itself.
On the issue of sexual abuse, Tennessee pastor Grant Gaines, speaking with a survivor by his side, suggested a task force that would oversee a review of the denomination’s actions – a broader investigation than the SBC’s Executive Committee announced last week .
“I stand with SBC church abuse survivors,” said Gaines.
The convention overwhelmingly approved a resolution stating that “any person who has committed sexual abuse shall be permanently excluded from the office of pastor.”
Opponents had argued that this precluded the possibility of repentance and conversion of an abuser, but proponents of the resolution committee emphasized a biblical ordinance that pastors are “above reproach.”
Churches are self-governing, and critics say the denomination hasn’t done enough to shut out churches that abuse abuse cases.
Voters finally approved constitutional amendments, excluding churches that affirmed ethnic discrimination or acted against the “beliefs of the convention regarding sexual abuse”. It was still to be discussed how these abuse norms are to be applied in practice.
In an enthusiastically applauded address, outgoing President J.D. Greear, himself a target of criticism, “the defamation, bias, character assassination and baseless accusations” that some SBC leaders have endured. While denouncing liberalism, he also criticized what he viewed as the pursuit of power and division on secondary issues.
The SBC cannot be a “cultural affinity group” or “voting bloc,” Greear said, but must focus on its spiritual mission.
Regarding Critical Racial Theory, he said it stems from “a worldview that contradicts the gospel,” but he noted “color leaders who tell us that our accusations of justice movements fall on deaf ears when we keep silent about the suffering of our neighbors “. . “
Pastor Bryan Kent of Compass Church in Mason, Michigan, praised Greears’ remarks, saying that if critical racial theory “has an echo of the truth among our brothers and sisters of color … we should not be in a rush to judge it.”