This article by J.D. Hall almost made me sick, then it did make me angry, and then confused, and finally curious.
Hall points out how SBC leaders such as Al Mohler and Russell Moore are calling for the removal of the Confederate flag while overlooking the fact that the SBC, as well as SBTS, was formed in order to justify Christian slaveholders. His essential argument is that
Just as – The Confederate flag represents Southerners’ desires to uphold the institution of slavery, and therefore it must be taken down.
So also – The SBC was formed by Southern Christians’ desires to uphold within the church the institution of slavery, therefore…….
He concludes by saying the SBC should acknowledge its hypocrisy, but then he says we should not dispense with the SBC, for “sin within a certain heritage doesn’t negate what else may lay within that heritage that is worth salvaging.”
The only argument against this article that I can can up with is that those Christians who founded the SBC were not characterized solely by pro-slavery sentiment. Rather, they were Christians first. Their primary cause in starting the SBC was not primarily to uphold slavery but primarily to continue missions as Christians in good standing with the local church. The Baptist convention then had no right or authority over the local churches to arbitrate rules beyond itself such as who is and is not a Christian.
However, if this argument holds any weight for the SBC, then it must also hold weight for the Confederacy:
Those Southerners who founded the Confederacy were not characterized solely by pro-slavery sentiment. Rather, they were Confederates first. Their primary cause in starting the Confederacy was not to uphold slavery but to continue Constitutional government and sovereignty among the several states. The federal government then had no right or authority over the several states to arbitrate unenumerated powers such as taxation and who can secede.
So my conclusion is similar to Hall’s, though I hope less biting. Yet again, if I am less critical to the one, should I not also be less critical and harsh to the other? I don’t really know where else to go with this. If anything it shows a double standard in myself. Any thoughts are welcomed.