A former leader in the Southern Baptist Convention says while the denomination values ethnic and racial diversity, it values fidelity to Scripture's teachings far more.
Lawrence Ware, co-director of the Center for African Studies at Oklahoma State University and diversity coordinator of the philosophy department, recently penned a New York Times op-ed to explain he is cutting ties with the Southern Baptists because of perceived racism, despite the passage of a resolution at the annual convention meeting last month condemning white supremacy. His piece is also critical of the fact that LGBTQ activists were not allowed to participate in the annual meeting:
"For all of its talk about the love of Jesus Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention's inaction on the issues of racism and homophobia has drowned out its words."
Near the end of his op-ed he writes, "I love the church, but I love black people more."
Dr. Richard Land, former head of The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says Southern Baptists will not compromise on what the Bible says about gender and sexuality.
"We've gone from being virtually an all-white denomination as late as 1975 to being a denomination now that is almost 20 percent ethnic," he comments regarding the accusations of racism. "That's an extraordinary change. It's better than any other major denomination in the country. But we are not going to compromise our doctrinal beliefs on the altar of racial and ethnic diversity."
Ware ministers at a church in Oklahoma City that is aligned with both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. He states in his op-ed that he will remain involved with the latter but will no longer be a part of the church's involvement in the SBC.
Ware admits in his piece that he did not attend the annual meeting where the issue of the so-called alt-right and white nationalism was addressed. Dr. Land, however, was there as the SBC "roundly condemned racism."
"It's difficult for me to comprehend how anyone can objectively ... honestly and fairly accuse the Southern Baptist Convention of racism," he submits.
Land, currently the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, was the principal author of the 1995 SBC resolution apologizing for its past support of racism and slavery.
He adds that Southern Baptists are focused on evangelizing and discipling to all.