The president of the Southern Baptist Convention dropped a strange term this week while attending a meeting with the denomination's Executive Committee.
On Monday, J.D. Greear talked to the SBC Executive Committee about the theme he chose for this summer's Annual Meeting in Orlando, urging them to focus on "Gospel Above All." But during a series of tweets that evening, he tweeted the following:
"Healing racial wounds and achieving gospel diversity takes patience and perseverance." @jdgreear
Several respondents on Twitter took the SBC leader to task for the statement – in particular his phraseology "gospel diversity." One called it "nonsense" … another said "gospel is not an adjective!" … and another suggested Greear "stop all the pop psychology mumbo jumbo." Like them, Southern Baptist pastor and apologist Dr. Alex McFarland is puzzled by the phrase.
"I get really nervous when I hear a term like 'gospel diversity,'" he begins. "In my Bible there's a verse, Jude 3, that speaks of "the faith once delivered to the saints." There is no diversity in the gospel. We repent, we believe, we put our faith in the Son of God."
This comes as scores of Southern Baptist pastors and lay people are expressing concern that the denomination is drifting to the left – a charge Greear and other SBC leaders deny. But McFarland says those same leaders' rhetoric makes their denial hard to believe.
"If we're going to be true to the Lord and deaf to the changing tides of progressive, liberal, relativistic culture, we've got to get away from terms like 'diversity' and 'wokeness' and 'social justice,'" he advises.
McFarland says the Southern Baptist Convention needs to self-correct – quickly. "Southern Baptists have always been about preaching the gospel," he points out, "and we'd better get back to that if we want to hope to have the favor and the blessing of God."
A new group has formed within the SBC to challenge the perceived drift to the left. The Conservative Baptist Network of Southern Baptists signed up 2,500 churches in its first two days of existence.
The SBC's Annual Meeting is taking place June 9-10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.