The Southern Baptist Convention and “Resolution #9”

Christian blogger and pastor Trevin Wax shared some details of the Southern Baptist Convention committee regarding recent discussions surrounding “critical race theory” (CRT) and “intersectionality” (I) on his Twitter account. He writes, “The Committee received a resolution on this issue and decided to speak to it in a way that warned against absolutizing CRT/I as a worldview and yet remained cautious to not condemn all insights that could be gleaned from CRT/I (subordinate to Scripture).

Speaking as a Christian millennial, it is well thought-out and balanced post, and I applaud the SBC’s decision regarding the matter. Below is a copy of the Twitter thread, slightly edited to omit certain sections that I deemed not as vital to the body’s main argument. I hope to follow up with some further commentary regarding the state of social justice conversations in both the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the American Baptist Churches (ABC), both of which had had denomination-wide summits this past month.

“I had the privilege this year in serving on the #SBC19 Resolutions Committee under the leadership of Dr. Curtis Woods. I’ve been [pleasantly] surprised by all the conversation surrounding Resolution #9, and I’d like to add some clarity as to the deliberations of the committee.

The Committee received a resolution on this issue and decided to speak to it in a way that warned against absolutizing CRT/I as a worldview and yet remained cautious to not condemn all insights that could be gleaned from CRT/I (subordinate to Scripture). I’m baffled by headlines that claim the Committee was praising, or promoting, or pushing CRT/I. This is simply not true. Words mean something, and to twist the resolution’s words in this way misrepresents the Committee’s work. There are limited insights we can receive from fields of psychology (which, ideologically, is often outside a Christian worldview) or statistical analysis or sociology, etc. When missiologists do demographic and statistical work, they must understand the overlapping identities or perspectives of the people they seek to evangelize. The resolution’s carefully qualified limited use of CRT/I is speaking to descriptive analysis; not ideological analysis. In no way was the Committee adopting or promoting CRT/I as a worldview. The resolution makes that clear. Everyone—and I emphasize this fact—on the Committee would agree that the origins of CRT/I come from worldviews opposed to the gospel. No disagreement there whatsoever.

Still, that does not mean that every observation issuing from CRT/I is wrong, sinful, or unhelpful for how Christians understand the world. Hence the language of “truthful insights” the resolution employs. Discernment requires the careful sifting of what is good from what is bad. The resolution as it stands is explicit that biblical sufficiency trumps any misuse of CRT/I. Any use of CRT/I that would seek to subvert a category of Scripture would be forbidden. Hence, where CRT/I may speak of “oppression,” the resolution would grant that the category of oppression is present in Scripture (i.e., the Jews were oppressed in Egypt) but that “oppression” as a category is insufficient to see the world through or to understand one’s identity.

One last thing — Resolution 9 clearly establishes human identity in the image of God and for all redeemed humanity, our common identity, together eternally united to Christ, acknowledging the Bible addresses people based on individual characteristics. Thus, it would repudiate all forms of identity politics and any ideology that establishes fundamental human identity on anything other than our created dignity in God’s image.

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