Many of you may be aware that the Southern Baptist Convention met for its annual meeting this past week. You may also know that it has been called an “historic” meeting because we elected the first African American president. Since the convention’s founding dates just prior to the Civil War, and since we came from the Southern end of things, people have for years acted as if somehow the SBC was the KKK or something. So this is a big deal.
For me, personally, I detest racism in any form, and in one sense focusing on Dr. Fred Luter as the “first African American president of the SBC” instead of simply a godly man called to lead our convention has its own little racist quality. Still, I’m happy for him, happy for the SBC, and this “first” is a good thing overall.
My problem with the state of the SBC has nothing to do with race, but rather where we take our stands theologically. One resolution that was introduced for adoption was called On Biblical Scholarship And The Doctrine Of Inerrancy.
In part it said: RESOLVED, That we affirm our belief specifically in the direct creation and historicity of Adam and Eve and in a literal, space-time fall of mankind into sin.
One messenger got up and asked that we add a phrase to the resolution, so that it would say something like “we affirm our belief specifically in the direct creation of all matter in six twenty four hour days and....” Sorry if that’s not exact, I was listening online and since the amendment was defeated, I have no written version. That’s right, the amendment was defeated. Spoken against by the resolutions committee and then defeated by the convention as a whole.
So, in essence, what the resolution says is that we believe the Bible to be true and without error, except for Genesis 1. The committee’s response to the amendment was that there are those within our ranks who disagree over the meaning of Genesis 1, which I assume means there are those who believe in evolution, and so we don’t want to use to restrictive language.
God created the heavens and the earth, various things on each of six “days” Genesis 1 says, and at the end of each we read that “it was evening and it was morning, the first day” or the second day, etc. Evening and morning implies one actual day. Six specific days are listed. But even though we say we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, we can’t say we believe in a literal six day creation.
The only reason not to believe what the text says is if we are trying to placate that brand of “science” which claims that life came over millions of years. For life to have happened over that time would require death and decay for those millions of years, which means there was death before sin, even though sin was the cause of death.
Furthermore, God created all things and called it good. If there was already death and decay, ergo sin, then how could it be called good. The plain reading of the Genesis text is that God created all things in a six day period, that man fell into sin bringing death to himself and to all creation, that death and decay then happened bringing creation to its current state of being.
At one time, Southern Baptists believed in a God capable of doing exactly what He says He did in Scripture. We used to believe the text was the truth. We used to say that ALL Scripture is God breathed, inerrant. Now, we apparently believe it only becomes inerrant after Genesis 1.
The SBC has truly come a long way. Electing an African American president is a wonderful step in the right direction. Too bad we turned around and where it really counts took a major step in the wrong direction.