After Baltimore: Two Recommendations for our Trustees on Increasing Diversity in the SBC

by Todd Benkert on June 16, 2014 · 215 comments

One of the under-the-surface themes at the Convention this year was the increased desire among messengers to move past the issue of race and see a growing diversity in SBC involvement and leadership. Among the many positive indications of an increasing racial/ethnic diversity and unity in the Convention, I noted the following in Baltimore:

  • Fred Luter completed his historic presidency as the first non-Anglo leader of the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • A Korean nominee, Dennis Kim, was a serious candidate for his successor and made a strong showing garnering more than 40% of the vote.
  • The IMB report highlighted work among Cuban people and NAMB noted that of the 936 church plants in 2013, more than half were non-Anglo starts.
  • Messengers approved a resolution “On the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act” that again acknowledged the sins of our past and an affirmation “That we thank God for the increased racial and ethnic diversity within Southern Baptist life” over the past 50 years.
  • Outgoing president of the African American fellowship, A.B. Vines urged not merely participation, but an increased stake by African Americans in SBC life including sacrificial giving to the CP, increased missions involvement and servant leadership in the Convention.
  • The Cooperative Program booth featured panel discussions on urban ministry and ethnic diversity and featured a “Many Faces” exhibit to highlight the racial and ethnic diversity in the SBC.
  • Messenger Kris Burns made a motion that the Convention Program move to a multi-ethnic worship style and, though messengers voted to refer the motion, the Committee on Order of Business presented it’s worship leader for SBC15: Mexican-American “Global Worship Leader” Julio Arriola.

All of these are positive signs. Southern Baptists are demonstrating their desire for a Convention that reflects the demographic diversity of our communities and that pursues the heavenly vision of one people of God from every people, tribe, tongue and nation. Beginning with the 1995 Resolution on Racial Reconciliation, Southern Baptists have continually expressed this desire, and have moved steadily in practical ways to build a more racially and ethnically diverse Convention.

I am thankful for the progress we have made thus far. I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Convention and left with a sense of unity and purpose and a bright hope for our future. I trust our current leadership and have faith in the trustee system. Because this is a blog post, however, let me share my personal opinion and recommendation for two of our entity boards. Coming out of SBC14, I see two opportunities I believe our trustees have to make major steps forward in this quest toward God-honoring diversity.

1. I would urge the IMB presidential search team to choose a person of color to lead our International Mission Board.

As the center of the global missions movement moves from the West to the East and South, there are other strategic missiological reasons for choosing a non-Anglo president, but that is a subject for another post. For this discussion, I believe that the next major step in seeing diversity in SBC leadership is for a person of color to head one of our SBC entities. This vacancy at the IMB is our best opportunity, and likely last for a while, to do so. While I would not make this particular appointment a litmus test of our commitment to diversity in leadership, and we do indeed need the “best man for the job” in this important role, I would urge the committee to be intentional in seeking out candidates that are non-Anglo.  If David Uth and the search committee desires input from the messengers, count this messenger as one who would like to see you hire one of our many well-qualified, passionate, gospel-loving, missiologically sound, non-Anglo Southern Baptists to lead the IMB in reaching the nations for Christ.

2. I would urge the Executive Committee to move quickly on the motion made by messenger Alan Cross. In light of the 20-year anniversary of the resolution on racial reconciliation, his motion would form a task forceto assess our current progress in pursuing Biblical racial reconciliation within our convention and to make concrete recommendations to the messengers regarding how Southern Baptists, facilitated by the Convention’s entities and seminaries, may better reach, make disciples, and raise up leadership from and among diverse racial and ethnic groups in North America.” Such a task force is timely in light of the coming 20-year mark since we first took major steps toward racial reconciliation. This task force would help us to get a real, comprehensive assessment of our progress rather than an anecdotal assessment like the first part of this post. Are we making real progress? How much progress? How are we doing at our entities, our seminaries, our State Conventions, our churches? What further steps do we need to take? How can individual churches be involved in this process? These are all questions the task force could report to us in 2015.

I would have liked this motion to come to the floor in Baltimore, not to force the EC’s hand, but under a realization that the work of a Task Force takes time to complete, and delay makes a report for next year’s Convention more difficult. For this reason, I urge the Executive Committee not only to take up Cross’ motion, but to do so quickly.

____

All in all, I am pleased with what seems to be positive progress in our goal toward racial and ethnic diversity in the SBC. My prayer is that we keep moving forward. These are merely two suggestions for how we can do just that.

{ 215 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joseph Spurgeon June 16, 2014 at 12:33 pm

What exactly does the IMB president do? Would it be something that Dr. Kim could do?

Reply

2 volfan007 June 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Dr. Kim is exactly who I was thinking might need to be seriously looked at. A man, who has led his CHURCH, to do so much global outreach, could surely lead the SBC IMB to do more to reach the world for Christ.

David

Reply

3 Joel June 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Great and accurate post Todd. Agreed on all points.

Reply

4 Andrew June 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Should not the next IMB President be based upon their ability to lead the IMB not upon the color of there skin?

Reply

5 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Andrew, I don’t think we need to choose the one to the exclusion of the other. I am suggesting we choose a non-Anglo Southern Baptist who is able to lead the IMB. Certainly race should not be the sole or even most important criteria for choosing a leader — but I am suggesting that at this point in our history as a Convention, that our goals toward racial/ethnic diversity in leadership can only be achieved if we intentionally pursue that diversity when choosing our leaders. Thus, I suggest that the search committee take race/ethnicity into account and intentionally seek a capable non-Anglo leader as our next IMB president.

Reply

6 Dwight McKissic June 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Andrew,

Would you really believe that it would be fair or right; and would it be acceptable to you if all of the entity heads were all Asian; or all Hispanic; or all African Americans? This is the scenario that you are asking the Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans to accept.

Consequently, that explains why you have the separate ethnic fellowships that divert money, time, and energy from the CP. But, because ethnic groups feel as if, and are marginalized in the SBC, they often place their energy, funds, focus, and even identity with the SBC to the ethnic fellowships, as oppose to the convention itself. I predict all if the ethnic fellowships would die, or simply become like alumni gatherings at the SBC, when and if the day comes that ethnic minorities no longer feel disenfranchised and marginalized at the entity head level, and within the SBC as a whole.

Please specifically answer the question regarding your comfort level with all entity heads being ethnic minorities. Thanks.

Reply

7 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Dr. Dwight
I am not Andrew, but I for one am not comfortable with the situation for the reasons that are most noted.

There are also many other factors such as what I mentioned already (June 16, 3:08).

It was 21 years ago today that I was appointed by the then HMB to serve here in Montana, that has put me in a very reflective mood. I say that to say, now is the time for SB to pray and seek God’s will as we have never done before.

It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that this selection rise above denominational politics.

Reply

8 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I would not call it “denominational politics” but an intentional choice to build unity in the Convention by demonstrating in practice what we have claimed is our desire.

Reply

9 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Todd
For clarity my “denominational politics” statement was not direct to what you posted. I was adding that line of thinking in addition to what you said, because the things I mentioned seem to have been the criteria for selection in the past. It was meant to support your statement in that if we follow the process of the past we will not have a man of color.

I do want to be clear. while I would highly favor a man of ethnicity I would not be in favor of predetermining that he must be such. I say again “God’s man” must be prayed down..

10 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Thanks for the clarification. It seems, then, that we are in agreement

11 Andrew June 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Bro Dwight
I have no problem with a person of a differant race being the head of any organization, church, or entity within the SBC. I have dear friends that come from many differant ethnic backgrounds and countries.

What I am troubled by is putting someone in a position only because of there race. This is troubling no matter the organization. A person should be president of the IMB because they meet the necessary spiritual qualifications, they have a heart for missions, and they have the ability to mobilize the missionaries.

I live in a community that is separated racially in our churches. We have our black churches and we have our white churches. I hate this arrangement. It is ungodly and sinful. I have gotten criticized heavily for preaching against this arrangement. Please do not take my comment as being racist or against ethnic leadership beacause I am all for it but it should be based upon merit not based upon the color of ones skin. By the way I was very much in favor of Dr. Luter being our president and I voted for bro. Kim for president last week breaking with Dr. Mohler who I have great respect for

Reply

12 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Andrew,

Thanks for your response. Breaking from Dr. Mohler had to be somewhat difficult, but because Kim was unquestionably qualified, you did it. Good for you. Much respect to you for your decision.

I won’t press the issue again after this with you; but you didn’t answer the question(or maybe you did by not answering, indicate your comfort with an all Anglo entity head leadership team): Would you be comfortable if all of the current entity heads were ethnic minorities?

If the search committee at the IMB is deliberate and intentional in their search process, they could find a minority(perhaps even Dr. Kim) to be the next IMB President. If having a minority in leadership at the entity head level is not important to them, then, they can go on and fill the position with another Anglo. But it then reduces all of the SBC talk regarding diversity as simply sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.

Reply

13 Tim B June 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Or maybe there is a third way….they might pray and seek the will of God and present the person that their spirit and conscience affirms to the board for approval w/o regard to race.

14 Andrew Green June 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I have no issue with an all ethnic minorities being in leadership within the SBC. Would not matter to me one bit. Todd I also agree that there are ethnic minorities that are highly qualified and shoudl serve in leadership. I am concerned especially as an anglo pastor within the SBC are we going to start over looking leaders within the SBC because they are white? Race does not determine ones Spirituality.
If the trustees of the IMB bring forward a ethnic minority I will vote for them as long as I feel the person is qualified. I am concerned about starting a precedent of putting ethnic minorities in some positions all in the name of racial integration. Spiritual and capability is what we should be looking for

15 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Were the seven men of Acts 6 chosen without regard to race/ethnicity? Did they choose a “third way”? No, these leaders were intentionally chosen from among the Hellenists. Similarly, if we Southern Baptists truly value diversity in leadership as we say we do, we will have to at some point intentionally appoint a non-white person as an entity head.
Not sure how you can intentionally pursue diversity in leadership and at the same time choose leaders without regard to race/ethnicity.

16 Tim B June 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Todd,

The instructions of the apostles to the congregation said absolutely nothing about race.

17 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Tim B.,

Act 6 makes it crystal clear that the conflict was between the Jewish widows, and the Hellenist(Greeks) widows with regard to the fairness in the distribution of the daily food subsidies. The complaint came from the Greeks, and all persons selected to resolve the issue had Greek names. Therefore, race and/or ethnicity were driving factors in this debate.

18 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Brother Dwight,

You are assuming what cannot be established from the text, that the men who were chosen were all Greek because they were chosen based on the fact they were Greek.

19 Tim B June 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Dwight,

The congregation did in fact choose men with a hellenistic Jew variety to work with the Hellenistic part of the congregation. In our state convention we do the same thing. We have hispanic leadership for hispanic work, black leaders for black work, asian leaders for asian work. Internationally our missionaries are taught to hand the work over asap to leaders of similar ethnicity to the folks they are ministering to. What we did not see in Acts 6 was a wholesale change in denominational leadership (the apostles) to achieve ethnic diversity as is being suggested here. I do believe as the minority work among Southern Baptist ripens we’ll see a natural progression toward ethnic diversity just as was seen in the early church.

20 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Andrew, again you are framing this as an either/or proposition. In reality, I am arguing that we have a highly qualified person for the position and one who is a person if color. Further, I am not suggesting even for a second that we elect someone ONLY for their race/ethnicity (to do so would be absurd). However, I am suggesting that race/ethnicity be ONE significant factor in addition to the spiritual and competency qualifications for the person we select.

Reply

21 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Todd
Are we to assume that God’s man is a man of color?

22 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

On that question, I guess we will have to wait and see. I’m not sure how you are using the “God’s man” designation in your paradigm of seeking God’s wisdom. For what it’s worth, I believe that the setting of criteria and qualifications are part of a biblical process of decision-making. If the trustees agree with my suggestion, then I am comfortable saying that God’s man is indeed a person of color.

23 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Like most of you, I applaud the increase in racial/ethnic diversity. But as for setting the criteria and qualifications of who “God’s man” it, it should be God and not men who set such criteria—in other words, such criteria should come from the Bible and not from the American cultural “value” of diversity. God is not an American; and you would be hard-pressed to find any Biblical example where God chose His man based on the minority of his race or ethnicity. Isn’t it man and not God who “looks on the outward appearance?”

24 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Guys
I am genuinely confused. My questions are for clarity ONLY. I will debate perhaps later. We have said:

I1) there are highly qualified candidates that are ethnic
(2) We should be intentional about electing someone who is ethnic
(3) Does that mean we should seek only resumes from those who are qualified and are ethnic?

25 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Ken, I hope you are not suggesting that God is colorblind. I believe the Scriptures are clear that God celebrates diversity; He doesn’t ignore it. He is calling out a people for Himself from every tribe, tongue, and nation. I am saying that while modern American culture certainly values diversity, I believe God does as well. Thankfully, He does so perfectly.

26 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm

If it were me making the decision, yes. However, recall in my original post that I do not want this particular appointment to necessarily be a litmus test for our commitment to diversity. I say that because to do so would to be to presume on the motives and intentions of our trustees and I’m not going to do that. That being said, we have had several recent opportunities to appoint an entity head and we have chosen all white men. Unless we intentionally pursue a different path, I have no reason to believe that the next IMB president will not also be a white man.

27 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Adam,

No, God is not colorblind. But neither is he fixated on it as men are. What you call God celebrating diversity I see as celebrating the fact that the gospel and redemption through Christ has reached all peoples everywhere. But God was not so enamored with diversity that He created all three major races in the garden of Eden. Neither did He in the OT choose for Himself three nations to be His special people (one from each of Noah’s children). It’s not that God prefers any race over another, but rather, that in God’s eyes, we are all one race—all descendants of Noah (and Adam).

If I’m reading this issue rightly, it is not really due to God’s valuing of diversity that we want to force diversity by making it a requirement; rather, it is because we mistrust ourselves as a group (in both the past and the present) and want to counteract the perceived tendency to choose men because they are white rather than choosing the man God wants (who may be white or some other race). Therefore, we should be honest about that reason, and not try to wrap it in a mantra of “God wants diversity.”

28 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

“we mistrust ourselves as a group (in both the past and the present) and want to counteract the perceived tendency to choose men because they are white rather than choosing the man God wants (who may be white or some other race).”

I think what Todd and others are saying is that the two are not mutually exclusive. I am not suggesting that the committee should only look at ethnic candidates. I cannot speak for Todd, but I am saying that ethnic diversity is a good tie breaker for two equally qualified candidates. I expect there are well-qualified ethnic candidates. They should be found and considered, and if one is determined to be qualified, he should be hired.

29 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Adam
I do not agree with making the final decision between two equal candidates based on race. I truly believe that God has one man not two. I truly believe that God will show us that man if we stay on our knees in prayer for the committee. I truly believe that God knows who can best serve our convention regardless of the color of his skin. However given the state we are in and the sorry history we have at including ethnics i would acquiesce to that. “Acquiesce” is the operative word.

30 Chris Roberts June 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Say you have two people who are equally qualified. One is white, one is black. How do you choose between them? Flip a coin? If you belong to an organization that historically has not handled race relations well, and if the current leadership does not reflect the diversity of the denomination, then all other things being equal, it seems reasonable to let race be the deciding factor.

Reply

31 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Looks like we were typing at the same time. I agree.

32 Jeff Meyer June 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm

> How do you choose between them? Flip a coin?

If you truly want to be seen as color blind, then yes (or something very much like it).

What I have heard here is that “all things being equal, let race decide for the sake of diversity.”

Mr. Anglo and Mr. Nonanglo are both phenomenally qualified. Nothing distinguishes them except the color of their skin. If you have the guts and you decide that skin color is going to be a deciding factor in your choice, you had better do it this way: at the convention, have both men come forward and say this:

“Mr. Anglo…Mr. Nonanglo…It’s between you two. We can’t decide because both of you are so phenomenally qualified. You would both be awesome, and you would both lead us better than any other applicant. However, only one of you can be the president. So, Mr. Anglo, simply because you are Anglo, we have decided that you should not be president. Mr. Nonanglo, congratulations for not being the same color as Mr. Anglo – you win!”

Now, that is obviously an appeal to the extreme, but it gets to the heart of it. Is that what you want? Why not get both men up there and decide by random lot? If even prayer doesn’t reveal who to choose (and call me cynical, but given the sentiment in these comments, if prayer revealed it to be Mr. Anglo, my guess is that it would be debated until Mr. Nonanglo was chosen), wouldn’t it be best to be as completely random as possible?

To my mind, diversity means choosing the best person no matter what their skin color – if the best person is non-anglo, choose him without question. If the best person is anglo, choose him without question.

When I was in college, my RA (Resident Assistant – the “leader” of our dorm floor) was black man named Mario. He was awesome – friendly, smart, funny, he was a great leader. I talked to him once about “race relations” because I grew up in a pretty homogeneous environment and I didn’t really have any exposure to “minority issues”. I thought of myself as an open minded, accepting person, until I realized that I still had a deeply rooted bias. He opened my eyes to that when he said “I hate ‘equal opportunity’. I hate it with a passion. I’ll never know if I got a job because the color of my skin was desired over my skill or ability or knowledge. Imagine living with that your whole life.”

Up until that night, I thought “equal opportunity” was a good and right thing. But Mario upset my apple cart. What I once thought was necessary to “help the minority” turned out to be something that constantly kept him in doubt. Instead of pride in having a job, he got doubt and even shame that some other person who may have even been more qualified didn’t get the job because of his skin color.

That night, I began to hate equal opportunity as much as Mario, not because it gives minorities a chance, but because it makes them doubt – “did you hire me because I was black or because I was more qualified?”

Do you want the SBC to be a place where Mr. Nonanglo must always ask “am I here because I was qualified or because my skin is a color that appeases Mr. Anglo’s guilt?”

If you truly want diversity, you should find a consistent way to choose between any number of equally qualified people with absolutely NO nod to the color of their skin, a way in which the “loser” can say “I am not president, not because my name is Mr. Anglo, but because they followed a completely unbiased process to choose between two equally qualified men. I’m proud of this group!”

33 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Jeff Meyer,

Your story is very similar to mine. I too hate affirmative action or “positive discrimination) for the reasons you articulate.

I think selecting anyone for any job on the basis of having a particular skin color (or not having a particular skin color) is itself racist and only exacerbates tensions.

I know many who support affirmative action do so with the very best of intentions….but discrimination by any other name is still…well discrimination.

If we want to end racial bias we must give absolutely no preference to skin color whatsoever.

34 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

“That night, I began to hate equal opportunity as much as Mario, not because it gives minorities a chance, but because it makes them doubt – “did you hire me because I was black or because I was more qualified?”

Amen, Jeff! Affirmative action does not soothe the mind/heart of the recipient – instead it creates doubt.

It also puts forth the idea that Mr. Nonanglo can’t achieve without a special favor from the Anglos….and if that’s the perception then nonanglos who achieve high position are always viewed with suspicion.

SCOTUS Justice Thomas speaks of this reality extensively.

35 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Andrew and others, I think Dwight makes a helpful point with regard to ethnic diversity in the SBC. I view things very much like you do, Andrew. However, it is important that we hear what Dwight is saying. He clearly articulated his view and the view of other ethnic minorities in the SBC. Whether or not we agree that their perception is reality, we must accept that it is reality for them. I am against hiring someone solely because of the color of his skin. I am even against not hiring the most qualified candidate because of the color of his skin. However, I expect that Todd is right. If the search committee is intentional about finding non-anglo candidates, they shouldn’t have any problem finding them. All things being equal, I am okay with racial diversity being the tie-breaker. I expect we are at a point in SBC life where that is about the best tie-breaker the committee could use.

Reply

36 Dwight McKissic June 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Tarheel and Jeff Meyer,

The Phoenix diversity report goes up in smoke if your approach become the MO for the SBC. Your approach means that nothing, absolutely nothing, changes. Why not? Because the persons making the decisions are almost exclusively Anglo, if not totally Anglo. Isn’t it interesting if people when minority people are in charge of these decisions they have no problem finding qualified minorities to fill these positions.

As to your college friend’s argument, I guarantee you that he would have taken the job even if he were an affirmative action hire. Hopefully, he did such a good job ’till future hires could be hired solely on merit, without any racial/ethnic considerations.

37 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Dwight,

Your conclusion assumes that a group of spirit led white men won’t hire a non Anglo should the be led to do so.

It also assumes that whites must be excluded from the applicant pool solely for the reason of skin color- isn’t that racist behavior?

38 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Andrew, has not race ALWAYS been a component of hiring in the SBC? Are not those advocating for racial inclusion actually asking us to consider ALL qualified candidates, not just WHITE qualified candidates?

Reply

39 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Look at it this way….If the board decides it wants a non Anglo president then they should have that as a written standard and immediately discard applicants that are Anglo…because they wouldn’t be qualified…they don’t meet the “standard”.

The same thing if they want an Anglo….discard all non Anglos.

I personally think such an approach would be stupid – but at least it would be honest.

40 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Tarheel,

There is absolutely zero historical evidence to support your first premise. Never in the history of the SBC has the Anglo majority making the decisions hired anybody other that their own. The job granted to Dr. Luter came with no budget, personnel, or authority. The SBC has denied jobs at the entity level to several highly qualified minority men.

No one has assumed or argued(including Todd, or myself) that Anglos should be eliminated from consideration. What we have argued is that there are qualified minorities in the SBC, and they should be given the utmost consideration for these positions.

America was founded because a group of White Men decided if they were going to be taxed, they wanted representation at all levels of government. That’s all that minorities are asking for in the SBC. If we are expected to give sacrificially to the CP, we want to be represented at all levels of government.

41 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm

“No one has assumed or argued(including Todd, or myself) that Anglos should be eliminated from consideration. What we have argued is that there are qualified minorities in the SBC, and they should be given the utmost consideration for these positions.”

No, but the product of what you’re suggesting would necessarily do that in practice.

Also, what do we know about all past applicants qualifications and ethnicity? Answer = nothing.

42 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I’d also reject (respectfully) your premise that people of certain skin colors cAn only be represented by people of the same skin color.

Doesn’t your premises that only blacks can represent blacks and whites only represent whites exacerbate ethnic divisions rather than remove them?

43 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Tarheel,

I have not articulated the premises that you allege that I have; such as only Blacks can represent Blacks. My premise is that the SBC has categorically and systemically denied minorities from being hired at entity head level positions, therefore they need to be pro-active in bringing fairness and justice to the hiring process in order to redress this historical wrong. To allege that I have any other premise is to misrepresent my position.

44 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I’m not trying to misrepresent you at all.

I thought you were saying that minorities are not represented in the SBC because there are no minority entity heads. Is that not your position? (That’s what I got from your founding fathers taxation and representation analogy.)

45 Rick Mang June 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Are native Americans considered anglo’s?

Rick

Reply

46 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm

My guess is that they would be considered ethnic.

Reply

47 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Native Americans are closer in race to Asian than any other.

Reply

48 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm

In Montana they are considered ethnic

Reply

49 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm

The Chinese are considered ethnic, too, but they’re still Asian at the DNA level (which manifests in the shape of the skull, etc.). When I was in Central America, I saw that there were many descendants of Chinese immigrants at our particular location; but they were ethnically hispanic. As well, there were many Native [Central] Americans who were as culturally and ethnically hispanic as the white or black hispanics. So then, it’s probably true that some people are ethnically Native American, some racially Native American, and some both.

Reply

50 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

Not sure what you are getting at, unless it references Johnny Hunt, who is ethnically Native American. I do not know him personally, so nothing I will subsequently say is about him personally. I did, however, live in Warren County, NC, for four years. Warren County is a “minority” county, about 60% African American, 30 or 35% white, and 5 to 10% Native American. Although on the opposite side of NC from where Brother Hunt was from, there is a close connection between the Lumbee’s of southern NC and the Haliwa-Saponi tribe of Warren Co. I got to know a number of these fine folks, including Pastor Tecumseh Brayboy. And one thing I learned is that while all the tribal members are ethnically Native American, some were also culturally Native American while others were culturally Anglo or African-American. Furthermore, to be culturally Native American in the eastern US is to have assimilated to a large degree into Anglo culture while retaining a Native American identity–something which I think has not happened, or at least has happened to a lesser degree, in the western states, where there are reservations. This is consistent with my experience in back home in Alabama too: when I was a police officer in Montgomery, our police chief was Ed Wright, who was also a chief of the Cherokee Nation. But while he maintained this identity, all his actions which I was ever privy to (and I have visited in his home, and at one point, worked closely with his daughter) were Anglo. I think this meshes with what Ken said. Any by the way: my grandfather Smith and all his family were quite coppery-complected, with high cheekbones. And when anyone asked him, “Why?”, his stock reply was “Because we are Dutch!” I guess there were few enough Dutchmen (or more like, “Deutchlanders,” Germans) in south Georgia and south Alabama back then that his explanation was accepted.

My point is that having a “Native American” leader in the SBC may not necessarily qualify as cultural diversity. But while diversity cannot be the sole criteria (and no one has suggested it should), in order to be more effective in God’s work, we need cultural diversity.

John

Reply

51 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Tarheel,

What we know is who was making the decisions, and it was not minorities.

Reply

52 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Aren’t there minorities on the boards that hire these entity heads…

Reply

53 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm

And your point is?

One or two minorities on the board does not constitute who makes the decision. No one would argue, who has any knowledge, that, a hiring decision at the entity level in the SBC has ever been made where the majority of persons making the decision were minorities.

Reply

54 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm

But have any of these minority trustees articulated a discriminatory hiring policy?

If so I too would be screaming upset.

55 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Tarheel(David)-:),

The taxation/representation argument is to say thay that the persons who pay taxes cannot and should not be excluded from being hired at any level based on any external factors. That is what the colonist objected to, and that is what I am alleging.

Reply

56 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Tarheel,

Back to divulging confidence. I can’t answer that question.

Reply

57 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I know you’re all emerging that….do you have any proof though?

Reply

58 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm

*alleging

Reply

59 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Tarheel,

The proof is in the pudding. Discriminatory Policy? No!!! Discriminatory Practice? Yes!!!! Where are the minority entity heads?

No Federal agency in America would tolerate this, because they would see that it is discriminatory on face-value. But in the SBC? That’s another question.

60 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Tarheel,

Ed Stetzer commented in a pre-convention news article that the SBC family is diversified at all levels except for her leadership. I appreciated him saying that. Not only is it true, but it his way of making the same point that I am trying to make.

61 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Dwight…

I feel like we might be talking past one another. I also fear that my words might be misunderstood. I hate the sin of racism! I am not saying I am “happy” with the fact that none of out entity heads are minorities…nor am I saying that that I don’t wish to see that change. I think churches as well as denominations should look like the body of Christ….every nation tribe and tongue!

However, I think we disagree on how to get there from here. In fact I am not even sure how to do so without exchanging an alleged discriminatory preference shown in anecdotal evidence with an actual official discriminatory preference. It may (or has?) come to that but I think if we are going to intentionally prefer minorities over Anglos we ought to publicly and clearly say so and say “white dudes don’t bother applying”.

We ought to announce that’s what we’re doing. Be summer okay with that I’m not sure that I am… Simply because I don’t think you can fix racism with another form of racism.

“Let the best man win” should always rule the day, ya know?

62 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

* Be summer

Should read

Perhaps some…

63 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Or fix discrimination with different discrimination.

Or create a real culture of diversity by shutting out a group in order to increase the presence of another group. I know no one is arguing for that verbatim but won’t it be the result of what many are asking for?

64 Dwight McKissic June 18, 2014 at 12:30 am

Tarheel,

We are probably not talking past each other. I think that you found our point if agreement when you said in essence, we both want to see the entity heads look like heaven; we simply disagree with how to achieve that goal.
ESPN is one of the most successful broadcast stations in the history of television and radio communications. One of the reasons always given for there success is there insistence on(no excuses accepted) on diversity in their entire operation. I listened to a lecture explaining their success. The speaker referenced the fact that early on ESPN had a CEO that insisted that all of his VP’s and persons in charge of hiring would make sure that their hires reflected the racial diversity of their audience. The VP’s would sometime pushback with: “Who do you want me to hire the best person, or a person of color.” To which the CEO at ESPN would respond to that question with a, “Yes.” In other words the answer to the questions was not, either/or; but, both/and.

Finally, the SBC can be satisfied with vanilla pudding only. Or, she can intentionally mix in some butterscotch, cherries, almonds, and chocolate. This far the SBC trustees have made a passive, practical, or purposeful decision to have a vanilla only pudding I the SBC. All some of are asking is will the SBC always serve Vanills pudding only? And if they are going to add butterscotch, cherry, almonds, and chocolate–when will that happen. And how will you go about making it happen? Is it important to you that it happens? And is it morally right to ask the butterscotch, cherries, almonds, and chocolate to pay, while only being allowed to stand outside the pudding bowl looking in?

65 Nate June 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Dwight,

“Ed Stetzer commented in a pre-convention news article that the SBC family is diversified at all levels except for her leadership.”

If Ed feels this strongly, then why doesn’t he resign with a speech that says his replacement should be a diversity candidate?

I guess the question is, “Do you think he should resign with that imperative cited?”

66 Debbie Kaufman June 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Tarheel: If I may interject, having followed Dr. McKissic’s postings on this subject for many years, why do you and others keep asking the same question? Each time Dr. McKissic writes on this you and the same others ask the same question. I think Dr. McKissic is telling the truth and I know that he has not only lived this discrimination but has gone to the entities and researched it for himself. These are not just emotional off the cuff statements he makes. It needs to change. Why can’t you accept that?

Reply

67 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Debbie….Dwight and I, I think agree in principle (we both hate racial preferences; perceived or real) – But we don’t see eye to eye on how to fix it.

Dwight us a nice fella. We had a good talk in Baltimore….we just but heads some.

68 Dwight McKissic June 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Todd,

I am most grateful for this post. These thoughts voice the sentiments of many, if not the majority of Southern Baptists. The IMB and the SBC would be wise to strongly and favorably consider your humble, respectful, and reasonable request from you.

Dave Miller has said on more than one occasion that the Anglos in the SBC created the race problem in the SBC, and therefore they must be the ones to fix it. Although I am use to seeing minorities take the lead in these kind of issues, I must admit that Miller is right. This is a problem that is best left for Anglos to fix. I’m grateful that you have spoken clearly, timely, respectfully, and from my perspective , convincingly, concerning this matter.

Finally, A. B. Vines is a fine gentleman and a very effective leader. I consider him a friend. But I have a different perspective on increased giving to the CP as long as the SBC continue to make the statement with the last four entity head hires, and the passing in a highly qualified minority for President of the SBC. Until the SBC places a minority in an entity head level position, as for me and my congregation, will not increase our CP giving. We will not decrease either. As of fiscal year 2013, the church that I pastor was ranked in the top 10% of African American Churches in the SBTC in giving to the CP. We will continue at that level. But to give more would be giving approval and consent to a system that systematically passively exclude minorities from the highest pinnacles of leadership in the SBC. It would be an act of self-hatred from my vantage point to increase giving to a system that for whatever reasons consistently fail to affirm your abilities to lead one of their entities or even serve as President of the SBC. Fred Luter gas said repeatedly that he did not want to be the only minority ever elected. There is no tangible reason to believe that his concerns are unwarranted.

Therefore, I believe that you have knocked the ball out of the park with this post. I prayerfully and expectantly await how the EC and IBM respond to your concerns here. Perhaps, you may want to consider mailing your post in a letter form to each entity. Thanks for writing this. In the language of the Black Church, your post here provide encouragement for me to “hold out and hold on.” May your tribe increase.

Reply

69 Debbie Kaufman June 17, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Yes Todd, I agree with Dr. McKissic and I am one who knows posts can make a big difference.

Reply

70 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Nate, Tarheel, Joseph, Ken,

There is no guarantee that if Ed resigned and made the speech that you suggested, that the persons responsible for hiring would hire a “diversity” candidate. Ed was speaking with a view toward the future, rather than the present, or past,(in my opinion) and suggesting that future hires should reflect the Kingdom in it fulness(which includes Anglo’s, BTW), and not be limited to Anglo’s only.

No one is asking for any existing person to step aside, and be replaced by a minority. We are only asking that minorities be recruited to apply, and that they be given the utmost consideration.

The SBC has been educating Black students, and permitting Black Churches to become a part of the associations, state conventions, and the SBC, since the ’50′s. Do you really expect us to believe that not one of the minority candidates who has applied for those jobs across almost the past seventy years was not the best qualified candidate? Tarheel, that and that alone, should be enough to tell you that something is fishy about that? Seventy years of diversity in the follower-ship, and not one of them has qualified for leadership? If you all want to believe that is normal and acceptable, and at the very least not represent subconscious or passive racism–be my guess. But, where I am from, that simply does mot pass the smell test; or you have to say none of the minority candidates were qualified. Are you all willing to say that?

Reply

71 Nate June 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Actually Dwight, my point was more tongue-in-cheek. In that, if someone is that passionate about wanting that kind of change, then resigning with such a statement would carry a great deal of weight.

My other point is that it’s easy to state things versus playing out the hand.

Now, I’m not saying Ed doesn’t desire diversity nor that he isn’t working toward that, I just don’t think statements by white guys in power positions really mean a whole lot. Again, I am not saying Ed doesn’t want diversity….

Reply

72 Nate June 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm

And somewhat to my point then, my answer is, “No, it doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Reply

73 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Nate,

Your request for Stetzer to step aside perhaps needs to be directed to whomever the IMB has in mind to replace Tom Elliff.

I believe that Black Churches CP giving(at least ours) would dramatically increase when a qualified Asian, Hispanic, and African American, occupy one-two entity head positions. Until then, the SBC lacks the moral authority to ask the minority churches to increase their giving. As MLK would say, you have delivered us a check thus far, that has comeback marked “insufficient funds.” You are about to hire another entity head and if Tom Stowe is accurate, we are again excluded.

So, Nate, your request need not to go to Stetzer, but to Chitwood, if Tom Stowe is correct about him being the IMB nominee for their President.

Reply

74 Nate June 18, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Dwight,

I was merely using Ed as an example since you quoted him. Again, I wasn’t trying to infer that Ed doesn’t desire diversity or wants to see it happen. However, Ed is in a high-ranking position within the SBC and so I do think it bears the analogy, “easier to speak than to act.” And, if a highly ranked person in the SBC (amongst any of the entities) stepped down with a statement like quote you attributed to Ed, it would be a powerful display and likely have impacts.

But to your point, yes it would be good to see a viable candidate that is diverse from the current persuasion get the IMB job. I hope that it happens.

Reply

75 Dwight McKissic June 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Nate,

Thanks. I appreciate the interaction. Hopefully, this generation will resolve this issue before the next generation comes to the forefront ’bout 2040. Unfortunately, many of us may not be around to experience what hopefully will be victory, and the SBC looking like the Kingdom in her entity head leadership and throughout the life of our convention. I hope to shake hands with you at the Annual meeting one day.

76 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I like the idea of a person of color in this post. I would also like to see someone elected that has field experience. It seems to me that there are some nuances in this job that can only be discerned with actual experience. While that is true in most any job it seems to me that it would be especially true as it relates to such inter and intra cultural work.

In any elected post we need God’s man. That is a axiomatic. However, it is especially true in this selection. The World climate is such that this man must have the greatest wisdom and spiritual depth. It is a “god size” task that can only be filled by a man. Hence we need a man that seeks God like no other.

This is no time for “honoring” a hero, or “rewarding” a friend, or a “good ole boy club” selection. The stakes are high. I believe that God has already prepared a man for this hour. My job is to pray as never before that the committee finds THAT man.

Reply

77 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Dr. Dwight has suggested that Todd put this post in a letter form to the IMB trustees. I think that idea might have some positive merit. Of course that is for Todd to decide.

I would suggest that many of us send a short email to the chairman telling him that we are praying for the committee as they do their work.

Reply

78 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Would anyone care to comment on the Alan Cross motion?

Reply

79 volfan007 June 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I’m just wondering who Mohler will pick for this position?

David

Reply

80 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Touché

Whoever he picks, I hope it will be a non-Anglo.

Reply

81 Chris Roberts June 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I’ve thrown my hat into the ring.

Reply

82 Mary C. June 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I don’t care what race any of our entity heads. My concern is that they be someone who is gifted for and called to that position. Suggesting someone be hired, or not hired, based on his (or her) race is ludicrous.

Reply

83 Andrew Green June 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Mary I agree wholeheartedly

Reply

84 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Mary C. and Andrew,

But this precisely how the SBC made decisions regarding who would serve as entity heads throughout her history and even through today. They were “hired, or not hired, based on his(or her) race.”

Todd’s Acts 6 analogy is perfect. The early church understood that the best way to eliminate charges of racism was to put ethnic leaders who were “of a good report,’ and “filled with the Spirit” in charge. Had they subscribed to the thought patterns of not considering ethnic background that you all insist on–the problem never would have been solved.

Last I checked, Black churches were giving less than 1% to the CP. I suspect that will continue as long as The SBC exclude minorities from entity level positions. And our race problem will not get resolved. How unfortunate.

Reply

85 Joe Blackmon June 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm

But this precisely how the SBC made decisions regarding who would serve as entity heads throughout her history and even through today. They were “hired, or not hired, based on his(or her) race.”

Please name one entity head since, oh, the 70′s that has been hired due to their race?

Reply

86 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I would have to divulge the confidence of people who trusted me to answer your question with specificity. But, do you believe that until FP was at the EC, minorities only qualified to be the head custodian? Do you believe that before RM was at the ERLC, that no minorities qualified to work on a 23 person full time staff? Blacks have been attending SBC schools since the mid-50′s, and have earned degrees up through the PH.D, and have served in various capacities throughout SBC life, except at the entity level positions. Several have applied for these positions along the way. Do you believe that none of these persons were the best qualified? Persons in the room when these decisions were made have told me that at least implicitly, the final decisions boiled down to comfort level. In making the decisions based on-”who we are most comfortable with”-the minority applicant always gets eliminated. And that’s understandable when you look at who is making the decisions. This needs to change in the SBC.

Reply

87 Jeff T June 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

My sources tell me that no one has ever been hired due to race, but I can’t disclose this to anyone.

88 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm

“But this precisely how the SBC made decisions regarding who would serve as entity heads throughout her history and even through today. They were ‘hired, or not hired, based on his(or her) race.’”

Dwight, I don’t imagine you would have too much trouble proving this statement to be true with regard to SBC history. However, I am wondering if you have any proof to offer with regard to this still being true today. Not intentionally hiring an ethnic minority (that is what got us to the point where we are today where we don’t have any non-anglo entity heads) is not the same thing as not hiring someone because of his or her race. At least I don’t think it is. What do you say?

Reply

89 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Adam,

I will have to step away from the computer for a while after this comment, but to answer your question, I must admit that I have only anecdotal evidence.

Three examples. 1. A Hispanic pastor told me that there was a high level job to be filled in our SBC network that required that the person filling the job be literate and fluent in Spanish, and of course thoroughly familiar with the Spanish culture. A Hispanic man with a PH. D, from one of our SBC seminaries ; one who literate and fluent in Spanish, and one who met all of the necessary job qualifications, applied and interviewed for the job. He was passed over for a Anglo gentleman, who could not speak Spanish, was nor familiar with the culture, and did not have a terminal degree. Go figure? 2. A similar story took place before Golden Gate hired her last President, and 3. A similar story took place before NAMB hired her last President. I often hear of similar types of stories in SBC life. Certainly it took place at the IMB, with regard to a female VP, who was denied a job, based on gender. And at SWBTS, where a Hebrew and Church History Professor were denied jobs based on gender.

Adam, you would have to ask yourself if Corporate America’s Fortune 500 Companies and the Federal Government cabinet level positions allow for Anglos only to occupy those positions? The answer is No!!!! Because on it’s face it does nos pass the smell test, and it comes across as blatantly racist and offensive. Yet, this is the posture of many in the SBC, as evidenced by the current racial configuration of the entity heads. The Phoenix document suggested that going forward that things would change. But at the entity head level, and since a post Luter presidency, absolutely nothing has changed.

Reply

90 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Until there is an entity leader of color, we cannot refute the claim.

I am quite sure that no one, not a single person on any search committee at any one of our entities has said, “The President must be white.”

But until we stop hiring whites only, we have trouble refuting the idea that only whites are to be considered.

Unless one makes the assertion that only whites are qualified as the reason that only whites are hired, the question remains open.

Reply

91 Joseph Spurgeon June 18, 2014 at 9:47 am

“But this precisely how the SBC made decisions regarding who would serve as entity heads throughout her history and even through today.”

Would surprise anyone that a denomination started by white people would pick white people to lead it? Would anyone be surprised that a church of black people would have a black president? I am not trying to be mean here but I am just pointing out the obvious. Groups often pick leaders who match the ethnicity of the majority of its people. You go to China and you get Chinese leaders. It seems like common sense. I am not sure there is a great conspiracy to keep out ethnic leaders from the SBC today. Instead I imagine the reason that Anglos make up the leadership is because in America, Anglos still make up the majority of the SBC. If we want to see this change then I propose that instead of exchanging the habit of hiring one race for the next, why don’t we work to get the SBC to think more international. How many SBC churches are there outside of the US? What can we do to intentionally include those churches in the national convention and voting? Maybe we can get funds set up to bring international messengers to the convention. It seems to me that as ethnic diversity increases in our membership than the leadership will just naturally begin to reflect this. We won’t need to try to initiate affirmative action because leadership ultimately is a reflection on the make up of the convention.

Reply

92 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t Baptist churches outside the US, even those started by SB missionaries, relate to their national group rather than to the SBC? If so, the SBC can never be made up of other nationals besides Americans (don’t remember, maybe Canadians too; Mexicans? But nobody else). Consequently, if I am right, Joe, your argument will never hold water.

John

Reply

93 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Mary, help me understand your position. If my suggestion is flawed, How would you suggest that we pursue diversity in leadership in a practically meaningful way? Or are you suggesting that we desire and pray for diversity in leadership but not actively pursue it?

Reply

94 Tim B June 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Todd,

Why don’t you put together a list of candidates with the international experience, denominational experience, church experience and executive level experience who are also ethnic and then we can we can talk about pressuring the IMB into filling the office of President with a minority. Mandating through social media to hire a minority or be charged with being bigoted (as is implied in some comments under this post) leaves them in something of a lurch when in reality there are painfully few candidates for the role of IMB president among ethnics or anglos. I know SBC african American pastors, Hispanic pastors, anglo pastors, denominational workers and leaders and missionaries and I don’t know anyone personally that I could recommend for this particular role. I’m sure that most folks on the search committee are not unlike me. I am sure that they would welcome a list of recommendations.

Reply

95 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Tim
I have thought about that myself. I think this is the bigger problem. How many people of any color is qualified to handle this position? I am trusting in the fact that there ARE people out there who are qualified for this task. I must admit, I do not know of any, even by reputation that I would select if I could make a unilateral appointment. So again I say, I sincerely trust there is someone out there who can do this job.

Reply

96 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Read my post — I do not see this single appointment as a litmus test for our commitment to diversity. However, I am concerned that in an era where we are saying that we want more diversity, the cumulative effect of filling five recent entity head vacancies (NAMB, Executive Committee, Midwestern Seminary, ERLC, and IMB) with white men does at least call our stated desire for racial/ethnic diversity in leadership into question. My call remains a suggestion, albeit one that I feel is important. Nevertheless, I trust that David Uth and the other trustees are godly leaders and will not call their motives or integrity into question no matter who they eventually hire.

As for specific candidates, I’m hesitant to formulate such a list, though several names immediately come to mind whom I’m sure the committee is already considering.

Reply

97 Tim B June 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Not trying to be argumentative but I believe forums like this may be a good place for folks to alert the search team. Don’t assume that they know any more people than you or I know. Folks complain because Mohler’s guy or so and so’s guy always gets the job. That may because he has already made the call recommending someone whole others have not. The blogging community obviously has significant influence as is evidenced by several sbc vp’s being bloggers including on this blot. If there is someone out there someone needs to let someone know.

98 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I’m not opposed to contacting trustees, just don’t want to make those kinds of suggestions in a public forum.

99 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm

It seems there are no shortage of opinions on the IMB president issue. Does anyone have any comments about Alan’s motion?

Reply

100 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I agree with what you wrote about Alan’s motion. The IMB situation is much more controversial. It really isn’t surprising that the controversial half of your post has gotten all of the attention. People are most passionate about discussing the things on which they disagree with the author.

Reply

101 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Ahh, but the issues are related. If I were to assess our “current progress” I would say that overall we are heading in the right direction. Still, one of the indications of a diverse Convention is diversity at the highest levels of leadership. We do not have that. All of our entities are headed by white men. Fred Luter’s presidency was indeed an historic development. But his presidency is now over. The next big step forward is to see one of our major entities headed by someone who is non-Anglo. I believe the task force report would have to address that.

Reply

102 Adam Blosser June 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Obviously they are related. It is just that the first is controversial, and the second is not.

Reply

103 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I agree with the motion. Rather than achieving diversity through excluding one race from consideration for certain posts, we should seek to “raise up” a diversity of men by giving them an education by which they may become the best qualified.

Reply

104 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

What makes a person “best qualified”? I submit that promoting unity in the Convention is as big a factor in the selection of this IMB president as it was in the last one. What made our outgoing president the “best qualified”? We certainly did not choose him for his extensive missiological education or his field experience as a cross-cultural missionary. We chose him because he was a statesman behind whom the many factions of the then-fractured SBC could rally for the cause of the gospel. If that was true then and if our current desire to see a diversity in leadership is as important as we say, then I see no problem in suggesting (not mandating) that we “hire one of our many well-qualified, passionate, gospel-loving, missiologically sound, non-Anglo Southern Baptists to lead the IMB in reaching the nations for Christ.” Hope that clarifies my position.

Reply

105 Doug Hibbard June 18, 2014 at 7:58 am

This is a good point:

Life experiences and understandings lead into qualifications for work like entity heads and pastorates. Most of us accept that purely mathematical equations of education and years of work are not all there is to a person.

That being said, one might find that choosing without regard to ethnicity actually forces us to ignore the totality of an individual and we may make a poorer choice instead of a better one.

Just a few early morning thoughts.

Reply

106 Dwight McKissic June 18, 2014 at 8:43 am

Ken,

Are you suggesting at present we don’t have “a diversity of men” who are already educated and “best qualified” to fill posts when they are vacant? Do you realize to have to “raise up ” these men can come across as condescending and arrogant?

The men are already “best qualified,”; “raised up,” and available. All they need is an opportunity. The Jackie Robinson(s)’ are here. They just need a Branch Rickey to give them a chance, they have applied for the jobs and been denied. That is the aspect that probably needs to be addressed. They are not the ones doing the hiring. That’s what need to be addressed.

Excuses such as “best qualified,” as if these persons are not; need to be “raised up,” as if they are not already here and available; “long term projects,” as if they are on need of a special kind of preparation that others don’t need is a throwback to the ’60′s, when these were the excuses tossed out to keep minorities from occupying jobs that they qualified for. The SBC has to be better than this.

Reply

107 Tarheel June 18, 2014 at 9:19 am

Dwight, you do understand though that without knowing all the facets, factors and “qualifications” sought then we on the outside can’t really make informed deductions regarding those chosen and those not.

We are merely assuming that “qualified” minorities were passed over … Just because they applied does not mean they meet the standards set by the search committee.

It’s like a pastor search committee – they receive resumes and even interview all sorts of qualified people…. Yet only one gets the job. Qualified applicants are. “Passed over ” all the time in both secular and religious employment.

Reply

108 Todd Benkert June 18, 2014 at 9:50 am

Tarheel, you do understand that there is not one person of color at an executive level in the IMB (every VP is white too)? What does that say about our “color-blind” approach to the selection process?

109 Tarheel June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

Yea, I see that…but might that speak more to our general inward and boys club mentality in the hierarchy of the SBC.

Maybe ending that mentality would lead to this Issue taking care of itself.

110 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Amen, Dwight

Reply

111 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Todd,

I support Alan’s amendment wholeheartedly. It may be a good idea for many of us who feel passionate about this issue to travel to Nashville to the EC meeting to ask them to address the merits or demerits of Alan’s motion. I think that the most critical issue that the SBC face is the racew issue. If she gets this issue right, it would resolve just about all of her other issues.

Reply

112 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

To my knowledge, 100% of entity heads in SBC history have been white.

Yet when we suggest a black (or other) entity head, the cry comes out, “Shouldn’t we just choose the best man, not based on race.”

Hasn’t our history been one of choosing based on race? Hasn’t a racial test been part of everything we have done to this point?

Why is choosing whites only seen as colorblind, but advocating choosing a man of color as an entity head is suddenly racial?

Please, some of you “colorblindness” advocates explain this.

Reply

113 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Dave
Paragraph 3….I don’t know i have never been on one of the committees who selected a candidate. Is that a rhetorical question or do you have an answer.

Reply

114 Tim B June 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Maybe there a lack of ethnic candidates for entity heads and ethnic candidates in particular. No choice at all cannot be equated with choosing based on color. In my observation there has been an effort to fast track ethnic candidates toward leadership, not the opposite. What you’re saying is the same thing the democrat party says about the republican party. Since the republican party has relatively few ethnic leaders it must be racist.

Reply

115 Joseph Spurgeon June 18, 2014 at 9:51 am

Could it be that the SBC was created by white people and for the vast majority of its history in America has been majority white?

Reply

116 Dwight McKissic June 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

Joseph,

Yes,the SBC was created by White people; and for what reason? To maintain a superior status over Black people. This superior status continues to be represented in the entity heads.

Reply

117 Joseph Spurgeon June 18, 2014 at 11:29 am

My point was that institutions usually reflect the make-up of their members. The SBC in America for most of its history has been predominately white (I am not saying that this is a good or bad thing but that it is the facts) and therefore it makes sense that its leadership has reflected this makeup. The point being is that the make-up of the leadership will grow as the make-up of its membership does. I cannot support affirmative action which tries to end one type of racial preference with another. We don’t end racism by being racist. I know multiculturalism and diversity are the zeitgeist of our age. However there is a difference in celebrating diversity where it is found and forcing diversity unnaturally. I also am a little weary of the notion that just because someone is the same or different skin color of me that they can or cannot represent me in leadership.
On a side note, Dwight if I am ever nominated for a position I want you to give the nominating speech. After speech for Dr. Kim, I thought there was no way he would not win.

Reply

118 Chris Roberts June 18, 2014 at 11:39 am

The point is that diversity has already grown within the SBC while diversity in leadership has not grown. History has shown time and again that diversity within organizational leadership often only happens through intentional effort. I don’t see anyone saying we should mandate quotas and ratios within the SBC, just that those appointing new leaders should work to have the leadership diversity represent the diversity within the denomination. You say it will happen on its own, but that’s demonstrably not true.

119 Dwight McKissic June 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

Joseph,

I believe that you, Tarheel, Bart, Todd, Miller, and all the rest are on the same page. Where we differ is the methodology and timing as to how to get there. MLK wrote a book called “Why We Can’t Wait,” responding to essentially the same arguments that you, Bart, Tarheel & others have expressed. Of course I agree with King.

Interestingly, Bear Bryant, Frank Broyles, and many Southern D1 head fb coaches faced this decision in the ’60′s. Once they concluded to let Black players on the team, they quickly decided to put them on the fast track to letting them start/play, other than at quarterback. It seems as if the SBC is pursuing a similar strategy.

Thanks for the compliment on the speech. My man didn’t win, but I salute Ronnie Floyd, Louis the lawyer said something to the effect of I voted for Kim, but, I am not displeased with Floyd. That basically sums up my sentiments, other than I grieve over the lack of diversity at the leadership level in the SBC. As a matter if fact, in light of the Phoenix statement, I am embarrassed by it, and feel betrayed.

120 Tarheel June 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Dwight,

I’m not sure you can truly substantiate that last statement….that there is an attitude of maintaining an attitude of superiority of white people in the minds, hearts, or actions of any of our denominational leadership.

Reply

121 Tarheel June 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

At least I hope not….if there is truly such attitudes present in our leaders – you might consider telling us who they are, if you know.

If substantiated – I will be right there with you and others in calling for their immediate removal.

122 parsonsmike June 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Dwight,
On the first part, you may be right, but it hardly seems so. When the SBC was created, did not the White people already assume a superior status? What threatened them so as to create a religious organization to maintain that status?

from Wikipedia:
The word Southern in Southern Baptist Convention stems from its having been founded and rooted in the Southern United States. Following a split from northern Baptists over the issue of forbidding Southern slave-owners from becoming ordained missionaries, members at a regional convention held in Augusta, Georgia, created the SBC in 1845. After the American Civil War, another split occurred when most black Baptists in the South separated from white churches to set up independent congregations, regional associations, and state and national conventions, such as the National Baptist Convention, the second largest Baptist convention.

The SBC was begun because the people in the northern churches didn’t like slavery and didn’t want slave owners becoming missionaries. The Southerners wanted to their slave owners to be able to become missionaries, so they voted to form their own Convention. It was more about their own desires for themselves than maintaining control over others. More like maintaining control over themselves and not bowing to the wishes of those in the North.

“Their superior status continues to be represented in the entity heads.”
That is just the wrong way to look at things, in my opinion.
True status, as opposed to worldly status, is not conferred on men by other men, but on men by God.

Is that is what is important: places of worldly honor and prestige and power?

Reply

123 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Amen, Dave.

Reply

124 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm

God handled the presidency beautifully with Fred Luter. He was both (a) the right person for the job, and (b) the first African-American SBC President. Because his presidency was so historic, he had opportunities that other presidents have not had. Because he was thoroughly qualified in his character as a man and his skill-set as a leader to do so, he was able to make the most of those opportunities.

You want to have people who accomplish those “firsts,” but precisely because the pioneers are so iconic and significant, you want them to be people who are highly successful.

What we did not get in the SBC was the experience that our nation is having: The joyous occasion of having our first President of the United States is sadly tempered by the recognition that (objective) history will not smile upon his presidency. I wanted more for our African-American brothers and sisters and for our nation. Oh, if only Republicans had made more of the opportunity with J. C. Watts! How thankful I would be if our first Black POTUS had been among our better presidents!

For the SBC, our first Black president HAS been among our better presidents. What a blessing that is! And this enduring blessing has come because the Spirit of God brought Fred Luter to us just when we needed him.

If the International Mission Board can pull off something like THAT, then I say Hallelujah! May God protect us from the selection of the wrong man, no matter his color.

Reply

125 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Amen to all you said, Brother Bart!

Reply

126 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Dr. Barber

A heartfelt AMEN

Reply

127 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm

As usual, I agree with you, brother! And I do believe, that the search team under brother Uth’s leadership can indeed pull that off. :)

Reply

128 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I agree that it would be a mistake to hire a candidate for an office who was unqualified just because he was black or some other ethnicity.

However, I think we have to intentionally seek out and find qualified candidates for all our offices and entity heads. We have to be intentional and proactive on this until it is no longer news that a Black, Asian or Hispanic has been elected to office.

Reply

129 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 5:44 pm

See, now why can’t I say it that clearly? … What Dave said.

Reply

130 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Some of you southern boys in the thick of the Bible belt help me.

If the search committee were to say we are going to seek only qualified candidates. If we come down to two, and one is white, one is ethnic, we are going to be intentionally inclusive by selecting the ethnic, how would that be received in the belt.

In Montana, my feeling is that it would be fine. When I left the South 21 years ago (today in fact) it would have been problematic. How about now? Has it changed?

Reply

131 Doug Hibbard June 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm

If we’re talking about a search process where we don’t know that’s the deciding factor, I think it’s no problem.

But I think if it’s announced “Well, we thought Dave Miller and Dwight McKissic were equally qualified, so we went with Dwight for diversity,” I think there would be some folks unhappy. Not sure if it would a big problem.

And I picked those two because I know both of them want more diversity in these roles, and I don’t think either of them are really interested in running IMB.

Reply

132 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm

There is talk here about being pro active and intentional in order to demonstrate our views on inclusiveness. If that is to be accomplished it would have to be public I would think. Otherwise it would no be intentional.

133 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I left the deep South almost 20 years ago too, and i agree, it would not have been well-received. I have been told that things have changed. However, the last time I was there on a Sunday (2 or 3 years ago) and visited at my home church (a First Baptist in a county seat town), it was as lily white as when I left. The only difference was that the congregation was grayer and smaller.

John

Reply

134 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Agreed.

Reply

135 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I’m hoping that this intentionality commenced long ago. Probably this ought to be a long-range process by which promising candidates are given other opportunities prior to the presidency of the IMB.

Reply

136 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Bart,

This “long-range process” that you are advocating here, suggest that there are currently no qualified potential minority candidates to fill these positions. The “lone-range process” treats people as a project, not as equal partners. I categorically disagree with the implications of your long-range philosophy. If your thinking reflects the majority of SBC thought, that is good information to have. It means that it could take a long-long time before we have a minority entity head. My prayer is now like Simeon and Anna in the temple. Lord, please don’t let me see death ’till I see an SBC entity minority head.

Reply

137 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

No. Not at all. I did not hope that someone would start it today. I hoped that someone started it long ago. I have every reason to hope that such is the case.

138 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Bart
I agree

Reply

139 parsonsmike June 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm

A big YEP to all of that.

Reply

140 parsonsmike June 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

That big YEP was to post #114 or that which is #114 at this time.

Reply

141 Tom Stowe June 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Well, the IMB won’t be the organization to break the color barrier because Paul Chitwood is white. However, this will leave a vacancy at the Kentucky Baptist Convention which could be filled by Kevin Smith. Hershael York is a Landmarker and won’t be a good fit, while Bill Henard has academic aspirations. So Smith seems like the perfect minority candidate to take a state exec position.

This may not satisfy the call for a high-profile position to be filled with a minority, but it certainly could set the stage for a minority to fill a “bigger” role in the future.

Reply

142 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Do you know something we don’t or is this speculation?

Reply

143 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 6:19 pm

While Kevin would make a great KBC exec, were he selected, he would not be the first non-Anglo State Convention exec.

Reply

144 Tom Stowe June 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

That’s true, Todd, but it would help, though probably not as much as some folks would prefer because it wouldn’t be a national “first.” But it would be a first for Kentucky, and a big one at that. The KBC has never even had a black president, much less an African-American state director.

Reply

145 Dwight McKissic June 17, 2014 at 8:54 am

Todd,

What state has had an African-American State Executive? I was unaware of that information. But, if that’s true, it is good to know that a state has been more progressive and biblical in their thinking than the SBC and her entities. I want yo in my heart salute heat state. Which one was it? Thanks.

Reply

146 Todd Benkert June 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

Well, I said non-Anglo not African-American :-)

I was referring to Fermín Whittaker from California.

Reply

147 Adam G. in NC June 17, 2014 at 9:32 am

“Anglo” is a person of English descent in narrow terms and in general terms it is a person who speaks English as a first language.
So there are probably several executives who are non-anglo…or none, depending on how you look at it.

“Anglo” does not mean “white person”.

148 Todd Benkert June 17, 2014 at 9:43 am

As my former professor often quipped, “Words have uses not meanings.” In my experience in SBC life, “Anglo” is a term that has been commonly used as a general designation for non-Hispanic whites who are culturally white and us English as a first language. You can assume that is how I am using the word. It covers both race and ethnicity and that’s why I find it a helpful designation for this discussion. Because race and ethnicity tend to be fluid concepts, there is no term that will be as precise as we might desire, but “Anglo” is the best I can do :)

149 John Wylie June 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

In general Anglo is used to as a synonym for Caucasian.

150 John Wylie June 17, 2014 at 9:58 am

According to Merriam’s dictionary an Anglo american is a white inhabitant if the united states of non Hispanic descent.

151 volfan007 June 17, 2014 at 11:03 am

Todd,

From now on, just say “White boys.”

David :)

152 Adam G. in NC June 17, 2014 at 11:44 am

vol, I agree. “white boys” works just fine. My Scots-Irish ancestors would blow a gasket if they knew I was called an “Anglo”.

153 volfan007 June 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

Yep, they wouldn’t like it….not one bit. lol

David

154 Debbie Kaufman June 17, 2014 at 10:34 am

Hershel York is not a Landmarker to my knowledge. He does teach at Southern does he not?

Reply

155 volfan007 June 17, 2014 at 11:04 am

Debbie,

I went to seminary with Hershel York. Back then, he was a very strong Landmarker. I don’t know about now…maybe he’s changed some thru the years…I don’t know….but, back then, he was very landmarkish. And yes, he does teach at Southern.

David

Reply

156 Debbie Kaufman June 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I went to seminary with Hershel York. Back then, he was a very strong Landmarker.

That is a piece of information I did not know.

Reply

157 Joseph Spurgeon June 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm

What do you mean by landmarker? I have had him in class and while he practices closed communion and insists that we only accept baptisms that are done with the clear understanding that baptism is not the means for salvation, I don’t think he is a landmarker

Reply

158 Tom Stowe June 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Todd, Chitwood is a lock for IMB prez, but the KBC stuff is all observation and speculation.

Reply

159 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Are you clairvoyant? An insider?

Reply

160 Tom Stowe June 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I am not at liberty to disburse that information, Dave. Do what you will with this information.

Reply

161 Greg Harvey June 16, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Well, a little transparency in the selection process at least prevents this kind of abuse.

Reply

162 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 10:30 am

Dr. Nettles a is a lock for IMB president. I am not at liberty to divulge my source though.

Reply

163 Adam Blosser June 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

I recommended Tarheel, but they told me he was a no go since he is a white Calvinist.

164 Dwight McKissic June 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

Tarheel,

Isn’t Dr. Nettles a 5 Point Calvinist?

165 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

I’m totally teasing Dwight….I should have put a smilie! ;-)

Adam. Shut up. Lol. I am definitely white! I can’t jump or dance!

166 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

And for the record I could not jump even before I contracted Dunlap disease.

My stomach dun fell in my lap. ;-)

167 D. L. Payton June 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Tarheel
I can sympathize. I have the Chest of Drawers Disease….my chest done fell thru my drawers…….Oh my did I really say that???

168 Tarheel June 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Yes you did…and you can’t unsay it. ;-)

Hahaha

169 Dwight McKissic June 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Bart,
Most Republicans feel the way you feel about how President Obama’s presidency will be judged by history. Most Southern Baptists feel the way you feel about how President Obama will be judged by history. Southern Baptists and Republicans are essentially synonymous terms, with regard to how the vast majority of the SBC vote Republican, and obviously the cast majority of Republicans vote Republican.

Clearly, the cast majority of National Baptists nor Democrats would feel the way you do. President Obama was elected the second time over a candidate endorsed by Billy Ghrahm, Richard Land, James Robinson, and most Southern Baptists voted for Mr. Romney. That refutes your argument about how history will judge him. On the second election history judged him to be better than the Republican candidate. The cast majority of Black Americans still support him. They view his most helpful legislation as being “The Affordable Health Care Act,” and this is the legislation that is despised the most by most political conservatives.

I read the sympathy that you expressed for Black Americans with regard to how history might judge President Obama, but you are feeling sorry for a people who don’t share your pessimistic outlook about how he is or will be judged. Your sympathy is misplaced and, quite frankly it would be unwelcome, and unnecessary, as viewed by the majority of Blacks. You are the Luter/Obama analogy as an unfit or inaccurate analogy. If you polled the majority of the African American pastors who were in Baltimore, I doubt if they would agree with you.

I have never voted for President Obama, and no regrets for not having done so. I tend to view and interpret secular politics much like my Anglo Southern Baptists counterparts. However, I am very much in the minority with regard to how I feel about President Obama among Black people and preachers. From an Anglo SBC perspective, your analysis would be seen as spot on. From a National Baptists, Democrat, and Black perspective, your analysis would have been viewed as totally wrong. And you would have been quickly told to “Weep not for Obama, or for African Americans,” with regard to how history will judge him.

I was encouraged watching the long lines at the SBC Lifeway book signing for Dr. Ben Carson. He has spoke at our church, and I would enthusiastically support him for President. I supported Mike Huckabee in 2008. I did not vote for either Romney or Obama in 2012. I do believe that Obama would gave made a better President than McCain or Romney.

I’ll stop now because I’m rambling. But, your view of history is so myopic, and so untrue to the cast majority of people that interact with in a daily basis, ’till I couldn’t restrain myself from responding to let you know that from your SBC world and background, what you said makes perfectly good sense. But, in my world, what you said would be viewed as false, inherently untrue, and spoken from a racial slant. But, if the truth be told, that is how those in my world whose view is the opposite of your with regard to Obama’s current or future historical legacy, would be viewed in the exact same manner. Most big name evangelical conservative Black preachers in America that I have the privilege of knowing how they voted, voted for President Obama, because they could not stomach Romney’s Mormonism. And Billy Ghrahm fl from grace, in many of their eyes, with his endorsement of Romney.

Reply

170 Dwight McKissic June 16, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I meant to say that while you see the Luter/Obama analogy as being an unfit and inaccurate analogy, in my judgement the vast majority of the Black SBC pastors would not view this as you do. They would see both ads being first, effective, successful, and sources of pride.

Reply

171 Dwight McKissic June 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Also meant to say that the people in your world would view the affirmative historical view of the Obama presidency as jaded, racial, untrue, inaccurate, etc. I did not make that point cheat in my post.

Reply

172 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Let’s have a poll, then…

Reply

173 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 6:35 pm

What is Fred Luter’s view of Obama?

Reply

174 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 6:42 pm

I hope you recall my reaction to Romney’s Mormonism. The lecture in that regard is not needed here.

The judgment of elections are not the same as the judgment of history. History has not yet had its turn. For Pete’s sake, ULYSSES S. GRANT won his election, but he was among the worst presidents we’ve ever had, regardless of how popular he was at the time. EVERY president, good and bad alike, won their elections! They were ALL popular for at least one Tuesday in November.

When the tide turns on abortion, President Obama will be vilified as one of the most pro-infanticide presidents in our history.

When historians consider his “Freedom of Worship” truncation of the First Amendment, President Obama will be vilified as one of the most anti-faith presidents in our history.

When historians look at the economic numbers from his presidency, President Obama will be regarded as mediocre at best and a drag on the economy at worst.

Granted, a lot of these things come from the right, but how are leftist historians going to remember him?

Are they going to praise him for his foreign policy and defense policy? For drone strikes and NSA surveillance and failure to close Guantanamo Bay? I think not. And conservatives will not treat him well, either, considering Syria’s “Red Line” and Egypt’s “Arab Spring” and Benghazi and ISIS.

Are liberals going to praise him for continued extension of the Patriot Act? Is there something praiseworthy that he has done in education? In urban development? What’s the unemployment rate among African-Americans?

Will either liberals or conservatives praise him for the state of things in the VA?

He has consistently delivered on two and only two things: Abortion and same-sex marriage. Beyond that, there’s just nothing there.

So, yes, he’s popular right now, but history will not be kind to him. He leaves our nation weaker, poorer, more invasive, and less free than it was when he took office.

And I’ll tell you precisely when his star will fall: When we elect ANOTHER Black President who brings better skills to the office and does well. At THAT moment, when people do not have to choose between applauding Obama or being slandered as racists (or as race-traitors), then objective history will become possible. And if God is willing, that day will come.

The contrast between Obama and Luter is so clear: There is no constituency in the SBC that does not recognize the qualifications and skills of Fred Luter. One certainly cannot say anything like that about President Obama.

Reply

175 Ken Hamrick June 16, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Amen. And let’s not forget that history belongs to God. On some of these moral issues, the tide might not turn until Judgment Day; but only God’s side will be the “right side of history.”

Reply

176 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Ken/Bart

Amen

Reply

177 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Bart,

I do recall your reaction to Romney’s Mormonism and certainly applauded privately, and ( if my memory is not failing me) publicly your stance on this issue.

Neither one of us can say with absolute certainty how history will judge, President Obama. But, I suspect that those who share his political views will be somewhat favorable toward him, and the others will not. Those who attempt to be objective, or who actually are objective will probably have mixed reviews of Obama.

What I know for certain–and I didn’t know this until I have listened to people on my side of the fence who express their disagreement for his same-sex marriage views and his abortion on demand views–is that–(1)ObamaCare (2) Raising the minimum wage advocacy (3) Raising equal treatment and pay as it relates to retirement benefits=Lily Ledbetter Act (4) Heartfelt sympathy and social justice advocacy as reflected in the Trayvon Martin and Louis Gates incidents (5) Some would even argue having inherited a horrible economy and having kept us from a depression–are things that will cause President Obama to be ranked high in common people folk-lore history. Honestly, people on my side of the fence really don’t care, nor are they interested in what the historians think. Through oral history, they will pass down to their children, and that process will continue how they felt about certain presidents and why. That would be the history that President Obama will be judged by, where I live, eat, and make my living–and unless it radically changes between now and when his term is finished–it will be a positive history.

Any POTUS will be negatively judged by a certain constiteuency(sp) in America, regardless. Since Adrian Rogers was elected signifying the beginning of the CR, and the dominance of the CR, I can’t recall any SBC President-period negatively reviewed, not even by a minority faction. Therefore, Luter is no exception here. So, your contrast between Luter and Obama is an akward(sp) one at best. But, I repeat(and it’s possible that I am wrong), most Black pastors would see positive parallels between the two. I’ve considered blogging about the positive parallels before, but I recognized that only the Black wing of the SBC would agree with my thesis. And it would take to much energy to try and get the Anglo wing of the SBC to at least attempt understand our perspective. Our exchange proves that this conversation with a person from a different historical background can be difficult.

Reply

178 volfan007 June 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I, too, wish Dr. Ben Carson would run for President. I would gladly vote for him. I heard him speak at Union University, and I had my picture made with him. The man is smart….conservative….came from humble beginnings, and hasn’t forgotten where he came from….I would be glad to vote for him.

David

179 Adam G. in NC June 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

Dr. Carson is definitely smart, conservative, from humble beginnings, and hasn’t forgotten where he came from…but he is also a judaizing, seveth-day-adventist cult member, who rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just saying. Trying to keep it all in perspective, with respect to that last mormon candidate.

180 volfan007 June 17, 2014 at 11:05 am

Adam G.,

I am talking about voting for a President….not calling a Pastor to my church.

David

181 Adam G. in NC June 17, 2014 at 11:50 am

Vol, that is clear. It was the reason for my qualifying last sentence.

I’m just preparing everyone for all of the blind-eye-turning that’ll be going on regarding othodoxy if this guy actually, by some miniscule chance, becomes a legitimate candidate for president.

182 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

Adam G.,

I admit I know nothing about Dr. Carson’s private life. So what do you mean by “judaizing”?

As for the Seventh day Adventists, they are not considered a cult by anyone I have ever read. A different theology regarding worship, yes, but the same faith, same Jesus, same trinity, same Bible, etc. They are unlike the Mormons whose Jesus is different and who believe the Bible to be inspired. . . except in the places where it is contradicted by the Book of Mormon, The Book of Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. If you have different information about the Adventists, please let me know.

John

183 John Fariss June 18, 2014 at 8:37 am

Bart, tell us how you really feel!

John

Reply

184 parsonsmike June 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Dwight,
To be honest, and not meant with the slightest amount of disrespect, it would be totally weird for me to have even a single a spot of racial pride if our next president was a wonderful God filled effective White man.

So I confess that it is really hard for me to grasp your racial pride as a legitimate Christian position. This is because i read Paul telling us that it is neither male nor female, Greek or Jew, but one in Christ. Thus i react to your racial pride as a unbecoming trait of a child of God.

Yes, i am white and my ancestors in USA were not enslaved or persecuted for the color of their skin. But that is a worldly cultural thing. In Iraq, the Sunnis might feel racial pride because their man is the president instead of a Shiate. The republicans might feel pride because the next president is one of theirs, or if not then the democrats would feel it.

But such pride is nothing to be proud about for children of God, who are to find their only boast, NOT in the things of this world, but ONLY in Jesus Christ.

But then again, i am a white guy. White guys don’t [or shouldn't] feel racial pride when a white guy is elected. I am not in your shoes, so I am not judging you.

But i am confessing that pride in any form of flesh seems wrong to me.

May God ever bless you and keep you close to Him,
mike

Reply

185 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

parsonsmike,

I appreciate your perspective and your understanding as to why you would not have any pride over this manner, verses, why I might have pride over this matter. It all relates to history. I also agree with-what I perceive to be the thrust of your concern. whuch is pride over this matter may only be permitted once or twice, because of history. Then, there should be no pride with regard to racial considerations over this matter.

Reply

186 andy June 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I think we must not put forth hypothetical that are unlikely to ever actually happen…ie, “2 equally qualified candidates whose assets differ only in the color of their skin.”. People are different…if a search committee narrows their search down to 2 finalists, one white and one black, they will NT be equally qualified. Each will have some positives and negatives that differ from the other. A person’s experience within a certain culture will be part of those qualifications. Depending on the specific job requirements, one persons cultural experience may make them better suited to the job. If knowledge of, and experience within black American culture is seen as important, then hiring the black man will make sense…if not, then it may not be the best choice.

Reply

187 parsonsmike June 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Dwight,
Your response confused me.
Not one of us are perfect. We all have faults and problems and will have these things until perfection comes.
Permission then is a confusing word. For certainly, and in a certain way, God permits us to live here in the flesh and with these imperfections. But i fail to see how the color of your skin is a weakness or an imperfection. Nor do i see how it should be a source of pride.
But what I do see, that for you, it has become a source of identity that leads to pride. And not just you. I see the same pride [through movies and books] of white folk who thought because they were white they were superior to blacks. And i imagine that you have seen that same bigotry and racial hatred up close and personal because you were the object of their racial bias/hate.
And it seems that racial bigotry against the people of color has defined how you perceive yourself, at least in this limited defining.
I am not telling you how to think or act, but simply observing and commenting. I mean no disrespect.

Ideally people should act and interact as if the color of our skin made no difference at all. Easy for a white guy to say i guess, but true, I believe, nonetheless.

-mike

Reply

188 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm

paesonmike,

I’ll try and say this brief. What hospital I was born in; what side of town I lived on; what schools I went to; what public library that I could go to; the park and swimming pool that I could have fun in; the churches that I could attend; the pay scales that my parents received on their jobs, was all dictated and governed by race. The premise for all of these decisions were based on an underlying premise of Black inferiority. Therefore, when a Black person becomes the first of anything, those of us who have lived and read the history finds reasons to rejoice and be proud, because knowing what we had to overcome to succeed.

Reply

189 parsonsmike June 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Dwight,

Thank you ever so much with putting up with me. And if i may, i wish to impose on you a little more in hope that i might understand a little better you, and also hopefully, you, me.
Your post confirmed what i said, that despite the odds, so to speak, against you, that you overcame them and succeeded. So that you do define yourself by oppressive culture that engulfed you. And as one who never had to do that, i can say nothing against your own self defining, at least not in a judgmental way.
It is understandable why you so define yourself. As a man of the Earth, in the culture you were born into, such a definition was thrust upon you by forces you could not control.
But, my point is that it seems to me that you no longer need to define yourself in that earthly way, except as you can use it to point to the grace of God. i don’t mean to imply that you never point to the grace of God, but that at times you define yourself as a man of color when you really are a man of God.
Or let me put it like this: You are proud in yourself, knowing what you had to overcome [and are still overcoming in some ways] to succeed, as if success is defined by flesh. But rather you are an overcomer in the same way all believers are overcomers, in Christ, over the flesh, over the world. That in that spirit and understanding is where you should now boast and take pride, not as man who overcame the odds of a cultural hate and bias, but as one of God’s who through God is an overcomer of that which afflicts every person.
or so it seems to me.
Thank you again for putting up with me, brother.

-mike

Reply

190 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. June 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

parsonmike,

Am I defining myself a certain way, or did I join a convention that defined me a certain way? I never asked to be classified in the SBC as a Black Church. Someone else classified our church that way. When I sat on the BGCT loan fund committee, I did not set up the policies that loaned money to churches at certain interest rates, based on race. Of course, Blacks, categorically without regard to qualifications other than race, had to pay the highest interest rates.
I didn’t decide that no ethnic minority could not serve as an entity head in the very convention that asked me to give sacrificially 5-10% to the CP; while simultaneously telling me that I am a long-time project to qualify to serve as an entity head.

If I am defining myself in a certain way, it is in response to what I see, or how others define me.

Reply

191 parsonsmike June 16, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Dwight,
I agree with you.
You are defining yourself in response to how others define you.
By others, we can look at your last two posts to see who they are.

But i do not define you as they do.
To me you are a brother in Christ, a child of God, an ambassador for the Kingdom, a prince in that Kingdom, and a forever man.
I define you by your profession of faith and your work for the Lord and by the Word of God.
That is how i define myself, no matter what the world, good or bad declares me to be or how it seeks to define me.

May you have Joy upon Joy in Jesus,
-mike

192 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Todd,

On the one hand, I have dangerously veered close to hijacking your post by introducing politics. My apologies.

On the other hand, I have guaranteed you 100 comments by having done so. :-)

I’m going to predict that the Executive Committee will take up Alan’s motion. I’m also going to predict that this blog post will have no impact whatsoever upon the search committee’s choice for our next IMB president. And finally, drawing upon no inside information whatsoever and just offering a wild-eyed guess, I’m going to suggest that the first person to break the entity head barrier will be Fred Luter as the successor to Chuck Kelley at NOBTS.

Reply

193 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Thanks, Bart. This indeed is the most commented-on post I have ever written. I have no idea what the impact of these kinds of posts is, but I’m sure the issue has already been discussed at the trustee level without any input from me. I would like them to hire someone with field experience in missions and a firm biblical missiology, and I do believe that there is a non-Anglo Southern Baptist out there who would fit the bill. As I said in the original post, I trust our current leadership and have faith in the trustee system.

I do think we will one day see a diversity of leadership at the executive level in SBC life, but I’ll be disappointed if we end up missing the present opportunity with the 5 recent vacancies we’ve had. As for the IMB, as I mentioned in my post, I do believe there might be other strategic reasons in terms of our international partnerships for choosing a person with non-Western ancestry to lead our mission board, but the decision is not mine. I am just one SBC voice among many. The voice that really counts is God’s and I am praying that our leaders continue to listen for it as we serve Him together. Blessings!

Reply

194 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 8:06 pm

It’s a fine post. I’m just thinking that, by this stage, the IMB search process has progressed far beyond the point where a blog post is going to influence it.

Reply

195 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm

I was actually more concerned about the executive committee taking up Alan’s motion. I think the value of a post like this is to emphasize that racial/ethnic diversity must not be evaluated by mere sentiment or surface-level activity, but measured by the tangible and practical ways that we actually function in partnership across racial/ethnic lines (such as sharing the top levels of leadership with our non-Anglo brothers).

Reply

196 Todd Benkert June 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

And pastor Uth did ask for our input :)

Reply

197 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 8:29 pm

:-)

198 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

When will this happen?

Reply

199 Bart Barber June 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm

April 18, 2021.

Hey, if I’m just going to make things up out of thin air, I might as well go for broke!

Reply

200 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Bart

Are you saying I should not ready my resume? :-)

Reply

201 Dave Miller June 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Miller’s theory on blog comments: After 75 or so comments, the comment stream has little or nothing to do with the actual post.

Reply

202 Greg Harvey June 16, 2014 at 9:59 pm

It takes 75? not 10?

Reply

203 dr. james willingham June 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

David is a Quick Study. Wait. No, make that a slow study. He is also very indulgent.

Reply

204 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) June 17, 2014 at 6:37 am

I thought your theory was that after 75 comments the comment stream always turned to Calvinism? That being said…..

Reply

205 Dean Stewart June 16, 2014 at 8:01 pm

It is my prayer that the SBC will never disqualify a person because of his or race race/ethnicity for a leadership position. To do so, in my opinion, would be foolish at best and sinful at worse.

Reply

206 Dean Stewart June 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Should read his or her race/ethnicity. On iphone!

Reply

207 D. L. Payton June 16, 2014 at 9:07 pm

I will join you in that prayer.

Reply

208 Tarheel June 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Me too, gentlemen.

Reply

209 Dean Stewart June 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

Todd, thank you for your post. I know you would rather interact with the Alan Cross motion but I would like to make a comment or two about the IMB search process. I think what you are wanting is admirable and correct. I do believe your desire for diversity has caused you to arrive at an unfortunate conclusion. In order to insure diversity you would not allow an Anglo to submit his name for the position (comment made in thread, not post). I submit that to include one group while excluding another group is still exclusion. We can’t practice exclusion. There are too many passages that teach against accepting someone while shunning another.

I do believe we should be intentional in the process but we shouldn’t intentionally disqualify any qualified candidate because of race. We need to be intentional in making sure that we identify all the non-Anglo qualified candidates for this position we can and invite them to submit their names for consideration. The real numbers in the SBC indicate it will not be difficult to find qualified whites to apply. With fewer non-white congregations and leaders in our convention our intentional process, IMO, should be to take the time to discover and promote qualified non-whites for the job. Then through prayer and process submit a candidate. To me, such a process would not offend anyone regardless of the ethnicity of the chosen IMB president. Also, it would not hamstring our next president, if he were a person of color, with having to carry unnecessary baggage about the search process.

Reply

210 Todd Benkert June 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

Perhaps I was being overly pragmatic in that comment. Honestly, I don’t know how the selection process works or whether they even accept resumes. If I have to err, however, I suppose I would rather exclude candidates from the selection process than continue to exclude persons of color from the highest positions of leadership.

In any case, I don’t mind discussing the IMB hire to the exclusion of my other suggestion. I have a feeling we’ll have a chance to discuss Alan’s motion in a future post.

Reply

211 Dean Stewart June 17, 2014 at 11:22 am

Todd, I have heard your heart and know this is your passion. I am grateful for you because of that passion. During the week of the Donald Sterling debacle I was listening to a sports call-in radio show. The host, Colin Cowherd, can never be considered a racist, in spite of his lack of racism I still would like to slap him. :) A caller said the NBA was a good ole’ white boys network because there was not a black owner. Cowherd responded by saying that was unfair and that what they have in common is not necessarily they are white but they are billionaires who want to own a NBA franchise. He asked for a list of black billionaires. He submitted that is a short list and not all on that list would want a franchise.

Here is the application, until our recent past, we have not had much diversity in our convention. In 1993, regardless of how we felt about diversity, how many non-Anglo valid candidates were there in the entire convention to consider for Southern’s presidency when Mohler was hired. I suggest not many. Today there are more, way more. I would be terribly disappointed if in this search process we do not identify as many of these candidates as possible and approach them. I would be equally disappointed if Joel Rainey could not be considered for the position on the sole basis he is white. I know he is a Cal and we wouldn’t have him but that is another story. I hope soon enough this issue will be a non-story in the SBC because we have obtained the diversity we desire. BTW, as I sat next to you in the exhibit hall at the convention I was looking around; there were fewer people than ever who look like I look walking around. We are younger and more diverse.

Reply

212 Todd Benkert June 17, 2014 at 11:33 am

I completely understand that sentiment. Of course, the irony of using Joel as your example is that in his assessment of my post in his comment above, he stated he “Agreed on all points” with me :)

Appreciate your feedback, brother!

Reply

213 Alan Cross June 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for the post, Todd. Good thoughts here, as usual.

I made my motion because I thought that it was good time for an assessment to note the progress that has been made. Lots of comments have been made the last few years here and there about progress, but I would love to see something official.

Also, I think that if it is true that 20% of our churches are no minority-majority and 52% of last year’s church plants are ethnic minority lead/focused (according to NAMB), then we have a growing groundswell of ethnic minority involvement that is ready to move into other forms of leadership.

Really, the motion was meant to help us along in a direction that we are already going so that we can be intentional in our needed growth in this area. I will write more about it throughout the summer and most likely head to the next ExComm trustee meeting to make my case. I have every reason to believe that it will be well received.

Reply

214 Tarheel June 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I agree Alan…

We are I think moving in the right direction. My concern is not that we should stop moving this way…but that we ought be very careful that we not mess up a good thing by forcing some kind of affirmative action …. As I truly believe that wound be counterproductive.

I do not think you are pushing us toward that…but I think some others might be. I just don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and put ourselves in a position of “forcing it”.

Reply

215 Alan Cross June 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Tarheel,

I would be against affirmative action or quotas. But, it isn’t that when we already have the leaders in the SBC and they are not making it into our entity structures. That is because of a lack of relationships, I believe, not competency. So, we address it that way.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: