I love Southern Baptists. They are some of the most compassionate, forgiving, and understanding people on the face of the earth. I love the fact that there are so many that hate injustice. I like others have felt the cruel tentacles of injustice.
I grew up in the Jim Crow south. My dad was a transplanted Bostonian Jew who would not tell anyone that he was Jewish because he knew he would suffer from discrimination as he lived and worked in the Jim Crow South. My mother was an executive with a master’s degree in a company that paid her inequitably, because she was a woman, at a time when we desperately needed the money. The lack of finances plunged us below the poverty level. It was a harsh reality. Thank God the government eventually corrected this inequity.
My mother had a passion for the abused. She was on the board of Penelope House in Mobile AL, a home for abused and battered women. Her professional name was Millie Long and she used her platform as a forty-year television personality and Gayfers executive to be a spokesperson for the abused, and raise thousands of dollars for their plight. She indoctrinated me from a young age that there should be zero tolerance in a civilized society for those who would exploit the vulnerable, the hurting, and the defenseless, and that full force of law enforcement must be employed when abuse takes place. I believe it is encouraging that an overwhelming number of messengers stood against discrimination and abuse in our convention.
What does that mean going forward?
- We need to unite around the fact, that whether we are supporters of Randy Adams, Al Mohler, Ed Litton, or Mike Stone, the overwhelming number of us agree on the major issues expressed by a total disdain for abuse, discrimination, and injustice as the Bible demands.
- We also need to realize that we all can bring different significant contributions to this conversation that will help us to develop better solutions.
- The overwhelming number of us agreed that we do not want fine, godly, and good people to be divided by godless worldly philosophies that are designed to divide us, but to be united instead around the truth of the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Word of God.
- To realize that since the convention overwhelmingly voted for the truth to be discovered concerning the Executive Committee’s actions on abuse, it can logically be concluded that all sides want the truth to be known. Yet knowing that the vote for president was separated by less than 600 votes, there is clearly a difference of opinion about what the truth is. For the sake of unity let us not jump to conclusions and let the process work.
In conclusion, I would like to make a passionate appeal for all groups to end the labeling of certain groups and people as divisive and dangerous. Instead, I would like to encourage all of us to follow the leadership of our new president Ed Litton who called for healing and unity. Ed beautifully and courageously stood strong on the Biblical convictions that will unite the entire convention if we take them to heart. He did not disparage any group. He did not declare he would alienate any godly person from participation in the convention. He did not espouse an “us” and “them” mentality.
This is a moment when the best that is within can emerge, and we as Christian statesmen can rise above the bickering partisanship, and instead be used of God to heal the wounds and fractures in our convention with kindness, grace, and understanding. God bless us as we experience, by His grace, our finest hour as the people of God known as Southern Baptists.
Greg Davidson is Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville, CA. He was a candidate for president of the 2022 Pastor’s Conference.