The meme among those who find the pursuit of justice – active opposition to racism, dealing with abuse, etc – to be contrary to gospel Christianity is that it is new, an innovation that departs from the settled faith of our fathers. They repeat constantly that we (woke Christians, etc) are seeking to bring back liberalism and lead the convention to the left. One of the chief voices among them is Owen Strachan, until recently at MBTS, now at an obscure seminary in Arkansas.
An article from 2014 was circulating yesterday which Owen Strachan wrote. It says EVERYTHING that we are saying today, those he derides as woke, liberals, departers from the truth. Seven years ago, he said everything we are saying today.
We did not change – Owen and his cohorts did.
We have not drifted to the left. For reasons I can only speculate, Owen and those like him moved from the consensus to a fundamentalist and extremist position on the right. We are saying today what the SBC has been consistently saying since 1995 when we repented of our racist past. Racism is a wicked sin that remains an issue today and must be dealt with for the glory of God.
On December 11, 2014, Owen wrote an article at Patheos called “With Tears: On Racism and the Gospel.” Every word of it is pretty much gold. It says things that you would never hear him say now, reflecting a spirit of sorrow over racism and its effects.
He laments the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and calls on us to listen to the pain in the African American community, to “weep with those who weep” in the face of suffering in this broken world.
He identifies racism as blatant sin, a disease of the mind, one seen in Galatians in the interaction of the Jews and Gentiles. He affirms that racism is contrary to the gospel and that our justification requires us to deal with issues like this. He then says,
Wow. Owen Strachan advocating racial empathy and the necessity of active racial reconciliation as an implication of our justification. Pretty much what us “woke, social justice warriors” are saying today.
Owen goes on to affirm that we must not ignore our racist past, but deal with it forcefully in the light of gospel.
Look at this fascinating paragraph in which Owen calls racism SYSTEMIC (was a CRT guy back then?) and advocates a wide-ranging approach to fighting it.
My hope is that the SBC will be motivated by the inspiring words of 2014 Owen Strachan about the possibility of making a difference, of recognizing that even though we may never completely defeat this sin, the battle is worth it.
There was a time not long ago when the consensus of the SBC was that we needed to carry out the full implication of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and seek to deal with sin – individual, corporate, and systemic.
We were UNITED in that stand at one point. Yes, there have always been those who resisted, but motion after motion, resolution after resolution has shown that we were ready to fight the good fight because of the grace of God in us through Christ.
If anyone tells you that WE CHANGED, that the fight against racism and abuse and for justice is something new, a departure – it just ain’t so. Our desire to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ to our convention’s life is the direction we were heading, slowly, haltingly, but definitively, until the resistance arose. Those who resist dealing with systemic racism and confronting abuse in the SBC, those who call us woke because we do – they are the ones who have changed.
Read Owen’s article. In 2014, it would not have been considered radical. The Gospel of Jesus Christ requires us to react in obedience to the eternal purpose of Christ to create ONE WORSHIPING PEOPLE from every tribe and language on earth.