The Confederate Battle flag and Southern Baptists

I got a lump in my throat today watching what unfolded on the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention. The messengers considered a resolution against the Confederate Battle flag. People spoke for and against. But it was Dr. James Merritt’s speech that proved to be the seminal moment. Among other things, he told Southern Baptists, “I rise to say that all the Confederate Flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.” Amen.

Dr. Merritt’s speech and the subsequent vote are not going to be forgotten by those who witnessed what happened. Russell Moore has put this into historical perspective over at his website. I recommend that you read the whole thing, but here’s a piece of it.

It’s not often that I find myself wiping away tears in a denominational meeting, but I just did. The Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the display of the Confederate Battle Flag. This conservative evangelical denomination gathered together just miles from Ferguson, Missouri, to stand together against one lingering divisive symbol…

The Convention recognized today what the flag represents, and what it says to our African American brothers and sisters in Christ. The flag hearkens back to a day when in order to justify idolatrous Mammonism, Southern religion wove a counter-biblical folk theology that stood on the other side of Jesus. The flag also points to years and years of domestic terrorism against African-Americans, often with threats of physical violence…

As I’ve said before, the Cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire. Today, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, including many white Anglo southerners, decided the cross was more important than the flag. They decided our African-American brothers and sisters are more important than family heritage. We decided that we are defined not by a Lost Cause but by amazing grace. Let’s pray for wisdom, work for justice, love our neighbors.

Read the rest here.

5 Responses to The Confederate Battle flag and Southern Baptists

  1. Christiane Smith June 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    “I rise to say that all the Confederate Flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.”

    truly, Dr. Merritt’s golden line

  2. Rob Wells June 15, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    When this controversy started, I actually went out and bought my first ever confederate flag. It’s been tucked away in a drawer ever since. That being said, though I see that flag as a symbol of states rights against an overbearing federal government – and within that context it has more place in our culture than ever before, I realize after reading this article that the display of this flag is a blatant insult to many people, which is not something a Christian would do.

    Now, I often said that the sensibilities of others that is rooted in ignorance is not cause for me to change my lifestyle, however, I suddenly realize that, though I am free to display it, this falls in the category of what Paul said about eating meat if it causes a brother to stumble. For that reason, it is clear that I can not display such a thing.

    For CWII we’ll need to come up with another symbol. 😉

  3. Esther Bright June 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    It was truly inspirational!

  4. Christiane Smith June 16, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    The Confederacy is a part of my southern grandmother’s heritage, as her uncle was one of the six heroes of the Siege of Petersburg and was awarded a silver medal for his bravery by Gen. Beauregard. My great-grandfather’s brother was William James Ausbon of Plymouth NC. But I would say to take the Confederate flag down and put it where it belongs in a museum respectfully (for many died also in the Confederacy) and to let our American people try to find a unity that embraces ALL of our people with dignity. That flag in modern times has been used as a symbol of hate. My ancestors would not have wanted to see their flag brought so low, I think they would rather see it kept in a museum rather than being flaunted by murderers and racists in our time, yes.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Early Bird Gets The Link  – Intersections - June 15, 2016

    […] Yesterday at the SBC convention a motion was passed to repudiate the flying of the Confederate Flag. Dr. Russell Moore wrote about this in Southern Baptists and the Confederate Flag and Denny Burk linked to a video to Dr. Merritt’s resolution proposal.  […]

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