(5)WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message provides, in order to promote these ends, Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth. (Article 15); and
The Flip Side
Article 15 would be considered the flip side of the Baptist Faith and Message. In other words, if we want any of our confessional articles to get airplay, we want to be sure Christian Education efforts with young people, and new Christians in our churches, hear articles 1-7. There is indeed a hierarchy to our confession. And that may we why Article 15 is among the least read articles of the Baptist Faith and Message.
Editors for the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 expanded Article 15 of the 1963 version, which replaced Article 21 of the 1925 version, to include,
“In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, . . ..”
Our confessional statement did not just grow to include racism, but editors located racism before the historical, “greed, selfishness and vice” in the two prior editions. Greed had not abated. Selfishness had not been defeated. Our vices have increased with human creativity. May we consider this decision, to set racism as first in order of what Southern Baptist Christians should oppose a call back to our origins as a denomination? Might it be an awareness that our delay in admitting our institutional formation built on a subordinating ideology?
Article 15 concludes with this sentence, and is included in the submitted resolution to the 2021 Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, On the Incompatibility of Structural Racism and Oppression with the Baptist Faith and Message,
In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
For I would not have known sin, except through the law.
In the same sense, many of us would not have known that United States statutes and Supreme Court decisions institutionalize the subordination of other people on the base of race had not a person of good will been working to apply the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or, we might say, except through a reading of the U.S. statutes, case law and SCOTUS decisions, we would not have known the sin that looms there.
Applying the sense of Article 15 to the debate over the discoveries made in writings that fall into the broad category of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality provides the parameters for us, “always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.” The submitted resolution properly locates any help CRT literature may be as in service to opposing racism as primary in our list of societal ills to oppose.
The flip side of cooperation with those who have discovered what we do not know, is to give airplay to the criticism that Southern Baptists don’t know what they don’t know.
*Contributed by Todd Littleton