The Woke Tools of the SBC: A Review of Resolution 9 on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality

The use of ‘woke’ tools will not end well for the SBC; we were given a test on our commitment to the Scriptures and we failed.

Intersectionality has convinced many within evangelicalism to: Replace theology with victimology. Swap pastors with sociologists. Trade theologians for political activists. We will never achieve “reconciliation” and “unity” and “equality” through social justice. The SBC has made a serious mistake and one that without stern correction will be the tipping point for an already vulnerable and numerically decreasing Convention of churches.

 

The Southern Baptist Convention fought a 30-year long battle for the Bible known as the Conservative Resurgence, but what happened in Birmingham, Alabama might just prove to validate the woke movement for the largest protestant denomination in America. Did the SBC abandon the sufficiency of Scripture? Many people have made that claim for years citing pragmatism as the modus operandi of the Convention—but this time it happened in an official capacity as a resolution.

Last year prior to the annual meeting of the SBC in Dallas, Texas—I wrote an article titled, “The SBC at the Intersection of Intersectionality” where I warned of the dangers of identity politics within the Convention. I likewise preached on the dangers of intersectionality in a sermon back in January of 2019 in the pre-conference to the annual G3 Conference in Atlanta. Not only was I heavily criticized for the article and sermon—the leaders of the Convention openly denied that it was a real threat. Here we are just a few months later and the entire SBC has officially adopted Resolution 9 – “On Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.” It’s official—we are encouraged to use these worldly ideologies and philosophies as helpful tools to diagnose and address social ills in a depraved world. The use of such woke tools will not end well for the SBC. We were given an opportunity to stand, and we remained seated. We were given a test on our commitment to the Scriptures and we failed.

The Woke Downgrade

Intersectionality was originally coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a political activist and radical feminist, in order to describe oppression against women on specific different points of intersection. Today, it’s used in a more broad sense. In short, intersectionality as it has been defined, is discrimination based on overlapping layers of individual classes of discrimination. It’s when a person is subjected to discrimination for more than one classification such as a woman who is black and lesbian. She would classify, under this line of reasoning, for three basic discriminatory marks—being a woman, who is black, and is also a lesbian. According to the definition of intersectionality, where these three marks “intersect” is the focus of her greatest and most severe discrimination which places her at the greatest risk of oppression in our culture.

Although this term was birthed out of a radical feminist postmodern political culture, it’s now being used within evangelical circles to describe people who are oppressed and “held back” from certain advancement within evangelicalism.

We must always remember that words matter and doctrine matters. Therefore, when it comes to the adoption of a resolution using terms like Critical Race Theory and intersectionality, the words in the document must be taken seriously. In the resolution, the following statement is made:

WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory and intersectionality alone are insufficient to diagnose and redress the root causes of the social ills that they identify, which result from sin, yet these analytical tools can aid in evaluating a variety of human experiences, and

If CRT and intersectionality are insufficient alone to diagnose social ills, what about the Scriptures—are they insufficient alone to diagnose social ills? In a day where we’ve already watched the evangelical world attach woke to church—now the SBC has attached woke to the Scriptures.

You cannot attach identity politics to the sufficient Scriptures and still claim to be champions of sufficiency. God’s Word must stand alone. Like a confident lion walking in the afternoon sun on the African plains—it doesn’t need assistance to diagnose and address the social ills of a depraved society. What the SBC did, in passing this resolution, is make a clear statement to the watching world that we believe the Bible is not quite capable of addressing the lived experiences of broken people and may need the assistance of CRT and intersectionality.

When Charles Spurgeon was addressing the compromise among Baptists in England, he penned “The Downgrade in the Churches” where he wrote the following:

A chasm is opening between the men who believe their Bibles and those who are prepared for an advance upon the Scripture. . .The house is being robbed, its very walls are being digged down, but the good people who are in bed are too fond of the warmth. . .to go downstairs to meet the burglars. 

When the elect exiles were being pummeled by persecution and severely mistreated by depraved God-haters, Peter didn’t point them to identity politics to diagnose the problem and pursue solutions (1 Peter 1). Instead, Peter pointed people to the sufficient Word of God by quoting the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:8) in order to encourage them in the faith. We need leaders like Peter in days of confusion, hardship, and a culture filled with devilish ills.

For a Convention that experienced many scars in a lengthy battle for the inerrancy of the Bible, it grieved me as a 42-year-old pastor who is a product of the Conservative Resurgence to watch as the SBC voted to adopt a resolution which in many ways denies the sufficiency of Scripture.

The Woke Hermeneutic

As the Baptists in Spurgeon’s day spiraled downward, he could see that the issue was fundamentally based upon their lack of commitment to the Word of God. In his work on the Downgrade, Spurgeon said:

Inspiration and speculation cannot long abide side by side. . .We cannot hold the inspiration of the Word and yet reject it.  

Read More