This week was a whirlwind of activity with the SBC annual meeting in Nashville and a narrow “win” for the leadership of SBC going to the least offensive candidate. (He is actually a good man and I am familiar with his work in racial justice in the Mobile area.)
It was a tense week watching conspiracy theories and bad information flow into a meeting, and then taking a breath as the SBC decided, for the moment, to not plunge totally into an abyss of at least the appearance of Christian nationalism. Even if it’s a step back from the brink, it’s still clear that a good strong wind could take care of that in quick fashion.
Over the past few years I have taught on and laid out some thoughts on the subject I call “Living in Babylon.” Over the past few years there has been a testing of what I have called “culturalized Christianity.” If this is something that is new to you, I suggest looking at my podcast page and listening to some episodes with the “Living in Babylon” title in it to get the idea of what I am laying out.
Basically, I felt a few years ago the white conservative American church was more “culturalized” than it wanted to admit and there was a window of opportunity for repentance and renewal. If we didn’t take that opportunity, we would be moved into a spiritual Babylonian captivity of our own making.
In the past five years, and I fully understand what that represents in time and certain people that will go nameless, we’ve seen an unleashing of spiritual destruction. Decay is not strong enough as a description. The utter rottenness of white conservative Christianity has been exposed over and over. Instead of repenting, there has been a constant doubling down of Christian Nationalism, racism, and misogyny.
Earlier this week, I gave some links to issues regarding black brothers and sisters leaving white evangelical spaces.
Now, the Southern Baptists are losing Beth Moore. (I am sure many them think this is a GLAD moment for them.)
Her departure is “tectonic in its reverberations,” said Jemar Tisby, the president of a Black Christian collective called the Witness. “Beth Moore has more influence and more cachet with Southern Baptists, especially white Southern Baptist women, than the vast majority of Southern Baptist pastors or other leaders. So her leaving is not just about one individual.”
The unfortunate thing is this is a reckoning in the white evangelical spaces… and we don’t recognize it.
It’s more than being tone deaf, but it’s something I’ve mentioned for years and it’s now being exposed in deeper ways for a simple reason: white evangelicals are refusing to listen to what is going on around them.
John Fea calls them “court evangelicals.” I want to go a bit further and use the term: “culturalized Christians.” It’s not a good term, but I start there. Read more
Last year the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution asking Lifeway Bookstores to quit selling the NIV2011. (Something about liberal commie pinkos or something like that.)
Thankfully, Lifeway has decided to keep the NIV2011.
I won’t shop at Lifeway any more than I already do (which is never), but I’m glad to hear they have a bit more sense than a declaration from the convention floor of the SBC.
The Committee on Bible Translation responded a few weeks back to the Southern Baptist resolution “banning” the use of the NIV:
A brief response from the Committee on Bible Translation to the resolution introduced on the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention regarding the updated New International Version
June 15, 2011
The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) welcomes informed criticism of our work. No translation is perfect, and we are always working to improve our translation. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has recently adopted a resolution regarding the updated New International Version (NIV). We take this opportunity to offer a brief response.
First, we object strongly to the accusation that the NIV “alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language.” Our concern is always, in every decision we make, to represent God’s unchanging Word accurately and naturally in modern English.
Secondly, we object strongly to the accusation that “the 2011 NIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards.” In fact, the translation standards followed by CBT are exactly those followed by professional translators around the world. CBT employs those standards in combination with the best biblical and linguistic scholarship to render God’s eternal Word accurately into modern English. This mandate is what guides us in all our decisions — not any other agenda.
For additional information on the translation philosophy and scholarship of the New International Version, please see the NIV Translators’ Notes:
For additional information on the evangelical scholars who make up the CBT, see: