Southern Baptist Dwight McKissic leaves the Texas group due to a essential angle in the direction of race concept

f (RNS) – Rev. Dwight McKissic, the Black Baptist pastor who successfully pushed his denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, to pass resolutions criticizing the Confederate flag and condemning white supremacy, is pulling his church in Arlington, Texas, one of two of its state’s SBC conventions.

McKissic is not the first black pastor to take a step following recent statements by SBC leaders on critical racial theory, an academic framework that studies how systemic racism works. Charlie Dates, another pastor from Texas, recently announced his resignation from the national body after succeeding other Black Southern Baptist ministers. But McKissic, who said he would maintain his ties to the Texas Baptist General Convention while he leaves the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, is also among the influential black leaders in the denomination.

McKissic said a SBTC fall statement triggered his decision. “(W) We are the ambassadors for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, meeting in Austin, Texas, November 9-10, 2020,” the statement said, “will advance the biblical language and promote theory and avoid intersectionality of critical races and others. ” secular ideologies. ”

A few weeks later, the six seminar presidents of the SBC declared that the critical theory of race was not compatible with the declaration of faith of their denomination. After meeting with Black Southern Baptist leaders in early January, the seminar leaders, all of whom are white, “acknowledged the pain and confusion resulting from the lack of prior dialogue.”

RELATED: Southern Baptist Leaders Meet After Critical Document On Racial Theory Sparked Controversy

In addition to the Texas Baptist General Convention, McKissic and its predominantly black church, in which around 1,400 people attended before the pandemic, remain affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA, a historically black denomination, and the Southern Baptist Convention. The BGCT, the older and more progressive of the two state conventions, did not pass any resolutions in 2020.

The Rev. Dwight McKissic. Photo by Ada Lee Photography

McKissic, 64, spoke to the Religion News Service Thursday (Jan. 21) about why he is leaving the Southern Baptists of Texas convention and what he thinks the largest Protestant denomination in the country may be facing.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you choose to leave the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention?

At its annual state assembly, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention passed a resolution essentially denouncing critical racial theory. Having only a limited understanding of this I couldn’t understand where the SBTC was on this issue so I am no longer compatible with them and made the decision that we need to get away from them. In fact, I received confirmation today that you received our letter.

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s definition of Critical Race Theory states in part: “Critical Race Theory is the secular view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist.” Do you agree with this definition?

I agree that racism historically, and the remnants of it, affects all sectors of American society now. The DNA of racism is part of our legal documents. And yes, I would agree that the remaining effects of racism are evident or found in all aspects of American life, including the Southern Baptist Convention.

Is there any other way you yourself define critical racial theory?

Why has the SBC been incorporated since the early 1950s to give black churches access to train blacks in colleges and seminaries, but never hired a black in 70 years to apply for all of these jobs in their various units? No Hispanic, Asian or Black, no matter how many apply, will be hired. Critical race theory aims to answer the question why that is so.

You would say, “This is not intentional racism. None of the people who were black qualified. “Critical race theory should say:” Not like that. So let’s look at why that is and how we can change that. “But you can apply the same principle to American business, all aspects of America.

RELATED: Black Southern Baptists incriminate public officials’ critical criticism of racial theory

How do you feel about the seminar presidents at the Southern Baptist Convention who say they will not allow critical racial theory to be taught on their campus?

I think this is suicide in terms of recruiting black students and black professors. I love Southern Baptist Seminary (in Louisville, Kentucky). I especially love Southwestern Baptist Seminary (in Fort Worth, Texas). I think you can still get very solid theological ministerial training in a Southern Baptist seminary. That statement, however, puts the issues of race and how they are placed wholly in the hands of white men on their campus for a decision to be made. Very unwise. Who determines whether or not a professor is out of line based on what he or she would say about race? That will always be a white man. The effects of this are amazing.

You have said that what the seminary presidents say could have an impact on the churches, and particularly on the African American Southern Baptist churches. What is the biggest impact for you?

So what does it mean when a Sunday School teacher, a Black Baptist preacher, or someone – (Bible teacher) Beth Moore – says something in the pulpit that someone finds who transgresses the critical line of racial theory? Who raises the red flag and blames them? I’m afraid we don’t know how to use that. Whose definition of critical racial theory do you follow? Who determines when you cross this limit? Who draws that line? Who blames you

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