The New York Times ran an article called Southern Baptists Adopt Plan to Appeal to Minorities, and I could see trouble right from the start—not with the article but with the state of affairs on which it was reporting.
Quote: “Southern Baptists Adopt Plan to Appeal to Minorities”
Problem: The only “appeal” any church organization should be thinking about is the Holy Spirit drawing sinners to repentance (with regard to “outreach”). Sorry to use a business analogy, but not focusing on “core competencies” is a losing proposition.
Quote: “…overcome a history of racial exclusion and to broaden its appeal in a changing American population.”
Problem: I would propose that the reason they had a “history of racial exclusion” in the first place is because they were focusing on appealing to the population of yesteryear.
Quote: “Fred Luter Jr. … highest position yet held by an African-American.” (Congratulations, Mr. Luter)
Problem: What’s with the hyphenated-American thing? OK, this criticism might be leveled at the NY Times, but the hyphenated-American thing is not unique to this paper. There is no hyphenated-American. Are you American or not?
Quote: “It’s a historic development for the Southern Baptist Convention and a sign of its future, if it’s going to reflect America.”
Problem: I’d prefer it focused on reflecting the glory of God.
Quote: “Its traditional constituency is aging and recruitment has not kept pace with the country’s demography.”
Problem: Recruitment into a denomination? A true reality, but a sad one. How about adoption into God’s family?
Quote: “Until the late 20th century it was a defiantly white institution, often promoting segregation.”
Problem: Again with identifying with the wrong thing.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:26–29 NAS95)
Quote: “‘About 30 years ago we were virtually all white — by intention, sadly but true,’ said Richard Land…”
Problem: Thanks for ‘fessing up and saying it straight.
Quote: “Since then, the number of black, Hispanic and Asian affiliates has grown and now account for 19 percent of the denomination’s churches.”
Problem: So are the “black, Hispanic and Asian affiliates” just as race-segregated as the “white affiliates” were a few decades ago?
Quote: “A few delegates in Phoenix argued that the church should remain color-blind as it pursues its primary purpose of spreading the Gospel, but nearly all the more than 2,000 voting delegates supported the diversity plan.”
Well praise God for that.