In 2019, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution that included language legitimizing the use of a secular Marxist ideology known as Critical Race Theory. The resolution, titled On Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, asserts that these ideologies are useful in analyzing data “gaining insights” in social and racial dynamics. While the resolution does acknowledge that these ideologies have their roots in a secular worldview, conservatives are growing increasingly concerned with their validation marking them as “incompatible” with Christianity.
During the 2019 annual meeting, two of the most outspoken opponents of the resolution were Tom Ascol, founder and CEO of Founders Ministries — a conservative, Reformed ministry within the denomination — and Tom Buck, pastor of First Baptist Church, Lindale, TX. Tom Ascol openly opposed the adoption of the resolution during a truncated Q&A session prior to the vote, stating that it was more than just an “analytical tool” — as asserted by the resolution’s leading proponent, SEBTS professor Curtis Woods — but a complete worldview that is opposed to Christianity.
The resolution reads in part, including these statements of highest concern,
WHEREAS, General revelation accounts for truthful insights found in human ideas that do not explicitly emerge from Scripture and reflects what some may term “common grace”; and
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;
RESOLVED, That critical race theory and intersectionality should only be employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture—not as transcendent ideological frameworks;
The concern is that as Christians, we should view any form of racism as sin and that the Scriptures are sufficient alone to deal with sin. Opponents to the resolution argue that not only is it unnecessary to glean “insight” from secular worldviews such as Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality but that these worldviews contradict what the Scriptures say about sin.
The original resolution, which had been submitted by Pastor Stephen M. Feinstein, Victorville, CA, Tom Ascol argues had a nearly opposite meaning than the amended version the resolution committee (led by Chairman Curtis Woods) presented to the messengers at the meeting.
Ascol writes in a blog post after the passage of the resolution,
What the Resolutions Committee did was rewrite Feinstein’s resolution, giving it an almost opposite meaning from that which he intended, and did so while telling the messengers of the convention that his original resolution was not “declined,” leaving the impression that it was merely reworded as it passed through their hands. They should have openly declined his and written their own—which is in essence what they actually did.
Obviously, I think the resolution is problematic—not so much because it says too much but because it says too little and thereby gives a wrong impression about what Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality are. Chairman Woods made very clear what the committee’s intention was by the way they worded the resolution.
Before the vote on the resolution, Ascol assembled a team to submit amendments to the resolution which, he says, were ultimately rejected by Woods. A total of 17 amendments were proposed by his team. Ascol quotes Woods as saying, “It is our aspiration in this resolution simply to say that Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality are simply analytical tools. They are meant to be used as tools, not as a worldview.”
Frustrated by the passage of the resolution, Ascol is now leading the charge to have the resolution rescinded at the next annual meeting in Orlando. Since the last annual meeting, Founders Ministries released a free documentary titled By What Standard which outlines many of the problems in the Southern Baptist Convention including its liberal slide and embrace of secular ideologies in place of Scripture. The documentary included the sequence of events leading to the passage of the resolution.
Ascol says that after speaking with hundreds of Southern Baptists who are concerned about the direction of the denomination — including problems within the entities — he is now urging people to show up to rescind the resolution. He writes,
I opposed Resolution 9 and tried to get the convention to amend it before it was presented for adoption. Unfortunately, that effort failed. I understand why many Southern Baptists are frustrated and even disillusioned. They feel, with the adoption of Resolution 9 (and, just as importantly, with the way it was done), that there is little hope of their voices being heard and their concerns being considered.
Again, I fully understand that sentiment. But it is incorrect. Baptist polity and our Southern Baptist structure provide mechanisms for any church to have a voice in what the convention affirms or does.
He also argues that “One good reason to show up is to rescind Resolution 9. Yes, it can be done. The SBC’s parliamentary authority, Robert’s Rules of Order, explicitly says so.”
Ascol promises to continue to release blog posts and information regarding this effort to have the resolution rescinded and you can continue to follow his articles at Founders Ministries.