No Flag is Worth a Soul

Yesterday I could not be more proud to be a Southern Baptist. I’ve been a member of Southern Baptist churches most of my adult life. Ours is a denomination with a troubling past regarding slavery and racism. Like most organizations of that time, particularly in the south, the Southern Baptist Convention was on the wrong side of the issue. The dead wrong side of the issue.

But yesterday they (we) made a very clear statement. Not only will we not promote symbols that are divisive and hurtful, we strongly discourage their use by any and all members of churches affiliated within our convention. The symbol in question was the Confederate Battle Flag.

In short, this statement declares that we will put others before ourselves and seek to keep the gospel at the center of our fellowship. The gospel demonstrates that there is no room for human superiority. The gospel shows that all men are created equal and God alone is supreme.

How much will this resolution change? I have no idea. But it was the right thing to do, and the right message to send. We cannot encourage the use of symbols that are hurtful to many of our African American brothers and sisters.

It doesn’t change our past. But love and unity must be the priority of our present and the aim of our future. And we must reverberate the message over and over and over that racial superiority is at odds with the gospel. Gospel loving people must hate racism everywhere it is found and root it out of our lives and our institutions with every ounce of our strength for the love of our brothers and sisters and for the glory of God.

There is nothing I can really add to improve upon the comments made by Atlanta pastor, Dr. James Merritt. Here is his short speech from the meeting yesterday. My favorite line, “All the confederate flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.”