Home Christian News This Is What Made Pence’s Speech at the SBC So Controversial

This Is What Made Pence’s Speech at the SBC So Controversial

Another attendee commented on the mixed signal having Pence sent to the group. “Sends the wrong message and reinforces the perception that SBC = Republican. The gospel of King Jesus is not tied to any American political party. This confuses that.”

Some commented on the main thrust of Pence’s speech, which was more campaign rhetoric than it was faith-focused. Trevin Wax wrote, “I know the SBC has welcomed politicians on occasion going back 45 years, but has there ever been a full-blown campaign speech like this one?”

Others, though, saw the speech as a good thing. One attendee wrote, “It is good for people in power to know us. We may need them at some point. Also, we need to affirm evangelicals in politics. It is a tough calling.”

Jack Graham defended Pence, saying,  “Mike Pence is a godly and dedicated public servant who inspired the#SBC and blessed us with words of encouragement. So very glad he honored us by coming and delivering  a message that rocked the house.”

More than one person tried to explain that the opposition against Pence speaking didn’t have to do with Pence himself, but rather the context of the speech. Sarah Smith wrote, “Important to note though that many people who didn’t want the politicization of the SBC are not against Pence or the GOP. They just don’t think this is the place.”

What do we learn from this?

The whole experience with Pence speaking at the meeting and the division it pointed out within the ranks of the SBC should not shock us. We should also realize division is not exclusive to issues of political leaders. Other “camps” in the SBC are calling for a re-evaluation of how the convention treats women in general and victims of abuse in particular; others are concerned about the influence a more Calvinist theology is having on some (mostly younger) leaders in the SBC; still others are concerned about the lack of racial diversity and leaders whose ancestors hail from somewhere other than Europe.

The way the convention is set up allows for discussion and differences of opinion to be worked out. That’s one of the main reasons for the annual meeting in the first place. Any messenger can bring any motion (within reason, obviously). Conflict in the SBC is par for the course. And without it, not a lot of change would happen.

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Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for churchleaders.com. Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.