Concerning victims of racism, the Statement has this to say:
We reject any teaching that encourages racial groups to view themselves as privileged oppressors or entitled victims of oppression. While we are to weep with those who weep, we deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression or prejudice.
Additionally, the authors of the Statement emphasize the current generations are not culpable for the sins of their ancestors if they do not “approve and embrace (or attempt to justify) those sins.” In other words, the authors of the Statement would likely not approve of “generational repentance” or repentance offered by a current generation on behalf of a previous generation when the current generation has not committed the same sins.
While Mohler indicates he agrees with what the Statement is saying about so-called generational repentance, he does believe racism is still an “urgent issue.” He says, “I can’t associate with any assertion that we do not have a massive problem—in the society and in the church—with claims of racial superiority…and with the fact that remnants and ongoing manifestations of those claims of white racial superiority continue.”
The remnants of white racial superiority surround Mohler nearly every day. “I’m the president of a seminary established by slaveholders as a part of a Convention established to allow slaveholders to continue to send missionaries and be slaveholders,” Mohler says, pointing to the history of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The problem with the Statement’s words on racism, Mohler believes, lies in how it “has been interpreted by some as denying this reality [of racism] and its continued reality.” And this is not just a problem within the SBC, Mohler states. It’s a white, western problem that the church should be zealous to rectify since Mohler believes “any claim of racial superiority is a heresy.”
We Have Had This Conversation Before
In many ways, the conversation coming up in 2018 concerning social justice is similar to one that followed WWII, when the founders of what Mohler refers to as “New Evangelicalism” where trying to strike a balance between fundamentalism and Protestant liberalism. The New Evangelicals believed fundamentalism brought disrepute on the gospel by denying any kind of social responsibility. At the same time, though, they faulted Protestant liberals for transforming the gospel into a social gospel and consequently abandoning it.
The question Mohler believes the church must grapple with and answer today is: To what degree should the church be involved or not involved in the issues of the day?
Mohler looks to the Baptist Faith and Message to answer that question for himself. This creed of the SBC prioritizes conversion (an emphasis on preaching the gospel), while also indicating that the gospel has positive consequences on society.
To listen to Mohler’s (very informative) message in its entirety, click the video below: