Pastor Dwight McKissic has said that a recent post by The Pathway editor Don Hinkle on the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) 2021 annual meeting includes the “most racist statement” McKissic has ever read in his time with the SBC.
“There is no question that messengers want racial reconciliation, so it could be they opted for softer language so as not to offend some black pastors who may not have yet grasped CRT’s incompatibility with Christianity,” wrote Hinkle in a June 22 article titled, “Assessing the SBC’s gathering in Nashville.” The “softer language” Hinkle referred to was likely messengers’ decision to approve a resolution affirming the sufficiency of Scripture for racial reconciliation, but not to approve a resolution denouncing critical race theory (CRT) by name.
Hinkle believes it would have been better for messengers to have approved a resolution along the lines of a controversial statement the six SBC seminary presidents made in 2020. The statement, which denounced critical race theory (CRT) as incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message, troubled many Black SBC leaders (some of whom left the denomination) and led to quite a bit of fallout.
Dwight McKissic, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said himself that he would leave the SBC if messengers rescinded Resolution 9 at the annual meeting (they did not). He also criticized one of the proposed resolutions condemning CRT, calling it “the most racially divisive resolution ever proposed in the SBC.”
On Sunday, McKissic tweeted Hinkle’s article and said, “Assessing the SBC’s gathering in Nashville Don Hinkle has written perhaps the most racist statement I’ve read in my 45 yr affiliation with the SBC. He claims AA pastors may not have grasped understanding of CRT & why it’s incompatible with Christianity.”
Don Hinkle on the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting
Launched in 2002, The Pathway is an online-only official news journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. The journal’s purpose is “to cover not only the events that affect Baptists in Missouri but also the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole and evangelical Christians everywhere.” Don Hinkle, a “life-long Southern Baptist,” has been the editor of The Pathway since its inception.
Hinkle said he was “surprised” that SBC messengers did not adopt any of several proposed resolutions denouncing CRT. The overall response to CRT at the meeting leads Hinkle to think, “It may be that messengers have not yet understood what CRT is doing to our schools, military, government and churches. It is the greatest domestic threat facing our nation.”
Hinkle also thinks the threat of sexual abuse was exaggerated at the meeting. “I do not know of any Southern Baptist who would allow anyone to be sexually abused,” he said. “People would be hard-pressed to find a safer place than in a Southern Baptist church Sunday school class. For any one to suggest that there is widespread sexual abuse in SBC churches is just plain wrong.” Many, in fact, have made this very suggestion, most notably after an exposé from the Houston Chronicle was released in 2019 that found 700 people had experienced sexual abuse in SBC churches over a period of 20 years. The fallout from this report is ongoing.
One significant outcome of this year’s annual meeting was that messengers directed newly elected president Ed Litton to create a task force to oversee an investigation into whether or not top SBC leaders have mishandled allegations of sexual abuse.
McKissic called on high-profile SBC leaders to denounce Hinkle’s comment on the inability of Black pastors to understand the relationship between CRT and Christianity. “Ronnie Floyd and the EC [Executive Committee] ought to publicly rebuke Hinkle for this blatantly racist statement,” said McKissic. “[Hinkle] implied the White SBC constituency could grasp CRT at a greater depth than AA SBCers. I know he adheres to The Lost Cause theory regarding The Civil War, which is racist to the core.”
McKissic’s claim that Hinkle supports the Lost Cause theory appears to come from a book Hinkle wrote called, “Embattled Banner: A Reasonable Defense of the Confederate Battle Flag,” which McKissic said he ordered after someone alerted him to it.