There is a “witch-hunt” going on in churches and Christian organizations that is targeting people who support critical race theory (CRT), says Christian author and teacher Beth Moore. Moore believes that a November statement issued by the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) six seminary presidents made this situation “inevitable.”
“The moment someone preaches, teaches or speaks against racism or injustice,” said Beth Moore in a Twitter thread Wednesday, “many church congregations, Christian organizations, students & faculty members of Christian universities & seminaries are now primed to see devils behind every bush and holler ‘CRT!!’ I beg you to hear me here: godly people are losing their jobs and WILL lose their jobs by the hundreds over this witchhunt for simply teaching Biblical righteousness. They are no more proponents of CRT than they are horned toads.”
Beth Moore: The Handwriting Was on the Wall
In November 2020, the presidents of the six seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement declaring that CRT is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M). This statement from the presidents, who are all white, proved to be controversial.
Some Black SBC leaders, including Rev. Marshal L. Ausberry Sr., published statements conveying that they thought certain aspects of CRT could be helpful. Ausberry is the president of the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the SBC, as well as a pastor and the SBC’s first vice president. He requested a meeting with the seminary presidents about the statement. Several church leaders left the denomination, including Rev. Ralph D. West, a pastor in Houston, Texas. West also left Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary, where he was pursuing a doctoral degree.
The NAAF did meet with the seminary presidents on Jan. 6, 2021, after which the presidents publicly apologised for the hurt they had caused their Black brothers and sisters. All parties agreed that CRT should not be taught in SBC seminaries, and J.D. Greear, the SBC president at the time, acknowledged that SBC leaders of color should have been consulted about the statement.
However, CRT has continued to be a hot topic within the SBC (and American culture). Several resolutions explicitly condemning CRT were proposed at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting that took place in June. However, messengers chose instead to pass a resolution affirming the sufficiency of Scripture for racial reconciliation that did not mention CRT by name. Another key outcome from the meeting was messengers’ decision to elect as president Ed Litton, who is known for his racial reconciliation work, over Mike Stone, who supported a resolution declaring CRT incompatible with the BF&M.
Beth Moore, who recently left the SBC, said that when the seminary presidents issued their statement, “the handwriting was on the wall that this witch-hunt was tragically inevitable.” She believes there are two reasons why. The first is that, in the statement, the presidents did not define what CRT is and what it is not. The second is that very few people are going to do the work to learn about the differences between CRT in biblical justice. The result is that now, when believers speak out against actual injustice per the Bible’s commands, others accuse them of promoting CRT.
“I am not a proponent of CRT,” said Moore, “but I will not for one second relent on stating as obvious fact that systemic injustice thrives in America. You have to have a blindfold on [sic] not to see it. Believing there is such a thing as systemic injustice does not equal CRT. Brothers & sisters, we are spreading lies and it is harmful & sinful.”
Moore believes fear, as well as a desire to protect “our positions & power structures,” is driving people to misconstrue biblical justice for CRT. She concluded, “I’m not an academic. I’m a Bible studying Jesus freak who loves the church. I’ll inevitably have said some of this poorly. I require a lot of grace and I ask you to look to the heart of it and test the spirit. I have written these things in love and deep concern.”