“So I’ve tried to double down in my neighborhood and the place that I’m pastoring and make sure we’re doing the best we possibly can to be a welcoming place, to be a place where there’s real conversation happening,” Chandler said, going on to express that while national politics may look bleak, he has a great deal of hope toward his local church and community in making progress with regard to race relations.
Dever went on to summarize the answers given by the panel in two words: teaching and relationships.
“History—just read, read, read. Learn; try to learn more history,” Dever said. “The second thing is just to build personal relationships. Get to know people.”
“If you find yourself not being able to pray for someone that you disagree with, like Obama, and yet your congregation hears you pray for Trump, the Black members of your congregation catch that,” said Johnson. “If in all your sermon illustrations, the heroes are white and you never mention any Black men, the Black men in the congregation feel that.”
No one on the panel specifically addressed Smith’s comment about some Southern Baptists becoming “whores” for former president Donald Trump, a remark that some are calling out for its graphic nature.
Smith Comes Under Fire
A number of people took to social media with their criticism, referring to Smith’s comments as “sad” and “disgusting.” Outspoken Texas pastor Tom Buck sarcastically said that surely Mark Dever “wouldn’t have allowed that to be said unchallenged,” and conservative media personality Michael O’Fallon joked that Dever was likely the one “holding the cue card.”
Notably, others came to Smith’s defense, arguing that he had a point regarding the state of race and politics in the SBC. One person tweeted, “Wow, if a Baptist pastor actually said the quiet part out loud, I just gained a lot more respect for Baptist pastors…That’s so accurate (and well said).”
“Sometimes families are merely having discussions – sharing opinions and asking questions,” Smith tweeted in response to the public criticism surrounding his question, going on to say of those criticizing him, “They look like their discipler: partisan gridlock Washington.”
“I don’t know about hit dogs, but it’s strange that some guys always get their panties-in-a-wad whenever race is discussed – even if it’s a discussion among friends, of which they weren’t involved,” Smith later went on to say.