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A significant division over how the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) should address racism became public again during a panel discussion at this year’s Shepherds’ Conference (ShepCon) last week. Sparks flew between Albert Mohler, a prominent SBC leader and president of Southern Seminary, and Phil Johnson, a close pastoral associate of John MacArthur. MacArthur, who was also on the panel, is pastor of the prominent Grace Community Church, which hosts the annual ShepCon, and a longtime friend and ally of Mohler. Both are hugely influential.
Pressing Mohler for a clear answer, Johnson asked, “Why didn’t you sign the Statement [on Social Justice and the Gospel]? …Do you not see that the evangelical movement, even our constituency, the most conservative bend of the evangelical movement, is becoming a little susceptible to [the radical social justice agenda]?”
Statement - Nation - Denomination - Identity - Politics
The statement responded to attempts to push the nation’s largest Protestant denomination into identity politics on race. For example, part of the statement says: “We deny that God-given roles, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, sex or physical condition or any other property of a person either negates or contributes to that individual’s worth as an image-bearer of God.” MacArthur and Johnson are initial signers of the statement, but Mohler has not publicly supported it.
Visibly angry at Johnson’s panel question, Mohler answered, “I’m not going to be forced into a situation before thousands of people in which I have to say I have to do it your way… Sorry! And if this is a test of fellowship among us, this would be a good time to find out.”
Panel - Subject - Writing - ShepCon - Videos
From here, the panel dropped the subject and, as of this writing, all of ShepCon 2019’s videos have been taken offline. Video of this discussion has also been scrubbed from third-party sources. With the SBC also embroiled in a sex abuse scandal, it...
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