During a floor debate at the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention concerning Resolution Two (concerning racial identity while not naming Critical Race Theory by name), Resolutions Committee Chairman James Merritt played the gospel card.
You no doubt have heard of the race card, where liberal references their or someone else’s skin color to besmirch the view of someone critical of them. But you may not have known that a similar tactic exists within evangelicalism, and it was on full display and played masterfully by former SBC president and pastor James Merritt.
Resolution two – in part – rejected “any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic.” While this sounds like a rejection of CRT on the surface, it notably gives identity in Christ ultimate status, while still making room for racial/ethnic/gender identity to have a place in the conversation.
As the resolution was amended and debated on the floor, audible groans were heard around the convention floor as the true, CRT-avoiding nature of the resolution became clear. Merritt – at the podium – became visibly irritated (he represents the committee that brought the resolution to the floor), and fired back at the groaners: “If some people were as passionate about the gospel as they are about Critical Race Theory, we’d win this world to Christ tomorrow!”
This is playing the gospel card – dismissing any concern over any issue that is not the Gospel itself as invalid simply because the Gospel is the most important issue. This technique is used to dismiss any theological or methodological concern, or to inoculate a professing Christian minister from criticism: “You need to focus on the gospel, not female preachers!” “Why are you talking about political issues? Preach the gospel!” “If you would focus on the gospel and not CRT, everybody would be saved by now!”
Merritt playing the gospel card was one of several troubling moments in a session that included passing a resolution absolving women who abort their children from any real culpability for the death of their child and the election of woke, lady preacher-supporting, and standpoint epistemology promoting pastor Ed Litton. In the run-off presidential election, votes for Al Mohler shifted to Litton and proved to the world that those who support Al Mohler are just fine with the woke, liberal drift of the convention.
SBC messengers – mortally afraid of being called racist or sexist – fell under the same spell as the culture at large and allowed soft and biblically unfaithful statements to be made for them – by them.
At the conclusion of the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention, it is clear to the evangelical world that the the largest protestant “denomination” is firmly on its way to following the same path to irrelevancy mainline denominations took decades ago.
Editor’s Note. This article was written by Dave Morrill and originally published at Mile High Evening News. Printed in full with permission.