A trustee for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is facing criticism for comments he made at a 9Marks event during the annual SBC meeting in Anaheim, California.
According to ChurchLeaders.com, Kevin Smith, who is also the campus pastor for Family Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, is being criticized for questions he posed to a panel that included 9Marks president Mark Dever, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president Danny Akin, Georgia pastor Aaron Menikoff, Texas pastor Matt Chandler and Maryland pastor Omar Johnson.
“I think some Southern Baptists lost their minds when a black man was elected president,” Smith said. “Not all, but some. I think some Southern Baptists were unloving to black people beginning in 2012 with the killing of Trayvon Martin.
“And I think some Southern Baptists just bent over and became political whores with this whole Trump stuff,” he added.
“I just wonder if white brothers think this has been kind of crazy – black/white stuff going on, Asian, Hispanic – just people who aren’t white feeling like they’re tolerated but not really embraced.”
Smith asked, “So I just wanted to know what white brothers think the race thing is in the SBC.”
Online, people have called Smith’s comments “sad” and “disgusting,” but in a follow-up tweet, Smith said he was just “sharing opinions and asking questions.”
“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.”
The panel did discuss Smith’s question, however. Menikoff responded first, saying he saw a “discouraging” situation in the church.
“Over the last four years, we’ve had some African American brothers and sisters come to our church because we were ‘less Trump’ than some other church. We’ve had some come to our church because we were ‘less social justice-y’ than some other churches.”
He said he has tried to foster relationships with black people in his community and “try to help my congregation stay focused on the gospel but also aware of our history.”
Chandler also responded to Smith’s question, saying he had to focus on solving the problem at his home church, the Village Church and the Acts 29 network.
“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,” he said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chuang Tzu Dreaming
Video courtesy: ©Ryan Graber
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.