As a number of you noticed, I wrote yesterday on what I regard as empty posturing on the part of the Southern Baptist Convention. This elicited a lot of reactions and comments, and so I thought to follow everything up with a few additional comments of my own.
One of the reactions was by Jeff Wright, here. I said on Twitter that he landed a couple of good ones, and I thought I should be more specific.
Before getting to that, first, whatever you might think the faults of my reasoning to be, they do not arise from lack of acquaintance with the customs and mores of Southern Baptists. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, and was baptized there. They wouldn’t put it this way, but they were the ones used by God to apply the sign and seal of the covenant to me. Moreover, I really am aware of the good work done by those urging the SBC to take a strong stand on the government school system, and have been cheering them on in this space. And Al Mohler is a man I respect highly.
So what were the “good ones” that Wright landed? What I want to do here is not to interact with any of the flag arguments made on the merits (which could be profitable later on), but rather to address how he pointed out a rhetorical misfire on my part. In his section beginning, “To be honest, this one gets under my skin . . .” Wright read me as saying that it is better to double down on old sins rather than repent “late,” and I believe that I should have spent a lot more time making myself clear on that point. In other words, I am willing to take responsibility for that particular miscommunication, and my apologies.
Sin, as defined by God, should be repented whenever the Spirit convicts us of that sin. And it doesn’t matter if confessing the sin is politically inconvenient or not, or is later in the game than it should have been. I should have made that point much more plainly than I did. I was assuming it, but should have said it better. So file this post under retractions.
Coming back to the flag, we are not talking about sin, but rather about something that (in the minds of some) is symbolic of sin. And that creates a host of questions. Symbolic to whom? Why? How did it come to mean that? Who is in charge of the symbolism, and are they going to do something else with another symbol as soon as we cede authority to them in this case? And so on.
I will no doubt be saying more about all this as time goes on. This whole field is right at the ground zero of our culture wars. The progressives have proven themselves to be apt in the field of signs and semiotics, and conservatives are babes in the woods.