Merritt and the SBC on the Confederate Flag

Perhaps the most significant moment of the SBC 2016 came in the form of a proposed amendment to a resolution, something commonplace at every convention.  However, this resolution centered around the Confederate Battle Flag in a time of racial tension, in a city mere miles from Ferguson, Missouri, and on the floor of a convention who historically was on the wrong side of slavery.

The initial proposal from the Resolutions Committee called for Southern Baptists “to limit” the display of the flag and to “prayerfully consider” to stop flying it altogether–a definite step in the right direction. The Convention, however, resoundingly decided that stronger language was required.

James Merritt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a descendent of Confederate soldiers, stepped forward to offer an amendment to the resolution and spoke powerfully to denounce the Confederate flag for the sake of unity and the cause of the gospel. His charge brought the vast majority of the Convention to their feet in thunderous applause of support.

I grew up hearing about the historic moments in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Looking back on Merritt’s amendment, I can say that I just lived one.

As Dr. Russell Moore wrote in a blog concerning the moment, “It’s not often that I find myself wiping away tears in a denominational meeting, but I just did.”