Today, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, and the speech has become instantly controversial.
Instead of just talking about faith, evangelism, the Church or theology, Pence got very political. The director of Bibles & Reference at LifeWay called it “a full-blown campaign speech.”
This is a stump speech. Incredible.
— Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) June 13, 2018
The denomination’s newly-named president JD Greear issued a statement on Twitter saying, “I know that sent a terribly mixed signal. We are grateful for civic leaders who want to speak to our Convention—but make no mistake about it, our identity is in the gospel and our unity is in the Great Commission. Commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do.”
Other leaders in attendance also took to Twitter to express their displeasure with a blatantly political speech taking over the convention:
I love America. I like Mike Pence. I hate this.
— Clint Pressley (@pastorclint) June 13, 2018
I don’t know that there will not come a time in our lifetimes to accept that this is how it overwhelmingly is and how it is determined to be. What that will mean for the rest of us, God alone knows.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) June 13, 2018
“To my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters, whom I love: how would you say we’ve been doing lately at speaking up against the powers that be? Or here’s another question: is it possible we just got played?” @JonathanDLeeman
Excellent article! https://t.co/28qkeZvI49
— John Onwuchekwa (@JawnO) June 13, 2018
Today IMB President David Platt talks about radical Muslims coming to faith in Christ. VP Mike Pence talks about radical Muslims “on the run.” Which is it? “Come to Christ” or “Run from us.” Two different messages. SBC must determine which one takes priority. #SBCAM18 #SBC18 #???
— Wade Burleson (@Wade_Burleson) June 13, 2018
Very disappointing news. Sends the wrong message and reinforces the perception that SBC = Republican.
— Matt Smethurst (@MattSmethurst) June 11, 2018
— Justin Taylor (@between2worlds) June 13, 2018
Pence speaking at #SBCAM18 isn’t lamentable because Christians are apolitical.
It’s lamentable because in the midst of evangelicals’ reckoning with sexual assault and institutional cover up, the SBC is choosing to honor and listen to someone who represents the very same thing.
— Kaitlyn Schiess (@KaitlynSchiess) June 11, 2018
“I’m sitting here at the Southern Baptist Convention. Earlier today Vice President Mike Pence addressed the convention. We were told he initiated the offer to speak. I wish we had not accepted.”
— 9Marks (@9Marks) June 13, 2018
You can see the entire speech below.