Thomas Kidd on Why the Southern Baptists Canceled Ben Carson’s Speech

Recently, the Southern Baptist Convention canceled Ben Carson’s appearance at a SBC pastor’s conference. A group within the convention, Baptist21, had objected and won the day. Baylor history professor Thomas Kidd had this to say in Monday’s edition (4/27/15) of the Washington Post:

This was a welcome outcome to what had the potential to be a serious snafu for the SBC. Whatever the organizers’ intentions, Baptist21 has this exactly right – hosting any political candidate carries a tacit implication of endorsement. Baptists and other evangelical denominations would do better to stop platforming political candidates at all. This includes handing out political pamphlets and “voter guides” at church.

Kidd has this exactly right. Perhaps churches have a right to speak politically but, in my opinion, they shouldn’t be arms of political parties whether on the right or left. Of course, this view of the church’s mission flies in the face of the Christian nationalist position. Fueled by a belief that their brand of Christianity should dominate the culture (dominionism), Christian nationalists view politics as a kind of evangelism where God is proclaimed as a political answer to political problems. Most conflate the Christian church with Old Testament Israel and mistake the promises made to Israel as promises to the church.


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