Dwight McKissic Sr. Praises God and Commends the Southern Baptist Convention for Repudiating the Confederate Flag; Says ‘God Is Preparing Us for Something Special’

Dwight McKissic

The Transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention Regarding the Confederate Flag

From “Hearty Support” 1863 to “Discontinue the Display” 2016

At the near beginning of the 21st Century, The Southern Baptist Convention recently made the decision to address a heretofore unaddressed aspect of her history, and that is the SBC’s historic identity and complicity with the Confederacy. A vote was taken to ask Christians to discontinue the public use of the Confederate Flag (CF), in order to show solidarity with other Christians, including African Americans.

Perhaps this was one of the most heart wrenching and gut checking decisions ever made by the SBC. Why? Because the SBC and the Confederacy were connected at the hip historically, emotionally, psychologically, philosophically, geographically, politically, and even genetically. This connection is deep, intertwined, and multi-layered. Many in the SBC literally have the blood of Confederate Soldiers running through their veins.  That made it a thorny and testy issue. This, inevitably, had to be a tough decision for the SBC to make. It was a seminal moment in the life of our Convention, having taken 253 years to arrive at the point of radically departing from and denouncing, a heretofore proud symbol of Southern heritage.

The emotional response exhibited on the Convention floor, to the passing of the CF resolution, is indicative and evidence of the emotional upheaval some would experience in processing and coming to grips with the decision to renounce the CF.

The greatest influence in the outcome of the vote was the blood of the Charleston Nine. Their pictures and brief bio’s had been presented to the convention earlier that day. Dylann Roof’s intent was to start a race war when he murdered the Charleston Nine. The irony is, his actions have led to a greater unity of the races within the SBC and the Charleston community.  Roof’s actions led to the SBC repudiating the Confederate Flag. It was the spirit of the Confederate Flag that demonically drove Dylann Roof to murder nine Kingdom-citizens. What Roof meant for evil, God through the SBC is turning it around and using it for good (Romans 8: 28).

The SBC was not being asked to vote on this resolution to prove that they were not racist. They were being asked to vote on this resolution to identify with the pain of those grieving the murders of the Charleston Nine, to help heal the hurt, and to honor The Charleston Nine, by renouncing the CF. In the process of addressing this issue and making the right decision, the SBC would be cleansing and clearing her own conscience.

The messengers cast a vote looking futuristically, rather than to affirm seeds of division and White Supremacy sown by their forefathers.

The messengers’ affirmative vote, in effect, confessed and rebuked the sins of their forefathers.

The messengers’ courageous vote brought healing, hope, forgiveness, restoration, and wholeness to the Convention.

The messengers exonerated an ugly stain on the legacy of the SBC. From a legacy and spiritual perspective, they removed the guilty stain, by disavowing The Confederate Flag.

Now, we no longer have to look at our Baptist forefathers with contempt. The vote of the messengers reconnected and reconciled some of us to their significant spiritual heritage and contributions. Their wrongs were philosophically corrected by their descendants.

The messengers voted to cleanse and clear the collective conscience of the SBC by voting to discontinue the display of the Confederate Flag. In one felt-swoop, the messengers’ vote reduced the CF from a symbol of pride, to a symbol of scorn and shame.

Allegations that the SBC would be moving down a slippery slope by renouncing the CF are totally baseless. The vote to denounce the CF also, by extension, addressed and negated the earlier resolution of support of the Confederacy. This vote also, by extension, renounced and rebuked all Southern Baptist churches and personalities who were complicit with The Confederacy in any manner.

It serves no good purpose to go down the trail of singling out historical figures for rebuke. I read somewhere, “Never pick a fight with a dead man; you’ll lose every time.” The vote, itself, rebuked and philosophically corrected their errors as it relates to support of the Confederacy and slavery.

God be praised! The SBC connection to the Confederacy was officially severed on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in St. Louis, Mo. at approximately 4pm. The SBC made the statement in that meeting to choose Kingdom over Culture. They chose Hope over Heritage. They chose Righteousness over Race. The SBC and the resolutions committee should be commended for this.

As stated so eloquently by Dr. James Merritt, “All the confederate flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.” And whenever God’s people seek His Kingdom first, addition of some kind takes place (Matthew 6: 33). I have never in my life been more thrilled to be a part of the SBC as I am today.

The resounding, joyful, and celebratory response to the decision made to affirm the amended version of the resolution was powerful. It indicated the healing of the hearts of the messengers and the hope of a positive racial future. The only other time that I’ve experienced that kind of exuberant joy, clapping, verbal praise, and a strong sense of God’s presence in a SBC gathering, was when Dr. Fred Luter was elected President of the SBC in New Orleans.

As Dr. Floyd stated, “The church can’t call the nation to repent ’till the church repents.” As the SBC continues to flesh out the will of God and obey it, racially, it has the potential of changing the nation. Thanks to Dr. Floyd, the ’95 apology, the election of Fred Luter, and the renouncing of the CF; the SBC is beginning to gain the credibility to address the nation regarding race.

Because of previous commitments and a scheduling conflict, I was not able to attend the meeting; but, I watched some of the events via live stream.

The response to James Merritt’s amendment and commentary will forever be etched in the memory of the SBC.  The power of that moment transcended the screen. It could be felt by observers who were live-streaming the Convention. Truly the presence of The Lord was in that place. The impact that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech had on the nation, James Merritt’s amendment speech had on the outcome of the vote and, consequently, the redemption of the SBC. The SBC is beginning to gain the credibility to address the nation regarding race.

In a way, that vote and the response to it were like a new start, or rebooting of the convention, from a racial perspective. We have to be in unity, before we can reach our nation and world. The Lord blessed the SBC with a baptism of unity on June 15, 2016, almost in an unprecedented manner from my observations.

I shed the same tears Russell Moore was shedding for the same reasons as I watched the proceedings on the Convention floor through the live stream. God is healing our Convention and correcting the only previous statement made by the SBC concerning the Confederacy, and that was to proclaim the SBC’s “hearty support.” The SBC entered into that auditorium on Flag Day—and coincidentally, my birthday—officially in support of the Confederacy—and by extension—the CF. But they departed the auditorium, having decided to “discontinue the display” of the CF. What a mighty God we serve!!!

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William Dwight McKissic, Sr. is a prominent African-American Southern Baptist minister from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He is the founder and current senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.

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