The nondenominational Southern Evangelical Seminary has released a statement simultaneously condemning racism and warning Christians against supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming the movement espouses a “godless agenda.”
This week, the faculty and staff of the influential Christian institution in Matthews, North Carolina, said they felt compelled to release a statement about current issues related to racism and social justice in light of the recent social unrest.
“Southern Evangelical Seminary and Bible College (SES) stands for the inherent value of all human life (Gen. 1:27) and against racism in all its insidious forms (Zech. 7:10; Prov. 28:16; Acts 10:34-35; Gal. 3:28) while also acknowledging that some professing Christians throughout the church’s history have attempted to hijack the Gospel message for racist causes,” the statement begins.
SES said that while it affirms that “black lives matter” as a subset of “all human lives are sacred,” it “must separate itself emphatically from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement which espouses beliefs that are antithetical to basic foundational tenets of the Christian faith.”
Because the phrase “black lives matter” is often confused with the political organization, SES argues that it “seems prudent for Christians to seek to avoid even the appearance of evil and find other ways to express their justifiable outrage at racial injustice.”
“[The] BLM organization, and many of its related positions, are explicitly anti-Christian," the SES statement explains. "Holding to mis-defined notions of love, freedom, and justice, BLM stands against the nuclear family, promotes homosexual and transgender ideologies, and is an admittedly Marxist organization."
Instead, the seminary said it embraces the “more inclusive" and "less misunderstood phrase" that "all human lives are sacred." SES emphasized the need to "pursue truth, goodness, and justice for all ethnicities.”
SES President Richard Land told The Christian Post that the college decided to release a statement on racism after receiving numerous inquiries from its alumni base and supporters asking about the academic institution’s response to the unrest since the killing of African American George Floyd on Memorial Day.
Land said that what should have been a “tremendous moment of unity” was “seized” by the Black Lives Matter movement, which he condemned as “Marxist, anti-biblical, and out to destroy the nuclear family.”
“Evangelicals for sure should not ... be embracing Black Lives Matter,” he said. “We felt that we needed to state and explain that we believe every human life is sacred because every human being is someone that Jesus died on the cross to redeem. And that makes every human life — preborn, at every stage of life, including being on life support — sacred.”
The statement went through at least 10 revisions before it was published, according to Land. He explained that he and other staff members wanted to take “every measure necessary not to be misunderstood, but bring greater understanding to the discussion.”
“We felt that if we were to say ‘black lives matter’ without a lot of qualifications and an asterisk, we could be misunderstood as having abandoned the biblical position on human sexuality and other issues,” he said. “We felt that we should instead adopt the phrase that ‘all human lives are sacred’ while emphasizing the need to pursue truth, goodness, and justice for all ethnicities.”
“Racism is the antithesis of the Bible. It is condemned in the Bible,” he stressed. “Yet the cancer of racism still exists in America. As Christians, we've got to be aggressive about supporting efforts to bring about racial reconciliation.”
While responses to the statement have been “overwhelmingly positive,” Land, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told CP he’s confident the “negative feedback is coming from the fascist, left-wing Twitter mob.”
“So far, people are appreciating someone with a backbone, somebody willing to stand up against fascism and for biblical truth," Land, who is also CP's executive editor, said.
In its statement, SES also addresses the “wokeness” ideology, critical race theory, “white guilt,” and “white fragility," ideas he says are being promoted in many churches.
“Many of these ideas are built upon the bankrupt philosophy of standpoint epistemology that essentially rejects the ability of humans to know objective truth about reality,” the statement reads, adding that these lines of thinking are often “anti-Gospel" and make "little to no room for repentance, forgiveness, or reconciliation.”
“They remove any personal responsibility and choice from individuals and place guilt on a collective group of people simply because of their skin color. This is the epitome of collectivist and racist thinking. While individuals are certainly impacted and influenced by the societal structure which they have experienced, ultimately individuals are responsible for their own behavior.”
Land said that it’s impossible to “eliminate discrimination by discriminating against other people,” adding that it "doesn't work" and is "counterproductive.”
“The idea that we are racist and we can we can never help but be racist, first of all, is contradictory to the Gospel,” he said. “Secondly, it's very racist and it will destroy our society.”
Far too many Christians blindly embrace dangerous ideologies because they are driven by “fussy thinking” and “emotionalism,” Land warned.
“We have become increasingly driven by emotion in America,” he said. “Large majorities of Americans are afraid to say what they believe because they're going to become the object of the politically correct lynch mobs attempting to destroy them and get them fired and get them ostracized.”
Christians, he said, should “resist racism wherever it is found and to stand for truth, justice, and natural rights.”
“As Christians, we have no fear of the truth because the truth will always lead us back to God's purposes,” Land said. “He created us all for a purpose. He never created a nobody. Everyone is someone for whom Jesus died. So, all human lives are sacred. That should be the bedrock of our ideals and beliefs, and it should be part of everything that we do.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision was a country where we were judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. We have an obligation as Christians to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It’s only the Gospel that can defeat racism and change hearts.”