"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

"I'm a Racist" Is a Poor Choice of Words by Dr. Hall

Dr. Matt Hall, Southern Seminary
Twitter and social media is abuzz over a recent statement made by Dr. Matt Hall, the provost and senior vice president for academic administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

It seems Dr. Hall said, "I am a racist" in a video now scrubbed from Southern's website.

That was a poor choice of words on Dr. Hall's part.

This post is a short defense of Dr. Hall and serves as a request from those who would make him out to be "the enemy" to pause before attacking him.

Dr. Hall is transparently confessing to his struggle with the sin of racism in the video.

You have to admire any Christian with the grace and humility to confess his or her sins to others, much less to do it within a public video.

Unfortunately, Dr. Hall used poor wording in his personal confession.

A better way to phrase it would be:
"I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with the sin of racism." 
The statement above is straight from Celebrate Recovery.

Matt Hall is not a racist. That's not who he is.

He may struggle with racism, but Matt's sin doesn't define his person.

A believer's past is not the marker for the believer's future.

Failures and faults aren't permanently tattooed into a Christian's character. 

Jesus defines us, not our sins. Jesus is no racist, and neither is the believer in Jesus Christ.

I've been attending Celebrate Recovery for quite a while now, and it's refreshing to hear people identify themselves as "a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with _________."

Give Dr. Hall the benefit of a doubt.

All of us misspeak at times.

Dr. Dwight McKissic, my friend who's personally experienced the negative effects of the sin of racism, writes of Dr. Matt Hall.
"Dr. Hall is a treasured asset in the SBC and SBTSS. Please don't let naysayers convince you or the trustees that he is a liablity. Dr. Hall revealed a heart of gold on this video. There could be no better promo piece for the heart of SBTS on race than this video." 
I agree with Dwight.

Dr. Hall's heart is gold; his choice of words was not.

The Kingdom needs more transparent leaders. We can forgive slips of the tongue, but we can't transplant hearts.

Keep the guy with the heart of gold.

5 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

My 50+/- years in the insurance industry taught me well, and it is deeply embedded in my soul, that you cannot ever apply what is true of a class of people, to any individual person in that class.

I cannot attribute, to you, any merit as a pastor/preacher, simply because a whole lot of other white pastor/preachers are good at their calling.

The same applies to people of other races. Including criminals of any race.

Violate that fundamental principle, and you get racism. Pure and simple. RACISM.

Christiane said...

What helps us to see Christ in others? I think it is a work of the Holy Spirit.

This may be what helps many to 'overcome' being raised with certain attitudes who now desire to be freed of what keeps them from recognizing and RESPECTING 'the image of God' in all who are human, regardless of their circumstances.



Shawn said...

Unfortunately for the SBC at this time (and without being able to view the video) his effort could either be a confession of a struggle with a particular sin or it could be him Virtue Signalling his Wokeness.

Christiane said...

Is a story about 'the coming of the light' in Judaism that is meaningful to all people who struggle to 'recognize' the humanity of EVERY person they have encountered, this:


"A rabbi once asked his students:
"How do we know when the night has ended and the day has begun?"

The students thought they grasped the importance of this question. There are, after all, prayers and rites and rituals that can only be done at nighttime. And there are prayers and rites and rituals that belong only to the day. So, it is important to know how we can tell when night has ended and day has begun.

So the first and brightest of the students offered an answer: "Rabbi, when I look out at the fields and I can distinguish between my field and the field of my neighbor, that's when the night has ended and the day has begun." A second student offered his answer: "Rabbi, when I look from the fields and I see a house, and I can tell that it's my house and not the house of my neighbor, that's when the night has ended and the day has begun." A third student offered another answer: "Rabbi, when I see an animal in the distance, and I can tell what kind of animal it is, whether a cow or a horse or a sheep, that's when the night has ended and the day has begun." Then a fourth student offered yet another answer: "Rabbi, when I see a flower and I can make out the colors of the flower, whether they are red or yellow or blue, that's when night has ended and day has begun.

Each answer brought a sadder, more severe frown to the rabbi's face. Until finally he shouted,
"No! None of you understands! You only divide! You divide your house from the house of your neighbor, your field from your neighbor's field, you distinguish one kind of animal from another, you separate one color from all the others. Is that all we can do--dividing, separating, splitting the world into pieces? Isn't the world broken enough? Isn't the world split into enough fragments? Is that what Torah is for?
No, my dear students, it's not that way, not that way at all."

The shocked students looked into the sad face of their rabbi.
"Then, Rabbi, tell us: How do we know that night has ended and day has begun?"

The rabbi stared back into the faces of his students, and with a voice suddenly gentle and imploring, he responded:
"When you look into the face of the person who is beside you, and you can see that person is your brother or your sister, then finally the night has ended and the day has begun."

Hastening that heavenly day is the moral work of our generation."

Anonymous said...

This sentiment is hypocrisy unless you can honestly take the pulpit and tell people you're defending the hiring of a self-confessed pedophile to your Children's Department .

You'd never do that. It's asinine.

This is an employment matter, and something like a struggling pedophile and struggling racist making choices about academic equality unequivocally disqualify you for the job.
It doesn't mean they don't have places in society or the church. It means those particular positions are off limits.