Prophetic Discernment In The Call for Racial Reconcilaition

Was just asked to give a statement regarding the SBC Convention for a liberal media website called Salon.com. I have given several interviews now regarding the SBC Convention. All of these have been from non-Christian news organizations who are seeking knowledge as to what is going on in the SBC Convention. Going into these interviews, I have had to be very alert as I fully recognize that for some media organizations, there is an expectation that they can get black Christians on record tearing down their white brothers. For me, I refused to give into this expectation. What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem? I have tons of issues white now with the way my white brothers and sisters in the SBC handled this convention. There is deep disappointment that remains and even a sense of what I believe to be righteous anger. Still, by virtue of the blood of Christ all the people who I have these feelings towards are still family. I wasn’t about to tear down my family to any outsiders. Below is a transcript of the Q&A I did with the reporter of said website. I will share this, and then offer some thoughts.

Reporter: So i’ve been chatting with some other attendees and they’ve pointed to past resolutions against the confederate flag and other racist things as proof that the issue was just about wording, not the concept. what do you think of that?

My answer: I think that is true. It was about wording. I am disappointed that many found concern in the wording. I think the wording was fine. Ultimately, I don’t think there was any hesitancy to disavow racism or white supremacy in the SBC. That is a gross misreading of what transpired. There was confusion and a disconnectedness concerning what the Alt-right is, and some were concerned that labeling them too broadly was ungracious. Naturally, as an African American, I have more invested in knowing and understanding the alt-right movement and so it is easier for me to generalize and not feel like I am misrepresenting. There was absolutely initial shock by the way things went down, but as more info came out; it became clear that the issue was more a misunderstanding concerning “alt-right”, than any actual hesitancy in the SBC regarding the evil of white supremacy.

Disunity is the result of necessary conversations never had. I’m thankful to belong to a denomination that is having necessary conversations. Yes, there is a ways to go within the convention as a whole, but we are having those necessary conversations that need to be had. I’ve never been more hopeful in the future of the SBC. There is a definite need for racial reconciliation but it is indeed happening.

Part 2
Reporter: It seems like there was a lot of confusion about the motion. And a lot of people didn’t quite understand what was happening. Was that the media getting it wrong or the leadership not communicating better?

Me: It was both. The leadership could’ve absolutely done a better job of communicating. I do believe they failed there, which is why they asked for forgiveness. I believe the failure to communicate did lead to a ton of issues, which ultimately led to the media reporting in ways that weren’t fully accurate. Now, media is a very general term. I think the media was right to criticize the negative initial vote that took place. Here’s the thing, Jesus tells his disciples in the Gospel of John that the world will know the church by the love believers show one another. The love of the church is to be of such a radical nature that outsiders cannot help but acknowledge it’s divine origin. I believe the global church is that. However, when the world, and this includes media, looks at the church and finds such a love questionable, the church needs to own its failure and not seek to delegitimize it. Reporting that the SBC supports white supremacy is bad reporting. Reporting that the SBC still has a stain of racism that it struggles deeply to clean is a rebuke that should be humbly received by the SBC, and actions should be taken to more effectively remove that stain. The reason people didn’t understand what was going on was due to the complexity of SBC operations, lack of clarity in leadership, and the media sensationalizing what was taking place. Me, personally, I desire an SBC that is abounding in love and racial unity to such a degree that there is no question as to where it stands. We are not there yet, the stain persists, but by God’s grace I am confident that the gospel and the Lord’s Spirit will clean that stain with the blood of Christ shared for all people regardless of ethnicity.

I’m convinced, personally, that the gift of prophecy and the call to a prophetic ministry is one of the loneliest callings in the church. There is never a time I seek to minister in my calling where I am not criticized and rejected by someone who just received me in the recent past. I am always saying something that some group of people in the church doesn’t like. When it comes to racial reconciliation, white people like me some days and consider me divisive on others. Yesterday and the day before, I was speaking boldly on my disappointment with the SBC because I believed that the Lord had called me to be a prophetic voice calling the SBC to repentance and greater diligence in reconciliation. Some of the people who have shared this interview and affirmed me via social media are the people who have been calling me divisive for almost a year. So yesterday I was ignored and disregarded, but as soon as I speak in a tone considered permissible by majority culture, I’m received. This is why the stain of racism has not been removed. Many in the majority culture are still insisting that minorities speak in ways palatable to them in order to be heard or received. That isn’t racial reconciliation, that is racial assimilation.  As I did this interview, I believe the Lord was calling me to speak in a different prophetic posture and of course now, many of the same people who affirmed me yesterday for my boldness are disappointed in me today. I believe that the Lord has called me to a prophetic ministry (since I was converted 13 years ago). Therefore, I must speak what I believe is faithful to him, and that always leaves me in a place where people who affirm me, quickly turn into people who reject me. My life seems to go; Monday I’m Divisive, Tuesday I’m a faithful brother, Wednesday I’m “woke,” Thursday an Uncle Tom, Friday I’m too unpredictable, Saturday I rest, and Sunday I worship in churches with all those who have been on this spectrum. Monday, I start again. The prophetic voice has always been the thing that all churches have said they’ve wanted, but never truly desire. This fact has reigned true from Moses to John the Baptist, From Jeremiah to Jesus. I wouldn’t wish a prophetic ministry on anyone, but I also wouldn’t trade the privilege to serve my God for anything. At the end of the day, I am content. Contentment comes when you come to terms with what you’ve been called to do, and the consequences of that calling. May I abound in love, knowledge, and discernment; If I ever fail, forgive me.

 

About Kyle James Howard

My name is Kyle, I am married to my “high-school sweetheart” and we have 3 children. I have a 7 year-old daughter (Hadassah), a 2 year-old son (Jonah), and 1 year old (Kesed). I am 32 years old and I am currently a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have an Associates degree in Biblical & Theological Studies, A B.S. in Biblical Counseling, and I am finishing up an Advanced M. Div in Historical Theology. Click on the "About Me" link at the top of my home page to read my full testimony.

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