Barry Hankins | The Guardian

Rightwing Southern Baptists believe they must ‘save’ white Christian America by embracing Trumpism. A more moderate faction just won control – by the tightest of margins

People vote on a motion during the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting on 16 June 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. Is the Southern Baptist Convention – the largest and arguably most powerful Protestant denomination in the United States – being held together by culture wars instead of Biblical teaching? That is the question in recent weeks, as thousands of Southern Baptists gathered in Nashville for their annual meeting to determine the bitterly contested future of the convention.

Many conservative members of the denomination seem to have seen in Donald Trump’s populist authoritarianism a last-gasp chance to save white Christian America – theology, and, for Trump, Christian morality, be damned.

I am a historian of evangelical Christianity and have written extensively on Southern Baptists. Although not Southern Baptist myself, over the past two decades I have often defended them as being serious about theology, even as that theology is often shaped in part by cultural concerns. By 2020, I had come to believe that conservatives of the right wing of the SBC were not just subordinating theology to the cultural concerns of white Christian identity politics, but had in fact lost their way as Baptists.

Read more.