“It is with a single man that error usually commences; and when such a man has influence or position, it is impossible to estimate the evil that will attend it.” James P. Boyce
“What are you thinking” doesn’t begin to sum up the concern. Is this a practical joke? Is the most respected man in all of Baptistdom (if not evangelicalism) really standing there with a recreationally pot-smoking, foul-mouthed, gutter-talking Sho Baraka? Really?
Put on by Albert Mohler, Dan Dumas (Sr. Vice President at Southern Seminary) and Eric Geiger (Vice President of Lifeway), the Renown Conference is designed for Middle School an High School students and is hosted at SBTS, and it started today.
The Renown website posted Sho Baraka as the musical talent invited to entertain the students, and says in his bio, “[Baraka] desires to blend his artistic platform with his academic leanings to contribute a unique perspective in both arenas in hopes of raising the standard, thereby raising the culture.”
While that may sound ambitious, Baraka is best known as the filthy-mouthed performer who blends talks about Jesus with vulgarity. He has been making the news for his lewd speech (spoken and sung) since 2013 . You might give him a pass for singing the “N-Word” because of the color of his skin (if you’re an ethnic gnostic), but referring to his mother as the B-Word might be tougher to stomach. And it’s not just lyrics to his profane songs, but he regularly uses profanity on podcast interviews and in other venues. Most recently Lifeway (of which Eric Geiger, above, is Vice President) pulled his album to much protest among the “black community” (with tacit accusations of racial insensitivity, of course) because – according to Lifeway – profanity, as illustrated in the following lyrics:
I was an insecure boy who just thought he was a genius
But always pissed off, that’s because I thought with my penis
It’s all strategic, I’m just asking us the reason
Share my faith on the track, I’m just exorcising demons
This is the very same Sho Baraka who endorsed the use of recreational marijuana, saying “there are some laws that are unjust, and almost need to be broken” (source link). The same link, should you care to click on it to research it yourself, will provide the audio of that conversation.
One also has to wonder why on Earth a respected seminary would invite someone like Baraka to influence children and youth. To add insult to injury, the theme of the Renown Conference was “Salt and Light,” and claims that the conference exists to “help middle school and high school students understand their purpose as Christians in serving as useful elements in the service of God.”
Being a profane pot-smoking pseudo-celebrity is hardly being salt and light. Adopting the culture’s vulgarities rather than shining forth the Gospel isn’t being light. There is a difference between winning the culture and being won by the culture. Sho Baraka is not the former.
At worst, Dr. Albert Mohler is seriously sliding into Downgrade and bringing the SBTS with him. At best, he’s guilty of the soft-bigotry of lowered expectations in order to achieve some semblance of cultural unity.
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