First off, I’m not going to call you “Thabiti Anyabwile” and it’s not just because that eats my spellchecker alive. Your name is Ron Burns. You are not from Africa, you are from North Carolina. You’re not a Muslim. You’re a Baptist preacher. Listen, I’d sooner call Ron Simmons “Farooq” than call you Thabiti Anyabwile. He freely admits, without pretense, that his stage name is made up. By the way, why do people refer to you as “Thabiti” in the same way people refer to Barack Obama as “Barack”? People don’t call Dr. Platt “David” and Dr. Mohler “Al” like that. Anyway, your ridiculous black nationalist name isn’t why I’m writing.
I am writing because you act like a ridiculous black nationalist and I’m tired of your “racial reconciliation” narrative and the general theological dumpster fire that is the Gospel Coalition. I read your apology letter to Beth Moore. I wrote a letter to her, too, but it was to tell her how terrible she was at teaching the Bible. I get the feeling from your letter to her that you kind of know that she is a terrible Bible teacher but there is apparently something more important to you than that – race. You wrote to Beth:
“Over the last 18 months, my heart has grown even sicker with grief as I’ve watched you valiantly stand with African Americans in our complaints and concern about treatment in the world and sometimes in the church. I’ve been astounded at how the Lord has used you and how much you have courageously risked to stand with us and to join the conversation. You did it all with no promise of an “up side” or reward but because convinced by Scripture you thought it was right.”
Ron, you literally wrote the book on the problems in black churches.
You know as well as I do that predominately black churches suffer from a dearth of male leadership and can tend to lean egalitarian. You also know about the prevalence of Pentecostalism in black churches. Why would you want Beth Moore foisted upon black people, any people really? Beth Moore is bad at teaching men and women of any color. You say that Beth Moore “valiantly stands” for black people with no promise of an “upside or reward”. I’m sorry, Ron, but black people shop at LifeWay, too. Beth Moore has pretty much saturated the suburbanite market that gathers for big simulcasts at white-flight churches like Bellevue Baptist. Why not reach out to a new demo? You know, some people can’t sell more books just by making up an African-sounding name for themselves, even Beth Moore.
I’m under no illusion that the recent “racial reconciliation” movement is anything other than a money grab. Color is color and money is green. As I wrote last year:
“In a sense, the SBC is like a company that is looking to survive by opening new stores in new neighborhoods. That it needs to change its products to do so can be chalked up to the cost of doing business. By and large, predominately black churches do not exactly present a picture of doctrinal health. They often exalt the pastor to an unhealthy level and lean towards charismatic tendencies. Most black pastors have long been aligned with the (pro-abortion) Democratic party. Black churches are fairly considered as political as they are religious.”
What Christendom needs is less people like you, who see skin-color before the Imago Dei. Listen, you recommended that black people vote for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. If you are going to be a race-baiting social commentator maybe you should recommend candidates to black people who don’t favor the abortive murder of thousands of black babies. You converted from Islam to Christianity a long time ago. If you acted like a race-first social justice warrior right after your conversion I’d understand but, it’s been a while now, Ron. You’re a pastor and you have lots of muckety-muck theologian friends like Ligon Duncan and Danny Akin. They probably won’t tell you but the way you are carrying yourself is really wrong-headed. You should stop. Good grief, don’t buddy up with Beth Moore. and stop focusing on race.
G. Seth Dunn
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use