Adam “A.T.” Thomason Gives Ways Southern Baptists Can Grow from SBTS Professors’ Racially Insensitive Photo

(PHOTO: THE ASSOCIATION OF THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS; TWITTER)
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Faculty members seen in the inset image posted to Twitter include: Deron J Biles, a dean emeritus and a professor of Pastoral Ministries; David L. Allen, dean of the School of Preaching; Preaching; Matthew McKellar, an associate preaching professor; Kyle Walker, the seminary’s vice president for Student Services and a professor of preaching, and Barry McCarty, a preaching professor and Chief Parliamentarian for the Southern Baptist Convention, April 25, 2017.

Many Christians are questioning what Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is planning to do to ensure growth can come from last week’s debacle in which faculty members shared a racially insensitive photograph of themselves posing as gangster rappers in an image titled “Notorious S.O.P.”

After Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary apologized Wednesday for the image, they publicly asked Grammy Award-winning rapper Lecrae to help lead the seminary in a discussion on the matter. Lecrae declined their offer but provided a list of people he felt were better qualified to do so.

Among those on that list was Adam “A.D.” Thomason, a close friend of Lecrae’s who is a doctoral candidate finishing his dissertation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Thursday, Thomason listed tangible ways that the SBC as a whole can grow from its recent photograph debacle where faculty members were outfitted in blue bandanas, crooked caps and gold chains.

Faculty members seen in the image include: Deron J Biles, a dean emeritus and a professor of Pastoral Ministries; David L. Allen, dean of the School of Preaching; Matthew McKellar, an associate preaching professor; Kyle Walker, the seminary’s vice president for Student Services and a professor of preaching; and Barry McCarty, a preaching professor and Chief Parliamentarian for the Southern Baptist Convention who is seen wearing Emmitt Smith’s No. 22 Dallas Cowboys jersey holding what resembles a gun.

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention released a document called the “Resolution on Racial Reconciliation on the 150th Anniversary of the Southern Baptist Convention.” Thomason, who previously helped LifeWay create a Bible study called “Red Revolution” to address racial issues in the Church, believes that if the SBC revisited their resolution document consistently, racial reconciliation would happen in a major way.

“We have to go back to the 1995 ‘Resolution on Racial Reconciliation’ that nobody is talking about or reading and ask, ‘What have we done since then to correct this?'” Thomason told CP. “If this monumental resolution is at the forefront of seminaries and churches at the SBC, that picture doesn’t get posted. The first thing we need to do is return to this particular language of acknowledging this and changing this physically and tangibly.”

According to the apologetic statement from SWBTS President Paige Patterson, the image posted on social media was intended to be a lighthearted way of honoring Vern Charette, a Native-American member of their staff who raps as a hobby and is leaving the seminary for a pastoral opportunity in Oklahoma.

Charette did not return requests for comment from The Christian Post by press time, but David L. Allen, who serves as the dean of the School of Theology, insisted that the only intention of the faculty in posing for the photograph was to honor their colleague.

“This is a going-away picture we gave to one of our faculty members today at lunch, Dr. Charette, who is himself an excellent rapper,” Allen tweeted on Tuesday.

The image has since been removed from social media and replaced with apologies from the seminary’s faculty. Yet, that image has lingered in the minds of many who’ve spoken out on social media against what Thomason calls a representation of “a theological, historical and anthropological disconnect” from black culture.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Christine Thomasos