Concerned about an exhibit at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, a pastor is warning the denomination is drifting farther leftward.
Sam Rohrer, an independent Baptist who leads the American Pastors Network, says he was shocked after learning about the "Seeking Refuge" demonstration that set up in the SBC exhibit hall.
"Seeking Refuge," which simulates the horrors of a refugee camp, was first reported in a June 20 story published by Baptist Press:
A guard with a military uniform and a bat is speaking a foreign language. One participant starts to ask questions. She's taken away from the group. At the medical station, they're checked for lice. At the food station they're informed they must eat. They may not have another chance to for days.
The demonstration was sponsored by the Women's Missionary Union along with other SBC mission organizations, including the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board.
After addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for families and military veterans in past years, WMU states on its website that it is shifting its focus to refugees beginning in the 2018-2019 church year.
Likely intended to simulate PTSD, participants described the experience as "terror" and "chaos" and "a helpless feeling," but it struck Rohrer in a completely different way.
Rohrer says the SBC is trying to adopt a policy of social justice.
"And I'm going to take as far to say there's an element here of liberation theology that takes place in here," he warns, referring to the mixture of Christian charity and Marxist-like social justice.
The roots of liberation theology can be traced back to Latin America in the 1950s, where the Catholic Church demanded better treatment of the poor and oppressed by government leaders.
The "Seeking Refuge" demonstration also drew the ire of Dr. Alex McFarland, a Christian apologist-speaker who once worked for the North American Mission Board. He told OneNewsNow in a June 25 story that the demonstration amounted to baiting people emotionally.
Linda Cooper, president of the WMU, told Baptist Press that the organization will shift to focusing on ministring to refugees for the next four years and, citing Leviticus 19:34, she said scripture "gives us guidance" to treat foreigners as if they were native-born.
Rohr, however, says the WMU demonstration is a "departure from the whole counsel of God."