First, let me clarify that my position is based on my current understanding of the recent series of events at FBC Crystal Springs, MS. As I understand the facts, an engaged black couple commonly attended services at FBCCS. They were not members, but intended on joining after their marriage, which was scheduled at the church. Two days before the wedding, a few senior members of the church happened to see family members setting up for the wedding. Upon finding out that a black couple was about to be married at the church, several members approached the pastor and told him that there had never been a black marriage at the church, and that he would lose his job if one did happen. Faced with the threat of losing his job, the pastor decided to conduct the marriage at a predominately black church down the road. IF one or more of these facts is incorrect, I will determine if my position should be changed.
REVISED ON 7/31/12, after gaining further information about the pastor's reasons:
The pastor has traded his authority, his pastorate, his respect and his obedience to God's Word out of fear of conflict. While I cannot and will not judge the founders of FBCCS or those who are no longer alive about their racism, I have NO tolerance for it in today's society. The sin of racism that lives in the hearts of these seniors has made local, state and national news. The names of FBCCS, the Mississippi State Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist Convention and Christ Himself have been sullied by their sins.
However, even worse than the sins of the members is the failure and capitulation of the pastor. Threatened with his job over obeying God's Word, he had TWO choices: 1) Inform the objectors that he would be conducting the marriage as planned, and that while they were free to get him fired, they were acting in complete opposition to God's Word. 2) Inform the congregation that he we resigning immediately, since they felt that their traditions were more important than God's love.
The WORST possible thing that he could do was capitulate to their racism, either by cancelling the marriage or by moving it. He has become a harlot to peace instead of obeying his call to preach God's Word. We must guard our hearts from selling out our obedience to any cause.
The FBC of Crystal Springs must continue to totally and repeatedly denounce the actions and attitudes of the racists in their midst. The pastor should reveal the individuals who approached him regarding the wedding. Those members should be given the option of confessing their sin in front of the entire church and asking the Wilsons to forgive them. IF they refuse, they should have their membership revoked until they are willing to confess and ask forgiveness. We as Christians and Baptists take enough fabricated damage by the media without allowing member churches to do such things.
There are certainly aspects of Scripture that we of the catholic church can and should continue to discuss and give grace to those who disagree with our position. Eschatology immediately comes to mind, as well as spiritual gifts. However, absolutely no mainline denomination believes that racism is allowable, indeed, it is condemned by Scripture. Therefore, we must not be hesitant to condemn it, even if it causes conflict.