Open letter from The Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention

October 18, 2018

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. – 1 Corinthians 11: 17 NN

President Trump hosted a meeting with inner city pastors on August 1, 2018.

On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, several Black pastors were invited to the White House by President Trump to sit at his table for the President’s “Meeting with Inner City Pastors.” In concert with the Apostle Paul’s rebuke in I Corinthians 11: 17, we have no praise for the Black pastors who attended this meeting, and believe that their meeting did more harm than good.

18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. -1 Corinthians 11:18-19 NIV

Whereas, there are no divisions in Jesus the Christ who unites us in one Lord, one faith and one baptism with the pastors who sat at the President’s Table, the differences that we will illuminate in this letter will reveal those who possess God’s approval.

20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! – I Corinthians 11: 17 NN

We who are called by God to sit at and administer the elements of the Lord’s Table were offended and appalled by those who were called to sit at and acquiesce to Donald Trump at the President’s Table. We question, “Who are welcomed at the President’s Table?” “Who are not welcomed at the President’s Table?” “What is served at the President’s Table?” “What is accomplished at the President’s Table?” The voices, concerns and needs of those who are not welcomed at the President’s Table were not represented by the Pastors who sat at the President’s Table, for whereas they had their own private supper with the President, many in our community remain hungry and humiliated. Certainly, we do not praise them.

We conclude that they are not PROPHETS OF THE LORD. Rather, they are PROPHETS OF PROFIT who praised the President for being ” … the most pro-active administration regarding urban America and the faith-based community in my lifetime” ” … the most pro-Black president I’ve seen in my lifetime” and ” … have given this country expectations, given us a new hope … ” while neglecting all of the unjust executive orders and policies of this President and his administration, such as the travel ban on Muslims to this country; the intentional separation of children from their parents at the southern border; and according to U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, “It appears that only 12 or 13 of close to 500 parents have been located;” and the silence and inaction regarding the murders of unarmed Black men at the hands of law enforcement officers. These actions, as well as others, have divided, dismissed, diminished and discarded the value of several groups of humans in this country whom God loves.

We therefore stand united as PROPHETS OF GOD who invite everyone, independent of age, race, creed, gender, class and/or any other divisive designation, to sit at the Lord’s Table that we may feast together.

We stand united as PROPHETS OF GOD who affirm that sitting at the Lord’s Table compels us to join with Jesus the Christ in believing,

’35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” – Matthew 25 :35, 36 NIV

May it therefore be known that we the undersigned denounce the actions of the Pastors who sat at the President’s Table for they do not represent us nor the members of our congregations. Additionally, we denounce the actions of the President, his administration and the divisive and destructive policies that have continued to fracture the core foundations of this nation.

Moreover, may it be known that we the undersigned pronounce and affirm the love of God, exemplified through the life and ministry of our Lord, Savior and Friend, Jesus the Christ who declared,

“18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4:18, 19 NN

The Reverend Dr. Robert T. Wilson
President, Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention,
Pastor, St. John’s United Baptist Church,
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Louis Sibley, ID
Vice President-At-Large, Wisconsin General Baptist
State Convention, Pastor, Mt. Zion Missionary
Baptist Church, Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Edward Thomas
Second Vice President, Wisconsin General Baptist
State Convention, Pastor, Victory Missionary
Baptist Church, Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Mary J. Lewis-Jiles
Fourth Vice President, Wisconsin General Baptist
State Convention, Pastor, Christian Fellowship
Community Baptist Church, Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Keith T. Evans
General Secretary, Wisconsin General Baptist State
Convention, Pastor, Greater Mount Eagle Baptist
Church, Racine, WI

The Reverend Christopher Boston
Financial Secretary, Wisconsin General Baptist
State Convention, Pastor, Lamb of God Baptist
Chruch, Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend James Ivy
President, Wisconsin General Baptist State Congress
of Christian Education, Pastor, New Zion
Baptist Church, Beloit, WI

The Reverend John McBride
Vice President, Wisconsin General Baptist State
Congress of Christian Education, Pastor, Ebenezer
Baptist Church, Zion, IL

The Reverend Dr. Fred Crouther
Pastor, New Covenant Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Dr. Archie Ivy
Pastor, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Dr. Russell B. Williamson
Pastor, Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend L. C. Martin
Pastor, New Holy Ghost Tabernacle Baptist
Church, Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Robert Armstrong
Pastor, Bethesda Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Joseph Pipes
Pastor, Greater St. Luke’s Baptist Church
Racine, WI

The Reverend Charles D. Watkins
Pastor, King Solomon Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Dr. Martin Childs, Jr.
Pastor, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church,
Milwaukee, WI

The Reverend Patrick F. Greer, Sr.
Pastor, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

Ms. Rubye Jones
Recording/Corresponding Secretary, Wisconsin
General Baptist State Convention

Ms. Elaine Walker
Executive Assistant to the President, Wisconsin
General Baptist State Convention

The Reverend Jerome Bell
Director, Youth and Children’s Auxiliary, Wisconsin
General Baptist State Convention

Ms. Katrina Gilmore
Director, Youth and Children’s Auxiliary, Wisconsin
General Baptist State Convention

Mr. Leonard Cratic, Jr.
President, Laymen’s Auxiliary,
Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention