In September, the Matthew 25 Initiative of the Anglican Church in North America will be putting on The Matthew 25 Gathering: Justice And Mercy Contending For Shalom. The keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah of North Park Seminary.
Having dug around the internet, I now think his selection to keynote an ACNA conference is a matter for concern for ACNA members, especially pertaining to the Matthew 25 Initiative. At this point, I want to stick to presenting what I know. I may comment more at a later date, but for now, I just want to get the facts out there out there about aspects of Dr. Rah’s background.
As I’ve mentioned, Dr. Rah is the scheduled keynote speaker for The Gathering. His website may be found here. His bio at Sojourners may be found here. He is on the board of Sojourners. I think most of my readers are aware of the background of that organization.
In 2016, he signed two open letters attacking Donald Trump, “Called to Resist Bigotry — A Statement of Faithful Obedience”, and “A Declaration by American Evangelicals Concerning Donald Trump.” Among the “Evangelicals” who signed the latter were Brian McLaren, Rachel Held Evans, Jim Wallis, and Ron Sider. (For the record, I opposed Trump and supported other candidates for most of 2016.)
In contrast, just after the election of Barack Obama in 2008, he wrote, “I am Barack Obama, and Barack Obama is America.” Just after his inauguration in 2009, he wrote, “On January 20th, 2009, hope replaced cynicism.”
He was a keynote speaker at the DisGRACE conference, which had a very Leftist direction it is safe to say.
When Rev. Franklin Graham urged people to obey the commands of police for their own safety, Rah signed a letter denouncing Graham’s statement. Rachael Held Evans and Jim Wallis were also among the signers.
He has called Michael Brown, shot and killed at Ferguson, a victim of violence. (It is well established that Brown attacked a police officer, and that the officer acted in self-defense.)
In 2015, in a post listing numerous grievances, he denounced saying “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter”:
So next time, white evangelical leaders, you feel the urge to mouth off that “ALL Lives Matter” — CLOSE your mouth and OPEN your eyes, ears, and minds to get yourself some knowledge.
The above is obviously not comprehensive. It what a brief time searching the net has produced. And I’ve not investigated his theological views – other than his opposition to preaching, “All lives matter.”
With the above background, I contacted Canon David Roseberry of the Matthew 25 Team. He said this about The Gathering and about having Dr. Rah as the keynote speaker, “Anglicans always try to be both modest and generous in their mission and their thinking. By modest I mean that we never believe that we have all the answers and all the right perspectives possible. By generous I mean that we always want to engage others in discussion. No one who claims the name of Jesus Christ as Savior should imagine they are outside of our fellowship. And anyone who works for the name of Jesus Christ can be our partner in mission.”