Full Name: Dhati Lewis
Undergraduate: University of North Texas
Master’s Degree: Dallas Theological Seminary
Doctorate: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
President of the Send Network, North American Missions Board 2018-21
Lead Pastor, Blueprint Church in Atlanta, Georgia 2009-present
Dhati Lewis is currently the lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the President of the North American Missions Board’s Send Network, which is the church planting hub of the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as a Vice President of the North American Missions Board. He announced that he would be resigning from that position at the end of 2021, spinning off NAMB and his BLVD project into its own, separate entity.
NAMB Social Justice Training:
Given that Dhati Lewis was the President of what should be one of the most important church planting initiatives in the Southern Baptist Convention, he ought to have a thoroughly orthodox, Biblical understanding of the Gospel, and be able to delineate between what is and is not a part of the Gospel proper. However, in 2021, church planter Kyle Whitt unveiled significant problems underlying Lewis’s theology. Especially concerning was the addition of the recently termed “Great Requirement” (a term given by social justice-oriented evangelicals to Micah 6:8, which says “Mankind, he has told each of you… what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God”) to the category of “Gospel” in the Send Network Kingdom Values E-Book.
In Lewis’s email exchange (which can be found here) with Whitt, he recommended the Little Book of Biblical Justice by Chris Marshall. On page 38, Marshall asserts that ” In some circumstances, justice requires a disinterested impartiality, a repudiation of all favoritism. In other circumstances it demands an unequivocal partiality, a definite bias towards the interests of certain parties over those of others. Justice is both impartial and partial, biased and unbiased, equal and unequal, depending on the issues at stake.” He goes on to identify those towards whom “justice” is supposed to be partial on the following page (p. 39): “While impartiality is essential in the Bible to the administration of procedural and retributive justice, a quite different emphasis emerges with respect to social justice (which deals with the way wealth, social resources, and political power are distributed in society). Here a definite partiality is to be exhibited, according Capstone Report. A special concern or bias is to be shown for the welfare of four groups in particular—widows, orphans, resident aliens (or immigrants), and the poor.” This is the woke, Leftist perspective, aligning with the Democrat platform, on justice in the civic and social realms.
It is reasonable to conclude that, by recommending the Little Book, Lewis attempted to persuade Whitt to adopt the official Send Network view that the Gospel should be broadened to include the Leftist definition of justice. In other words, not only was Lewis attempting to add works to the category of Gospel (which goes against basic Protestant evangelical doctrine which states that salvation is not by works but by faith, and that works accompany faith), but he was more specifically attempting to add Leftist social justice works to the Gospel, which is a hallmark of woke ideology.
Lewis Claims: “The Gospel is Not Good News Without Economic Restoration”
On September 21, 2020, Dhati made a series of remarks on the Where Life Exists YouTube channel which were out of step with historic, Biblical ethics. Couching his language in Christian terms, he said that “The Gospel is not good news without spiritual redemption and restoration, but the Gospel is also not good news without emotional, economic, and social restoration as well.” Woke Preacher Clips highlighted this segment of the video on Twitter, which readers can watch in context here.
Dhati Leaving NAMB After Launch of Enemies Within: The Church:
Shortly after the Enemies Within: The Church documentary was released, Dhati Lewis announced that he would be leaving the North American Missions Board and the SEND Network. Per the Baptist Press, he is spinning off his “BLVD” (Boulevard) project, “an initiative to empower disciple-makers serving majority-minority, multiethnic communities.” However, according to Greg Perkins, a board member of the Send-National African American Fellowship, Dhati’s BLVD will be working with the Send Network in the future, so Dhati’s influence will not be fading from NAMB entirely.
In Plain Sight: A Primer for Reclaiming Discipleship in the Local Church (2013) Rebuild Network
Among Wolves: Disciple Making in the City (2017) B&H Publishing Group
Advocates: The Narrow Path to Racial Reconciliation (2019) B&H Publishing Group