Things I Think…
1. The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting has begun and many are hoping that it will produce reforms and protections in the area of sexual abuse and racial equality… that…is not going to happen.
2. Institutions, including and especially religious ones, exist to further the careers of the few that regulate them and to protect the means by which they do so. The SBC, like many religious institutions is run by old white guys who believe that power and all that comes with it is their birthright. They only care about actual people to the degree that they must to retain their power…rather, they pretend to care about people only to the degree they have to…
3.The power brokers maintain their support because the rank and file love access to power and follow them the same way and with the same motives as those who who want to sleep with rock stars…I would say I’m sorry if that offends you, but I would be lying…
4. Please quit pretending that Jesus has anything to do with these institutions…”Jesus” and “The Gospel” are nothing more than manipulative references to cover their wickedness. Come out from among them!
5. Attempting to take out these power brokers has always been and will continue to be an act of futility. Nothing will change until those who attend and support abusive churches are looked at the same way as those who frequent porn shops and rest area bathrooms for gratification…looked at as unrepentant, carnal sinners…
6. Without journalists, bloggers, and sundry whistle blowers…these institutions would go completely unchecked…
7. Both the SBC and Calvary Chapel site “polity” as the reason they they can’t have any enforcable standards or mechanisms for accountability…in reality, “polity” has become the mechanism by which all sin in the leadership can be tolerated and practiced…
8. Lest you think I’m picking on the SBC…one of the issues I face is that when people leave bad churches, I have no idea where to refer them for something better…my tradition is a dumpster fire as well…
9. Society cannot function without trust in its institutions…and we are increasingly dysfunctional every day…
10. Here’s a great idea…let’s import a broken and divisive political system into the church…I wonder what could go wrong?
It seems most of the church in America is a dumpster fire. Perhaps the best we can do is let it burn and hope and pray for a better day for our children and children’s children.
“. . . the rank and file love access to power”
Yes they do. And those in power will share just enough with them to keep them intoxicated, reinforce their addiction, and keep them coming back for more.
“every junkie’s like a settin’ sun” ~ Neil Young
Well said and extra credit for the Neil Young reference…
Excellent list of points. One minor nitpick though:
Your #3 comparing those churchgoers to rock star groupies is an insult to rock star groupies.
I had hope for the SBC. Now I do not.
Thankfully, there are lots of great SBC churches, but the org is hideous.
I highly recommend those great SBC churches leave the organization and let the rest burn to the ground. Or if you prefer, leave on the last lifeboats remaining on the Titanic. Any attempts at reform are like rearranging the deck chairs. And people mocked me and were indigent for suggesting the R’as al Ghul treatment and to let the organization die.
That has been my point for several weeks/months/years. Why do you think I keep referring to the R’as al Ghul quote?
Good churches? Yes ! ! !
Institutions, though seem to breed corruption… Including secular goverance
CM – the organization funds 4,000 missionaries around the world. Should we starve them?
That’s a big complexity that I hadn’t considered…and it has to be.
Simple. Have the good churches get together and create a replacement organization.
Second with crowdsourcing like GoFundMe and others, do you really need a centralized and corrupt HQ to fund those missionaries in the 21st century? In fact it would probably more efficient, since you are NOT funding layers of administrative overhead in the process.
Yet, the Son still shines in many places:
MASSACHUSETTS PARISH WIPES OUT $3.5 MILLION DOLLARS OF MEDICAL DEBT FOR NEEDY FAMILIES
I don’t remember the Southern Baptists being so politicized when I was growing up (60s/70s), but maybe I missed something. The current convention seems more like a political party presidential convention. I wonder what would happen if they were less political and spent more time cleaning house around the areas of sexual abuse, race relations, etc?
There are like 45,000 churches. Simple it is not.
But then we also have 6 fantastic seminaries that train those missionaries and pastors. There is no way to replicate that. We will be burning a lot of good stuff to the ground with the bad.
Individual churches do decide to withdraw and seek other fellowship, and that may be my path one day, too. In that scenario, the SBC continues to decline for a very long time.
Something to ponder. I was saved in a Chinese congregation, grew up surrounded by Black churches, went overseas to South America, and continue to work with a Hispanic congregation here. Race relations in the SBC do concern me as so many ethnic churches are connected to them.
“I don’t remember the Southern Baptists being so politicized”
The real political battle in the SBC started in the 80’s. The “conservatives” declared victory around 2000, and all was mostly quiet until about 2016. Don’t know of any significant political event that was happening at that time, but…
How are SBC Executive Committee members chosen? And does that body have more power and influence over the SBC org than does the SBC president?
They are nominated by the EXCom Pres, and then approved by the trustees. They do have more influence than President. The Pres is important in that he makes appointments to boards, etc. but his tenure is brief. The Excom guys can kinda keep themselves in the loop for a long time. Really hasn’t been a big issue until now, when a particular group is actively trying to take over the ExCom, only approve its own members, run a guy for pres of the convention, etc. Not coincidentally, the start of that network lines up precisely with Paige Patterson’s firing at Southwestern.
So it does not much seem that the many good churches in the SBC can do much of anything with what happens with the the SBC Executive Committee.
Well, the messengers could propose, and vote in, any change from the convention floor, basically. And that’s what many hoped would happen, the the excom would be fired or completely replaced, but it doesn’t seem to be moving in that direction. It would take massive agreement and coordination to pull something like that off, and too many of the messengers are worried about CRT, enneagram, and that type of thing to realize the massive problem that is taking place under their noses.
That said, JD just RIPPED the presidential address. If the SBC could get on board with what he says, I’d be very excited.
If churches don’t leave the SBC, more people may continue to do so. However, in many of the evangelical churches they choose (either independent ones or affiliated with less politically-oriented denominations) they may find their new church heavily influenced by the SBC. Their Sunday School material is in many churches (in mine), everyone has adopted the ESV (also heartily endorsed by the SBC), and their seminaries are also touted as being wonderful (my current pastor, for example, in a non-SBC church).
“That said, JD just RIPPED the presidential address. If the SBC could get on board with what he says, I’d be very excited.”
Yes he did……..
ESV has no connection to SBC. We did publish the CSB which is a good translation. But yes, our seminaries are fantastic and train ministers for service in many non-SBC arenas.
The messengers can propose, but what guarantees that the proposal actually gets voted on?
It would seem the power players on the Committee and the cronies in their network have been successful in their propaganda parade to create boogeymen that are believed to be great threats while positioning themselves as the valiant warriors who are needed to battle against such threats.
So what does it take for many of these messengers to come to the realization of what is actually happening and recognize the “massive problem taking place under their noses”?
“but what guarantees that the proposal actually gets voted on?”
Mass approval. And yes, I think CRT and the like are a smokescreen…and seem to have been successful.
What does it take to open the eyes? Hopefully, the just listened to JD’s address. He had some great quotes:
“When the church gets in the bed with politics, the church gets pregnant and the offspring doesn’t look like The Father”
It looks like a convention that polices itself rigorously on complementarian issues but allows female abuse victims to be mistreated & maligned…it looks like an SBC that expends more energy decrying things like CRT than lamenting the years of racial discrimination & bigotry.
That last phrase should have been in quotes too. It was from JD.
I pray that the messengers are able to hear, receive, and act on the truth.
I wonder who the trustees are? Josh do you have a list? Maybe they can be pressured?
One of the trustees is being very vocal about doing the right things. He isn’t making friends among the Excom. But yes, the trustees names are public and they are having to face the messengers right now.
Of course the trustees have the power to reject nominations and to refuse to renominate members of the Executive Committee, so the Excom better play ball. Can the trustees _FIRE_ members of the Executive Committee?
One of the first leaders in the early church pronounced death on a couple for the act of lying. Another leader handed some “over to Satan…”
We, in all our “advancements,” created nifty slogans (love the..blah…blah).
The ship of what went wrong at this point has sailed…then sunk.
When (not often) I attend a church, I barely expect a title better than a drug cartel meeting.
Now, all that said, the messengers vote tomorrow on all the recommendations, so we’ll see what happens. I would bet there is a independent investigation ordered of the excom.
I think we’ll know who won the presidency tomorrow too, and that will tell us a lot about the direction churches are headed. If Litton wins, that is the repudiation of the system. Mohler kicks the can down the road, trying to hold on to status quo as long as possible. Stone signals a turn to the lunatic right-fringe.
To use poker terms, would Litton mean you are still in? Mohler would be a check (wait and see)? And if Stone wins that would be a fold and you head for the exit?
CM – In heart, yes. In reality, I have local responsibility that won’t allow me to lave immediately. It would certainly point me towards the door.
Here is a recent articles by David French on the SBC (the below was written first):
Here is a later article by David French:
Here is one the money quotes from the article:
Watching the drama unfold, three words come to mind: Character is destiny.
Longtime readers have heard me reference this document before, but at the 1998 annual meeting, in the face of the Clinton sex and perjury scandals, the SBC issued a resolution on the importance of moral character in public officials that contained a simple truth: “Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment.”
Pity the SBC leadership (and many of the rank and file) ignore their own words.
The SBC of 1998 would be horrified at the SBC of 2021 with all the scandal and blind allegiance to a specific political leader
Thanks for that money quote. I remember several years back when Russel Moore brought up the issue of character and the blatant hypocrisy of being displayed, and then Moore taking flak for bringing it up.
But then again prophets and those who speak hard truths have a history of meeting resistance, opposition, and even death.
Pstmike…as an SBC outside watching this near train wreck, I saw “wow”…and good.
Big brother, Bravo!!! I absolutely agree 100% with this Things I Think post. You are always so brave in your opinions and so correct. I am so glad that you are man enough to stand up and say what is Godly and biblical in public when no one else does. You are always willing to be God’s voice crying out for Righteousness sake. I am humbled by your leadership, by your obedience, and courage. You are truly a man after God’s own heart. May God rain blessings upon you for your unwavering faith and leadership to the flock. Even to the lost flocks that the pharisees have betrayed by their colorful words and flamboyant services and stadiums. You are showing us the real church of the real Living Loving God. The one True Lord and Savior of our soul. You are not afraid to say what needs to be said to save our souls. Thank you so very much. Don’t ever get discouraged, you are being heard, you are saving lives, souls and hearts.
much love big brother. You are my hero!!!
With the election of Litton, it looks like the SBC dodged a bullet and bought itself some time. Let’s see if it is enough to right the ship.
Josh: I wonder what all those hard-core people like Stone and his followers will do now?
CM – they will keep fighting. Always fighting. Always a new devil to defeat. This loss actually strengthens their base. “See? We told you the SBC was going liberal!” (Of course, Ed Litton is no where close to liberal, or even moderate as the New York times called him.)
I really don’t see a good way forward.
Interesting take Josh. And judging by how hard-core conservatism/fundamentalism operates, wouldn’t be shocked one bit if it pans out that way.
I don’t think I’m conservative anymore.
I doubt I would ever join the SBC simple because of its bad history and the fact that its so big. I do recognize the wonderful seminaries and some great churches within the group. However, if I did someday join, I think I would tend to view the SBC as a sort of a Christianized secular organizational framework to give some churches some structure but I would not take them so seriously. Does the organization really have that much power? Seriously, shouldn’t most of the action and involvement be at the local church congregational level and not be so federalized to make one size fit all for all the churches ?
Stone needs to claim the election was stolen. Busloads of Cultural Marxist where being staged near the service entrance, behind the venue. There’s people willing to sign an affidavit. It was a caravan of busses.
Steve said, ” Does the organization really have that much power?”
Rick Warren and a host of other SBC people before him didn’t think so.
I don’t think the organization itself has the power, although there are others who would say differently. I see the impact in their vote that represents the mindset of the rank and file. The best thing about organizations like the SBC is their ability to remain fluid through their voting, and change the course of the denomination. Of course, that can go either way.
I also think it too early to say what direction the SBC will end up going, although I think it safe to say that it will be some form of conservative expression. However, most hardcore extreme conservatives brand anyone who does not think like them a “liberal,” which in SBC circles, is usually not the case. They lost the via-media a long time ago. Litton did not win by a huge margin, so in many ways, the SBC is mirroring the larger culture of a divided house. Time will tell.
God bless you, Dusters…may God allow me to live up to your estimation of me…
Maybe he needs to hire Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell and perhaps check for bamboo fibers on the ballots. The sad thing is I would not put it past Stone and his followers to completely believe the 2020 election conspiracies either.
Big brother, He has….all these years….He has!!! 100 times over.