If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this .
A few months ago we referred to the resolution from the Georgia Baptist Convention which opposed blogging when used for “personal attacks, divisive rhetoric that disturbs the peace among the Brethren, and causes disunity and disharmony.” It also included a command to stop “second guessing” the leaders.
Here is that resolution printed in its entirety.
Resolution on Blogging (11/07)
WHEREAS, the American people have the distinct privilege of freedom of speech as provided by our United States Constitution, and this resolution is not intended to limit that freedom of speech we all value so much; and
WHEREAS responsible blogging can be a means of promoting the flow of information and encouragement of our people, but certain people use this tool for divisive and destructive rhetoric at the expense of peace among the Brethren; and
WHEREAS blogging is also being used by some as a tool for personal attacks upon other Christian Brothers and Sisters, and this critical and divisive use promotes a negative view of the Southern Baptist Convention in the eyes of the society we are striving to reach with the Gospel James 3:6,14;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the messengers of this convention oppose blogging when it is used to cause division and disharmony among the members of our Southern Baptist Family Proverbs 6:16-19; I Cor. 1:10; and since personal differences should not be dealt with in public view,
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that we reaffirm the historic method of administering our agencies and institutions through elected boards of trustees, and we call upon bloggers to cease the critical second-guessing of these elected leaders; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all Georgia Baptists respectfully request and expect that individuals who disrupt the fellowship through blogging repent and immediately cease this activity and no longer cause disharmony for the advancement of their own personal opinions and agendas; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we set our eyes once again on the fields to which we are called to labor, refusing to dishonor God with activities that militate against harmony and good will.
Well, that sounds “jim dandy”! What “good” Christian in his right mind ever wants to deliberately hurt “nice” SBC leaders who only strive to do “good” for their “sheep”? Who would want to disrupt the ”peace” of the brethren? Those people must be wretched sinners!!!
Except, none of this could be further from the truth… What follows is a list of fallacies in the above resolution:
1. That there is peace among the Brethren. If there is such “peace” then why are the bloggers upset? Aren’t they the brethren as well? Could it be that they are legitimately "upset" by what has happened in their Southern Baptist church?
2.That the bloggers are the ones “causing” the disunity. Could it be that disunity has been caused by those whom the Georgia Baptist Convention is protecting by passing this resolution and that the bloggers only tried to expose what has caused such disunity? In fact, the bloggers could be striving to be the peacemakers by getting rid of the sin.
3. That the bloggers are causing a “negative” view among the society the SBC is trying to win for the Gospel. Could it be that the negative view society has of the SBC is actually being caused by an out of touch, arrogant, and sinful leadership and that the bloggers are merely exposing what is already widely known among non-Christians? Just go to web sites such as exChristians.net and see what they have to say about the SBC.
4.That second-guessing the leadership is “bad”. Could it be that there is sin in the leadership that needs to be addressed? Could it be that not only should there be second guessing going on, but third, fourth, and fifth guessing? Could it be that there is entrenched sin in the leadership and that their decisions should be questioned?
5. That somehow the bloggers have not already tried to rectify the situation. Could it be that they have confronted sin and arrogance via Matthew 18 and have been persecuted, “disciplined”, and thrown out of their churches without being given a voice? Here is part of a terrible email that one pastor, whom we will be highlighting in a future post, sent to a member who was trying to deal with a serious problem.
"You were intentionally seeking to divide this church and inciting members to rebel against the authority God placed at Trinity – whether you like me or not, God put me at Trinity as Pastor and there is an authority for the Pastoral position – God set it up that way and not me. I know that many from those sites HATE the word authority and, understandably – those in sin naturally rebel against the things of God and the order He sets and, for so many on those sites that feel “entitled” to their preferences, the real issue is pride – again, rebellion to authority is a natural outgrowth of that sin."
Wow! Now those are the words of a "real" servant leader who is trying to build consensus! And the GBC has the audacity to claim that blogging disturbs the peace? Perhaps there's another side to this story…
We believe that many bloggers turn to blogging as a last resort in order to confront the horrific situations in their churches via the Internet because ALL attempts to address them within their church structure have been met with resistance on the part of an entrenched, pharisaical bureaucracy. And we have good reason to believe this, as we will explain.
First and foremost, your blog queens have been the unfortunate recipients of such behavior, so we know first hand some of the strategies in the playbook. Here are just a few of those strategies…
A “godly” elder actually confessed that he was the one who started those vicious lies about you and your family which have been circulating around the church.
Pastors have refused to apologize to innocent young people whom they have hurt by their callousness. If a congregant brings a serious problem to the attention of the church leaders, the best strategy to make the problem go away is treat them as though THEY are "the problem".
If a member becomes unhappy with what is going on at the church and wants to transfer to another fellowship, tell the prospective pastor that they are "troublemakers" and that they shouldn't be allowed to join.
In each of these circumstances, it's incredible how the congregant who has been harmed is blamed for causing “disunity.”
We're convinced that God in His sovereignty allowed us to experience the depth and breadth of pastoral arrogance and self-importance. Because it happened to us in a very personal way, we ABSOLUTELY believe the horror stories others are sharing about their own church experiences. We are passionate about exposing sin in church leadership and supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been abused by "pastors gone wrong".
Recently, one of us had the opportunity to meet with face-to-face with a group of people who were “done wrong” by an out of control pastor and his “boys.” One of these individuals is a man who started a blog about a terrible situation in his church, Prays Mills Baptist Church, in Douglassville, Georgia. His name is Doug Pittman and you need to remember his name. It was his blog that caused the Georgia Baptist Convention to pass the resolution against blogging.
If you were to judge Doug Pittman on the basis of the GBC resolution, you might think that he must be a terrible monster set upon destroying God’s church in Georgia. How dare he! The convention is banking on the fact that most Baptists are so self-absorbed that they will never take the time to listen to Doug's side of the story. You know, there are ALWAYS two sides to every story… As truth seekers, we decided to investigate the other side of this most interesting situation. Suffice it to say that Georgia Baptists should be alarmed by what we have discovered.
I (Dee) had the opportunity to sit down and spend an evening at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia with Doug and three other former members of Prays Mills Baptists Church. The moment I shook hands with all of them, I realized I was in the presence of kind, good and dedicated Christians who love the Lord with all of their hearts. These sincere brothers and sisters in Christ are not “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
One cannot deny their sincerity. I watched as tears filled their eyes as they talked about how they inadvertently discovered a terrible pastoral sin. These country folk would have to be incredible actors to fake the tears, the hand tremors, and the pain that filled their countenances. They had been traumatized and this nurse could clearly see it.
These are not your arrogant church members who want to rule their church just as they run their businesses. Furthermore, they are not people who think they are smarter and better than their pastors. And they certainly are not people who believe they are perfect while everyone else is a sinner. In fact, I wish I could be in a long term Bible study with them. They are genuine Christians, not “bless your little hearts” hypocrites.
Those with whom I met are second and third generation members of their former church who have lived their lives serving Prays Mills and bringing people to the Lord. They were bamboozled, mistreated, and spit out by a pastor who was far more interested in covering up sin than in caring for the people he was supposedly called to serve. Instead, this shepherd fleeced his flock.
We shall be dealing with this Prays Mills situation in-depth over the next week. In addition to revealing why Doug Pittman began blogging about Mike and Jarrod Everson, we will investigate what's going on with Mac Brunson and First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Here, we will focus on how he misused law enforcement to expose Tom Rich who blogged about a serious situation at that church. Next, we will take a look at a scandal at Bellevue Baptist Church. As we round out our coverage of SBC "servant leaders", we'll take a look at Trinity Baptist Church in Memphis and its pastor, Chad Everson, who has ties to the Prays Mills situation.
Rest assured we will contact all parties involved, and we will tell the whole truth! As for the Georgia Baptist Convention, we are flat out disgusted with their behavior. Not only have they hired Mike Everson, but they were not truthful with Georgia Baptists about what happened at Prays Mills. The GBC should have given these dear Georgia Baptists comfort instead of kicking them in the teeth. We look forward to sharing the “shenanigans” that led to the blogging resolution. Yes, fact can often be stranger than fiction… For the moment, we have one question for the Georgia Baptist Convention. Whom do you serve?
These stories are not pretty, and they reveal a “dark side” to these churches and their pastors. As we air what some would label as dirty laundry on The Wartburg Watch, it's important to keep in mind that the Apostle Paul often exposed sin. He even named specific churches that were covering up sin. We can read all about it in the New Testament.
Remember the guy in the Corinthian church who was shacking up with his father’s wife? Would you classify that as gossip? When Paul publicly addressed this sin in his letter to the Corinthians ( 1 Cor 5:1-5), did he hurt the spread of the Gospel? We wouldn't be surprised if some embarrassed Corinthians accused Paul of hindering God's work by spreading malicious gossip. Did Paul's letters breed disunity?
Maybe he shouldn't have written those letters at all. It would have spared us from reading about the terrible sins of the early Christians, and it certainly would have made for a shorter New Testament! Paul is our God-given example of how to confront sin in the church. There's an important reason why his letters were canonized. When we as Christians tolerate impurity within the body of Christ, especially among our leaders, we make a mockery of the Gospel and we hinder God's important work.