Perhaps There Is an SBC President Who Cares What the “Little Guy” Thinks

We Need Your Help


Rumor has it that Bryant Wright may be willing to meet with a certain man from Georgia to discuss questions and concerns about the SBC that have been raised by concerned members. Could it be that he may be using this meeting to show all those in the SBC that he is open to all opinions, not just those of a few well-connected individuals? 

As readers of The Wartburg Watch know, this blog exists to allow the increasingly disenfranchised priesthood of the believers to exercise their office and express their concerns and wishes in an accepting environment.

For many who post here, the church has come a closed club run by professional pastors who specialize in top- down management. There are many who feel their input is not welcome, especially if the input involves negative concerns.

Many have been called troublemakers, disobedient, gossips, bitter, sinful, prideful, etc. when they have done as commanded in Scripture and confronted issues head on. Such responses have driven the priesthood to seek other means of communication in order to express their concerns. This has resulted in the development of blogs that some would deem as “critical.”

Those who have blogged have been accused of bypassing Matthew 18 in their quest to air grievances of the priesthood. These accusations have been made by pastors and leadership boards, elders, etc. who are perturbed because they feel that that their authority has been bypassed. Sometimes it appears that “authority” trumps "humility" as those who are threatened make sure everyone knows  “who’s in charge.”

In the end the church of our Lord loses. In order for a healthy church to survive in an increasingly anti-Christian hostility, the leadership must be willing to first confront the sin and pain in their congregations before they confront the sin of a lost world. If this does not happen, the world will point to a church in upheaval and ask the valid question, “If Jesus can’t mend the church, then how can He help me.”

Due to rapid data transmission, stories of pastors who are sexual predators, who use the church to become rich, and who preen about as holier than thou abound in the media. The church can choose to shut its eyes and mutter on about being “victimized or it can choose to exhibit humility to a watching world demonstrating by word and action that Christian are sinners saved by grace. Instead of celebrations of the church’s “goodness,” there needs to be meaningful testimony of a church in need of a Savior just like the rest of the world.

Does the world see a church marked by a ready willingness to repent and ask for forgiveness or does it see a church that acts like Bernie Madoff, spouting sanctimonious excuses for its reproachable behavior.

Have the churches that are being dogged by negative blogging ever done a self-assessment? Could it be the Lord is allowing blogs by committed evangelicals in order to get the churches attention? Could it be that today’s bloggers fulfill a role that has bee shirked by elders and pastors who no longer listen to those outside of their little cliques?

Could these churches be like the newspaper whose community panel your blog queens served on? When the editors  claimed that they did not have a liberal bias, we  told them that they thought they had no liberal bias because the only ones they listen to are those who run in their exclusive little circles. So, in their own eyes, they were moderate in their political views. But in the eyes of the community, they bend left. They have, finally, after much prodding, admitted it.

So is the church doing the same thing? Is the church guilty of self-talk? Do they listen only to themselves and their friends and miss the still quiet voice of God? Are they guilty of doing what is right in their own eyes and forgetting to check with those honest enough to tell them the truth?


So, we view The Wartburg Watch as a mechanism by which we stand in the gap, and through persuasive argument and pointed comments, by us and our readers, tell the church that it may becoming deaf. So we turn up the volume a bit.


This blogger left the SBC over a year ago because I had tired of the lack of pastoral engagement in the lives of the congregation. They seemingly ignoring the uncomfortable pain and suffering of those in its midst as they marched best foot forward to implement young earth creationism, young marriages and other secondary issues with little proof of their benefit except that a few of the “big boys” in the Calvinista movement tilt this way. And those are the guys who really count, don’t they? Secondary doctrinal issues now trump living a life of radical grace and service. These issues have triumphed over the need to focus on the let down and lost.


Perhaps Bryant Wright is sending a message to others in the SBC that he is a willing vessel and has ears to hear from those who have been let down by the church. So we are asking our readers to answer the following question. If you could ask one or two questions of Bryant Wright, what would they be? We will make sure these questions are given to a man from Georgia who will make sure they are given to Wright.  Who knows, it might make a difference. 


Perhaps There Is an SBC President Who Cares What the “Little Guy” Thinks — 35 Comments

  1. I would like to know whether the SBC will finally do the right thing by establishing and maintaining a database of pedophile pastors. Will the leaders of the denomination MAN UP and protect its children?

  2. I wonder if he would be willing to recommend that pastors get no more salary than the average of their congregation?

  3. Don’t you remember? They voted to do a year-long “study” on this in 2008 and reported back in 2009 that they weren’t going to do anything. Oh, wait. I think they posted some helpful links on the SBC website.

    Arce is right. They traded.

  4. LOL! You’re kidding, right? That would be assuming the congregation has access to that figure, and at least in megachurches, that ain’t EVER happening. Besides, I think the median would be a better number, not the average. All it takes is a millionaire or two to skew the average.

  5. I’d put the limit at no more than 2/3s of the median. Otherwise the pastor can not in many ways interact socially with their congregation. Their lifestyle would just be incompatible. Unless they are banking a lot of money (bad) or giving it away to other causes (let the church do it).

  6. My question is…

    How are they going to deal with all the fake and honorary DR degrees being used to deceive Baptist into believeing many of these men are something they are not just to increase pay, prestige, power, and personal agendas?

    Liars have NO place in the ministry. NONE!

  7. Forget the median, or the mean, or any other number or percentage. That is not the point.

    The point is:


    It works in the corporate world. The compensation of the head of the organization is disclosed.

    It works in the government sector: all compensations are available to the public.

    If the churches were transparent on the comp package of the senior pastor and his family who are on staff, and disclosure of any significant gifts given directly to him by donors or the church, that would fix the problem lickity split.

  8. I met Bryant Wright recently. He seems to be a nice person who will do a good job as SBC President.

    I don’t have high expectations for his ability to change much more than the face of the SBC. The SBC President has very little power. All he or she does is appoint the members of committees. One of those committees appoints a group that selects trustees for the SBC entities – the IMB, NAMB, the seminaries, LifeWay etc.

    I actually want the SBC corporate structure to become less, not more. To do less, not more. To collect the money from churches that voluntarily give, to divide it up among the agencies in accordance with a budget approved by the churches.

    I not want Bryant Wright, or Frank Page (the new President of the Executive Committee), to do as little as they can. To shrink their budgets. I do not want any new bureaucratic initiatives, ministry initiatives, new staff positions etc.

    I want as much of the SBC churches monies to go to missions and education as possible.

    I want the individual churches of the SBC to recognize the position of strength that they have and the responsibilities that they have – which is to do everything that the NT commands us to do.

    Dee or Deb (I forget which said what), I understand why you made the decisions that you did with respect to churches. But individuals don’t leave the SBC. No individual is a member of the SBC. Jimmy Carter keeps saying this. Usually announces it about every 5 or 10 years, “I have left the SBC.” But he is still a member of a Baptist Church. His Church can leave the SBC, but he can’t.

    I know that you decided to leave the churches that you were in, which were SBC.

    It’s a technical, but important distinction to remember.

  9. Annonymous

    It goes far deeper than leaving two churches that happen to be part of the SBC. I made a concerted effort to find a good evangelical church that was NOT part of the SBC. So, for me, I left the SBC and will not return unless there is a significant change in the unbiblical political machinations of a supposed Christian entity. Trust me, this has precious little to do with the essential of the faith. I am conservative.

    In fact, I am a good one for Wright to remember. I love the Lord, I participate in the church, give money and time, and stand up for the church in today’s increasingly hostile atheists and secularists. The SBC lost a friend in me. Perhaps I represent some of those the SBC is losing.

  10. Well stated Dee. I echo your sentiments.

    Leaving the SBC was a difficult decision; however, once I saw what was being promoted at Southern Baptist seminaries, especially Southern (CBMW, ESS, and Calvinism) I felt I had no choice. I simply cannot support the current indoctrination that is taking place.

  11. 1. Southern Baptists purport to have a “bottom-up” polity. Yet, when a near-unanimous vote of 8600 messengers instructed the SBC Executive Committee to conduct a study on the feasibility of creating a database of confessed and credibly accused clergy, SBC leaders had so little respect for the will of the messengers that they never even set aside a budget for any legitimate study. Not one dime. Instead, they responded with nothing more than the pablum of pious preaching and a glossy brochure. What will Bryant Wright now do to prod the Executive Committee to respect its own professed polity, to respect the vote of the messengers, and to conduct a funded and legitimate study?

    2. The denomination needs to work cooperatively to provide: (1) a safe and welcoming place for victims to report clergy sex abuse; (2) a professionally trained panel for responsibly and objectively assessing victims’ abuse reports; and (3) an efficient means of assuring that assessment information about credibly accused clergy will reach people in the pews — i.e., a database. What will Bryant Wright do to begin the process of implementing these bare-basic accountability mechanisms and safeguards for assuring that predatory clergy cannot so easily church-hop?

    3. How exactly does it violate Baptists’ professed polity for the denomination to work cooperatively toward providing local churches with the resource of a professionally-staffed review board and the resource of a denominational database of confessed and credibly-accused clergy? How exactly does it violate Baptists’ professed polity for the denomination to work cooperatively at providing local churches with access to information that might allow them to make better decisions about their clergy-hiring and that might allow them to better protect their children? I would like Bryant Wright to publicly explain this.

  12. I echo Christa’s questions. If nothing else, these questions need to be asked of SBC leadership again and again until perhaps someone gets it.

  13. Are these some of those men who are within the Baptist Mafia?

    Great debate….

    Here is the website to see many who I believe deserve watching….

    I do know they are huge fans and disciples of the “Evil” Everson’s….

    I noticed many liars and deceivers within this bunch and several that the guy in GA has fought intensely exposing the truths.

  14. In a mega church there are a large number of people. A millionaire or two would not skew things much – and anf there tend to be a lot more teachers than millionaires to bring down the average.
    Actually a better point is probably that the SBC should recommend that no one be a pastor until he has had a “real job” for at least 5 years. Say a fisherman, or a doctor, or a tax collector to pick some at random. 😀 If you have never worked 60-80 hours a week, volunteered many hours in children’s Sunday School and then had a lazy pastor talking about how much everyone needs to contribute their time and money to church, you don’t understand how things work.

  15. Dee:

    Thanks. I figured that your choice meant that you would not join another SBC church. But you still can’t “leave the SBC.”

    I respect your decision.

  16. Annonmous

    Perhaps this is just a semantic game. If no one was actually leaving the SBC why is the SBC concerned about the numbers of members that the SBC is losing? If you go to the SBC sites, they are discussing why people are flooding out of the SBC. Does the SBC know that people can’t leave the SBC?

    It is important to understand that many who leave identify there churches with the SBC and leave, moving over into a nonSBC entity. The SBC certainly feels that churches are a part of the SBC because they have thrown out churches that have female pastors.

    Perception is king and I think the SBC knows it. So, in my mind, I have rejected and left the SBC-churches, denomination, etc. I no longer identify myself as a Southern Baptist. I am a member of a Bible church with no denominational ties and I refer to myself as simply Christian.

  17. One further observation. People say they are Baptist. Not First Baptistites or Summitites or Fellowshipites!

  18. Good idea, Me. I’ve seen guys go from being raised in church to Bible college then to Seminary then to church staff then to Sr Pastor, never having any significant experience working outside those circles. They literally have no clue about the issues and conerns facing their congregations on a daily basis. They can talk well in theory, but they can’t really equip their members to be salt and light in a world they know so little about. Instead they focus on getting people involved in the flurry of activities that go on in and around the church building, rather than actually showing them how to live a godly life and be a witness in their places of work, etc.

    But even better than requiring pastors to work in a “real job” for a few years would be for all pastors to continually be “tent makers”, as in the example set by Paul, and just be part of the congregation like any other spiritual gifting or function in the body.

  19. It’s definitly semantics. Techincally an individual can’t “leave” the SBC; they leave SB churches. But people use SBC as shorthand for churches all the time, including SBC leadership.

  20. They could work up the statistic called ‘the mode’. It is THE member salary that shows up the most in all the salaries of the Church members. It is a type of average.

    OR they could calculate ‘standard deviations from the norm’ on a bell curve, but that is getting a little bit complicated to apply.

  21. Here are my questions/concerns for the man in Georgia to deliver to the president.

    I have recently left the SBC (yes, I know, I left a church but I left any association with the SBC) and joined an evangelical nondenominational church because I felt the oversight in such a church leads to greater accountability. The SBC lost a family that gives financially as well as time. We are conservative Christians in our theology. Perhaps I am a good person to look at as the SBC contemplates why it is losing members.

    1. There needs to be a concerted effort to construct a sexual predator database specifically for the SBC. This needs to include all pastors as well as employees of the SBC who have been charged with sexual crimes against children, women or men. Why has this not been accomplished?

    2. If a church can be thrown out of the SBC for having a woman as a pastor, why can’t a church get kicked out for allowing a pastor to stay in the pulpit who knowingly harbored a pedophile on staff?

    3. The SBC should establish a database which verifies the credentials of SBC pastors. This would include their education, etc. It should also have a policy that those who have been given honorary doctorates not be formally addressed as “Doctor.” This is considered common practice in the secular professions . Does the SBC want to look second rate in its education standards?

    4. A data base should be established to include pastors who have been credibly charged with embezzlement, activities involving pornography, prostitution and drugs.This should be made available to pastor search committees.Imagine how the world views the hypocrisy of the church if the church is involved in coverup in these areas?

    5.Finally, some guidelines need to be addressed regarding pastor compensation, nepotism, and gifts. There is a new sense of entitlement within the SBC regarding salaries. A comment placed on this blog was most telling. Ed Young Jr who is leading a wealthy lifestyle had a worship pastor who went to another church. He told the church he expected compensation in the “six figures.” I think Jesus would roundly condemn this practice.

    Blessings on all who want to radically follow Jesus and not the status quo.

  22. One of the men from the morningside website conducted a 2 or 3 day “revival” at Trinity last year. Dr. Sam Cathey came at the request of Chad Everson because they had known each other while Chad was growing up.

    My family did not return to the evening services after “Dr.” Cathey (I do not know if his title was earned or honorary) used Hebrews 10:25 in his sermon – “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.”

    He used this verse to instruct the congregation that it is a SIN to “lay out” of church – any service. If the doors are open, you are supposed to be there or you were living in sin. And TRUE believers cannot live in sin, so if you don’t come to every service, then you must be LOST.

    I certainly believe that Christians should attend a local, Bible-teaching, Bible-believing church, for fellowship, encouragement and learning. Dr. Cathey went too far, IMHO, and I was dismayed to realize that my pastor probably thinks I am LOST because I do not attend every single service offered at Trinity. Talk about authoritarian!

  23. TrinityWatcher

    Of course, we must be members of Bible believing churches. That goes without saying. The devil (I mean that) is in the details. Those details are legalism and are not part of Christianity.

    I am wondering if Sam Cathey might be the one who does not understand the Scriptures. It seems to me he is abusing the Bible to exert control over church members. That would make him no better that the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. I wonder if his faith is based on Jesus or on some set of rules that he dreams up?

  24. “He used this verse to instruct the congregation that it is a SIN to “lay out” of church – any service. If the doors are open, you are supposed to be there or you were living in sin. And TRUE believers cannot live in sin, so if you don’t come to every service, then you must be LOST. ”

    The converse side to that is that one could very well be in sin for supporting what is commonly called the “Church” but is not the Body of Christ but an organization that exists to promote the leadership. This is a hard concept for folks to comprehend. But what does it mean if someone realizes the leadership are wolves and hirlings and still supports them both financially and emotionally.

    But most folks think a “church” is a building.

  25. Ha ha ha, that’s a joke, right? Chad repent? That made me laugh out loud, literally. =)

    No, Chad only admits he’s wrong when he’s trying to prove he is a greater sinner than us (as mentioned in another post on TWW). And Chad himself has also mentioned this very subject – that “laying out” of church is a sin. (I put laying out in quotes because I think that’s a funny way to put it. =)

    He even said a few weeks ago that never having been on a “mission trip” is a sin. Funny, the verb tense in the Great Commission is not “GO” but “as you are GOING”. I tell people about Jesus and what He’s done for me all the time, as I am GOING. Should I really pay to go on a “mission trip” when there are lost people dying around me every day?

  26. TW
    Glad I made you laugh. Listen, the only way I have heard “laying out” used is in regards to funerals. You know, “They sure laid Herbert out real fine”.

  27. State law typically allows any member to view the accounting records of the church. That means source documents, like credit card statements, etc., as long as the purpose is reasonable. We found that out in the Two Rivers case, where the courts ruled in favor of the members’ rights to see credit cards statements, etc. Seeing the pastor’s total compensation should be a slam dunk, if one is gutsy enough. Look at the state law related to nonprofits.

  28. I pastor a church in Southern Oklahoma. I agree with the database idea about sexual predators, but much of the other suggestions are troublesome. The SBC has no authority to decide whether or not a pastor can be addressed as “doctor” nor does the convention possess the authority to tell the churches what they ought to pay the pastor. They do provide information through Lifeway regarding the average pastor compensation, based on information like church size, total offerings, the state the church is in, etc. This inforamtion is helpful and should be utilized by church financial committees in determining pastoral compensation, in my opinion.

    As far as my church is concerned, a monthly treasurer’s report is posted on the bulletin board with extra copies in the foyer outlining all receipts and dispursements including my compensation.