Trouble in Mayberry: Southern Baptist Churches Leave Local Association

"As for women writing books that expound the scriptures, my view is that this is also not teaching in the way that preaching in church would be. The dynamic of speaking before a community of believers, in which everyone listening is seeing one’s authoritative demeanor and hearing one’s authoritative voice, is a different dynamic than a book. Books can be picked up and put down, read, interacted with, discussed, debated, written and written against. Sermons don’t fit into that same kind of genre entirely. But I admit this is a difficult call, and some good scholars would say that there is no difference between the two."

Daniel B. Wallace
(Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary)


Church in Europe (taken by Deb)

I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show, a nostalgic TV program set in Mayberry USA.  For those who may not know, Andy Griffith grew up in Mount Airy, North Carolina and based the show on his hometown.  (link)

In case you haven’t heard, there’s trouble in paradise, err Mayberry . . .

Last summer Mount Airy’s Flat Rock Baptist Church did something so offensive that it was quickly dismissed from the local Southern Baptist Association. What did the congregation do that was so repulsive? Why, it called a woman as pastor. Gasp!  What were they thinking?!!! Just two weeks after the female pastor arrived to begin her ministry in Mount Airy, the local Southern Baptist Association dismissed the church.

What has been the response from the churches belonging to the Surry Baptist Association? Well, two of them recently voted to disassociate from the local association.

According to the Religious Herald,

“Piney Grove Baptist Church voted unanimously Nov. 30 to leave the 66-church association, centered in Surry County northwest of Winston-Salem, N.C. Four days later, on Dec. 4, First Baptist Church also voted, 145-34, to end its ties.

Both churches cited the association’s July 26 action to dismiss Flat Rock Baptist Church in Mount Airy two weeks after its new female pastor, Bailey Edwards Nelson, began her ministry there. But they added Surry’s move was only the latest indication of growing disagreement with the association’s direction.”

Roger Gilbert, pastor at First Baptist (one of the area’s largest churches), stated to the Religious Herald reporter:

“The dismissal was the thing that brought it to a head, but I think the bigger issue was the way it was done.”

The article continues . . .

In a statement, Gilbert said, “In our congregation, and in several other congregations, there was strong disagreement with the action, the biblical interpretation given for the action, and the way the issue was handled.”

The New Testament accounts “lead some of us to believe … God just might call a woman to be pastor,” he said. And while the association is autonomous and can set its membership guidelines, “some of us find it offensive … that they are unwilling to accept churches who exercise their local church autonomy by being a bit different than the majority of churches. “ In addition, he added, Surry association’s action was taken without prior notice to member churches…

First Baptist, which has about 700 members and some 250 who regularly attend worship, has contributed about $9,000 annually to the association. That amount had been reduced in recent years from $18,000 due to ‘some issues which bothered us,’ said Gilbert.”

In order to get a closer look at the situation, I consulted the Mount Airy News, which featured an article entitled "First Baptist Church pulls out of association." (link)  I hope you will take the time to read this comprehensive article.

The local reporter uncovered some very interesting information, which he shares as follows:

"(Gene) Garland and others indicated that more was involved in the decision than the Surry Baptist Association’s action on July 25 to expel Flat Rock Baptist Church from its ranks."

In citing the reasons for its disfellowship of Flat Rock Baptist, an association official has said that the appointment of a female pastor was a violation of scripture in the view of many members of the group.

The disfellowship apparently proved to be a catalyst for Sunday’s decision by First Baptist, which also had been rankled by other actions of the Surry Baptist Association in recent years.

“This probably goes way back,” said one longtime church member, who believes it stems from those in higher echelons of the Baptist organization beyond the county shifting to a more “fundamental” position on various issues about 10 to 12 years ago.

Rebecca Keesler, another person who attends the Mount Airy church, said that from her perspective, the Surry Baptist Association “has been making some major decisions without fully informing the members.” Keesler said she was speaking as an individual and not as someone expressing the official position of First Baptist . . . "

Can you imagine how disruptive the Surry Baptist's Association has been to this close knit community?  I am especially disturbed by this statement:  The Surry Baptist Association “has been making some major decisions without fully informing the members.”

What follows is the REAL problem First Baptist Church has with the local SBC association.  The piece states:

"Another person long involved with First Baptist Church said one questionable move by the association was a change in personnel of a counseling program to aid those with troubled marriages and other issues. This occurred without the blessing of First Baptist Church, he indicated.

“For some time, it has been the general feeling of a majority of First Baptist Church members that we were not being given adequate representation by the Surry Baptist Association,” Garland, the diaconate chairman, said in a prepared statement released Monday.

Sunday’s vote on First Baptist’s relationship with the association had been announced in the church’s Dec. 1 newsletter. The removal of Flat Rock Baptist Church from the group’s membership over its woman pastor was mentioned in the first paragraph of a notice about the vote.

“The action disturbed many people in churches across the county because of (1) disagreement with the decision, and (2) the lack of due process in making the decision,” the notice stated.

One First Baptist representative said Monday that Flat Rock’s removal was a result of a called meeting at the behest of Westfield Baptist Church. “It was very quickly done.”

LACK OF DUE PROCESS?  Now why doesn't that surprise me?  It's time for Southern Baptists to awaken from their slumber and discern what's really going on.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Mount Airy News article includes the following clarification:

"Questions to the Surry Baptist Association Monday were referred to its director, Billy Blakley, who did not respond to a telephone message seeking his comment on First Baptist’s vote and other aspects of the situation. The organization’s membership includes 66 churches, according to its website. Counseling, missions and education are listed among its functions."

Why do SBC leaders go into hiding when the press comes a knocking?  It these were real manly men, they would conduct their business out in the open and answer questions when challenged.  Such a reaction to the local news media speaks volumes to me.  Furthermore, it is incredible that the decision to oust Flat Rock Baptist Church was done without discussion among the 66 member churches.  So much for cooperation in the SBC…  

I am grateful that the trouble in Mayberry's churches is being exposed, and I absolutely LOVE how the Mount Airy News article ends.

"Funding Change

With First Baptist’s vote comes a withdrawal of both its membership and funding to the Surry Baptist Association, which one member put at about $9,000 annually.

Based on the wording of the proposal considered Sunday, this money from the church’s 2011-2012 budget will be divided equally between a number of organizations, including The Salvation Army, Surry Medical Ministries, Yokefellow Co-Op Ministry, the Shepherd’s House and others.

'The First Baptist congregation felt that the church’s resources could be better utilized by moving in a different direction,' said the statement from Garland.

However, church members opened the door for a future mending of the broken relationship with the association “if they change their direction,” said one. 'We still want to be friends.'  As Garland put it Monday afternoon, 'we still want to cooperate with them as much as possible.'

As demonstrated in Mayberry USA, AUTONOMY no longer exists in the Southern Baptist Convention.  SBC leaders give lip service to the autonomy of the local church.  It certainly appears that pedophiles in the pulpit aren't a problem, but women in the pulpit are!  

What will be fascinating to watch is how other Southern Baptist congregations react to this kind of bullying.  Will they follow the lead of Mount Airy's First Baptist and Piney Grove Baptist Church? 

We have to wonder when women will be forbidden by SBC leaders to write ANYTHING for public consumption having to do with spiritual matters, particularly blogs…  Perhaps the saving grace is that the younger generation is more techno-savvy, and they are becoming activists as indicated in yesterday's post.  Let's pray that they will put an end to this nonsense when the reins are finally handed over to them.

Lydia's Corner:  Job 16:1-19:29    1 Corinthians 16:1-24    Psalm 40:1-10    Proverbs 22:1


Trouble in Mayberry: Southern Baptist Churches Leave Local Association — 70 Comments

  1. That’s interesting! Several years ago my church (First Baptist of Clarksville, Arkansas) got kicked out of our association for “open communion” and “alien baptism.” But the next association over welcomed us into theirs, no problem!

  2. Sure! It’s hard not to visualize little green aliens, but the association disapproved of accepting as church members Christians who had already been immersed in believer’s baptism, but in non-SBC churches. They had to get re-baptized!

  3. Re: alien baptism: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. and I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” Peter, in Acts 11:15-17
    So, even if the aliens speak in tongues, (or are green, or Gentiles, or even…. women!) yet extoll God (Acts 10:46) “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” v 47

  4. You are absolutely right Kathy. Ridiculous isn’t it? Since there are those who learned and accepted Christ as their Savior in non-Baptist churches, I always wondered if their salvation was not accepted either. The SBC also discounted those baptisms that were done in churches that did not hold to eternal security.

  5. “The dynamic of speaking before a community of believers, in which everyone listening is seeing one’s authoritative demeanor and hearing one’s authoritative voice, is a different dynamic than a book. Books can be picked up and put down, read, interacted with, discussed, debated, written and written against.”
    Which dynamic, I wonder, more closely resembles that of New Testament teachers like Peter?

    Oh, but then again, Peter wouldn’t qualify to teach some churches– if only he’d been baptized by the SBC, instead of by some itinerrant preacher in the wilderness, he might have spoken longer than 2 minutes to the First Cornelian Church, before being interrupted by a bunch of enthusiasts. If he’d had the proper authoritative demeanor and voice, he could have persuaded the ushers to usher them out. And if he’d gone to a better seminary, he’d not have begun his sermon, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality.” The unlearned might misunderstand that one.

  6. The historical issues for disfellowship of a Baptist church by the local association, state convention or SBC have included:
    1. Accepting alien immersion (immersion as a believer — not an infant) in a non-Baptist church (not having “like faith and order”) when a person joins the church and is not rebaptized.
    2. Accepting a person baptized as an infant and not rebaptized.
    3. Practicing open communion, which is either allowing non-members to participate or allowing non-Baptists to participate.
    4. Using wine rather than grape juice in communion (violates no alcohol beliefs).
    5. Electing women to the diaconate.
    6. Letting a woman preach.
    7. Allowing a gay or lesbian person be a member of the church.
    8. Allowing a divorced person to preach or be a deacon.
    9. Most recently, allowing an organization of family members of gays and lesbians to meet at the church.
    10. Not accepting that the first century church was a Baptist church and that there have always been Baptist churches since the first century.
    11. Having inter-faith or ecumenical services, even with other Christian churches (once involved a Thanksgiving eve service that involved all the protestant churches in town).

  7. Sorry about the sarcastic comments from the other night. I feel the need to explain my frustration. This might be a place to start. In being that Wartburg was one of the biggest places in the Reformation. I really was just tired of the gender issues with regard to women and ministry. To be honest any self-seeking and self-oriented view to persuing ministry is wrong. Dee and Deb, some of the issues of late just sound like that in the advocation for aspiring women elders. It is a tough job period. In this issue I agree and totally hate this planked-eyed false conservative movement with believing that somehow reform will occur when women and children submit.

    Reform will come. Here is one site that proves it needs reform.

  8. When Joni Erickson Tada wrote her text, she had some good theologians prooftext it and they stated that they really admired the insight in it. She and Harriet Tubman make my list for heros of the faith. Others on the list….Watchman Nee, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ravi Zacharias, Richard Wormbrandt.

  9. Last year, my husband and I (along with our 4 children) were asked to leave our SBC church after exposing a deacon/minister who was sexually abusing a teen girl in our congregation.

    Not only was that going on, but there were issues about women leading Sunday School classes. My husband was teaching a couples SS class but got a job requiring work on some Sundays, so he asked a woman to sub for him on the Sundays he was away. She was a serious student of the bible and always came with several pages of hand-outs and other materials. My husband thought she was a much more skilled and enthusiastic teacher than he, so he asked her if she’d be willing to take over permanently.

    It didn’t enter our minds that this could be a problem. Both of us grew up in SBC churches, so I’m led to believe that the opposition toward women teachers was an unspoken rule and/or that the SBC is becoming more rigid and gender-based and that we hadn’t noticed until then. We’d always been taught that women are to submit to their husbands and men in authority, but opposition to women teaching isn’t something we were taught directly.

    My husband and I went to the SS Director and told him we’d like to make the change, and it didn’t go well. He told us that the pastor would not allow it, but he thought he could smooth things over by retaining my husband as the “official” teacher and the woman teacher would “unofficially” be the substitute. It wasn’t anything we could advertise and, on paper, my husband was still the teacher.

    Over time, this didn’t sit well with the woman and her husband. She spoke with the SS Director several times and attempted to speak to the pastor about it. Eventually, because of that situation and the abuse of the teen girl, that family left the church.

    After we were all gone, the long-time pianist and her husband heard the pastor preach a sermon during which he said, “The buck stops with me. In this church, I’m in charge. The deacons aren’t in charge. You’re not in charge. I’m in charge, and I make the decisions. If you don’t like that, you can leave. Amen?” The pianist and her husband joined a Methodist church. Several other families, including one deacon who resigned, also have left due to several unhealthy, and criminal, things that are happening there.

  10. Let me clarify… we’ve always been taught that women shouldn’t pastor a church, but we didn’t know there was a problem with women teaching co-ed SS classes and bible studies. Looking back, I see that this was an unspoken rule in our SBC churches. Thank God my eyes are opening!

    Yay for Flat Rock Baptist Church! And I’m so glad the other two churches took a stand and disassociated from the Surry Baptist Association. Great article!

  11. Wendy,

    Perhaps your awful experience exposes the problem of MALE ONLY leadership in a church. As we believe our blog demonstrates, women are not as likely to ignore sexual sin. What is it with these so-called Christian leaders anyway? Are they too afraid to confront sexual abuse? That certainly seems to be the case.

    I’m so glad you and your family got out of an UNGODLY church environment, even if you were asked to leave.

    Do you know if anyone has reported the deacon/minister who was abusing the teen girl? That MUST be reported!

  12. Wendy,

    At least in some SBC churches, the male stuff has been going on quite a while. At my last one, in Southern California, I suspected that my pastor was one who voted against women pastors. I also experienced it personally there. I wasn’t allowed to teach a coed adult Sunday School class, only a woman’s class. The man teaching the coed one was a fairly new Christian and not formally trained. (I would have given him a pass, if he had gone to seminary or Bible college shortly after conversion.)

    This was about 12-15 years ago.

  13. Casey

    Some of my Heroes of the Faith, as well. Where were your Joni Erickson Tada quotes and sarcastic comments the other night?

    I think I agree about “advocation for aspiring women elders”. I’m not firmly convinced on that subject, nor do I think we need to be so. I see no examples of women elders/overseers in the early church, either in or after the new testament, and that holds pretty significant weight with me. I do see women deacons, however, and hold a much more egalitarian view of deacons/elders than many. Also I see examples of women sent out, prophesying, evangelizing, and teaching in the NT, and one might argue that Paul saw at least 3 of those up- building gifts of Christ to His church to be greater/ more essential than that of shepherding. (see Eph.4) I’m not totally opposed to pastors or the preaching of oratory-style sermons (I used to be one who preached a few)– I just think the importance of both is highly overrated. So putting a woman into that position really doesn’t help, if the pastor/elder is still a buck-stops-here in-charge uni-directional-communicating decision- making decider as described by Wendy.

  14. Deb,

    It’s a long story. Christa Brown wrote about it on her blog in November of last year. What I witnessed toward the girl were classic red flags of a sexual predator. He was grooming the girl, spending inordinate amounts of time with her, posting inappropriate photos and messages to her on Facebook (saying creepy things to this kid that he should have only been saying to his wife).

    When he posted that she had given him a massage, I knew I had to speak with the mother. It was then that I discovered the grooming process had gone much further than I had witnessed. He had given her a car, clothes, money, was taking her on long car rides, giving her free “workout” sessions at the gym, etc.

    I don’t know for sure if she was assaulted. At the very least, I know she was being groomed for sexual abuse, which I consider abuse as well. I spoke with her a couple of times during which she thanked me profusely for going to her mom, but she didn’t/wouldn’t divulge many details. I pressured our pastor to pay for her counseling and asked the predator not to return to the church – which of course was the reason we were thrown out. With a mental health counseling background, I know that it sometimes takes a long time and a special trusting relationship (which I didn’t have with the girl – she was only an acquaintance) to get a victim to share the extent of the abuse.

    There was no hope in this situation. The church leadership (including family members of the predator) launched a major cover-up, slung accusations at the girl, her mom, my husband, and me, and effectively shut up the girl and her mom.

    Within a couple of weeks after my meeting with the mom and after she’d told a family member of the predator who was/is in leadership at the church, she stopped communicating with me. I know that she was receiving threatening calls and letters from the predator and his family. When I realized that the mom had been bought off with money and favors by the church and that she didn’t intend to get help for her daughter and uncover the extent of the abuse, I called the police.

    In our state, the age of consent is 13. Crazy! Since she was 14-15 when the grooming began and 16 at the time of the report, the detective who handles sex abuse cases said she could not investigate. The only way they could open an investigation would be if mom brought the victim in to press charges. I contacted mom with the information but got no response. I then got up my nerve and went behind mom’s back and contacted the girl directly. I gave her the name and contact info of the detective. I explained that because she is over the age of 13, she would have to file charges herself. She thanked me and that was it. I also told her that she can call me any time, now or 30 years from now. So, who knows? Hopefully, she’ll want to talk about it and start working through it at some point.

  15. Wendy,

    I am heartbroken to read your story. I commend you for intervening in this tragic situation. I will be praying for this teenage girl. This is yet another reminder of why we need women in leadership positions in the church. The Christian women I know would not tolerate this ungodly behavior because their mothering instincts are so strong.

    Looking forward to Dee’s comments on this matter.

  16. “As we believe our blog demonstrates, women are not as likely to ignore sexual sin”

    Sadly, this is not true. Wives look the other way all the time or the guy would be in jail. Including pastors wives. Even when it comes to molestation in their own family. Look at all the stories on Christa Brown’s blog. Wives had to look the other way. Look at Paul William’s wife at Bellevue. She knew her own son was molested by his father. She knew her husband was a total fake at BCC. She said nothing for years. Happens all the time. She is still with him and he is not allowed to be alone with his own grandkids!

  17. Deb,

    First time poster but not first time reader here – appreciate much what you and other blog sites are attempting to do in this day in time that we live and I think that you and I-Monk do this very tactfully, tastefully yet truthfully, honestly and straight forward.
    Long has been the need to tear down some of the veil of silence that seems to surround certain churches, certain pastors and certain ministries and I appreciate it very much.

    I am a recovering SBCer and fully understand what has been happening to the SBC and it is no longer as I once knew it and I’m glad to be pulling out of it. There was a time when I drank the “kool aid” to the full til I realized what was really going on a few years back plus some of my own personal experiences in two churches and add to that that I’m an organist (nearly a 4 letter word in SBC churches these days) and the rest is pretty clear.

    As to Surry Baptist Association – it seems the powers that be in that organization tend to operate much like these churches that have the hyper-authoritarian pastors and associates. They pretty much do anything they want without proper consultation and dare anyone to question them about it whether on the front end of it or after the fact. I can’t support the secret and overly quick way they handled this situation. I used to be in the no women deacons, no women pastors, no women teaching men, etc. which I am much more open to at this point and that, along with other things, is part of the reason that I’m now a recovering SBCer. The withdrawals have been difficult at times – it’s very hard to clean out/let go of things that I know and have been taught all my life until recently and I still have struggles but it is getting better now.

    I’ll send you an email sometime about my own experiences in the churches here in Knoxville,TN that I’ve been a part of and the PDL, PDC, Seeker (to some degree) played into what happened in my situations and now after reading the articles on the FBC Durham, NC mess, I can see some parallels as well though I don’t think either of the 2 churches in my experience were into the FIC stuff as such.

    Lastly, I guess I could put this in an email, but there might be some other readers that are familiar with this and perhaps could comment on it. Does anyone know much about Life Action Ministries out of Michigan? They been around since the 70s and have ministry teams that go out to churches around the country for various lengths of time with emphasis on personal and corporate church renewal/revival. I’ve been in a couple of these extended meetings (2 1/2 weeks at a time) at the last church I served as organist at and I wondered if anyone has heard of them, researched them, recommend them etc. They seemed above board, but there is that huge family/church emphasis along with the renewal/revival theme. If you have a few moments could you look into this and tell me what you think.

    Thanks much!!

    Merry Christmas! – Happy New Year!

  18. anon1,

    Point well taken. Sadly, you are correct. I cannot relate to these women because I speak out when I see injustice. I guess that’s why this website exists.

  19. Welcome Guy from Knoxville!

    I am grateful that you find our blog encouraging. I am honored that there are men actually reading it.

    I, too, believed at one time in MALE ONLY leadership in the church. In fact, I was a member of the same congregation as Paige and Dorothy Patterson when he was President of the SBC and when the BFM 2000 was passed. At the time I thought it was a great idea. During the last decade I have seen the corruption that has occurred.

    I don’t know what the solutions are, but the SBC is on a very destructive path that may lead to its demise if action isn’t taken quickly. And Mark Driscoll IS NOT THE ANSWER!!!

    I don’t know anything about Life Action Ministries, but I visited their website and have already seen some red flags. Revive Our Hearts (Nancy Leigh DeMoss) has come under the umbrella of this ministry, and that really bothers me. Why? Because DeMoss is part of the problem for women. She is a huge supporter of Biblical Womanhood and has organized the True Woman conferences (ever heard of the True Woman Manifesto that women are encouraged to sign?) You will NEVER see me at one of these conferences, nor will I ever attend The Gospel Coalition’s latest offering for women – Here Is Our God.

    Life Action History

    Sorry to disappoint, but I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with Biblical Manhood and Womanhood!!!

  20. Thanks for the response Deb – Yes, much to be concerned about with the SBC (and others) these days. As for Life Action – you probably should read up on this as it’s become very, very popular among small – mid size or slightly larger SBC and independent Baptist churches and it is worth noting the big family emphasis which, on the surface seems safe, however during the 2 1/2 week meetings the Saturdays are heavy on the family/home and, to some degree, has some things in common with the FIC but I don’t think they were involved with FIC when it started and I don’t think they’ve been involved with it though I could see how it could easily go that way although not necessarily with FIC but their version of it.

    For, whatever reason, this organization has made me wonder as to the real thing going on below the surface. You can view videos of the different sessions offered including the Family weekend things on their website. I may be making too much of it but I think it is something that, at the least, needs to be checked out further.

    Thanks again for all you do!

  21. I worked in the SBC for five years. Getting kicked out of your local association is about as meaningless as possible; it has no affect on the ground level whatsoever, except that the congregation’s budget now has back whatever they had designated to give to the local association previously. Very rarely does a church get asked to leave the SBC, it is possibly one of the more theologically diverse groups. Keep in mind, Rick Warren is still technically in the SBC and he breaks most of the rules. Most SBC churches do very little cooperative work with their local associations, the vast majority are turned in on themselves and their own “growth.” They could care less for the other churches nearby in their denomination.

  22. The Guy from Knoxville,

    I am very familiar with FIC. We have written about it here. What I’m curious about is are you talking about the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (Scott Brown) or Connecting Church and Home (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary / Randy Stinson)?

    What you have shared about Life Action Ministries is very interesting, and I plan to do some research…

    I really appreciate your candidness. We’re gonna figure all of this out.

  23. Miguel,

    Thanks for your input! I’m trying to understand the inner workings of the SBC.

    On another note, if my husband were to read your last sentence, I can absolutely guarantee you that he would respond: “You mean they COULDN’T care less.” 🙂

  24. Deb,

    I didn’t have a particular version of FIC as such but have read your articles and the Durham, NC debacle. One thing I have noted is that, from an SBC standpoint, Southern Seminary has bought this concept in a big way and they ought to know better and a great many SBC churches are affected by what comes from Southern these days – especially the more conservative ones.

    Yes, Life Action might need a closer look – quite honestly since I left the last church I was organist at I’ve not kept up with the goings on but all the FIC (and the like) info coming out made me think of that and Life Action is certainly on the fundamentalist side of things and, for whatever reason, LA is one thing that bothers me in terms of looking into it – I’ve wondered about it for quite awhile though. We’ll stop there and I’ll email you on this with some of my concerns.

    Thanks again and I’ll be in touch!

  25. BTW, Miguel is right on the local level with SBC churches – most don’t care a wit about the other congregations except to the degree that they compete with them for sheep. The local association meetings are nothing more than bragging sessions for the local pastors to “one up” the others on numbers, budgets and buildings, etc. Sounds rough I know but it is an unfortunate fact of life on the local level. There’s more to this and Miguel can expound more on it as can I but will go with this for now. Suffice it to say the underbelly of SBC is not nearly the pretty thing most in the leadership would have you to think it is and I dare say there’s enough going on that if it all came out the controversy could probably equal the Catholic church in that sense – the sense of sheer controversy on a variety of issues.

  26. Deb,

    Thank you for praying. I am really, really concerned about her. The aftermath of sexual victimization is fairly predictable, and there are things I’m seeing and hearing that are so sad. In my gut, I don’t know if my intervention saved her from the inevitable. I suspect sexual assault occurred, but I have no concrete proof. I wanted mom to take her daughter to the police and file charges and support her to tell everything, but it didn’t happen. She first got threats, then she got hush money. So the victim was re-victimized and made to carry the burden of abuse AND cover-up.


    I am always amazed at the wives of sexual predators who deny or cover up what their husbands are doing. There are many reasons, but it’s simply baffling.

  27. Wendy,

    I will continue to keep this young lady in my prayers. Hopefully, she can overcome her difficult circumstances. Thanks for what you have done for her.

  28. As to the post…Finally some people get it. Even if one agrees with no women pastors, one should be very concerned about the process of how this situation was handled by this association. As believers process is important. Not just outcomes. How we do things is as important as what we do. Sounds like FBC gets that and I am proud of them.

    Tre that local associations are not that important in the grand scheme of things SBC but it does send a message when FBC pulls out. Of course, all this is changing with the GCR and trying to bypass local/state people anyway.

    Now, let’s see if the SBC will refuse CP money from an SBC church with a woman pastor. Usually they don’t turn away money.

  29. “I am always amazed at the wives of sexual predators who deny or cover up what their husbands are doing. There are many reasons, but it’s simply baffling”

    I am always amazed to. Just think how much abuse would stop if those who know would or suspect would do the right thing. There are a lot of reasons. Pride, embarassment, loss of security, fear, etc. None of them are good enough reasons.

  30. Deb

    You write on – Sat, Dec 17 2011 at 01:20 pm…
    This is yet another reminder of why we need women in leadership positions in the church.

    Well , there might be a reduction of sexual abuse, pedophile,
    BUT here’s a website about Female sexual abuse offenders. You can’t make this stuff up.

    And an article about a female pastor who got a life sentance.
    “On Friday, a Superior Court judge sentenced Banks to two consecutive life sentences.”

    Elderly Female Pastor and Pedophile

    No – You can’t make this stuff up…

  31. Deb

    In my experience…
    There is NOT much difference with “female pastor/leaders” and “male pastor/leaders.”
    They both succumb to the – Power – Profit – and – Prestige – that comes with the “Title.”
    And before long they think they are special, above the rest, a special “Clergy Class.” And…
    They both can become overly “Authoritarian and Abusive” when dis-agreed with.

    I had a close, friendly, working, relationship with three women who had the “Title” and
    “Position ” of pastor/leader.

    Two had started ministries feeding and working with the poor out in the streets. 🙂
    One was the pastor/leader of a normal??? Church??? and also ministered in the streets.

    We fed in the streets, ministered in the streets, preached in the streets, prayed in the streets, held services in the streets, saw many miracles in the streets, in the rain, in the snow. It was a great time in my life, a great adventure, and I got to see Jesus, in the “least of these.”

    I was a volunteer – full time – one for over 3 years, 5-6 days a week, the other 6 months, full time. And God provided in some interesting ways. I got to know these ladies, behind the scenes, up close and personal. As a volunteer, with a strong back, and willing to show up day after day, doing the dirty work, doing Bible studies, praying with folks, just being a servant, I was welcomed and appreciated. We became friends.

    I had already left “The Corrupt Religious System.” I had torn up my papers. No one knew that I had been ordained. My desire was to be a “Servant of Christ,” a “Disciple of Christ,” and see what Jesus would do. I was NOT telling anyone why I was NOT attending a “Church.” When asked, I would respond – God just has me in the wilderness for now. I’m learning how to hear His Voice and go where He leads me.

    I had great respect for them both and what they were doing. Until…

    I also saw how they treated those who disagreed with them – it wasn’t pretty. It started with the average everyday “Authoritarian Rant” – But, you’re supposed to obey “God Ordained Authority.” And that’s the pastor/leader. Me.
    And – before long, that person disappeared.

    For the most part, I would just – “mind my own business.”
    I didn’t sense God asking me to intervene at the time. BUT… I would think…
    Maybe these folks needed a good taste of “Spiritual Abuse” before they cry out to God.
    It seems it takes major disappointment in “Human Leadership” before we turn to Jesus.

    Christian-dumb is often a bloody sport. 😉

    Eventually we would talk about – Why I did NOT attend an approved church…
    My understanding of, and what I had experienced with “leadership.”
    And what I saw in the scriptures about “pastor/leaders.” There are NONE in the Bible.

    I didn’t ask them to repent. I just thought – that’s where God has me for now. And…

    Yup!!! I actually got fired from a job where I was working 5-6 days a week – for free. 🙂

    And I had grown to love many of these street people, the un-lovable.

    And then I was gone. 🙁

    Friendly, compassionate, nurturing, female, pastor/leaders, asked me to leave…
    Because I NO longer believed what I once did about pastor/leaders.

    The whole story is much longer – But – All the abuse drives you to Jesus.

    NO, I don’t believe having more female pastor/leaders in “the Corrupt Religious System”
    will make a bit of difference because “Power Corrupts.” And – The System is Corrupt…

    And – Jesus loves me this I know….

  32. Anonymous 11:46

    I attended, in the past, Pete Briscoe’s church-Bent Tree Bible. There is a female pastor there-Joanne Hummel.So far, in my current location, I have not found a conservative church, like BTBF, that has a female pastor but hope springs eternal

  33. Anonymous

    Oh yeah. My daughter attends attends a Presbyterian church in Raleigh that is both conservative and missional. They have an associate woman pastor.

  34. Deb and All commenters

    Dee here. Well, I am officially over my head. My house is torn up while being renovated. Couldn’t find the Christmas decorations. I can’t find clothes and shoes which have been moved to paint, etc. Everyone’s closet contents are strewn all over the floors. I haven’t had time to do much of anything- We found a hole in the roof which leaked into the kitchen etc. Please bear with me. I promise I will get back in the saddle in the next couple of days. I still have not finished my Christmas shopping and have not sent one card.

    Deb, thanks for the Dan Wallace comment. He was a friend in Dallas and I hope he still likes me in spite of my contrarian views on the role of women, creation, etc.

  35. A. Amos Love had some excellent points. The Adamic sin nature impacts us all; female or male.

    Assuming that female church leadership would not be beset by the same sins of male church leadership ignores the clear teaching of Scripture.

    We’ve ALL got major issues with sin, women included.

  36. Miguel,
    You stated that Rick Warren is SBC and that he breaks all the rules. What rules has he broken? Thanks.

  37. I have been a member of churches with female associate pastors and have been a member of a church with a female senior pastor; I have visited churches with a female senior pastor. I have found the women to be well above the average as preachers, whether as the senior pastor or associate pastor. In other aspects of the role, they vary greatly.

    What is lacking in our education, training, and ordination of pastors of both genders relates to humility and how to lead an organization as a servant, rather than as a “boss”. It is a special skill to lead a church into developing its own vision, an organizational structure that provides consistent lay leadership, and to help a church function as it should to serve in the ongoing ministry of Jesus, as he stated it in Luke 4 and Matthew 25.

  38. Eagle @6:44

    That is why we need prevention programs that are designed to prevent the abuse, identify those who are predators and out them. And reporting even the lightest forms of sexual abuse to the authorities, since that will keep the offender from moving to something more serious. Child porn, inappropriate touching, etc., are those early forms and MUST BE REPORTED to protect children from future abuse. THOSE WHO FAIL TO REPORT are logically (if not legally) culpable for the future abuse.

  39. Eagle – Thanks for the Christmas trains. Do they let peeps ride on them along the way?

    Dee – Designer cloths strewn about! Oh my! Find that designer bathrobe for your cup of coffee and a peek at the birds. Take a moment out of the mess. But by all means no blogging allowed without the designer get-up.

  40. Bridget2,

    Great comment! Dee would NEVER blog without donning her designer outfits, especially her luxurious robe. 🙂

  41. Eagle

    Sorry for not explaining myself properly. Please forgive me.

    I never meant to imply that…
    “Jesus is so desperate and needy that he encourages spiritual abuse.”

    In my experience with Jesus – His Words have proved true – time and time again.

    When His Word says…
    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and **lean not unto thine own understanding.**
    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    **Be not wise in thine own eyes:** fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
    It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
    Proverbs 3:5-8

    And in Romans 8:28…
    “we know that **all things** work together for good
    to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    Today – these words, for me, are real. NOT just head knowledge – BUT – TRUTH. 🙂
    Developed in the furnace of affliction.

    Isaiah 48:10
    Behold, I have refined thee, not with silver;
    I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

    I now desire to look for the benefit in “ALL things.”
    And **lean not unto thine own understanding.**

    At the time, I was missable, hurt, in tears, I didn’t know then it was “Spiritual Abuse.”

    And – because of the failure of “mere fallible human leaders,” some I looked up to, trusted,
    and put on a pedestal – and wanted to be like.

    I had NO place to go – NO one I could trust – But to go to Jesus.
    And – I now know for sure – He still heals the broken hearted – and binds up their wounds. 🙂
    That’s priceless…

    I was in “Leadership.” I also was “Abusive.” “Exercising Authority.” A No, No… Mark 10:42.
    I was deceived and didn’t know it. Thought I was doing the God thing, helping folks to obey “God Ordained Authority.” NOT be “rebellious.” After all, it was for their own good. 🙁

    It took awhile, but today, I can look at the spiritual abuse, and give thanks for “ALL things.”

    Ephesians 5:20
    Giving thanks always *for all things*
    unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

    Today, my desire is NO longer to be known as “leader” as it once was.
    Now my desire is “To Lead” people to Jesus – the “ONE” leader. Mat 23:10-12.

    Today, my desire is NO longer to have people to follow me, as it once was. Now…
    my desire is for people to be “His sheep,” hear “His Voice” and follow Jesus. John 10:27.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    P.S. thanks for the holiday train shots…

  42. John,

    The rules I refer to are not official things on paper, but more like the 11 given above by Arce.
    I don’t know that he has broken all of these, but for sure many of them. Many fundamentalist SBC’ers think he’s the antichrist. Him and Mark Dricsoll, but the latter for being too liberal.

    There is no authoritarian hierarchy in the SBC. The churches truly are autonomous, it is strictly a voluntary association for the sake of mission. I’m sure if the church in this story wanted to, they could protest being kicked out, because, ultimately, it merely deprives them of the “right” to contribute to missionary and seminary funds. Even this they can do in a roundabout way, but they will probably do neither because they just don’t care. If they happen to hold a moderately high ecclesiology, for Baptists, they will re-affiliate with another Baptist convention that is more open to women’s ordination.

    The only real benefit for churches to being in the SBC is the resources that can be provided through their Director of Missions. These guys oversee local associations (a “diocese”) and function sort of like a bishop with no authority or power. Basically, they are called in to settle disputes after the lines have been drawn and the church is gonna split anyways. If you’re a Southern Baptist, these guys are good at what they do, don’t wait for an emergency to use them. Have them on speed dial and let them help your church in any way possible.

  43. Eagle,

    It’s that time of year… Everyone, including your blog queens, are busy, busy, busy! At least that’s what I think is slowing down the commentary.

  44. Eagle

    I am waaay over my head. Things should settle down soon. But, I did check our analytics and the number of hits is about the same. I think people may be too busy to comment. We saw this last year as well. After Christmas, people mosey on back. Right now, they have presents, cards and travel standing in front of them.

  45. One fold one Shepherd one Voice One Leader {{{{ Jesus }}}}
    One body and one Spirit one Hope one Lord one faith one baptism one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

  46. “Sure! It’s hard not to visualize little green aliens, but the association disapproved of accepting as church members Christians who had already been immersed in believer’s baptism, but in non-SBC churches. They had to get re-baptized!”

    The International Churches of Christ did–and maybe still does–the same thing. If you have NOT been baptized by an ICOC church, it is almost a certainty that you won’t be considered a Christian and you WILL need to be baptized in one of their churches!

  47. I’m apologize for posting off topic, but after reading that the folks in Iowa have to consult the Lord in prayer before choosing the GOP candidate…I couldn’t resist a quick jab!

    How incredibly absurd. So Jesus has an opinion in the GOP primaries? Does he have a democratic favorite too? What about the poor independents?

    Ever notice that no matter how much praying they do, God never tells the GOP guys to change parties, nor the Democrats…and they want us to seriously respect a decision made in this manner?

  48. Bounded Reality, while I *think* I get your point, I also don’t think there’s any harm in praying for wisdom when you’re trying to choose among Presidential candidates. JMHO.

  49. Tina I was raised in a Church of Christ (not to be confused with the Latter Day Saints or the Disciples of Christ). I’m talking about the David Lipscomb, James Harding type denomination prevelant throughout the southeastern U.S. They very much preached that any baptism outside of the C of C was invalid. If you wanted to join the church you had to have been baptised in a C of C. They also preached that baptism was the ACT of salvation which is another conversation altogether.
    I have honestly never regularly attended a church with a female pastor. I have attended churches where females both taught, preached and held positions of leadership and I have no problem with women in leadership positions (which is why I stay married:) to include that of pastor. BUT, I don’t think women in leadership positions are some kind of a magic cure for the problems that plaque the modern church. Women are just as flawed and sinful as men. Those flaws may manifest in different ways but they are still equally as flawed. To pretend differently is the same as saying that one form of sin is better or worse than another. There may be lesser or greater consequences but sin is sin. Just a thought.

  50. Bounded,

    I couldn’t help but get a chuckle too. Actually it’s real EZ for many evangelicals in those parts. Prayer is good, but whoever promises them a gay marriage amendment will win hands down.

  51. Muff,

    I doubt if you could get 10 evangelicals to agree on a candidate if Jesus himself was running.

    As to praying for wisdom…well it certainly demonstrates that there’s a need, but I doubt if that need is any less acute after the prayer meeting than it was before.

  52. Pingback: Link-o-rama 36 | A Quiet Simple Life

  53. Appalled – I appreciate your adding to the conversation about “ONE.”

    “ONE” seems to be an important, and mysterious, God number.
    Then again, is ”ONE” really a number? Hmmm?

    And – I like God’s math a lot.

    1 + 1 + 1 = ”ONE”

    1 Spirit + 1 Soul + 1 Flesh = “ONE” Human

    1 flammable Hydrogen Gas + 1 flammable Oxygen Gas + 1 flammable Hydrogen Gas =
    “ONE” Liquid, H2O. A liquid made from flammable gas that puts out the fire. 🙂

    1 Shell + 1 Yolk + 1 White = “ONE” Egg

    1 Father + 1 Son + 1 Holy Spirit = “ONE” God

    Remove any “1” and “God” is not complete. NOT “ONE.”

    Remove any “1” and “Egg” is not complete. NOT “ONE.”

    Remove any “1” and “Liquid” is not complete. Just two flammable gasses.

    Remove any “1” and “Human” is not complete. No longer alive. Death.

    I and my Father are “ONE.”
    John 10:30

    1 + 1 = ”ONE”

    For there are three that bear record in heaven,
    the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are “ONE.”
    1John 5:7

    1 + 1 + 1 = ”ONE”

    Not quite sure, don’t have anything definite yet, still searching,
    BUT, I’m seeing and thinking there is more to “ONE” then a single digit.

    Like… “ONE” day I noticed that “ONE” of God’s names is “ONE.”

    And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:
    in that day shall there be “ONE” LORD, and **his name “ONE.”**
    Zechariah 14:9

    This “ONE” in Zechariah 14:9 is echad. Seems to denote a plural “ONE”

    Echad – from TWOT. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

    “Echad stresses unity while recognizing diversity within that ONEness.”

    Jud 20:1
    Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation
    was gathered together as “ONE” man…

    Jud 20:11
    So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city,
    knit together as “ONE” man.

    Ezra 3:1
    And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities,
    the people gathered themselves together as “ONE” man to Jerusalem.

    And in Christ we **ARE** “ONE.” Hmmm?

    Ga 3:28*
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
    there is neither male nor female:
    for ye are all “ONE” in Christ Jesus.

    Does this verse say “male and female” are equal? Or…
    Does this verse say “male and female’ do NOT exist in Christ?

    And – We already **ARE** “ONE???” Hmmm?
    What does that signify? If anything? BUT maybe…

    And in John 10:16…

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice;”
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.

    Hmmm? One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    Any “ONE” – thoughts?

  54. John 17:20-23      20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent me.   “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
    (least-practiced evangelism principle ever?)
    Zeph. 3:9
    “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord”

    So 3 Dog Night were mistaken– One is NOT the loneliest number– that number is Multitudes.
    Matt 9:36
    But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd

  55. One other reference to the opposite of number of ONE
    Jer. 2:28 & 11:16
    for—the number of thy cities have been thy gods, O Judah. (Young’s literal translation)

    Deb wrote:
    Looking forward to your reaction to the quotation.

    Agreed. Maybe in a future post after Christmas/remodel?

  56. Prayer. Specifically that Believers may be perfected in unity with the Father and Son and one another (of the Spirit) — so that the world may know…
    Likely hyperbole in my question as to “least practiced”
    But one might speculate whether the more we TRY have unity through associations, Conventions, organizations, membership etc as described in this post, the less we might PRAY a la John 17, and hence the less of the ONE the world sees through us.

  57. “My house is torn up while being renovated. Couldn’t find the Christmas decorations. I can’t find clothes and shoes which have been moved to paint, etc. Everyone’s closet contents are strewn all over the floors. I haven’t had time to do much of anything- We found a hole in the roof which leaked into the kitchen etc…”


    Remember: There’s always da Holiday Inn…


    Merry Christmas!

    Sopy ;~)

    The Muppets: Ode To Joy

  58. Sopwith,

    Dee prefers the Hampton Inn, and she got a three-day reprieve when we traveled to Oklahoma together.

    Merry Christmas!

  59.                     _…
                  o_.-“`    `\
                         {    ^  } 
                          ‘.     }  

    Merry Christmas! Deb

    H-a-p-p-y H-o-l-i-d-a-y-z


  60. There is NOT much difference with “female pastor/leaders” and “male pastor/leaders.”
    They both succumb to the – Power – Profit – and – Prestige – that comes with the “Title.”
    And before long they think they are special, above the rest, a special “Clergy Class.”
    — A.A.Love

    This is a known heresy called Clericalism.