“Chiron said the word assist as if meant slap upside the head with extreme prejudice.” ― Rick Riordan,
Last night, after enjoying a wonderful service at my church, my husband and I stopped to bring home some food so we could watch a few shows together. It’s our favorite time of the week. While we were waiting for our order, I checked my cell phone and almost went ballistic in the sedate Village Deli. This needs to get out there ASAP. It fits under the *I told you so* category. This a rare Sunday post.
Saturday evening news dumps
Whenever a report gets released on a Saturday evening, you can be sure of one thing. The producers of the report hope that you are out enjoying your Saturday night and will go to church on Sunday and maybe not notice what just transpired. This happens in politics all the time and the SBC ranks amongst the most political organisms I know.
So, as soon as a saw this title in Baptist Press, SBC bylaws workgroup releases sexual abuse response, I knew it would be hot stuff. And it was. (It was 11 AM when I told this shot.)
You can be darn sure that they won’t be going after 2nd Baptist and some of the others (maybe all).
Here are excerpts:
Why the rush?
The Bylaws Workgroup requested on February 19 that the president provide information he referenced as a “dossier” containing the information upon which he based his naming of the churches, and he supplied that dossier to the workgroup on the afternoon of February 22.
What do they mean “exhibits an indifference?”
The Executive Committee is recommending to the Convention’s messengers this June an amendment to the Convention’s Constitution affirming that the Convention does not, and will not, cooperate with a church that clearly evidences indifference to addressing the crime of sexual abuse,
There will be no *presumption of guilt.”
It is also our opinion that the Executive Committee did not intend for every allegation that a church has demonstrated indifference to establish guilt which would then have to be disproved — in effect, a presumption of guilt which the Executive Committee should view as untenable and unscriptural.
The Matthew 18 *get out of jail free card* for pastors and churches
The committee says Matthew 18 wasn’t followed. (ROFL). They worked long and hard to see if those 10 churches that Greear had highlighted really were as bad as reported. You know the answer-of course not? Even better, Matthew 18 wasn’t followed!
Acting in accord with these principles, and biblical principles such as Matthew 18:15-20, Proverbs 18:17, and others, we applied such a test to the churches which, in the President’s opinion, had been publicly singled out because of allegations that employees or volunteers within each church had committed sexual abuse.
And the passage of time may mean that the new people running the church are absolutely beyond reproach.
We also considered whether the combination of such factors as the passage of time, changes in the church’s administration and membership, and the church’s adoption of policies to prevent abuse and properly respond to charges of abuse would make launching an inquiry of no value in addressing sexual abuse but only further harm a congregation recovering from the effects of crimes committed in its midst.
Greear gets his butt kicked for accusing the ten churches.
JD is that *individual.*
While victims of sexual abuse should always be encouraged to report the crimes against them, we urge all members of the Executive Committee and messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention to avoid publicly calling the names of churches without having documentation of criminal convictions and giving prior notice to the church. No individual possesses the authority to declare a church to be under a Convention inquiry of any kind.
And leave SBC central out of this.
We think such untoward actions by a church will be first and best known to the local association and the state or regional convention. When questions arise as to whether a church is in friendly cooperation with our Convention, we believe it is preferable and fairer to all involved if the names of suspect churches come to the attention of the Executive Committee and the Southern Baptist Convention from those sources.
The committee goes on to exonerate many of the 10 churches.
Of course, 2nd Baptist Houston was exonerated. Fearing an outcry, SGC Louisville was left in that well-defined *we’ll see” club.
Those who are in the *no further inquiry needed* club are:
- Arapaho Baptist Church, Garland, Texas
- Brentwood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas
- Eastside Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia
- First Baptist Church, Bedford, Texas
- Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas
- Trinity Baptist Church, Ashburn, Georgia
- Turner Street Baptist Church, Springdale, ArkansasThis church is not a Southern Baptist church.
Further *inquiry warranted*
(Don’t get excited here, folks. It is rather simple to get into the *no further inquiry* club.)
- Bolivar Baptist Church, Sanger, Texas Read this one. It is doubtful anything will happen.)
- Cathedral of Faith, Houston, Texas. (The pastor is a registered sex offender.)
- Sovereign Grace Church, Louisville, Kentucky (I assure you, friends, this one is here because of Papa Bear Mohler’s apology and the committee knows a blog storm would occur. This is a *throw CJ under the bus* for the moment. The question remains if other Sovereign Grace Churches churches are members of the SBC. I think there are some but I don’t have time to go through the list right now. Maybe readers can help me out here?)
Previous letters were sent from SBC central?
OK-all you SBC gurus, help me out here. Through the years I’ve been assured that the SBC central doesn’t kick out churches? That glorious task was left to regional SBC groups. So what previous letters were sent from central SBC? Are these churches truly autonomous?
Is pressure being brought to bear on the Houston Chronicle/Robert Downen?
Keep an eye on this situation. 2nd Baptist is in Houston, along with 2 other *executive committee* exonerated churches.
Let me remind you of these statements I made in my last two posts.
- “I’ve been suspicious about this process since Greear first announced the ten churches they were considering being given the title “not in friendly cooperation* with the SBC. In my previous post, I expressed concerns that Ed Young at 2nd Baptist and CJ Mahaney at SGC Louisville know where the bodies are buried. I believe this could possibly lead to a path in which they would be reinstated.“
- Prediction: Given that the SBC is going after Mahaney and Ed Young of 2nd Baptist Houston, fireworks are sure to be on the horizon. Prepare for mudslinging. Some of these folks know where the bodies are buried…
The two churches on the *further inquiry* list will fall on their swords, do *something* and be exonerated. The wild card is SGC Louisville. Will they throw them under the bus to appease the lookers on? I give it 3:1 odds of getting the boot. However, before that happens, CJ Mahaney may quietly remove their churches from the SBC. Keep an eye in the SBC directory of churches. As of today, they are on the list.
I’m sure SBC phones were ringing off the hooks. I wonder how many lawyers were involved? The new and improved SBC is still the same old SBC. They’ll just get some SBC sanctioned child protection rules in place. And then they will figure out how to exonerate any church which screws up.
2 … I am so embarrassed
I’ve been tracking the reactions among abuse survivors/advocates yesterday and this morning, and compiled a Twitter thread that show the range of responses. And then I posted this as a personal summary of what I’ve seen and think is happening, and gave that link.
To the SBC: @HoustonChron’s #AbuseOfFaith was not some mere wake-up call. It was more a last-chance shock to attempt resuscitation on old-line generations. Dead or alive, if there’s no change now, there’s toxic legacy for your survivors to clean up.
You fess up to some things
But take responsibility for nothing
Act as if you’re accountable to no one
Nothing worth hearing from you on global issues:
Sex abuse, domestic violence, bullying, human trafficking
Your autonomy is without accountability; it’s just abusive autocracy.
Use this thread to gauge reaction from abuse survivors to your Bylaws Workgroup’s apparent SBC-self-protection. They get systemic issues. Consider them your “reverse canary in the mine,” chirping that the SBC is in danger of dying. They won’t go silent.
“In the long run, what counts is how the next generation thinks. How far new ideas permeate culture is not measured just by attitude change during one generation, but by what is taken for granted in the next.” ~Helen Haste
We warned you were sowing to the wind. Quo vadis, SBC?
#SBC #SBCtoo #SBC19 #metoo
bronze is not so bad…
From the post:
“OK-all you SBC gurus, help me out here. Through the years I’ve been assured that the SBC central doesn’t kick out churches? That glorious task was left to regional SBC groups. So what previous letters were sent from central SBC? Are these churches truly autonomous?”
The national SBC has removed a handful of churches and it’s pretty rare.
Most all of the churches booted are done at the associational or state convention level (mostly for having a female pastor, affirming homosexuality or accepting members not Baptized by immersion).
The Executive Committee has disfellowshipped a couple of churches, but it is my understanding that the full convention is to affirm the EC’s actions at the next meeting.
I was in an SBC church which, until last year, employed a convicted child molester as one of our elder/pastors. For whatever reason, we weren’t named in the Houston Chronicle report. When a member found his record and brought it to the attention of the elder board, the member was told that it’s fine, all the leaders know, it was really nothing, everyone has skeletons in their closet, etc. Oh, and even the leader of our local SBC association knows about it and is fine with it. Over the course of a few months, as members pushed for disclosure to the congregation, the spiritual abuse ramped up, the divisions widened, and eventually all the leaders resigned in frustration. So, we hired our local SBC association guy to be part-time interim pastor. He proceeded to support his buddies (the abuser pastor and the cover-up elders), seeing this whole mess as a problem of disunity instead of a problem of failed leadership.
Requiring that these inquiries come from the local association level is naive and just perpetuates the good ol boy network. Needless to say, we left the SBC and will never return.
I took the entire Sovereign Grace church list and crossed it with the Southern Baptist Convention’s church list and came up with three churches holding dual membership:
Redeeming Grace Church of Franklin, TN
Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Sovereign Grace [SBC] Sovereign Grace Church of Orange [SGC], Orange, CA
There may be more churches because there’s no guarantee either list is up to date. Also, I only checked churches in the United States of America. SGC has some churches outside the USA.
The Executive Committee is where the power is in the SBC. It will be interesting to see who gets appointed as the head. I’m not really convinced that Greer was “schooled” as I think this has all been mapped out and he’s following the map. They’re simply checking off boxes so as to run out the clock.
If any of them on the “further inquiry” list gets tossed Bolivar is the best bet.
The current pastor, while still at that church, began a relationship with a 14-year-old, impregnated her at 18, and is paying child support to her currently. (At least he didn’t pay for an abortion, I will give him credit for that.)
I will agree that if they get to stay in the ranks AND keep their current pastor, then the whole exercise is a joke. If they fire the pastor, then they may get a pass.
Extremely disappointed, but not surprised. Old, out of touch men, ensconced in their privilege, and their networks, and sure that as “God’s Men” they know better.
Also, all of them well trained in the delaying and infighting tactics of deacon boards…
i.e. Central Committee of The Party?
Headless Unicorn Guy,
Any level of the SBC (national, state, or local) can choose not to associate with a church, for pretty much any reason it wants.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the big fuss was over the inroads of the charismatic movement. In the Dallas Baptist Association two churches were either kicked out or left before they would be: Beverly Hills (this is where Lulu Roman of Hee Haw fame attended, it later moved to another area and still exists but nothing like it once was) and Shady Grove (one of their associate pastors, Robert Morris, started Gateway, and Shady Grove is now Gateway’s Grand Prairie campus).
So if a group wanted to send a message to a church, it could. Bolivar is a member of the BGCT (though not of the local association) so they could toss them.
And remind me Baptists…….How is the Roman Catholic Church worse?
I was abused from age 5 to age 14 (not by anyone from church). If I had been molested in one of the churches listed, then seeing it removed, my thought would be that they really don’t care if children get raped. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are lawsuits filed in the near future. The sad part is the children molested leave the church angry with God. I stopped attending church at 17 years of age, didn’t come back until I was 48. I wrongly thought God wasn’t there for me. In the 1980’s, churches were more worried about KISS music, not listening to the kids.
Thank you!! I’ve been wanting to do this.
Wondering why those 3.
Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,
The president is Calvinist. The EC is not.
This is the way I recall it playing out, when I was once closer to the inner workings. I thought there were typically motions at the national Convention meeting for a vote on cutting ties to specific congregations for specific cause. This is an issue where it’s extremely disappointing (to say the least) to see TPTB passing the buck down to the state & associational level, where there will be absolutely no consistency. And worse, undoubtedly further victimization of survivors.
Quō Vādis: “Apocryphal Acts Of The SBC, Perhaps?”
“Where are you going?”
The SBC just signed its death sentence.
No 501c3 church organization or it’s staff are above the law.
hum, hum, hum…”Gota keep those self-serving calvinesta vibrations happenin’ ?!?”
good luck with dat.
Victims aren’t going away, fellas…
Social media no neither.
Closing this proverbial flame’n chapter ain’t gonna be that easy.
But you can try.
Jesus, time to bring the big S.O.S., huh?
TURN UP THE VOLUME!
National leadership level now has representatives from the Conservative Resurgence generations, and the Neo-Calvinist generations. As survivor bloggers, news reporters, and other investigators have noted *for years*, there have been cases of abuse across the spectrum of theologies and generations in the SBC. Plenty of culpability to go around for toxic situations of child abuse, passing along predator ministers, leaders resigning due to sexual misconduct, leaders removed for sexual harassment and abuse, church staff failing to obey mandatory child abuse reporting laws in their state, “forgiving” confessed pedophiles and welcoming them right back into the fold to prey on more lambs, etc.
So, it kind of doesn’t matter, in a way, the theologies of who’s who there in the lead at the SBC. If they’re going to deal with this, they will. Otherwise, they perpetuate the same old legacy of “soothing words but damaging (in)actions” — and that will be the epitaph on their cooperative program, not what they supposedly did for the Kingdom.
I guess I’m wondering what possible pressure can the SBC bring to bear on the Houston Chronicle? A lawsuit? Downen et al did their research, while in contrast the EC has been careful not to even define the terms they use i.e. notably “credible evidence”. The Roman Catholics didn’t even attempt that one, right?? They really have no power to muzzle the HC, thank God… or am I missing something?
And the Matthew 18 thing is also super disturbing, as it demonstrates that they still don’t understand that abuse is a legal matter where “internal/ministerial discretion” doesn’t apply. Stating here that churches are expected to report abuse claims, once known, to law enforcement was the absolute minimum they should have done- but no. Business as usual, SBC, more millstones around your necks if you can’t see how this has played out for decades.
However, the national convention has no jurisdiction over the state and local ones. So the national SBC could kick out a church but the state could keep it in.
In the Bolivar Baptist case, I noticed that it is a member of BGCT, but not the local Denton Baptist Association. So Denton may have kicked it out (or it left on its own) but the BGCT did not. (It is also not affiliated with either SBTS or North Texas Baptist Area, which are aligned with the conservative wing.)
“Most all of the churches booted are done at the associational or state convention level (mostly for having a female pastor, affirming homosexuality or accepting members not Baptized by immersion).”
it’s all cosmetic. all because the window dressing doesn’t look right.
when it comes to things that really count, like destroying a child, destroying a human life, destroying a family, leaders who lie and deceive and manipulate with words, power, & money, who commit financial fraud? oh, just give ’em a pass.
how many parts stupid?
how many parts lazy?
how many parts money/power/reputation/self-centeredness as top priority?
…to the make up the 100% scheister-for-jesus?
” the member was told that it’s fine, all the leaders know, it was really nothing, everyone has skeletons in their closet, etc. Oh, and even the leader of our local SBC association knows about it and is fine with it.
…our local SBC association guy to be part-time interim pastor. He proceeded to support his buddies (the abuser pastor and the cover-up elders), seeing this whole mess as a problem of disunity instead of a problem of failed leadership.”
names should be named. pass them on to the Houston Chronicle, to others people listen to (dee…)
[dee, i can help remotely, with sorting/organizing data, writing,…]
I’m so glad I’m not Baptist & have never been Baptist. They have always seemed to me to be a bunch uneducated, judgemental bigots. All of the abuse & SBC stuff confirms what I’ve thought for 50 years.
Watching Corrupted Cooperation: “Lost In Procedural Poppycock, Perhaps?”
“While victims of sexual abuse should always be encouraged to report the crimes against them,
But, But, But..
.- “we urge all members of the Executive Committee and messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention to avoid publicly calling the names of churches without having documentation of criminal convictions and giving prior notice to the church. No individual possesses the authority to declare a church to be under a Convention inquiry of any kind.”
Soooo What happened to the 700 victims?
(— >Oh, Oh, we’re soooo sorry.)
Have they been ‘expediently’ thrown under the proverbial $BC ‘Brand’ bus, perhaps?
The whole world is watch in’
Intermission: Jean-Michel Jarre – ‘INFINITY’ (movement 6)
You’re exactly right. Matthew 18 is what they have used all along to silence victims and protect abusers. And it looks like they intend to go right on doing so.
But now, I hope more people will refuse and speak out about it.
“The two churches on the *further inquiry* list will fall on their swords, do *something* and be exonerated. The wild card is SGC Louisville. Will they throw them under the bus to appease the lookers on? I give it 3:1 odds of getting the boot. However, before that happens, CJ Mahaney may quietly remove their churches from the SBC. Keep an eye in the SBC directory of churches. As of today, they are on the list.”
There’s a conspiracy theory on Twitter that SGC asked Mohler to disavow Mahaney, rather than face an independent investigation. Dunno if it’s true, but it’s interesting to consider.
“The scriptures is a double-edged sword.”
– [ ] SBC …Ahem! We don’t have to wait for the pool to be stirred…
Jesus may very well be using Mahaneys White Wash: ‘Worst Sinner I Know’, Inc. , to bring down Mohler’s house O’ calvinesta cards…
Blind da strong man, and spoil his goods…
Something like that.
It is not possible for an adult pastor to begin a relationship with a 14 yr. old. It is possible for an pastor to sexually abuse a minor. I believe terms are important as we all learn more about abuse in the church.
A friend referred to another woman’s “affair with a pastor” on a 3 way call today. The other woman was on the call. I objected as the victim did not have an affair but was horribly coerced and abused spiritually, sexually, & emotionally.
Not to nit-pick but terminology matters as we move forward.
Master politician as he is, Mohler is in quite the pickle even so, on account of Chuckles (Mahaney) becoming the liability that he has.
The courts are rapidly losing their patience with the protestant-boyz-klub. It’s just a question of time before the gavel comes down hard and heavy with hefty pay-outs and possible hoosegow time for those who were complicit by not Immediately Reporting it to law enforcement.
SBC, Harvest… It doesn’t matter. They are man made institutions which men give their lives to protect. Because people mistake the building, the Sunday service and the denomination for the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is Jesus reign and rule in the hearts of believers in all generations and places, not the SBC or Corner Baptist. Jesus told us to go make disciples not church buildings or programs.
It’s no different in most church organizations, don’t kid yourself.
You paint with too broad of a brush. I’m under the assumption that some who intelligently comment here are Baptist. Would it not be possible that a variety of denominations and independent churches could be inserted into your post to replace “Baptist”.
“Disfellowshipping” is another way of saying, “we don’t care, we just don’t want the liability on the SBC side of things.” This is NOT caring for sinful patterns that are harming people from those in leadership. If the SBC really cared – if anyone in that group of men had anything other than a crusty heart (and some – despite their “confessions” – are surely stony hearts)it would be to enter into the field to actually labor like Jesus did, to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Instead, they want to find ways to wash their hands of these churches as ORGANIZATIONS that are liabilities and not as people who are wounding and continue to wound victims – in Jesus’ name.
So then, let the lawsuits begin! (And I agree, the judges will not be lenient.)
God will use whatever means needed to get the attention of those who will not listen or hear or understand or care.
P.S. There are degrees of hell reserved especially for religious leaders wounding the sheep – directly or indirectly. I think Jesus called it, “…a greater condemnation.” I somehow find a bit of solace in that.
Those are three entirely different things, yet a church that is guilty of one is tarred with the same brush as if it were guilty of all three. Every tradition has its equivalent list.
Claims of holding the moral high ground are treacherous to all. The Vatican’s recent conference sent officials home with a message that there is no pure and unsullied archdiocese or nation. (In the early “Spotlight” days, RC officials from overseas pointed to Hollywood as evidence that sexual abuse was unique to the US or the decadent West.)
Empty claims of purity also turn into recruiting tools: Tired of being embarrassed? Join our Pure(TM) alliance! We don’t do those things over here!”
Instead of sneering, “We don’t have that problem,” every congregation and tradition should assume that it has undetected abuse and root it out.
“CJ Mahaney may quietly remove their churches from the SBC …”
Well, since they quietly entered the SBC, that’s most likely the way they will exit. The SBC association for the Louisville area didn’t make a big deal out of Mahaney/SGM affiliation – Mohler most likely assured that. If Mahaney decides to say bye-bye to Southern Baptists, it will only be because Mohler says its time – nothing happens with Mahaney in SBC life unless the good doctor blesses it. Greear would have never brought Mahaney up unless it had Mohler’s rubber stamp. Too much drama in this whole mess for me.
There will be lawsuits.
It won’t be a big meeting to fire him. They will work out a settlement, quietly…or… they decide to leave the SBC. I doubt there will be any sort of *disfellowshipping* on a grand scale. I think the SBC has now opened themselves up to lawsuits since it does appear there is some sort of coordination going on.
Where do you think the SBC has opened itself to lawsuits? I could be wrong but the structure of the SBC would seem to protect them from lawsuits? That’s always been the reason to NOT do anything because once the SBC “assumes a duty” then it would “assume the liability” Technically the SBC only exists for those few days in June when it’s called into session I think is the way it’s been explained. And the SBC is not technically even a “denomintion” I’m sure lawyers could pipe in here.
Well, that was evil.
No, I’m not kidding. This is a key way evil is perpetrated. By serious men in high positions issuing formal sounding reports and statements that allow horrific assaults on the innocent to continue.
I’m an outsider to the SBC so I don’t know all the details and don’t really care. But even I can see that reacting to a church where the pastor is a registered sex offender by simply putting that church in the “we’ll look into it further, maybe, but it’s really someone else’s responsibility” column is a horrific breach of trust and oversight.
There will undoubtedly be lawsuits, probably both criminal and civil. But the fact that abuse has been actively and deliberately allowed to continue to that point, or to exist at all, reveals a massive failure from the top down that has been happening for some time. And all the current report does is ensure the failure will continue.
The parallels to the Catholic church’s utter mishandling of abuse are striking.
I cannot fathom why anyone keeps attending these churches when they know that doing so puts their family at risk in an organization with no moral oversight.
“SBC, Harvest… It doesn’t matter. They are man made institutions which men give their lives to protect. ”
or, sacrifice the lives of others to protect.
“Because people mistake the building, the Sunday service and the denomination for the Kingdom of God.”
or, mistake the Kingdom of God as a fiefdom & profit center for doublehonor wages for professional christians.
Bingo. There are no good guys here. Just clever ones. Frankly JD Greear has the “power” to investigate “entities” not churches. Technically, Churches voluntarily cooperate by giving money. The convention can say ‘we don’t want your money’ which is what they have done in the past, locally.
How about Greear investigate the SBTS/Mohler money and perks ties to SGM/Mahaney? Nah. That would make too much sense. The clever way they’re doing it, Mohler is hands off throwing his old long time buddy off the bus. It’s all about deflecting for the Mohler/Moore wing and face saving so a new generation of recruits will see them as great social justice warriors. Heck, up to a few weeks ago, Greear had Mahaney pics on his SM. But the ladies swoon over Greear. He really “cares”. Lol.
Anyone can sue anyone if they have the resources and/or money. Mega churches are sued all the time. Most of them have the big law firms in town on retainer. I have a family member who is legal counsel for several and acts as the go-between. You just don’t ever hear about them because they don’t make it that far. Quite frankly the lawyers love it as the Pew sitters keep throwing money to the church and have no clue.
Greear probably has Boz on speed dial for the investigations. The churches would get a seal of approval for their new policies and it’s all over.
Bingo. The whole thing has been orchestrated, IMO. Including the Houston Chronicle article that ignored the HUGE SBC (and beyond) deal that is Mohler and Mahaney.
AKA Lewis’s description of Hell in the preface to Screwtape Letters.
Yes! JD Greer is a team player or he never would have advanced to the position he’s in. He has been no different than any of the other Mahaney supporters. He’s being given too much credit IMO for simply taking the work of the Houston Chronicle and saying “we should look into this!” He’s not being “schooled” for repeating what was already out there. And yes this is a big distraction from the conversation Greer should be having which is “what should we do about Mohler and Moore and Co who for so long supported Mahaney and were brutal to people who disagreed with them in their support.” How many years ago was there a resolution at the Convention that was aimed at Mohler about Entity leaders not associating with people like Mahaney? And Mohler blew it off because nobody tells Al Mohler what to do. Why isn’t Mohler being held accountable for going against the will of the Convention. Why is Mohler getting off with just a “Hey sorry bout that” when Paige Patterson wasn’t? There are people who should be losing their jobs. But Greer is not going to actually go after the rot – he’s going to tinker around the edges. The usual sycophants who supported Mohler and refused to say boo about Mahaney all these years now are pushing the “what a great leader Greer is line.” He’s not – he’s doing the least amount he can get away with in order to ride out the storm.
Lydia, I know individual churches are at risk but I don’t know what liability the SBC would have. In theory the SBC is just an association of churches for the purposes of mission and education. The churches are supposed to have the power and tell the administrators who manage the assets of the association of churches what to do. The SBC doesn’t tell the churches what to do. The association of churches can decide to associate or not associate with certain churches but that’s pretty much it.
I guess I think of it like a local Elks club – the club has dues paying members and they have officers that handle the business end of things but the club itself cannot be sued for the actions of one member.
The SBC right now is just deciding whether they’re going to investigate and/or kick members out but that does that rise to the level of some kind of civil/criminal liability? Freedom of association?
Do you really think Boz Tchividjian would do a cover-up and rubber-stamp job? I don’t know much about him, but do have the impression that he tries to confront and solve problems. Obviously something more than new policies is needed.
Fascinating set of questions. I don’t think a group can call itself an organization when times are good, and then call itself a coincidental gathering of individuals when things go badly. If a network moves abusers around, or if every church has onerous processes to deter the reporting of crime, I would think someone could sue and/or prosecute beyond the individual level.
Obviously something more than new policies is needed.
I’m going to apologize for not being able to elaborate in advance. The SBC’s proposal, i.e. waiting for police reports is like investigating an aircraft accident without creating a new regulation to prevent further accidents in the future. They have to create a stringent list of requirements to be affiliated with the SBC and enforce them.
Apologies to Friend, I deleted to much of his quote.
Yes. That was probably somewhere in my subconscious when I wrote the comment. Thanks for reminding me of it. The other striking aspect of the whole thing is its bureaucratic blandness, which of course Lewis also captured so well many years ago.
Especially when a thousand barriers are thrown into the road between the victim and the police.
Safety procedures feel paltry this week, but I do know that my own congregation has more than a one-time signing of a policy. Everyone must be screened before supervising children. So, for example, unscreened church teens can’t babysit younger children—unless properly screened adults are there too. This is like the crash investigator you mentioned: Our church is learning from mistakes and problems that happened somewhere else.
(I’m a she, by the way. 😉 )
Another reason why the SBC needs to take the child molestation issue MUCH more seriously is the longterm effects on the children into their adulthood and later adulthood. Put Adverse Childhood Experience studies in a search engine.
Without going into detail, I believe that any sort of coordination from a denominational POV could result in liability. There is a reason that there are lawyers opening offices near the Vatican. If it can be proven that denominational heads knew about abuse and did not act on that knowledge, lawsuits may ensue. Will they be successful? Possibly…Keep you ears to the ground. Today, even Boz tweeted about the possibilities of lawsuits. He’s an attorney and a law professor so I assume he knows what he is talking about.
To a point, yes, you cannot sue a party called “The Southern Baptist Convention”. If lawsuits were filed, they would have to be filed against the 13 SBC “entities” (the 6 seminaries, the Executive Committee, IMB, NAMB, ERLC, LifeWay, GuideStone and WMU). State conventions and local associations could be sued, but the main focus of most lawsuits would be individual churches and any person connected with wrongdoing. The pain would be felt most severely by small, local churches. The Megas and the SBC Entities have plenty of money.
“Another reason why the SBC needs to take the child molestation issue MUCH more seriously is the longterm effects on the children into their adulthood and later adulthood”
somehow i don’t think the grave consequences for the victim are part of the equation in the minds of the Executive Committee.
seems every step of the way the chief concerns are the potential consequences for the leaders, for the churches, for the SBC big entity, for whether or not ‘biblical’ is happening.
They declared that they could disfellowship churches. Reeks of coordination not autonomy.
Remember, screening only catches a tiny amount of people-the ones that were caught and convicted. The vast majority of perps have never been caught.
“Fellowship” is just another word for “associate” We all have freedom of association. I’m not seeing how coordinating who to associate with is liability but I certainly trust that you have sources that know more than I ever could. It’s interesting to me in the abstract.
And the reality is that if anything is ever going to be done it’s going to come down to money – whether it’s the possibility that lawsuits could work or churches wake up and realize the establishment is about keeping certain people in power and start withholding funds.
The SBC By-laws, section 18, paragraph E (1) states:
The Executive Committee shall be the fiduciary, the fiscal, and the executive entity of the Convention in all its affairs not specifically committed to some other board or entity.
The Executive Committee is specifically authorized, instructed, and commissioned to perform the following functions:
(1) To act for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for.
It seems to me that the Executive Committee acts as the SBC except for the few days in June that the convention is in session. If any organization can be held responsible for any negligence or wrongdoing, it’s the Executive Committee.
Maybe that is why the EC’s statement is so weak.
But the entities would have to be guilty of something. I don’t remember
the specifics but I know there was an IMB case that seems like could result in a lawsuit. And now I wonder if suing one entity wouldn’t just drag all the entities together?
I wonder what is going on in the minds of famous Baptist authors who have written about social justice, especially empowering the underdog, and have spoken about value of church association and connected heritage. I wonder if shadows of the narrative of the #churchtoo movement and SBC involvement and deceptive takeovers of small congregations will ever be read in their future books?
A quick side note: The Executive Committee consists of 86 members at this time, so it’s a fairly large group.
“The Megas and the SBC Entities have plenty of money.”
that *really* bugs me.
to pay extremely handsome salaries and retirement packages
to pay expensive lawyers
to pay for insurance
to pay for other comforts, conveniences, & perks
and allotting how much for the missionaries themselves?
(not executives visiting them, travelling 1st class with luxury stops tacked on, but the missionaries who are on the front lines)
yeah, that sure sounds like Jesus. 😐
The SBC has nothing to do with hiring or firing at churches. I’m pretty sure the only thing that the SBC can ever say to an individual church is welcome or you’re not welcome to associate with us. Church plants are a different matter. But in theory the churches are supposed to control the SBC not the the other way around.
Very true. Any changes have to come from the pews. Only through people acting in concert to ensure accountability will anything happen.
For me, that boat has sailed. The hierarchy is to entrenched and too many equate criticism of the church with going against God.
I cut bait a while ago and while I sometimes attend church as a compromise to my wife, it’s all angles and manipulation with money being the prime metric for success.
Jesus Christ Incorporated, a subsidiary of Trinity Industries.
I would figure that if a recent church plant is involved in a lawsuit, a decent lawyer could drag the NAMB into it, since it is that entity that supplies the money.
Houston Chronicle’s article “Southern Baptist leaders quickly clear 7 churches, sparking outrage among victims”
(btw: Dee is quoted)
I think there was a case in Florida where something happened at a plant and they were able to bring in the Association or State?
I guess what people are saying is that if the SBC has always had the authority to disfellowship a church and they didn’t then they were complicit somehow? Is associating with a church like SGM that hasn’t been found guilty in any court to date (I understand it’s just because of SOL) but can the SBC really be considered somehow conspiring under the law?
I’m not a lawyer but I did watch Law and Order SVU for the first 16 seasons so surely I deserve a law certificate or something for all that time LOL!
Thanks for the link. I remember reading Christa Brown years ago. I know people are still hoping for a database but I just don’t see it ever happening. If the SBC “assumes the duty” (legal term I saw somewhere) of putting together and maintaining a database then it would also “assume the liability” if something goes wrong with the database. I’ve never really understood why there couldn’t be an independent non profit thing that could include all the non denoms or really just any church. Maybe the SBC could encourage some wealthy donors to fund it and also make sure all the churches are aware of it.
Mark my word. Greear will come across looking like the good guy on this. After all, he was the one who stepped up to the problem and it was taken out of his hands by the big whigs on the Executive Committee. It will be additional confirmation within the New Calvinist ranks that those ole boy Traditionalists need to go. Taking Greear to school will backfire on the EC; this will rally the young reformers to push ahead more aggressively to wrench the SBC away from the non-Calvinists. And the drama continues …
This is Robert. Just saying hey everyone.
I thought you were going away? Yep, you are being moderated.
Fae Dee’s OP:
ROFL indeed. As a rule of thumb, you can spot hardened, deliberate sinners by the way they don’t like the manner in which you point out their sin.
This is Roger Bombast. Just saying –
bah. What does it matter?
You’re all rubbish.
Well, I think that Nick Bulbeck character is an anointed man of God, and more people should buy his books.
God told me to say that, and I’m not connected with Pastor Nick in any way.
Still waiting for Greear to tell us what he knew and when he knew. I doubt if the Houston Chronicle series was a shock to anyone in the SBC home office.
The SBC is an entity capable of being sued. It was chartered in GA in 1845.
The SBC cannot be sued for actions of individual churches. Those churches are separate legal organizations headquartered in the various states where they are located.
This has been tried many, many times without success.
If an SBC entity was sued for something it did, the SBC would be more at risk. But even then, with separate organizations and separate boards, the SBC itself would be hard to sue.
If the SBC started doing anything to ordain or register pastors, or oversee churches, or maintain a database, and the SBC made a mistake, the SBC could be sued.
Yes, thanks. That was just intended as an example—and one way of making it harder for young would-be predators to target children at church functions. (The church I’m talking about takes a host of other precautions.)
I had this same thought earlier:
Sorry, I thought the tweet would show up, here’s the comment if you don’t want to click through
I kinda get the feeling that the EC and Co thought the fact that they agreed three churches needed further investigation was something everybody would be happy about. I mean they threw their BFF CJ under the bus why isn’t everyone satisfied?
FEATURE, NOT BUG.
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I was reminded of these fine words from John Oliver:
“If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.”
Something like a long, leaden, Scripture-laced public statement, maybe.
Amen. Exactly what is wrong with the present day ‘church’. And it has been promulgated and perpetuated by pastors and denominational ‘leaders’ for their own power and profit.
My thoughts exactly. A limited hangout in an attempt to control the narrative. They hope that they can throw words at it and make it all go away.
It is interesting to watch the squirming and manipulation of SBC power brokers as they continue to get held under the heat of the spotlight. I hope and pray for the heat to continue as Twitter is fired up and “The Baptist Blogger” is seriously “firing for effect” below the waterline. Of course, TBB knows where a lot of skeletons are buried himself and brings theological, political, and political theology experience to the fight.
Speaking only for myself, I see someone who is flipping tables and whipping those who have infested his denomination.
“Too MANY Pastoral 501c3 Aberrations To Name?”
“See everything, Hear Everything, Speak Your Mind…”
We are free.
—> In mòderatiòn we trust?
Jesus is STILL the same today, tomorrow, & forever.
The 501c3 death ‘pyramid’ scheme can never win…
An organization whose officials are entrusted to help steward millions in monies dedicated to causes such as “education” and “missions” — foreign and domestic, if I recall correctly.
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…………… and 90% of the pew peons have no clue what’s going on in the SBC. They just keep smilin’, singin’ in the choir, and bring in’ those covered dishes.
I know, cuz I used ta be one of ’em.
I applaud your decision! I will be leaving the SBC really soon!
… and financing the New Calvinist rebellion with their hard-earned tithes! It’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen. The average Southern Baptist doesn’t really give a big whoop about things like theology … but if you try to take those covered dish meals away from them, you will have a war on your hands!!
Well, Mohler has been successful to date using big $1 words to make the SBC masses look like goobers. But the thing about words … if you talk too much, your speech will eventually reveal your true nature … Mohler’s words will be his undoing.
May I submit your comments to the Houston Chronicle/Robert Downen?
I don’t bale you for leaving. I left 10 1/2 years ago when I watched my church mishandle a pedophile situation. I plan to be posting the documents on this soon.
I applaud your decision! I will be leaving the SBC really soon!
I think there are some dark days ahead. for the SBC.
Cornerstone Church of Knoxville and both of its church plants are members (Redeeming Grace Church and Trinity Grace Church) of the SBC.
Extreme Measures: “Cutting Ties, Perhaps?”
“This week, SBC President J. D. Greear proposed a proverbial last ditch effort of a half a dozen Navel oranges in a white pillow case be presented to the EC, stating that “disfellowshipping” them, is simply TOO GOOD…”
♪♩♪♩hum, hum, hum…“We don’t need no sadistic pastoral ‘hands-on’ education in the office, We don’t need no filthy 501c3 lack of self control…Hey, preacher, leave our children alone…
As a former Southern Baptist for nearly 70 years, I agree with that observation. The local association leader – the Director of Missions (DOM) – is in the loop with all the churches in his jurisdiction. Indeed, he often gets involved in helping to staff churches. He is a part of the ol boy, good boy, bad boy, or whatever it may be network in his assigned area. The local churches essentially pay his salary through a cooperative effort, so he may be biased in some cases. I know one particularly “shady” DOM in my area. It’s sad to see what a once-great evangelistic denomination has become.
“Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness … They say, ‘The Lord does not see us'” (Ezekiel 8)
The SBC could benefit from a great purging and cleansing in its ranks.
SBC…You can take my grief,
Boom, Boom, Boom, I think I can hear Jesus sayin’: “grab your things, I have come to take you to a better place…”
What you said! I saw articles on the website of Baptist Press (the SBC’s official news organization) that referred to an “affair” between the pastor and the teenager, and I wanted to comment to correct the reporter, but there was no place to do so. Hmmm.
It is time for SBC leaders to call for a “Solemn Assembly” … a time of confession/repentance by Southern Baptists across the SBC and a return to first love (Christ). I just don’t know if the SBC has that sort of leadership who can rally both pulpit and pew to do this, nor those who feel that things are bad enough for such drastic action before the Lord. IMO, if that doesn’t happen, there are darker days indeed in store for the SBC.
I agree wholeheartedly. Dark days might be a good thing for the SBC.
An interesting blog post as an open letter to Grear. I think the author is Ben Cole. I do not know much about him, except he has worked with Wade Burleson to expose the problems with Paige and Dorothy Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Seminary.
“May I submit your comments to the Houston Chronicle/Robert Downen?
I don’t bale you for leaving. I left 10 1/2 years ago when I watched my church mishandle a pedophile situation. I plan to be posting the documents on this soon.”
Yes, Dee, you may submit my comments. I have already used the link in the Houston Chronicle article to report our situation, along with some basic documentation, but have thus far only received the form letter reply. As you can imagine, there is much more to my story, as is the case in every one of these situations.
It is Ben Cole. He was quite the up and comer in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and even figured in at least one SBC film. He may or may not know where are the skeletons are buried, but he knows where to go looking and who to ask/confront about them, if that makes sense.
Do you want to tell it here?
Problem: JD Greear was a hugh supporter fo Mahaney. He’s hoping people won’t notice.
People seem to be letting him get away with it too. Seems like they only want to address part of the problem and hold only a few people accountable while ignoring all the big names who treated people badly through the years. A well crafted PR apology shouldn’t be enough to turn some peoples heads but I suspect it has to do with tribalism – Calvinist will protect their own if they can. Problem is if you don’t cut out all the cancer it will keep growing and destroy the body.
Ben Cole has certainly done some good. Some of us remember the Calvinism wars from way back. And you might want to Google Ben Cole and Aaron Schock.
Oh, he’s no saint. Of that I am aware.
He’s a bit too rah rah JD Greer for my taste and I’ve never known either him or Wade to call out Al Mohler or any of the other major Calvinists. I could be wrong. I’ve been away from all this for some years. There were definite battle lines of Calvinist against nonCalvinist. Back then everybody said the Calvinist were taking over and with the latest appointment at Southwestern it’s a done deal. The EC guy will probably be a Mohlerite. Ben Cole and Wade Burleson never cared that the non Calvinist were being pushed out that I could tell.
Paige Patterson was always a mess but it was in the stereotypical good ol boy SBC way – not really as bright as people might have thought and it’s amazing it took so long for him to be taken down. But Mohler? He’s as sly and calculating as they come. Nobody should have that much power in the SBC.
“Do you want to tell it here?”
Yikes. Not sure I’m ready to put myself out there like that. We’re still trying to put the pieces of our lives back together again. I’m hoping that the Chronicle will include our convicted pastor’s name (I’ll name him here: Donald Foose, Pennsylvania) in their updated database. At this point, the only way I would name names of the coverup guys is if I could remain anonymous. But because we were a small church, they would probably know it was me anyway; or worse yet, they would assume it was one of the other whistleblowers. We are trying to figure out the balance between using our experience to warn others about a broken system (and dangerous people) and moving forward with a certain amount of peace. This year has taken a deep toll on our family. Standing up for Truth comes with a great cost, as you well know. I’m not sure how much more we can endure right now.
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Wade risked his reputation in the SBC by standing up for the victims, consistently asking for a database. He spoke out firmly against the SGM scandal.He speaks out against membership covenants.
All of these things are noted since they are supported by Papa Bear Mohler. Basically, he stood against many things that have affected his relationships in the SBC.
Go back through his posts and see what he says. There is a reason that I, no supporter of the trajectory of the current SBC, support him. I know him *behind the scenes.* He will never be one of the big cheeses in the SBC because of his stands.
Corrective ‘Collusion’ Avoidance Action: “Clean Sweep, Perhaps?”
Absent of the proper effective preventive controls, the net sad conclusion one must invariably come to draw within the SBC churches by the current dilemma is that all 501c3 church staff and parishioners are potential predators worth strict and cautious observation.
Dee all you say Wade has done is to be commended. I noted above Ben Cole has done and is doing good. That I don’t deny.
Many years ago now My family had an experience of not just watching our church being torn apart by a militant Calvinist but also a church my in-laws parents had started in their living room be taken over to the point where they were not welcome anymore. Back in those days there were the Calvinist and the non Calvinist. I don’t remember specifics but I do remember flaming threads where people with stories just like mine were called liars and reprobate and on and on. They denied that Calvinist were taking over churches let alone the convention and in fact it was Calvinist who were the victims of “antiCalvinist” Flash forward to today and who’s in charge? What do all the appointments in the SBC have in common? Wade and Ben were in the Calvinist camp and I really don’t remember them being neutral.
Now all this say that victims of the SBC calvinization are not the same as children or adults who have been sexually abused. But there are victims of SBC calvinization – churches and careers were destroyed. We left the SBC because the local association had moved Calvinist pastors into most of the pulpits in the area and there was simply nowhere that we could serve.
I appreciate he’s your friend and that he’s done much good but I carry the scars of those years trying to find a church to serve where we could raise our children.
SBC’s non-Calvinist vs. Calvinist lines get blurred sometimes … it’s tough trying to figure out the good guys from the bad guys … what’s agenda-driven and what’s Kingdom-driven. One thing is for sure, the Great Commission is not the mission in many SBC churches these days.
I have been in similasr position as well. A wonderful church I had attended, Chapel Hill Bible Church, Chapel Hill NC was taken over by a Calvinist preacher, Jay Thomas, his BFFs (including a CJ Mahaney lookalike) and an elder board that loved anything to do with John Piper, Mark Driscoll, etc. My husband and I were dismayed. The day the new worship at the fountain of SGM pastor requested a *meeting* with us was the day we got they heck out of there. I am not a Calvinist and was not going to attend a church that did stuff like this. Some of those leaders should be ashamed of themselves.
That meant we had to find a church to attend. That forced diaspora led us, after a few years, to our current church situation. I am so glad that I’m there.
I get the theology behind Calvinism and understand how comforting it is for some people to believe that everything that happens is specifically ordained by God, even the torture ands murdering a child (Jessica Lunsford.) I don’t agree and am glad to be in my current situation.
So glad you’ve found a church home. We were nones for a few years – the kids were involved with a youth group at a Bible church and we’re now actually at a non-denominational charismatic church. We’re not charismatic but I told my husband I’d much rather hang out with the charismatics than the calvinist. But I’m still cynical and cautious and I don’t trust and verify but trust and verify times 50. I appreciate the work you do here. Hope you’re taking care of yourself. I remember how young I was when we were going through all this stuff and I don’t know how I used to have the energy I had! LOL
And it’s the thing now for Calvinist to declare that they’re less than 5 pointers so they’re not really Calvinist. For me if you affirm the U than you’re a Calvinist. And I’ve watched these guys for too long to trust anything that’s going on. I don’t see how you can let Al Mohler skate if you’re serious about addressing the problems regarding the treatment of abuse victims in the SBC.
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I’m open to correction, but believe when I read Wade’s book “Fraudulent Authority” he states when it comes to salvation he IS a Calvinist. Other places like on line he will say reformed but doesn’t consider himself a Calvinist, I believe, open to correction, but think that was the book where he did declare himself one.
Some consider him the kinder gentler face of new Calvinism but definitely a part of it.
Agreed, if one holds to “Unconditional Election”, he leans Calvinist. There have always been 4-Point (Moderate) Calvinists in the SBC who don’t accept the “L” in TULIP … Limited Atonement. They just don’t want to stick their neck out on this one … to say that Jesus’ sacrifice was limited. However, R.C. Sproul would say that you’re not a Calvinist unless you accept all 5-Points of the doctrines of grace. He said:
“There is confusion about what the doctrine of limited atonement actually teaches. However, I think that if a person really understands the other four points and is thinking at all clearly, he must believe in limited atonement because of what Martin Luther called a resistless logic” (R.C. Sproul)
Speaking of points, John Piper claims to be a 7-Point Calvinist! He’s special, you know.
None of them ever talk about the silent point of Calvinism – evenascent grace. It’s the glue that holds them together.
This post is about the Executive Committee not about Wade or my church so comment was not approved.
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Point 6 Double Predestination seems to follow logically if you believe in Unconditional Election.
Point 7 seemed a sort of a cop-out “it’s all for the best according to God’s Glory”
Sproul was the one who when asked if “Arminians” are saved he responded “just barely” so I guess he believed less than five pointers are smarter than “Arminians” but not yet arrived. The truth is though that the five points do seem to stand or fall together – if you start throwing one off then the others collapse – and Double Predestination is hard to deny.
Sorry for the threadjack.
The same verse came to my mind. Surely wicked men must not even believe in God, or they would hesitate to do what they do?
Sorry, but that IS the main tool used in the takeover strategy. My former pastor was a ‘kinder, gentler’ Calvinist too – but eventually I came to wonder if he was even a believer. I cannot judge, but I saw too many people hurt and manipulated to not wonder.
Anyone who believe God predestines who will be saved and who will not does not believe the same gospel that I hold dear, whatever else we may agree on. Frankly, if there’s a question, as the lasting debate proves, I prefer to err on the side of believing God actually loves and desires to save all men, but has allowed them to make real choices. Wrongly telling men God loves them and desires to grant them life is, IMO, far less harmful than wrongly telling men he does not.
I have leaned to be more wary of ‘kinder, gentler’ Calvinists than straightforward ones who say what they really believe.
I can’t put names to specific memories (this was 2006 on) but those Calvinist fights online were brutal and the Calvinist were vicious – some gave back but I guess I’m biased because I can remember just some really hateful people. It seems like there were a couple from Wade’s church – women who were the most unhinged and just hateful to anyone who tried to tell their experiences of Calvinism. Well the Calvinist have won and I doubt very seriously they’re going to allow anyone who disagrees with them any kind of say about anything.
But to the point my general experience not just with Calvinist but in the SBC in general is that very few of the syrupy sweet people are real (I can only think of one in 45 years and he was weird) and they will stab you in the back with a smile on their face if you cross them. Also my experience tells me God will not be mocked and those who are fake will be exposed but God’s time can seem really slow sometimes.
I was in a Reformed church in those days (never fully on board, but more willing to co-exist back then) and I recall beginning to hear little blips about Calvinist infiltration and takeovers of non-Calvinist churches. Of course it was all scoffed at as utterly preposterous nonsense, and the attack of ‘the enemy’, meaning non-Calvinists, not Satan. Or perhaps they viewed them as in league with one another.
Now I have seen it, more than once, with my own eyes. A nephew who is newly Reformed spoke of wanting to take a non-Calvinist church so he could ‘win them over to the truth’. He was under the impression that I was still Reformed, and I simply didn’t feel it was the time and place (with in-laws) to get into it. It was the first time I had met him, and I bit my tongue painfully hard many times.
Oh you cannot co-exist with these people. My FIL who had been teaching SS for 50 something years had a young punk sit in his class and “correct” him and eventually the new Calvinist leaders told him that he wasn’t teaching the doctrine of the church and would have to “take a break.” Calvinist had been in the SBC before this so when we tried to warn him what was happening he didn’t believe us until he experienced it firsthand. He finally had had enough when he and his wife were told they were required to go through a new members class if they wanted to continue being members. The church went through a nasty split of course because the Calvinist couldn’t get the by-laws changed to force people out who were refusing to do what they wanted but people were devastated. There were a couple of other churches through the years we saw taken over – the outright bold lies were just always stunning to me. If you have to lie what your doing has nothing to do with God.
the other thing I’ve thought about with the slick syrupy sweet types – they’re usually sociopaths and narcissist.
Unfortunately, you can co-exist – as long as you are willing to keep your eyes, mouth and mind shut. 😉 Once I took a stand for something really important – like protecting innocent people – I found that questioning the decisions of the elders was ‘resisting my proper authorities’. They didn’t give two hoots about the people – but gloried in their precious little bylaws.
I see much of this being replayed in the Harvest debacle. All of these men were constantly bamboozled by JMac about the ‘biblical’ authority structure, and how anyone who questioned them were a threat to biblical teaching. Oh, yes, I’ve seen that game played.
TBH, the Biblical Counseling movement is one of the chief tools for pushing this nonsense upon people, substituting man’s interpretations and applications that they have been taught upon people with real individual needs, the first of which is genuine compassion.
Garrett Higbee’s (a former Harvest insider) apology, while probably genuine, shows his complete ignorance of how faulty and damaging is the Biblical Counseling movement he pushes. He focuses on getting people to follow the ‘biblical pattern’ and can’t see the forest for the trees. I know so many people who have been damaged by biblical counselors, particularly in dealing with spiritual and authoritarian abuse, who warn everyone to go to secular counselors if they want real help.
Two distinctly different doctrines about God’s plan of salvation cannot co-exist in a single denomination going forward. Whether or not the mainline millions of Southern Baptists (non-Calvinist) eventually get this and deal with the New Calvinist takeover of the denomination remains to be seen.
It is true that there has been a scattering of Calvinists in SBC life since its founding, but non-Calvinist belief and practice became the prevailing theology after the Civil War. “Whosoever Will May Come” has been SBC identity for the last 150+ years. The “Old” Calvinists I knew in my 70 years as a Southern Baptist (I’m a “Done” now) were more civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith – the “New” Calvinists are not.
This post is about what is happening in the SBC. I am not turning this comment section into a free for all on your historical *philosophical* musings on the *true* basis of Calvinism or Lutheranism. That would also apply to any other denomination.
We are dealing with abuse in the SBC in the post. If you wish to muse on how Calvinism relates to this controversy, have at it. If you think that Lutherans are somehow covering up child sex abuse and that they are in league with the SBC when it comes to abuse cover up. write about it. But don’t use this blog as a virtual diary for your musings.
t500–totally agree with you. I was thinking more of Lily’s comments. And of others over time who have questioned why Wade does not really take on Mohler, etc. Here and there a skirmish over continuationism and women’s ordination but not really taking on the system of Calvinism. That is because he is Calvinist, which makes him to say the least a strange choice for e church on TWW. I haven’t had time to read it yet but have been told he is taking on entrenched power today, but if so in the past it has been taking on the SBC traditionalists, not the new cals.
This is a group that either can’t be trusted to be honest when answering the ‘why did this person leave your church’ question, a group that can’t be bothered to do the basic due diligence of asking that question like every other employer, or a group that flat out doesn’t care if their new pastor has been convicted and is literally on an offender registry.
This problem goes a lot deeper than a database.
Regarding Calvinist takeovers, I remember an attempt at one at around 2002-ish at the Calvary Chapel I was then attending. Yeah, they started THAT early! What happened is that the youth pastor, a very young man in his early 20s, got introduced to Calvinism. He ended up trying to convince the senior pastor behind closed doors to convert. Unable to sway him, he left, but not before taking half the members with him. In retrospect, I suspect due to Calvary Chapel’s built-in anti-Calvinist policy, he was being kicked out if he insisted on teaching his new beliefs.
He then went behind the pastor’s back, and convinced all his young friends (many of whom were in college but at one point had been in his high school youth group) and their parents of Calvinism. One Sunday, there were loads of people. The next Sunday the church was half empty. Very nasty politics went on there. We were all very confused and very hurt. It was as though we were being shunned as heretics. Even one of my childhood friends left for the Calvinist Baptist church the youth pastor was now attending. One of the members I could tell was especially hurt. I believe (if memory serves correctly) he had once been homeless and had been helped by the youth pastor to get on his feet. He got left behind and shunned, too. Calvinism killed this young man’s heart.
On top of it all, his parents ran the Bible study at their house that I attended. With no warning, there was no longer a Bible study. My Mom and I were no longer invited. My Mom and I had just been abandoned by my abuser father and were frightened of the very real possibility of going homeless. These were people whose shoulders we had cried on, but were now utterly heartless towards us. Not that they had been totally warm with us, but we had hoped they’d care even halfway. We found ourselves instead being shunned by this youth pastor’s entire family. Right before the Bible study shut down, the youth pastor’s father had been trying to slip in Calvinism into his exegesis. I could sense it because my own father had gotten into Calvinism in my teens and had spent a lot of time yelling at me that I wasn’t elect and trying to debate his pet Bible passages with me. So, my BS detector’s alarm was ringing. I guess our Bible study leader didn’t think he was making headway with us, so he shunned us. We honestly didn’t care about the Calvinism. We just wanted to be loved and welcomed. It hurt so badly. We weren’t even given a chance. The youth pastor himself didn’t even bother trying to approach me to persuade me, and neither did my childhood friend. My childhood friend didn’t even bother inviting me to her new church when she left–and I had been her bridesmaid! It all just came out of the blue. It’s like the youth pastor’s dad put his feelers out on me and my Mom and decided we weren’t worthy of being included.
Of course, none of the people taking part in this schism realized that my Mom and I had been abused with and traumatized by Calvinism (my father was quite adamant that God had chosen us both to go to hell). But they did know that we really needed emotional support for what we were going through. I can only hope for their sakes that God is more merciful toward them than they were to us.
On the bright side, thanks to Calvary Chapel’s anti-Calvinist DNA and Moses model, the takeover could not succeed. The youth pastor could only poach members, not take over the church property. One of the nice things about Calvary Chapel, for all its own set of problems. Faster than you could blink, the youth pastor ended up being given a cushy job at his new church as a full pastor (for adults), and even given a house–his reward for poaching members, perhaps? Here was a man who hadn’t had a real job in his entire life and had been living with his parents with no college education, being handed a house on a silver platter for himself and his new bride, while I and my disabled mother were facing homelessness. The whole thing made me wonder once again if God hated me and had elected me to hell, just like my abuser father used to tell me in his moments of anger.
I think it would be an understatement to say that I utterly despise Calvinism. I can get along fine with Calvinists who are actually nice and not argumentative jerks. They seem to be a rare breed, but they do exist. But, that doctrine hurt me so badly. When things go wrong in life, the doctrine undermines any belief that God might love you. I had never accepted the doctrine, but it poisoned me nonetheless and undermined my faith. Sometimes I still get triggered.
Praise God, I never went homeless. He cared for me and my Mom when nobody else would. It was slow, it was hard, but God provided. So, I guess all the Calvinists who thought I was a hideous heretic who deserved to be shunned were wrong after all? 🙂 Praise be to God!
Praise be to God that he provided for you. And praise be to God that there is no one, anywhere, whom he does not love and desire to call his own. Not one. Is it horrible that he does not ‘compel’ anyone to ‘love’ him? Of course not. Love can never be compelled, which means that whatever it is Calvinists believe in, it is not the love of God. I know, I know, some think this is off topic, but I truly find it representative of all of the authoritarian spiritual abuse that is exposed here. Such people do not know who God is. (That doesn’t mean all Calvinists, but the ones who truly know what their theology means, and accept it anyway. Many, like some of my own dear family members, have been persuaded by ‘kinder, gentler’ Calvinists that they hold to a new, improved, nicer Calvinism.
Dee, Thank you for your contribution and continued encouragement. Yes, demonization of 501c3 denominations is not a proper or practical goal. Awareness of the nature of individual problems within, reform, and taking responsibility for one’s actions within a certain accountability structure is, and certainly applying a system of proper correction when things go wrong, under the guise that church life should not be suffering.
I’m so sorry for what happened to you! I think the power struggles we see in these ‘takeover’ situations are deeply damaging. I think the conservative resurgence did some similar damage along the way in trying to take over and push out all the ‘moderates’ and also women. It would be wise to have a conversation about what it means to start these fights that literally tear churches apart over doctrine, because history has show where protestant/catholic fights got us. There is a time and a place to argue over doctrine certainly, but it’s clear that some people go to extremes hunting heretics.
I have seen better treatment, personally as a woman, from the ‘liberal’ ‘kinder gentler’ Calvinists so maybe stop for a second before you condescendingly condemn them too as not knowing what they’re about.
I am sorry. I truly do not mean to be condescending. My whole world was shattered by such a person, a man I trusted, loved and served faithfully alongside for over a decade. Only to discover that he didn’t care about my family, or anyone else – he had a kingdom to build! And I have heard so many stories that sound just like mine. I simply want to warn others, so that they do not have to experience what I did. I am not sure I will ever trust a pastor again, or anyone in a position of power and authority.
Hahahahaha. Have been reading too many of these on Twitter, posted in all seriousness. One even added “why won’t people leave us alone?”
My experience was more like yours and I’ve been exposed to Calvinist of all kinds through the years. It’s one of those “kinder, gentler” Calvinist that never said a word about the abuse being perpetrated in the SBC who could not have missed a couple of people from his congregation behave in abusive on-line behavior against those who tried to share their stories. This went on for a few years. Everybody was abusive but I’m kinda old fashioned and think people who are “teachers” have more responsibility than lay people- especially since the Calvinist were trying to claim victim status in those times. That’s why I’m so skeptical now – victims are victims are victims – not all victims are equal but when you can ignore hurting people because they’re not part of your “tribe” don’t expect me to take your victim advocacy at face value especially when what were seeing is the same old tribes lining op. Looks to me like the Calvinist are using #churchtoo to clean out the few remaining nonCalvinist while letting people like Al Mohler, Moore, and Greer skate.
Remember the ol’ ‘Never let a crisis go to waste’ comment from a few years ago? Honest to God, such people are evil, always looking out for ways to get more power, more control, take down their ‘enemies’. And it is happening in too many churches in the exact same way it happens in politics. I simply do not consider such behavior indicative of men of God.
I read comments like “the SBC can’t tell the churches what to do.” That’s correct but it goes both ways. The churches cannot tell the entities, i.e., Executive Committee, NAMB, IMB, seminaries, ERLC, etc., what to do either. That’s the beauty of the trustee system (sarcasm).
… is not so beautiful for mainline (non-Calvinist) Southern Baptists these days. New Calvinist leaders (Mohler et al.) have stacked the trustee boards and entity leadership with yes-men … as they take over the denomination with a theology contrary to SBC belief and practice for the last 150 years.
The churches could use the power of the pocketbook but that would require that they wake and realize what’s going on. When a nonCalvinist church finds it impossible to hire nonCalvinist staff because the seminaries only churn out Calvinist you’d think they might be upset that the money they’ve been sending doesn’t serve their interests.
We are witnessing within the SBC group of churches what happens when Calvinism is used to infiltrate an unsuspecting 501c3 religious church organization/establishment.
We have witnessed the dangers of sexual abuse take a back seat, and reform is paid lip service to the documented ongoing SBC Calvinist takeover.
We have witnessed SGM/SGC being documented to have actually brought unresolved concealed sexual abuse practices with them when they entered the SBC.
What is more disturbing is when a Non-Calvinist church hires what they believe is a Non-Calvinist pastor, only to find out later that he lied to the search committee about his theological leaning and came in the door by stealth and deception to “reform” the church … happening all over SBC life.
Paint um wit calvinesta ‘seminary iodine’ ™ uunt mark zem fit for duty…
March, March, March, March…