When I was growing up, my mother often warned me that I would be judged by the company I keep. When companies invite speakers to their annual meeting, Wall Street watches very carefully because these speakers can often indicate the direction the company is going to pursue. Rest assured that a company would never feature a speaker with whom they disagreed.
The Southern Baptist Convention has invited an interesting line-up of speakers for its 2010 Pastors’ Conference. There can be no doubt that the “committee” to “pick the guys” (yep, all male – women presumably have nothing to contribute) made darned sure that none of the speakers would detract from the direction of the SBC.
We would like to focus on some of these speakers and tell you what we, at TWW, think the CTPTG (Committee That Picks The Guys) might be telling us. Note the word “might”. We can’t read minds; however, since we have been following trends in the SBC, we believe that our thoughts cannot be dismissed entirely.
But, first, we will provide a bit of SBC history. Here goes…
Paige Patterson was the author of the far right lurch of the SBC. Please don’t misunderstand us. There was a definite need to tighten up on the doctrinal swing of the SBC, but Patterson used this opportunity to put women in their place. He has systematically removed women from their posts at seminaries and on SBC committees, and he has recalled missionaries who have made the mistake of admitting to a private prayer language or who, at any point, might have held any position of authority over a man.
Patterson has also demanded that all missionaries who were not baptized within a conservative SBC church be re-baptized, giving new meaning to the New Testament practice of baptism. He also established a B.S. degree in homemaking at SWBTS while ignoring the need for a B.S. degree in how to be a “manly man”. Just think… SWBTS could offer courses in auto mechanics and how to kill a charging elephant while on safari, which Patterson is qualified to teach…
Patterson also believes that women who are physically abused must return to their abuser. We have written extensively on Patterson and have proof in our archives. He was the de facto leader of the SBC since he met with friends in the 1970s at the Café Du Monde in New Orleans to map out his planned coup d’état.
But times, they are a changing… The reformers are gaining ground in the SBC in case you haven’t noticed. If you think Patterson had serious “issues”, wait til you meet these new boys. Yep, “boys only”, which carries on the Patterson tradition. Allow us to introduce you to the speakers of the 2010 SBC Pastors’ Conference and to rate them as follows:
(+) if they are reformed (a more acceptable term than “Calvinist”)
(-) if they are not reformed
(?) if they have not declared or appear neutral
Al Mohler (+): The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the rising “definer of the way” in the SBC.
– A rabid reformed Baptist (Calvinista)
– A member of the governing body of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), which his seminary houses
– Supports the strange doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS – the Son, Jesus Christ, will be subordinate to God the Father for all eternity) which serves the basis for the Eternal Subordination of Women (subordinate to men here on earth and for all of eternity) This is not a joke!
C.J.Mahaney (+) This self-styled “Head Apostle” is the founder of the “family of churches” called Sovereign Grace Ministries. These ministries have been dogged by accusations of abusive leadership both now and in their former permutation as People of Destiny (PDI), among other names, and even reaching further back into the well known abusive shepherding ministries of the 1970s.
– Reformed charismatic
– Not Southern Baptist
– No education beyond high school
– Founder and head of the secretive Pastors College
– Vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
– Known for accusations of abusive leadership in this “family of churches” (Refer to sgmsurvivors.com and sgmrefuge.com)
– Best “homie” of Al Mohler (Hey Al — friends don’t let friends abuse church members!)
– Lots of churches — well, actually 61 in the United States and 12 abroad. Interestingly, the first SGM church (Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland) was established in 1977. Let’s see… that works out to around 2 churches per year that SGM has added to its “family of churches” in the U.S. WOW! A real trendsetter!!!
Russell Moore (+) Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration of Southern Seminary and is a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
– Reformed Baptist
– Heavily involved with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) — did we mention that the CBMW is housed at SBTS?
– Proposes that complementarianism between man and woman is too soft a term. Instead prefers the Old Testament term “Patriarch”
David Platt (+) Platt is a rising star in the Southern Baptist firmament. He is 31 years old and holds an earned Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. He is the lead pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.
– Reformed Baptist
– Will be featured at the 2010 Together for the Gospel (T4G)
– Shows up at all the “´right” conferences with Mahaney, Mohler, etc.
– Plugged by Mahaney
– Big church
Matt Chandler (+) Chandler is lead pastor of the “6,000 member” of the Southern Baptist Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas which is a suburb to the north of Dallas.
– Reformed Baptist
– Big church
He has been critical of some “Calvinists”, yet seems to embrace friendships with Mohler, Mahaney, and others. (http://lofitribe.com/matt-chandler-on-the-reformed-community/)
Sad Update: Chandler was diagnosed with an unencapsulated (meaning it is not contained) malignant brain tumor of the frontal lobe and is presently receiving radiation at Baylor Hospital. We ask that our readers take a moment and pray for Chandler and his family. Although we may disagree with some of his theology, he is our brother in Christ and we pray for peace that passes all understanding. Dee’s daughter had a similar diagnosis at the age of 3 and our hearts understand their pain.
David Uth (?) Uth holds an earned Ph.D. from SWBTS. He is the lead pastor of the “14,000 member” First Baptist Church of Orlando. (Side note: TWW has taken to putting quotes around all figures of membership released by SBC churches since even the SBC has admitted that these membership numbers may be inflated throughout convention affiliated churches.)
– SBC affiliated – although there are some loose associations with the reformed crowd, there is no firm tie so we would say the jury is out on this
– Since Orlando is hosting the SBC Convention, it’s probable that Uth’s inclusion on the platform is a courteous quid pro quo
– Big church
David Landrith (?) Landrith is the head pastor of the large Long Hollow Baptist Church which is located just north of Nashville, Tennessee and has three worship centers. He holds a degree from SWBTS .
– Close ties to Al Mohler and Ed Stetzer (Lifeway)
– Big church
Francis Chan (+) Chan is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California and holds a master of Divinity from Masters College which was founded by John MacArthur. The church is not affiliated with any denominations.
– Espouses reformed theology yet shies away from calling himself by the reformed title
– Big church
Ken Whitten (-) Whitten is the Senior Pastor of Idlewood Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. He is also a member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
– Big church
– Friend of Johnny Hunt, SBC President
Steve Gaines (-) Gaines is the lead pastor of the embattled “30,000” (probably closer to 7,000) member Bellevue Baptist Church located in Memphis, Tennessee. He has an earned degree from SWBTS and is a friend of Paige Patterson.
– Big church, big salary
– Knowingly concealed the history of an incestuous pastor from his congregation for over 6 months
Andy Stanley (-) Stanley is the son of Charles Stanley. He holds an earned Masters degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and is a senior pastor of the ‘”40,000″ attendee North Point Community Church in Atlanta. Although the church and ministry are not formerly affiliated with the SBC, observers say that the church functions as one. His father was once President of the SBC.
– Big church
– Major author
– National profile
– Close family ties to the Paige Patterson wing of the SBC
Danny Akin (?) Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Masters degree from SWBTS and an earned Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Arlington. While Akin has not made a public profession that he is reformed, he is very supportive of reformers within the SBC.
– Friends with Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and C.J.Mahaney. All three have spoken during chapel at SEBTS (Mahaney has spoken on AT LEAST three separate occasions since 2008 — specifically, the 2008 and 2009 20/20 conferences and the 2009 “God Exposed” Conference along with his close buddy Mark Dever of IX Marks)
– Council Member for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
– Developed the “Great Commission Resurgence” plan together with Johnny Hunt
Tony Evans and Ravi Zacharias (-) For the sake of brevity, both of these men are well-known on an international scale for the ministries and are loved by both those inside and outside of the Calvinist tradition. They are not “political” within the SBC factions.
So, here is our observation. The reformed wing of the SBC is on the rise, and we predict they will dominate during the next decade. We believe that Mahaney is tied into this group because he brings a strict, hyper-authoritarian view to the SBC. Over the last several decades, Mahaney has achieved total control over the SGM “family of churches”. We believe the SBC is looking to do something very similar. The reformed leaders in the SBC want to control doctrinal issues that, in the past, would have been considered secondary issues.
What does this mean in practice?
– Pastors will adopt a strict view of “authority” and, as such, will have little, if any, accountability to the congregation.
– Women can expect to see their roles within the church severely limited in the coming years.
– There will be an upsurge in “church discipline” as SBC pastors will seek to control members ala SGM, thanks to Mark Dever and his 9Marks (Mark #7 to be specific).
– Young earth creationism will become an “enforced” doctrine.
– The priesthood of the believer will be downplayed even more than it is now. Note: it is non-existent in Sovereign Grace Ministries.
– Big churches will be equated with God’s favor. Only those who lead mega-churches will have any influence within the SBC.
What will be the results of this? We believe membership in the SBC will continue to decline precipitously, and the SBC will become increasingly irrelevant, losing its previous influence in the general society.
If only the SBC could learn to major on the majors and minor on the minors. Unfortunately, there are far too many egos at stake. The new majors will include large churches, lots of money, and pastoral authority, leaving the SBC looking less and less like the church of Jesus Christ.
If the leadership of the SBC does not change the current direction of the denomination, we predict the Southern Baptist Convention in decades to come will become a shrunken version of its previous self, incapable of carrying out the “Great Commission Resurgence”. When that day comes, we believe the SBC leaders who took the denomination in this dangerous direction will look back and FINALLY realize how terribly wrong they were. Then it will be too late…