Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away. Ismail Haniyeh
The letter included in this post so distressed me that I was unable to sleep more than two hours last night. This letter by the Credentials Committee is proof positive that the SBC never intended to do anything with churches that had pastors who covered up or didn’t report sex abuse. Jules Woodson’s story is probably the most well-known story of sex abuse within the SBC. It was confirmed by the youth pastor who stepped down from his church. It was confirmed by the associate pastor who stepped down from his position. The only one who never acknowledged his role in this tragic affair was Steve Bradley who continues as the lead pastor of Stonebridge Church (formerly known as Woodland Hills Baptist Church) where Jules was molested.
To make matters worse Jules reached out to Steve Bradley who has continually refused to respond to her. This committee whose glossed over Jule’s molestation claims that the church is an example of the faith and practice which closely identifies with the SBC’s statement of faith. Be sure to read that line carefully. The SBC thinks it is in keeping with their faith and practice to have a pastor of a church who did not report Jules’ abuse and who now refuses to speak to her. This is what the SBC thinks is just peachy? I’m sure Jesus is impressed.
Here is the letter. It will be quite obvious that this committee does not include the best, the compassionate, and the brightest in the SBC…or maybe it does and that is worrisome.
Southern Baptist Convention
MIKE LAWSON, CHAIR
November 16, 2020
Dear Ms. Woodson,
The Credentials Committee desires to reach out to you personally and inform you of our decision regarding Stonebridge Church. As we have not been able to connect via phone or Zoom, please receive this letter in the spirit from which it was drafted: to sincerely thank you and inform you. Thank you for your patience as we have worked and prayed our way through this process.
First, we wish to thank you. Thank you for being willing to share your story and for drawing attention to the need for churches to make an intentional effort to prevent abuse and to care well for victims of sexual abuse. Thank you for the effort it took to provide us with all the information regarding your abuse. It helped provide an understanding of what you experienced and continue to face as a result. We want you to know that we read and grieved over the information available to us including: your blog, articles, and your interview with the New York Times that we watched in its entirety. We prayed for you and all the victims, and, more recently, for you and your mother as you care for her in these difficult days. Thank you, for your boldness and courage in coming forward with your story. We believe that you and others like you are making a difference in how churches respond to reports of sexual abuse and helping them create intentional policies and practices that will help prevent such things in the future.
Your story has been a particular force in transformative change at Stonebridge Church. In recent years, they have taken significant and extensive steps to improve policies, practices, and procedures to better serve their people. These steps are set up to offer increased protections and improved responses to reports.
Our committee has considered the information available to us regarding StoneBridge Church’s relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention. Our committee’s assignment as outlined in SBC Bylaw 8, is to consider the current relationship between a church and the Convention. Neither our committee nor the Southern Baptist Convention has any authority over another Baptist body as stated in Article IV  of the SBC Constitution. This committee’s role is to determine if a church is in friendly cooperation with the Convention and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee when we determine a church is not currently in friendly cooperation with the Convention as described in Article III  of the SBC Constitution. At this time, we do not have any information that causes us to conclude that the church does not have a faith and practice which closely identifies with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith, and we have determined that SonteBridge Church be removed from inquiry.
While the nine of us on this committee have a very limited and specific task, we care about you and other survivors. We requested and have been granted access to trauma-informed counselors. If you think they might be of any help to you as you continue your healing journey, we will gladly connect you to them. We know that receiving this information may be difficult, and we are sorry for any pain it may cause.
The SBC Credentials Committee
Let’s go through their letter
- They claim to have read Jules’ blog. Jules does not have a blog.
- They claimed to have contacted Jules via phone and Zoom. Jules has NO record of any such attempt.
- They claim they have not been able to connect with Jules. They didn’t try very hard.’
- They claimed to have watched the NYT video *in its entirety.” Such a backbreaking determination to make it through the video… It wasn’t long.
- They claim that their spirit in writing this letter was to sincerely thank Jules. Yeah, right.
- They claim that Stonebridge has *transformed * how they do things because of Jules’ testimony. Bradley has NEVER contacted Jules so what changed? He’s still in hiding and this committee is enabling him.
- They claim that Stonebridge Church has “a faith and practice which closely identifies with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith.* The SBC appears to have wretched standards.
Let’s discuss some other observations.
- They have had Jules’ submission in their possession for one year. They had no intention of denying Stonebridge Church their *friendly cooperation with the SBC.” That was obvious by the delay.
- JD Greear hired Bryan Loritts as a pastor, knowing full well there were serious questions. Was that a signal about his view on sex abuse in the SBC? The Caring Well thing has gone bust but many of us knew it would.
- The Credentials crowd released the letter in the midst of the election turmoil, COVID and, the holiday season, hoping it would fade into the background. We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.
- Steve Bradley’s name is not mentioned once. Looks like he has some BFFs on the committee.
- His fellow pastor, Larry Cotton, stepped down but Steve ducked his responsibility in this mess. No buck stopping here for Steve. He’s a coward.
- Jules’ story is the most well known and documented one in the SBC. One friend said that the SBC is sending a signal to other victims that they don’t have a chance. I agree.
- The committee has offered *trauma-informed* counselors to Jules. If they used the same research tools to find them as they did to examine Jule’s submission, I would run as fast as I could from such counselors.
- They claim to care about Jules. They don’t and it is obvious from their shoddy, ill-conceived letter. If they had truly cared, they would have contacted Jules. They didn’t no matter how they word it.
- How much money did Stonebridge contribute to the SBC?
- The SBC is in decline. I would imagine it would be tough to remove a well-known megachurch from the rolls.
Bottom Line: Children are not safe in the SBC and the Credentialing Committee proved it.
The SBC thinks it is just fine for a pastor not to report sex abuse as well as to ignore letters from a victim asking to speak to her former head pastor. This sums up, for me, the Baptist faith and practices. Because of this, I do not recommend that anyone bring their children to an SBC church. They love guys who avoid police reports at all costs. They love the pastor who refuses to speak to a victim. They care for the rich and powerful. The little student who gets molested is just the cost of doing business.
“Parents, take care of your kids in the SBC because they SBC won’t.“
Not just in SBC – Good advice for parents anywhere, no matter how confident you may be in others.
What a slap in the face!! They say “significant and extensive steps” have been made to improve Stonebridge’s policies. How about listing at least one thing they specifically changed?
The committee admits they have a very limited task. How about they also admit that this church did not take care of Jules? Why does Pastor Bradley get a pass?
If they have requested and been granted access to trauma-informed counselors, how about they share who these people are in the letter instead of making Jules reach out – again!
One thing they do speak in truth, they knew this letter would be difficult to read and might cause pain.
The only good thing the letter accomplished is that it has demonstrated how untrustworthy the SBC manuevers and how very, very little they actually care about abuse survivors.
You deserve so much better, Jules…
Adults aren’t safe, either.
Thank you Jules and Dee for your courage and boldness in speaking the truth. I continue to pray for you both.
My daughter married into a family that is entrenched in super legalistic SBC churches. Her personality has changed so much since she joined this denomination. I wish I could show her this but don’t how to even
Would you recommend showing this to friends or family who are in the SBC?
Just going to repeat this from the post:
I know some people get a great deal out of their churches. But in an environment where the leadership doesn’t care about your children, should you even go there?
“Bottom Line: Children are not safe in the SBC and the Credentialing Committee proved it… The little student who gets molested is just the cost of doing business.”
Millstones in the depths of the sea – is Jesus’ warning.
Wow. About as ungodly and unchristian a response as you can get.
Here in California you don’t always know if a church is Southern Baptist because they don’t use the denominational name on their signage. I attended a couple before I realized what they were.
The same is true in Northern Virginia where I live. McLean Bible Church, the largest megachurch in this area, is a prime example. MBC has been previously discussed on this site.
I think the pastor should face criminal charges. It is so wrong. Jules is so brave. I dont understand why the pastor has not been arrested.
Authoritarian Patriarchy circles their wagons. Women are deemed with neither agency nor full humanity. Nothing to see here, the Patriarchal POV.
“How much money did Stonebridge contribute to the SBC?” (Dee)
SBC churches (47,000+) are autonomous, governing and acting independently from the denomination as long as they conduct themselves in the spirit of the Baptist Faith and Message. An individual church’s worth to the denomination is measured by how much they contribute annually to the “Cooperative Program” (CP). Stonebridge’s CP giving should be readily available through SBC’s Texas State convention, where those funds are sent to … unless they bypassed the traditional way for CP contribution and sent money directly to the national SBC to be divvied across several entities. (the Christian Industrial Complex is so complex, it’s amazing that anyone is converted and discipled the way Jesus meant the church to be … how much is a soul worth?)
Patriarchal collusion = cover for each other’s back (until the potato becomes too hot to handle), turn a blind eye and deaf ear to collateral damage, stay silent and it will all go away
Oh, that’s very typical in the new (and improved?) SBC as New Calvinism sweeps through the ranks … churches with cool names and lead pastors who hide SBC affiliation. SBC church planters may be ashamed of identifying with the denomination, but they will gladly accept SBC church planting funds. As I’ve said before, it’s all about planting reformed theology not Gospel churches.
Back in the old days, churches were proud of their names and of expanding into more neighborhoods. Some denominations numbered their churches to show this. There was a Ninth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and I’m sure the numbers went higher in some places.
That once characterized SBC. In recent years, it’s all about stealth and deception to move into communities with aberrant theology … rather than boldly and proudly taking Christ to every tribe, tongue and nation. The SBC banner was once held high – evangelism and mission were modus operandi (I know
– I spent 70 years in the denomination before New Calvinism struck its blow). Heck, the new reformers don’t even talk about Jesus much … they are name-droppers for Piper et al. instead.
Including TRENDY Bait-and-Switch names that have nothing to do with churches, let alone the SBC.
Like the one down the street from me that started out Sixties-vintage Baptist and rebranded as “PORTAL” with maroon-and-grey media straight out of Weird Al Yankovic’s “Mission Statement” that never even hinted it was a church. Since then they have rebranded as “City Church” and gone after the Koreans and Hispanics.
Until there is no “Christ”, there is only CALVIN.
“THERE IS NO ‘DANA’, ONLY ZUUL!”
— Ghostbusters (the original 1985 version)
“ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER…”
Just like Calvary Chapel.
Who all fell into lockstep behind Papa Chuck whenever that was to their advantage.
Oh, and Max?
PEOPLE, not “souls”.
Too easy to over-spiritualize to where the “soul” detaches from reality.
I grew up with a secular version of that dualism. I was a Cold War Kid Genius, diagnosed and fast-tracked two years after Sputnik. Nobody ever realized there was a scared kid with lots of problems connected to that monster IQ. Like concentrating on “Souls(TM)”, ignoring the reality in favor of the intangible abstract.
J Michel Jones (formerly Christian Monist) writes and blogs extensively on the subject of spiritual-vs-physical Dualism. Here’s one of his latest blog posts on the subject:
P.S. The guy spent the past year battling a near-fatal lymph cancer that messed up his kidneys and immune system. (Just as COVID hit.) He’s currently in remission, but it’s a type of cancer that never completely goes away.
Grrr. “We prayed for you and all the victims.” “Thank you…in coming forward with your story.” “Your story has been a force for transformative change.” All that pseudo-civility masks what is really a bald do-nothing acceptance & allowance of clergy sex abuse & cover-ups. Reminds me so much of the letter I got from the Baptist General Convention of TX (and I know many other survivors have gotten similar letters). Similar sorts of “we’ll pray for you” & “thank-you for sharing” & assuring of change. Meanwhile, in my case, behind the scenes, even as it sent the “nice” letter to me, the BGCT was simultaneously referring the church to the BGCT’s own longtime attorney who proceeded to threaten a lawsuit against me if I continued to speak out. All that pseudo-civility was a mask for intimidation – a good cop/bad cop routine.
More grrrr. And if Steve Bradley & Stonebridge Church are so all-fired transformed, why aren’t they offering some form of reparations to Jules?
Still more grrr. “We requested & have been granted access to trauma informed counselors.” What does that even mean? “Granted access to”??? I agree 100% that I would NEVER go to a counselor of THEIR choosing, but I can’t figure what exactly it is that they’re even proposing? If they care so much, why don’t they just go ahead & be upfront & give her a list of trauma-informed counselors in her area rather than making Jules reach out yet again (& again & again & again) if she wants help? And of course, they should be offering to pay for ANY and ALL counseling that Jules obtains with a counselor of her own choosing – that would have been a bare minimum of caring – but they don’t do that either.
“We care about you and other survivors.” NO. No they don’t. And that is very clear. They don’t care about survivors & they don’t care about the safety of the next generation of church kids either. You got that absolutely right: “Children are not safe in the SBC and the Credentialing Committee proved it.”
Thank you, Dee, for all your work.
Sounds like the New Calvinists took it over … they love cool names like that. If so, the “church” is now a doorway to Calvin and his aberrant teachings, not a portal to the Kingdom of God … there’s a vast difference.
“Children are not safe in the SBC and the Credentialing Committee proved it.” (Dee)
“The nine-member Credentials Committee was repurposed during the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting into a standing committee to make inquiries and recommendations for action regarding instances of sexual abuse, racism or other issues that call a church’s relationship with the SBC into question.”
Committee members are listed in above link.
Coming from the SBC, I would be concerned that a “trauma informed” counselor would not be a licensed or qualified counselor. Perhaps just someone who has read their internally produced “Caring Well” report.
Steve Bradley has quite the denominational pedigree, served for years as assistant pastor under Ed Young Sr. at Second Baptist Houston, where Conservative Resurgence chief strategist Paul Pressler was a member. Young was SBC President 1992-1994.
“Bradley serves as the senior pastor of StoneBridge located in The Woodlands. Prior to moving to The Woodlands in 1993, he served at Second Baptist Church in Houston for 14 years.”
It’s all a little too close for comfort. Just observe JDGreear and RussellMoore when a reporter asked them about Pressler and Second Baptist:
Remember, “Pray for You(TM)” is Christianese for do nothing and feel all Pious and Righteous about it.
“You have a saying: ‘I’ll Pray For You’.
We too have a saying: PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!”
Like I said, “Trendy Bait-and-Switch names”.
But then, Bait-and-Switch has long Christian track record. I remember Campus Crusade’s “student events” from my Cal Poly days. Advertised to the public as a concert or magic show, and it sort of was — until the Four Spiritual Laws got introduced and the show morphted into God’s Plan of Salvation ending in an Altar Call. The “Heathen(TM)” learned pretty fast to not take the bait.
If he’s being groomed for whatever reason, I guarantee you the powers-that-be within SBC will protect him. “There’s nothing here to see, so move along” usually means there ‘is’ something to see and stay put until you see it.
Rough translation of the letter, just to make sure I understand:
“We say we care, but we really don’t. We say we’d like to help, but we really won’t. And legally, we owe you neither diddly nor squat–but we’ll pray for you!”
Their cowardly act of hiding behind their Bylaws truly captures the essence of what Jesus meant when He quoted Isaiah,
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
There is a vast difference between living by the letter of the Law and living by the Spirit of it. As a Baptist myself, I am utterly appalled that they apparently cannot grasp the difference between doing the right thing and doing only what is contractually or legally required of them. Their hollow letter is full of empty words written from empty hearts, fully intent on doing nothing. How very sad.
According to the 2020 Convention Annual, SBC Executive Committee chairman Rolland Slade has replaced Mike Stone on the Credentials Committee. Rest are the same.
A few words about abuse were uttered (by Slade) at the September 2020 virtual meeting of the SBC Executive Committee. But a reporter who inquired whether any specific actions were being taken was told, check back maybe next year:
“Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, announced that the issue is ‘personal’ for him because his wife is a survivor…’I encourage you to listen. You don’t have to solve it but you need to listen and share with them how much you care and what has happened to them is not what God would have happen in the church’.”
“Jon Wilke, media relations director for the Executive Committee, told Religion News Service before Tuesday’s meeting that the credentials committee ‘continues to meet virtually and work on churches submitted for disfellowship’. He said the committee could not bring any new recommendations to the full Executive Committee until it meets in person again. The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for February 2021.”
video of September Zoom meeting of the SBC Executive Committee:
Roland Slade: “We need to figure a way, and I hope that over the next couple years we get a chance to really drill down and find a way that we can deal with this issue in the Southern Baptist Convention”
JDGreear, brief lipservice on abuse, says he echoes what Slade said.
Much, much more time spent hyping his push for rebranding as ‘Great Commission Baptists’
RonnieFloyd lays out “our seven priorities for the next year”.
1. Cooperative Program giving
2. ‘Vision 2025’ [?]
3. biblical stewardship campaign: ‘Ten Percent’
4. maximize attendance at 2021 SBC Annual Meeting
5. continual, effective communication
6. pray for America
7. break record for Lottie Moon Christmas offering for missions
“We care about you and other survivors.”
it’s funny…. saying one thing sort of passionately, and righteously. and then actions/inactions that make it all null & void.
seems to me there’s only one thing that makes this kind of cognitive dissonance not a problem for someone:
their paycheck (and pathway to power)
(ok, that was 2 things)
BOY, THIS SURE SOUNDS LIKE JESUS!!
I contacted Jules once to talk about something. We DMed on Twitter quickly a few times, set up a phone call an hour later, talked for 45 minutes, and it was done. All within a few hours. Jules is very, very easy to get a hold of. The fact that they couldn’t get a hold of her means they didn’t try very hard.
This letter terrifies me.
I am terrified on behalf of all those who are victims. Because it seems that they won’t see justice done in this world.
I am terrified on behalf of the writers and leaders of the SBC, because they will see justice done in the next world.
They lied about reading her blog which doesn’t exist. I would assume they are lying about a lot of things.
Thank you for your detailed comment. I plan to make sure Jules sees this. She is so done with the SBC as am I. Ads always, you are amazing at providing us with information.
I am terrified for the many people who have been abused in the SBC and think that *maybe this time* they will do the rightthing. So many people tried to convince me that my cynicism regarding Caring Weel was unwarranted. They said JD would be different. I was correct. He is just the sane old, same old dressed in tight jeans and $250 sneakeers.
More money?! 3 of the 7 priorities are directed at getting deeper into the pockets of SBC members.
Vision?! If there really was a vision for 2025 (beyond an expansion of New Calvinism) – like fulfilling the Great Commission – Southern Baptists would give to the work willingly without more-money campaigns.
Increase annual meeting attendance?! Mainline (non-Calvinist) Southern Baptists don’t attend the annual meetings like they used to (multiple thousands) because the leadership and agendas were already decided before they got there. The SBC is controlled by a few New Calvinist elites who decide everything … so why spend the energy and money to go vote?
Continual, effective communication?! I’d say the New Calvinists have already been communicating effectively. The continual deception with smooth words has managed to fool millions of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists long enough to take over their denomination!
Pray for America ‘next’ year?! Lord, I hope they were praying for the nation in 2020. Whew!
They also lied in this letter. They claim to have read Jules’ blog. She doesn’t have a blog. If they lied about that, they probably lied about many, many things.
Note how they didn;t use his name in the letter. He’s one of them.
SBC’s new normal is the old abnormal. There’s not room for old folks like me who are dressed and in their right minds when they go to church.
How brutal and inhumane of them.
The unspoken is God is the absent and busy manager in the back only the professional Christians in this scenario can see. Or God manager is off at headquarters that only they have access to. They had to go consult God manager on behalf of Jules because Jules doesn’t have direct access and she doesn’t need to be involved she has to just sit and wait until they come in with the verdict.
“God said he doesn’t see any problem now but understands that it was a problem back then. We and God are sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused. Would you like one of our $25 gift cards…er…”trauma-informed” counselors for your troubles?”
(Meanwhile their whole response is the opposite of trauma informed.)
“The Credentials Committee desires to reach out to you personally and inform you of our decision regarding Stonebridge Church.”
They obviously chose to keep the focus on the church, rather than the man. It’s a communication game … you clear the church, everyone in it gets cleared.
But, here’s the way it’s supposed to work. Jules was abused at Woodlands (= Stonebridge). Bradley was/is senior pastor. Accountability floats up. Bradley has not effectively dealt with this situation as he should have, given his role as shepherd of the whole flock. There is no statute of limitations in the Kingdom of God – confession and repentance for the way Jules was treated by church leaders should still be forthcoming.
Good ole boys.
A victim is a survivor is a witness is evidence, and is powerful.
There’s nothing good about good ole boys posing as men of God.
“I am terrified for the many people who have been abused in the SBC and think that *maybe this time* they will do the right thing.”
time is so up. (although that sounds funny)
in my view, it’s long past time for the legal option.
The cold logic of the sociopath: people without compassion do not even comprehend compassion. Maybe the “S” in SBC refers to Sociopath.
You’re not surprised are you?
Theirs is a brutal and inhumane religion.
Unfortunately I am not surprised. I attended SBC seminary and was involved in the SBC church scene and am still not okay from the experience. I left before I finished because of how poorly I was treated as a woman (but sometimes it felt like it was something even more than that?) – and as well when I tried to address systemic issues I was dismissed and talked down to (this while being academically a top student in every class). I am still so heartbroken and I left over 4 years ago.
The SGM cover up and parading Mahaney around is when it all came to a head and caused a great disturbance within me. I remember wanting to vomit when I read the public court testimonies. I found Christa Brown’s story and website and many other things and it all started crashing and made sense of the things I was sensing and experiencing in their systems.
Like Dee, I did not believe the Caring Well initiative would go well.
I attended the Summit when I was in seminary and have been dissapointed with JD, SBC leadership, and especially the recent hire of Bryan Lorrits.
I have slowly been opening going back to finish my degree elsewhere and a lot of my research interests are directly tied to what I saw transpire in the SBC.
A lot of issues are *in* the theology, in my opinion, so it seems rather unlikely the SBC will be able to make a full transformative change.
Someday, someone will write a best-seller about the shenanigans of SBC elites which destroyed a once-great evangelistic denomination. Why? Because a few passionate misdirected souls desired to take the SBC back to its Calvinistic theological roots without asking the millions of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists if they wanted to go there! SBC was distinctly non-Calvinist in belief and practice for over 150 years following the Civil War … until Al Mohler and his band of New Calvinists came on the scene. Yep, it will be an interesting read … but it’ll make you cry.
May I just give a shout-out to those currently in SBC churches, whether as lay-people or pastors, who love Jesus and love the hurting and are absolutely disgusted by what is happening in the upper echelons of the SBC right now?
And may I ask the difficult question… you may vote at your conventions, but when are you going to also vote with your feet and your pocketbooks? There are plenty of other missions organizations doing great and Godly work that would be incredibly blessed by whatever you would ordinarily send to the IMB or Lottie Moon fund. What is the SBC really doing for you that can’t be found elsewhere?
“I attended SBC seminary and was involved in the SBC church scene and am still not okay from the experience. I left before I finished because of how poorly I was treated as a woman (but sometimes it felt like it was something even more than that?)”
can you shed light on the ‘something even more than that’?
i’m very sorry for what you experienced. it just sucks.
“A lot of issues are *in* the theology, in my opinion, so it seems rather unlikely the SBC will be able to make a full transformative change.”
if theology is destructive, if ‘biblical’ is destructive….
God is bigger than both.
now i think i’ll go fly a kite and send it soaring…
In all sincerity, if it was good enough for Mary Poppins, it’s good enough for me.
Jules can assure this committee that she has HER OWN access to trauma-informed counselors, but needs them to finance her on-going need to continue therapy as needed in the future. How condescending to suggest she take the ones to whom they “have access,” which often constitutes a conflict of interests for both the counselor and the counselee. I say this as one who was put on probation, along with my husband, so that we were required to go to the counselors the SBC’s International Mission Board agreed to pay for in the expectation that we make the right statements if we were to continue our employment as missionaries “in peace.” Beware of such arranged help!
love that song. just listened to it this morning.
and to be clear, there is a difference between the bible and ‘biblical’ (which, in its current usage, is either an offensive or defensive weapon).
“They also lied in this letter. They claim to have read Jules’ blog. She doesn’t have a blog. If they lied about that, they probably lied about many, many things.”
maybe it’s a form letter.
they just change the names and send it out.
what are the names of these people on the Credentials Committee?
biblical stewardship campaign: ‘Ten Percent’ — hmmm, where is 10% very often used in a “biblical“ — though often proof-texted — context? why, in the consistent giving of $$$. Oh, wait, Floyd wrote a book entitled Ten Percent: A Call to Biblical Stewardship that just happens to be highlighted at this link:
Ten Percent: A Call To Biblical Stewardship focuses on six main principles:
* God is the owner of everything
* We own absolutely nothing
* Honor God with at least the first ten percent
* Bring the full ten percent to the church
* Practice over-and-above giving
* Focus on the Great Commission always
As previously mentioned, I came across some literature from an SBC church that reportedly had gone massively over budget for a building project –– we’re talking millions — and now wants prayer for people to give generously to cover outstanding debts. What a shock that these are the verses they highlighted for people to study as they prayed about quickly paying off the debt (verses that appear reasonable to figure may be used as a basis for Floyd’s baseline giving percentages and destination):
Malachi 3:8-10 — “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, yet you—the whole nation—are still robbing Me. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD of Hosts. “See if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you blessing without measure.”
Seems to be a lot of presuppositions in taking an Old Testament requirement for national Israel and transporting it to the current day without proper contextualization, no? Amongst other issues, last I checked, the “local church“ is usually not a literal storehouse for fruit and grain offerings to feed priests and Levitical servants.
The verses specify the whole nation, which had the blessing/curse type of covenant related to the land that they had been given. The fact that the SBC church included in their evident prooftext the verses related to robbing and cursing appears to align quite well with a burden shift away from the paid staff for the debt and reported overrun issue and to those whom the former purport to serve. Too many who speak of Christian liberty in sone areas seem to want to promote a “give, or else CURSE because of you robbers” mindset rather than risk new covenant liberty on giving that might not easily cover a multitude of Christian industrial complex excesses. Too often, this can fit hand-in-glove with an autocratic, top-down, winsome sheep-shearing operation without sufficient accountability, transparency, and oversight.
Mike Lawson, chairman (current SBC Executive Committee member, pastor First Baptist Sherman) TEXAS
Jimmy Draper (SBC President in 1980s, president of Lifeway until 2006) TEXAS
Roger Spradlin (BFM2000 committee, former chairman SBC Executive Committee, pastor Valley Baptist Bakersfield) CALIFORNIA
Rolland Slade (current chairman SBC Executive Committee, pastor Meridian Baptist El Cajon) CALIFORNIA
Greg Fields (former member SBC Committee on Committees, pastor Nellis Baptist Las Vegas) NEVADA
Cheryl Rice (wife of former chairman of SBC Committee on Committees) FLORIDA
Stacy Bramlett (current SBC Executive Committee member) TENNESSEE
Kathy Litton (current national Registration Secretary of SBC) ALABAMA
Linda Cooper (current national President Women’s Missionary Union) KENTUCKY
Thank you for this list of people who have no intention of doing anything about churches who do not report sex abuse.
Our church decided to NOT give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for next year. The corruption and fiscal mismanagement of NAMB encouraged us to collect funds for a different cause elsewhere. Besides, they have at least $200 million in the bank, so they won’t miss our paltry offering anyway! I hope other SBC churches will follow suit.
I think there was multiple competing things going on, other than just being a woman. Like…the SBC is a subculture in itself and if you’re not well connected or doing the right things in the unspoken SBC way there is a lot working against you. A feeling that things and relationships and conversations aren’t ever what they seem. There’s always a code you can’t pick up on that’s always changing so you can’t really decipher it or different rules and regulations depending on what day it is and who you’re talking to. People are rarely saying what they really mean and feel so you have to do all this extra work and mind reading (something no one can do) to try and survive. When in healthy contexts relationships and things are clear and just as they appear. There’s a clear way of navigating things and relating.
Also..Like the feeling you’re being watched but you’re also systemically invisible at the same time? You’re treated as a threat but also treated as a non-factor and easily dismissed. It seems contradictory but both things are going on at the same.
It was like I was deemed not “good SBC supply” so I wasn’t seen as valuable or worthy but also because I wasn’t “good SBC supply” I also needed to be monitored to see what I would do.
Sorry if that sounds vague I’m just trying to explain it without going into a ton of personal detail.
Numero cinco ahora?
Isn’t that a description of PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE and ABUSIVE ENVIRONMENT?
Where the Secret Rules and Power Relationships are constantly changing and no matter what you do, YOU GET PUNISHED?
No matter which decision you make, it’s THE WRONG ONE and YOU GET PUNISHED?
“When We Say ‘ABC’, YOU SHOULD KNOW WE REALLY MEAN ‘XYZ’!!!!”?
Two Plus Two Equals Five one minute and PURPLE! the next and YOU GET PUNISHED?
But that’s still over $500 million short of Kenneth Copeland!
Because sex abuse has become a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.
Who are mere Lowborn Tithing Units to raise hand against GAWD’s Anointed PRIESTHOOD?
Isn’t that THE HERESY OF CLERICALISM?
That only The PRIESTS Matter to God and the rest of us can all Go To Hell?
That only The PRIESTS Can Talk To God (and get Answers that always seem to benefit Themselves)?
“WE THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT WE ARE NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPIST PRIESTS OVER THERE!!!”
“BUT EVERYTHING WE DID WAS LEGAL!!!”
— local law firm who all got disbarred en masse for running an OSHA-compliance extortion scheme
Couple of random thoughts: in the Malachi verses re bringing the tithe into the storehouse, if memory is serving me correctly this morning the people were doing their part. It was the priests who were not putting it all in the storehouse. Grifters in charge.
And off topic, but it isn’t only the SBC or sex abuse that devalues peoples lives. Google the Bethel offshoot church in Tulsa holding huge mass meetings, no distancing or masks and singing loudly.
Red, blue, or purple whatever your political leanings, that is going to get someone dead.
In my experience they tend to respond with scripts. Its a way to avoid relationship and self reflection on their part. You can control a monologue when you’re the one giving it. Meanwhile saying “Glad to have this conversation!” after the monologue ends, while the other person didn’t get to say anything and freely express themselves.
It was also my experience that the scripts (whether written or said across a table from you) rarely have much to do with the issue you or someone else is saying or bringing to the table. Nothing really gets solved. Everything seems mostly decided before the conversation even begins.
Going off that…it’s like when JD mentioned names from the Caring Well stage that he and others had no intention of sitting down across from and listening to their story and working on a restitution plan and way of recovery. It was beyond messed up to use their names like that.
Jules had to overfunction and constantly do the right thing and follow all the changing rules only to have them change over and over again to receive…what? Nothing?
A lot of what I’ve seen from the SBC and similar groups is there is little to no institutional or personal responsibility for wrongs done. So God gets the scapegoat role. There is a systemic and institutional pattern of sexual and spiritual abuse in the SBC. Their response after ignoring the problems for years is “Good luck!” God will take care of them! I’ll pray that God blesses you as you go on in life. Meanwhile all the damage is there and God is now tasked with all the clean up. What if the way God wants to heal and nurture the healing of victims is for the SBC to take personal and institutional responsibility for what they’ve done?
The SBC acts like everything is outside them – the victims whose stories don’t make them look good, the healing that victims have to go through, what happens to victims lives after they leave the SBC. The answers are within and in the mirror, and they’re trying to avoid looking at it. The answers have already been there for decades and have been given to them by plenty of people who have been tossed aside from the SBC.
Its like if you have to tell someone, “Hey, have you ever thought about how maybe you shouldn’t murder people?” the problems are way too far gone and the institution or person is already over and past helping. Things have to come to an immediate halt and a full tear down has to take place.
“Hey, SBC, have you ever thought about how you should care about SBC abuse victims?” Even having to say that is a problem. Why don’t they already immediately care, why do people, especially victims have to overfunction toward them to receive basic human decency, and why haven’t they been paying attention for decades?
Indeed! The COVID crisis has put many Americans out of work. Local SBC churches have mission fields of hurting, hungry people right in their backyards. They should support their neighbors who they see, rather than mailing funds into the great unseen & unknown which is SBC these days.
Taking over thousands of traditional non-Calvinist SBC churches by stealth and deception for the glory of Calvin.
I’ve lived in The Woodlands for 10 years now, and had no clue about their denominational affiliation. Not that I really cared enough to pay close attention.
That’s quite common across the American landscape now. The new breed of SBC pastors prefer to hide that affiliation. I suppose they feel that both “Southern” and “Baptist” are not good attractors for the predestined elect they are gathering for Calvin.
Frankly Max, the way they are all acting, I for one would prefer that they KEEP ‘Baptist’ out of their names! They’re almost unrecognizable from the traditional “Baptist-ness” with which I am familiar.
There are no fewer than five Southern Baptist churches in our community, and our church is the only one with “Baptist” still in our name…but “First Church” would sound kind of stupid anyhow! 🙂
This is my experience as well. Along with some good old fashioned sexism in the form of “You’re a woman, so we’ll just decide things for you.”
I hope this inspires the NY Times to do an update on Jules. What a crock this statement is!
Frankly, Root, I would have preferred that the New Calvinists start their own thing rather than messing SBC up … or perhaps join PCA. SBC’s non-Calvinist masses are just now waking up to the fact that their Baptist identity has been replaced by Calvin … but their concern is too little too late … it’s a done deal at this point.
none of that surprises me, but it’s kind of breathtaking to see it all laid out in as you described.
it sounds like a big ball of several mental illnesses / personality disorders / behavioral conditions / toxic relationships / manipulative’ness’, all mishmashed together, in constantly-changing proportions.
If it’s like the First Baptist Church in my community, it is already under the influence of New Calvinism, with a subtle Calvinization taking place through SBC literature and young pastors who have come in through the back door just waiting to do their dastardly deeds for the glory of Calvin.
Yeah, like they don’t talk about Jesus much … genuine evangelism (of the Gospel sort) is non-existent … their version of outreach is to reach folks for Calvin, not Christ. Not very Baptist or even Christian, IMHO.
as far as ” A feeling that things and relationships and conversations aren’t ever what they seem”, maybe this is relevant:
i’ve noticed that in hierarchical cultures, everyone is passive aggressive. you are not allowed to challenge or question the one with power. and there’s always someone with more power than you.
the only option is passive aggression.
which becomes a way of life – even when transplanted to a context without hierarchy.
personalities sort of become misshapen.
i’ve noticed this in my career (music education) — one parent in particular, from a hierarchical culture.
when the music lesson is over, normal parents pick up on the cue that it’s time to leave. they gather their things, start to stand up, and make their way to the door. not this parent.
he comes up with a bevy of new ways to refuse to respond to the cue that the lesson is over and it’s time to leave. he has a whole toolbox of things.
he’s asleep, he’s deep into working on his computer, he’s daydreaming, he’s having a pleasant moment of relaxation staring off into space, he starts a conversation with one of his kids about something irrelevant and they just sit there going on and on ignoring me completely,… all of it manufactured and pretend.
i’m standing there, they ignore me completely.
it’s the weirdest, most unnatural thing.
but it is how he survives: because his power is always being taken away by those in even minimally higher positions, he seizes power where and when he can.
when he refuses to acknowledge the obvious cue that it’s time to leave, he has the power. he is in control.
it’s infuriating. it’s pathetic. i don’t exactly feel sorry for him.
Yes, but you have to remember–the SBC has deep pockets, which is why they are being exploited by this bunch. They will probably go after the PCA once they bleed us Baptists dry. Sadly, most churches don’t realize they are being had until it’s too late!
In Romans 13, Paul warned us to be vigilant:
“…It is already the hour for you to awaken from your sleep [of spiritual complacency]; for our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed [in Christ]. (Amplified)
Exactly. Mohler and the Mohlerites want SBC’s stuff. They have been brilliant in Calvinizing the largest non-Calvinist Protestant denomination in America … SBC’s millions of non-Calvinist members didn’t even know it was happening! Mohler is brilliant, I tell you! The New Calvinist now control all SBC seminaries, publishing house, home and foreign mission agencies, and thousands of once-non Calvinist churches. They looted and plundered while the giant slept.
I’ve got to give Mohler some kudos for one thing–he is definitely slick! Our former pastor was a trustee at Southern Seminary and he swore up and down to me that Mohler was NOT a Calvinist! I don’t understand how he couldn’t realize that…especially after hearing Mohler talk!
“Slick” implies smooth, polished, skillful, masterly. “Slimy” would be a better descriptor, I think.
Whew! Where has he been for the last 20 years?!!!
Your situation is only funny when watching through the eyes of the Office or Parks and Recreation. It is another to experience first hand without a camera crew to look over at and roll your eyes while its happening!
People reverting to passive aggressiveness seems to add up. Maybe for those not in power it’s mostly fear driven and a subconscious need to keep in pace to survive. Everyone becomes defensive and suspicious of each other. Then in churches and Christian orgs there is a lot of grandiosity and God talk hovering in and over everything. Though I think there is grandiosity outside Christian circles animating agendas and hierarchy, too.
I agree with psychologists and sociologists who observe that people tend to revert to childhood roles and childlike behavior in systems and environments that aren’t healthy. I notice that in myself. It seems like you sense the parent forgets to shut off his passive aggressive switch from childhood and from the work place when he comes to class.
Meanwhile, other developments in the Christian Industrial Complex:
I find it quit surprising that “ The SBC Credentials Committee” is willing to write such a letter… amazing hubris
They took great care with this one so they could pull it from the file as a form letter for future application … and at this rate, there will be a future need to address failed ministers and ministries (consider the hundreds of bad-boy SBC pastors reported by the Houston Chronicle).
Like Reichsminister Speer, he has “arranged his mind” to see nothing wrong with the System that personally benefits him.
There is no longer any “Christ”, only CALVIN.
CALVIN who Has God All Figured Out.
How Dare God do anything other than what CALVIN Hath Said He hath been Predestined to DO!
This is called “It’s All Over But The Screaming.”
Kind of like finally waking up and getting a clue while on the cattle car enroute to Auschwitz.
“I’LL PRAY FOR YOU(TM) IS CHRISTIANESE FOR DOING NOTHING AND FEELING ALL PIOUS AND RIGHTEOUS ABOUT IT.
This is EXACTLY what happens in complementarian relationships where, as John Piper so winsomely puts it, women are to use their “indirect influence” instead of their “direct influence.” Manipulation, meet Passive Aggression.
That stinkin’ thinkin’ is an outgrowth of the derivative-of-man heresy promoted by Bruce Ware:
“It may be best to understand the original creation of male and female as one in which the male was made in the image of God in a direct, unmediated and unilateral fashion, while the female was made image of God through the man and hence in a indirect, mediated and derivative fashion.” – Bruce Ware
Women who have been ensnared by New Calvinism need to rise up en masse and shout “Enough is enough!”, start applying some “direct influence” on their husbands/boyfriends and drag their sorry butts out of this mess!
Is complementarianism covert misogyny sanctioned by misguided theology? If so, it is dangerous.
“Misogyny is the thread that connects all of these armed white incels. Documented here: https://donlewis-2215.medium.com/kyle-rittenhouse-is-free-a-domestic-violence-duo-greets-him-7762a52392aa ” – Nina Burleigh
Admitted murderer is out on bail … “Free — A Domestic Violence Duo Greets Him. Attorney John Pierce & Ricky Schroeder greet him. Domestic violence issues have plagued both.” – Don Lewis
Men (of any color or ethnicity or religion, any profession – including pastors & police) who engage in domestic violence are a danger to society (all society). End of story.
While the “beauty of complementarity” may not have originated from a hatred of women, it’s definitely a theological avenue to enslave them. Complementarianism may be a beautiful thing to authoritative men, but it’s an ugly thing to women if it manifests itself in bondage and oppression.
“if” it manifests itself in the bondage and oppression of women.
“as” it manifests itself in the bondage and oppression of women.
Yes, “as” would be a better conjunction in regard to the “beauty of complementarity.” Complementarianism is a form of human bondage which distorts Scripture to enslave female believers.
Institutional integrity and civility are maintained via consequences. Sociopaths in schools/jobs/public are checked by CONSEQUENCES not LOOPHOLES, not “forgiveness”. WHERE ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IN THE CHURCH? What’s missing!
Re: Forgiveness. Forgiveness has CONSEQUENCES: the fruit of repentance as described in Luke 3 and Acts 3 and as demonstrated by Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus compensated x4 for what he had taken.
Where are the church predators paying back the money they took as grifters? x4? Where are the church predators paying for the counseling and recuperation of the minors they violated? x4?
Repentance and forgiveness are never a whitewash, according to the Bible.
Without consequences, and the fruit of repentance, it is guaranteed this behavior will continue. The sociopath will always thrive in any institution where they can practice without consequences.
You provide an accurate assessment of the status quo in the Christian Industrial Complex. Unfortunately, sin and repentance are missing words in much of the contemporary church in America.
“IF My people … THEN will I” (2 Chronicles 7:14) still challenges the American church to get it right. But will we? Will we humble ourselves, pray, seek God and turn from ‘our’ wicked ways … without it, there will be no forgiveness and healing of our nation. Jesus still shouts from Heaven “Repent or else!” … I have a feeling that “else” will continue to sweep over America in the days ahead.
“This is EXACTLY what happens in complementarian relationships where, as John Piper so winsomely puts it, women are to use their “indirect influence” instead of their “direct influence.” Manipulation, meet Passive Aggression.”
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWD!!! I just loath this kind of behavior. it’s so dishonest, so disingenuous.
Speak your mind, women and men.
What do you need? What do you want? What’s wrong? What’s right? What’s incorrect? What’s correct? What’s hurtful? What’s confusing? what’s dangerous? What’s a crock o’ horsesh|t? What’s foolish? What’s unwise? What’s wise and advisable? What’s helpful? What’s the wrong way to do something? What’s the right way to do something? What’s the best way to do something?
Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
Women, you see the big picture. you know right away when something’s stupid, when something is being done poorly, when it’s a train wreck waiting to happen.
Say so. Regardless of who it is.
It’s ALWAYS a Beautiful Thing when YOU’re the one who Holds the Whip.
Institutional integrity is maintained via consequences.
Fact: in admin posts (work places, government, churches), where the myth of untouchable patriarchal white male leadership* prevails, and therefore no consequences, what thrives?
Sociopaths thrive in any institution where they engage w/out consequences. Shoe fits.
*A myth perpetuated by both some men & some women.
love those consequences.
my kids even appreciate them (well, the ones from years ago. current consequences, not so much.)
i also appreciate consequences for myself. it keeps me honest, on track, and towards higher caliber achievements. keeps things in balanced in tension.
The myth of the untouchable patriarchal white male leadership does not. Love consequences.
This is exactly one of the crocks-o’-horse-poo-poo elastigirl mentioned up-thread.
If anything, woman is doubly refined, and twice removed from the mud Adam was sculpted from.
My wife is! I tell her often that she is one of the most godly men I know. 🙂
Muff Potter: woman is doubly refined
“My wife is! I tell her often that she is one of the most godly men I know. ”
and Max, you are truly one of the most doubly refined women I know.
Thanks, elastigirl … that’s the nicest thing a Wartburger has said to me.
I do find it interesting that Adam was considered “incomplete” without Eve. Nowhere (that I’m aware of) does it say that Eve was incomplete without Adam. I would think that speaks more highly of Eve than of Adam, but that’s just me.
I wonder what John Piper does with this?
I’ve wondered what his wife Noel does with this? She’s got to be getting very muscular walking up three flights of stairs to take him tea when he rings his little bell.
That’s what I was thinking, especially after the inaccuracies that Dee pointed out.
Goes to show how incompetent the SBC Credentials Committee is. They can’t even edit a form letter to look anything like a convincing piece of correspondence.
That sounds absolutely horrible and crazy-making. In fact, to me it sounds exactly like Mark Studdock’s experience of the N.I.C.E., the evil Satanic organization in C.S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”.
In other words, the exact opposite of what a Christian institution should be.
My thoughts, as well. According to the Houston Chronicle series, hundreds of SBC pastors have committed sexual abuse and/or covered up abuse. The Credentials Committee will need to have a form letter on hand.
Does Piper discuss the size or girth of women and men? And what is his take on this, since, if you’ve seen them together at conferences, Mrs. has far greater girth than Mr., case in point? It’s irrelevant, except, wondering if the talk lines up with or contradicts the walk …
“Thank you for this list of people who have no intention of doing anything about churches who do not report sex abuse.”
The SBC’s Credentialing Committee is like the insurance industry.
their purpose is to not pay.
“people” – not just people. They are on the dole of the SBC & entitled as “leaders” of the same.
Dee, if you thought your blog was one-and-done back in the day when you began this dialogue, this expose, sorry to disappoint. This denial and cover-up goes on and on, with numbers of predatory pastors & predatory church engagers increasing daily, $upported by those in the pew. Church is a hunting ground for sociopaths & active criminals. No end in sight.
… who should be in the jailhouse not the church house! The number of pulpit perverts is reaching Biblical proportion. I keep waiting for the earth to open up and swallow thousands of them.
Not sure if he has written anything about waste size … but he has said some creepy things about muscular women, such as “there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club.”
A strange little man … but there is a great multitude of strange little men in American pulpits these days. I’m convinced that many go into the ministry to fulfill their fantasies. Some of the things that Piper tweets creep me out, but his followers still idolize him (which says a lot about his followers). The New Calvinist movement is drifting toward antinomianism.
The insurance industry is probably the biggest legal racket there ever was.
I don’t think the helpmate / companion process from Genesis 2 goes down a path of incompleteness that shows one can be self-sufficient and the other one not. It does relate to compatibility as far as marriage, but doesn’t appear to be a universal command that everyone be married. Paul certainly didn’t preach that either men or women needed the other in a direct marriage relationship to be sufficient and of value.
Roy Hazelwood, FBI criminal profiler & Christian family man, as well as Vidoq Society founder Richard Walter, also a profiler, have established that all criminality is seeded by a fantasy.
The Bible seems to agree: “Everyone is tempted when he is carried away and driven by his own desire [fantasy]. Then when desire has conceived, it births sin [deeds]; and when sin [the mission] is accomplished, it brings death. Do not be deceived, brothers and sisters.” from James 1.
The blind leading the voluntarily-led blind, to desire & destruction & death. Church. (Some, not all? Most? Headed that direction? So we have Dones & Nones?)
Truth. Whole personhood.
For example, consider his November 11 tweet:
““Your heart was proud because of your beauty.” Ezekiel 28:17
Spoken to a king.
Relevant for all pretty women and handsome men.
And those who crave to be.”
(I bet Piper craves to be handsome)
yes, beware of the slippery slope of looking one’s best. much more godly not to take care of yourself, and to present yourself poorly.
I was so ugly when I was a child, they tied a pork chop around my neck so the dog would play with me. That’s why I am so humble today.
That and perhaps having read one or two Jay Adams and/or Heath Lambert books…
Shouldn’t the Credentials Committee take a look at J.D. Greear’s church? Heck, members there didn’t realize they were affiliated with SBC until Greear started being groomed by the SBC who’s-who to eventually become SBC President! Yep, the Credentials Committee should be concerned about church leaders who hide church membership in the SBC for whatever reason.