SBC’s David Allen, Incoming EC President Jeff Iorg, and the “Always Irritable” Pastor Mac Brunson Believe That Sex Abuse in the SBC Is a Distraction From “Real Ministry.”

A vertical image features a bright, shimmering portion of the Milky Way galaxy above a massive antenna dish. NASA-JPL

“We must stop regarding unpleasant or unexpected things as interruptions of real life. The truth is that interruptions are real life.— C. S. Lewis

Sex abuse victims are a distraction, according to David Allen.

Before I discuss the following video, would you watch it? Dr. David Allen is running for SBC President while serving as a Dean at Mid-America Baptist Seminary in Tennessee, even though his Twitter page shows him residing in Plano, TX. He was speaking at Mac Brunson’s latest church, @ValleydaleSBC. Brunson and I go way back to the start of this blog, but more on that later.

Approximately an hour ago, Allen appeared to try to clean up his statements, but I found his explanation confusing.

His points are:

  • There are currently 42 lawsuits against SBC entities.
  • These need to be addressed in a financially responsible way.
  • The main things are missions, evangelism, gospel preaching, and church planting.
  • The sex abuse crisis is not the main thing.
  • The sex abuse crisis is a “distraction.”
  • The sex abuse crisis is not newsworthy.
  • The sex abuse crisis is financially draining the Executive Committee.
  • There needs to be justice for those falsely accused. (Who are they?)
  • There is no mention of showing compassion to sex abuse victims.

Dave Pittman vs. Mac Brunson and who is who regarding super nasty character assassination.

Baptist News Global posted Candidate for SBC president stirs a storm by saying sexual abuse cases are a ‘distraction.‘ Dave Pittman, responding to Allen’s comments, said:

Clergy sexual abuse survivor David Pittman tweeted: “Thank you for exposing your heart by referring to us as distractions.”

So Mac Brunson, who has a history of intimidating those who disagree with him, said.

Brunson replied to Pittman: “That is disingenuous at best and a distortion of what he said. He stated very clearly that it was an issue that had to be dealt with. Many, many are fed up with this kind of character assassination.”

The summer after I started this blog, I followed Tom Rich and even got a phone call from the state attorney of Florida. Mac Brunson was in the process of assisting the decline of the formerly huge FBC Jacksonville. Tom, whom I now consider an old friend, was the then-anonymous blogger @FBCJaxWatchdog (affectionately known as The Dawg.) I think Mac Brunson was the first to block me. Here is how Wikipedia pens it.

In April 2009 a police detective who is also a member of Brunson’s security detail investigated the website of a blogger critical of Brunson’s $300,000 salary and other perks. Discussing the accusations, Brunson said he was one of the lowest-paid mega-church pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. The anonymous blogger’s name was revealed to the church, and a trespass warning was issued that banned the longtime member and his wife from First Baptist.[11] The blogger later filed a lawsuit against First Baptist and Brunson, claiming they committed fraud and misrepresented events, and that the pastor made malicious and false statements.[12] In April 2012 the defamation lawsuit was settled under confidential terms. Brunson made a public apology for his statements, in which he had called the blogger “obsessive compulsive” and a “sociopath”.[13]

Yep, he called my friend a “sociopath,” and it hit the local news! There was a confidential settlement for assassinating Tom’s character. I enjoyed listening to Mac’s public apology. I thought he was going to become apoplectic. I reviewed Brunson’s assassination of Tom Rich in 2012.

Mac Brunson, what a way to treat a well-known SBC abuse victim. You were mean to Tom Rich, and 15 years later, you are mean to Dave Pittman. It looks like you’ve locked in on your pattern of “character assassination.”

Jeff Iorg, Incoming President and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee: Most church members are not interested in the sex abuse distraction.

TWW reader “Jerome” noted that in 2023, writing in The Gateway, Iorg had this to say:

If you only follow SBC issues on the media, your perspective will be slanted toward the problems which supposedly define our denomination. We seem to be focused on the roles of women in ministry, sexual abuse, abortion, national politics, and internal conflicts over money, polity, and entity management. Reality is quite a bit different. Most churches are not divided about these issues. In fact, most church members aren’t even interested in them. They are concerned about making rent, getting their kids through school, caring for their aging parents, and dealing with daily job stresses in a challenging economic environment.

… We are a huge enterprise which will always have problems, distractions, and conflicts. That’s not really news. What’s truly newsworthy is how much we accomplish in spite of those challenges.


  • The membership isn’t interested in all these distractions.
  • It seems that the SBC continues to lose members. So some of them aren’t interested in the SBC either.
  • Is “distraction” going to be the new code word for sex abuse in the SBC?


Jesus’ ministry was focused on the lost, the letdown, and the looking. He cared about those abused by the synagogue, the Roman occupation, and the wealthy. He focused on the sick and disabled. The real ministry involves seeing why the system in the SBC has caused so many people to be abused and harmed. In Luke 15, Jesus talked about running  after the one “sheep who was lost.” It seems like the SBC is happy to show them the back door as they plan the next most fabulous ministry idea. The sex abuse victim is a priority, not a distraction. God has set them in front of you.

CS Lewis said it well.

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.


@jaymallow3  on Twitter had this to say, which I thought was spot on.

Cause I’m sure having a multi million dollar organization that both does and doesn’t exist isn’t in the Bible anywhere.”


SBC’s David Allen, Incoming EC President Jeff Iorg, and the “Always Irritable” Pastor Mac Brunson Believe That Sex Abuse in the SBC Is a Distraction From “Real Ministry.” — 43 Comments

  1. The gospels are full of stories of people interrupting Jesus while he was busy doing something else (I think most, if not all, the accounts of miraculous healing start this way).

    The only time I can think of when Jesus told off someone for distracting him from his real work? Peter when he tried to argue with Jesus predicting his own death.

    People in need of help are not a distraction from the real work of Christ in the world. They/we ARE the work.

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  2. The bad news is: SBC has become a distraction to the Kingdom of God on various fronts … sex abuse, spiritual abuse, good ole boy networks that promote and protect bad boys, drifting theology (New Calvinism), shifting ecclesiology (elder rule), stealth & deception in taking over traditional (non-Calvinist) churches, female bondage to the beauty of complementarity, SBC leaders who shouldn’t be leading anything, etc. etc.

    The good news is: the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now doesn’t need SBC to accomplish its mission on earth.

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  3. Yes R. Real ministry is dividing your bread with the poor, not asking for more of it. It is opening your home, especially if your home is very large, to those trying to escape abuse. Nathan correcting King David, God’s words poured out from him, then leaving him to feel the weight of his sin, is ministry.

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  4. Dear Misters Brunson and Iorg,
    Do ya think Jesus has Attention Deficit Disorder? I mean, the way He just stopped in his tracks and reacted to people who approached him just out of the blue….. big red flag there, huh?
    Anyway, you’d better hope He’s easily distracted. Someday, you guys are gonna be wishing for some distractions…..
    Humbleness, meekness, humility, obvious love for others, and heartfelt concerns for and a desire to help the downtrodden ….. and all that Jesuseee stuff is just not part of your oh-so-biblical lexicon.

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  5. Great post, Dee. It’s time these guys look in the mirror and realize they are a primary reason the SBC is in decline. People watched for several decades as these men promoted themselves and their pals, protected, promoted, defended, and collaborated with frauds (Ergun Caner, Darrel Gilyard), and now they complain that too much attention is being paid to the sexual abuse claims that have come to light.

    People have watched these shenanigans and have moved on to non SBC churches. Here in Jax, FBC Jax is probably not even in the top 10 in terms of membership just in Jax, and as you pointed out we know who over saw that massive decline and got out just in the nick of time. I think one of the most under reported SBC stories is how far FBC Jax fell, and just why it fell. Heath Lambert has told some of the story, but man it is an ugly tale of how it all went down six years ago. If the story comes to light some people will be very embarrassed. Even Trinity Baptist didn’t experience that massive of a decline when it was found out their former pastor was abusing boys and girls and the church covered it up including the current pastor. Maybe Heath will tell you the FBC Jax story and you can write about it.

    I believe the harm that Darrell Gilyard and Ergun Caner did to the SBC over the past 30 years is incalculable. Look who the players were. Look who supported, promoted and defended these two charlatans. Caner was a fraud through and through and he was defended for several years after his lies were exposed. The men who were behind these men and didn’t put a stop to their nonsense can’t be trusted to fix the SBC. They are the problem.

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  6. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    Yes indeed. I meant to imply that. I don’t trust anyone who was an admirer or supporter of Patterson. What Patterson and SWBTS did to Sheri Klouda was dastardly. The people who were silent and who even helped Patterson by lying about Sheri Klouda are lumped in. I wrote about how Brunson piled on Klouda and misrepresented the facts if Klouda’s plight in a sermon at FBCJ. These guys supported and defended each other’s dirty deeds.

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  7. If you want a great example of distraction, listen to or read the blather of meaningless god-words Brunson foisted on his Jacksonville sheeple when he left— not telling them he already had a new (though likely less lucrative) gig lined up.
    I could only conclude he’d lost a power battle with the biblical counseling guy he’d brought in as a young protege.

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  8. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): It’s not just those men alone who can’t be trusted and can’t fix the SBC. I would also include their admirers, champions, and protégés.

    Just like a septic tank, the big chunks float to the top.

    IMO, the folks who should be leading SBC are laboring faithfully in obscure places, where they have no agendas but the Great Commission and no admirers but Jesus and a heavenly host. But why would they want to come out of their assigned place into the limelight and ivory towers to try and save SBC?

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  9. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Although I’m not familiar with Roos Bolton, it must be his fault! On the Baptist line, the largest one in our county used to be stealthy SBC but has gone independent. This didn’t stop the pastor from being angry and controlling and fond of firing staff. So they put him on sabbatical with a restoration plan. But like Driscoll, that was too hard so he quit. Now I hear he also had a CFA (consenting female adult, but likely a CSA victim). The small baptist church in my town has, it seems, an ok pastor. But before him the guy abused his adopted daughters. And before that the guy had a CFA the whole 7 years he was collecting tithes. So maybe the kind Baptist folk around here can be forgiven if they get distracted from saving souls….

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  10. Max,

    Related to your comment, Max, is my memory of fundamentalist/evangelicals. I have not been a “regular attender” of those flavors in many years, but what I read here on TWW tells me they are still the same..

    SPECIFICALLY, these “types” constantly like to say how their “flavor” of Christainity is the proper one (think the “conservative resurgance” in SBC, etc), and in addition to the “Pure theology” they also harp on “proper piety”, and bash other flavors, and the culture in general… In fact, these types “stick” is basically to say we have the “true way”… O.K. then demonstrate it… which they don’t.
    And when someone blows the whistle on them, like leaders molesting underage boys which ranks up there in a reason to “blow the whistle” these leaders are quick to call such things “distractions”… incredible..

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  11. “Mac Brunson, who has a history of intimidating those who disagree with him”

    Intimidation, manipulation, and domination are not fruit of the Holy Spirit … yet, there has been an outbreak of that among the dudebros who now control SBC. It’s as if the more mean-spirited and abusive you are, the more theo-friends you gather and the higher you rise in the SBC kingdom.

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  12. Jesus had a lot to say about leaders….and much of it wasn’t good. He had a lot to say about parading one’s piety in public, about wanting to be leaders, and even about not trusting them. Remember the bit about calling no one “father” or “rabbi?”

    When the church comes to its senses and follows Jesus, not human beings, it will be on the road to good health.

    Reminds me of the era when our kids and grands were little ones. Mama or grandma or some family member would faithfully teach Jesus, and at some point the littles or not so littles would want to accept Christ as Savior. And of course, if it became known at church, the pastor had to swoop in and “make sure they were really saved” as if it wasn’t real salvation without clergy involvement.


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  13. I imagine demographics and many preferring the experiential Christianity of Pentecostal Charismatic churches are a bigger cause of the decline of Southern Baptist churches than sex abuse cases. Mac Brunson seems like an unpleasant fellow lacking any personal charisma common to leaders of large congregations. Last I heard FBC Jacksonville has 2100 members (down from an inflated 30,000 members – seems like the church never removed members who moved away or transferred to other assemblies). I left the SBC because I find Mid Acts Pauline dispensationalism a far superior way to understanding the Bible and how God operates today than the Henry Blackaby “Experiencing God” or the “Biblical Counseling” method popular at SBC churches today.

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  14. So, if the lawsuits are a distraction from “ministry”, are they going to reinstate the thousands of missionaries they fired? Because I’m thinking they don’t give two cents about ministry and are more concerned about appealing to those who think we should just ignore abusers and let them carry on.

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  15. Troy: I imagine demographics and many preferring the experiential Christianity of Pentecostal Charismatic churches are a bigger cause of the decline of Southern Baptist churches than sex abuse cases.

    IMO, millions of pew-sitting SBC members have no idea about the sex abuse issue in SBC. The SBC higher-uppers have covered it up well. Unless it has directly affected their church, they just don’t have a clue about it. The SBC multitudes don’t read watchblogs like TWW nor follow religious press. If it ain’t in the church bulletin, it’s not news!

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  16. ishy: if the lawsuits are a distraction from “ministry”, are they going to reinstate the thousands of missionaries they fired?

    Those foreign missionaries were primarily non-Calvinist in belief and practice. The New Calvinists have taken over SBC … they aren’t evangelistic or mission-minded … non-Calvinist soul-winning foreign missionaries will not be reinstated … the NeoCals are more concerned about planting reformed theology rather than preaching the Gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation. The old SBC is gone.

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  17. ishy: I’m thinking they don’t give two cents about ministry and are more concerned about appealing to those who think we should just ignore abusers and let them carry on.

    I’m thinking you’re right, that is until there’s a HUGE judgement and payout handed down by the courts. Just like what happened to the Catholic Arch Diocese in Boston. It could very well bankrupt the SBC.

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  18. “The SBC… is involved in 42 lawsuits. That is unbelievable. And it is heavily draining our executive committee.”

    What if instead of forcing survivors to file lawsuits to get justice that the SBC instead followed biblical practice of repentance demonstrated through acknowledgment of wrongdoing, asking what they could do to mitigate the harm done to the victim, and voluntarily offering financial compensation for therapy, etc. Not only would it be the right thing to do (which should be reason enough to do it), but if money is what motivates them, I think they’d save themselves a lot of money by avoiding court costs and not making the victim angrier by blocking justice.

    Acknowledging wrongdoing is itself healing to the victim because it validates his or her experience. Offering empathy and expressing remorse for pain is also healing for the victim. Asking a victim what can be done to help them now also aids healing because it restores their agency and voice. And voluntarily offering financial compensation for therapy, lost work, etc. helps restore wholeness. Some victims would not feel the need for any financial compensation and for those who did need the help, they’ll need much less than if the church put them through the trauma of a legal proceeding.

    So whether the motivation is doing right or saving money, wisdom directs the same path.

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