Southern Baptist/SBC

Arrive Prepared: Resources for Messengers to the 20*20* Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention

Originally published February 18, 20*20*

Why am I re-publishing this article from 2020 when Southern Baptists are getting ready for the 2022 Convention? Because I want to remind us that we’re still facing a lot of the same basic issues (and some of the same people) today, and because much of this is still relevant. (I’ve updated pertinent links from 2020 to 2022.) So let’s take a little trip down memory lane. Sadly, we have not come a long way, baby.


The 2020 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention
has been canceled due to the Coronavirus.
Click here to read more.


Are you a Southern Baptist who’s concerned about – or maybe not even aware of – the direction the SBC is headed? If so, I’m glad you stopped by. I’m encouraging all of my Southern Baptist readers and followers to serve as messengers from your churches to the 2020 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention and make your doctrinally sound, biblically informed voice heard.

At the 2019 Convention, a significant procedural problem was highlighted by the passage of Resolution 9 (more below). It was a resolution that dealt with two complex, and – to many messengers (and even SBC leaders) – unfamiliar issues, Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. These highly technical and intricate issues were brought to the floor for a vote near the end of the day when some messengers had already left, others were tired, hungry, and ready to leave after a long day, and when time was limited. Concerns have been raised that, due to some of these factors, many messengers may not have had a solid grasp of the issue they were voting on and its consequences for the SBC.

I’d like to help rectify that situation in some small way by providing you with resources ahead of time that will allow you to #ArrivePrepared at #SBC2020. Convention procedures. Hot button issues. The original text of some of the resolutions you’ll be voting on. If messengers are to vote biblically, prayerfully, and sober-mindedly, they must be given the time to read, process, and pray for godly wisdom regarding the issues. 

When and where is the Convention being held?

Tuesday, June 9 – Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Orange County Convention Center
West Concourse
9800 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Get more information, including the meeting schedule, discounted hotel rates, and childcare, at the SBC 2020 2022 Annual Meeting Website

What is a messenger, and how do I become one?

A messenger is a member in good standing at a church in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention who is approved by her church to attend the annual meeting and vote on the items presented during during the business sessions. Contact your pastor to find out how to become an approved messenger for your church.

More details and requirements for messengers and churches (2022)

Messenger pre-registration form/instructions for churches (2022)

What is a resolution, and how do I submit one to be voted on at the SBC?

A resolution is basically a public statement in favor of or opposing a particular issue, and frequently calling for some sort of voluntary action from Southern Baptists on that issue. The best way to understand what a resolution is is to read through some resolutions from the past. You can check out resolutions from all the way back to 1845, and get an idea of which issues the SBC was facing at the time and how Southern Baptists just like you thought the SBC should respond. Messengers vote for or against resolutions, and resolutions either pass or fail. It is important to understand that because of SBC polity, resolutions that pass are non-binding on the local church. In other words, your church is free to follow or not follow each resolution as your pastor and/or congregation sees fit. You do not need your pastor’s permission or approval to submit a resolution, but his input and guidance could be very helpful.

Past resolutions

How to submit a resolution

Members of the 2020 2022 Committee on Resolutions

2020 Resolutions and Motions

These are items messengers may have the opportunity to vote on at the Convention. (Parliamentary procedure or committee action may preclude a vote.) I would love to publish the text of, or information regarding as many votable items as possible so messengers can read, inform themselves, and especially pray about how they should vote.

If you know someone who will be submitting a resolution or making a motion at the Convention and would like to have it published here,
please contact me as soon as possible.

Resolutions

This is the original text of these motions that will be submitted to the Committee on Resolutions. Please bear in mind, the Committee on Resolutions has the authority to “reword” these resolutions in any way they choose and then present the edited version to the Convention for a vote. This was a major issue with Resolution 9 last year. The Committee “reworded” the original resolution so much that the edited version ended up saying basically the opposite of the original version. The Committee also has the authority to decline to present a resolution for a vote. When you arrive at the Convention, please carefully read the versions of the resolutions you are given before voting on them.

On Beholding the Majesty of God submitted by Pastor Allen Nelson, Perryville Second Baptist Church, Perryville, AR

On A Reformation of Corporate Worship Practices submitted by Pastor Allen Nelson, Perryville Second Baptist Church, Perryville, AR

On God’s Good Hierarchical Design submitted by Jared Longshore, Associate Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL

Motions

Motion to Rescind Resolution 9 (2019) (more information below)

Motion to approve the first Sunday in February as the annual George Liele Church Planting, Evangelism and Missions Day, (to begin in 2021)

Possible motion related to the ERLC Task Force (see “The ERLC Task Force” under “Hot Button Issues” below)

Who are the nominees we’ll vote on for SBC President?

It can sometimes be hard to find out the names of specific nominees until the nominations are actually made at the Convention, because “campaigning” for the office of SBC president (or any other position of leadership) has historically been considered to be in poor taste from an etiquette perspective. However, in the last few years, those who are planning to make a nomination for president sometimes announce their intentions and the nominee on social media, in their state SBC newspaper, or elsewhere.

These are the potential nominees I’m aware of. If you know of others, please let me know so I can list them here. You wouldn’t vote for a U.S. Presidential candidate without finding out about him and his positions. It’s even more important, from a spiritual perspective, to find out about the SBC presidential nominees and their positions.

Dr. Albert Mohler– President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, former SBC pastor, instrumental in the Conservative Resurgence, theologian, author, blogger, podcaster

Randy Adams– Executive Director of the Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho) Baptist Convention, former SBC pastor, former leader in the BGC of Oklahoma. Read Randy’s blog to learn more about his views. Announcement of nomination and goals here, here, and here. Facebook  Twitter

(For more information on the nominees, please Google them or visit their social media pages.)

SBC 2020 Hot Button Issues to Be Aware Of

Abuse in the SBC Not only is the abuse issue itself likely to be addressed, be aware that the egalitarian movement within the SBC is using the abuse issue as a vehicle for pushing egalitarianism further into the SBC. Just one example: At the 2019 Caring Well conference on abuse, Beth Moore reportedly said that “having too few women in power has directly contributed to the sexual abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention.” (This conference, where Beth Moore was not corrected for her many egalitarian remarks, was hosted by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC.)

Egalitarianism- Increasingly, SBC pastors are allowing women to preach the Sunday sermon in their pulpits, teach co-ed Sunday School and Bible study classes, and preach at co-ed conferences. The current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, has close friends who are female pastors, and has not only spoken glowingly of Beth Moore but publicly defended her when John MacArthur suggested she should not be preaching. For years, the majority of LifeWay’s best selling women’s “Bible” study authors and conference speakers, including Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Lysa TerKeurst, and Jennie Allen, among others, have continued to preach to men at conferences and during the Sunday morning worship service at local churches. If things continue on their present trajectory, the SBC will likely codify approval of women pastors into the Baptist Faith and Message within just a few years.

Resolution 9 If you don’t know what Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I) are, you must inform yourself and learn why they are dangerous, unbiblical social constructs that all Christians should repudiate and reject. In 2019, the heavily edited Resolution 9 presented CRT/I as a “helpful analytical tool,” and messengers voted to pass it. This year a motion will be made to rescind Resolution 9.

The SBC Pastors’ Conference- Each year a conference for pastors is held immediately preceding the SBC annual meeting. This year’s Pastors’ Conference speaker/performer lineup includes a number of doctrinally unsound people. The most problematic are…

Wayne Cordeiro who pastors a Foursquare Gospel church. This denomination was founded by female preacher, heretic, and faith healer, Aimee Semple McPherson. It encourages women to be pastors, and there is a female “pastor” on staff at Cordeiro’s church.

Hosanna Wong who is herself a “teaching pastor”.

Jim Cymbala whose church’s statement of faith declares that they adhere to the false teaching of the second (separate from salvation) baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Phil Wickham who is affiliated with Bethel Music.

David Hughes whose wife is co-“pastor” of his church, and who is heavily into seeker-driven evangeltainment, even incorporating sexually provocative themes like Victoria’s Secret and Game of Thrones into his church’s materials and worship services.

You can read more details about each of these in Pastor Gabriel Hughes’ article, What In the Wide World Is Going On with the Southern Baptist Convention?

The SBC Executive Committee, David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church Orlando, and president of the pastors’ conference (ergo, responsible for inviting the lineup) and others in SBC leadership have been contacted by numerous SBC pastors and other Southern Baptists protesting these egregiously unbiblical speakers and performers.

(2022 NOTE: Messengers to the 2022 Convention will have the opportunity to vote for Voddie Baucham for president of the pastors’ conference.)

Due to this reproof, the SBC Executive Committee has voted to make their providing venue space for the Pastors’ Convention contingent upon Dr. Uth amending the lineup of speakers and performers. They have given him until March 30 to do so.

View the entire lineup of speakers/performers at the SBC Pastors’ Conference WebsiteDavid Uth has invited feedback and questions about the Pastors’ Conference. (Be polite and godly. State which church you’re a member of. If you’re a pastor, state this, and whether or not you’ll be attending the conference.)

The ERLC Task Force– The SBC Executive Committee has voted to form a task force to investigate the activities of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) “in response to ‘ongoing concerns’ cited by EC members, state leaders, and other Southern Baptists that the ERLC is not adequately fulfilling its Convention-approved ministry assignments.”

Over the past several years, many Southern Baptists have grown concerned over the (far too numerous to list here) progressive, left-leaning positions and actions which the ERLC, under the leadership of Dr. Russell Moore, has taken on social and political issues, most notably: filing an amicus brief on behalf of Muslims attempting to build a mosque, creating an animal rights video that likened animal rights to the rights of pre-born children, hosting/sponsoring the MLK 50 Conference (honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.- a serial adulterer, who denied Christ’s resurrection and virgin birth despite claiming to be a Christian), and endorsing the Revoice (“gay Christian”) conference.

Because of these, and many other issues that suggest a liberal drift in the ERLC, a number of SBC churches have withheld or diverted their financial contributions to the Cooperative Program in protest, to the tune of at least $1.5 million, triggering the EC’s decision to form the task force.

The executive officers of the ERLC wrote a public letter of protest against the task force, essentially claiming that the EC is overstepping its authority and that it is the responsibility of the ERLC trustees (on whose watch the liberal drift has taken place, and who have stated they have complete “confidence in Dr. Moore’s leadership and in the effectiveness of the Commission’s ministry”) to hold the ERLC accountable.

In their letter of protest, the officers stated that they have instructed the ERLC not to comply with the task force “until messengers [at the 2020 SBC Annual Meeting] have an opportunity to signal their belief that such a task force is appropriate and legitimate.” This may indicate that someone in leadership at the ERLC is planning to make a motion at the Convention to dissolve or denounce the task force. You may have an opportunity to vote on this motion so it’s extremely important that you inform yourself on the issues and arrive at the convention prepared to vote intelligently.

Where can I get informed on the issues and keep up with the latest SBC news, so I’ll #ArrivePrepared at the Convention?

Watch the cinedoc By What Standard, filmed mostly at the 2019 SBC annual meeting. It is a good overview of CRT/I, egalitarianism, and other issues.

Connect with Founders Ministries and start reading. They have already addressed a number of these issues and seek to keep Southern Baptists informed.

Subscribe to The Sword and The Trowel podcast and listen in as Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore bring you (among other interesting topics) the latest SBC news.

Join the Conservative Baptist Network, a new, grassroots movement of pastors and Southern Baptists who want to see the SBC return to biblical fidelity. (Attend their launch event on June 8 at the Convention if you can.)

Subscribe to Baptist Press, the news agency of the SBC.

Follow pastors Tom Ascol and Tom Buck on Twitter. They always know what’s going on and what the biblical response should be.

And keep coming back to this article. I will continue to update it with news and links between now and the Convention.

Movies

Movie Tuesday: By What Standard?

Originally published January 21, 2020

…it seems like evangelicals, including Southern Baptists, are in danger of loosening their commitments to…basic, Christian commitments. Dangerous ideologies like Critical Theory and Intersectionality are gaining inroads into the thinking of some leaders, churches and organizations.

These ideologies are even being promoted among some evangelicals as reliable analytical tools that can assist our understandings and efforts in gospel ministry.

The result is that, in the name of social justice, many unbiblical agendas are being advanced under the guise of honoring and protecting women, promoting racial reconciliation, and showing love and compassion to people experiencing sexual dysphoria.

By What Standard? God’s World, God’s Rules is a documentary that presses those questions by showing how godless ideologies are influencing evangelical thought and life.

If you’re a Southern Baptist – especially if you don’t know what’s going on in your denomination outside the four walls of your own church, and especially if you’re going to the Southern Baptist Convention as a messenger in a couple of weeks – you desperately need to watch this documentary.

Because our local churches are autonomous, many Southern Baptists think, “It doesn’t really matter what’s going on at the national level of the SBC as long as my church is doing well.” When you watch, you’ll see why that’s such a dangerous attitude to take. The insidious and sinful concepts of critical race theory, intersectionality, egalitarianism, and other false doctrines have made their way into our SBC seminaries – where your next pastor is currently being trained – into LifeWay, where your next Sunday school, women’s Bible study, or VBS curriculum is coming from – and into the national leadership of the SBC, which represents us and our denomination to the world.

But even if you’re not Southern Baptist, these concepts are almost certainly slithering in to your denomination or church as well.

Be ready by informing yourself.

Southern Baptist/SBC

The Mailbag: How can the problems in the SBC (or any denomination / church) be fixed?

Originally published June 4, 2018

I read your article, It’s Time for a Reformation in the SBC – 3 Issues We Need to Set Right. In that article you only covered the issues needing correction, not the solutions. How would you suggest the Southern Baptist Convention, or any other church or denomination with similar problems, address those issues?

One of the reasons I addressed only the issues in that article is that a discussion of the issues and the solutions would have made the article extremely long. Another reason is that I know many of my readers are probably not Southern Baptist. Some of the solutions that first came to my mind would have been very “in house” to the SBC and would not have been of interest – nor made sense, without a lot of explanation (making the article even longer), of Southern Baptist polity – to those outside the SBC. However, the more I thought about the spiritual side of the issues, the more my perspective on the solutions changed. And addressing spiritual issues is relevant to every church and denomination.

As I mentioned in the previous article, the three most pressing issues I see facing the SBC are the sufficiency and authority of Scripture, false teachers/false doctrine, and disfellowshipping errant churches.

Because of the SBC’s commitment to the autonomy of the local church, I don’t think any of these things are going to be corrected from the top down with resolutions and studies and committees and appointed/elected leaders. I can only speak from my own perspective, and others may disagree, but I don’t see those things making any of these issues better, and in some cases they’re making things worse. I think turning the ship around is going to have to be a “bottom up” thing, starting at the church level.

So, what are some grassroots steps we can take?

✢ We’re going to have to stop giving lip service to prayer and actually start doing it. Individual prayer, yes, but what I’m really talking about is corporate prayer. Not “organ recitals”, not Bible studies or worship services that we call “prayer meetings”, but actual, protracted corporate prayer meetings where we concentrate on praying for the spiritual health of our own church, other churches, and our denomination at large. The problems we’re facing are, at their root, spiritual problems, and only God can change people’s hearts. It’s high time we started crying out to Him to do so.

The problems we’re facing are, at their root, spiritual problems, and only God can change people’s hearts. It’s high time we started crying out to Him to do so.

I know it’s hard to get people to show up for actual prayer meetings. I used to be the Associational Prayer Coordinator for my local SBC association. Believe me, I get that it’s like pulling teeth. Pastors are going to have to get as many of their teachers and leaders as possible on board and start by praying with them. Next, we need our pastors to spend some weeks and months training their people in how to pray, why we pray, what we pray for, the importance of prayer, and what the Bible says about prayer. And then we’ll need pastors to proactively encourage people to be there. In my experience, corporate prayer has to be pastor initiated and led. If it’s delegated to a lay person or even an associate pastor, the rest of the church will see it as just one more optional program.

✢ We have to emphasize the authority of Scripture over every aspect of church life. Is the church considering buying a new piece of property? Sending messengers to the annual meeting? Joining with another church in a particular endeavor? Planning a mission trip? Receiving a new member? Having a potluck? Whatever is going on in the life of the church, the very first thing that needs to be brought to the table at committee meetings, business meetings, even just casual discussions or brainstorming sessions, is an open Bible and the question, “What does Scripture say about this?”. I think many times we’re either assuming that most people already know what the Bible says about it, or we’re doing what we think is best without consulting God’s Word, neither of which is healthy. We need to make sure we’re doing what we do because the Bible says to do it, but approaching church decisions this way also trains individual members to think and act the same “What does Scripture say about this?” way in their own lives. That grows a healthier and more mature church body.

Whatever is going on in the life of the church, the very first thing that needs to be brought to the table is an open Bible and the question, “What does Scripture say about this?”.

This helps drive home the concept of the sufficiency of Scripture, too. If your church is laser focused on “What does the Bible say?”, it’s going to biblically train your people how to find the answers they need for their own lives, and church life, in the Bible. Instead of “God told me” extra-biblical revelation, instead of taking polls and surveys, sometimes even instead of forming a committee or having one more meeting, the Body will begin to depend on God’s Word as its sufficient source for making decisions.

✢ Another way to emphasize the sufficiency of Scripture is to stop being so dependent on “canned” Sunday School curricula and Bible study books, workbooks, DVDs etc., and simply teach straight from the Bible expositionally (it’s cheaper too).

This scenario has played itself out in hundreds of SBC churches over the years: The women’s ministry committee gets together to decide what the next women’s Bible study will be. This author is suggested. That DVD series is suggested. Finally one brave soul pipes up and says, “Why don’t we just study Ephesians?”. The looks on the other women’s faces demonstrate that studying straight from the Bible is a totally foreign concept.

My husband is a minister of music. He was on staff at a small church many years ago that was in a budget crunch. Something was going to have to be cut. I suggested cutting out Sunday School literature and just teaching the Bible. They opted instead to slash my husband’s salary (which was pretty paltry to begin with).

When we’ve become so dependent on materials other than the Bible that church members have never heard of simply studying from the Bible or that the church would rather hurt one of its pastors than give up its literature, we’ve become too dependent on outside resources and we’re not viewing the Bible as sufficient.

✢ If and when we do decide to use a curriculum or a study, we must vet the study itself and the author(s). I know this is an unpopular thing to say among Southern Baptists, but I was asked for solutions, so I’m going to say it: LifeWay sells some materials authored by false teachers and some materials that contain false doctrine. You can’t just assume that because LifeWay sells it, it’s doctrinally sound. Get some discerning church members and put them to work reading the materials and comparing them to Scripture, and examining the fruit of the author’s life.

✢ We’re going to have to be good Bereans and stop being so flippant and laissez-faire about false teachers and false doctrine. Eradicating false doctrine and false teachers from the house of God is a major theme of the Bible. If it’s that serious to God, it should be that serious to us.

Eradicating false doctrine and false teachers from the house of God is a major theme of the Bible. If it’s that serious to God, it should be that serious to us.

If somebody mentions that a certain Christian author, pastor, or teacher is a false teacher, don’t mock, insult, and blow that person off as “one of those crazy discernment people.” We don’t have to (and shouldn’t) just blindly believe her, but we shouldn’t just dismiss the allegation out of hand, either. Look into it. Do the research. Examine the evidence. Compare that teacher’s life and teaching to rightly handled Scripture, and if she’s not walking blamelessly and teaching what accords with sound doctrine, stop allowing her and her materials into your church.

✢ [Note: This part is more SBC-ish. Most other denominations have a process and governing body for dismissing errant churches. But because the SBC is technically not a denomination but a group of cooperating churches, the leadership of the SBC has very little ecclesiastical authority, including the authority to disfellowship churches.] As far as disfellowshipping errant churches goes, first, we need to make sure our church isn’t one of them. We need our pastors to exposit the Word, not entertain. We need to make sure we equip our membership in rightly handling God’s Word, prayer, evangelism, worship, and caring for one another. We need to make sure our church is biblically healthy.

Next, get involved with the local association and, whatever the procedure is, formulate a set of criteria for disfellowshipping errant churches, employ it when necessary, and pursue it to the state and national convention levels when possible. There are a variety of doctrinal issues that could be included (A couple I would suggest: disfellowshipping churches that violate tenets of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and/or teach any of the historic heresies {Arianism, Modalism, etc.}), but as I mentioned in the above linked article there’s got to be a higher standard than just giving money and being on the right side of homosexuality. We should be holding up the highest standards of biblical doctrine for churches who want the right to be called Southern Baptist, not minimizing and reducing our requirements to the least common denominator.

We should be holding up the highest standards of biblical doctrine for churches who want the right to be called Southern Baptist, not minimizing and reducing our requirements to the least common denominator.

Pray long and pray hard. Build spiritually healthy and mature churches and church members. Get them involved at the associational and state convention level. Then send them to represent your church at the annual meeting. If God is pleased to change hearts, and if we get enough healthy churches and church members working together, that’s what will bring change at the national level.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Discernment, False Doctrine, Southern Baptist/SBC

A Naked Emperor in the Southern Baptist Convention

Originally published April 6, 2018

Think back to your childhood. Remember the story, The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Once upon a time, there lived an emperor. One day two swindlers came to his palace and told him they could weave cloth for his royal robes that was magical: to those who were foolish or unfit for their jobs, it would appear invisible. Only the wise and worthy would be able to see this fine fabric. The emperor hastily agreed to pay the “weavers” an exorbitant amount of money to make him such an amazing garment, thinking he would use it to weed out anyone unfit for royal service.

The weavers set about pretending to weave. From time to time, the emperor sent various folk to check on the progress the weavers were making, and – though in reality, none of them could see the non-existent fabric – all reported back that the garments were coming along nicely and the cloth was beautiful. But strangely enough, when the emperor himself looked in on the weavers, they held up the magnificent fabric, and he could not see it. Not wanting word to leak out that he was unfit to serve as emperor, he pretended to examine the cloth and complimented the weavers lavishly on their fine work.

Finally, the weavers informed the emperor that the garments were finished. They had the emperor strip down to his skivvies and pretended to help him on with his fine new “garments”. Word had spread among the emperor’s subjects about the magical properties of the fabric, and as the royal procession made its way through town, all shouted out praise for the emperor’s fine new clothes.

All. Except for one little boy.

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the boy shouted.

It took the innocent honesty of a simple child to shock the emperor’s subjects back to their senses. The truth spread like wildfire, and the crowd began to cry out: “The emperor is naked!” “The emperor has no clothes on!” “He’s not wearing anything!”

But did the emperor admit to his foolishness, return to the palace, and get dressed? No. Sadly the story ends this way:

“The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, ‘This procession has got to go on.’ So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.”¹

And so the “emperor” of leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention and those who carry its train march proudly on, despite the cries of simple peasants and innocent little children crying at the top of our lungs, “The emperor is naked!” “There are issues that need to be addressed, here!” “Listen to us!”

You’ll note that the story doesn’t say that the emperor was a cruel man, that he overtaxed the people, oppressed them into slavery, was a warmonger, or was in any other way an evil leader. In fact, one could argue that he had good intentions of making sure the people who served at various posts in his empire were of the finest caliber.

And while there are many issues that need to be addressed in my denomination, I think this could generally be said of the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention as well. Call me a Pollyanna, but I have no reason to believe our denominational leadership – as a whole – is evil or has anything less than the best of intentions for the SBC.

There are many good and praiseworthy things going on in SBC life. We have hundreds of doctrinally sound pastors faithfully preaching the gospel week in and week out. Discernment and biblical literacy among Southern Baptist church members is slowly but steadily growing. The SBC takes a public, biblical stand on abortion and homosexuality while many other denominations do not. Our organizational structure for funding and sending out missionaries, while sometimes flawed in its execution, is without peer. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is one of the finest relief organizations in the world. And there’s so much more. Find a godly Kingdom effort going on somewhere, and you’ll probably find a Southern Baptist involved in it. By the grace of God, while we’re far from perfect, we’re getting a lot of things right.

But even benevolent emperors get things wrong sometimes, and, Southern Baptist leadership, your drawers are flapping in the breeze on this one²:

Sin. The public sin our leaders commit that we excuse and the public sin our leaders commit that we discipline, and the fact that there’s a discrepancy between the two.

Southern Baptist leadership, your drawers are flapping in the breeze on this one.

Recently, Frank Page, president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (one of the top positions of SBC leadership at the national level) resigned his position due to “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past,” which, we are left with little choice but to assume means “adultery”. (As an aside, Christians, when confessing sin, let’s knock off the the terminological hem-hawing and call a spade a spade. “I had a six month extra-marital romantic and sexual relationship with a married woman in my church,” or whatever. You don’t have to give all the gory details or name names, but, for crying out loud, if you’re going to confess, confess- don’t finesse.)

It was right and biblical for Dr. Page to publicly confess and express sorrow over his sin as well as to resign (it would also have been right and biblical for the SBC to remove him had he refused to resign, which, undoubtedly would have happened). He sinned against God, his family, the woman and her family, his church, his co-workers, and the entire denomination. He publicly embarrassed the Southern Baptist Convention and gave unbelievers fodder for scoffing when the report of his sin made the national news. This was a case of a well known Southern Baptist leader whose public, observable sin was handled biblically by SBC leadership. I am thankful for this witness to Christians and to the world that sin is not to be swept under the rug, but that sinners are to repent, be disciplined, and then be restored to fellowship (although, in cases like this, not leadership).

But we don’t handle all cases of public sin that way. Some public sin we reward by making the sinner into a wealthy, lauded celebrity.

“Impossible!” you say?

Check the shelves at LifeWay. Select twenty average SBC churches with women’s ministries and see whose books, DVDs, and simulcasts are being used again and again. Peruse the speakers at popular SBC conferences.

You’ll find names like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lysa TerKeurst, Christine Caine, Ann Voskamp, Sarah Young, Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, Rick Warren, and T.D. Jakes, just to name a few.

Have they committed adultery? Voiced approval of of homosexuality? Committed theft, abused their spouses, or promoted pornography? No. But those aren’t the only types of sins the Bible prohibits.

Every single one of them teaches false doctrine, from Sarah Young’s blasphemous “channeling” of Jesus, to T.D. Jakes’ denial of the Trinity, to Christine Caine’s Word of Faith heresy, to Lysa TerKeurst’s teaching of contemplative prayer.

All of these women who do speaking engagements unashamedly and unrepentantly preach to co-ed audiences. All of these men allow women to preach to co-ed audiences from their pulpits.

All of them who join in ministry with others have yoked or affiliated themselves with false teachers. Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer. Priscilla Shirer and T.D. Jakes. Steven Furtick and Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes. Rick Warren and the Pope.

Scripture plainly prohibits the teaching of false doctrine. It’s a major theme of the New Testament, for goodness sake. The Bible tells us that women are not to preach to men or exercise authority over them in the gathered body of Believers. And God’s Word makes very clear that we are to have nothing to do with false teachers, especially not partnering with them in “ministry”.

In the wake of Frank Page’s resignation, I asked this poll question on Twitter

followed by this one

Why are Southern Baptists leaders so quick to – rightly and biblically – oust Frank Page for, as far as we know, one isolated sin which he publicly confessed to and repented of, and yet overlook three major – and much more publicly observable and harmful to Southern Baptists – ongoing sins from pastors and teachers who have been rebuked and refuse to repent? Why, instead of disciplining them for their sin, do those in leadership give them fat book deals, invite them to speak at all the cool conferences, fawn over them on social media, and make them into celebrities?

How many sins will it take to disqualify and discipline these people? Four? Eleven? Ninety-six? Is there any amount of sin these pastors and teachers, and those like them, can commit that will cause those in SBC leadership to pull their materials off the shelves of LifeWay, deny them a seat at the table, and urge them to repent and step down from their positions?

I’ve been a Southern Baptist from the day I was born. I’ve been taught since the cradle roll that if God’s Word says not to do something and you do it anyway, that’s a sin. If God’s Word says to do something and you don’t do it, that’s a sin. And that sin is sin in the eyes of God.

Well is it, or isn’t it, Emperor?

If sin is sin in God’s eyes, why aren’t you treating Beth Moore’s sin like Frank Page’s sin? Why are you rewarding her for her sin and disciplining him for his?

Why does the SBC reward some sins while disciplining others?

The Bible says in James 3:1:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Those who teach and lead bear more responsibility to teach sound doctrine and walk worthy because they are teaching and leading us by example.

Why are all the aforementioned pastors and teachers better examples to us in their rebellion and unrepentant sin than Frank Page was in his repentance of sin?

Why?

Southern Baptist peasants and little children see right through your foolishness on parade on this issue and we want answers. Biblical answers.

Don’t just stand there shivering, suspecting we are right, but thinking, “This procession has got to go on,” and walking more proudly than ever. Go back to the palace. Repent. Clothe yourselves with humility and obedience to Scripture, and come back and lead us rightly. Biblically.

Because the Emperor of Southern Baptist leadership has been naked for far too long.

The Emperor of Southern Baptist leadership has been naked for far too long.


¹H.C. Andersen Centret (The Hans Christian Andersen Centre). The Emperor’s New ClothesAccessed April 5, 2018.

²I am well aware that this is not the only problem in the SBC that needs to be addressed. It would be impossible to address every issue in one article, so this time I’ve chosen to focus on this one particular issue.

Christian women, Church, Southern Baptist/SBC

Is the SBC’s Tent Big Enough for ALL Marginalized Christian Women?

Originally published June 22, 2018

It started with Paige Patterson’s gobsmackingly horrible and unbiblical advice to an abused wife to return to her husband. Then it was the lurid remarks he made about a teenage girl, with which he regaled a congregation during a sermon. Next came the allegations of his mishandling of two separate sexual assault cases at two different seminaries.

In response to all this turmoil, Beth Moore added to the conversation some vague stories of various unnamed men in Christian circles who had, in her perception, condescended to her or otherwise not treated her as an equal, leaving the impression that there is widespread, systemic misogyny within modern evangelicalism. Jen Wilkin, from a more biblical – yet, troublingly, similarly vague – perspective, joined the chorus, and has been afforded a wider audience for the “they can’t be pastors, natch, but we need more women in church leadership” platform she has been advancing for the past several years. (Which leadership positions or roles? We’re still waiting for Jen to specify.)

And the icing on the cake was SBC pastor, Dwight McKissic, publicly declaring that the way to “heal” all of these woes against Christian women and “right historic patterns of wrong against women” is to elect Beth Moore as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

So this nebulous idea has been introduced that Christian women are getting the short end of the stick across the board in evangelicalism (specifically in the SBC) and that the way to fix things – all the way from genuine abuse and rape on one end of the spectrum to women whose feelings have been hurt because they’re not seen as equal to pastors on the other end – is to make sure, somehow, that women’s voices are heard and validated.

That’s a pretty “big tent” idea. And if it’s going to be a big tent, there’s room under there for everybody, right? To be consistent, compassionate, and fair, wouldn’t these folks have to make space for the voices of, and give influential positions to, any Christian woman who feels she’s been diminished? Let’s find out.

Allow me to introduce you to a group of Christian women who have been silenced and brushed aside for years, often by the very same people who are now hypocritically crying out that women need to be heard in order to keep them from being marginalized.

I give you discerning, doctrinally sound, often Reformed, Christian women.

We are women who have been subjected to insults, and accusations of heresy and hatred of the lost, because we hold to the doctrines of grace. We are women who have been attacked by pastors, pastors’ wives, women’s ministry leaders, and fellow church members for pointing out the false doctrine of popular women’s “Bible” study materials and merely asking to properly be taught the Word of God in our own churches. We are women who have been shouted down or ruled “out of order” at denominational meetings for asking that our Christian retailers stop selling materials containing false teaching. We are women who have been forced out of our own churches for taking a biblical stand against women preaching to, teaching, or exercising authority over men in the church. We are women who have been called haters, legalistic, divisive, threats to unity, jealous, and all other manner of slander simply for holding to Scripture and refusing to budge from it.

All this mistreatment of women at the hands of Christian celebrities, denominational leaders, pastors and other church leadership, and fellow church members.

Do we qualify as marginalized? We’ve been hurt, and in many cases, sinned against outright. No church discipline. No redress or recourse. Nobody wants to make sure we have a voice or a place of power – quite the opposite, in fact. A lot of us saw our own pastors hand-wringingly share Beth Moore’s detailing of her grievances against Christian men even as they pushed us and our biblical concerns aside.

Everybody feels sorry for Beth Moore. Who will cry for us?

We don’t want much, just a return to what’s biblical.

We want sound doctrine in the church and solid preaching in the pulpit.

We want this nonsense about a female SBC President – especially a false teacher like Beth Moore – to stop. Not only is it not biblical, it’s a patronizing toss of a trinket or pat on the head attempting to dry the tears of fussy little girls, and it won’t work to solve any of the real problems that are going on.

We want false doctrine off the shelves of LifeWay, and for LifeWay, the ERLC, and others in leadership to stop organizing and promoting conferences and other events headlined by people they have already been informed (yea, as seminary trained pastors and leaders, should know without having to be told) are false teachers. Among the many things Jen Wilkin has rightly said is that we need to promote biblical and theological literacy among Christian women. When you go on a diet, the first thing you do is go through your kitchen and throw out all the junk food. You’ll never start eating healthy if you have an endless supply of candy bars in the pantry. The only way to begin to properly train women in Scripture and theology  is by “putting off” false doctrine in order to “put on” sound doctrine.

We want LifeWay to demonstrate that it actually cares about the spiritual health of women by putting its money where its mouth is. Ridding the shelves of false doctrine and the event docket of false teachers is going to cost LifeWay a lot of revenue. Women who want their itching ears scratched will quickly find another source of false teaching to pour their cash into. There’s not a lot of money to be made in encouraging women to study straight from their Bibles, sit faithfully under the teaching of a doctrinally sound pastor, and humbly serve the local church. Are Christian women worth it to you, LifeWay?

We want a strong doctrine of sin and church discipline to be understood and taught by our pastors and denominational leaders. The fact of the matter is that a woman who has been genuinely sinned against by a man who has abused her is in a different category from a woman whose feelings are hurt because she’s been told she can’t teach a co-ed adult Sunday School class. The first woman needs compassionate brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside her and walk with her as God begins to heal her body and her heart. The abuser needs to be prosecuted to the full and appropriate extent of the law as well as to be placed under church discipline. The second woman is either in sin and rebellion (in which case she may need to be placed under church discipline) or she just hasn’t been taught God’s Word properly and someone needs to disciple her in that area. To put these two women underneath the same “big tent” just because they’ve both experienced some sort of hurt diminishes and confuses their situations and the solutions that would be biblically appropriate for each.

We want pastors and leaders to herald, praise, and validate the biblical role of women in the church. Women should not be taught only the things we cannot do in the church, we must also be taught what we must do in the church – what only women are uniquely and ontologically gifted by God to do. Women need to hear – particularly from the mouths of pastors and denominational leaders – the vital necessity of women discipling other women, women training the church’s children in the Scriptures, women serving in hospitality and mercy ministries, women properly using their administrative gifts, and so much more. Train us to teach. Equip us to serve. Encourage us to use our gifts in obedience to Scripture and for the glory of God.

We want men – from the heads of our denominations to the newly saved sinner in the pew – to step up and be godly men. We desperately need you to biblically and fearlessly lead the church. Don’t be afraid to stand up and put your foot down squarely on Scripture. Even if it makes you unpopular. Even if it rocks the boat at church. Even if people leave and never come back. As godly women, we can’t do our job if you’re not doing yours.

So how about it, brothers and sisters who are crying out for Christian women to be heard? Do doctrinally sound women get a seat at the table? Do we get to be heard? Will anything be done to correct the mistreatment we’ve received?

Do doctrinally sound women get a seat at the table? Do we get to be heard? Will anything be done to correct the mistreatment we’ve received?

Or are there only certain women you want to hear from? Women who fit the popular social narrative. Women the world and most of the church will applaud you for listening to. Solutions that do more to glorify people than to glorify God.

Just how big is that tent…really?