One of the most egregious positions for church leaders to find themselves doing is to be part of covering for their friends when a sin is exposed. When I was called to my present ministry the chairperson of the search committee and I became close friends. This person was very scholarly in his approach to the scriptures and he was one of a few people I could debate issues with and feel challenged in the debate. This person and I became very close as we worked in various areas of ministry. Four months into my tenure the person was arrested with numerous accounts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. I did all that I could to confront the situation when I found out about his grievous sin but I made certain that I did not make the mistake of giving him “cover”.
Many times when friends are accused of moral failures the first move many church leaders feel compelled to make is to give cover to our friend. We take the position, I cannot believe this person would never do anything like this. Let me be clear, I am not speaking about some groundless charge or a “he says, she says” scenario. I am speaking of someone that is accused of something with a person willing to tell the personal story. It must be investigated thoroughly and with an unbiased approach. As we make the transition to a national level it appears one of our denominational leaders has intervened for one that has been accused of moral failure. Because of this intervention, it makes it appear a cover-up is in place.
Dr. Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer did an interview with Jonathan Merritt after he was outed in the blog world. That interview was projected all across Twitter by Stetzer’s followers. In the interview Merritt came clean that he had “physical contact that went beyond the bounds of friendship” with this homosexual blogger. However, in Stetzer’s article he chastised Christian bloggers for linking to the homosexual bloggers’ site and even questioned if those who reported on this story were even Christian. To that I can only respond, WOW! Why would a denominational leader question the salvation of someone for merely linking to a site and questioning if this were true? Read more
In the recent days I have been on a blog hibernation and was not about to post anything new until August 15, 2012. However, in the recent days a report has come from the homosexual community accusing the author of Green Like God and The Faith Factor, Jonathan Merritt, of being a homosexual. When this story broke on Monday, it was picked up by our own Peter Lumpkins on Tuesday. I added to Peter’s comment stream that I saw Jonathan at the NOLA convention at the Cafe Du Monde on a Tuesday enjoying time with a female that appeared to be his girlfriend. After the story on Peter’s blog, Ken Silva, at Apprising Ministries revealed in an article that he contacted Azariah Southworth and reported his conversation.
Today Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research, released an interview with Jonathan Merritt where he affirms that Azariah Southworth claims are somewhat valid. Jonathan affirms;
We corresponded several times by email and text for a couple of weeks, some of them inappropriate…we had physical contact that went beyond the bounds of friendship. I was overcome with guilt, knowing I had put myself in an unwise situation. We never saw each other again and we ceased contact after a period of time.
I would like to address, not the reality of this statement nor do I want to address innocuous statements concerning Merritt’s confession. I honestly do not know the details and am only responding to what is in the public and what is part of this interview. George Washington had rules he lived by for maintaining “Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”. One such rule is;
“Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.”
Thus, I am not being hasty, but I am going to point to a few facts that need to be addressed.
In a vote on Sunday, November 20, 2011, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church voted to discontinue heterosexual marriage ceremonies. Some may ask if this is an issue worthy of coverage. However, looking at the background one will find this is being pushed by an activist lesbian pastor.
Pullen Memorial, an active contributor to the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, is no stranger to pushing the envelope concerning the alternative lifestyle of homosexuality. In 1992 Pullen Memorial moved as a congregation to accept the gay/lesbian lifestyle as an acceptable Christian standard. This congregational vote moved the church outside of the fellowship guidelines of the Raleigh Baptist Association, the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. Pullen Memorial is now moving to a position that moves them away from being a true church.
What is a “True Church”?
Posted by Tim Rogers on June 30, 2011
Posted in Convention • Dr. Al Mohler • Homosexuality • SBC Issues | 1 Comment
Dr. Al Mohler
In order to keep from appearing pedantic, this is my last post on Dr. Mohler’s response. I was fully prepared to not write anything further the last time I said this but Dr. Mohler responded in two different venues since that time. Thus, unless he responds again with anything other than an apology to Southern Baptists I will drop this issue.
@albertmohler Same-sex marriage approved by 33-29 vote in New York senate. Sad day for marriage…and for us all.
The tweet above was tweeted by Dr. Al Mohler from his twitter account late at night on June 24. Dr. Mohler’s tweet was retweeted by over 100 others which included many younger Southern Baptist pastors and leaders. What is confusing with all of this?
First, I am saddened by the vote of New York. I believe if we ever give up the fight against making same-sex marriage normal, our children’s children will accept it as normal.
Second, Dr. Mohler seems to have surrendered, not the Biblical position against same-sex marriage as normal, but the cultural fight concerning the nature of homosexuality. I submit to you that as a result of the laying down of this epistemological position concerning homosexuality, same-sex marriage will be the norm within the next 10 years. Dr. Mohler is a leading conservative voice in the culture battle and his statement “we have lied concerning the nature of homosexuality” is a huge step.
Posted by Tim Rogers on June 24, 2011
Posted in Baptist Press • Dr. Al Mohler • Homosexuality | 6 Comments
It appears that Dr. Al Mohler has now clarified his comments made at the convention. Due to an upcoming short-term mission trip to Honduras and pastoral duties at the church, I am not able to dissect and report on his new comments. After a brief glance it appears that Dr. Mohler and Dr. Phil Johnson are not using the same definitions for homophobia.
However, with that said, I am thankful that Dr. Mohler has clarified what he means. It still does not give me the warm fuzzies. Honestly, I do not remember the last time I got the warm fuzzies reading an academic explain something.
This is my last article concerning the question asked of Dr. Al Mohler by Peter Lumpkins. Unless there are future developments I will, after this article, stop speaking of this matter. I have presented, what I believe to be, a well reasoned approach that neither takes unfair shots at Dr. Mohler nor allows his statements to go unquestioned. I do pray that Dr. Mohler will respond to clarify how he sees Southern Baptists practicing a form of homophobia, and to give evidence of past lies concerning the nature of homosexuality.
With all of that said a sad by-line of this matter lies in the coverage, or lack thereof, of our denominational news organization. When one views the article concerning the seminary reports one will notice something conspicuously missing. Read more
It seems that many are coming to the defense of Dr. Al Mohler after he affirmed, at the recent annual gathering of Southern Baptists in Phoenix, a statement where he called Southern Baptists liars and homophobic. Dr. Mohler has always been clear about the biblical position concerning homosexuality. His articles and thoughts have been the ones that Southern Baptists, in particular, and Evangelicals, as a whole, have turned for research to position themselves on the side of scripture. Thus, a quote in a secular article was the catalyst for the question from Peter Lumpkins. The article attributes a quote to Dr. Mohler that seems to be in disagreement with Dr. Mohler’s position on homosexuality. How did Dr. Mohler respond to this article? He wrote an article expressing, not that he was positioned in agreement with Jay Bakker, but that Jay Bakker was using “clobber scriptures” out of context. How did Dr. Mohler respond to the question? He adamantly affirmed the words were his and then proceeded to re-establish his position that homosexual behavior is a sin, but was more than a choice by the homosexual.
How others Defend Dr. Mohler
In an article on American Family Association Blog Roll by Elijah Friedman writing from the The Millennial Perspective, Friedman states:
Posted by Tim Rogers on June 16, 2011
Posted in Dr. Al Mohler • Dr. Richard Land • ERLC • Homosexuality | 34 Comments
“We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia,” Mohler says. “We’ve used the ‘choice’ language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice”
When I first read those words I was taken aback. Surely Dr. Mohler would not suggest that Southern Baptists have lied about homosexuals being born with a homosexual gene and as a result could not change. You see, it is Dr. Mohler that has clearly articulated the Biblical position we are all born with a sin nature and as such there is no sin found within our marred DNA design that the application of the Blood of Jesus doesn’t change. All Southern Baptist I have ever come into contact with would affirm that position. Certainly Dr. Mohler, a strong advocate concerning the stand the Bible takes on homosexuality, would not attribute a dishonest perspective to Southern Baptist for standing on God’s word when articulating our position. A position Dr. Mohler has helped shape over the past 20 years. Certainly Dr. Mohler would not have said something in an article where the author attributes Dr. Mohler’s position as the same position of Jay Bakker. Dr. Mohler just recently came out deriding Jay Bakker and his take on homosexuality.