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.
There is a move by the Executive Committee to allow Southern Baptists to choose between calling themselves by the official name or referring to themselves by an officially proposed unofficial official name–The Great Commission Baptists. While this is an “unofficial” name the convention will “officially” vote on it in June at the convention held this year in New Orleans.
I only have one question to ask; “What is our leaders thinking?” Do they not remember when the Alliance of Baptists formed? Have they forgotten how much chaos that caused within the convention? Do they not remember the competing Pastors Conferences? Do they not remember the constant fussing and fighting that marked the convention during those days? The amazing thing that has caught my attention is the reason being placed before us in favor of a
name change new nickname-because we have a past of fussing and fighting. This move to officially/unofficially change our name add a nickname certainly has not diminished the fussing and fighting history, but exacerbated it.
When growing up we had this joke that would be told at our family reunions. The joke concerned our family name and how everyone used to be a Rogers until they started getting so sorry, then we made them change their names to Evans, Hunt, Smith, Johnson, etc. etc. etc. Thus, our joke was we were the good folks and others were the sorry ones.
In the previous post I expressed how church planting is being used as a pretense to change the name of the convention when there really is no statistical basis for a name change. After reading many of the pro-name change advocates and even those that desire to remain neutral, one thing is becoming very clear. The name change is based on various personal principles, this writer believes, is false at best and at the least includes an argument that is culturally discriminatory.
One of the main arguments being used centers around the word “Southern”. This argument implicates racism on a convention that was birthed during a dark day in the nations history that embodied a culture of slavery. This cultural dark period became even more accentuated during the civil rights movement.
Lest I be misunderstood, these two points would be well taken in the 1800′s and the 1950′s and 1960′s, but this argument in 2011 just does not have any statistical validity. When one moves within churches throughout the south one is hard pressed to find any serious person that holds to such views. Are there still pockets of racism within the more “family chapel” churches in the south? One would be a fool to believe racism in some form doesn’t exist. But there is also racism found, but not spoken openly about in all churches. Why would I say this? If it didn’t exist then where are the staff members of color in the mega churches promoting racial equality? The race argument of the
Southern Baptist Convention The Great Commission Baptistic Network is the egalitarian argument for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In the CBF one finds a promotion of women as pastors but one has to look hard to find CBF churches practicing their doctrinal position. It is the same among those who are pushing for a name change in the SBC and using “race” as a reason.
Does one find people that jokingly point to various cultural negatives? Certainly, just like North Carolinian’s call all the people that are purchasing the land in the mountains “half-backs”. Read more
I want to look at the “What if…?” question in order to help some better understand where the push back against changing the name of the SBC is coming among many Southern Baptists. I know the futility of this matter as some already desire a name change. It seems, from Dr. Bryant Wright’s passionate presentation to the Executive Committee (X.Com) on that Tuesday evening, that he desires the Southern Baptist Convention to be named something else. It is evident that a name has already been picked out and the “Task Force” seems to have only one task–make sure no one else has the name trademarked. It is also evident this is a direction the President wants us to move as he has appointed Dr. Draper to chair the committee due to his experience in already leading in a name change of one entity plus Dr. Draper’s experience of trying to lead in a name change for the convention in the past. But with all of this in place I want to ask our readers to answer the “What if….?”
What if Adrian Rogers would have chosen a Task Force this way back in 1987?
“1) Is it a good idea, that is, is there value in considering a name change? 2) If so, what would be a good name to suggest? 3) What would be the potential legal ramifications of a name change? 4) What would be the potential financial implications?”
The above questions are the four questions Dr. Bryant Wright placed before the unofficial task force for their consideration. These task force members are acting on their own as a service, not to the President of the SBC, but to another Southern Baptist. According to Dr. Jimmy Draper Southern Baptists have his word that no convention funds will be used to pay for task force items. This guarantee seems to be too open as some on the task force are denominational employees. For example, are they using their travel expenses provided by the entity and funded through the CP to pay their ways to the meetings? Are they using office time and personnel to plan, coordinate, and contact others? All these situations are convention funds. With that, I want to examine the questions and then give a brief position.
1.) Is it a good idea, that is, is there value in considering a name change?
It seems this is not even a real question. Let’s face it, Dr. Draper was the person back in the 1970′s that began suggesting a name change. Of course with the task force not being considered an official committee maybe this will die the death of other moves to bring about a name change. However, I doubt it as the word is out the “old guard” is on board with this thing. But, let us try to answer this question.
Is there value in considering a name change? It depends on how you are looking at this issue. If one observes the arguments the main one is the church planting situation. We have the Executive Director of New York already saying regardless of what happens the work in New York will continue. Read more
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:
In Part 1 of the concluding article posted here, I pointed out how we had Strong Theological Speech but Weak Doctrinal Practices. Many of our leaders give excellent theological analysis and press us on thinking about the way our actions reveal our theology. However, when it comes to doctrinal practice our leaders seem to have a discrepancy that veers from their talk. I also expressed a concern that Covenants are Being Treated as Contracts. In other words, we have people signing papers promising to do something they really do not believe in their hearts. I want to conclude today with two more practices that need to change if we are going to see sacrificial giving to the Cooperative Program return. Also, these four practices must cease if we are ever to see the return of some semblance of unity within our ranks.
Directing as Hierarchical Overseer
Posted by Tim Rogers on April 28, 2011
Posted in Alcohol • Baptist • SBC Issues • Southern Baptist Convention | 2 Comments
This is the first part of a concluding article for a four part series. The series I presented laments the differences seen in the Southern Baptist Convention since 1990. In Part 1 I expressed my dismay in the responses I received concerning the alcohol motion I presented at the NC Baptist State Convention. Part 2 reviews my theological journey and how that shaped my convictions throughout my pastoral ministry. In Part 3 I spoke of the leaders I saw taking stands and the way those stands strengthened the convictions that were shaping within my theological system. In this concluding post I lament three activities that has become standard practices of our leaders that must cease. Do not misunderstand, our leaders certainly hold solid biblical standards in their personal private lives. These standards must become more than just words spoken publicly to rally the troops. Our leaders must insist on those following them to hold these same standards as convictions for them to be convictions lived out in all areas of Southern Baptist entities. If entities do not begin returning to these standards as convictions and not some covenant signed like a contract there will be a continual decline in giving and participation by those sacrificially supporting the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). What is seen within SBC entity leadership that causes these standards to become mere guidelines and will cause those who are sacrificially giving cease their sacrificial gifts?
In this two-part conclusion I want to describe four areas that need our attention as Southern Baptist. In the first concluding article I will examine the strong theological speech coming from many within our leadership but the less than stellar doctrinal practice. I will also point out how covenants are being treated as contracts and how that is causing a disconnect within the practices we as Southern Baptist have come to expect.
Strong Theological Speech But Weak Doctrinal Practice