” One of the most cowardly things ordinary people do is to shut their eyes to facts.”― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Good grief! Where to begin. This is just an overview of things that caught my eye. I’m sure others will write in-depth perspectives in the days to come.
The Conservative Baptist Network was soundly defeated.
Let’s take a look at some failures.
Baptist Global: Attempt to dismantle SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission fails. The CBN types appear to be convinced that the ERLC is a den of woke activists about to overthrow the righteous folks of the SBC. No joy for them on this one.
In yet another setback to the most conservative wing of the Southern Baptist Convention, an attempt to disband the denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission failed June 15.
This vote was the culmination of a years-long campaign against the ERLC by allies of the Conservative Baptist Network, who believe the SBC has fallen into liberalism and has become “woke.”
Baptist Global wrote: Conservative Baptist Network loses SBC leadership posts. Basically, CBN candidates were given the boot.
The first early test of this coalition’s strength came Monday afternoon, June 13, when the Executive Committee elected new officers. The Executive Committee has been at the center of the conflict over mishandling of sexual abuse cases in SBC churches and institutions.
One of the most outspoken Executive Committee members in favor of transparency and full accountability was elected to lead the Executive Committee for the next year. Jared Wellman, pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, was chosen over Indiana pastor Andrew Hunt.
…Two other key leaders for the Executive Committee also fall in the same group as Wellman, seeking to right the wrongs of the past and create better systems to respond to known abuse.
The biggest ouch occurred when Voddie Baucham did not get the golden ticket.
The bigger headline of the day, however, is that a candidate for president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference heavily promoted by the Conservative Baptist Network also lost his race.
Voddie Baucham, a controversial author and dean of theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, was the conservative network’s choice. They settled on running him for Pastors’ Conference president after initially planning to run him for SBC president — which fell flat because Baucham is not a member of a Southern Baptist church and therefore not qualified according to the SBC’s bylaws.
However, the Pastors’ Conference, an autonomous organization
I wonder if Voddie knew he would lose since he wasn’t even present for half of the Pastors’ Conference. He went to listen to John MacArthur.
At the end of the day — literally — hours after the vote was taken, the results were announced and Daniel Dickard, pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., was declared the next Pastors’ Conference president. He got 690 votes to Baucham’s 608 votes.
Ironically, Baucham was not present in the hall for the first session of the Pastors’ Conference Sunday night because he was attending a Conservative Baptist Network event across the street featuring Calvinist author and pastor John MacArthur.
However, CBN put it all on the line by pushing Tom Ascol for the SBC Presidency. And they lost. Southern Baptists approve abuse reforms, elect new president at critical annual meeting.
On the first official day of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting here on Tuesday, voting delegates, known as messengers, picked Texas pastor Bart Barber to lead the SBC and faced head on the issue of how to prevent sexual abuse.
Barber defeated Florida pastor Tom Ascol in a narrow runoff election Tuesday evening. Barber received 60.87% of the vote.
So, where is the CBN after their historic loss on just about every front?
Today I asked a question on Twitter.
Apparently, the Baptist Standard asked the same question a month ago in Editorial: SBC is likely headed for further downsizing.
Should Ascol not be elected, history may repeat itself, but on the other end of the theological and political spectrum from CBF. The Conservative Baptist Network may see its hope for the SBC thwarted and, should it lose enough elections, may separate as CBF did 20 years ago—taking all their supporting churches out of the SBC. The Conservative Baptist Network already has its own mission, network of churches, leadership structure, events, press and giving channel.
History is shaping up for a repeat. With principled positions so firmly in place, it seems the SBC will need miraculous intervention to keep it from downsizing again.
Todd-do you think ARBCA would take them in? 😉
So, it seems like a database is possible after all, but I predict further fights on the issue.
Christianity Today posted Southern Baptists Overwhelmingly Approve Abuse Reforms, Public Database.
Two survivors in attendance hugged and cried, and supporters of the measure rose in applause as the move passed at the SBC annual meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The much-anticipated vote came less than a month after the landmark investigative report into the Executive Committee (EC).
…the new “Ministry Check” website will keep a public record of credibly accused abusers who have served in Southern Baptist churches and entities. It will be maintained by an independent firm, which will take and evaluate submissions.
A new task force, authorized by Thursday’s vote and to be appointed by the new SBC president, will coordinate the creation of the website as well as evaluating additional reforms over the next year.
Note that it appears these reforms will supposedly progress over one year. Christa Brown, who is finally receiving the attention she should have received over the decades, is not really sure about all of this. It appears she doesn’t trust the system and calls for secular authorities to investigate the SBC. It is possible that something like that could happen. Look at the RCC which has been investigated for criminal activity due to its own sexual abuse travesty.
I have to admit that I am feeling a bit skeptical about the database being well used in the SBC. There is a significant contingent affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Network who are not supportive of it.
One of the first responses to the recommendations came from Tom Ascol, a Florida pastor and leading candidate for SBC president. Ascol has been critical of the task force, claiming in a candidate forum that it had become “politicized” and saying local churches should handle any misconduct by SBC leaders.
“I am reading through the SATF recommendations for #SBC22 & looking for any Scripture reference & can’t find one, not even in the rationales,” he said on Twitter. “Did I simply overlook them?”
Tom Buck, a Texas pastor and Ascol supporter, said on social media that some of the task force recommendations are unbiblical.
I think Christa Brown is right to be skeptical. CBN had roughly 30% of the votes for offices in the SBC. 30% is enough to cause trouble. Hopefully, the new SBC leaders can prevail.
Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church is on the SBC hot seat and may be expelled due to female pastors or maybe not.
This story is a particular favorite of mine since it shows how a group can twist itself into a pretzel to make something work. The Christian Post published: SBC committee delays decision on whether to expel Saddleback Church over female ‘pastors.’
Yep, that’s right. They are thinking about giving Saddleback the boot.
The Southern Baptist Convention has delayed a decision on whether to remove Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church from the denomination in light of the California megachurch’s ordination of three female pastors last year.
…The SBC Credentials Committee, tasked with handling concerns about whether churches that cooperate with the convention are abiding by the SBC standards of faith and practice, announced Tuesday at the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California, that it would delay a decision on Saddleback’s standing.
I love this next part. 🙂 🙂 🙂 There is a difference of opinion, it seems. People have been saying this for years, but the SBC has stood firm. Maybe not so much now.
Based on the information available to us currently, including direct communication with Pastor Rick Warren, … we have concluded that we are not yet prepared to make a recommendation regarding Saddleback Church, recognizing there are differing opinions regarding the intent of the office of pastor as stated in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000,” Committee Chair Linda Cooper told meeting attendees.
Read this next part carefully and see if you see the loophole I see.
“We feel it is very important for you to know that it is the unanimous opinion of the Credentials Committee that the majority of Southern Baptists hold to the belief that the function of lead pastor, elder, bishop or overseer is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
But Cooper noted that the committee “found little information evidencing convention beliefs regarding the use of the title of pastor, for staff positions with different responsibilities and authority than that of lead pastor role.”
Interesting. This seems to imply that female assistant pastors, associate pastors, worship pastors, children’s pastors, missionary pastors, etc., might be overlooked if they are not the lead pastors.
This may not get resolved for a long time since:
The Credentials Committee initially recommended that the SBC messengers vote during the meeting this week to create a study committee that would report to the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting a “recommendation to provide clarity regarding the office of pastor.”
Some leaders, including Mohler, voiced opposition to the idea of creating a study committee.
Committees take forever. Here is my suggestion. Women who wish to be pastors and the men who support them should take this opportunity and get into all those positions I mentioned before the study committee completes their work. I doubt they would throw out a bunch of churches, so get moving!
I’m still processing this all. Special thanks to Jules Woodson, who, along with Christa Brown and David Pittman was quoted in just about every major media source I could find. So proud of them. It. is because of these folks that these changes are happening.