It’s all too easy to point fingers at the bad actors in American churchian life, and when we avoid self-righteousness, having removed the log from our own eye so as to see clearly to remove the specks in others’ eyes, it is actually a good thing to do. Attempts to free people from deception so that their Christian walk can glorify Jesus and avoid neutralisation by the schemes of the enemy (2 Cor 2:11) are commendable, godly, and pleasing to our Redeemer and Master.
And for all the criticisms of Southern Baptist office-holders we at the Pulpit & Pen make, it is nothing short of refreshing to see someone gird up his loins, step up to the situation, and do the right thing.
Which brings us to Tommy Kelly, Perry Noble, and the South Carolina Baptist Convention. To quote Pajama Pages:
The South Carolina Baptist Convention has told Perry Noble and NewSpring that they must correct serious errors in their church before they can once again associate with the Convention. In a bold and praiseworthy statement, the president of the SCBC, Tommy Kelly, turned what has been general public criticism of NewSpring into official church discipline, though the public rebuke went much further than just the Ten Commandments sermon. Kelly condemned Noble’s pulpit profanity, his sloppy exegesis and preaching, his lack of accountability and inability to receive correction. It also criticized NewSpring’s regular use of anti-christian music in its services.
Let’s curb our enthusiasm for a moment before we ratchet it back up afterward. This sort of thing is just plain not that hard. It’s not rocket surgery to look at one of these persistent offenders of the Word of God, men who are obviously in the game for their own personal glorification, who have posses and bodyguards, who artificially jack up book sales and will say almost anything to increase their own personal prestige in the eyes of the world and the churchian parasites who enable them, and say “That guy is not actually doing anything close to what he’s supposed to be doing.” The New Testament commands Christians to be strong and courageous and to call out and call to account false teachers and people who turn the grace of God into licentiousness (Jude 4). And yet, with millions and millions of people on the membership rolls of Southern Baptist churches, supposedly a conservative and biblical denominational organisation, where are the corresponding millions of voices doing that?
And this is only a matter of talking. I didn’t say anything about doing the right thing. I’m talking about saying the right thing, which is, let’s face it, a lot easier than doing the right thing (not to make too strong a distinction between saying and doing). In a way, saying something righteous is kind of the bare minimum. And yet, what can be so depressing and infuriating about American churchianity is that the vast majority aren’t even doing that, let alone, say, taking up their cross and actively calling the culture to repent of rampant child sacrifice and interposing to stop it in the name of Jesus, the blood of 60 million of Whose image-bearers has been spilled in 41 years.
But… we’re not there yet. So, let’s take a moment to appreciate the SCBC and its president, Tommy Kelly, for their statement and actions. Noble has many things of which to repent, and he obviously shows no contrition for them. Thus, there is nothing left to do but to repeat the call to repentance and then to do what we can to make clear that we have nothing to do with such a man and no part in the kingdom he is building for and unto himself.
Having said that…
Why won’t Ronnie Floyd, Al Mohler, Ed Stetzer, or Thom Rainer do the same thing vis-à-vis the piles of heresy that SBC-owned Lifeway still sells?
Why won’t Georgia Baptists step up and do the same with all the corrupt men they support and enable?
Or Louisiana Baptists with Louisiana Baptist College and Joe Aguillard?
I don’t know where the SBC is headed (though I have my suspicions), but no reform can happen until individuals actually walk by faith and, by God’s grace, start doing what they are commanded to do, consistently and boldly, knowing that duty belongs to us and the results to God. Tommy Kelly, we salute you today, and may you walk closely with Jesus all the days of your life.
[Contributed by Rhology]