The tale of two shepherds
Not too long ago, I reported on the SBC leaders who were chosen by president Ronnie Floyd to lead this year’s Committee on Committees. Here I want to give a run-down on what I perceive to be part of a bigger problem within the SBC. The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention is designed in such a way that once a group is in power, they have the ability to stay in power, unscathed. In other words, it’s the current leadership that gets to decide who the next leaders will be. It’s quite a drawn out process, and on the surface it appears to be an efficient system, but with the corruption running rampant within evangelicalism, the system has broken down, and I’ll show you another reason why.
First, the man SBC President Ronnie Floyd didn’t choose. His name is Pastor Kenny Gooden, from Union Grove Baptist Church, in Yadkinville, NC. Have you heard of him? Most likely not. Pastor Gooden is not a world-famous ear-tickling preacher like well known televangelists and coliseum circus ring masters that everyone is so familiar with. No, he is a relatively unknown man, faithfully shepherding his flock in a relatively unknown small town in rural North Carolina. Sponsored by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina’s 5th district, Pastor Gooden was asked to serve as Guest Chaplain and deliver the opening prayer in front of US Congress on April 15th.
His deliverance of the prayer was unwavering. He opened the prayer by coming to the Father in confession of sin, and of everyone in the room’s sin. He wasn’t afraid to call it what it is–sin, and then humbly asks for mercy, grace and forgiveness. He also asks God to give to them a love for Him. He recognizes that God in all his sovereignty, and that man, being dead in his sins, that only God can grant us the ability to love Him, and he humbly asks this in prayer. He also has no qualms about saying that America’s righteousness has been lost, and humbly asks God to revive it. And most importantly, at the close of his prayer, he Boldly pronounces that he asks these things in the name above all names, to whom every knee shall bow, Jesus Christ.
Pastor Gooden must be commended for his unshakable presentation of his faith in front of one of the most ungodly systems of corruption in the world, the U.S. Congress. Sure, there may be a few in there who are Christians, but they would be the minority. The majority of the members of congress are exactly those Pastor Gooden was speaking about in his prayer. The unrighteous, the ungodly, the unforgiven–those who need to repent, and bow there knee to Christ. Pastor Gooden is not alone, he represents a large majority of the faithful pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. There are thousands of pastors just like him, who are unwavering in their service to Jesus Christ, and his sheep. Those who don’t compromise the Word of God in order to please man, and those who stand up against all adversity to boldly name the name of Jesus Christ. The Kenny Goodens of the world are the ones you’ve never heard of, and the Kenny Goodens of the world don’t get picked for leadership positions.
Now, let’s talk about who did get chosen to serve as the leader of the 2015 SBC Committee on Committees. His name is Dr. Bryan Smith, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA. Last year, Dr. Smith delivered the opening prayer for the U.S. House of Representatives on 4/2/2014. Listen to the prayer in the video clip. The prayer is very ecumenical, unbiblical, and never once does he name the name of Jesus Christ. He could have been praying to Allah for all we know. I’m not suggesting that Dr. Smith isn’t a Christian, or doesn’t believe in Christ, but the point I’m trying to make here is that Smith was more than willing to compromise his role as pastor, and duty as a Christian, for the sake of ecumenism. In other words, he didn’t want to offend anyone by using Christ’s name. He made a complete mockery of prayer in front of our nation’s leaders simply to gain the notoriety of being there.
Dr. Smith is well known among the current wavering leadership within the SBC. In the past, he has served as Trustee for LifeWay Christian Resources, the heresy peddling branch of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has also served as President of the Pastor’s Conference for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and 1st Vice President of the Pastor’s Conference for the 2004 SBC.
If you are well known, and you walk the walk and talk the talk of the current leadership in the SBC, you can be guaranteed a continuing leadership role within the Convention. One of the requirements for this guarantee are the ability to compromise for the sake of unity, and the willingness to bend in order to unabashedly defend others in the same leadership role. Speaking out in anyway against the current leadership, no matter how biblical it is, is strictly forbidden.
We must stand up and defend our unwavering, biblical pastors, and promote the cause of Godly leadership within our convention, or we are ultimately going to lose it. It’s time to reform our denomination, and clean up the dirt. The Bible has much to say about these two pastors:
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:23-27