Some people just can’t let bygones be bygones. A few Days ago, Joni Hannigan of the Christian Examiner blog wrote a flimsy piece claiming that Calvinist bloggers bullied Willy Rice into disinviting Carson from the 2015 SBC Pastor’s Conference. It was tacky enough that she barely sourced anything in her article, and those she did source were obscure comments made by a little known civil rights proponent, all while claiming her “journalism” was superior to those “Calvinist Millenials,” who are “merely bloggers.” One thing she did cite, however, was David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, as saying:
“I think the decision to disinvite him is sad and more importantly wrong.”
Now David Uth wants to elaborate on his statement. Hannigan quotes Uth saying:
“When I said I was sad and I thought it was the wrong decision, it wasn’t so much about Ben Carson because I think now, with him being a named candidate, it would be a bit awkward,” Uth said in a May 5 telephone interview. “The problem that I have with it is how it happened, not as much that it happened.”
Uth’s problem with “how it happened,” much like Hannigan, is that he believes a few, vocal, set of bloggers bullied Rice into making this decision. He continues, according to Hannigan:
“I have great respect for Willy Rice and I trust him. My struggle with it is how do we allow a vocal group, whomever they may be, to basically kind of dictate or to make the call — and it’s hard to lead when you have to appease certain groups.”
Uth’s real problem here is that the decision to drop Carson makes him look bad. Uth had Dr. Carson take the podium three times at his own church in June of 2014. In a way, the decision to drop Dr. Carson from speaking at the Pastor’s Conference alongside David Uth is a rebuke of Uth for having Dr. Carson speak in his own Church. In a last ditch effort to protect his own credibility, he really grasps at straws to try to make excuses for Carson’s invitation, and therefore, scolds those who spoke out against it, causing Carson to be uninvited.
The SBC was once led by all of the like-minded megachurch pastors who are more into playing politics than preaching the Word. At one time, their voices were the loudest. That status has been stripped of them. Now, while the SBC is still far from where it should be as far as leadership, voting, nominations, etc. is concerned, there certainly are a growing number of vocal bloggers who’s voices are starting to be heard. But Uth think’s this is a bad thing. Much like Hannigan, Uth thinks bloggers are just a very small fraction of people with few followers. But if that were true, how could we be so vocal? Without followers and supporters, how would our voices be heard? The truth is, the majority of the Southern Baptist Convention thought having Carson speak at the event was a bad idea, even before he became a presidential candidate. Baptist21’s blog incurred hundreds of comments in support of their concerns over Carson. Social media lit up over Pulpit & Pen’s blogs, and SBC Voices’ Dave Miller even expressed his surprise that so many voices were heard, and addressed by Rice.
Uth even admits that “it would be a bit awkward,” now that Carson is a presidential candidate, to speak at the event. So why can’t Uth let it go? Here’s why:
“I’m sure in my heart because I know Ben Carson fairly well, that Ben is the most humble person around, and he will be fine,” Uth said. “I was hopeful that our convention could hear from him because of his incredible gifting from God.”
Dr. Carson, a brilliant retired neurosurgeon turned politician is one of a minority of blacks who have ever attempted to run for president as a Republican. That’s what this is about. David Uth, just like the rest of the elitists in the SBC, saw this as an opportunity to claim an intellectually intelligent black man as a team member, and present him to the world as a token to make the SBC look more attractive to both the world, and the Republican party. What it boils down to, bottom line, is money. If the SBC can attract more people, regardless of their beliefs, churches can grow, more money can roll in, and the elitists can line their pockets. There really is no other valid explanation.
Hannigan paraphrases Uth as follows:
Uth, who heard Carson speak three times when he took to the pulpit at First Baptist Orlando for three services in June 2014, said he was not under the impression Carson was going to speak on “theology” at the conference, but would be sharing his testimony.
What testimony? Of how he became a cult member? Of how he’s on his way to Hell if he doesn’t repent and believe the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, not to be confused with Michael the Archangel? These guys keep speaking of how “humble” Carson is, and how much he “loves God,” but they just can’t seem to get this through their thick heads. Dr. Carson IS NOT a Christian, he is a Seventh Day Adventist. It’s not because he’s a political candidate, it’s not because he’s of another “denomination,” it’s because he’s not saved. An unsaved person, regardless of what your political position is, or denomination, or testimony, has no business standing up and addressing Christian leaders on anything, theological or not. Why can’t they see the problem in this? It distracts from the Gospel–it takes people’s attention off the differences between believers and unbelievers, and unifies them under a set of false beliefs. Then true Christians will begin to think that Seventh Day Adventism is orthodox Christianity, and they don’t need to be evangelized. But apparently that’s of no concern to Uth, as Uth says:
“We knew that coming in when we had him here. He has an incredible story I would like for our world to hear,”
Uth isn’t concerned that the world hear the incredible Gospel of Jesus Christ, he would rather the world hear Dr. Carson’s journey from childhood, to successful career, to damning, Christ-rejecting idolatry. Uth just can’t let it go though. He is clearly upset that he didn’t get his way, and clearly believes that only the elites should be able to make the decisions about who the SBC presents to the world.
“I’m not sure that we can move ahead in the future with the kind of strength that I think we must have in unity as long as our goal is trying to fulfill our own agendas and our own feelings and honor them by influencing them by something like this — in who we have speak at a meetings,” he explained. “It’s very difficult to lead when you are constantly trying to deal with the pressure of the direction you need to go.
“A lot of people seem to think they have a better idea of what God wants then the ones assigned by God to make that decision,” Uth said. “I pray we let our leaders lead and for our witness sake, follow in unity, not uniformity.”
So Uth thinks that the SBC leaders are the only ones that “know what God wants?” Is the SBC now Catholic? Do we need to seek God’s will through a priest, or through a hierarchical system? Perhaps Ronnie Floyd is at the top of this system now? Seriously? What about the priesthood of all believers, a longstanding doctrine that the SBC has affirmed for ages? But Uth has earned his way his way to the top of the system, and can’t stand the idea of having his subordinates question him. How dare they! Those meddling bloggers out there just trying to fulfill their own agendas, while we real leaders at the top… well, we know what God really wants for everyone, but Rice was bullied into making a decision for the sake of unity.
During this entire event, I have yet to hear any of these so-called leaders present the Gospel to Carson. They have spent all of this time defending him, and decrying Rice’s decision to drop him from the meeting, but have they once focused on the Gospel? No. These leaders, who all claim to know him “personally,” and “very well,” should have been trying to share the true Gospel with him. But their concern isn’t Carson’s salvation, it’s pandering to the world. It’s about presenting an image to the world, as Uth says:
“I think this leaves a really bad witness to the world. Once again, we are known for what we are against, rather than what we are for. It gives the impression you have to be exactly like us in order for us to listen to you, or to hear you,”
What we are supposed to be for, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what we are supposed to be against, are false Gospels.
Uth contends, however:
“I’m in full support of the decision that Willy made, because I trust his leadership,” Uth said. “I regret that he felt any pressure from anyone as to what the Lord wanted for us to hear at the pastors’ conference.”
If Uth really believed that Lord wanted us to hear something from Carson, then why is he supporting Rice’s decision? I’m certainly no staunch defender of Willy Rice, as Rice has made plenty of bad decisions, including asking Carson to speak to begin with, however, he did make the right decision to drop him. It was an embarrassing fiasco, and Rice tried to save face by downplaying it to making a sacrifice for the sake of unity, but the reality is, he realized it was an awful mistake. And despite his inability to come clean, and admit the mistake, at least he made the right decision do drop him. However, I believe if Rice would come out and tell the truth, rather than try to save face with the other elitists, all of this would die down, and be forgotten, but as long as Rice stands where he is, his cohorts are going to follow, and continue to make this about bully bloggers rather than the truth.
David Uth just needs to get over it.