The Pen

Taking the Southern Baptist Convention to the Woodshed

He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Proverbs 13:24

When a dad takes his child to the woodshed, it’s an act of love. To spare the rod is to spoil the child. Correction, which is often unpleasant, is an act of love which is done by someone who cares. It’s also an act done out of the assumption that the child should know and can do better. But what of incorrigible children? There’s nothing more tragic than when a father realizes one more trip to the woodshed will do nothing to benefit his wayward son. Such a child is lost. The Father can only hope that the child will come to his senses when he realizes that he is mired in a pigpen of iniquity.

Where am I going with this?

The Presbyterian Church USA, The United Church of Christ, American Baptist Churches USA, the United Methodist Church….

You may have noticed that the exploits of these denominations aren’t generally covered here at Pulpit & Pen. We know these denominations don’t believe the Bible. We aren’t surprised when they hold “blessing of the pets” services, advocate for abortion, and ordain homosexuals. We get it. They get it. They are barely even nominally Christian. It’s not really news when they act unbiblically.

But what about Southern Baptists and the like?

That’s us. We’re them. That’s why we criticize the SBC. It’s out of love. We know the SBC can do better. We expect more out of the SBC because it is the SBC…the convention actually believes the Bible. Think about it. It’s news if a Southern Baptist church affirms homosexuality. When a United Methodist Church does that, it’s Tuesday. Tuesday comes every week. For lack of a better term, the SBC is actually still clinging to a respectable “brand.” We’d like to keep it that way.

Please don’t take the woodshed example too far. We aren’t saying that we just plain know better than everyone in the SBC and other bible-believing denominations, that we are the wise fathers of evangelicalism. Evangelicalism already has a wise father (no, not Albert Mohler), God. We’re just saying that we have certain expectations out of Southern Baptists and we believe that the SBC can toe the biblical line.

That’s why it’s news to us when we hear about what was preached at Calvary Baptist Church in Reidsville, North Carolina. It matters that its pastor, Greg Robertson, gave this example when preaching about “overcoming evil with good” (starting at time mark 33:20):

Paul Young, who is the author of The Shack, was speaking at a writers’ convention in San Diego. And when his book first came out there was a lot of controversy. I think people thought that he was writing some kind of doctrinal textbook. It’s just a work of fiction. It got so personal that people were attacking his family. Paul Young told of a time when had had been invited to an event and when he showed up, there were people who outside protesting and they had no idea who he was. So, he went inside and he asked some people, “Who are they protesting?” And they said to him, “You”. And Paul Young thought to himself, “Before I was a writer, I was just a guy working three jobs to make ends meet, one of which was a custodial job that I cleaned toilets. Now I have protesters. It was a very warm day so Paul Young got some cold bottles of water and he went outside and began to hand them out. And the protesters were very, very appreciative. And they asked him, “Who are you?” (Young said) “I’m Paul Young, the guy you are protesting.” And Paul Young said, “I have learned that it is easier to be right than to love.” That is where is so many of us fall short. We’d rather fight to be right than to love. We’d rather fight to be right than forgive. We’d rather fight to be right than be righteous. You know what? Lose some fights.”

William Young is a universalist. The Shack, though a work of fiction, contains his heretical Bible-rejecting theology. So does his new, non-fiction book, Lies we Believe about God. Here’s what Tim Challies had to say about Young’s new book:

In Lies We Believe About God, we see Paul Young apart from the subjectivity of narrative. And as he proclaims what he denies and affirms, he outs himself as beyond the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. This book is a credo for false teaching, for full-out heresy. I do not say this lightly, I do not say it gleefully, but I do say it confidently. Christian booksellers should be utterly ashamed to sell this book or any other by its author. Christians should not subject themselves to his teaching or promote his works, for he despises sound doctrine that leads to salvation and advocates false doctrine that will only ever lead away from God.

Protesting Paul Young is a good thing. Greg Robertson implied that such activity is evil. Isaiah 5:20 comes to mind:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

The little SBC logo outside of Calvary Baptist Church means something. It might even be on your church. The leaders of the Conservative Resurgence of the SBC understood that. Continue their work.  Take a look at SBC Pastors, like Robertson, with degrees from non-sense teaching egalitarian seminaries and say, “No. Not in my convention.”  Thank God Dr. Patterson and Judge Pressler didn’t resolve to “lose some fights” and just let wrong be.  Theology matters when souls are stake.

Keep up the skeer. Remember, there is nothing like a trip to an old-fashioned woodshed. Overcome evil with good.


*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant