Several months ago, I received correspondence from a publication called ‘Word and Way.‘ which reports on Missouri Southern Baptist news. I read it growing up, back when it was the de facto news publication of the Missouri Baptist Convention in my then native state. Brian Kaylor, the current editor and president of the publication reached out to me to defend the Southwest Baptist University professors who were teaching rank heresy in that institution.
Pulpit & Pen, which has more readers than all Southern Baptist news publications combined, did the job of real Baptist reporting and covered the story of SBU firing the whistle-blowing professors. Kaylor had an axe to grind. You can see the screenshot below.
Kaylor makes the claim that “Bass was fired for behavior.” Whatever Kaylor may know about it, the Word and Way has not published the details of Bass’ supposed gross behavioral errors. In other words, Kaylor hasn’t done his job as a journalist. He hasn’t researched the matter and then reported on it accordingly. Rather, Kaylor set about to do public relations on behalf of the corrupt institution that – while retaining professors who teach universalism, inclusivism, and purgatory – instead fired the professor who acted on behalf of the Missouri Baptist Convention officials to report on the doctrine being taught at SBU.
My response was as follows:
I thought it interesting that a supposed journalist would reach out to another publication and instead of asking, “Do you have pertinent information I should have” or “Can you fill me in on what exactly happened” or “Who are your sources” he asked about my “tone.”
My response was the ordinary one when people who should be objectively examining evidence, are instead worrying about something subjective and irrelevant, like my tone:
I do not care about tone because I am intellectual and thoughtful, not emotive. As a journalist (supposedly) you should try being objective and worry less about subjective impressions of attitude or tenor. It’s really beneath objective journalism.
Kaylor continued to avoid answering any questions in relation to the Bass firing, but instead continued worrying about my ‘tone.’
He simply would not answer the question. Neither has he been specific in this regard in his ‘journalism’ at Word and Way. Keep in mind, he’s supposed to be reporting the facts.
Of course, Pulpit & Pen is the real Baptist Press. This is where Baptists across the country turn when they want to know what’s really happening in the Convention. Word and Way ranks 241k on Alexa (that means every few days someone might accidentally click one of their links). We rank 19k on Alexa (ranking us among the most highly-read Christian news sites in the world). Clearly, people turn to us to find out what’s really going on and the Word and Way is the publicity arm of the left-wing of the Missouri Baptist Convention whose readership probably overlaps considerably with those belonging to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
But, as you can see in the screenshot above, Kaylor clearly takes issue with “Ad Hominem” arguments. Remember that. Make a note of it.
Notice the distinction between this man and myself. I was interested in the facts of the case regarding SBU, while he steadfastly refused to drop the topic of “tone.”
Color me surprised then, when Kaylor published a piece of yellow Journalism that was nothing more substantive than an ad hominem attack on me personally.
Kaylor proceeded to write a piece entitled, They Shall Know We Are Christians…By Our Blogs? I would link it, however, you know how to Google and I have no intention of driving traffic to their meager blog site. Within this post, Kaylor brought up a five-year-old controversy which has nothing to do with the Bass firing or SBU. It was, for lack of a better word, a vindictive hit piece.
Shamelessly using the suicide of a young man to defend Southwest Baptist University from our reporting, Kaylor went beyond the pale of self-contradiction. As widely reported in 2014, I had a brief four-tweet exchange with a young man who nearly a month later committed suicide. Although his disgraced father – who was eventually fired from his Southern Baptist position for sexting and racism scandals – found me a convenient scapegoat for the incident, there was no serious reason to suggest that my unwise interaction with the man had anything to do with it. While my heart for investigation overrode my pastoral concern (for which I apologized within 2 days of my interaction), there is zero indication that any such encounter led to his suicide.
In fact, one of the Survivor Blogs that originally reported the incident (and raked me over the coals for it at the time and did blame me initially) posted an article in the last week in which – after much research into the incident and from various sources close to the situation – said, “Hall’s few comments on Braxton’s Twitter, while despicable, did not cause Braxton’s suicide.”
I made my initial apology at the time (privately to the Caner family as well as publicly), before the suicide occurred, by the way. While Kaylor gave statistics about those “bullied” being at a higher risk of suicide, most within the boy’s family do not blame me. There is no causal connection linking me to the death, and the matter was never pursued by anyone vaguely familiar with the incident as being even possibly the cause.
This did not stop the Missouri Baptist newspaper, Word and Way, from exhuming the poor boy,s corpse and wielding it as a weapon against someone who dared to criticize a Southern Baptist institution for teaching that Jesus is not the only way to salvation. No matter how you look at it, that is absolutely shameful.
I ask you, is that not an “adhominem” attack?
Kaylor’s article is replete with untruths. These include that I “sent critical messages” to Braxton Caner, as though I messaged him privately. I responded to a public Twitter feed, primarily by asking if he spoke Arabic (a false claim repeated by his father). When I realized his age, I said I was discontinuing the back-and-fourth three tweets later.
Kaylor claims that I left the SBC for it being “lukewarm.” I would like to know where those quotation marks came from. In Journalism School, they teach you not to use quotation marks on singular words or phrases (if it is a quotation) but only upon complete sentences so as to convey context. I certainly have never said – nor even came close to it – that we left the SBC because it isn’t Calvinistic enough, as Kaylor says. We left the Southern Baptist Convention because it is corrupt on multiple levels and because its entities are largely abandoning the Gospel for the sake of Social Justice. Had Kaylor been more interested in researching facts than talking about his feelings, he could have read our statement on the subject for himself or listened to the sermon below.
Claiming that we left the SBC over Calvinism is a 100% fabrication, and speaks to the level of journalistic integrity present in the Word and Way publication.
Going on to cite both Ed Stetzer and Pope Francis to make his point about the ills of critical blogging, I think, demonstrates my point. In short, there’s a massive lack of biblical discernment out there in the world, and people need a critical point of view or else they…you know…start quoting Ed Stetzer and the Pope.
The most atrocious lie in Kaylor’s piece is this line:
His site frequently includes anti-Semitic tropes, and blasts efforts to dialogue with Catholics or fight racism.
I have never, in ten years of writing Pulpit & Pen, been accused of ever having written anything “anti-Semitic.” That is possibly the most outrageous claim I have ever read. Of all the things I’ve ever been accused of, this has never once been among them. I would defy anyone to find anything we have ever written that could be construed as being anti-Semitic in any way. It’s simply absurd.
[UPDATE: I called Kaylor and asked what he perceived in our blog was “anti-Semitic.” He answered forthrightly that because we have criticized George Soros, the wealthy Democrat financier, and because George Soros is Jewish, it “comes across as anti-Semitic.” Again, I ask you…is this real objective journalism?]
Of course, I’m not an ecumenist and so I don’t believe in dialoguing with Romanists (I believe in evangelizing them). I’ve never been opposed to fighting racism, although I am opposed to Critical Race Theory, Cultural Marxism, and Affirmative Action, agreeing with Martin Luther King Jr., that men should be “judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.”
In other words, on this point, Kaylor is lying. He’s lying through his teeth. He’s not only an incompetent journalist, but also a shill for the corrupt Missouri Baptist Convention who, together with him, have a vested interest in continuing said corruption unabated.
Regarding the use of Caner as a weapon of deflection for Kaylor’s warfare on feelings, I must bring something more to your attention.
When we warned Brewton-Parker repeatedly that Ergun Caner was a man who completely fabricated his life story, we did so because publications like the Word and Way (or the Georgia version, The Christian Index) refused to do their job and report the facts surrounding Caner. Eventually, Caner polarized the campus around race and left in a disgraced sexting scandal. Yet, he used the suicide of his son to deflect from his sin.
When we exposed a rampant serial abuser and celebrity evangelist, Clayton Jennings, and helped many young women tell their stories and reached out to them in support, hoping to help them overcome their trauma, Jennings also used Braxton’s memory as a shield to deflect criticism from our publication. Today, reports are circulating that Jennings has been turned in for abuse against a minor, and the saga will ultimately end with him in jail (you’re welcome, world). The reason we reported these stories is because publications like the Word and Way cannot be counted on to do real reporting.
For some reason, a Baptist publication in Missouri is using the Caner tragedy to preserve the reputation of a corrupt institution which fired a righteous whistleblower for reporting (at the request of Missouri Baptist Convention officials) heresies taught at that institution. Their message is clear; if you report the truth, and do our job for us, we will attack you with lies.
When people use the personal tragedies of others to conceal or cover-up reporting, that’s not truth. And furthermore, it’s shameful.
Kaylor claimed my reporting on SBU was inaccurate, but made no attempt to state my inaccuracies. While claiming I engage in ad hominem arguments, he himself committed a grievous and gratuitous one of his own.
This is the reason why Pulpit & Pen is the de facto Baptist Press. Others attack. Others cover-up. Others do public relations. We report the facts and stand by them. At the end of the day, Word and Way and Pulpit & Pen are in the same category of news sites…primarily online publications that are to report the truth.
Now where do you think you’re more likely to read it?
Bold-hearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards. – Charles Spurgeon