The Southern Baptist Convention is the nation’s largest (but quickly shrinking) Protestant denomination and is comprised of seven independent entities and six seminaries that have little accountability to the local churches who fund them. Often times, critics and whistle-blowers are forced to speak out because there is a lack of capacity in the SBC trustee system to address concerns and grievances. However, few organizations can seek-and-destroy critics and whistle-blowers as well as the Southern Baptist Convention. One Southern Baptist, Robert Oscar Lopez (who serves as a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), has drafted a resolution to deal with this culture of corruption and vindictiveness within the denomination.
Posting at his blog, English Manif, Lopez published his resolution, On Southern Baptist Whistleblowers and Their Freedom of Conscience. Lopez drew from two different but recent controversies as part of the reason for his resolution. These were the sex abuse crisis reported in the Houston Chronicle and the compromises on sexual ethics by those partnering with homo-priest, Sam Allberry (these include the ERLC, Danny Akin of Southeastern Seminary, Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary, and Jason Allen of Midwestern Seminary).
Lopez says, “both scandals, among others…might have been averted if whistleblowers and informants who knew of such problems had had the opportunity to bring information to the public without retaliation from people in power…”
Lopez did not mention one case that has also irritated Southern Baptists in recent days, and that’s the firing of Professor Clint Bass from Southwest Baptist University because he alerted Missouri Baptist Convention officials of heresies (annihilationism, purgatory, and universalism) being taught in the college.
Likewise, Danny Akin has threatened Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary staff with ‘diversity training’ and firing for opposing his radical Social Justice agenda, and Albert Mohler has created a culture of fear and intimidation at Southern Seminary for the same reasons, something testified to by a SBTS professor earlier this week. Southern Baptists are afraid to share their opinions.
A.D. Robles testified several weeks ago of a Southern Baptist leader calling his elders to complain about his stance on Social Justice, which eventually led to his resignation. Pulpit & Pen contributors have regularly had Southern Baptist leaders try to get their church to discipline them or employers to fire them in retaliation for our reporting. This is all-too-common in Southern Baptist life.
Lopez’ resolution makes special note of the famous “11th Commandment,” that “Southern Baptists Shall Not Criticize Other Southern Baptists.”
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention affirms that there are only ten commandments in Exodus 20:3-17, and none instructing Southern Baptists to refrain from criticizing Baptist leaders, even publicly if necessary; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces “gentleman’s agreements” designed to force silence on people whose livelihoods depend on the Convention due to their service to the Convention; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces “non-disclosure agreements” and calls all Southern Baptist leaders who have imposed them on former employees to repent of them; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces retaliatory actions by Southern Baptist leaders, such as contacting critics’ employees or charges in order to threaten critics’ jobs or standing within their community; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention calls all Southern Baptists to proclaim and avail themselves of their freedom of conscience since our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told us in John 8:32, “the Truth will set you free.”
While Pulpit & Pen applauds the fine attention of those who want to reform the Southern Baptist Convention, we oppose the strategy.
Churches reform. Institutions only need to be discarded and replaced. Jesus did not die for the Southern Baptist Convention, and he is in not coming to retrieve it. It is corrupt, and no protest – as Spurgeon said – can get the point across as readily as separation.
There is no moral imperative to save the denomination, but there is a commandment to be separate from the fruitless deeds of darkness and expose them (Ephesians 5:11). We pray that more and more believers will be convicted to speak out publicly.
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