If you’re a Southern Baptist, you know the 11th Commandment. It has been chiseled into the stone heart of SBC leaders for nearly three decades, but not by the finger of God. It is simply thus…
Thou Shalt Not Criticize Another Southern Baptist
As someone who has been emphatically and explicitly anathematized from the Southern Baptist Convention for denominational antinomianism on this fabricated point of moral law, I am doing handstands over the reality that the 11th Commandment has now been toppled from the Southern Baptist Hendecalogue. Like the first tablets given to Moses, this has been shattered – but it won’t be patched up by the Almighty and handed back.
I won’t go over my history as the residential SBC Contrarian who was given the left-boot of fellowship after my 2013 sermon, Modern Day Downgrade: A Call for Repentance to Southern Baptists and Other Evangelicals, went viral and the long saga of SBC criticism between that time and my final swan song to the denomination, Social Justice Is Not the Gospel. The former was played on national radio programs to more than a million people and the latter was written about in everything from the Christian Post to “Relevant” Magazine. Needless to say, after suffering more than a few battle scars for daring to breach the legalist ’11th Commandment’ decree I’m happy it’s gone.
And boy is it ever gone.
Just a quick case-in-point on this…Yesterday, Russell Moore’s Manchurian Blog posted an article calling for the resignation of board members of the Executive Committee because they are conservatives…by name. The conservatives fired back. Not only is their response notable because they actually returned fire, but because they returned fire from outside denominational publications. A response in the form of comments to the Baptist Press or another denominational junk-blog would be notable enough, but they made their response on a political website run by Todd Starnes. You may not realize it, but that’s a breach of decorum so great that it signifies a new era has dawned in SBC Life.
There is no longer peace in Zion, and everyone knows it. It’s now on, as they say, like Donkey Kong.
In terms of the Conservative Baptist Network, I was quite skeptical at first as to its perceived efficacy. But after yesterday, and thanks to the dirty-worker’s (granted, biased) explanation of how it went down, I have a new assessment. Forgive me if I don’t link that article, but I don’t want to increase that blog’s website readership to the point it ranks on Alexa because I enjoy making fun of its cobwebs.
Here it is: The Conservative Baptist Network has legs. And it has legs for the following reasons:
1. This group kept its cards close to its chest until after its launch. This indicates planning. For too long la résistance has been relegated to a loose coalition of angry millennials on Twitter known as the Evangelical Dark Web (you’re welcome). I know planning when I see it, however, and the launch of the CBN reeks of strategy. Giggity.
2. The steering committee of the group is nothing to snicker at. While the Evangelical Intelligentsia has clout in evangelical circles, largely thanks to cross-promoting grab-handing on the part of Big Eva’s celebrities at the ERLC, the Gospel Coalition, and a slew of parachurch ministries (they’re an incestuous bunch), these conservatives have heavy hitters in the realm of conservative populism.
Names on their steering committee include Mike Huckabee, Charles Stanley, Tony Perkins, etc. And clearly guys like Todd Starnes are willing to be their megaphone. While these names are enough to make the Intelligentsia latte-sippers chuckle in their penny-loafers, there is zero doubt in my mind that their influence in the pew is as great as Russell Moore and his gaggle of Gospel Coalition lesbians.
3. They are not afraid to fight. Reading Rod Martin’s response to the Russell Moore’s dirty-worker brought a big smile to my face. His sleeves are rolled up. He’s done spit on the ground. They’re ready to throw down. And it’s about #%^ time.
Don’t get too optimistic, though. Ultimately, this fight for denominational resources – if that’s what it’s about – is already over. The liberals, led by Albert Mohler and Russell Moore, already run every seminary, the IMB, NAMB, Lifeway, and the ERLC. So good luck changing that any time soon.
Best case scenario: The conservatives spoil Mohler’s masterminded takeover of the Convention and serve as a thorn in their side, bringing about endless conflict that will lead to a denominational split. That’s not all bad; watching these bloated entities have to cut their budgets and lay-off their army of Starbucks gophers would be fun to watch, as Cooperative Program funding shrinks to record lows as churches disfellowship and give their offerings elsewhere.
Worst case scenario: The conservatives lose. Don’t think for a second that the soy boys won’t fight for every single penny they think is coming to them. Most of them have lived their entire adult lives on the Southern Baptist teat and won’t know what to do if they have to tighten their belt. They feel entitled to their huge budgets. They will resist.
I also have some doubts about the endurance these men will have to fight the battle, considering we’ve been fighting it for ten years and I haven’t seen them lift a dang finger to help until recently. But then again, maybe they’ve been planning and they’re smarter than me.
Time will tell.
I’m perfectly aware that I’m coming across as one of the Boogaloo Bois in my Hawaiian t-shirt and incendiary flags hoping to see the Conservative Resurgence II: Electric Boogaloo. But my goodness, if we’re going to have a war, let’s get’er done already.
There is no peace in Zion. Let’s stop saying so.