Today we find a gumbo of a mess in the state of Louisiana that has the pot boiling over. Louisiana College has been a focus for some time. This article is not about the specifics of either side of that gumbo. I personally think there are too many outsiders flame throwing at this pot already. Instead this article will deal with a few ingredients that are popping out of this gumbo that should cause every Southern Baptist Pastor and member to take notice. The ingredients to follow show how the situation is now beyond the state of Louisiana and the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
Convention Employees going after each other in secular media!
We now have a SBC Seminary professor publicly going after a state convention employee in a secular press news outlet. Even a quick glance of the article highlights that Dr. Quarles, formerly of Louisiana College (LC) and now Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, calls into question the integrity of Dr. David Hankins, Executive Director of Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC). And for the sake of this article again I remind the readers that I am not picking a side in the gumbo at LC. As a 26 year veteran of Pastoral leadership in SBC churches I cannot help but speak out to the complete and total inappropriateness of Cooperative Program paid employee attacking another in secular media. No doubt a problem exists. But there is nothing in this gumbo that justifies the neglect of Biblical conflict resolution methods in lieu of having a "he said" argument using secular media to do so.
A seminary professor should know this. Pastors should know this. All of those in SBC leadership should be busy this next week making sure this type of unbiblical behavior ceases and that it is clear that we in the SBC will not tolerate this.
I applaud Dr. Hankins for refusing to respond in the secular media.
The Calvinism issue is more heated than some thought!
I have heard from several Pastors that the issues at LC were not over Calvinism. I have heard from others that the issues at LC are indeed all about Calvinism. Even Dr. Quarles in the linked article above shows the duplicity of this ingredient. We have an SBC seminary professor state that Calvinism was not the issue and then proceed to attack Dr. Hankins and every person who participated in the writing of and who signed the Traditional Statement. Dr. Quarles attempts to make an apologetic case for his position by maligning the Traditional Statement as being "extra" and more restrictive than the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Why? I thought he said Calvinism was not the issue? And yet as you read the article you can see that this is all he speaks of. So which is it?
I am one of the signers of the statement. As such I have been appalled at other SBC leaders who have in days past called it (us) Semi Palagian. The committee selected to study the issue of Calvinism in the SBC called for unity and the end of labels being tossed around. Yet it is clear in this article that a SBC Cooperative Program employee feels the freedom to take a shot at Dr. Hankins and the rest of us. And in taking this shot he claims that the Traditional Statement goes beyond the BFM 2000. He is clearly misrepresenting the truth and should recant this at once. Name calling and misrepresentation must end! Will Dr. Quarles say the same about the Abstract of Principles? Dr. Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, served on the Calvinism Study Committee and was one issuing the call for peace and unity. Are his professors now allowed to go against his own charge to the SBC as a whole? Is Dr. Quarles insubordinate or is Dr. Akin now in support of such behavior? One can only wonder.
And one would question the ethical conduct of secretly recording conversations (though legal in Louisiana) without consent. Christian character calls us to a higher standard than even the law. Why not get consent? And yes I have been in hostile work environments before. There have been times when I thought about recording conversations. I can tell you today that I am more than glad I made the decision to not go that route. With each situation God took me back to Matthew 18 and His path for bringing about truth and clarity. It is mind blowing how God can work things out when we leave it to Him and follow His plan in our actions and our spirit! Do we have seminary professors who have forgotten the Biblical mandates? Are the examples for our young men teaching that which is contrary to God's Word? Is this the culture we desire to create in SBC life? Is this the type of activity we condone at our colleges and seminaries. Is this the new norm for faculty and staff, Pastors and Director of Missions?
Ponder this! The GCR tapes have been locked up. Is it now ethical for someone to release them?
Dr. Quarles might also do well to remember that it is the giving of churches like mine that assist in paying his salary via the Cooperative Program. He works for us! Taking a cheap shot at Pastors and other convention staff is beneath the trust that has been given to him in his employment. Continued acts by convention employees will be a disaster for cooperative program giving.
And what about the flame throwers?
It is time for the SBC to speak loud and clear that we will not tolerate those who abuse social media in their meddling with the affairs that are out of their sphere of influence. Life today in the SBC is similar to the preschool playground. The punk bullies are going around and using intimidation and worldly methods to bring about their desires. The arrogance has reached a level so disgusting that one struggles to even describe it. Do we not realize that the Bible states specifically that we are not to take up an offense for a brother? There are a few that need to mind their own business!
As a father with a son now in the ministry (SBC church) it is getting more difficult to encourage him in SBC life with this type of gumbo that keeps spewing over. How long will we tolerate such?
If convention employees and Pastors are free to violate the Biblical model of spiritual fruit then how in the world can we expect God to bless us in reaching the lost who are dying and destined for hell without Jesus? If it is within their worldview that Christian matters are to be fought with secular means in relation to our convention, then why not do the same in our churches? And some are!
We need SBC Leadership NOW!
I am asking our SBC leaders to step up and lead! Use your influence to resolve this issue quickly. The precedent being set for our churches will lead to our destruction. It is time our leaders call an end to the attacks of Pastors on Pastors, Evangelists, and Convention Employees. It is time we hold our employees to the Biblical mandates. If we cannot do that, then we deserve the wrath of God.
This is one Pastor who is saying loud and clear ENOUGH is ENOUGH!
Please Lord, send us REVIVAL!