Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Intermission: Twenty-Four Hours of Endorsements

My next post, "Of Muslims and Mars Hill," will come out tomorrow. In the meantime, it has been quite a day of activity in the blog world. David Dockery, Morris Chapman, Jerry Rankin, and Thom Rainer have all endorsed a site that has endorsed the departure of Richard Land from the helm of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It all happened within a little more than twenty-four hours. Here you can find the article linking to the four endorsements. Dockery commends the site for "positive and constuctive interaction." Morris Chapman articulates a confidence in the site's "stated intention to tone down personal criticisms of those who have differing views." Jerry Rankin speaks of the site's "respectful exchange of diverse opinions." Thom Rainer voices a "hope and prayer" that the site will "be used by God to open doors of conversation." Now, on the very next evening, this post by Art Rogers makes its own endorsement of sorts, saying not at all subtly that Richard Land ought not to be at the head of the ERLC. Rogers writes:

Dr. Land is President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. If he has deliberately lied, he certainly should not be in leadership anywhere in the SBC, much less his current post. On the other hand, if he legitimately believes what he said and is just horribly wrong, then his abilities to lead are thus called into question.
The implication is plain: Land either believes what he said or has deliberately lied, and either way, somebody else ought to be leading ERLC. If this is the kind of thing that these four are endorsing, then future meetings of the Great Commission Council are going to be very interesting. On the other hand, if they did not intend to endorse such speech, it will be interesting to see how they react to Rogers's statements.


Da Man said...


Who cares. Don't you see by making a big deal of what they write you give them credibiity? Do you really think anybody cares what Art Rogers thinks of Richard Land?
If I didn't know any better, I might think you, Wesley Snipes and Robin Hood like stirren up trouble.

Bart Barber said...

Da Man,

"Do you think anybody cares what Art Rogers things of Richard Land?"

The point of the post is to wonder whether Morris Chapman, Jerry Rankin, and Thom Rainer care what Art Rogers thinks of Richard Land. That is a question with significant implications for all Southern Baptists.

Look at it this way: We might "yawn" about the beliefs of Christian Exodus. But, if President Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and Alberto Gonzales all issued public printed endorsements of Christian Exodus, then that would be big news and something that we should not ignore.

Wes Kenney said...

I was saddened to see this blatantly political move by our entity presidents. It is especially revealing to look at what those listed as contributors have said over the last eighteen months about the trustees of the IMB. For Dr. Rankin to so publicly endorse them is really quite stunning.

sbc pastor said...

Like Wes, I too "was saddened to see this blatantly political move" by Drs. Chapman, Rankin, and Rainer. Thankfully, Dr. Dockery is not serving as a Southern Baptist entity head, so his endorsement is not as troubling. However, some of those on the left side of the Baptist aisle have endorsed him for President next year... and this will no doubt be an issue if he runs.

Furthermore, most (if not all) of the contributors at SBC Outpost have consistently attacked conservative Southern Baptist leaders such as Drs. Patterson, Mohler, Moore, Land, Yarnell, and York... not to mention the Trustee Boards at SWBTS and the IMB.

Thus, Rankin's endorsement of Outpost's politically motivated blog essentially puts him down as attacking his own trustee board at the IMB. Likewise, Chapman and Rainer’s lending of credibility to those who have consistently, directly, and vehemently slandered other SBC entity heads and their respective Trustee Boards is inappropriate at best, if not a calculated attempt to express undue influence upon other SBC agencies.

AndyHigg said...

Why must we always consider endorsements as evidence of side-taking in the Convention? Can we not say, "He has good things to say." and not agree with everything he says? Can we not say "What he says is important" if only to mean that knowing what he says is important because of its impact and significance on larger issues...or as evidence of growing dissent?

Perhaps I am naive, but I do not think that every SBC leader has some political scheme worked out by which they and their cadre can "seize control"! Perhaps an endorsement is just a social triviality or favor....

Bart Barber said...


I think that I have allowed for what you are saying in the conclusion of the OP: "if they did not intend to endorse such speech, it will be interesting to see how they react to Rogers's statements."

Joel Rainey said...

You have allowed for what Andy is suggesting, but others commenting here, as well as on SBCOutpost, are not.

I predicted that with these endorsements, insinuations would come forth about the possible "leftward-leanings" of those who endorsed the Outpost. As usual, Jeremy Green never ceases to fulfill these prophecies.

And I wonder why some critics of the Outpost can't understand the difference between endorsing a forum and endorsing everything contained in that forum. Anyone who passed Reading Comprehension 101 should be able to look at the statements of Rainer, Rankin, et. al. and tell that they are endorsing the medium as an alternative news source and form for honest and open conversation. That is a far cry from approving everything posted on the site. (or as Wes and Jeremy suggest more particularly that Rankin's endorsement by default puts him at odds with his trustee board.)
Remember also gentlemen, that many of the trustees at IMB themselves would be happy, I am sure, to reccomend the Outpost in the same way Rankin has done. Take Wade totally out of the picture and you still have quite a few who have opposed the recent guidelines.
If you don't agree with them, fine. (I don't always agree with them either), but enough of drawing dividing lines and plotting to go to war.

Wes, I enjoy hanging with you and you are a genuinely good guy, but c'mon! Are you honestly going to express "dissapointment" at what you perceive to be a political statement by Rankin or Rainer and pretend that similar remarks by Patterson, Land, etc. are somehow in a different league?

And concerning the subject you bring up Bart, notwithstanding Art's attitude (which I would agree could be toned-down a bit), how is his reasoning fallacious here?

OKpreacher said...


What is sad is the attempt by you and others to cast a shadow on godly men that understand you can recommend a blog as thought provoking, but not agree with all of the ideas. I have your blog linked to mine, but I don't agree with everything you write. I believe you do a good job of writing and always cause me to think.

SBC Outpost is a historic blog and is one of the founders of the Baptist blogging movement. Until SBC Outpost there weren't many baptists who kept up with what was taking place in the SBC.

Bart Barber said...


His reasoning is fallacious because he presumes that it is not honestly possible to interpret both the ambiguous statement from the EC and the 1VP election other than as he does.

As to the significance of the endorsements, I am leaving open the possibility that the endorsements are less than meaningful, but I find Wes and Jeremy's proposed interpretations to be more likely than yours. These gentlemen have never endorsed any other blog. They have never endorsed any other news source. I don't think they've ever even endorsed Baptist Press! Just how ought one to interpret these actions.

With regard to Morris Chapman, since he stood on the platform at San Antonio and verbally reiterated the entire Wade Burleson / SBC Outpost programme, I think it is pretty easy to discern what he is doing.

Kendall said...


What about Ben Cole's article on 7/23/07 where he calls Tommy French "Sancho Panza, an aging Cajun named Tommy French..." Then goes on to say that French's remarks proved "agin that there are days at the beginning and end of one's ministry when it is adviseable to remain quiet."

Then he refers to Paige Patterson, Al Mohler, and Churck Kelley as "the Troika, an affectionate little title I now employ when referring to" these entity heads.

These are demeaning remarks and no other entity head should endorse a site that would publish such articles.

Joel Rainey said...

I think we are talking about two different things here. When I refer to Art's reasoning, I am speaking of his contention that Land was vociferously opposed to the Garner motion, but after it passed, seemed to reinterpret it in the way you have consistently interpreted it from the beginning.

You have always been consistent in your understanding of this motion, which is why you said prior to the vote that you favored it. Land, however, seems, at least on the surface, to be talking out of both sides of his mouth by opposing the motion, and then giving it another interpretation after it passed. While I would not go as far as Art has gone with the implications of this charge, I think the charge is legitimate.

I also think the triumphalistic way in which he refered to the "slam-dunk stomping" of David Rogers, who he refered to as the "blogger candidate, is truly a display of arrogance that has no place at that level of the SBC. I'll be the first to admit that such arrogance and vitriol exists on both sides of the hot debates that seem to be emerging, but Ben Cole is not on the same level as Richard Land.

In short, I agree with your assessment that the motion was so ambiguous that it could have meant anything, which in the end indicates that it means nothing. Still, I think Chapman and X-Comm are fully within their rights to point out the original context of the statement, and I think Art has a salient point about the inconsistency of some who once opposed the motion, but now favor it.

On another note, I also think Patterson has a right to seek to persuade the trustees of the IMB in a particular direction if he genuinely feels that unBiblical methods are being used in the field. However, other entity heads posess the same right to persuade trustees, make endorsements, etc. My contention here is that the double standard needs to stop on both sides.

Joel Rainey said...

One other thing: regarding your statement that these guys never endorsed Baptist Press:

While I obviously can't answer this question on behalf of those who made endorsements, I honestly think we are talking apples and oranges here. Baptist Press and our state convention papers are decades old . . .older than the tenures of any of those who endorsed the Outpost. Therefore, BP doesn't need endorsements like these to grant it legitimacy. The Outpost is less than three years old, exists in a delivery format novel to Southern Baptists, and is (believe it or not) controversial. The endorsements help the Outpost to establish itself as a legitimate source of BOTH information and opinion, and the Outpost has never claimed to be anything else.

I know you frequently disagree with their views. Although not as often, I have found myself in disagreement with them. But their legitimacy is another issue.

Blackhaw said...

To act like SBCoutpost is a news source which has very little to no bias and tries to have honest debates about important topics is comical. It is a politicaly driven web site which is biased against the current powers that be. Even without Ben Cole and his hatred of all things Patterson, the others are just as biased. There is no news that comes out of the site except for editorials. It is a joke to take their "news" seriously.

As far as the endorsements Ido nto really have so much f a problem with them. The endorsements themselves were carefully written as to not state support for the conclusions f SBCOutpost but just that it is a place for debate. I think the men who made the endorsements are crazy to endorse the site for even that purpose but they did not endorse the opionions of the site.

Now I can see where you are coming from though Bart. And in the end knowing Ben Cole, Art Rogers, and the rest at SBCoutpost you are probably right. I would just hope for more from the leaders of the SBC.

BH- CArl Peterson