Monday, January 7, 2008

Conflict of Whose Interests?

Wade Burleson has advanced three reasons (see here) why he will not be voting for Dr. Al Mohler to preside over the SBC. Those reasons are:

REASON NUMBER ONE Southern Baptists are now desiring gospel cooperation, not the separatism of Fundamentalism.

REASON NUMBER TWO: It is at best unwise, and at worst a conflict of interest, to have an entity President simultaneously serving as President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

REASON NUMBER THREE: The Southern Baptist Convention needs the leadership of a man who sets the example for generous giving through the Cooperative Program.

Now that the tent peg is firmly in the forehead of objection number three, I direct my attention to the remaining two objections.

Conflict of Interest

The phrase "conflict of interest" has slightly different application in different fields. As it pertains to leadership within the Southern Baptist Convention, a suitable definition appears on the website of the New Jersey State Legislature: "CONFLICT OF INTEREST A situation occuring when an official's private interests may benefit from his or her public actions."

Burleson has given two examples that he believes illustrate a conflict of interest in the election of entity heads to the presidency of the SBC.

First, he has highlighted Dr. Paige Patterson's (I wonder how he chose HIM to pick on?) appointment of the BF&M 2000 committee, resulting in an unprecedented affirmation of biblical gender roles in the revised statement. Patterson's selection of this committee is somehow supposed to show conflict of interest in electing entity heads as SBC presidents.

Now I ask you, how did the inclusion of this language in the BF&M advance the private business interests of Dr. Patterson or the pecuniary interests of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary? The answer? Not at all. The BF&M committee appointments did not advance Dr. Patterson's private and personal interests. They did not advance the seminary's interests in any way to the detriment of the SBC as a whole.

Rather, Burleson's beef is with the fact that the BF&M committee advanced the ideological viewpoint espoused by Dr. Patterson, the Conservative Resurgence, and the majority of SBC messengers who elected him (and, not coincidentally, an ideology not shared by Burleson). Yet this point has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the president in question (Dr. Patterson) just happened to be presiding over SEBTS at the time. I submit that, if Dr. Patterson had appointed said committee before coming to the helm at SEBTS, or if he had done so after retirement from all convention activities, the results would not have been one iota different. It simply has nothing to do with Dr. Patterson having been an entity president. Burleson's beef is simply that he lost—that the decision made was one with which he disagreed.

Burleson's second illustration comes closer to the mark. He asserts that the election of Mohler would put him into a position to enact a special offering for seminaries. Personally, I think that a special offering for our seminaries is a wonderful idea. In fact, our church is going to collect one this year (more about that planned for a later post). But Burleson's point is to suggest that Dr. Mohler's interests (as president of a seminary that would receive such an offering) would lie in conflict with the convention's interests that Dr. Mohler be objective in populating such a committee.

Burleson suggests that the push for a seminary offering began "two years ago." Actually, seminary presidents have desired to have a special offering for the seminaries for at least sixty years. The effort two years ago was merely the latest attempt. This is relevant, because the issue was alive during the SBC presidential tenures of seminary presidents Scarborough, Hamilton, Patterson, and maybe even Sampey. None of those seminary presidents took advantage of the SBC presidency to advance the idea of a seminary offering. Indeed, of the seven seminary presidents who have served as SBC presidents, no one has undertaken to demonstrate a single real instance in which their concurrent service actually impeded their performance in either task.

Furthermore, the seminary presidents get to deliver a report at each year's annual meeting, yet they have not employed that forum to call for a special seminary offering. They have the same ability as any of us to rise to a microphone and propose the offering to the Southern Baptist people. Yet they have not done so…have never done so. Personally, I wish that they would have. Why is the Executive Committee afraid to allow the Southern Baptist people to discuss the concept and bring it to a vote? But I digress. The point here is that, with ample opportunity to do so, the seminary presidents have not even used the means available to them every year to press for a special offering.

Many have pointed out that previous seminary presidents have served as SBC presidents; what has not received ample consideration is the fact that previous seminary presidents have served well in leading the SBC. The leadership of E. Y. Mullins, in the era containing his presidencies, to bring us the Cooperative Program and The Baptist Faith & Message comes to mind. What would we be if we could go back in time and eradicate the leadership of Boyce and Mullins, Sampey and Scarborough? Much less than what we are.

Also, we must note that we are electing a president, and not a pope. Whoever wins the gavel this summer, he will not be able to accomplish anything until he has gained the consent of the ballot-lifting masses at the annual meeting for each measure. I predict that President Mohler will accomplish a great deal, not through sinister finagling, but by virtue of the statesmanlike leadership that he has already brought to our convention and will exude from the platform.

Our seminary presidents have, while serving as SBC presidents, consistently acted in the best interests of the SBC. Dr. Mohler will do likewise, and the people's affirmative verdict on that count will be reflected in their overwhelming support for his leadership.

Fundamentalism

I turn finally to Burleson's initial point. Essentially, when you decipher the code-language, Burleson has placed into the lead-off position his objection to the fact that Dr. Al Mohler is not a part of Burleson's movement (What's a Fundamentalist? Anyone more conservative than I am). Granted, Dr. Mohler is not a part of the Burleson coalition. But, neither is Dr. Mohler anybody's lackey. He's an intelligent, articulate spokesman for conservative Baptist Christianity. All of the reasons why a Mohler presidency excites me are doubtless reasons that discourage Burleson.

I can understand that. I can sympathize with it. Who couldn't? I just don't know that it makes for a very compelling reason why anyone ELSE ought to be opposed to electing Dr. Mohler as President of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis.

28 comments:

Tim Guthrie said...

Well done. I do appreciate you taking the time to lay all of this out as you have. It is clear and concise. I just pray that people can see thru the Burleson mess (as I like to call it) :).

Ron P. said...

Bart,

Wade's post really should have had only one point: Dr. Mohler does not agree with Wade Burleson, therefore he is not qualified to be SBC President.

You have really been hitting grand slam home runs with your posts recently!

Blessings,

Ron P.

Wes Kenney said...

Bart,

I'm reminded of a bit of dialog in the movie Liar Liar. Jim Carey's character, Fletcher, is an attorney, the opposing counsel has just made a point against his case, and Fletcher has been rendered unable to lie due to his son's birthday wish having been magically granted:

Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
Judge: Why?
Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!
Judge: Overruled.
Fletcher: Good call!


The bottom line is that the election of Dr. Mohler to the presidency of the SBC would be devastating to all for which Wade Burleson has agitated within the convention over the last two years. Facts will likely take a back seat to the campaign of the next six months as the Burleson coalition seeks to derail this candidacy.

Bart Barber said...

Wes,

The end of that movie didn't, by any chance, cause you to cry like a schoolgirl, did it?

Wes Kenney said...

Bart,

Rather than answer your question, I'll simply remind you of the protections guaranteed to me by the fifth amendment to the U.S. constitution...

Tim Guthrie said...

Wes,
That was a Wade answer (ouch) :).

Scott Gordon said...

Gentlemen (& Wes),

First, nice shot Tim G.! Kudos (sorry Wes-ley);-)

Aside from the movies and our fits of crying...I, too am thankful that Dr. Mohler has agreed to the nomination for SBC president.

Bart, well said. I say 'ditto' to the 'kudos' the other guys have already stated.

Sola Gratia!

William said...

Well put.

But no thanks on the seminary offering for me and my church. Such would only degrade the CP further.

volfan007 said...

i have to agree with william about the seminary offering. we're already taking up too many special offerings. we have lottie and annie. we have the state offering. we have the childrens home offering. and, a lot of churches have the gideons coming in from time to time. it almost gets to the point where a pastor feels like a fund raiser.

the cp was supposed to take care of the financial needs of the sbc and the state conventions. i just wish that everyone would raise the amount given to the cp.

david

Bart Barber said...

William and David,

In theory, I agree. The problem comes when you start the "special offerings" game for the whole universe, and then stop it with part of the kiddies getting one and others not. The larger and better paid entities get a special offering PLUS the lion's share of the CP pie. The impoverished seminary professors get a sliver of the pie and no special offering.

Yet every other corner of the SBC enterprise depends upon the seminaries to provide (often required) training for their workers.

If we are truly confident in the unified budget plan such that we want to avoid special offerings, then let's get rid of ALL of the special offerings and put ALL of the money through the budget.

As for me, I'm content with having special offerings, which are, after all, voluntary.

Bart Barber said...

Obviously, this is connected with my passion over the underpayment of those who have shared spiritual things (ministerial training) with almost all of us who blog.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

I am all for the seminary offering. I am sorry Brothers David and William, but I still pick and choose which offerings we give to. Thus, another offering is not going to concern me because I can say no. (Seems like there was a slogan like that going around some years back.)

As to the Seminary offering, it is not a problem adding another offering. Remember the more people give; the more people give.

Blessings,
Tim

volfan007 said...

i'm all for the seminary prof.'s making more money. we ought to pay them more. but, personally, i just cant ask my church to have another special offering.

david :)

Bart Barber said...

I do plan to offer a post someday soon that is actually about this. :-)

Matt Knight said...

Bart,

I have an opinion on the matter of Mohler for SBC president. Setting aside the issues of Wade Burleson and a special offering, I believe we ought to look carefully at the issue of a potential SBC president who is also the head of one of its institutions.

There is certainly more than enough potential for conflict in such an arrangement. While you have chosen a definition for “Conflict of Interest,” which pertains to issues of public duty and private interests, I submit that the potential for conflicts of interests goes beyond this description. As the head of an institution and the president of the convention, Mohler would be, in a sense, his own boss’s boss. That is to say that he, the SBC president would appoint those who would choose the trustees who hold him, as seminary president, accountable. He also would be in charge of the Executive Committee, which makes a number of decisions that could impact the seminary of which he is president. It is also worth noting that the bylaws of the SBC forbid anyone from serving both on the Executive Committee and another committee concurrently (excepting the SBC president, who serves on many committees).

The example of Paige Patterson (while I recognize that you didn’t bring it up initially) seems to cut both ways. You argue that Patterson did good things as SBC/SEBTS president, and I would agree with you that the BFM 2000 was a good move. However, you and Wade use a similar argument on this point. He disagrees with Patterson’s handling of the issue, and you agree with it – you both use your opinion of the outcome as the basis for the argument. He disagrees with the outcome and says it is bad, you agree with it, so it is good. I would submit that the outcome in this case has little to do with the fact that Patterson was both SEBTS and SBC president. You say as much yourself.

You said:
“Yet this point has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the president in question (Dr. Patterson) just happened to be presiding over SEBTS at the time. I submit that, if Dr. Patterson had appointed said committee before coming to the helm at SEBTS, or if he had done so after retirement from all convention activities, the results would not have been one iota different.”

I agree with you there. However, this is hardly an argument for allowing one man to fulfill both roles at the same time. I would contend that if a man can do the same amount of good, he need not introduce the potential conflicts of holding both offices. You see the argument works both ways.

The issue is one man serving in a position where he appoints those who are to hold him accountable in another position. It’s almost like being a middle manager for a corporation and the Chairman of the same corporation – there’s a ton of potential for conflict there. You may say that the potential does not necessitate the conflict, but how about an example? What if the man is not Paige Patterson or Al Mohler, but a liberal-leaning seminary president/SBC president? There are checks that are in place to protect our institutions and to keep the leaders both honest and focused on the mission of the convention. The point of these checks was to limit the authority of these individuals and hold them accountable. This can become problematic when one man appoints those who to whom he must answer in another position. Would you not agree that it would be dangerous at worst or at least potentially problematic to allow individuals to serve both as SBC president and institutional head?

I apologize for being so lengthy.

Trish said...

Matt,

If I am understanding your concerns correctly, you are saying that just because Al Mohler is a Christian who is expected to operate with integrity, in this situation, it is presumed that he will not operate with integrity and will therefore do things as president of the conventation that favors SBTS? And that, for this reason, because it is presumed he will not have integrity, he ought not to be considered for president of the convention.

Also, I notice that you only use the example of Paige Patterson and that some people see that his work on the BFM2000 was a conflict, one that I don't see, but then I am not too familiar with Baptist heritage. But, I seem to recall that there were other examples in this category, with EY Mullins coming to mind, and how much great work he did for the convention.

If, there is historical precedent for this, and there is, and there has been no serious issues in the past concerning matters of integrity, why is it right to presume there will be this time?

I ask these questions, because I don't see nor share your concerns. I also have a problem with the apparent presumption that Dr. Mohler will not act professionally and with integrity, as a Christian should. Please correct me if I have misunderstood your implications by the concerns you expressed. Thanks.

Trish

Bart Barber said...

Matt,

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this important question with you.

First, with regard to the definition of "Conflict of Interest," whenever I applied it, I used not only the personal interests of the man, but also the private interests of the institution. Thus: "The BF&M committee appointments did not advance Dr. Patterson's private and personal interests. They did not advance the seminary's interests in any way to the detriment of the SBC as a whole." I do think that I have used the concept of "Conflict of Interest" in a manner broad enough to include every aspect possibly applicable to this case.

Second, with regard to the argument regarding the BF&M and Dr. Patterson, the section of my argument that you quoted is my main point. Thus, it is not any sort of concession on my part—you're saying precisely what I am saying. That example has nothing to do with the question of whether an entity head ought to serve as SBC President (which was the point that Bro. Burleson was clumsily attempting to advance with the example). As far as I can tell, you and I are in agreement at this point.

Third, with regard to the conflict of Dr. Mohler allegedly becoming his "boss's boss," I think that you fail to note the extensive system of checks and balances built into the system.

1. Dr. Mohler will appoint a large committee of people from across the nation to serve as the Committee on Committees in 2009.

2. That large committee of people will, in turn, submit a large committee of people from across the nation to serve as the Committee on Nominations for the 2009-2010 year.

3. The messengers to the SBC will have to approve this Committee on Nominations at the 2009 Annual Meeting.

4. During the 2009-2010 year, this large Committee on Nominations will get to nominate people to fill a few of the many slots on the Board of Trustees for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

5. The messengers to the SBC will have to approve the nominees to the various boards at the 2010 Annual Meeting.

6. The approved nominees will then serve as a tiny fragment of the board alongside people whose nominations ultimately trace back to Frank Page, Bobby Welch, et al.

So you see, the situation is really not very analogous to a middle manager becoming CEO. Rather, it is more akin to a middle manager owning a good bit of stock in his own company (a quite common occurence) and having the potential to exert some indirect influence upon the selection of a few members of the board that oversees his CEO.

Matt Knight said...

Trish,

I first want to say that I mean to make no implication whatsoever about Al Mohler’s character or integrity. From everything I know about him he is a man of God and a man of integrity (and I could say several other positive things). I would agree with you that a man who lacks integrity should neither be president of a seminary or president of the convention. However, my intent was to discuss the issue of whether one person (any person) ought to hold the two offices concurrently. I suggested that this might pose a sticky situation.

As to the issue of Dr. Patterson and the BF&M I chose that example simply because it was handy and was the one that was being used, but for no other reason in particular. My point in raising the issue is to question, not if there were any negative consequences (i.e., if anyone got hurt), but whether or not it is in principle a good idea to place one person in two positions of authority within the convention.

I hope that I’ve shown that my concerns have nothing to do with an individual, but with a principle, namely “checks and balances” as it were.

Bart,

Thanks for being willing to discuss this important issue. You and I are in agreement with regard to the BF&M and Dr. Patterson’s role in that endeavor. I do greatly appreciate those who were involved in that work and the work they produced. Here again, we both seem pleased with the outcome, but disagree about whether or not he should have been serving in both positions concurrently.

Your third point addresses exactly the issue I was bringing up. My attempt was to raise the concern of this issue of being his “boss’s boss” in a manner of speaking. I do also appreciate your work in detailing the checks in place on the president of the convention.

However, it seems that your arguments beg the question. You bring up the fact (which I shall stipulate) that the previous SBC/seminary presidents were men of integrity. However, the fact that they are men of integrity does not negate the fact that holding these two positions concurrently is simply not above reproach. Perhaps that is my biggest concern.

There may in fact be the opportunity for a conflict of interest to develop, in spite of the other checks in place, but further such a situation certainly provides more than enough opportunity for an SBC president to be accused of such. We want our dealings to be strictly above board and for our leaders to be men of unimpeachable integrity. Most of them are, and I do not want for there to be opportunities for others to claim there is any conflict.

You may repeat your arguments that this situation provides for no legitimate conflicts, but I’m not sure I buy that, and I know that many others will not either. Again, I’ll bring up your statement with which I agree: “I submit that, if Dr. Patterson had appointed said committee before coming to the helm at SEBTS, or if he had done so after retirement from all convention activities, the results would not have been one iota different. “ However, once again we come to different conclusions. You say that this is a justification for allowing others to serve in both roles, while I say if it’s all the same, then the man should hold the one position or the other, but not both.

Bart Barber said...

Matt,

We are clearly missing one another somehow in our attempts to communicate.

1. You continue to raise my comments about Dr. Patterson's role in the revision of the BF&M, intimating that I have somehow advanced an argument in favor of the election of entity heads as SBC presidents in this area of my post. I have not done so. Burleson has advanced this instance as an argument against electing entity heads as SBC presidents. I have asserted that this argument fails as an argument against entity heads as SBC presidents. I have not advanced it as an argument in favor of the practice. In other words, I am not saying, "Because Dr. Patterson did x during his tenure, we ought to elect more entity heads as SBC presidents." Rather, I am saying, "Dr. Patterson's performance of x during his tenure is not a valid argument against electing entity heads." The difference, subtle as it may be, is important because I am saying the latter while you seem to be interacting with the former.

2. You seem not to have interacted with the details of my previous post demonstrating that very little conflict of interest actually exists. Unless we re-elect him as SBC President for about a decade, Dr. Mohler will not be in any position to control the actions of the SBTS trustees.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

I am trying to navigate these waters and make a clear and concise decision. I have heard the argument about a conflict of interest and hear the concern, but I am not sure I grasp it completely.

Can you tell me if there is anything the President of the SBC can do on his own that will enhance the entity on which he serves more than other entities? I thought anything that the President of the SBC did had to be in agreement with the Bylaws of the convention. It seems that the Prez. leads the ExCom, but does he really? It seems that the ExCom has a Chairman that leads that trustee meeting. So really, what does the Prez. do other than appoint the Committee on Committees and then any special committees that he deems necessary?

Also, as to Dr. Patterson appointing the BF&M committee. Did he not receive confirmation from the convention in a vote to do that? It seems that in 1999,the convention authorized the appointment of the committee. Thus, Dr. Patterson did not do anything that the convention did not approve.

Blessings,
Tim

Bart Barber said...

Tim,

1. The president of the Executive Committee is Dr. Morris Chapman.

2. The president of the SBC is an ex-officio member of the EC, but only a member.

3. The SBC By-laws (18. a.) specifically anticipate that an entity employee is permitted to be elected SBC President and to serve on the Executive Committee in that capacity.

4. You err slightly when you state that the SBC President can appoint "any special committees that he deems necessary." When a messenger proposes a motion calling for the population of a special committee, whoever drafts the motion must stipulate how the convention will choose the members of the committee. The motion could name the members of the committee. The motion could call for nominations from the floor. Most motions do ask the newly elected president to appoint the committee members, but only because the people who draft the motions seem to prefer it that way.

Trish said...

Matt,

Thanks for answering me and being so polite in your answer, I really appreciate that as I was afraid my question could be taken wrongly.

Bart,

I like the way this post is turning out. It is becoming very educational about how the Convention works at a more detailed level. Maybe you would consider doing a post to spell things out for some of us more ignorant people who might benefit from such a lesson.

Thanks,
Trish

Matt Knight said...

Bart,

As to the first point, I think we once again find ourselves in agreement that the fact that the performance of a president (e.g., Dr. Patterson) is not a valid argument for allowing him to hold (or not hold) both offices. Having dealt with that issue (or non-issue), we can discuss the second issue.

With regard to the office of the president (of the convention), he serves on several boards and committees as an ex officio member (Art. 5, §3). He is the only person allowed to do so according to the constitution and bylaws (15c).

No other individual who is paid with CP dollars is allowed to be a member of the Executive Committee (bylaw 18a).

No individual who is paid with CP dollars is allowed to serve as a trustee of the entity by which they are paid (Art. 6, §6).

The head of each entity (i.e., seminary president) is responsible to the trustees of his entity (Art.7, §1).

Also, Art. 4 of the Business and Financial plan CP funds states that “all sums collected in the states for the cases fostered by this Convention will be forwarded at least monthly…to the Executive Committee of this Convention, which shall act as the disbursing agent of this Convention.” The president of the SBC is a member of this committee. This is not to suggest that he actually has much say in where the money goes (after all the committee must give detailed reports on this money), but some may wish to make this an issue. This goes back to the argument about a seminary offering (because the Executive committee must approve any new fund raising (Art. 6 §A).

I cite these examples because I believe that the constitution and bylaws make it clear that no entity head (i.e., seminary president) can be “his own boss,” but it is strange to me that they do not prohibit appointing members of the committee which will choose those who will oversee the entity (i.e., seminary). There are steps in this process, which you have laid out, whereby the influence of the SBC president may be diluted (not deluded), but that isn’t always guaranteed.

Now, I recognize that an SBC president does not appoint whole committees, nor can he, over the course of two years, stack whole trustee boards. Once again, I recognize the checks that are in place, and I thank you for detailing them for us. However, we do recognize that the president of the convention does in some cases wield significant influence over the entities of the SBC, and in some cases the its finances. I think that there is at worst the opportunity for misuse of this influence by an individual who serves as head of an entity and at least the appearance of a conflict (regardless of whether such a conflict may in fact exist).

This last point is one on which I believe we understand one another, but have a fundamental difference of opinion. You believe that there is no conflict, and that the issue ought to be settled at that. I, on the other hand, believe that we must keep all our dealings above reproach and I further believe that this practice (allowing the head of a seminary, board, etc. to be the head of the convention too) brings the opportunity for either real trouble or the accusations of impropriety.

Matt Knight said...

Just so I'm not misunderstood, I want to be clear that I am not insinuating actual corruption within the SBC or by any president or nominee. There are other people who are doing that, some quite vehemently. I do, however believe that the occasion of a seminary president as SBC president just gives such persons more ammunition.

Bart Barber said...

Matt,

Thank you for your citations from the convention's governing documents. As you have shown, the structure of the convention is carefully drawn to protect it against nefarious exploits. And yet the framers who drafted such careful restraints deliberately placed no limitations on whom the messengers might elect as SBC president.

I believe that they did so in deference to our polity. Nobody tells the messengers whom they may or may not elect. When the messengers elect Dr. Mohler, it will be because they wish to do so.

Perhaps we ought to move beyond generalities. Bro. Tim's question is germaine. Can you identify any specific thing that Dr. Mohler, as an SBC president, could unilaterally do to give inappropriate advantage to SBTS?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

After doing a brief bit of research, I have found something that may be of interest. Everyone has pointed to Dr. Patterson as being the Pez. of the convention and at the same time Prez. of SEBTS and it was he that appointed the committee to revisit the BF&M.

When looking through some archives, one would find that General TC Pickney made the motion to study and bring a report to the 2000 convention. Dr. Patterson had nothing to do with that. He merely presided over the meeting as moderator. In the 1999 convention, there were 38 motions presented and only two came to the floor for the convention to vote.

In speaking to this motion, Brother A.J. Smyth of Kentucky, made three request of the appointed committee to follow as a need in for the new BF&M.

# Southern Baptists need a statement of faith that is written in plain, easy-to-understand language."

# "Southern Baptists need a statement that is biblically based, consistent with our heritage and focused on the primary tenets of the faith."

# "Southern Baptists need a statement of faith that is in all its parts logically consistent."

I believe the second and last reasons speak for themselves.

The point is that Dr. Patterson did not just come up with an idea to do this and then appoint a committee. It will be the same with any Prez. It seems that we give too much credence to our Prez.'s art of persuasion or we give too little credence for SB to think for themselves.

Blessings,
Tim

Matt Knight said...

Bart,

You are right. If the messengers elect Dr. Mohler, it will be because they wish to do so, not because anyone makes them. I prefer to move away from the issue of Dr. Mohler as a person. I have no beef with him. My concern, and it is shared by others, is that one man in two positions of authority in the same “chain” does not seem to be consistent with acting in a manner that is above reproach.

As to the specific things that Dr. Mohler, or others might do, I can’t give you the answers that you seek. The president’s power to appoint individuals and influence multiple committees might lend itself to undue influence on the part of a seminary (or mission board) president (or director). The fact that the Executive Committee, of which the president is a member, makes decisions about the disbursal of convention monies might raise some concerns as well. I lack the “evil genius” skills needed to list all the schemes that might be hatched :) and that is beside my point. I believe that the key is not simply that our leaders conduct themselves with integrity, but further that they maintain the appearance of integrity. If our church leaders are required to be above reproach, how much more so our denominational leaders?

Oh and thanks to Tim for doing some more research into the BF&M committee.

Bart Barber said...

Matt,

I believe that this has been a fruitful discussion. I remind you of this: Some of the greatest leaders we have had in our history have served contrary to the requirement that you are stipulating. Great leadership does not grow on trees. In the absence of any specific and compelling threat, I believe that Southern Baptists should freely avail themselves of the best leadership that God sends our way.