Monday, June 15, 2009

SBC Preview Post

Soon I will leave behind the kangaroo-festooned campus of First Baptist Church of Farmersville and embark upon the twelve-hour journey to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. What will this particular meeting hold for us all? Here's a brief preview from my perspective:

The Great Commission Resurgence: Our President has made this item the centerpiece of his presidency. I have blogged before (see here) about my areas of agreement and disagreement regarding the Great Commission Resurgence. Although there are a great many names affixed to the document (including an impressive contingent related to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is evidence of Dr. Akin's skilled leadership of that school), there are also a great many conspicuous absentees.

The great blunder in the document, of course, was and is Axiom IX on reorganization. The concept simply is not critical to our renewed fulfillment of the Great Commission, and it singlehandedly has prevented Southern Baptists from achieving real unity around this important effort. If a GCR resolution fails next week, it will be because of Axiom IX, and if it passes, it will be in spite of Axiom IX. Rather than "Simple Convention," the parallel to "Simple Church" that we should have pursued was "Simple Resolution."

The thing about it is, there are specific reorganizational ideas that the Southern Baptist people would no doubt receive well and consider prayerfully. They don't have beans to do with experiencing a resurgence in our faithfulness to the Great Commission, but they can be useful nonetheless. If people have specific plans for reorganization, let them bring them forward and let's consider them on the merits. But what we have in Axiom IX is the Southern Baptist equivalent of the federal funding for a local dog park being attached onto the military spending bill in Congress. The dog park might be a good idea. The federal funding might be better spent there than on any other number of things. But it has little conceivable connection with military spending. It is a parasitic item—someone's pet project attached to something else important enough and popular enough to carry along a passenger as it steamrolls its way to approval. The GCR is our Southern Baptist stimulus package.

So, I've struggled and struggled with what to do. The GCR contains things that I know to be good, intermingled with things that none of us really know what they mean. Those things might be good or might be bad. Known good things, unknown things, and no known and confirmed bad things.

So, how will I vote?

I don't know, because none of us have seen what we'll actually be voting on yet at this point. As things sit right now, I regard the thing mostly as "Encouraging Kingdom Growth, the Sequel" and I cannot really get excited about it either way. I'm very excited about the Great Commission (I just received the "we're here safely" text from our advance team for our two consecutive mission trips to an unnamed country which you could likely reach by digging for a long time), but I'm just not very excited about the GCR. I'm excited about the SBTC resolution on the Great Commission Resurgence, which I consider to be far superior to the GCR document that we'll be discussing in Louisville, but I'm not excited about the GCR.

What do I generally do at our annual meeting with regard to things I'm not very excited about? After all, that's a pretty well populated category. I'm never very excited about the resolution of appreciation for the host city, for example. It's a nice, meaningless formality. Usually, I lift up my ballot like a good little sheep and vote in the things that don't stir me very much. To vote against something—actually to oppose it—requires some level of contravening passion to keep me from extending my right arm with my ballot in the affirmative. That passion being absent, I just might do precisely that (viz., vote in the affirmative) next week with regard to the GCR document. Probably will, if for no other reason than the fact that Bro. Johnny won, elections matter, and he deserves some latitude to lead the convention. We'll see what I do when that moment comes.

If I do vote for the GCR document while yawning, I suspect that I will not be alone. I know a lot of people who have affirmed the GCR document; I only know of a few who are giddy about it and regard it as the panacea it purports to be (and most of them share the same ZIP code). A lot of people have the wisdom not to be the nail standing up. Some of us were not so blessed.

Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth, TX: The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention is scheduled to let us know next week whether Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth will or will not be considered to be in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention. Broadway Baptist, a church in good standing and prominent leadership in the BGCT, made the news in our area last year with regard to their welcoming stance toward homosexuality.

Article III of the SBC Constitution states plainly "Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior." Broadway Baptist Church has members in good standing who are known, open, ongoing participants in cohabitating homosexual relationships. Broadway was in the news because they couldn't decide whether to acknowledge homosexual "families" in their church directory or not. The church's final resolution was not to picture families of any kind at all. The cohabitating homosexual households in the church include individuals who serve in the lay leadership structure of the church.

Keep in mind, unlike any other sin that we might discuss, these are not people who have merely "fallen" into an indiscretion. These are people who do not acknowledge that homosexuality is a sin in the first place and who are making no effort whatsoever to be anything other than homosexuals. There is no repentance, no contrition, and no attempt at holiness in this part of their lives.

The Executive Committee faces three choices:

  1. The Executive Committee can strain credulity and argue that it somehow is not an affirmation, approval, or endorsement of homosexual behavior to admit openly, unrepentant homosexual couples to membership and to approve them repeatedly for lay leadership positions within the church. They can then seek to let Broadway off the hook by a technicality. If this happens, then I predict that someone will oppose the EC's decision from the floor.

  2. The Executive Committee can ask for more time and attempt to put Broadway into some sort of a probationary status. The national media will take this for what it is—the first signs of an institutional erosion of Southern Baptist opposition to homosexuality. This could be construed, I suppose, as a heeding to the call of Jonathan Merritt.

  3. The Executive Committee can summarily exclude Broadway Baptist Church from the Southern Baptist Convention. This will be the right thing to do. We should do it mournfully. We should do it with an open invitation to them that they are welcome back into this convention as soon as they have gotten right with the Lord. We should do it without the slightest regard for how it will play on CNN. But this is what we Southern Baptists must do this year in Louisville.

Frankly, I'm very hopeful that I will have the opportunity to cast my ballot for the third option. I will be surprised and very disappointed if anything else comes out of the Executive Committee meeting. They have asked all of the right questions. They have all of the information that they need. And they are good, God-fearing men and women with the backbone to do what is right.

And then, it will be interesting to see if the Tarrant Baptist Association or the Baptist General Convention of Texas are prompted to any sort of action by the example of the SBC.


It is an off year for the elections. Next year will probably not be as exciting as last year was, but it will be much more exciting than this year will be.

But I may make up a nomination speech BINGO card for the entertainment of the convention-goers. I don't know if I'll have the creative juices after VBS to get that done or not. We'll see.

Southern Seminary

One highlight of the week will be our opportunity as Southern Baptists to be hosted by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Those are some great folks. I recommend the armored cavalry museum down at Fort Knox (but do not recommend the Gold Repository—looking at a bunker from behind a razor-wire fence 300 yards away just isn't very entertaining). I'm looking forward to learning about Louisville Sluggers and to doing a bit of historical research in the area. We may very well drive up to the Creation Evidence Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, just to have a look-see and let the kids pet the camel. I'm going to stand at the water fountain in Boyce Centennial Library, take a really long drink, and see if I start to think that there are people for whom Christ did not die.

I'm going to think of four men who resolved that the seminary may die, but they would die first. And with the voices of Boyce and Broadus and Manley and Williams ringing in my ears, I'm going to pray that in spite of this anti-denominational Zeit we might find enough people with their antiquated but needed Geist to dream the dream of Southern Baptists united to plant New Testament churches throughout a lost and needy world, or die trying.


Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


Good thoughts. Wish I could go to the Convention. I still am undecided about the GCR document as well, but mainly from a lack of time to analyze it and it's intended (and unintended) consequences. Your earlier post on it gave me serious pause about it, otherwise, I probably would have not thought about the unannounced repercussions of Axiom IX.

RE: Broadway Baptist. The consequences of not following through with your third option are quite serious. Anything less would be an outright denial of the sufficiency of Scripture by the SBC. You are correct that we should mourn such an unpleasant, but necessary action.


Ron P.

Bob Cleveland said...

If the ideas set forth in the GCRD are good ideas, they are good ideas irrespective of whether the SBC votes on them, or whether they appoint a committee to study them. Plain fact is that every institution ... from the EC to the educational institutions to the State Conventions to the local churches ... already has a "study committee" for such stuff. They're called trustees, officers, administrators and the like.

My old boss had a saying: "When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. We need less sayin' and more doin'.

Rev. E. Scott Hart said...

good premise.


If you don't like the GCR in its current form then to vote for out of boredom is to perpetuate the problems in the SBC. Instead of flippantly waiving your vote card get up and discuss why article IX is wrong, bring an amendment to strike it, and encourage others to do the same. Our convention is declining because people have let the elites run it for too long.

If/when a motion for honoring the first black man elected presidet is presented I will make a stand that if the name of the man is used then we should not pass a resolution based on his record that is against most of what the SBC stands for and has resolved in the past. I WILL make a stand, and if it makes a stink, good.

Will you or anybody else make a stand? Or just complain about?

Did you know that we don't have to wait for the executive committee to vote out Broadway? We can bring a motion to the floor and force the issue ourselves. Its time to make the stand.

The elites should not be allowed to rule. Hhhmmm... Maybe I will make a motion to nominate an "off" year presidential candidate. Why is Johnny Hunt, or anybody for that matter, entitled to 2 years when only 1 year is allowed? Traditon? Poppycock! If you or anybody else thinks someone should be given the opportunity then throw the tradition out.

Well, there. See ya on the floor. I'll be at the mike waiting my turn to speak. I'll wave to you. You should be easy enough to recognize -- you'll be yawning and waiving the voter flag of surrender.

Bart Barber said...


My point is that, although I'm not enthusiastically in support of the GCR, I'm also not enthusiastically in opposition to the GCR. I think that I've sufficiently demonstrated my willingness to camp out at Microphone #8 when the need arises. I just don't accept the premise that I'm obligated to have the same level of passion about each-and-every thing that comes down the pike.

I don't think that the GCR document will be the salvation of the convention. I don't think that it will be the ruination of the convention. You must perceive a greater danger in the document than I perceive. When you step up to the microphone, make your case. I'll be listening, ballot in hand.

From the Middle East said...

Brother Bart,

I was aware that Broadway Baptist is a member of the BGCT, but not that they held a leadership position. What leadership position do they hold in the BGCT?

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

Rev. E. Scott Hart said...

Except for IX, the GCR is wonderful. But IX is not about the Great Commision.

Its misplaced.

I just don't understand why folks would just vote for something if they don't like it. That's just a vote for further decline whether or not the resolution passes.

Now, don't get me wrong. Some votes, such as the host city vote, are obviously rubber stamps. And sure, not all votes are felt the same for the passion of the issue. But if you know something is not right, and you say nothing about it or allow it to pass with a bored yes vote, then you (third person plural) have given a vote through passivity for something you know is wrong.

Blogs are nice places to discuss the issues. The convention floor is the place to take action on those issues.

Bart Barber said...

Bro. FTME,

Unlike the dozens upon dozens of churches that have never had members serve in high-ranking committee assignments within the BGCT, Broadway Baptist Church has a long history of perennially receiving such positions of leadership. This is the mark of a leading church in a denomination.

From the Middle East said...

Brother Bart,

I am not part of the BGCT, but cannot understand why they would elect people to current positions of leadership from a congregation who currently endorsed sin. May God continue to refine everyone involved!

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

From the Middle East said...

endorses not endorsed

Bart Barber said...


Your analysis of the document is similar to mine, it sounds like. The question is whether, should the document remain unamended, the bad so outweighs the good that one should vote against it. I'm not entirely sure that it does.

Bart Barber said...


I hasten to clarify: I know that there are MANY, MANY churches within the BGCT whose thoughts and feelings about the Broadway Baptist Church situation (if they know about the situation) line up precisely with mine.

I mention the point about the BGCT for this reason: Some folks in the SBC say, "Shouldn't the local association or the state convention be handling this rather than the national convention?" The answer to their question is in the affirmative. The SBC ought not to be having to deal with such disfellowship situations across the broad swath of the nation. If it got out of hand, the SBC would need a whole new entity just to deal with that sort of thing.

But, the Tarrant Baptist Association and the Baptist General Convention of Texas have not acted and are unlikely to act. They disfellowshipped a church in Austin over homosexuality, but that was a church without influence in the state convention. Broadway, on the other hand, has a lot of influence with the state convention. So, in the case of Broadway, the BGCT Executive Board discussed the "autonomy" of BBC and chose solely to pray for them.

If a gay couple moved to town and wanted to join your church, taking a stand against sin in that situation would be one thing. If your chairman of deacons "came out" it would be another thing to stand up in that situation. Most of my readers would find the courage in both situations to do the right thing, but all would acknowledge that the latter situation would be more difficult than the former. With BBC, the BGCT faces something more like the latter situation.

Rev. E. Scott Hart said...

The danger in allowing it to pass "as is" without at least healthy discussion on the floor is that it will give a precedent for someone to power grab. Its "leaven."

Wade Burleson said...


I am waiting for a response to Middle East's question. I, too, am interested in what you believe Broadway's leadership role to be in the BGCT.

Also, Bart, do you still teach at SWBTS - substitution, seminars, etc . . .?

Bart Barber said...

Well, "it all comes back to Jesus," so I've got to go catch the Boomerang Express. Later, folks.

Anonymous said...


Here are my thoughts on what you have brought up.

The GCR is a much better topic than others that could dominate the proceedings.

However, I think it is much ado about nothing. It's another document about something Baptists already agree on. And, as I have said before, the entire concept seems defensive, as if we have not been about the Great Commission all these years.

I have not followed the Broadway Baptist issue closely, but it seemed the last time I looked at the info, Broadway Baptist simply refused to acknowledge its true position. There must be some reason why this congregation doesn't have the courage to clearly identify and state its own convictions. If they really believe the homosexual practice is acceptable, why are they not saying so?

My belief on this is that the SBC could not be more clear on its convictions in this matter. If Broadway cannot bring itself to state what it's convictions are, that is a reflection on Broadway, not the SBC.

My preference would be to turn the tables on Broadway.

Instead of the SBC making a determination of Broadway's belief and practices (after getting no clear answer from Broadway), and then declaring Broadway not to be in friendly cooperation with the convention, why not make Broadway explain to the world why they would remain in the SBC?

Broadway will get lots of praise from the media and lots of street cred with the gay community for being "kicked out of the SBC."

Instead, why not let Broadway be mocked for its confused status (Headline: Broadway Baptist is Confused about Its Own Sexuality), and say that it's not the SBC's job to figure out where churches truly are on this issue when they won't say so publicly?

That puts more pressure on Broadway to do something. As it stands now, Broadway has put the pressure on the SBC, and the SBC will predictably be made to look bad.

Again, if the SBC had no convictions on this issue and things were unclear, we should get that straight. But no one in the world is questionning where the SBC is on this.

I know that I am probably wasting my breath, however.

There is no more dangerous place in the world to be than between a convictional Baptist and a TV camera or radio mic when an issue of morality comes up.

I just wish that in addition to conviction, we would be "wise as serpents" and read the times.

My HUGE caveat in all of this, however, is my understanding that Broadway is being intentionally obtuse on this issue.

If Broadway has been clear on the matter. If Broadway has said in writing that it's policy and belief contradicts the SBC Constitution and ByLaws, then it's an easy call.

But I personally don't want the SBC to take on the role of figuring out Broadway's true convictions if Broadway itself is unable to articulate them.

Broadway's entire posture in this matter is so characteristic of the approach of it former pastor from many years ago, Cecil Sherman. Confusion and being unclear on doctrine must be part of the genetic code of that congregation.

Other things I expect at the convention are in the next comment.


Anonymous said...


Here are some other things I expect at this year's convention.

1. An assault on LifeWay for selling the book The Shack. Despite the fact that the book is clearly fictional and that LifeWay has put the book in its "Read with Discernment" program, there are those who are just busting at the seam to address this issue.

LifeWay is an SBC success, and they constantly make tough choices on what to stock and what not to stock. They get criticized from all sides. And they are in a market competing with Wal-Mart, Target, Family Bookstores and other retailers who make very little effort when it come to theological judgment. It is a very tough market, especially in these times.

We should give LifeWay some grace and realize that not every stocking decision is something that we will all agree with.

LifeWay performs many important functions. It is probably the SBC's most positive connection to the non-Baptist world. Also, LifeWay has significant costs publishing theological books that cost more than they bring in, especially old classics. Seems to me that best way to help LifeWay is to be supportive.

I might feel differently if the leadership was squishy theoloically and we were publishing commentaries and such that were not sound. But we are not.

2. CP giving legalism. Look for more attempts to define how much money churches have to give to the convention (and how they must give it - to the state for forwarding to the SBC after taking 60% or more).

I am for whatever any church wants to do in this regard.

Some churches want to give to their state conventions. Others want to give more directly to the SBC. Some, based on their history (e.g. building paid for) can give more. Others cannot.

It seems to me that we ought to allow for more diversity in this area and not resort to legalism, especially as it relates to money.

Also, some of the SBC's best leaders came from churches that did not lead the convention in CP giving (e.g. Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley).

One of the best ways to end up with mediocre leadership and to run off younger pastors or churches that might consider joing the SBC is to make legalistic pronouncements about how much money churches have to give.

The SBC governing documents set the bar low for a reason - to maximize participation.

If we want people to give more, make the programs more attractive so that people will WANT to give. Don't put a proverbial gun to their head.

I am sure there are other things that will come up. As was once said, "It's the train you don't see that hits you."

See you in Louisville.


Anonymous said...


I WOULD (not might) feel differently if the leadership at LifeWay was squishy theologically and LifeWay was publishing commentaries that were unsound theologically.


Bart Barber said...


1. I already answered his question. Do you want a named list of the members of Broadway Baptist Church who have served on BGCT boards and BGCT staff positions for the past fifty years?

2. I do not. I informed Dr. Derin Biles that, so long as I serve as a trustee of the institution, I will not be available to teach for the institution.

Bart Barber said...


You should have a job as a headline-writer for Baptist Press. I almost choked on my Kool-Aid and cookies. ;-)

Bart Barber said...

BTW, Wade, while we're exchanging questions, which "Baptist Identity Fundamentalist" wrote the nomination speech for Wiley Drake back in 2006?

volfan007 said...


I like the way you compared the GCR to the EKG. I'm with you on this one. I just cant get excited about more initials. I am excited about the Great Commission, and I would love to see Southern Baptists do more to fulfull it. I love hearing stories like Dr. Emir Caner being on a mission trip and leading three Buddhist monks to Christ. At my Church, we had a young lady, who just came off of a Journeyman stint to East Asia, spoke last Sunday night. What a blessing to hear her talk about all the people who were getting saved in this certain part of this certain country in E. Asia due to the witness of her and other IMB Journeymen in that area. It was a pure blessing to hear her share her stories and show her slides. So, I'm all for more Great Commission work...but more initials and programs...naaaa..not so much.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the compliment.

What do they say about blind hogs and acorns?

I am serious, however. If everyone treated Broadway Baptist as a pathetic case (a laughing stock, sort of) and that line became the mantra coming out the convention, Broadway Baptist might eventually find the courage to take action.

I still believe there may be something that we don't know about. It's remote, but I am suspicious.

There is a Baptist church in our town that was started by another Baptist church about 50 years ago. It was the place where many of the profs from the religion department in the local Baptist college used to attend (not sure if they still do).

That church continued to move further away from anything Baptist. Within the last few years, they hired a Lesbian pastor. But they still call themselves a Baptist church.

Then one day in a conversation with an old gentleman who went to the church that originally "planted" the wayward church, I learned that there is a reversion clause in the deed of the wayward church plant such that if the plant ever ceases being a "Baptist" church, their property reverts back to the founding church.

So, this church just hangs on to the "Baptist" title to avoid the operation of the reversion clause.

The mother church is an old more moderate leading church. But it has fallen on hard times, too, and they just don't have the stomach and energy to call their wayward plant, daughter church, and deal with this issue.

I wonder if there is something in the legal documents relating to Broadway that we are not aware of that is causing them so much angst.

Seems unlikely.

Maybe Broadway just likes playing "cat and mouse" with the SBC.


Tom Parker said...


You said--"Broadway's entire posture in this matter is so characteristic of the approach of it former pastor from many years ago, Cecil Sherman. Confusion and being unclear on doctrine must be part of the genetic code of that congregation."


Wade Burleson said...


Ben Cole wrote the speech nominating Wiley Drake. Though I thought the speech was funny, when I asked Ben why he did it he responded that he wanted to prove how an entire convention can be manipulated to do extraordinarily illogical things.

I did not vote for Wiley.

Wade Burleson said...


(1). Thanks. I did not see your earlier response. Names are not needed.

(2). Do you believe it is a conflict of interest for an employee of an institution to serve as a trustee?

Bart Barber said...


If a motion comes up against The Shack, you can count on me to vote in favor of it. I direct you to Lifeway's own mission statement:

"As God works through us, we will help people and churches know Jesus Christ and seek His kingdom by providing Biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures."

The Shack is not a "biblical solution" that can "help people and churches know Jesus Christ and seek His kingdom." It is not the purpose of Lifeway to succeed financially or compete with other bookstores. If Lifeway is a business rather than a ministry, then let's cut it loose and let it pay taxes and compete with other businesses on a level playing field.

Bart Barber said...


I think that, unlike some other matters we have discussed down through the years, the matter of teaching while a trustee or not teaching while a trustee is a matter not addressed directly by the Bible. I'm prepared to regard the question as "tertiary." ;-)

But, as to my own conscience, yes, I believe that it would be a conflict of interest for me to serve concurrently as an employee of the entity and a trustee of the entity.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your thoughts on the Shack.

I respectfully suggest that before you commit so strongly to vote for something in advance, that you might consider at least examining closely what you are voting for, as you rightfully did the GCR document.

Procedurally, a "motion" that LifeWay not sell The Shack, seems to be out of order. I do not believe that the convention can direct the Trustees of an agency to do or not do someting like sell a particular book or don't sell it. That is a matter of Trustee or administrative governance, I believe.

A resolution, which is nonbinding, that purports to direct LifeWay to do or not do something, is nonsensical. (e.g. I hereby direct you to do something, but everything I am saying has no force...). I am not in favor of doing things that are simply symbolic. That's why court's do not issue advisory opinions about things.

A resolution saying that the majority of the group of messengers attending the 2009 meeting don't like The Shack, well, that would be procedurally fine.

I read 2 pages of the book and couldn't go further. That kind of syrupy fiction is not my kind of thing. I have also heard of the theological objections, but I don't have any interest in reading the book to see them, or reading reviews of the book to see how bad it is. I'll just accept the least favorable review as a starting and ending point for the sake of argument.

Substantively, I did not say that LifeWay's purpose was to be financially successful. So, that argument is not something I need to address.

However, I have assumed that changing the way LifeWay has operated since its founding, is a different matter and involves a serious decision that ought to be thought through. (i.e. not taking any missions money, and giving back earnings to the cooperative program).

If we want LifeWay to operate at a loss, that's fine, but that should be considered carefully and deliberately. That would require that CP resources be re-directed from missions, seminaries and such, and given to make LifeWay work.

Some might argue that we shouldn't care if LifeWay fails financially. If we decide to do that, we need to have a plan for how we are going to produce material for churches, books for churches, seminaries, Christians etc. I guess we can simply buy from those publishing houses that sell books (e.g. go back to the American Baptist Publishing House, as we did before LifeWay was founded), Wal-Mart, Target, Smith & Helwys, Zondervan, Eerdmans, Baker etc. Of course, if they stop publishing the books that we like, or if they sell books we don't like, the we will have the same issue to deal with, but we will not have any say-so, as we do with our own agency.

My point, again, is that we need to extend some grace to our own agency and the people who work there when they decide to sell or not sell books that others write and publish.

The mission statement, which you rightfully note, is, in my view, to be considered on the whole, not on a piece by piece or work by work grid (akin, though not exactly like a seminary library).

I am in favor of LifeWay selling dictionaries, fiction books, commentaries that are not strictly in line with SBC doctrines (our seminary libaries buy books written by a variety of theologians, subscribe to theological journals that are not Baptist, or perhaps even orthodox - all of which are read frequently by students, I suppose), and other religiously oriented books.

Continued ...


Anonymous said...


Also, I can see a strategy employed in which some books that we might not agree with can be displayed and paired with other books that have counter-arguments and put in the read with discernment program. So, we could actually have an opportunity to shape what people think about a book that is a best seller.

But, as you can see from my limited examples, this gets really technical and it's hard to devise rules that will suit everyone.

Hence, as strongly as you feel about The Shack, others feel about books like the Left Behind Series, the Purpose Driven Life, magazines that have an issue advocating the ordination of women etc.

Add to that the fact that every pastor in America thinks he can or has written the best book ever, and he can't understand why LifeWay won't put it in the window and make it a best seller -and you can see that running a LifeWay is a complex matter.

I have a lot of confidence in the men and women at LifeWay. I believe that it is now, from a product and a presentation aspect, as good as it has ever been overall. If there ever was a "golden age", I would like to know when it was.

I am just for giving some grace to our own brothers and sisters on this issue.

I appreciate you very much, and know that there are many people who feel as you do.

Thanks for letting me share my two cents worth on your blog.

I will look for you at the Convention.


Bart Barber said...


I agree that we should behave graciously toward Lifeway, and I also agree that Lifeway plays an important role in our convention. However, criticism plays an important role in bettering any ministry. If a motion is forthcoming to shut the doors of Lifeway because they sell the Shack, then I would not be voting in favor of that motion.

But if an opportunity comes to make it clear to Lifeway that they have made a mistake in selling the Shack, then I'll stand behind that motion. Nobody needs to be fired. Nobody needs to be shackled to a post and flogged. But the matter needs to be settled clearly in everyone's mind that it is not the purpose of Lifeway to peddle things like the Shack. That's all I'm saying.

Joe Blackmon said...

These are people who do not acknowledge that homosexuality is a sin in the first place and who are making no effort whatsoever to be anything other than homosexuals. There is no repentance, no contrition, and no attempt at holiness in this part of their lives.

This is the issue that I am most curious to see the outcome of--how will the leadership of the convention respond to blantant, willfull, inexcusable disregard for the clear teaching of scripture on this matter. I really wish it had not taken this long to remove them from the SBC. I am concerned that putting the issue off means that the correct action of removing them from the convention may not be taken. I hope I'm wrong.

Tom Parker said...


Do you realize if The Shack comes up at the SBC it will just give more attention to the Book and increase its sales.

Probably a show about the SBC and The Shack on the Larry King Show, etc.

You sure you want to give the book some free publicity and people curious run out and buy it.

Just something to think about.

Joe Blackmon said...


It shouldn't matter if (and that is if) doing so would give the book more publicity. If Lifeway is going to claim to sell Biblical solutions for life then it has no business shilling that book. They should acknowledge they were wrong and pull it from their stores. People that want to buy it can go to Bookland or wherever.

Tom Parker said...


OK we can disagree.

Bart Barber said...


I do realize that, and we actually agree. That's why I am not planning to introduce any sort of a motion regarding The Shack. If you'll go back and read the thread, you'll see that it was not my idea to discuss a motion regarding The Shack.

But, when Louis brought it up, I said that if someone else introduced such a motion, I would vote whichever way is against The Shack. At that point, the publicity horse is already out of the barn. Our choice would be between the publicity of the SBC affirming heresy or denying heresy. I'll choose the latter over the former any day.

Anonymous said...

Joe and Tom:

Or, we can recognize that like a lot of other books at LifeWay, a bunch of us think that they should be sold there, and a bunch of us think that they should not, and that it may not be the best policy for the messegners meeting at one convention to start opining book by book which ones were good picks and which ones were bad picks.

Maybe the better solution is to select the best Trustees we can, to have them pick the best Administration they can, and not try to micromanage book stock selection at annual convention meetings.


CB Scott said...

Back in the late 80's I made a motion at the BSSB (Now LifeWay) to remove all Benny Hinn books from all of our stores. That motion passed with little or no opposition.

I am certain the trustees of LifeWay can handle the book in question without it coming to the floor of the SBC and some using that to"feather" their nests with more "goose feathers."


Jake said...

Bart -

Exactly how is Broadway Baptist church in "prominent leadership in the BGCT?"

Jake Starr

Jake said...

Bart -

Just because Broadway has a past history of leadership does not mean that it is presently in leadership. I believe that your argument is based on a false premise in order to once again smear the BGCT. The fact that you are doing this knowingly means that you are engagin in mud slinging, not theology.

Jake Starr

Tony Maldanado said...

Joe -

You said, "If Lifeway is going to claim to sell Biblical solutions for life then it has no business shilling that [The Shack] book." Is this book really that dangerous? I know some conservative people who seemed to filter out the problematic parts and get a lot out of the book. Also, whose definition of dangerous do we use? I would not sell the "Left Behind" series if I were calling the shots.


Bart Barber said...


The relationship between the BGCT and Broadway Baptist Church is not one of the effects of my differences with the BGCT; it is one of the causes.

Look, Jake, if you want to put forward the case that the Texas Baptist Committed crowd no longer has any prominent influence in the BGCT, be my guest. I'm sure that everyone will be glad to evaluate your evidence on its own merits. But the facts remain that Brett Younger quickly and easily secured another position within moderate Baptist life upon his departure from Broadway, Broadway remains influential in "Mainstream Baptist" life to this day, and the BGCT's treatment of Broadway is much, much different from its dealings with a certain church in Austin on this topic many years ago. I submit to you that the velvet glove treatment that Broadway receives from the BGCT on this very issue is ipso facto evidence of Broadway's remaining influence in the BGCT.

I acknowledge that there are many people within the BGCT—an entire BGCT faction—who would rather that churches like Broadway were not influential in the BGCT. May they win the day someday. But to suggest that they have swept the field already is an exercise in wishful thinking on your part.

Bart Barber said...


The demands of academia must have slackened somewhat. It is good to see you back out among the brethren. Like you, I would prefer to see the trustees handle this. But, if my choices were to vote for or to vote against a motion decrying the Shack, I'd vote in favor. That's all I'm saying.

Jake said...

Bart -

Granted,in Texas Baptist life (SBTC and BGCT) the convention that moves slower on these issues is the BGCT. I can't say why a church (BGCT or SBTC) has not taken action within the TBA. There are certainyl scores of SBTC churches within the TBA that could have taken action to disfellowship Broadway and have not done so.

Could it be that convention mindedness is at an all time low and that no one even thinks about Broadway because they don't think about conventions or associations?

Broadway would probably be studied for removal if someone would go to the BGCT convention with a motion from the floor to do so, but I for one forget about Broadway until someone brings it up. I'd vote to remove them if the motion came to the floor. We just forget, perhaps because convention stuff is that unimportant anymore. A sad commentary, but maybe true.

This is an aside, but my old church, Fielder Road, went through the process of splitting from the BGCT only by bashing the BGCT into the ground. After that, most of my 50-60 something friends lost interest in conventions altogether. The SBTC didn't start a new day in conventions, it killed off the old day for many of us old time Texas Baptists altogether. Any sweet feelings of comradere and history were killed off when the conjoined twins were split.

I've been to the SBTC convention when Miles was there. After he faded out it seemed the reason for being faded a little too.

I stay out of these things, except for running across your blog, but I'd say until the BGCT and the SBTC heal and reunite, issues like Broadway are only symptomatic of the sickness within Texas Baptist life. Symptomatic of division (you, and Miles) should have been there to say something, and symptomatic of illness (they would not have done what they did if the people who started the SBTC hadn't given up). I was there, I went to the Breakfast at Miles' church, the churches that left jumped ship.

I was very sumpathetic and we believed the rhetoric. But now, in my 60's,a lifelong Texas Baptist living in Arizona and following along on the internet, I'd say the day is setting on convention life because nobody wants to fight all the time, and divorce should never have occurred. The problem is that the convention is not an efficient or effective, or easy place to discuss important issues. All dirty laundry aired in public makes people feel uncomfortable and believe me, American like comfort.

Jake Starr

From the Middle East said...

Brother Bart,

Now I am confused. Does Broadway Baptist Church currently have members serving in high-ranking committee assignments within the BGCT?

Regardless the answer, they should be removed... just trying to get the facts straight here.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

CB Scott said...


I understand your position. And I would vote in the same manner as would you.

My point about the trustees was just to point out that if they were approached by several concerned Southern Baptists as were we back when Hinn's books were the problem I think they would handle it in the same manner.


Tim Rogers said...

Brother CB,

According to Dr. Smyrl, Dr. Rainer was approached by him personally. It seems, and I believe I am remembering the story correct from Dr. Smyrl's blog, Dr. Smyrl was given assurance that his concerns were heard. That is the reason there was no motion at last year's convention. It seems that this concern was expressed to Dr. Rainer along with Trustees last year.


Tom Parker said...

All this concern over 1 Book.

Doesn't the SBC have more important matters to concern itself with?

Such as the continued decline.

CB Scott said...

Tom Parker,

I may just make a motion at the SBC for you personally to be removed from the convention.

I once made that motion about a President of the United States. I might as well make it for a disgruntled ole liberal like you.

When are you going to cowboy up about lying and being just down right mean and seething with rude behavior and such?

That is what I will say when I title my motion.

"A Motion to Remove Ole Liberal Tom Parker for Lying and Rude Behavior"

Sounds kinda catchy, don't you think so there, Tom?

Come and stand by me so I can point you out on camera when I make it. My historic mic. has always been microphone #1. Be there during the first session of business. You and I will get Louisville started off with a bang.


Anonymous said...

On the subject of Broadway Baptist Church:

Broadway's youth just returned from summer camp with the South West Baptist Youth Camp Association.

The camp pastor was a lesbian.

Broadway needs to own up to it's acceptance of homosexuality. As it is, that church is living a lie (probably several).

Chris said...

Anonymous -

Who is the lesbian pastor? Give us a name and a link to the site, I could not find it.

Chris C

Anonymous said...

You won't find anything on the internet about SWBYC. That's by intent.

The pastor was Mary Wilson of Church of the Savior (ABC) in Austin.