Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressler?

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Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressler?

Postby Sandy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:24 pm

Depends on who you ask.

I've read blogs from angry Patterson supporters who are blatantly ignoring facts, and from others who are almost giddy and tempted to sing "Ding, Dong the Witch....." well you get the attitude.

The messengers, who really represented any hope for Patterson supporters to override the trustees and for him to have his way once again, smacked down the motion brought to dismiss the 12 members of Southwestern's trustee executive committee. I didn't see an exact count, but one blogger said it was basically a 95 to 5 margin. That leaves the trustee board in full control, and Patterson with no recourse except, perhaps, to go to the secular courts.

It's probably time to remove the windows.

The messengers also voted to give a second term to an ERLC trustee who was not renominated by the committee on boards. There was an agenda, or at least a lot of talk, about angry right wing Trump supporting Southern Baptists using their authority as messengers to remove enough ERLC trustees to get at Russell Moore, and this trustee from the Kansas-Nebraska convention, who was a supporter of Moore, was left off the nomination list, making it look deliberate. However, the messengers voted him back on. And so, the trustee system won two victories, and Moore remains firmly in the ERLC saddle.

And a "young Calvinist" has been elected president, someone who would have been considered anathema by the Pattersonians. His margin was pretty substantial too.

https://cacoethisscribendiblog.wordpres ... ut-sbc-18/
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The Atlantic and Ellen Rosenberg

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:38 am

The true test of a "new" SBC is when they acknowledge publicly the Atlantic piece about the right wing political gene in the Pressler/Patterson takeover, my blog and Ellen Rosenberg's letter to me in the History forum of this site. This young Calvinist would never have this position were he not a bastard child of the Birch Society, Pressler, Helms, Patterson takeover. As molly worthen allows there was a false narrative at work over the nature of Scripture, but as Harold Bloom concluded in 93 and my recent definitive blog spotlights: "The tragedy of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC is the result of political machinations masquerading as religious conviction!!!"
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Jonathan Merritt

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:43 am

edges in the right direction but doesn't know the story like myself, Rosenberg and Garry Wills two reviews in the NR Rev of Books nor does he show he learned anything from Wuthnow's Rough Country

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... ar/563000/
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Re: Jonathan Merritt

Postby KeithE » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:13 am

Stephen Fox wrote:edges in the right direction but doesn't know the story like myself, Rosenberg and Garry Wills two reviews in the NR Rev of Books nor does he show he learned anything from Wuthnow's Rough Country

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... ar/563000/

This is an outstanding article (SBC Calls Off the Culture War) by Jonathan Merritt (James Merritt’s son). Gives a dispassionate history of the SBC from the PP/PP Cafe du Monde moment through SBC18. Thanks Stephen.

Especially good discussions on:

1) Openness towards including women in leadership positions:
Central to the Patterson-Pressler revolution were teachings that barred women from the pastorate and urged wives to “lovingly submit” to their husbands. At this year’s meeting, however, the convention wrestled with its patriarchal positions. This included resolutions that condemned the abuse of women, affirmed the importance of women’s contributions to churches, and offered a confession that Baptists have often “wronged women, abused women, silenced women, objectified women.”

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is the denomination’s public-policy arm, hosted a packed #metoo panel discussion. And several leaders publicly suggested that women must be included in top levels of leadership. Multiple prominent leaders even insinuated that it may be time to elect a woman as SBC president, a notion that would have been considered unthinkable, if not heretical, even a decade ago.


2) Greater Diversity
In addition to the elevation of women, the second Southern Baptist revolution is committed to fostering greater diversity throughout the denomination.

When I attended the annual gatherings as a child, the crowd was almost completely Caucasian. This year’s event, however, included a noticeable increase of people of color—not just in the crowd, but on the platform. The SBC pastor’s conference, which takes place on the first days of the gathering, was led by a black pastor and six out of 12 speakers were people of color. Three sources within the denomination, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations, also told me that it is seriously considering a black candidate to become the CEO of the Executive Committee, which oversees the denomination’s day-to-day operations at its headquarters in Nashville.


Welcome news in denomination born of racial animus.

3) Political Enagement:
The inclusion of more minority voices in Baptist life will only hasten the changes already underway, said Bill Leonard, a professor of Baptist studies and church history at Wake Forest University and the author of The Challenge of Being Baptist. “This predominately white denomination knows that it must reach out to Baptists of color, but if it takes Baptists of color’s concerns seriously, it is going to have to change in other ways, including politically,” he said.

Indeed, disentangling the SBC from the GOP is central to the denomination’s makeover. For example, a motion to defund the ERLC in response to the agency’s full-throated opposition to Donald Trump failed miserably.

In years past, Republican politicians have spoken to messengers at the annual meeting. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush addressed the group, Vice President Dan Quayle spoke in 1992, and President George W. Bush did so in 2001 and 2002 (when my father, James Merritt, was SBC president). Neither President Bill Clinton nor President Barack Obama was invited to speak to Southern Baptists during their terms. Though Southern Baptists claim not to be affiliated with either major party, it’s not difficult to discern the pattern at play.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the convention this year, which may seem like the same old song to outsiders. But there was widespread resistance to Pence’s participation. A motion to disinvite the vice president was proposed and debated, but was ultimately voted down. During his address, which hit some notes more typical of a campaign speech, a few Southern Baptists left the room out of protest. Others criticized the move to reporters or spoke out on Twitter. The newly elected Greear tweeted that the invitation “sent a terribly mixed signal” and reminded his fellow Baptists that “commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do.”

Though most Southern Baptists remain politically conservative, it seems that some are now less willing to have their denomination serve as a handmaiden to the GOP, especially in the current political moment. They appear to recognize that tethering themselves to Donald Trump—a thrice-married man who has bragged about committing adultery, lies with impunity, allegedly paid hush money to a porn star with whom he had an affair, and says he has never asked God for forgiveness—places the moral credibility of the Southern Baptist Convention at risk.


It will be interesting to see in SBC19, whether or not Democrats or third party candidates are also invited to speak. It would also be interesting to hear James Merritt’s take on his son's article (he should be proud).

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Perhaps the SBC is approaching the place that birthed the CBF in 1991. That is progress, imo.
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby William Thornton » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:50 am

The SBC has been far more diverse than our close cousins for some years, particularly in regard to churches. A significant percentage of new church plants are ethnic and minority and have been for quite some time. To a notable degree, the future of the SBC rests with expansion ethnically rather than geographically. No one is predicting any big surge in white folks having big families again.

Merritt is pretty much on target but I'd caution against the silly notion of the SBC becoming CBF-lite. There's quite a bit of work that can be done short of women as senior pastors and gay affirming. Nonetheless, the old bulls are passing off the scene and there's a different crowd to take their place.

Don't take it personally but the non-SBCers here have gradually lost their 'feel' for SBC stuff and this group includes Stephen. Sandy, though a few years removed himself, still retains a pretty good sense of things.
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby KeithE » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:55 pm

William Thornton wrote:The SBC has been far more diverse than our close cousins for some years, particularly in regard to churches. A significant percentage of new church plants are ethnic and minority and have been for quite some time. To a notable degree, the future of the SBC rests with expansion ethnically rather than geographically. No one is predicting any big surge in white folks having big families again.

Merritt is pretty much on target but I'd caution against the silly notion of the SBC becoming CBF-lite. There's quite a bit of work that can be done short of women as senior pastors and gay affirming. Nonetheless, the old bulls are passing off the scene and there's a different crowd to take their place.

Don't take it personally but the non-SBCers here have gradually lost their 'feel' for SBC stuff and this group includes Stephen. Sandy, though a few years removed himself, still retains a pretty good sense of things.

I have read about the SBC’s diverse mission churches herein on BL And elsewhere. Merritt reported he is seeing more “people of color" at the national convention. That’s good and shows better integration. Not st all sure that the CBF is ahead on this matter.

My circles and reading these days do not run much into SBC or CBF churches (other than my own) nor do I go to many annual conventions. I guess you are telling me the SBC does not allow women as senior pastors (correct me if I’m wrong). It was a founding principle of the CBF. One would think that a denomination that is promoting women as denominational leaders (as the article said) would also be open to women senior ministers. But thus is the various parsings of a few passages (e.g “women should be silent in church”, “women should not teach men”). Women have seldom if ever been held to silence at church(children SS teachers or choir members). Mental gymnastics in biblical interpretations has always boogled me.

With regard to being “gay affirming”, the CBF was not gay affirming in 1991. They were more apt to be in the “love the sinner, but don’t hire them” camp. So on that regard, I’d say the SBC today is about where the CBF was in 1991.

So I stand by my statement that "the SBC is approaching the place where the CBF was in 1991".

The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.
Last edited by KeithE on Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby Jim » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:47 pm

KeithE wrote:
So I stand by my statement that the SBC is approaching the place where the CBF was in 1991.

The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.


The CBF was hardly a year old (occupying no place) in 1991, while the SBC was about 150 or so years old then...so, apples and oranges again. There is no arc of history. Its linear component is wavy (up-and-down) depending on time and place(s), and it certainly does not point toward justice. Biblically, it points toward utter depravity, else why the cross? Historically, it points where anyone says it does, depending upon one's concept regarding morality, justice, and most anything else.
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby KeithE » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:25 pm

Jim wrote:
KeithE wrote:
So I stand by my statement that the SBC is approaching the place where the CBF was in 1991.

The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.


The CBF was hardly a year old (occupying no place) in 1991, while the SBC was about 150 or so years old then...so, apples and oranges again. There is no arc of history. Its linear component is wavy (up-and-down) depending on time and place(s), and it certainly does not point toward justice. Biblically, it points toward utter depravity, else why the cross? Historically, it points where anyone says it does, depending upon one's concept regarding morality, justice, and most anything else.



Just for grins (and learning) page through: The Visual History of Decreasing War and Violence

On the last slide you can click on 4 other Visual Histories. All point to an improving humanity/world. With God’s Spirit (attempting to influence all people) and God’s creative acts on the material world (think biological evolution for instance), we have been improving over the “long arc”. But sin retards this general improvement.

I realize that this is not the view of world history of all (or most), but it is mine (data-based as it is) and it is hopeful. God is still “working together for good”.
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby Jim » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:24 pm

KeithE wrote:

Just for grins (and learning) page through: The Visual History of Decreasing War and Violence

On the last slide you can click on 4 other Visual Histories. All point to an improving humanity/world. With God’s Spirit (attempting to influence all people) and God’s creative acts on the material world (think biological evolution for instance), we have been improving over the “long arc”. But sin retards this general improvement.

I realize that this is not the view of world history of all (or most), but it is mine (data-based as it is) and it is hopeful. God is still “working together for good”.



**There is no such thing as valid visual history before the means of documenting it. One chart shows what was happening in my state, Kentucky, for instance, 7,000 years ago. Total conjecture and guess-work. Other claims go much farther back, all guesswork derived archeologically from the “diggings.” Digging up bones and implements, especially in old graveyards, that could be 5,000 or 5 million years old is not much good for DATA purposes, much less its interpretation. Carbon dating is considered even by the “experts” as worthless back 60,000 years, though I consider the time much less than that.

All point to an improving humanity/world. With God’s Spirit (attempting to influence all people) and God’s creative acts on the material world (think biological evolution for instance),


**Even Jesus made it clear that Satan's influence is predominant in the world, as did Paul, so God's spirit is mostly ineffectual in nearly all the world including the USA, especially in today's mainline denominations. If it weren't, there would have been no use for Christ's work. Biological evolution of mankind from some lower form(s) is too ridiculous even to bother laughing about. What do you suppose your progeny will look like a billion years from now as your present form evolves? Maybe the tail will be back in vogue then.

I realize that this is not the view of world history of all (or most), but it is mine (data-based as it is) and it is hopeful. God is still “working together for good”.

**If you insist on using scripture, use it in context: “Romans 8:28—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby KeithE » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:32 pm

Jim wrote:
KeithE wrote:
I realize that this is not the view of world history of all (or most), but it is mine (data-based as it is) and it is hopeful. God is still “working together for good”.


**If you insist on using scripture, use it in context: “Romans 8:28—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


Touche. I certainly thought about that context (know it by heart as most Bible readers do). Taking “good” to mean material things, I realized that the end point of such a conditional promise (loving God) leads to the prosperity gospel which I reject because I know “good” (material things) does not come in porportion to love of God. Taking “good” to mean a pleasurable life is perhaps more to Paul's point. Taking “good” to mean something in an afterlife is another possibility that Paul may have had it mind. I don’t really know what Paul had in mind other than encouraging us to work with God.

I'm not the one insisting on using scripture. Language is limited in expressing truth - the bible not being an exception. As such I did not allude to an admittedly partial biblical verse to prove a point, but to suggest a philosophy (in readily recognized terms to those of us with biblical familiarity). My philosophy is that God wants all of His creation to achieve that goodness of life. The emphasis of that “God works together for good” is that God and mankind (those “called according to his purpose”) are working together in a continuing spirit to propel humanity towards better and better things - results not necessarily linearly upwards (there are ups and downs as Jim said) but as a trend line.

Jim: There is no arc of history. Its linear component is wavy (up-and-down) depending on time and place(s), and it certainly does not point toward justice. Biblically, it points toward utter depravity, else why the cross?


Just read this line from Jon Meacham’s new book "The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” (pg 8 ) quoting Endicott Peabody that reminded me of Jim's thought above.

Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights - then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward, that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of centuries always has an upward trend."


I certainly do not see history leading downward into “utter depravity”. The Visual Histories provide evidence of a slow general improvement. Biblical history also shows moral growth (most all earthlings were evil in Noah's day, several positive characters in Jesus’s day, a coalesced church in Paul’s day). But sure there are ups and downs in the biblical history.

Why the cross?: An example of selfless sacrifice that may spur us on to our better angels and being sacrificial for a cause. The Noah flood (and second try), fixed Law (Moses), and the Prophets did not move us sufficiently. Jesus’s teachings / sacrifice and Holy Spirit are God’s current motivators. Perhaps a heaven (or a heaven on earth) is in the offing, but for the moment He is calling us to bring about a closer resemblance to the Kingdom of God on earth.

These are my philosophies of life and history. No one need agree.
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Re: Has the SBC Turned a Corner away from Patterson, Pressle

Postby Sandy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:27 pm

William Thornton wrote:The SBC has been far more diverse than our close cousins for some years, particularly in regard to churches. A significant percentage of new church plants are ethnic and minority and have been for quite some time. To a notable degree, the future of the SBC rests with expansion ethnically rather than geographically. No one is predicting any big surge in white folks having big families again.

Merritt is pretty much on target but I'd caution against the silly notion of the SBC becoming CBF-lite. There's quite a bit of work that can be done short of women as senior pastors and gay affirming. Nonetheless, the old bulls are passing off the scene and there's a different crowd to take their place.

Don't take it personally but the non-SBCers here have gradually lost their 'feel' for SBC stuff and this group includes Stephen. Sandy, though a few years removed himself, still retains a pretty good sense of things.


I read the figure on the percentage of ethnic and minority church starts in the SBC and it is pretty high. I know of two in the Pittsburgh area that are not classified as "ethnic or minority" but the congregations are multi-ethnic with Caucasians being a very small percentage of the total. One of those congregations is just passing its second year of existence, and currently has a larger attendance than any other church in the association.

I'm not sure the SBC would have the kind of success reaching white folks down the road even if there was another surge in births. They are not having any success at all reaching almost anyone under 40 these days, and much of the decline in the attendance and membership can be traced to the drop out rate among GenX'ers and Millennials who were raised in SBC church youth groups.

I don't really see much in the way of similarity between CBF and the SBC these days, and I see them going in different directions. The reaction of the Texas Baptist executive board to CBF's Illumination Project generated obvious shock in the Atlanta headquarters, and it should have. The East Coast CBF elites in Virginia and North Carolina never speak of Texas as being part of the "real" CBF, though it accounts for a little over half the budget contributions, and in recent years, several Texas Baptists have bailed CBF out of financial jams with seven figure contributions. It seems that while the positive spin seems to keep moving forward, anxious eyes are watching to see how many churches take the initiative to continue support for CBF through a direct contribution, and how many will sympathize with the exec committee's stance by shared conviction, and simply stop contributing. I see some difficult days ahead for CBF during the time that it works through the implications of the Illumination Project.

I do see that the number of women in genuine congregational leadership positions in the SBC will increase significantly over the next couple of decades. Given that women seem to be more successful at discipleship and evangelism than men are, it will have to increase for there to be any growth at all. There will also be a notable change in the attitude toward ministry involving LGBT persons, but they won't go the route of CBF in this regard.

I am most likely still on the membership roll of the last SBC church I joined, since when we moved to Pennsylvania, we became members of a CMA congregation, and they don't do membership like Baptists do. When we stopped attending there, we simply resigned our church membership. So without the "transfer of letter," I am guessing we are "nonresident" members of an SBC congregation in Houston. But I volunteered with a mission group ministry that is an extension of Lifeway, and provided project leadership for them for the past four summers in Pittsburgh, involving both new church plants and construction rehab ministry. So I was connected to SBC folks that came up for the projects from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and even a few from Missouri, Indiana and Illinois.
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SBC Voices David Miller is on it

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:37 pm

Check my new post in the History forum
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