Moral Contradictions

Friday, April 28, 2006

An unintended harvest

I've been following the Wade Burleson/International Mission Board of the Southen Baptist Convention with a curious interest. I shake my head at what's happening as the SBC continues to eat their own. Folks who cheered the persecution of moderates in the last 25 years are now having second thoughts as they realize the monster can turn on them.

First and foremost, I would recommend reading Mr. Burleson's post. I don't totally agree with everything, but I'm intrigued by his present struggle.

One of the comments by 'anonymous' struck me. Irregardless of where one falls on the ideological/theological spectrum, for at least myself I was troubled how the means justified the ends during the conservative takeover of the SBC. They were mean means. So many un-Christian acts were taken against good people, for what? To purify the SBC and make it more Christian. Contradiction? Heck yeah. Of the moral kind? You bet.

I've had folks come here and try to justify the actions taken by the leaders of the SBC during those heady days, but there could have been a more Christian way to acheive the fundamentalists' intentions.

You reap what you sow, and currently the SBC is harvesting bitter irony, as seen with the above-mentioned comment:


Please hear me when I say I think you are seeking the Kingdom in a gracious manner. As a lifelong SB and an IMB M, I desire to see us get past these issues that are such a distraction and rob emotional energy from the MAIN TASK of our force worldwide.

However, consider the implications of what you are saying. If this sort of political manuevering that alienates Kingdom workers is not appropriate today, was it appropriate during the "conservative takeover/resurgence"?

If it was, then you are implying the end justified the means. So by the same ethical standard, those currently in power cannot be blamed for trying to maintain what they perceive as a righteous cause. Expect to reap what was sowed.

If the methodologies employed to take and maintain control were not appropriate from the late 70s to the the present, then a whole lot of repenting needs to take place and apologies made to a lot of faithful missionaries, pastors, denominational workers, etc. and their affected families. Then a new foundation needs to be laid, if that is possible.

I just don't see how we can approve of the ways things were done (or if not approve, accept as necessary) and then expect everyone to suddenly change their posture because all the "important" issues have been "fixed." It won't happen because somebody will always have another "important" issue that needs "fixing." And if the appropriate way to "fix" it in the past was by "takeover" or "control" then that will still be their modus operandi.

At the SBC seminary I attended, some of what was taught about the Bible concerned me as not portraying the Bible as fully God-inspired and trustworthy. Yet I believe it is worldy, and not Godly, wisdom that would suggest a "takeover" mentality to fix things. No one is redeemed when there is a crusade against them. Instead, redemption can occur when individuals are encouraged and influenced one by one.

Yes, it takes a lot longer to turn a ship around by dealing with crew members one by one than making all "walk the plank" and then getting a new crew. But in God's economy of people and His purposes, I believe there will be more passengers safely transported to the destined shore.

My prayers are with you, our IMB leadership and the BoT.


The more things change the more they stay the same.


  • Well said. As a Baptist, and labeled a 'moderate', I watched painfully as many wonderful people were injured by political manipulation (and I am being kind) from the more conservative and politically charged ranks of the SBC. My hope is that as 'things' circle back around in the future we'll rediscover what it means to be 'Baptist' in the historical sense of folks like Dr. James Sullivan.

    By Blogger William Christianson, at Saturday, April 29, 2006 7:09:00 AM  

  • "The pastor is charged to lead the congregation on the journey that is our faith. He is there to teach and preach the Bible and how it applies to our lives and faith - he is there to exhibit the love and compassion of Christ for us in the good times and the bad - he is there to point those who do not believe to Christ - he is there to disciple Christians and help to grow them in their faith, etc..."

    He is there....she is there too.

    By Blogger Marty, at Monday, May 01, 2006 4:20:00 PM  

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