Note: The Index welcomes letters and commentary from Georgia Baptists on the recent decision by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees regarding former president Paige Patterson.
I remember being a 15-year-old boy at the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Kentucky in 2009. I grew up in an independent Baptist church and it was not until that year I realized what a treasure our convention was. As I heard Johnny Hunt, Fred Luter, and others preach I thought to myself “I have never heard preaching like this before.” My, that seems like a long time ago.
Today, I look at a convention that is a shell of itself. It is not remotely close to what I remember in my teenage years.
Today, we eat our own. We show no grace. We stand with the accusers of the brethren rather than the brethren. Rather than holding one another up, as Aaron and Hur, we tear one another down, piling on at every opportunity.
Today, we seek to please, assuage, and cater to a culture that will never love us no matter what we do. This week, our stance on spousal abuse is not strong enough. Next week, our stance on women in the pastorate will be too strong. The next, our stance on marriage. After that, our stance on Scripture. Finally, our stance on salvation. John 14:6 will be a thing of the past. Finally, the Southern Baptist Convention will be a shell of itself, moreso than now.
Brothers and Sisters, do not misunderstand me. I do not think we are perfect. Though I admire and love Dr. Paige Patterson, I do not think him to be perfect. I think he is a flawed man, just as I. He has said things I wish he would not have, but I have said things just the same. I realize that, as one once said, “the best of men are men at best.”
No, friends, it’s not that I am blinded to the wrongs of those I love, but it is just the opposite. I am enlightened to the bigger picture. This is about much more than Dr. Patterson, spousal abuse, or any other one issue. No, this is about the soul of our convention.
My heart is so broken over what I see. I hurt that a faithful, lifetime soldier of the Lord has been banished to Patmos, like John. I hurt because we care more about liberal bloggers than laboring believers.
Yet, in my hurt, I do not lose hope. Instead, I “lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”