Why I Am Renouncing the Southern Baptist Convention


To list the reasons one by one would possibly break the internet. I suppose I could break it all down to one simple word: power. The SBC has it, they are losing it, and they do not like it.

What is really happening in the SBC is that all the “absolutes” they have championed at the expense of others over the last 35 years or more are coming back to bite them. Most recently, the issue of women in pastoral ministry (again). 

For many years, the SBC has loved and promoted Beth Moore, arguably one of the best Bible teachers on the planet. In the last year, she has challenged the SBC’s position on not allowing women to be ordained as pastors. Here are a couple of their "gracious" responses:



Then there was this exchange between Moore and Owen Strachan, a director and theologian from Midwestern Seminary.

So, basically, the ultra-conservatives in the SBC suggest that women belong in the home, and not the pulpit. Years ago, Dr. Paige Patterson, the President of the seminary I attended, was asked by a local reporter about his position on women (this was back when women were to be submissive). He replied, “Everybody should own at least one.” He later recanted that quote, admitting he was only joking. But was he? Because last year, he had to “apologize” again. 

When I entered Bible college in 1996 at Southeastern Baptist Theological College, I was so in love with Jesus, and so excited about my vocational calling to the ministry. I met some great people there, men and women who I am still in touch with all these years later. I am very passionate about teaching, so my favorite first semester class was Intro to Christian Education, and my professor was a woman. If I am not mistaken, she was the only woman teacher on campus. Nevertheless, I loved her class. I learned a lot, and she was very nice to the class. She even spent a great portion of class taking requests for prayer and then praying.

I had a neighbor in campus housing, and he and I were chatting one day about this and that. He said, “I’ll tell you what, if they don’t get rid of that (woman professor), I am going to withdraw and go to seminary somewhere else." There were many who shared his opinion. By the end of the semester, she had clearly been forced out by the administration. Why? Because women technically aren’t “allowed” to teach men.

By the end of my first semester, I wondered if I was at the right school. I was going to leave, but a couple of great guys helped me see the value in staying.

Way before Bible college, I visited a friend’s church one Sunday. The issue of women preaching was once again in the spotlight. Apparently, there was a woman preaching at one of the neighboring churches. There was a guest speaker that day and he was railing at the top of his voice that women were, “Never, never, never, never, never, never called to preach!”

A couple of years later, that preacher was arrested for domestic spousal abuse. It kinda figures.

This is the year 2019. Ministry looks a lot different from when I started out. Over the last ten years, over 500,000 people have left SBC churches. Women in ministry is not the only issue that keeps coming up. I never attended the conventions, but I always looked at the agenda. A few years ago, one of the items on tap was what to do about NewSpring Church. NewSpring is a very popular church and very innovative in their approach to church. Members of stuffy, older churches that refuse to change, left and went to NewSpring. NewSpring was taking all their younger members and something needed to be done! Hence the line item on the agenda.

Another popular SBC position was divorce. With fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce, the SBC jumped in to regulate the matter.

Basically, divorced men were not allowed to serve or be ordained as deacons or pastors. Divorced women were treated even worse. This was in the early 1990s. I was in a church that stood her ground on this matter. Consequently, two great men who would have made perfect deacons couldn’t serve because they were divorced.

When I went through my divorce, I was an outcast. I was asked to resign from every local association position I held. The community that I pastored in ostracized me. I used to speak at PTA meetings and was even approached to run for local office at one time. When word of my divorce got out, I was cut loose. I was told by one of my former mentors to “Never disgrace the pulpit again.”
Today, divorce is more widely accepted in SBC churches. At least it was in my case. There is probably more grace in the SBC than we know about, because the press only posts the controversial stuff.

Lastly, I am walking away because in the SBC, mega-church pastors make the decisions for the rest of the denomination. They literally “own” the denomination because of the large amounts of money they contribute. Presidents of the SBC are frequently picked up by limos at the airports. SBC executives are paid exorbitant salaries. For every mega-church, there are thousands of smaller churches who are just trying to keep the heat on and the doors open. Their churches can no longer afford to pay their ministers. At my last church, I was being paid $300.00 a week with the expectation of full-time performance. This, because people are leaving the SBC and taking their tithes and offerings with them.

Even still, the SBC refuses to get the message. The message is that people are sick and tired of being brow beaten with the word of God by men who obviously champion a male-dominant, mega church leading political machine that is the SBC.

After thirty years, I’m done. I pray for the SBC that one day she will evolve and that the politically conservative grip will be loosened so that God can be God and change lives forever!

For even further understanding of the current SBC climate, read this article from Dr. Albert Mohler.

Bright blessings,
Todd



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