Where Does the SBC Go From Here?

Where Does the SBC Go From Here? May 23, 2018

In high school, I loved going on trips with my church youth group.  On one particular trip, we had a blast making music videos. My assigned group selected a song with the following lyrics:

Where do I go when I need a shelter?
Where do I go when I need a friend?
Where do I go when I need some helping?

Where do I go? Back on my knees again!

I’ve looked and looked, and cannot locate the artist or song writer. (I’m sure some techy will find the info in 5 seconds flat. Please do, and let me know.) Anyway, as I reflect on the latest SBC news related to Dr. Paige Patterson, this song came to mind with perfect clarity despite the 20 years that have passed since I’ve heard it.

It reminds me that what the members of the Southern Baptist Convention need most right now is to be on our knees in prayer.

The decision that was made by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees was a tough but necessary one. It does not minimize what Dr. Patterson did in the positive for our convention, but it also recognizes the harm that has been caused by some of his actions and attitudes.

(Photo Credit: Scott Audette, AP)

The media loves to see division among Christians, in particular among the SBC. This is exactly the opposite of what Christ wants. Of course, we will have disagreements, as all denominations do. We are like a family. We won’t all get along on everything. But for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must work harder than ever to show a hurting and dying world the love of Jesus. That starts with prayer.

Prayer for repentance.

Prayer for unity.

Prayer for peace.

This isn’t the first controversy in the SBC and it won’t be the last. Some folks will always believe the reaction to any given controversy is over the top while others will always believe the reaction didn’t go nearly far enough. The Patterson situation is no different. While those of us outside of the board (that I certainly don’t envy) didn’t have any control over their decision, we do have a choice about how we will react to that decision. In fact, we have a choice as to what we can do before any scandal strikes. If we treat each other like Jesus calls us to do (The Golden Rule, love your neighbor as yourself, and all that), we may have less scandals and more salvations.

Dr. Patterson has led many to Christ, and for that I praise God. He’s done a lot for the SBC that I am thankful for. I am also thankful for the leaders in the SBC who are taking a stronger stand for women. Exactly like Jesus did. We can only be unified if we recognize the inherent, God given value of each member of the body of Christ.  We can do it. We have overcome much, and we can and should keep going. So, SBC-ers, let’s get back on our knees. Again.

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  • Mark Tyrrell

    Where does the SBC go from here?

    1) It goes to the Lord Himself in prayer and repentance.

    2) More specifically, it goes back to scripture. God in his book has given us clear answers, if we will only listen.

    3) It goes back to Roger Williams, founder of the state of Rhode Island, and Baptist minister. Perhaps his track record of standing up for First Nations
    Americans and opposition to slavery can teach us all a thing or two.

    4) It goes, too, to the book, Who Stole Feminism?, by Christina Hoff-Sommers. Writing about wife assault, she cites feminist historian and scholar Elizabeth
    Pleck, in showing that one of the first law codes in English-speaking North America, that of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1655 specifically prohibited
    wife assault.

    Scholar Pleck goes on to state that in days gone by, groups like the Baptists, Quakers, and Methodists considered wife assault to be a sin, on the same
    level as theft or adultery, and punished, shunned, and excommunicated wife beaters.

    She points out, too, that penalties for wife beaters could be severe. An 1882 Maryland statute mandated that the wife beater could receive forty lashes
    at the whipping post. In Delaware, the number was thirty, and in New Mexico, fines for wife assault ranged from $255 to $1,000 and offenders faced the
    possibility of one to five years in prison.

    How, in light of all of the above, especially points 3 and 4 have church, state and society in America, Great Britain (my country of origin) and Canada(where I grew up and have lived most of my life) fallen so far away?

    This could be a very good place to start.