4. Restoring Trust in our Trustee System

May 2, 2016

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

For quite some time now in Southern Baptist life, when controversial decisions have been made within our entities, I have heard our leaders repeat the mantra, “Trust the trustees!” But is it truly a prudent exercise of stewardship to bestow upon our trustee boards this kind of unlimited trust? Is it not possible that situations might arise in which we should not blindly trust the trustees, but rather investigate our processes for trustee selection and training and participation to make sure our leadership groups are functioning appropriately?

Within the past year, many Southern Baptists were stunned to learn that the trustees who serve on our International Mission Board have, over the past six years, expended $210 million in excess of receipts, liquidating real assets and draining reserves in order to cover the shortfall. That kind of deficit spending on operations would not be tolerated within our churches for more than one or two budget cycles. By waiting six long years to address the problem directly, we severely limited our range of solutions, and failed to apprise the people in the pews of the severity of the crisis until it was too late and we had to bring a fifth of our missionaries home—long before many had truly run their race.

Exactly what kind of oversight did these trustees provide in the decision to downsize our missionary force by over a thousand people? Did trustees help to create the plan? No, the plan was created by a handful of executive staff members at the IMB—one of whom was not even a Southern Baptist prior to his hiring. Did trustees formally vote to adopt the plan? No, they asked a few questions, and gave their tacit consent by their silence, but they never even voted on the matter, since their internal rules required no such vote.

What in tarnation is going on when a handful of leaders—each possessing roughly a year of experience with the IMB—can recall one-fifth of a missionary force supported by sixteen million Southern Baptists without ever subjecting their plan to a formal vote by the very Trustees who are supposed to be overseeing their operations? How does such a thing even happen?

Our trustee problem extends far beyond the IMB. A few years ago, ERLC President Russell Moore hired five new leaders in one day. While only two were Southern Baptists, all five were members of The Gospel Coalition—a group with ties to Moore. Why was there no trustee to ask the question, “Shouldn’t we be selecting Southern Baptists to lead the ERLC of the Southern Baptist Convention? I mean, we’re not the ERLC of the Gospel Coalition!” The trustees at NAMB need to take a good hard look at those partnership agreements with the state conventions and make sure NAMB is not overstepping its authority and harming relationships by nationalizing all church planting operations.

Increasingly, as I talk with Pastors and other interested convention watchers familiar with our decision making processes, they express concerns with a trustee process that is out of control and not functioning properly. Here is a list of just a few of the major concerns:

CANDIDATES—Too many of our trustees come from the large, wealthy megachurches and do not adequately reflect the typical SBC worldview.

ELECTIONS—Messengers do not really know the people nominated and thus, for the most part, simply adopt the slate presented.

NOMINATIONS—The possibility exists that some well-connected people behind the scenes are influencing the nomination process by feeding specific names to the nominators. We should explore ways to open this process up for everyone to participate more freely, leveling the playing field for those who are not part of such “behind-the-scenes” networks.

TRAINING—Although each board trains its own trustees, there should instead be a general training of all trustees sponsored by the SBC at large. This training should explain that their loyalty is not primarily to the institution, but to the messengers of the SBC who have entrusted them with this trusteeship. We must emphasize that, for all practical purposes, the only accountability for these entities is that which is provided by the trustees. If they do not ask the hard-nosed, uncomfortable and sometimes socially awkward questions, then no one will ask them at all. While the relationship between trustees and entity leaders need never become adversarial, neither should trustees be in the back pocket of executives.

HOSPITALITY—Some kind of cap needs to be placed on the hospitality budgets for trustee meetings in order to disabuse trustees of any sense of obligation toward entity leaders for providing them with luxurious dining and accommodations. Once an entity leader has provided all trustees with such gracious hospitality, the notion of objecting to that leader’s plans or strategies can almost be viewed as tantamount to ingratitude.

AGENDAS—Skillful leaders can manage their meetings in such a way that reports, prayers and expressions of appreciation practically crowd out any meaningful discussion of problems or concerns to be addressed. Some say these decisions have devolved into nothing more than “rubber stamps.”

In short, my concern is not that the Trustees have too much power, but rather that they have too little—or at least they are not exercising the authority they have been given to hold our entity leaders accountable. In our system of polity, if the Trustees do not provide checks and balances for our entity leaders, then no one will. And if they view their role as prayerfully supporting and protecting their leader and host, shielding them from criticism and signing confidentiality agreements to avoid sharing important information with SBC messengers, then the system has been turned upside down and simply will not work.

Transparency Agenda Survey Results

In a recent poll of SBC Today readers, we asked Southern Baptists to indicate if they “approved” or “disapproved” of the idea that we “Investigate the Southern Baptist trustee board selection process.” With 186 respondents, 79.03% approved of such an investigation. Let me be quick to say that my primary concern is not with the fine people who serve on such boards, but rather with the processes by which we select, train and involve them in our work. Since our trustee system is the only source of true accountability we have at our disposal, why not form a team of Southern Baptists who can explore and recommend various measures to protect us from the systemic problems addressed above?

Chart_Q4_160429 copy

This article addresses Item Four of the Ten Item Transparency Agenda. You may READ the Transparency Agenda or COMPLETE the survey yourself. To read the articles reporting results from the other survey items, see the links below: 

ITEM ONE 

ITEM TWO

ITEM THREE

ITEM FIVE

ITEM SIX

ITEM SEVEN

ITEM EIGHT

ITEM NINE

ITEM TEN

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Jon Estes

I like what youa re saying but the process being used is the one which was used to get Inerrantists on the Trustee Boards. You know the processs where the elected President gets to choose the ConC which the works to fill the vacancies and those chose for the ConC were expected to have a certain belief and choose people to fil the vascencies with like minded people. The year I served on the ConC, I was directly asked if I believed the Bible was inerrant and if I would recommend people who believed the Bible was inerrant (as defined by the leadership). I could and I did. If you really want to see the Traditionalist mindset on Trustee boards, the find men to become President year after year who will follow the same process to get the likeminded people onthe Trustee boards. Do you have 20 years to see the shipped turn again?

The bottom line for me is not so much who is being hired (if they are the best person for the job) but does the belief of these people line up with scripture. Isn’t theology the reason we took part in the CR?

That they are becoming a Southern Baptist is something we ought to be glad for, not criticize.

Asking for a change in process now is somewhat hypocritical just because the outcome is not what you like.

    Rick Patrick

    Jon,

    I am glad you “like what I am saying,” by which I must assume you mean that the trustee system needs some adjusting—which is the gist of my article.

    Next, you mentioned the Conservative Resurgence pattern of Presidential nominations, which I agree could hypothetically be utilized to bring about change over time. (God only knows if I have the twenty years you asked about, were this strategy to eventualize.)

    If the Traditionalist Restoration were to utilize the Conservative Resurgence approach you mentioned, it would require a President sympathetic to the cause of Traditionalist discrimination and marginalization. He would not necessarily have to be a Traditionalist—just someone willing to listen to our side and seek to remedy the imbalanced representation. Thus far, Traditionalists have not had such a President.

    There is a profound difference, however, between the goals of the Conservative Resurgence and the Traditionalist Restoration. While the former rightly sought to rid the convention of Liberalism, the latter is not seeking to drive all Calvinism from the convention. Rather, ours is a more nuanced goal seeking to bring about a more PROPORTIONAL embrace of Calvinism among SBC leaders, authors, speakers, strategies and initiatives, aiming for our leaders to be no more Calvinistic than our churches. Because of this important difference in goals, I believe a difference in strategies may be warranted.

    As for “being glad” that outsiders are becoming Southern Baptists, of course I celebrate whenever people see the light and cross over into Southern Baptist life. The concerns I meant to express in my article have to do with new SBC converts being offered LEADERSHIP POSITIONS on their first day as Southern Baptists. In the NFL, you do not ask the seventh round draft pick who has only recently joined your team to become the Head Coach.

    Finally, asking for change in the trustee process is not hypocritical in the least, because my concerns are not with the Conservative Resurgence strategy of the Presidential appointment process itself. Nowhere do I argue against the President making the appointments of the Committee on Committees. Rather, I am looking deeper, at a variety of issues (candidates, elections, nominations, training, hospitality and agendas) that I believe should be evaluated for effectiveness REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME. In other words, the kinds of transparency changes I seek may or may not result in a more balanced proportion of Trads and Cals in SBC life, but I still support these changes, either way, in order that the process may become more transparent and accessible to all Southern Baptists.

    Thus, the reforms I seek in the trustee process are the very opposite of hypocritical—no matter which side appears to be favored at any point in time, I want matters to be less secretive, and I want trustees to be empowered to ask hard questions in representing the SBC at large, while feeling less compelled to necessarily “go along to get along” with the plans proposed by each entity executive.

    Generally, I think it is a mistake to view these suggestions from the perspective of the Conservative Resurgence, which I never mentioned in my article. I hope this thread will not be hijacked and run off into rehashing all of that. Please try to read the suggestions only from the standpoint of “transparency” and not from a Conservative-Liberal grid or a Traditionalist-Calvinist grid. I believe that no matter which wing of the convention is stronger at any point in time, these suggestions for transparency still apply.

      Scott Shaver

      Baloney Rick Patrick on any “rightness” of the CR cause.

      The “Conservative Resurrgence” was about the egos, aspirations, and careers of 3 men who spewed lies, assassinated characters and destroyed lives/ministries so they could be sitting where they are today. Evidence of this truth is that you (a former supporter of their designs) are having to battle them in print for “denominational representation”.

      A “Traditional” resurrgence? Yeah right, that’s gonna work. “Viewing these suggestions from the perspective of the Conservative Resurgence is a mistake”?

      It’s a mistake if you’re trying to avoid criticism of the very deal that put you in the denominational condition you’re kicking against now Rick.

      As I’ve said before, a little too little a little too late. There’s nothing left to “restore”.

      The CR is/was your disease and you intend to cure it with more of the same. What is the word associated with doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

      I

        Rick Patrick

        Scott,

        Your persistence in conflating the Conservative-Moderate controversy with the Traditionalist-Calvinist controversy is tiresome. Although I wish Ronald Reagan were President, we are not in the eighties anymore. In 2016, one can support the inerrancy of scripture while also opposing the Young, Restless, Reformed style Calvinism movement.

        I do agree with you that, historically, Calvinists and Conservatives joined hands against Moderates in promoting inerrancy. Obviously, thirty years later, Conservatives and those same Calvinists disagree about soteriology, ecclesiology, missiology and a number of other issues. So what? Alliances change over time. America was allied with Russia against Germany in the World Wars and then fought a Cold War with Russia. Great Britain, from whom we won our independence, is one of our strongest allies today. Things change over time. Get over it.

        None of this really addresses the subject of the post, which identifies six specific suggestions for improving our trustee transparency—regardless of which wing of the denomination is currently in favor. The topic of this post is not the Conservative Resurgence, so please stop dragging that into it.

          Scott Shaver

          Dr. Patrick:

          What you insist is “conflation” would obviously be “tiresome” to one who refuses to acknowledge the negative impact of the CR while attempting, ironically, to counter it’s disastrous effects.

          One who would also toy now with the idea of using similar political mechanics within the same old corrupted structure to affect (probably in a “confessional” sense) a shift back to a previous “time-period” within the SBC when “Southern Baptist” rather than the labels of “traditionalist” or “reformed/Calvinist Baptist” were needed. How do the same old wine-skins hold new wine?….respectfully as one “tiresomely stuck in the past”? How are they going to promote “transparency” lest I digress again from the subject of the thread?

          “So What” you say, “Alliances change.”

          Absolutely Rick, can’t argue with that.

          The question that vexes me from time to time as you articulate your appreciation for the “CR”. Why are you so perplexed and disgruntled with the denominational allies you’ve chosen via the “much-needed” CR, even should Calvin’s soteriology win the day in the SBC?

          Alliances change and you obviously don’t like it in the context of the SBC any more than I do/did, regardless of whether or not your view or my view of the CR holds sway.

          “Southern Baptists Today” doesn’t want contributors speaking in a negative historical context about the CR? “Conflation” is up for judgement and public scrutiny.

          Neither then does the site encourage the views of “All Southern Baptists”…. and I thought representation was one of your issues along with transparency.

          Adios Amigos, via con dios.

          norm

          Rick:

          Your “conflation” word is apropos, as well as the word “tiresome” regarding certain references to the Conservative Resurgence.

          Since humans are involved in SBC polity, the “flesh” will always be a problem. Similarly, certain criticisms of SBC polity and actions also appear to suffer from “fleshly” subjectivity.

          Regardless of the faction of naysayers, albeit only one at this blog, I will continue to stand and shout about the need for and the success of the Conservative Resurgence. Not only were one-sided professors who embraced and taught neo-orthodoxy removed, the encroachment of active homosexuality among some members of the student bodies was halted at least two of our seminaries. And at another seminary scores of books that were overtly sympathetic to homosexuality — some of them essentially were verbal porn — were removed from that library.

          Objective analysis of what has happened since the CR is better left to those who have no obvious acrimony to those who affected the CR, and/or its eventualities.

            Scott Shaver

            Guess that’s why “conservative” organizations like TGC post the articles of “celibate” homosexual church planters under the assumption it’s more “masculine” to be a homosexual who “obeys” God than a homosexual who doesn’t.

            The subject is “masculinity” since “masculinity” went to the cross and all… spare me.

            The SBC contraption is far more liberal now than before CR…..For those with eyes.

            These guys have lost it in more ways than one. Politics, case in point, they’ve managed to make Hillary neutral and Donald Trump Satan and they’re puzzled half the country’s not as crazy as they are…robes, vestibules and all.

            Scott Shaver

            What’s really “tiresome” is watching Southern Baptist preachers playing same game and hearing them say the same things over and over again as if they repeat the mantra long enough it will actually change the unfolding saga of deterioration and destruction.

            More than “tiresome”…..it’s sad.

            Scott Shaver

            Glad to hear you’ve spiritually arrived, Norm, and no longer hindered by the “fleshly subjectivity” that clouds the eyes of others.

            By the way “acrimony” is too mild a word. Go with “contempt” if you’re referring to my estimation of CR leaders.

      Chris

      “PROPORTIONAL embrace of Calvinism among SBC leaders, authors, speakers, strategies and initiatives, aiming for our leaders to be no more Calvinistic than our churches.”

      In other words, Calvinists need to be marginalized.

      How does “proportional” not equal quotas?

        Andy

        Chris, I’m curious,

        Is there any way for Rick to advocate for more proportionally appropriate representation in SBC life that would NOT be seen as marginalizing calvinists? Or put another way, any way for a group who feels that THEY are being marginalized to address their concerns without being accused of wanting to marginalize the others?

        Or put another way, do you disagree that representatives/leaders should roughly mirror those they represent, or do you just disagree that there is ANY other way to ethically accomplish this other than simply letting the assembled body vote for who they want?

          Chris

          Andy,

          “Is there any way for Rick to advocate for more proportionally appropriate representation in SBC life that would NOT be seen as marginalizing calvinists?”

          Yes. He is just not currently doing that.

          If Rick were saying, “I’d like Traditionalists to get more opportunities in all of these areas.” I’d say that makes a lot of sense. Traditionalists deserve their share of opportunities. Instead, Rick is saying that he wants to start a process where a Traditionalist litmus test must be passed for leaders, authors, initiatives, and so on and so forth. Rick is not just asking for his view to get more. He is asking for his view to marginalize the other.

          For example, he does not want to leave it up to the seminary presidents and their representatives to hire their faculty and staff. He wants to take that from them so he and a special oversight committee can remake Southern and Southeastern in his image. He is not happy with Calvinist and Traditionalist seminaries living together. He wants to take all of the seminaries for his view. Rick is advocating for his view to dominate and marginalize the other. He does not want equality. He wants dominance.

          “Or put another way, do you disagree that representatives/leaders should roughly mirror those they represent, or do you just disagree that there is ANY other way to ethically accomplish this other than simply letting the assembled body vote for who they want?”

          I think the leaders do mirror those they represent in almost every way and they faithfully subscribe to the BFM 2000 (which should be enough). I think many of the Calvinst leaders such as Platt, Mohler, Akin, and Moore are the best men for their respective jobs. I don’t think we should say “No” to great candidates because they do not pass a “Traditionalist” litmus test. I think SBC Calvinist authors have written a lot of great books. I don’t think we should prevent them from writing books in the future because they do not pass a Trad litmus test. Rick is asking for the BFM 2000 to not be enough, he’d like you to hold to the BFM 2000 + be Trad to get position or opportunity in the SBC.

            Rick Patrick

            I’d like Traditionalists to get more opportunities in all of these areas.

            This is indeed what I am saying. All that other stuff you said I am saying is not what I am saying.

              Chris

              Rick,

              If all you are saying is “I’d like Traditionalists to get more opportunities in all of these areas,” then why the talk about proportionality? If we get that in our seminaries, then you change the culture and way of Southern and Southeastern. Why not leave them alone? Why not just say that you want more opportunities instead of proportion which would lead to marginalization.

              If all you mean is “I’d like Traditionalists to get more opportunities in all of these areas,” then you and I are kindred spirits. I am glad when I hear Calvinists get positions in leadership here and there. But I am happy for Traditionalists to get their fair share (which in my mind is probably more like 60-70%).

              If all you want is more opportunities, then why blame Calvinists for all of the SBC’s problems? How can Trads and Calvinists work together on the problems if both sides are blaming the other for the problems?

                Rick Patrick

                We may be playing word games here. It’s not a quota, I just want proportional representation. It’s not proportionality, I just want opportunities. It’s not opportunities, I just want…

                Whatever word anybody needs to help Traditionalists gain greater representation in today’s SBC is the word I am looking for.

          Chris

          Andy,

          You are a Calvinist, Right?

          How would you answer your questions.

          My answer has been written but is waiting to go thru moderation.

            Andy

            1. It seems your answer has come through, and I don’t believe you are accurately representing what I have been hearing Rick say. Rick has not advocated for a quota. I believe his analogy with the race issue is decent. Just pick “the best man for the job.” sounds admirable, but IF part of the “JOB” is representing the SBC, and connecting various groups of people to cooperate….then having all white leaders of a diverse group would not really be “the best men for the Job.” Intentionally including some black leaders on purpose makes sense.

            2. That said, I am not quite as concerned about the state of things as Rick, because I believe the individual churches will eventually vote, if not with their messengers, then with their money. If, on the one hand, there really is a Calvinistic leadership cohort that is out of touch with the majority of churches, then they will eventually vote in people of their own stripe, or they will simply decided to stop supporting the calvinists with their money. If, on the other hand, the Calvinism surge at SBTS & Southeaster are representative of a surge within the wider SBC, then the SBC Calvinization will continue and grow until the SBC is majority Calvinist…and again, each church will either disagree, but stay…or agree whole-heartedly, or decide their time with the SBC has come to an end. I know that for my church, when the SBC does something we think is great, we support it, when they don’t, we cut our CP and send that money elsewhere. I also know that for my church, most of what we like, or don’t like about the National or state SBC decisions has NOTHING to do with Calvinism at all.

            As for myself, I do not self-identify as either a Calvinist or a Traditionalist, and so I need my own bathroom at Target. :-)

              Chris

              1. “I don’t believe you are accurately representing what I have been hearing Rick say. Rick has not advocated for a quota. I believe his analogy with the race issue is decent. Just pick “the best man for the job.” sounds admirable, but IF part of the “JOB” is representing the SBC, and connecting various groups of people to cooperate….then having all white leaders of a diverse group would not really be “the best men for the Job.” Intentionally including some black leaders on purpose makes sense.”

              You may be right. I do not intend to misrepresent Rick in the least. I see him as a brother in Christ.

              Rick does not use the word quota and rejects it. But he wants proportionality which sounds a lot like a quota, and seems to lead to the same outcome. He wants proportionality at Southern and Southeastern. I am not sure how you get there without choosing purposefully to only hire Trads for the next 20 years.

              I don’t like his race analogy. I think it’s very unhelpful. However, I think the analogy would work against Rick’s position. Per the analogy, Rick is complaining that there are not enough white (Trads) people leading and that there are too many minorities (Calvinists) in leadership positions. The race analogy should lead Rick to praising the hiring of Calvinists leaders. Again, I do not like this analogy and think it’s unhelpful.

              2.
              Where I grew up, most of the sbc churches did not really care that much about what happened at the seminaries or in the convention. They mostly just cared about their own church. They knew the offerings for missions were good things, but did not care about the politics of SBC life. I don’t know how many churches are very involved, involved, or apathetic to SBC politics. So for at least some of them, they don’t know or care about the current struggles betweens T’s and C’s. They will keep on giving as long as they keep their doors open. I’d think that’s going to be the majority of churches. One day a contingent of either T’s or C’s could get upset enough to take their ball and go home, but I’d be surprised if the majority of churches followed them.

        Rick Patrick

        Actually, Traditionalists need to be LESS marginalized. (You don’t get to lead the convention AND play the victim, Chris.) My goal is for both sides to be properly reflected in the same proportion that we find in our churches. That’s not marginalizing either one of them. It is fairly representing the people we are supposed to represent as leaders.

        I’m glad you asked the question about “proportional” versus “quota” because many are confused over this issue. The best way to describe it is to look at the intentional effort the convention has made to include more African American leadership. The desire is to be more inclusive and balanced and fair and proportional with regard to ETHNICITY. Most in the convention will tell you that we are making, or at least attempting to make, great strides in this effort. However, there are no quotas that have been implemented. It is more an issue of fairness and an attempt to include everyone. Strict quotas are not needed—just a general effort to recognize the problem and do something to dial back the marginalization of those in the convention who are not Calvinists.

          Chris

          “Actually, Traditionalists need to be LESS marginalized. (You don’t get to lead the convention AND play the victim, Chris.) My goal is for both sides to be properly reflected in the same proportion that we find in our churches. That’s not marginalizing either one of them. It is fairly representing the people we are supposed to represent as leaders.”
          The BFM 2000 should be enough. Exact proportion = marginalization.
          Also, when has there been a Calvinist SBC president? They have all recently been Traditionalist or practically Traditionalist.
          Sure, there is Mohler and Akin. But there are also Traditionalist seminary presidents as well. Platt and Moore are relatively brand new. Traditionalists have probably held those positions for who knows how long. This change seems more like proportional representation happening in leadership when in the past the leadership has almost only been Traditionalist.

          “I’m glad you asked the question about “proportional” versus “quota” because many are confused over this issue.”

          I think this is a very different issue. Because it seems that if you had your way, there probably wouldn’t be another Calvinist hired at Southern or Southeastern until they were at 20% or less of the faculty/staff population.

            Rick Patrick

            “The BFM2000 is sufficient for our cooperation.” Great, when is that gonna start? Let’s cooperate, first, by not having NAMB Send Conferences with all five speakers being Calvinists. Let’s not have the last four entity Presidents elected being Calvinists. Let’s not have all the book deals and leadership initiatives coming from the Calvinists. Let’s not have Moore hire five Calvinists on his first day in office. Let’s check on our NAMB plants and see if they are not more Calvinistic than our convention as a whole. Let’s not bring home Old Traditionalists at the IMB while continuing to send out New Calvinists—all the while claiming it’s only for financial reasons. The BFM2K is great. It’s fine. It’s sufficient. But its existence does not negate the need to discuss our problems in fairly representing at least half of the convention.

            By the way, exact proportion does not equal marginalization. It equals an idealized fairness that we should seek, within reason, to approximate. No taxation without representation! Traditionalists can be expected to support Calvinist church plants financially up to a point, but should not be expected to pay for the widespread Calvinization of the Southern Baptist Convention. That’s unfair.

            As for a Traditionalist President, the Traditional Statement of 2012 was only written four years ago. Since that time, not one President has been a Signer of the Traditional Statement. It’s time.

            As for the goal of making Southern and Southeastern reflective of the SBC, I think the accuracy of your final sentence might depend on two things: (a) if we can establish, more or less, that the membership of the SBC is indeed 20% Calvinist, and (b) if we would seek to represent the SBC proportionally among the faculties of all six seminaries considered together, or at each individual seminary, or within each individual department. In some cases, I could see the possibility of a Calvinist elected in the schools you mentioned, but without looking at the matter as a whole, then I don’t think I could really say one way or the other. My point is that the general effort to move in a certain direction in order to be fair to people does not require hard and fast quotas, but it does require an appreciation for their position and the desire not to keep them on the sidelines.

              Chris

              “Great, when is that gonna start? Let’s cooperate, first, by not having NAMB Send Conferences with all five speakers being Calvinists.”

              I agree with you that Trads should get more representation in these things. I think you should advocate for that, not strict proportionality.

              “Let’s not have the last four entity Presidents elected being Calvinists.”

              I imagine that pattern will be interrupted. But again, when almost all of the entity presidents were Trads forever except Mohler, then this is a reasonable and temporary change.

              “Let’s not have Moore hire five Calvinists on his first day in office.”

              I’d imagine Richard Land was probably hiring mostly Trads when he was there. I think it’s normal for organizations like that to mostly reflect the leadership. However, the next leader may be a Trad and he will hire Trads mostly. I think Moore is representing the SBC well.

              “Let’s not bring home Old Traditionalists at the IMB while continuing to send out New Calvinists—all the while claiming it’s only for financial reasons.”

              I sincerely believe Platt on this one. IMB has been working in the red for way too long. It’s about time they had a leader who would work within their means.

              “Traditionalists can be expected to support Calvinist church plants financially up to a point, but should not be expected to pay for the widespread Calvinization of the Southern Baptist Convention.”t

              I think both Trads and Calvinists should gladly and readily support gospel-preaching churches and not get hung up on Trad or Calvinist distinctions.

              “As for a Traditionalist President, the Traditional Statement of 2012 was only written four years ago. Since that time, not one President has been a Signer of the Traditional Statement. It’s time.”

              Right, but for a long long time they have all been non-Calvinists who would agree more with Traditonalists than Calvinists even if they have not gone by that name.

              “As for the goal of making Southern and Southeastern reflective of the SBC, I think the accuracy of your final sentence might depend on two things: (a) if we can establish, more or less, that the membership of the SBC is indeed 20% Calvinist, and (b) if we would seek to represent the SBC proportionally among the faculties of all six seminaries considered together, or at each individual seminary, or within each individual department.”

              I think in most ways Southern and Southeastern are reflective of the SBC. You have just elevated this issue to a litmus test. I think Dr. Paige Patterson is going to want to run his seminary the way he wants to, hire the faculty and staff he wants to. His seminary is going to be more Trad by far. He’s the president there, and I think if he is faithfully fulfilling his duties, he should have that freedom. What you are advocating is for the presidents to lose their freedom to run their seminaries as they see fit, and have a Trad hiring committee change the seminaries to your liking. I think Southern and Southeastern should remain as they are. I am more familiar with Southern, but they have a fantastic faculty now.

        Scott Shaver

        Good question Chris.

        There’s no brush they (Rick and others) can apply that changes the base-coat color of “margins”.

        “Proportional” in this case is synonymous with “margins”. If they don’t like that word, perhaps they would agree that “containment” is at least a more appropriate term to describe their goals with regard to their “calvinistic” brethren.

        Calvinism, by nature, is an all or nothing proposal and it’s a little too little and a little too late to expect that “containment” is even possible. In reality, the BFM 2000 is the only common standard “traditionalists” and “Cals” appear to be able to unite around whereas the Word of God seems to serve only as catalyst for perpetual disagreement, arguments and political posturing on both sides. “Proportionality”?…….get real.

        Live by the sword, die by the sword. My expectation for the SBC is that “traditionalists” will die/are dying the same denominational death as their “moderate” counterparts before them and the “denomination” will finally implode under its own “Neo-Calvinist” weight.

          Lydia

          The other irony is that as more Trad-type pastors retire, the Neo Cals will get those churches anyway.

          They won through sheer deception and stealth. They now control the money that non calvinist give.

          Non calvinist SBC churches would do well to go ahead and leave the convention now. It would save a lot of future pain and heartache.

          With the way the calvinistas have treated missionaries and the focus on planting reformed onlychurches, there is not even a good case for supporting the Cooperative program unless you believe in spreading Calvinism as the gospel.

        Lydia

        “In other words, Calvinists need to be marginalized.”

        It is hard to play the victim when your lot has so much power running the majority of entities and everyone seems either intimidated by or in bromance with the SBC defacto Pope, Mohler.

        Let’s us not forget all the Driscoll DNA your lot brought into the SBC via Acts 29.

        How much more power and control do you need to stop being a “victim” of disagreement?

      Jon Estes

      Rick –

      I had no intent to hijack your thread. I commented on how it came across to me.

      I wish you the best in seeing the system changed. I believe we can learn something from the Cafe DuMonde meeting, that just talking about change like this or making motions to see such a change – will not work.But go for it. If the numbers of Traditionalists are out there who think your way, maybe a motion can get more than shipped of to a committee to be told the next year – sorry but no go.

      I hope you live long enough to see the 50 year plan work in your favor as the 20 year plan did for the CR.

Les

Rick, procedural question. Is there a mechanism for removal of a trustee? I assume there is. What is that procedure? Who can initiate it?

    Rick Patrick

    Les,
    That’s a good question. I do not know the answer.

      Les

      Rick, the reason I ask is obvious. Even in my denominational structure (much maligned) where we have ruling elders elected by the congregation, there is not absolute lifetime right to occupy that office. There is a procedure for the congregation to remove an elder. I would think there is some procedure to have a trustee removed. If there isn’t, then that would seem to be a flaw in the trustee system. In other walks of life there is always such a procedure…usually in a court of law where there are trustees in all sorts of situations.

        Rick Patrick

        Les,
        While I do not know how to remove a sitting trustee, you mentioned the word “lifetime” so I can say that trustees serve for five year terms and then have the option of being selected again for another five year term. That’s it. So there can be no “lifetime” trustees. They are removed by the rotation system itself when their term is finished. That’s another issue we should probably review. Ten years is a long time to serve on a board.

        Les

        Rick, My bad bringing in the word lifetime. I didn’t mean to imply that I thought they had lifetime appointments. I was using the word meaning a long time w/o being able to be removed. I don’t know the wisdom of 5 plus 5 years. Our elders and deacons in the church, like many churches, serve on our elder or deacon board, fir 3 plus 3 years and then have a mandatory year off (at least). They have to be elected by the congregation the first 3 years, then again for the additional 3 years and then again after the 1 year sabbatical.

        I assume the trustees have to be reappointed for the plus 5. I suspect most are.

William

IMB wanted Wade Burleson removed as a trustee 10 years ago. They asked the SBC to do it. Presumably, the body that elected the trustees (SBC in annual session) is the only one that can remove a trustee. This has never been done to my knowledge.

I agree with Rick on most of this.

    Les

    Thanks William. There’s the answer. That would be a tall order.

Seth

It’s tragic to see people turn the discussion towards traditionalists vs Calvinists.

Not spending $210M more than you have should be something anyone has sense enough not to do? The atonement is limited – don’t spend money you don’t have. The atonement is unlimited – don’t spend money you don’t have.

And Rick’s point about opportunist TGC people is a good one. They became SBC to get a big job. Give me a break.

Forget that Russell Moore and TGC are Calvinist. They are progressive. That should disqualify them across the board.

    Andy

    “Forget that Russell Moore and TGC are Calvinist. They are progressive. That should disqualify them across the board.”

    Perhaps you could elaborate…?

      Seth

      If you’d like elaboration, go to this blog and read the Russell Moore articles.

      http://pulpitandpen.org/tag/russell-moore/

      All but one of the writers (me) is a Calvinist. None of them like Moore.

        Chris

        Seth,

        So you are saying that their politics should disqualify them?

        I read some of the Moore articles. I might like him more now.

Alton Vandevender

I agree with Rick.. Too long we have gone along to get along.. The trustee system does not work. NAMB trustees proved that when they ignored Dr. Will McRaney’s letter of concern about statements made by Dr. Ezell. You can read his letter of concerns and their reply.

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