“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Southern Baptists have a problem. In May of this year, Southwestern Seminary trustees removed President Paige Patterson from office after an investigation into Patterson’s actions related to an incident at Southeastern Seminary while Patterson was president there. Patterson covered-up a rape committed by a Southeastern student. At the same time, video shows Patterson making inappropriate comments about women in public.
In the last few weeks, the International Mission Board of the SBC has endured criticism over its handling of a missionary who has been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. The IMB let this missionary go, but failed to report the incident to authorities. This missionary went on to work with churches and as a consultant to the South Carolina Baptist Convention. IMB president David Platt, who was not in charge when this incident occurred, has issued a statement indicating that they will fully investigate how this happened and how it might be prevented in the future.
But such problems are a natural result of the ideology of the fundamentalist mindset of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC has written into its confessional documents that women are not fully equal to men in God’s kingdom. SBC leaders have promoted the authoritarian mindset that church leaders should be obeyed and not questioned because they are called by God. These ideas have set us up for this disaster.
The fundamentalist takeover of the SBC was motivated by fear and longing for a “golden-age” when supposedly everything was better. This “golden-age” idea is a lie. As followers of Christ, we should be first in line to support truth, full accountability and sincere repentance and restoration when wrongs are discovered. I am not confident that the SBC will learn this lesson. I hope I am wrong.
Love in Christ,