Power Plays & Moves to Oppress Dissent in the SBC!

“If I see the kind of power plays and moves to oppress dissent that I saw back then, maybe I will go back to war.” (“Why I’m Retiring from (Battle) Blogging,”) by Dave Miller, Editor of SBC Voices)

No truer words could be spoken. But, I suppose at the end of the day, when “your side” wins and your theological heroes have consolidated their power, then you can have the luxury of laying down your sword and walking away from “Battle Blogging.” Of course, by writing this post (and similar ones which are sure to come), I will be accused of engaging in this so-called “Battle Blogging.” I say “so-called” because the marker which has been laid down within the Southern Baptist Convention by establishment leaders and their supporters is one which brokers no dissent on major issues of the day, particularly the Great Commission Resurgence, the radical restructuring of the new NAMB, and most recently, the proposal by an unoffical committee to force recommend a de facto name change on the SBC through a backdoor maneuver of adopting a nickname or alternative descriptor. It smacks of a certain authoritarian attitude that seems to hold sway within the Evangelical world, an attitude which has made major inroads into the SBC, particularly among the “young, restless, and reformed” (although authoritarianism is not the sole province of the reformed or neo-reformed).

Any dissent or questioning of the direction of the SBC or its leaders, no matter how tepid the dissent or how reasonable the questions, is now to be viewed as engaging in “Battle Blogging” or fighting against those mythical Baptist (and perhaps non-Baptist) “Bogeymen.” If either of those charges do not work to stifle debate, then the old stand-by — charging someone with engaging in the sin of “gossip”– is usually a winning strategy. Since the unofficial Name Change Task Force announced its recommendations to the SBC’s Executive Committee last month, there appears to be a more concerted effort to either marginalize or silence those who oppose the radical redefinition of the Southern Baptist Convention. Despite the grand pronouncements of a “Great Commission Resurgence,” we have witnessed a “great division” instead. The chasm between those who approve of the new direction of the SBC — including a new name, Great Commission Baptists — whose initials will be GCB, not to be confused with the ABC’s campy parody of Christians, GCB, which stands for something all together different — and those who believe that our current name is just fine and that the process used to bring about “name change” has been fundamentally flawed (here and here), continues to grow deeper and wider (some “traditionalists” still remember that song; others, not so much).

No one will openly admit that he or she wants to limit debate. That would not only appear un-democratic, but also tend to border on an assault on the Baptist principle of congregational polity. And, yes, I know that blogs are not churches nor do they automatically confer rights of commenting on any and everyone. But, how we choose to engage in debate and how we handle dissent — even on blogs — can say a lot about our philosophies of ministry and governance. Of course, with some (many?) of our churches going the way of elder rule, no doubt influenced by some of the megachurches which espouse “elder rule” (as in rule with an iron fist), this is a trend which does not bode well for the cooperative nature of the SBC. Perhaps some would rather have a leaner and more efficient “network” of churches, even if that means that the SBC shrink considerably in size.

We are a Convention of churches which is dividing into groups which not only speak different languages, but which view the present and future from radically different perspectives:

I think the SBC leadership is more open, less “top-down” and more responsive than it was in years gone by.  Some of the stuff that was going on six or seven years ago just wouldn’t be done today.  We can argue about the records being sealed, but that is just a small thing.  Contrary to what a lot of people say, I think the leadership of the SBC has moved away from the regal leaders model to servant leaders.  The kinds of things that were going on behind the scenes between entities back in 2005 just aren’t going on now (to my knowledge.) (“Why I’m Retiring from (Battle) Blogging”)

To say that “the records being sealed . . . is just a small thing,” is to view debate and dissent from a position of established authority, as in THE ESTABLISHMENT. But, those “small things” inevitably will become larger things. But, when you are in the establishment, you never see anything as a big thing. It’s just all part of a “kinder, gentler” culture. (Where have we heard that before?) When unoffical committees can be appointed by the President of the SBC in order to “sidestep” the By-Laws and directly contravene the last known will of the Convention, that is a big thing. When SBC leaders can mock the intelligence of EC trustees who don’t toe the company line, that’s a big thing. When members of the GCRTF (including a Seminary President) snarkily tweet why autonomous State Conventions should be able to appoint their own independent committees to study their relationship with the new NAMB, that’s a big thing. When the rules of debate are changed to “moderate” whose voices can be heard, that’s a big thing. When bloggers, like SelahV (Hariette Peterson), have comments deleted from a prominent Southern Baptist group blog, that’s a big thing.

“Power plays” and “moves to oppress dissent” are just as common today as they were back in the day. Some don’t see it because their vantage point has changed. Those on the outside are now on the inside. That does tend to change a person’s perspective. But, make no mistake. There are more people who see exactly what’s going on within our Convention. Those in positions of power and influence don’t get to tell the rest of us which hills we get to die on! At least that’s still our choice to make. And, that’s no small thing!

 

 


Comments

Power Plays & Moves to Oppress Dissent in the SBC! — 116 Comments

  1. Howell,
    I saw this blog linked from both SBC Voices and Hariette’s site when I went there to check if she had replied to a comment I had left on her post about being deleted at SBC Voices. She had, quite ironically it would seem, deleted my comment. She had one comment deleted (at SBC Voices) and it was a comment that stated she didn’t read the post, but wanted to take issue with the content nonetheless. By the time it was deleted it had already generated two additional snarky replies which went in the bin with it. I like Hariette very much and told her so at her site, but I would have deleted the comment myself if it had been me.

    I agree with much of your assessment about the current state of the SBC, especially in regard to the name change mess, and I appreciate your efforts to bring these things into the light. I fear that your predictions regarding the GCRTF have been all too correct. I am sickened to see some of what it has wrought here in the Dakotas, and it ain’t done yet. Keep fighting the good fight.

    • Jeff,

      Thanks for the comment. Perhaps Hariette’s comment “needed” to be deleted. I find that hard to believe, but, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the editor of SBC Voices made the right judgment call. Herein lies the problem — I am increasingly uncomfortable with the judgment. You will understand the context of this next statement because you received the same email that I did last night, but I do not like the idea of “tighter control in theory,” much less in practice. I have distanced myself from SBC Voices because of what I see as an increased effort to marginalize those “voices” which continue to speak out against the radical redefinition of the SBC. If we speak out, are we not engaged in “Battle Blogging?” If we question leadership, are we not chasing after “Baptist Bogeymen?” If we critique the words of those who wield influence and power within the SBC (some of whom are not even SBC to begin with), are we not called out as “gossips” and evil “watchbloggers?”

      What we are witnessing is indeed “tighter control” of the Convention. We should not be surprised at this turn of events, because a philosophy which can “like” tighter control is one that, IMO, is authoritarian in nature. Such is the model of leadership in many megachurches. Sadly, this type of “strong leadership,” which seems to be different than the servant-leadership that the Bible speaks of, is taking root within our churches and Convention. I will continue to fight the good fight, regardless of what others do. Keep up the good work in the Dakotas and tell Bro. Fred I said hello. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

      • I think I understand what you are saying, but I also just saw a multipart post series that was critical of the new nickname proposal in the last week or so. I don’t see where voices are being squelched in regards to posting views. I have yet to have a post turned down, and I am certainly not in the mainstream of SBC thought on several things. I am just another voice. There is likely to be a little less leeway in the comments, but hopefully only for the sake of avoiding some of the more hostile discussions we have seen in the past. For my part, that is my hope and prayer.

        By the way, I will tell Fred hi the next time I see him, but I think Fred is down in your neck of the woods right now for the DR meeting in NM.

    • Howell, Each time I come back to read this post and catch up on comments, I notice that the first comment is Jeff M, falsely accusing me of deleting a comment of his on my blog which you clearly see in his time-stamped (March 28, 2012 at 9:42 AM) comment above. However, it isn’t until one reads much further down in this thread that Jeff comes back and walks back his comment. I just want it closer to the top of this thread if you don’t mind. Only because, I’m already branded with a giant red “S” in the blog-world for daring to challenge the authoritarian mindset. So I thought I’d bring his recant (of sorts), up closer to the top of the page. Appreciate your understanding. thanks…hariette FOLLOWING is where 4 hours later: Jeff M says:
      March 28, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      To be perfectly fair to Hariette, I was back at the site a little bit ago and the comment is there again. It may have been put into moderation, although it didn’t tell me it was and it appeared on the site last night. My wording in my original comment in regards to the deletion is poor because I meant to leave room for the notion that it was in moderation. I am totally unfamiliar with typepad, so I don’t know what the case was.
      I am hopeful that Dave will release the comment moderation guidelines for SBC Voices soon. While I have been allowed to moderate comments, mostly so I could pull comments out of pending status when they got hung up by the filters, I bet I probably deleted fewer than a dozen comments total.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      I clarify now:

      WHAT folks need to know about MY site is that I instituted automatic moderation years ago to every single one of my blogs (as listed in my side bar) because of belligerent and hateful vitriol that was dumped on each and every one of my sites because I would not allow it on SelahV Today. Doing end runs does not bode well in my mind. My blog is not free. I pay for the privilege of publishing. I do not think it out of line for me to be able to determine whether garbage or flowers are placed on the table for guests who enter my streams. Sooo

      …even though a person may see their comment appear when they type it in (a Typepad thing), it goes straight to moderation until I read it and publish it for the world to feast upon. Suffice it to say, Jeff’s comment didn’t yank my chain, push a button or cause my blood pressure to fluctuate when I read it. He was more than polite when he registered his thoughts. WHICH is why I chose to publish it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to make the first comment above better understood for any of your guests who wander here. Since my traffic is still quite high, I assume several folks are still coming here also. thanks for space to clear up this rather muddy situation. selahV

      • Hariette,

        Not a problem. I’m glad that you reposted so that it will appear in a new position. You are correct that I continue to have folks reading this post. Moderating can get a bit tricky, as we both know so well. I suppose I should do a post just on my thought about commenting. As I use WordPress, I have control over whether every comment goes into moderation or not. The way that I have it set up is that first-time commenters go into moderation. I then can choose to either publish or not publish the comment (which, contrary to some, is not the same as publishing the comment and then deleting it). Once someone has commented and had their comment published, he or she generally does not go into moderation, but has their comment published immediately. For instance, your comment did not go into moderation, but went “live” as soon as you hit send. Every now and then, for some unknown reason, a regular commenter’s comment will be put into moderation and, even rarer still, into my spam folder (that happened to Lydia last week). That maybe because the comment contains a certain number of links. I know just enough about all of this to be dangerous :-) Thus far I have been blessed and not had the vitriolic comments that you seem to have had. That may change for me. But, as of now, I cannot recall a single instance where I have not published a comment and I can’t recall a single instance where I have deleted a single comment, apart from a duplication. However, as to duplicate comments, there was a certain commenter that has been active on this blog and Peter’s blog who made a double comment. I surely was not going to delete any of his comments, even if it was a duplicate, if you know what I mean ;-) Thanks and God bless,

        Howell

        • Well, Howell, facilitating conversations is something I use to do all the time in sales-meetings, counseling situations, etc. moderating comments seems to be a problem only when the folks who comment get out of hand. I guess I got out of hand. :) life is very odd. I had a blogger friend, Ron P. visit my church today, and it was so neat. He was shocked to read what happened. “of all people” he said. I thought oh well, that is blogging.

          • Hariette,

            Hope you had a blessed Easter! I saw your post on Facebook where Ron had stopped by. I agree that it’s neat how God brings people together through blogging. There are some folks that I have had vehement disagreements with onling, but nevertheless I would love to sit down for a meal (we are Baptists, after all :-) ). I don’t think you got out of hand. I think some people just do not like to be challenged in their beliefs. Maybe it’s an insecurity thing. Personally, I believe that it helps us when we have to interact with the opinions and arguments of others. It helps us think through what we believe and why we believe it. You have given lots of folks food for thought over the last two weeks. Whether they think or not is entirely up to them :-) God bless,

            Howell

          • Hi Howell, yes, I had a great Easter. Very restful and also inspiring. I was thrilled to have Ron stop in for a visit. And yes, I too, wouldn’t mind sitting down and chatting over dinner with some folks. Had Ron P, not had to go home and eat with the parents, my husband and I would have had him to our house to split the ham and cabbage and “tators” I had cooking in the pot at home. Ron just happened to know our pastor and church family already…he’d been a member there years ago…before I moved to Oklahoma. It was a really neat, but short-lived, get-together.

            There is a back-story in every story. And as to “getting-out-of-hand”, I agree. Some folks only see the back hand when they least expect it. Seems the one I received had a domino effect. Never dreamed it would have been so enlightening to so many. Including me. I was living in la la land. lol. Now, it’s back to work. Got several posts in the hopper and some are ready to pop. Need to get them out of the microwave before the corn gets soggy. Have a blessed week. hariette

  2. I have a phrase for this tactic: Totalitarian Niceness. It works! People actually buy into it. I guess my background in training and org development prepared me to have the radar to catch this early because I have seen it used a lot in the corporate world to squealch dissent or questioning. Are you a team player? then you will only speak positive. No negative truths allowed. They are too negative. What is the result when taken to extreme? Enron. MCI, etc.

    But it is very confusing for people because it is the unwritten rules they are afraid of. So, will my comment be labeled a “battle” comment? How will I know? Who decides? The blog owner decides. And that is why it is not worth the time. The red carpet was rolled out, the big cheeses slapped backs, made a few nice suggestions alluding to teams and the Glory of God and all is well. We are now only nice. Chuck Colson wrote about this. He said there were big name evangelicals who were ready to give Nixon a piece of their mind and would turn to jelly when entering the oval office. It is heady stuff.

    My guess is that the YRR guys comments were embarassing to the powers to be. But that is only a guess based on some things I have seen said around the blogosphere. Too many people are being turned off by the YRR guys and the powers are starting to see a bit of backlash. But it does not help when Mohler says that Reformed/NC is the only game in town if you want to see the nations rejoice for Christ. What DO they expect an inexperienced 25 year old to do with that?

    Let’t go back to the “purpose” for the SBC. To cooperate in missions. That is why we exist. Right? If not, I would like to know why we ever existed.

    I was reading our state association newspaper yesterday and it had an insert of all CP giving by churches in our state by church size. There was one little church in the hinterlands–Taylor County, I think, Good Hope Baptist with less than 100 members that gave 30,000 to the CP. ON the next page…we go over to churches with over 1000 members and one sees Highview (Mohler’s church and former pastor Ezell) that gave a total of 10,000 to the CP. (And it has been that low for years so it is not because Ezell left)

    Now, I do understand the reasons because my Highview friends are always telling me they do missions differently. one even told me they give through Indiana instead of Ky but I have never checked that out because the “home office church” is in KY. Well Ok, no problem. But, why be in the SBC? What is the point if you do missions “differently” by planting churches or aquiring churches as sat campi, etc? Why is your former pastor our NAMB president if he never really believed in the main reason the SBC exists–The CP? Why not leave the SBC and do your own thing? Because it is about power.

    Looking over that insert, I saw all these smallish rural churches really ponying up the money. And I had to wonder why the mega churches who give very little are running the show and making the decisions on how to spend the money?

    Well, I don’t do Totalitarian Niceness anymore. There ARE negative truths that if one is wise, one will confront and plead for transparancy in what we used to call the Priesthood of Believer. But I fear that has been redefined, too.

    • Lydia,

      I like your phrase “totalitarian niceness.” That seems to sum up much of what we see these days. It would be easy to walk away from “Battle Blogging” (whatever that is), but I’m not going to let others dictate what is and is not worth fighting for. I’m afraid that the Priesthood of the Believer and congregational polity and some other hallmarks of Baptist life are slowly eroding through frontal assault or redefinition. I’ve never been one to walk away from a fight where I saw injustice and a misappliation of the rules. I think I shall also not do this totalitarian niceness thing anymore, either. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

  3. “We are a Convention of churches which is dividing into groups which not only speak different languages, but which view the present and future from radically different perspectives”

    And that, Howell, breaks my heart. I’m an old guy from the majority Southern Baptist camp. I’ve seen many battles and still grieve when I see the scars caused by former skirmishes in SBC ranks. I’ve entered blogging battles and colliding worlds only recently and reluctantly. Until recent days, I’ve never felt the need to tap my latent spiritual gifts of fightin’ and shoutin’. But this suppression of dissent is starting to wear thin! I figured it was time to crawl out of my fox-hole to look for a hill to die on … and it will have to be the one I’ve known and trusted for the last 50+ years.

    It’s clear that this ruckus was initiated by a handful of SBC elites bent on theological and ecclesiological reform of the SBC. Arrogance, articulation, and agenda have successfully stripped certain SBC entities out of the hands of majority membership, while past warriors representing SB mainline belief and practice have surrendered. To raise a voice against this rebellion is to experience the wrath of man.

    It’s also clear that there are very talented practitioners in the blogosphere who are proficient at suppressing dissent (accusations of conspiracy theories, gossip, lack of facts, imagined agendas, ignorance, etc.). They are masters at marginalizing dissenting views. They are especially critical of commentary which contradicts them, while granting leniency toward those that accord with them. They relegate “whistleblowers” to the fringe efficiently and quickly – dissent must be silenced. Social networks, speaking platforms, and strategic partnerships have given the minority power … for a season.

    So what are we (the SBC majority) to do? Doing nothing against the suppression of dissent allows the state of being suppressed to continue. Doing nothing does not give rise to support for dissident views. Silence is essentially passive agreement. Keeping out of sight empowers a minority voice which does not reflect that of the SBC millions with different language and perspective.

    When the dust has settled, there will be no win-win to talk about. The collateral damage will be sad to behold. God commands the blessing to be where there is unity … will we ever see the blessing again?

    • Max,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and let your voice be heard. When some want to stifle debate and drown out opposing voices, I appreciate your willingness to speak out. What some do not understand is that allowing all voices to be heard is a good thing. But, democracy and freedom of expression doesn’t come cheap. I sometimes think that many within the SBC establishment would rather no one question anything, but just keep sending money. That day is past. Silence, unfortunately, is no longer an option. I don’t know what the SBC will look like once the dust has settled, but I’m not ready to be told what hill I can and can’t defend and what hill I can and can’t die on. And, I think there are a lot more folks out in SBC land who won’t be silent for much longer. When authoritarian tendencies take hold, most Baptists have enough of our forefathers in us to resist that kind of non-Baptistic philosophy. Thanks for stopping by. God bless,

      Howell

  4. I wrote a response to that deleted comment at SBCVoices but was also deleted, but you don’t find me writing several blog posts about it. It was an very uncharacteristic comment by Hariette, didn’t address the post at all (in fact, the comment boasted about not reading the post)and was frankly rude and insulting to the author who crafted it. I think it was a textbook example of the types of comments that Voices is trying to get away from (and wouldn’t be allowed on most blogs I know of.) The deletion had nothing to do with a dissenting voice. She has dissented before in a thoughtful manner and this particular comment did not match those.

    In response to your main point, I do hope that we see more openness from our convention leaders and I support those who call for it, even if I disagree with their views on some of the issues. We may have come a ways since the smoke-filled rooms of the CR days, but we have a long ways to go. I would comment that I read the tweeted quote by Mohler was commenting on how the trustee was in essence calling SBCers stupid and blocking the consideration of more information because it would confuse us. Sounds like Mohler may have been of a more similar mind to yours here at the moment of that tweet. Hmm…and your name rhymes with his…Al…Howell…coincidence?

    • Josh,

      I read Hariett’s comment on her blog today. If that is what is now considered “rude and insulting,” then we are speaking two different languages. If Hariette’s comment was a “textbook example” of the type of comment that is not wanted anymore at Voices, perhaps they need to read textbooks that are not printed in Cuba or China :-) I’m sorry to disagree, but the deletion of her comment has everything to do with dissenting voices. If her comment is now considered so inappropriate and “snarky” (which was the reason given for its deletion) that it has to be scrubbed, then all that is happening is certain people trying to figure out how far they can move the line. I guess Hariette’s sin was that she admitted that she had not read the article in question before commenting. Since when is that grounds for having a comment deleted. Folks do that all the time. What she should have done — which is typical of many certain types of commenters at Voices — is to make such inane comments that it is clear on its face that the commenter never read or interacted in any meaningful way with the OP, but not to admit that out loud. Those type of comments will be allowed to stand all day at Voices, particularly if they toe the party line. But, mention Acts 29, the GCR, or Name Change in a negative light and watch your comment go into the abyss. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

        • Jared,

          Silence? Perhaps not. Marginalize? Perhaps so. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, the new commenting policies at Voices are having the effect of certain voices being silenced or marginalized. This is often a slippery slope, which is why I took exception to Hariette’s comment being deleted. Dave characterized it as “snarky” and others have characterized it as “rude and insulting.” I have read Hariette’s comment. If her comment is what now is considered inappropriate for Voices, then I would strongly disagree with that philosophy. Even though you and I have exchanged strong dialogue in the past, there has been nothing that you wrote that would have remotely come close to being unacceptable either then or under these new rules of commenting. Apart from a comment using profanity or foul language or containing a clear personal attack on someone, I can’t envision ever deleting a comment on my blog and I haven’t. I think people are discerning enough to understand the difference between a “drive-by” comment and one which is pointed, but made by a regular contributor.

          I made my opinion known to Dave regarding the new commenting rules. But, what happened to Hariette’s comment is a prime example of a person viewing her comment from a perspective that not only led them to delete the comment, but to take a step in a clear direction of further limiting the discussion. Dave might not be outright silencing voices, but the effect of subjective deletes has the same effect. If we are not going to be able to express strong opinions at Voices — particularly if those opinions do not jibe with the majority sentiment — then it will be fruitless to continue the dialogue there. Where will the line ultimately be drawn? If comments like Hariette’s are subject to deletion, then how do I know that mine won’t be next? The new commenting poliy is highly subjective and will not bode will for allowing all voices to be heard. But, then again, maybe that’s the objective. Hope that answers your question. As always, I value your opinion, even when we may disagree. The ability to have strong debate and dialogue from a wide variety of voices is one of the things that made SBC Voices appealing. For whatever reason (and I have my theories), that range of voices is shrinking rapidly. Thanks and God bless,

          Howell

          • Howell, I totally disagree with your assessment of Dave’s reasoning for deleting Harriette’s comment. I believe Dave; therefore, I don’t believe he’s trying to marginalize anyone. Do you believe Dave?

          • Jared,

            Without trying, Dave’s doing a pretty good job, nonetheless :-) Read Hariette’s comment above. And, after you read it, perhaps you will see. Perhaps not. But, Hariette is not the only voice that has been marginalized, either intentionally or unintentionally, at Voices. In a cacophony of voices that agree with ours, rarely will we miss those voices we disagree with and more rarer still will we even ask why certain voices don’t come around much anymore. As someone I like and respect, I would ask that you ponder that in relation to what is happening at SBC Voices. Maybe you will understand. Maybe you won’t. But, I trust that you will, as Hariette writes, “look past the trees.” If not today, then perhaps one day. Thanks and God bless,

            Howell

          • Jared, I can’t speak for Howell, but I can speak for me. And after the emails I received from Dave, and confrontations I’ve had with him in the past regarding other matters, I have to say no. I do not believe what he has put forth to the reasoning of the deletion of my comment. Dave has some really big personal judgment problems. After all, he idolizes the New York Yankees; he abhors the Boston Red Sox and every other team I root for.

            So…there…that’s the real issue here. And you cannot convince me otherwise. :)

      • Actually, not dealing with the actual post was one of the main criteria put forward (and now officially stated) as being grounds for deletion. She admitted that she didn’t read it and therefore was deleted. I would rather her comment stood and receive comments in support or in rebuke, but the deletion wasn’t heavy-handed suppression of ideas for sure. Dave has allowed plenty of posts and comments for/against name change, Acts 29, GCR. It was just the drive-by, brazen “I’m not going to read but I think this post is worthless” comment. I think more of the inane comments you mention above will also be deleted in the days ahead.

        • “Actually, not dealing with the actual post was one of the main criteria put forward (and now officially stated) as being grounds for deletion.”

          Josh, I am confused. This is why vague, arbitary unwritten and undefined rules are so confusing. How could a comment about the person being interviewed for the post not be ‘about’ the post? She saw the title/position of the person being interviewed and voiced her opinion on it. It reeks of not being allowed to voice an opinion that we do not like Acts 29 and the fact SBC is funding it. And quite frankly, I think that was the real reason. I don’t know the guy but if he thinks Driscoll is someone worthy of working for, then he has no credibility with me, either. (I realize there is a move to distance Driscoll but I am not buying it)

          You know, there is such a thing as allowing dissent and ignoring it. It does not look so totalitarian.

        • Josh, I beg to differ with you. For one thing, you place in quotes “I’m not going to read but I think this post is worthless” as if that suggests what I “brazen[ly]” said in my comment that was deleted. I offer my comment here:

          “Well, Brandon, I didn’t read your post. My mind shut down at the introduction of who Steve is: Director of Acts29 Western Europe. I said to myself, Acts 29? I’m not in Kansas anymore. I checked the link to ascertain I was at “SBC” Voices. Acts-29 is not a voice I am interested in hearing. No offense…”.”

          Firstly, I addressed the author. I can’t count how many times a person has fired off a comment to me and didn’t even bother to address me. Secondly, I admitted I didn’t read his post. (I probably should have added the qualifier “whole” post), but the rest of the comment had to given some evidence I’d read more than Brandon’s name. Thirdly, I explained why I didn’t read his post. Fourthly, I explained what was going through my mind. Fifthly, I added a little (tic) tongue-in-cheek, male-honored humor. Sixthly, I shared that it was “ACTS 29″ that I took captive as disinteresting subject matter. Seventhly: I offered a teensey olive leaf of apology that I meant “no offense”.

          I have be told a hundred times worse things than this on subject matter not nearly as controversial to Southern Baptists. Even as Jeo wrote his disdain for my comment, he acknowledged he had no real understanding of what ACTS-29 Network is or what it is about. Even AFTER this post by Brandon. I do understand where ACTS-29 stands. I have followed their leadership and have vocalized my dissent to things their leader does and says. I am not an anonymous writer, as is evident by those who express shock and awe that I would speak so boldly when I am known for my meek, mild, and non-confrontational tone. I am well aware that many will not like that I have no “interest” in hearing a “voice” from ACTS 29 network offer his methodology to folks like Jeo who do not know a thing about them. Realizing that what little influence I have is my reputation for a calm and even spirit, the particular boldness (which some consider brazen, snarky, and nasty), I feel I conveyed a strong message for those within our convention and the readership of Voices, that this is a “red flag” organization that many within the convention of churches do not agree with, nor want to be partnered with. Now…that said. Would you find it less “brazen” had I said, Brandon, I read some of your post. I don’t agree with one word of what your pal Steve says. I find it something all Southern Baptists should reject within their stream of thought. I am very hopeful that my words do not hurt your feelings and I do not want to cast aspersion upon your delight in knowing Steve, but his ideology bores me? Would you think that comment would have withstood scrutiny? If so, then we are truly in Kansas…selahV

    • Josh, I did not “boast” I stated a truth. your subjective opinion to my words is why others find most things folks like me say in the blog-streams. It is also why hundreds of folks sit on their hands and scream at monitors. Why enter a stream of conversation when an honest statement is called “boasting” by someone who doesn’t know me or have any interaction with me.

      You assert that the “comment was uncharacteristic” of me. Have you read all the comments I make when I disagree with subject matter? And just because one comment I make is not consistent with another comment, that is cause to delete it? Hmmmmn…I’ll have to chew on that a while. If you think that innocuous comment was bad, I’d be burned at the stake for some others in the past. :) selahV

      • Hariette,
        Thanks for your reply. We will have to agree to disagree about the nature of the comment and whether it was respectful to the substance of the post. I wrote that it is “uncharacteristic” of you because despite not always falling on the same sides of some of the issues discussed at Voices, I have generally found you to be thoughtful and well-spoken and someone who deals with the substance of topics. I have even read many of your well-written devotional blog posts. This particular comment (and the subsequent blog posts) did not match those. That said, I hope to see you continue your writing ministry, and even if we don’t agree on this particular kerfluffle, we are on the same side on a lot of important things related to our trust in Christ and desire to see others come to know him.

        • Oh, gosh, Josh, you are so benevolent. I really do appreciate your appreciation of my finer moments in blogland. However (and there is most always some little “however” from me), you are far kinder here than in your initial comment above in which you said my comment was a “brazen drive-by”. And as for “Actually, not dealing with the actual post was one of the main criteria put forward (and now officially stated) as being grounds for deletion”, that is simply NOT true. Not true. Not true. Please read carefully the first message I received from Dave regarding my comment:
          —–Original Message—–
          From: Dave Miller
          To: selahvtoday
          Sent: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 9:14 pm
          Subject: Deleted Comment

          We are trying to have a more Christ-honoring and less divisive and hostile commenting policy at SBC Voices.
          Frankly, I was a little surprised as the comment you left, Hariette. It was deleted, as were the comments that responded to it.
          Dave—

          SO, there ya have it, Josh. The original and first contact I had from Dave. I never once went whining to him. Nor did his first contact even bother to say (as most folks do when they are about to admonish a sister in Christ, and friend, and co-contributor to a blog they are the editor-in-chief of), Hi Hariette, it grieves me to have to email you after the fact and let you know why I think your comment was unacceptable due to the fact you did not “read the post”

          ….no, Josh. He was immediately “blasting” (his descriptor I borrow from the second email to me), me for failing to be “more Christ-honoring and less divisive and hostile” when “commenting”. Can you show me in that email wherein Dave was concerned that I had not read Brandon’s post? Hmmmn?

          I had yet to say a word to Dave. All I did is post a blog post in the wee hours of March 27th..12:14 to be exact, about “Battle of the Ages and Choosing Who Stands Beneath the Umbrella”. Three hours earlier, to the minute, unbeknownst to me was the above email sent to express why Dave had nudged me out from beneath the umbrella. Again, I submit to you that my “sin” was for an absence of “more Christ-honoring and less divisive and hostile” commenting. NOT for my confession of “not reading” Brandon’s post. It wasn’t until an entire 24 hours had past that I found Dave’s first email in my spam bucket on my AOL email account. I use a gmail account now and only check AOL every now and then. I sent a change of address to everyone, including Dave a long time ago. By the time I read the “deleted comment” email, Dave had already sent me another email accusing me of “firing off angry blogposts blasting him”.

          You know the humorous and ironic side of that email to me, Josh? Dr. Ed Stetzer advised Dave not to get into an argument about the way he moderated. He told him to just let the hotheads (interpreting here), go back to their own blog and blog their opinions if they want to. And here I was, doing just that–in keeping with Dr. Stetzer’s advice. Now, if you want to come over to my blog and dissect my ops, I can assure you I will be as honest in sharing my tone, emotional state, and spiritual condition at the time of my writing, as I was when I honestly let Brandon know I didn’t read his post for reasons I gave in my comment. Suffice it to say, it okay with me if no one comes, comments or reads my posts which have garnered 5 times the readership of my normal mundane little devotional posts. I’m not out to win any competitions…or force my unsolicited biased opinions down anyone’s throat. It just seems to me, that the “timing” and the “reasoning” and the “subjective judgment” is curious. Before I wasn’t sure why. Now, I’m getting a better idea. Dot to dot to dot to dot. And I sincerely hope you can see the forest beyond the trees and if not, take time and analyze this in light of my “normal” “more characteristic” personna.

          What part of me is real, Josh? Why would a person who is so “serene, mellow, kind, and consistent” suddenly turn into the “dragon-lady”? Is she really that sinful? that depraved? that far away from the King of Kings? or is she simply a stupid naive unsuspecting aging old lady from Oklahoma who thought her voice was as valid as Brandon’s and others in the SBC? and a forum designed for diverse thought and debate? selah–calmly think on that.

          I love you brother, I truly love you in Christ. I do not want to offend you or any other. I apologize if I have and beg forgiveness for my offense.

          I just truly believe that the SBC is better served without the affiliation, infiltration, and co-existence of ACTS-29 Network and their authoritarian structure. I truly believe we are going in the wrong direction. And “SelahV Today” is not the forum for discussing such matters. My readership there is so wide in scope that more than half the readers wouldn’t know SBC from GCB or ABC. And that is a fact. Rarely do I bring the SBC politics into my blog anymore. I have a site for those “encounters”; it’s called SBC Encounters link is http://selahvtoday.typepad/sbcenc

          I write to a much tinier audience there, though. I’m of no threat, nor was I ever a point on anyone’s radar. But let me enter the streams of male-dominated, highly read SBC blog, and say one little comment and wham! bam! no thank-you, mam. Get out of our face. Shut the front door. Batten the hatches. Write blogs condemning renegade commenters who dare to question the hierarchy of more prominent and established community of blogs. Like Gospel Coalition, among others.

          That is what this is all about, Josh. And if I was afraid of your opposition to me here (a rather safe space at the moment), then I wouldn’t bother engaging. This is not about deletion. It is not about me reading or not reading a post. It is my dissent toward ACTS-29 and the upcoming New Orleans convention and stilling the voices of all who would not be happy with the moves going on in the NAMB and funding of ACTS-29 affiliated church plants with CP money. THAT is what this is about. And no one can convince me otherwise.

          Make no mistake, Howell Scott doesn’t highlight me in this blog because I wrote ooey gooey faith posts at SelahV Today. He high-lighted me because he believes just as strongly as I do that the SBC is worth protecting. He believes we have problems and does not think the addition of authoritarian-led churches is the solution to low baptisms, inflated membership roles, or impotent sharing of the Gospel of Christ. And a top-down governmental rule for our denomination (which isn’t a real denomination in the sense of the word), is unhealthy for autonomy in the local churches. At least I think that is part of where Howell is coming from and going to. I apologize for the verbosity I’ve given here. But it seems it was necessary to the subject at hand.

          Now, I’m gonna go back to making a cardboard crown with my five-year-old granddaughter and get it posted for my blog so Tony Kummer can use it for his Ministry to Children blog and thereby give an easy project for moms and other grandmas to teach and emphasize the King of Kings who deserves the crown we so often try to wear instead. Love ya, Josh. I pray God blesses your ministry and increase His grace upon you. selahV

  5. Josh, I have been deleted several times at Voices over the years. I am never rude and vulgar. Yes, I am sharp edged, direct and not known for flowery oratory. I have seen a lot of what I would define as mean from a woman there and many YRR guys who are not deleted. The bottomline is that some have set themselves up as the arbiter of correct communication but no one can really define it. It is the subject matter? Yes. (No CR allowed, for example or Calvinism) Is it the way one communicates? For example, I used the exact same sardonic humor Mohler used and got deleted! (I answered, ‘yes comrade’ to a certain comment with a smiley face, because it was more of the totalitarianism. Come on, can we not laugh at some of this stuff?)

    So, please understand that I must judgement on Harriet’s comment until I have seen it. Because I have experienced the delete button over nothing many times. It seems some over there have a higher standard for non professing Calvinist women. :o) That is ok. They can do with their blog whatever they want. If they want it to become the great hall of yes men, so be it.

    Jeff, If Harriet deleted you then understand this stuff makes no sense when the original comment is not saved. If you referred to it then she has no recourse to defend herself. I know folks who save every comment they make because of this gaming on blogs. I simply do not care enough to do such a thing. But boy have folks been nailed when those who do save comments or make screen shots trot it out later. This has been a huge problem for Driscoll! He types before he thinks. :o)

    • To be perfectly fair to Hariette, I was back at the site a little bit ago and the comment is there again. It may have been put into moderation, although it didn’t tell me it was and it appeared on the site last night. My wording in my original comment in regards to the deletion is poor because I meant to leave room for the notion that it was in moderation. I am totally unfamiliar with typepad, so I don’t know what the case was.
      I am hopeful that Dave will release the comment moderation guidelines for SBC Voices soon. While I have been allowed to moderate comments, mostly so I could pull comments out of pending status when they got hung up by the filters, I bet I probably deleted fewer than a dozen comments total.

  6. Wow, Howell! You write an entire post about power plays and moves to oppress dissent in the SBC and give me one tiny little shout out and the majority of this comment stream is all about the deletion of Hariette’s “nasty, angry, anti-Calvinist, anti-trendy Baptist” comment that had no substance, which failed to offer enough disagreement, nor debate substance, nor dialogue impetus. Yeah…how about that? And that’s without even reading the pathetic little comment. How ironic is this?

    Then as well, by reading here I learn a message has been sent to all those contributing to SBC Voices in the dark of night…that the reason my comment was deleted is because it was “snarky”. If it wasn’t so pathetically hypocritical, it would be hilariously funny.

    To top it off, Jeo, my new-found friend, and brother in Christ, comments on my blog, “sees things” and because his comment allegedly disappears, he posts here that I deleted it, further trashing my good name (whatever that means). Touche’ my fellow bloggers. I addressed his concern on my blog and guess I’ll have to publicly address it in another post to clarify the situation. Not that the majority of the readers on SBC blogs will believe me, because they still say that “one Georgia boy” deletes everything they write, too, when in fact it appears in moderation before it is approved or disapproved for public consumption. Ironically, his web-service is also Typepad. I tried to intervene for him one time, but that blogger would hear nothing I had to say in his defense.

    To Jeo’s credit, he apologized to me for accusing me of deleting his comment. I hadn’t realized he’d said I’d deleted his comment and wondered where he’d voiced that little white lie. I went back through his comments on my site and didn’t see where he’d said I’d deleted his comment. Then I come here.

    I type a comment here and it shows up immediately too. I come back sometimes later and it is there, with a note that it is in moderation. Doggonit, Howell, get a secretary! Seriously, there’s no problem here. Sometimes I’ve commented on blogs and didn’t realize til later that the “captcha verification” is also on…(that Georgia boy does this every now and then). And my brilliant comment disappears before I catch the “nonsense” word I’m suppose to type in to avoid spammers and robots from posting ads and porno site invitations to someone’s site. Opps.. My bad.

    Let me thank you from the bottom of my heart, Howell, for your defense of me here. I know why I wrote what I wrote on that post…I’ve explained it at my blog. I know and because of my “usual” voice within the blogosphere of opinion, you have granted me the benefit of the doubt. Rather than have speculation over what I wrote, I had the uncanny nudge from a Power higher than me, to go back and copy my comment and save it in a personal email to myself. I don’t know why I did that. I rarely copy my comments and keep them…(Only when I think I’ve actually said something profound. HO HO…ha ha.) But rarely do I copy something as innocuous as the one which so inflamed the editor of the Voice’s blog that he wrote me several emails explaining his “concern” over my well-being and the “spirit of anger” he sensed growing in me towards “Calvinists and trendy Baptists” of late.

    Now I ask you, brothers and sisters, would you think that a person who considers you falling into a pit of sinful “angry” thoughts against a particular group of believers, might…just possibly be predisposed to delete a comment that did not meet his particular view of your “normal” totalitarian niceness (as Lydia so kindly shared)? maybe just a teensey little bit? possibly? I contend the deletion had about zip to do with my improper approach to substance, the dialogue, or disagreement necessary to remain visible. Honesty is not honorable. Dishonesty would be, had I written a comment disguising the fact that I stopped reading the post when I saw who it was about. Josh would have liked it better–possibly. Jared would have thought it had more credibility–maybe. Jeo–would have let it slide–well, yeah.

    Fellow bloggers…Max, hang tight–you inspire me. Continue to “Be strong and courageous”. Lydia, “keep on keeping on”…you do get down and gritty at times…and sometimes I’m not sure how to take you. But after reading you battle and scrap in a world of male domination, I am “getting” it more and more. Howell, keep standing in the gap for folks like me who normally keep my “voice” to myself and write nothing but ooey gooey un-intimidating, non-political, convention-approved “niceness”. Forgive me for stepping out of my comfort zone to address a matter I find more than trivial in the scheme of history of my beloved convention of churches. Forgive me for being honest, candid and up-front about the subject matter. I think it’s evident by all who have commented that they got my point. If not, come on by my blog and read a longer version of explanation.

    Marginalization is indeed being exercised in Voices. It’s been that way as long as I’ve been blogging. Before then I was too busy to notice what was going on in the “smoke-filled rooms”, the upper rooms, the inner sanctums or Mount Pisgah. Hubs and I were ministering for 23 years. We hardly had time to read The Western Recorder and go to association meetings. We only had one opportunity to travel to the Convention. I still have my notes from Charles Stanley’s message in my Bible.

    Folks, this comment thing is silliness. Truly. It is not the “comment” it is the context in which the comment has been ruled unacceptable. Look past the trees. Next week this could be you, ya know? Next year? Walk softly…step lightly. I’ve never thought my “voice” was all that. Never. I know I’ve been the “token” writer for years. It was okay. It gave me opportunity to share Jesus. To lift Him up. To poke my head into the streams and make a difference at times. Few. But at times. And along the way I’ve forged some wonderful friendships. selahV (a.k.a. The Dragon Lady)

  7. “Lydia, how very totalitarian of you to demand that dissent is allowed.”

    I know, just like those sinful, battling, gossiping Founding Fathers! (wink)

    I do “prefer” that dissent is allowed. But I am too much of a nobody to “demand” it. Nobody listens, anyway. :o)

    • Jared, Driscoll just resigned from Acts29 AND Gospel Coalition. Timing is curious after elder story comes out.

      Do you think the messengers would vote to affirm Acts29 after reading his book on marriage and watching his porno vision video and wondering if Acts 29 pastors revered Driscoll or not?

      • Lydia, all I know is the convention publicly affirmed Acts 29 in 2010 with their vote. Concerning what the convention would do in the future, I cannot say. I will speculate though that if the convention voted today, they would still affirm Acts 29. Why wouldn’t they?

    • Yeah, it does. I’m researching that little dot. :) And it is a very bothersome thing. chasing dots… I would much rather be writing my bland little posts, doing my mundane little things like planting more seeds in my window boxes with my granddaughters, and oil painting that pastoral setting for a friend, or watching the recorded copies of Touch and The Mentalist. But someone pushed me down a rabbit hole, and now I’ve found myself in “wonder-land”. I wonder why someone turns on me? I wonder why my silly innocuous comment was created such a furor? I wonder why anyone cares what I thought anyway? I wonder why my blog readership has quadrupled in three days? I wonder why folks are digging into my archives? I wonder what is so fascinating about selahV all of a sudden? I wonder why Mark Driscoll suddenly gives up his mantle. I wonder why they’re moving ACTS-29 to Dallas. I wonder why someone suggested the convention affirm ACTS-29 in the first place? So yeah, Jared, it does matter. It didn’t before my comment was deleted. It didn’t until you told us the convention voted to affirm them. And now…well…now it’s like that darn Cheshire cat smiling at me through the trees. I’ve done gone and got “curious”. But since I ain’t no cat, I won’t have to worry about curiosity killing me. And since I am a little nobody in “podunk Oklahoma” without any real ax to grind, resume to protect, podium to hold onto, church to embarrass, or salary to lose, I figure I might as well keep skipping along till someone invites me to a tea party. I think I’m rather late, though. I’ve been so wrapped up in sharing devotions about love, kindness, comfort, faith and such, that I had hardly noticed all this stuff going on behind the trees. Thanks for asking. I hope I was nice. I hope I showed I had an interest in your question. I hope I didn’t sound angry or snarky. I hope I helped carry this conversation along for you. I do hope if I did, you’ll report back to the keeper of the castle and tell him the Dragon-Lady has no fire left in her belly to blow all over all the unsuspecting “SBC” readers. If you put in a good word for me, reconciliation may occur. I believe in miracles, do you? selahV (the Ubiquitous One)

      • You know, Harriet. The convention affirmed Acts 29 because they trusted their leaders to make wise decisions about their money and associations.

        • No, Lydia, the convention didn’t affirm ACTS-29 in 2010. Jared misspoke. And it remains to be seen if they affirm it in 2012…however, with Matt Chandler as their new spokesperson and the relocation of the headquarters to Dallas, TX, and Matt’s honored role in Lifeway’s new curriculum for “reformed believers”, I imagine we are not far away from hearing another rap or rock-n-roll parody motion to love ‘em and dump our “hatorade” down our proverbial toilets. Dot #112 connected. drum-roll please. :) C’est la vie my friend, that’s life. selahV

  8. “Lydia, all I know is the convention publicly affirmed Acts 29 in 2010 with their vote. Concerning what the convention would do in the future, I cannot say. I will speculate though that if the convention voted today, they would still affirm Acts 29. Why wouldn’t they?”

    Well, I ‘affirmed” George Bush twice and he ended up bailing out wall street. Had i known he was not really a free marketer, I would not have “affirmed” him twice.

    My guess is if they had seen the porno divination video and known how ga ga our young restless reformed pastors and seminarians are over Mark they might have not affirmed it. But they trust what their leaders tell them when perhaps they shouldn’t. Perhaps they should have been Bereans about the creator of Acts 29 which bears his DNA all over it. :o)

      • “Lydia, well, you know what I’m gonna say next, “prove it.””.

        Jared, I love ya as a brother, I really do. And I could not get by with saying this at Voices because I would be deleted. (I was once deleted for using the word “pastorpreneur” in describing mega church pastors)

        But, I have a 5th grader and sometimes I go and volunteer in her class. Your above statement is one those 5th grade boys use all the time with each other. It goes like this, “Oh yeah? PROVE IT. And on and on it goes. They use it because there is no evidence they will accept as proof. Of course, they don’t know that in such a sophisticated way.

        You have tried very hard to make “prove it” the criterion for all discussion. Life just does not work that way. Can it ever be “proved” that Mr. Zimmerman was acting in self defense or not? Was there a camera there? Witnesses? Can you prove a 3 year old was inappropriately touched with no DNA proof? Do you see the problems with such criterion as total absolute proof?

        Howell can school you in the fact that most cases (issues for us) are never totally “proven” in a court of law. Evidence is weighed and someone has to make a judgement. Usually a judge basing the decision on evidence and connecting dots. I was once a volunteer advocate for an abused woman in court and the judge took my testimony as “evidence” for something even though I could not “prove it” literally.

        With all that said, I have this nagging feeling, based upon my long life experience, that many little old ladies and many rural small churches who are the ones really propping up our CP program, would not be amused with the porno divinations of Mark Driscoll (not to mention everything else) and would be appalled that 10% of their SS check is going to fund churches where the lead pastor likes Mark and thinks he is wonderful. Now that is JUST a guess based upon my life experience. I cannot prove it. But I would love to. :o)

        I say play the porno divination clip at the convention from the creator of Acts 29 (and until today, the president) and then hold another vote for funding. You don’t even have to read from his new book. Or, play clips of his SoS sermons or going “old testament” or “effiminate music minister tweets, or even show any shots of his former fired elder’s letter in the blog post. Just the porno divinations. Let’s see what happens. You never know, it might pass.

        So, can we grow past “prove it” and simply weigh evidence and connect dots?

        • Lydia, enough evidence = proof. You need to prove that all these Acts 29 church planters are just little Driscolls who teach the same stuff he did. You assume the worst, and in my opinion, you assume the worst without proof. What does Driscoll’s view on sex have to do with planting churches? Do these church planters have to take an oath to teach Driscoll’s view on sex? You take the worst aspect of Driscoll’s ministry and stereotype thousands of Christians. Is that fair?

          In 2010, there were several who spoke publicly against Driscoll at the SBC. Nevertheless, Acts 29 was affirmed by the convention. I’m curious, do you personally know any Acts 29 church planters?

          • ‘You need to prove that all these Acts 29 church planters are just little Driscolls who teach the same stuff he did.”

            Would a young man become an Acts 29 church planter if he had a real problem with Driscoll’s teaching or behavior?

          • Lydia, YES. You’re a Southern Baptist aren’t you? Would you leave the SBC if you disagreed with the President? How would you feel if an outsider stereotyped you based on the current President of the SBC?

            I don’t think you’re being fair to Acts 29.

        • “weigh evidence and connect dots”
          Lydia,
          It’s obvious that we are all looking at random dots on a page. While the dot configuration is the same on each of our desks, our individual perspective influences the grid through which we view them. Based on close examination of an individual dot in relation to other dots, our hand guides the pencil to form lines. Images start to emerge as we move from dot-to-dot. The picture taking shape on my end looks like a distorted tulip.

          • “It’s obvious that we are all looking at random dots on a page. While the dot configuration is the same on each of our desks, our individual perspective influences the grid through which we view them. Based on close examination of an individual dot in relation to other dots, our hand guides the pencil to form lines. Images start to emerge as we move from dot-to-dot. The picture taking shape on my end looks like a distorted tulip.”

            Max, I agree to a certain extent. But I really do not think, at the end of the day, it is about New Calvinism/Reformed. I think that is the rally cry that motivates the young ones into battle. Every movement needs something to rally around. What is better than “we have truth”?

            I think it is simply about control. If you think read about the history of warfare and taking over countries, they don’t send 40 year olds into the front lines to charge the citidel. They send the young ones because they charge first without asking questions because of their blind allegiance to their leader. The typical 40 year old will ask too many questions of the leader first! Not all, but many will. You need the zealots for any movement to go forward.

            The biggest problem we have is that the grid we are viewing things through really is different than theirs. So different, in fact, there is very little we can be unified on because the foundations of what we have believed about the SBC are so different. To give one example, those that follow the leaders and celebrities really do not value the freedom to dissent. They say they do but it can only be “managed dissent they approve” of as in how one says it, etc. You hear a lot of things about “tone”, etc. And it is arbitrary depending on who is saying it. They do not seem to police themselves much. But I think they are trying to in some ways because the word is getting out and too many people are experiencing the wrath of some of the YRR young’un’s.

            They also do not value the priesthood of believer as it has been defined in the SBC for ages. (Remember, Mohler tried to change that concept in the BFM2000) They think the topdown strategies are a good thing because they agree with the direction. They cannot see past that and realize they are actually boxing themselves in for the future.

            What I would view as a ton of evidence that a certain celebrity is really a wolf, they would scoff at and say he preaches the Gospel ignoring the big dose of constant poison that cancels it out. (I don’t even think we define “Gospel” the same way) So, all the evidence that is not only public, but going on for years, they would claim is not really enough for “proof”. And so on it goes.

            Remember always, “He who makes the rules, wins”. We are seeing a lot of new rules, definitions of words, concepts, being changed, etc.

            Are you sure it is not really 1984? :o)

            I am not willing to concede to the new rules. For example, I am not willing to go along to get along saying it is a “little thing” to seal records by a taskforce in the SBC. I am not willing to say the “unofficial” name change task force is no big deal because it was needed. To me, process matters as a believer. How we do things is as important as the end result. All dictators care about is results… as in ‘the ends justify the means’. It is that sort of thinking that is dangerous even if you think you are doing it for God’s Glory or a “Sovereign God” is making you do it.

            It seems the pew sitters are only needed to fund the leaders vision for the GBC. Dissent gets in the way of their topdown vision. As with the name change task force the message was clear: We cannot take the chance the messengers won’t let us do this so we are going to do it anyway. This does not bode well for our future and I am a bit stunned more people don’t see it.

          • Lydia writes “They also do not value the priesthood of believer as it has been defined in the SBC for ages.”
            Lydia,
            It is clear to me in comparing BFM1963 with BFM2000 that historical SBC doctrines of soul competency and priesthood of the believer were diminished in the latter version. If you look at the wording carefully, the singular form “priesthood of the believer” was changed to a plural “priesthood of believers.” A subtle change, but one that perhaps reflects mistrust of personal experience in favor of a more reformed position and accountability to a belief system. Thus, Dr. Mohler’s influence on the BFM revision team did indeed “change that concept in the BFM2000.” That, and other such changes in the BFM2000, provide wiggle room for reformed belief and practice under a bigger tent … that is why those holding to this theology in SBC ranks can now also endorse the BFM.

  9. Howell, I’m curious why you don’t go off when other sbc blogs delete comments? Lumpkins has deleted numerous comments, and many people have stopped commenting over there. Is he making power moves to suppress dissent as well?

    • Jared, just a guess, but maybe because people don’t whine loud enough about the deleting that goes on at other blogs such as the one you mentioned?

    • Jared,

      Are you really curious? Do you have no idea why I wrote today’s post? Even if you vehemently disagree with Hariette or me, are you not able to see anything wrong with how and why Hariette’s comment was deleted at a group blog site called “SBC Voices: Southern Baptist News & Opinion?” Please don’t try to make this about Peter. You are better than that. If memory serves, both you and Mark took David (Volfan007) to task for introducing Peter in a comment stream over at Voices. Now you are going to try that here? I would like to think that you are better than that. At least try to be consistent in your approach.

      I shouldn’t have to explain the differences between one man’s blog — SBC Tomorrow — and a group blog — SBC Voices, which purports to be open to diverse voices. Suffice it to say, I “went off” (to use your words) because of what I have personally experienced as a now former contributor at Voices. I was not some “drive-by” commenter that is unknown to those in charge of Voices. Neither is Hariette. The email conversations between myself and a certain individual were similar in tone to what Hariette described as her conversations with the same individual. Based upon my own experiences and what I believed was a different direction that Voices was (and is) heading, I have chosen to limit my comments and interaction at that site. However, when unpublished guidelines were used to delete Hariette’s comment, I was no longer willing to remain silent. What some term “tighter control” I view as an attempt to silence dissent, both directly and indirectly. So, my brother, this was not me flying off the handle unhinged. There is much more to the story — both mine and Hariette’s — than you will ever know. But, since you insist on proof, I’m quite sure that I have not deleted the emails that I received charging me with using “abusive language.” I would venture to guess that Hariette has not deleted the emails she received, either. Both are consistent in tone. That, as they say, is credible evidence. You can choose to ignore it, but I would again request that you ponder why some voices don’t speak on SBC Voices anymore. If you don’t, then do not be surprised when your voice is silenced. And, when (not if) it is, to whom will you turn to defend your right to speak? Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

    • I poked around on the site and found this statement in their FAQ section:
      “Affiliation with the SBC allows our church to participate in the largest missionary organization in the world. Through the SBC “Cooperative Program” we help support over 5,300 missionaries who are engaging more than 1,100 different people groups around the world. While we support the SBC in missions, we do not send delegates to the annual convention.”

      According to the 2011 Operating budget up through July 2011, The Village Church gave over $529,000 to missions.

      with that I am ….
      prchrbill

      • Bill,

        Thanks for posting that information. The link to the entire 2011 budget was broken, so I too opened the six month budget. You are correct that The Village Church gave over $529,000. We could assume that this number would be perhaps double for the entire year. However, what this online budget does not show is where the “missions” money was distributed. How much was given for SBC missions causes — CP, NAMB Easter Offering, IMB Christmas Offering, and State/Local Association missions. I think that is the question that Lydia asked. As a Southern Baptist church, how invested in SB missions is The Village Church? I don’t know the answer to that and The Village Church’s financial documents do not seem to give us that answer, either. That does not take away from their missions giving. But, for churches affiliated with the SBC who have a major influence in SBC life, their level of cooperation with other SBC churches is important for some to know. Thanks again for taking the time to read and to share the mission giving numbers for The Village Church. God bless,

        Howell

        • Howell, You just nailed why I ignore mega church budgets that are published. I was in the mega game for years and know how the budget process works. It is the details that matter but one the public or members never see. If a mega church pastor is going to have huge influence in the SBC then I think it is ok for us to check state numbers to see their commitment to the CP and know where they are coming from.

          It seems incongruous that Ezell, whose former mega church has given very little to the CP, is the president of NAMB.

  10. Howell,

    You said: “No one will openly admit that he or she wants to limit debate. That would not only appear un-democratic, but also tend to border on an assault on the Baptist principle of congregational polity. And, yes, I know that blogs are not churches nor do they automatically confer rights of commenting on any and everyone. But, how we choose to engage in debate and how we handle dissent — even on blogs – can say a lot about our philosophies of ministry and governance.”

    That’s a giant leap don’t you think? Questioning someone’s understanding of church governance because they moderate their blog? We should do better than this.

    • Joshua,

      Thanks for the questions. I did not question a person’s understanding of church governance based on how they moderate their blog. What I did say is that how one goes about moderating their blog “can say a lot about our philosophies of ministry and governance.” If you don’t think that what we write or how we interact with commenters can say a lot about those two things, then I probably can’t change your mind. I specifically included the second and third sentences that you quote above to preemptively clarify what I believed so as to avoid misreadings of my comment. That you still misread it must mean that I did not communicate as clearly as I should have. But, given the tenor of the comments on this post, I would say that the leap is not as giant as one might imagine :-) Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

  11. “Lydia, YES. You’re a Southern Baptist aren’t you? Would you leave the SBC if you disagreed with the President? How would you feel if an outsider stereotyped you based on the current President of the SBC?”

    Jared, I am having a hard time understanding why something like this needs to be explained but here goes: I was raised in the SBC. There is a big difference. And there is a huge difference between the SBC as a whole which has been known for “autonomy” and “cooperating” on missions and short on authoritarianism. Our historical identity has not been one man. Actually our unofficial historical identity is more Lottie Moon!

    Acts 29 is totally different. It was created and designed by Driscoll. It has his DNA all over it.

    So a more similar comparison would be asking me if I would join up and rally around an SBC today if it were new and Al Mohler were the creator and identity of this new SBC. The answer is no. Actually, No Way.

    The young men I know who have gone with Acts 29 were drawn to it precisely BECAUSE OF Mark Driscoll. He was the big draw, initially. They were drawn to his style.

    I am starting to weary of your thinking processes. There really is no point to us continuing. We will simply have to agree to disagree. We think differently on things.

    “I don’t think you’re being fair to Acts 29.”

    I know you don’t. And that is ok.

  12. Howell,

    You’re a pastor and should have login information for the ACP. If not, you can get it and check The Village Church’s numbers if any are reported. What are you waiting for?

      • I’m also not sure that publicizing the info that we could access would be:

        1.) in agreement with the “terms of service” for having access to that information.

        2.) an accurate representation without verifying the data from the church itself.

        As an example, since I know I can disclose my own church’s data: if you look at the ACP/SBDS data for FBC Almyra, it will show that last year we gave nearly twice as much (in both real dollars and percent of budget) as the year before. The numbers are accurate but neither reflects our commitment or intention–

        We had some accounting issues and changed bookkeepers. The prior bookkeeper was holding back sending CP checks to keep the bank balance high enough for a certain interest rate, and the new bookkeeper got it all caught up. So, 2011 we gave twice as much 2010, and 2012 our giving will go down.

        Not saying that The Villages numbers would not be interesting, but I’m not sure we’d have real accuracy for the case in this discussion.

        • Doug,

          I would tend to agree with you on both counts. I know there are others who have accessed the ACP report for churches that they were not members of, but I have not done that, notwithstanding Mark’s request for me to do so. I have not had the time nor the desire to figure out if these numbers are “truly” public, but I have not come across a place on sbc.net where it would allow me to access another church’s ACP. I maybe a bit technologically challenged in that regard, but my own church’s SBC ID# would not give me access to another church’s ACP records. As to the Village’s (or any other church’s SBC missions giving), I am not really interested in those numbers unless and until leaders of those churches want to take a leadership role within the Convention. Then I think it is entirely appropriate to know levels of cooperation. Of course, those numbers may not tell the whole story, but one would expect or hope that the leaders of these churches would fill in the gaps for their fellow Southern Baptists who they seek to lead. Thanks for those excellent points this morning. Hope you have a great day and God bless,

          Howell

          • When someone wants to control/direct/manage the money, then absolutely the record of how they have done so should come forth as part of the consideration. And any questions, like why it looks low or if it looks artificially high (FBC Almyra did last year) should be answered.

            Just like whether or not one can understand and pay their taxes properly should factor into being the Secretary of the Treasury, right?

            I think our standards at the SBC should always be higher than the government. :)

          • The password/id combination I have from our church lets me see any church in the system, but I do have to click every time that the information is not there for publication unless publication is approved by one of the bodies involved: your church could approve release of their records, your state convention could approve release of the aggregate numbers of the state, and so on…

            You could probably do that if you had the time to learn how–I know how from being on the SBC Credentials Committee at Orlando and having to do it to look up and qualify messengers. Although I think those computers had access to more data than my church login gets.

            That’s one of those situations where I have other things to do. In this situation, I’m way more interested in theology and practice than I am in dollars to the CP. Nominate Matt Chandler to SBC Office and then I’ll be more curious about the dollar amounts.

      • Howell,

        I’m sorry you had a funeral and more pressing issues. I hope most of your daily issues are more important than tracking down The Village Church’s giving numbers. However, I will note that your comment certainly came across as passive aggressive to my suggestion.

        My comment was in reply to your following comment to Bill.

        Bill,

        Thanks for posting that information. The link to the entire 2011 budget was broken, so I too opened the six month budget. You are correct that The Village Church gave over $529,000. We could assume that this number would be perhaps double for the entire year. However, what this online budget does not show is where the “missions” money was distributed. How much was given for SBC missions causes — CP, NAMB Easter Offering, IMB Christmas Offering, and State/Local Association missions. I think that is the question that Lydia asked. As a Southern Baptist church, how invested in SB missions is The Village Church? I don’t know the answer to that and The Village Church’s financial documents do not seem to give us that answer, either. That does not take away from their missions giving. But, for churches affiliated with the SBC who have a major influence in SBC life, their level of cooperation with other SBC churches is important for some to know. Thanks again for taking the time to read and to share the mission giving numbers for The Village Church. God bless,

        Howell

        You comment seemed to imply at least some level of importance of how The Village breaks down their giving which is why my suggestion was offered. That’s okay though, I’ll try to limit my commenting here to not tempt you further to give such replies.

        • Mark,

          Bill posted the information on The Village Church. Quite frankly, at this point, I am not interested in what The Village Church gives to SBC missions causes. The comment to Bill actually stated that “their (The Village Church) level of cooperation with other SBC churches is important for some to know.” I might find it important to know at some point in the future, but I did not say it was important for ME to know now. If and when Matt Chandler runs for elective office in the SBC, I think it would then be important to know. I perhaps could have been more clear about that, but I was trying to thank Bill for his links to The Village Church financial records. You asked a question and I answered. I’m sorry that my answer came across as “passive agressive.” I’m not really sure what that means, even though that seems to be a term that is very much in vogue on certain blogs to describe comments with which people disagree.

          As to Peter, I obviously misunderstood the intent of what seemed to be clear statements made by Jared and you that David Worley should have not brought Peter into the comment stream. All I was trying to say to Jared (even though he still disagrees with my reasoning) is that my post is not about Peter or his commenting policies. If people want to discuss those, they are free (like Jared has today) to go on Peter’s blog and do just that. But, my post was written from my own experiences, experiences which were similar in nature to Hariette’s. Others may never understand all the reasons why I wrote what I did and I’m okay with that. There are plenty of folks who understand what was communicated in the post. I do appreciate dialoguing with you, even when we don’t always agree. Hope that you have a blessed Lord’s Day. God bless,

          Howell

  13. Someone asked me a question about why I wasn’t curious about how other blogs deleted certain commenters. I’ve already answered that question, but I guess my background makes me a curious fellow. Some might accuse me of not just being curious, but also conspiratorial (and those some know who they are ;-) ). It is a curious coincidence (I don’t really believe in coincidence) that a post by Denny Burk (http://www.dennyburk.com/kevin-deyoung-talks-about-blog-comments/) links to a “helpful post” by Kevin DeYoung of The Gospel Coalition (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/03/29/once-more-on-blog-comments/) on blog comments. In light of the kerfuffle at SBC Voices, I just found the timing of these other posts, shall we say, curious. Please feel free to draw your own conclusions and connect any dots that you might see.

    • Thanks for the links, Howell. They were quite informative. I thanked Kevin DeYoung Restless and Reformed for his post. And confessed I’d been have a bit of difficulty with commenting lately, and appreciated what he wrote. I don’t know that he will be able to help me with my question regarding comments, but since he was astute enough to write the post on commenting, I figured he might be a good one to ask. Anyway, thanks again for the link, the dots are quite curious. Now I am curious to know if I was nice enough to remain on the board and get an answer to my question. We will see. Kevin seems like he has a really neat sense of humor. I hope my feet were clean when I went to his site. I wouldn’t have wanted to leave any “manure” while I was there. :) selahV (“the ubiquitous one”)

  14. Hi Howell,

    I mentioned this over at Voices also. Asking someone to read the post before they comment is not a new rule. This has been repeated often over the years that I have been interacting on the blog. It is (or should be) a common courtesy.

    You seem to be saying that as long as someone is SBC then they should be able to say whatever they like on an SBC group blog. But have you seen the train wrecks that occur? People accused of lying. People calling other people stupid. Thread hijacking. I don’t think it is at all fair to say that Voices is trying to suppress (or oppress, if you prefer) dissent. Didn’t we just see a million part series against the proposed name change? Didn’t we see a post by Mr. Brumbelow on not using real wine in the Lord’s Supper? There are others. If Voices were trying to suppress dissent I don’t think we’d have so many posts with 100+ comments.

    • Bill,

      There are many common courtesies which should be a part of Christian blogs. I do not believe that “as long as someone is SBC then they should be able to say whatever they like on an SBC group blog.”I have never argued that, but if you understood me to say that, then I apologize for not writing as clearly as I should have. The real issue of the deletion of Hariette’s comment is not about her admitting that she did not read Brandon’s post. I know that is what has been stated as the reason for her comment being deleted. The issue at Voices, of which I am painfully and personally aware, is not limited to Hariette and is not about new vs. old rules. It is about consistency in applying those rules. Lastly, voices can be suppressed in ways that are not as direct or as public. In some ways, that’s even more painful than the more overt moves to suppress dissent. Thanks for leaving the comment here as well. God bless,

      Howell

    • Actually, Bill Mac, “reading the op”, to my knowledge, has never been a hard fast, written in stone, and archived in the website’s guidelines. I may be wrong. It has repeatedly been suggested and repeatedly been ignored. And sometimes, the comment streams are just as “on point” anyway. However, I have learned a valuable lesson in all this. Full disclosure is not an acceptable practice to follow in life of blogging. We need keep our stuff all locked up and sealed away so folks won’t get antsy or irritated or offended. Honesty is not always the best policy, at least not in baptist blogging, I suppose. :)

      And as far as David Brumbelow’s post on alcohol use in the Lord’s Supper, there are about a thousand to one “voices” posted against his views on SBC Voices. It’s more than fair that Dave allowed his little contribution to equalize the voices a tad.

      Besides this, Bill Mac, we who have contributed to the website since shortly after its conception, have a bit more “insider” knowledge as to the machinations of the whole interior operation of the blog. Some of us have actually gotten memos to do various things, etc., watch certain individuals, and explain why “some” folks are banned, not banned, put in moderation, have their names flagged, etc. All voices are not equal in all situations. That’s just the way it is. This situation, in my most humble and heartfelt opinion was not about the post at hand. It was a comment that was just edgy enough to make a point to the commenter in question and an example to all who’d dare oppose the keeper of the castle by going back to his/her own blog and writing opinions. PERIOD.

      I, for one, have enjoyed your exchanges in the Voices streams. Your humor and heart is evident even with the twinge of sarcasm you use now and again. I don’t have to agree with you, to like you. But some people need to like you to accept you. just saying…selahV

  15. “Thus, Dr. Mohler’s influence on the BFM revision team did indeed “change that concept in the BFM2000.” That, and other such changes in the BFM2000, provide wiggle room for reformed belief and practice under a bigger tent … that is why those holding to this theology in SBC ranks can now also endorse the BFM.

    Max, Here is a perfect example of something seemingly “small” at the time that has huge implications later:

    http://www.baptiststandard.com/2000/7_17/pages/bfm_meaning.html

    Written July 17, 2000

  16. Jared Moore says to Howell, “Lumpkins has deleted numerous comments…”

    and, to Lydia, “Lydia, well, you know what I’m gonna say next, “prove it”

    So, I suppose to Jared it could be said, “prove it,” Jared. You continue to make these bold claims but offer no proof to your claims. And Lydia deserves it since you think you’ve got her over a barrel with it. And if you can’t “prove it” then presumably you’ll stop uttering it.

    Now what is especially interesting, you’re here defending SBCV’s rightsto delete comments while attempting to make my alleged practice appear like some deviant habit. What a colossal Georgia hoot! (Howell, I hope you will not delete me for using “Georgia hoot”. I really like doing it to express my entertained spirit when goofy points are presented. But if that’s not acceptable commentary, know I will not be angered if you delete me. I can always go post it on my site. That’s the beauty of the internet.)

    In addition, you also appear to suggest the reason “many people have stopped commenting over there” is because I’ve allegedly “deleted” comments. You may not have wanted to suggest that but it seems to be implied by your statement. Is this what you’re implying, Jared? If so, may we expect the same for SBCV since they now are following the “delete” model?

    Further, if I have been following the “delete” model as surely imply, I’ve only been following Stetzer’s model all along. But if that’s the case, then, SBCV is now following my supposed model, a model which you seem to suggest above is a deviant model? How utterly confusing. I guess I’ve been eating too much blackened redfish and char-coal grilled oysters at Drago’s.

    Grace, Howell.

    With that, I am…
    Peter

    • Peter,

      You can use “Georgia hoot” here anytime :-) I did find it curious (I am a curious fellow at times) that Jared tried to pull you into the discussion, particularly since both he and Mark thought it wrong of David Worley to mention you in a recent Voices comment stream. I’m sure you are used to folks bringing your name into conversations (sometimes with less than charitable motives), but I figured folks should at least be consistent about how they “use” you. Unlike our friend at Voices, I have never deleted a comment here, although I did edit one once to clean up some profanity. People are free to do with their blogs what they want, but when they begin to apply so-called “guidelines” both inconsistently and unfairly, they should not expect it to go unnoticed nor unchallenged. As to proving that there is more to this story than meets the eye, I have enough proof to help people connect a few more dots were they so inclined. But, I suppose that won’t help with some folks anyway. With their new model (or old model or some model) now firmly in place, Voices may find themselves, as they say, hoisted on their own petard. Thanks and have a great weekend. God bless,

      Howell

      • I’ve been following a few “dots”, too, Howell…and found a few connections. I’d be very interested in following some of your dots. I may need an attorney’s advice with some of it, perhaps you can direct me to one? :) jk “sleepy Dragon-Lady”

        • Jared Moore March 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm

          William,

          I agree, David should have never brought Peter Lumpkins and Tim Rogers into the comment stream.

          Reply
          . 216 Mark March 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

          Jared, exactly. David should not have brought them into the conversation.

          Mark,

          No, you did not say “it was wrong for Worley to mention Peter.” If I misunderstood your above words to mean that very thing, then I apologize :-) Thanks and God bless,

          Howell

          • Howell,

            It’s called answering someone on their own grounds. Williams’s comment was aimed at Jared (as I recall) who was responding to David, the one who actually brought up Peter and Tim.

    • You know the odd thing, Peter. As I’ve been tip-toeing around the comment streams addressing posts about Commenting on Blogs, and trying not to disturb the waters around the edges, or slip and fall on the muddy banks, I discovered an odd thing.

      Folks who think a person should not “whine” when their voice is deleted and should not go write “several posts” about being deleted, are the same folks running around everywhere talking about how folks should go get their own posts and write whatever they want. Then they come and dump on the people who do just that. I never issued one complaint to Dave. I never emailed him. I didn’t go back and demand to know where my comment went. I simply did what the head-honchos said I should do. Go back and say what I want to say on my own blog. Ya just can’t please some people. For the record, I am not angry. Never have been angry. Just found it rather “curious” and odd and “telling”. BTW,did you happen to read that post about ego, and “I AM”. It was quite good, I think even Dr. Lemke at SBC Today picked it for a Top Blog to read.

      AND…for the record, this is not the first time Dave has deleted my comments. He’s done it before and I haven’t said a word.

      THIS time it was a hill worth rolling on. That’s all. And you know me, I don’t usually get all churned up over stuff, not worth it. But this time, this time, my friend, I think I’ve tossed a stone that caused a bit too much ripple for me to ignore. So I have been working on a more detailed post to address “that post that I wasn’t interested in reading” because of particular reasons I didn’t want to elaborate on at the time. I’ve decided, I was really unfair to Brandon. So I’m gonna tell him exactly why I spoke in opposition to his interview with an ACTS-29 leader. Maybe this is the “spark that got a fire going”, who is to say? selahV (a.k.a. “The Ubiquitous One”.

      • PETER…for Pete’s sake, stop eating crawdads long enough to answer Jared. :) He needs to know if you are “saying that you haven’t deleted numerous comments.” Get with the program. Answer him. He’s asked you very nicely two times, in a row without an answer. :) just kidding Jared. For what it’s worth, Peter doesn’t delete comments, he simply “unpublishes” them. To delete, one dumps it into an abyss, never to rise again. Un-publishing helps a blogger keep a record of offensive comments which may be misquoted as innocuous and harmless to accuse a blog-owner of being mean. selahV

  17. http://phoenixpreacher.net/?p=11670

    Just reading around the meta and eureka, connected dots. Here is just one link but there are plenty in the comments.

    Why the big deal on Harriet’s simple comment at SBCV concerning the W. European Acts 29 guy? Setzer commeting so much over there to affirm Daves policies? Why the sudden “coincidental” “blog comment moderating” focus from other blogs around the NC/Reformed meta?

    Why? Mark Driscoll.

    Since Petry, the former fired Elder/former lawyer, story came out– some Acts 29 churches are not happy. Some are even leaving the network. Ergo, it is quickly being swtiched to Chandler. All to stop the possible bleeding of members or churches leaving the network. They want the blogosphere quiet about this and the post interviewing the W. Europe Acts 29 guy could have become a bit embarassing if any uncomfortable questions asked.

    Of course it is being spun that Driscoll leaving was planned all along but that would not explain Mark’s announcement a month or so ago he had to come back to Acts 29 in a hands on way and get things in line there. But now, he is leaving a few weeks later to focus on ministry at MH? A bit flighty. Driscoll is stepping away to stop the bleeding.

    Seems the guy who was running Acts 29, Scott Thomas, was one of the point guys for taking Petry down. There is documentation with him using Acts 29 resources to communicate with Petry. So, that involves Acts 29 in the spiritual abuse. So, now suddenly, Thomas is “going into another ministry” and not going to Texas to work for Chandler.

    Sojourn in Louisville has a letter on it’s site saying it is leaving Acts 29 to become church planters dated March 28. Of course, they still love Acts 29.

    Will no one out in celebrity Christian land be Driscoll’s Nathan? Must we all pretend this is not rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?

    • Lydia,

      As to your last two questions, “No” and “Yes.” I’m firmly convinced that no prominent SBC pastor or leader (I think John MacArthur already did) will “speak out” in any negative way about Driscoll. Now, it is entirely possible that the chain of events leading to Matt Chandler taking over as President of Acts 29 has been in the works for some time. However, those with a curious nature will inquire as to the timing of events, particularly in light of Paul and Jonna Petry’s revelations and how both Mark Driscoll and Scott Thomas were central figures in the mess. If Chandler and the new leadership team of Acts 29 is trying to distance themselves from Driscoll and Mars Hill, that could potentially be a good thing. But, if Driscoll is still on the Acts 29 board (which he indicated he would be), then I’m not sure how much of a separation there will be. Perhaps building PR firewalls (you might be familiar with some of that stuff from your days in the mega movement) which appear to put some distance between Acts 29 and Driscoll, but in reality, no such thing is happening. That’s where some might ant us all to pretend that this like your Titanic analogy. Time will tell whether or not substantive change is occurring or whether this is more of a PR move. I’m not so concerned with what Acts 29 churches within their own network as I am with what NAMB and other SBC leaders do with Acts 29 churches, especially church plants which maybe funded with CP and Annie Armstrong money when said church plants are aligned with both the SBC and Acts 29. I believe we will have more and more dots to connect in the coming months. As always, thanks for your thoughts and for the links to Joyful Exiles. At least your post with the multiple links wasn’t sent to spam this time :-) God bless,

      Howell

    • “Driscoll is stepping away to stop the bleeding.”

      Lydia,
      If there were any wise counselors in the Acts 29 organization, they would surely have advised Driscoll to take a break. Church plants, book sales, and strategic partnerships are at stake. Porno-visions, macho potty-mouth preaching, questionable marital guidance, mistreatment of church elders, growing reports of spiritual abuse, etc., etc. … Driscoll has become a liability to the Acts 29 Network. Matt Chandler would be a better representative for Kevin Ezell to pal with on joint NAMB/Acts 29 church-planting efforts.

      On a positive note, YRR church websites I have been monitoring in my area have dropped all reference over the past month to Mark Driscoll, Acts 29, and Resurgence. They are beginning to distance themselves from resurgent, lest they also be submerged in the flood that is sure to come.

  18. Scott Thomas of Acts 29 was “Lead Mediator” in the ‘trial” of Paul Petry.

    See here: http://joyfulexiles.com/timeline/

    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/scott-thomas-10-10-2007-no-show-for-trial.pdf

    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/10-01-2007-email-from-scott-thomas-re-eit.pdf

    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/scott-thomas-10-10-2007-no-show-for-trial.pdf (Your presence will not be necessary at your trial, he says)

    BTW: One thing that stunned me was when Driscoll changed the bylaws, he made every member who wanted to stay at MH sign a new “covenant” or membership agreement stating they would abide by the NEW bylaws. The very bylaws Petry was very concerned about. Even Driscoll says 1000 people left MH because they would not sign it. Folks, this is unbelievable. Was not one of his affirming peers like Piper paying attention to what Driscoll had become?

  19. Lydia: I’m trying to follow the “dots” you guys are trying to connect. It seems as though you are saying that Voices is going to become some kind of pro-Driscoll site? If that isn’t what you are saying, then perhaps you could tell me what you are saying regarding Driscoll and Voices.

    If it is what you are saying, then that seems a bit premature. I know some at Voices are Driscoll fans and some are not (just as some are Calvinists, and some not, some abstentionists, and some not, etc).

    I have no standing at Voices, other than one single article and regular commenting, but I will say this: I think the idea that Voices is going to become some type of Driscoll blog is somewhat paranoid. But if it turns out to be true, then I will raise a huge stink about it. I think Driscoll ought to make people run away with their fingers in their ears. If he is stepping away from A29, then all the better for A29. The SBC ought to step as far away from him as possible.

  20. “I’m trying to follow the “dots” you guys are trying to connect. It seems as though you are saying that Voices is going to become some kind of pro-Driscoll site? If that isn’t what you are saying, then perhaps you could tell me what you are saying regarding Driscoll and Voices.”

    Hi Bill,

    It is so hard to communicate by a short blog comment something that one has been watching from a bird’s eye view for quite a few years. Driscoll only represents the result in a very exaggerated way of what I have been seeing happening in this YRR movement.

    So, to try and characterize something as pro or con DRiscoll, misses the larger theme. Mahaney is just as bad as Driscoll from a spiritual abuse standpoint but since he is not as profane/vulgar, people miss it.

    Now, Driscoll has exhibited a ton of red flags for quite a few years now both doctrinally and behavioral that have been totally ignored and anyone who brought them up was mean, bitter, divisive, etc. We were gossiping about a man who “preached the Gospel” in one of the “most unchurched cities in America”. Many times his own words have been the red flags.

    Where has been the wisdom and discernment of our leaders who have promoted and partnerned with Driscoll? Even Chandler has done nothing but affirm Driscoll and ignore the REAL reasons why he is stepping away. Is that transparancy?

    To make it even worse, when Mahaney (former Apostle of the shepherding cult, SGM which used to be “People of Destiny) stepped down after four years of horrible spiritual abuse stories on sgmsurvivors and the sgmwikileaks of a former sgmpastor (who was as bad as Mahaney), our own Al Mohler, who partners with Mahaney in T4G, told the Louisville Courier Journal that the bloggers “just did not like his strong leadership”.

    There is a theme, if you are watching closely of, authoritarianism. I call it the rise of the Nicolaitans. The most important thing is elder authority. Topdown structure for all churches/parachurch organizations, etc.

    Do you ever wonder why so many young YRR guys are attracted to guys like Driscoll in the first place?

    Some are thinking Chandler will be the ticket to saving Acts 29. Perhaps but I listen to Chandler sermons, too. He teaches that everyone should be in a church to be “under godly authority”. Sounds good, right? But is that the main reason the Body of Christ should in fellowship? How do I know someone “in authority” as they say, is really godly? Especially if he is a “talking head” on a stage that I never really get to interact with? He might be torturing kittens in his garage for all I know. Then again, he might be wearing disguises and feeding the homeless at night. But since I cannot know him in that venue, I would never know what if that person is a “godly authority” or not. But here is what I do know. He has been hanging with and affirming Driscoll for years as has Piper. So, evidently, they really did not have a big problem with all the red flags many of us saw and wrote about for years. Wise leaders? I think not.

    Secondly, I do not buy into the “human godly authority” in the Body interpretation. Especially when they have just told me we are all totally depraved even after salvation. I am trying to figure out how one can be a “godly authority” and totally depraved at the same time. Perhaps the “godly authority” has more spiritual anointing than the pew sitter Christians? But that is not what 1 John says. Should I hide the silver when they come or listen to them?

    Chandler once said he preached to a totally depraved audience every week. (Dever has also said something similar. Seriously?

    The other problem I have when thinking on this theme, is what 25 year old coming out of seminary would not love to be “a godly authority” over people but cannot handle it? I think we are seeing that problem on the blogs and in many of our churches. I know I have seen it first hand like others.

    I do not think Voices is “pro Driscoll” but “pro Reformed/NC” to the point they are willing to squealch any negative about the NC players and call it gossip (Mahaney did this for years). You cannot separate Driscoll’s behavior from his doctrine as much as they would like to. It drove his behavior as the “godly authority” with no accountability. (Listen the bylaw coup has been public knowledge for several years but did not seem to bother Piper, Mohler, Chandler, etc). So, it makes it hard to have a discussion that does not fit whatever there interpretation of totalitarian niceness is these days. I also think Voices is simply going along with the party line from the establishment. And that is why they established the totalitarian niceness policy. Putting up Rick’s post today is a way to say see, we really do both sides. But everyone is missing the point. Chandler believes in his own authority, too. He is just nicer and softer about it. But the teaching is there for any hot head YRR guy who craves a bit of authority over others. They even think this is being a humble servant. I have heard Driscoll called that for years in YRR circles. the cognative dissonance is astounding in that movement.

    Do you think my comments about Chandler here would pass moderation? If they did, I would have to prove that Chandler meant “godly authority” in an “ungodly way” or something which would miss the point entirely.

    I also think comment moderation “coincidences” across the Reformed meta came about precisely because of the Driscoll scandal. Trying to control the meta. So, we can talk about it in a controlled way. Convention is coming up and my oh my…we have Acts 29 churches leaving Acts 29, Driscoll touting his sex book on the View, forming aq coup to take over MH and fire elders and our beloved NAMB funding churches like his! They want to change the identity of Acts 29 as fast as they can and pretend Driscoll DNA was not the allure to these young guys in the first place.

    You know, Bill, it always takes something really really bad before people will admit there is a problem. Some of us have been warning about Driscoll as a spiritual abuser for years and were insulted, rebuked, lied about, etc. He was a time bomb waiting to go off and you can find me saying that at Voices probably 2 years ago. Poor Petry could have saved a lot of folks a lot of anguish if he had come out sooner. But I give him a pass. I saw stuff with the seeker megas I could not talk about for years. And I was guilty, too!

    Christianity has become a big business in America. Many people have lots to lose. How many Driscoll books did some leaders blurb? Speaking stages, affirmations. You think this does not matter? It does.

    There is way too much elevation of mere man and not enough Christ in these circles. And one of them they falls, people scramble to minimize the damage and hide it instead of holding them accountable and admitting they had no wisdom or discernment. (The whole Mahaney/Mohler thing is one sad example of this)

    • Lydia: I’m stepping out, so just a quick response. I share your concern about SBC affiliations with Driscoll and Mahaney. If half of what is coming out about them is true, they are a short step from becoming a cult.

      But I disagree with you and Howell about Voices. Perhaps you know something I don’t, but I don’t think you are being fair. I believe the comment policies are a genuine attempt to reign in some of the outrageously non-Christian behavior we have seen in the comment streams. I am sure that they will not moderate to everyone’s liking. They will make mistakes and there will be some inconsistencies. I don’t see posting Rick’s article as one of them. Rick is a long time contributor and I think if he felt his article was going up to be seen as the token nay-sayer in the group, he would not go along.

      You asked a question about Chandler. I think your comments about Chandler would pass moderation if the post was about Chandler, and you had the courtesy to read the post before commenting. But I’m not the moderator so we’ll see. I am willing to assume their good will in this and give them grace when they make mistakes. I don’t think they will become a YRR blog or an official SBC Elite blog or whatever the fears are. In whatever small way that I can influence, I will try to see to that.

      • “Perhaps you know something I don’t, but I don’t think you are being fair. I believe the comment policies are a genuine attempt to reign in some of the outrageously non-Christian behavior we have seen in the comment streams”

        And there is the point. What “outrageously non-Christian behavior”? I am not sure that has been defined so we can all know what is defined as “non-Christian behavior” by the moderators. I have been deleted for a lot less than some very caustic nasty commenters. So, we need definitions we can all understand.

        In one instance, I replied, “Yes, comrade” to a comment and was deleted. It was “sardonic” humor, the same humor Dave described Mohler as using when he insulted an EC person in a tweet.

        “I don’t think they will become a YRR blog or an official SBC Elite blog or whatever the fears are. In whatever small way that I can influence, I will try to see to that.”

        Bill, I love it when people can give their opinions, make their case and we walk away agreeing to disagree. But I think the above has already happened even though great pains have been taken to overcorrect in a controlled venue.

        I would probably agree with you had I not done a lot of this stuff myself in the past “perserving the image of the institution”. I know the drill or the playbook. If you study spiritual abuse, you will recognize some of the tactics/strategies.

        One more thing, I appreciate Howell allows open discussion, but I hope people do not think he agrees with my positions because I comment here a lot. He simply allows other viewpoints. Iron sharpens Iron. Adults can handle it.

          • “Lydia, you have commented some of the nastiest comments at sbcvoices. Do you really want me to reproduce some of these comments here”

            Jared, if it would make you feel better or prove a point for you, then do it. I trust people like Howell, Harriet, CB Scott and some others to judge them and I will take their position on them under serious advisement. I mean that.

            But one thing I will never do is subject myself to a Driscoll type Star chamber/Kangeroo court where definitions are changed.

            I realize I am not real flowery or sweet in comments but a bit direct and as Harriet called it “nitty gritty”. I came of age in a man’s career world and never wore ruffles or bows. :o)

        • Lydia to Bill Mac: “And there is the point. What “outrageously non-Christian behavior”? I am not sure that has been defined so we can all know what is defined as “non-Christian behavior” by the moderators.”

          BINGO! This is truly the issue here. And while I totally agree with Dave’s desire to rein in the comments to a more civil tone, to cage the “beast” we all “drag” into Voices when we log on. I even wrote a kind satirical post in response to Dave’s need for help with moderation. Don’t think for an instance that I did not weigh my comment in light of Dave’s desires to tame the beasts within. I certainly did not think my innocuous edgy little comment would meet the demise it did based on my “growing anger toward Calvinists and trendy Baptists”. Nor did I think it would be cremated for reasons given by other contributors that I had to call a spade a spade and show that it had nothing to do with whether I “read the post or not read the post”. Had that been the case, you would not have seen me in the comment streams “whining” about it. However, the example made of me by this little situation is more than meets the public eye. Much more. Indeed, part and parcel, is whom I associate and call friends within the internet family of SBC Bloggers. I just want folks to realize that I am but a sampling of what is to come. Perhaps I was chosen because I am known to walk away from confrontation…to brook no big arguments…to go back to my blog and write tepid, non-confrontational, politically correct posts about most things other than the SBC. I don’t know precisely. But I have enough dots dotted and T’s crossed to know when I am no longer in Kansas and have been shown the door to the Yellow-brick road beyond the drawbridge. And if I don’t get going, I will miss my appointment with the White Rabbit and fall into a moat where the Queen of Hearts will order my and my co-harts heads to be chopped off.

          I have a lot of opinions I have not voiced in the past due to pure and undiluted knowledge and subtle understanding that I was in place as long as I didn’t step on any cracks on the sidewalk. It’s okay. I am fine. Times are changing. Things are changing. Voices of coalition are gospel. One must be a part of the coalition to voice a contrary opinion to the whole without fear of being deleted for whatever PR reasons they make up afterwards. Man ain’t Gospel. Jesus is. Someday, maybe soon, some folks will find that out. I don’t know. Until then, the Dragon-Lady moans and groans with great caution for fear she’ll sneeze or burp and shoot forth blazing fire of inadvertent criticisms with an “outrageously non-Christian behavior” which must be doused with holy-water by the pope from Louisville. Tread lightly folks, tread lightly. selahV (a.k.a. The un-banished but caged Dragon Lady)

          • “I just want folks to realize that I am but a sampling of what is to come.”

            This is it. Prophetic words. And many of those who are on the inside now won’t be at some point. Hard lesson to learn the hard way and some have to learn it first hand. It is the way it works.

            It is why “process” and “structure” matter. It is why open communication and transparancy are the only way to go for believers in the priesthood.

          • “However, the example made of me by this little situation is more than meets the public eye. Much more. Indeed, part and parcel, is whom I associate and call friends within the internet family of SBC Bloggers. I just want folks to realize that I am but a sampling of what is to come.”

            Hariette,

            Nail. Meet hammer. You are spot on with this comment. In my heart of hearts, I suspected this was true for my situation, as well. It was not until I found out what happened to you, including not just the deletion of your comment, but the behind-the-scenes conservations — which were errily similar in tone and language — that I knew that I could not just fade away. I have enough lawyer (and my dad) left in me to not remain silent in the face of what I perceive as unfair treatment and an inconsistent application of the rules.

            Reminds me of my freshman year in college at George Washington University. We had about 100 people on each floor of our 9-story dorm. One of the rules was no use of illegal drugs (that should go without saying). But, in 1984, marijuana use was commonplace. The RA’s (Resident Assistants, not to be confused with Royal Ambassadors :-) ) knew that pot smoking was rampant. I had complained about it to my RA on the floor, all to no avail. She (and others) just turned a blind eye. One day, a friend and I were kicking a soccer ball in the hallway. We weren’t being rowdy, but just having some fun. Of course, kicking a soccer ball in the hallway was also against dorm rules. The RA saw us and picked up the soccer ball, telling us she was going to confiscate it because we had broken the rules. With as straight a face as I could, I simply responded to her, “If you are going to start enforcing that rule, why don’t you go ahead and start enforcing all the rules.” Needless to say, she handed us back the soccer ball :-)

            I may have gone from law to grace, but that doesn’t mean that grace allows us to simply ignore the rules or unfairly apply them. If I can help people — even those who think everything is great and don’t realize that they could be the next examples when they say or do something that questions “authority” — then I’m going to speak up. After I read your post on Tuesday night, that became my defining moment and turning point. Your voice spoke to me. Your voice will continue to speak to and for countless others. Thank you for that. It will mean more to me than you perhaps will ever know. God bless,

            Howell

  21. Pingback: Absurdity, Petards, & Commenting Policies on SBC Blogs | From Law to Grace

    • Jared,

      Thanks for the clarification. I tried to leave a comment at Voices to apprise you of that fact, but the server picked that moment to act up and not accept that comment. Such is life :-) I understand how you could have been mistaken. I was in Orlando when the motion was made, and, if memory serves, the rapped motion was widely popular (I think entertaining is a better explanation) with many in the hall so that it appeared that there was an affirmation of the motion even though it was ruled out of order and never voted on. I’m not sure that the motion would have passed, but anything was possible in Orlando. Thanks again and God bless,

      Howell

    • Thanks for clearing that up, because I was there and didn’t remember any form of affirmation of A29.

      Now I remember the rap guy–but laughing at the presentation and approving the motion are not quite the same.

  22. Howell, I think the 2 instances of bringing Peter into the conversation are totally different. The article on voices was about Live Blogging The Gospel Project. Your article, however, is about a prominent sbc blog silencing dissenters. Lumpkins runs a prominent sbc blog that silences dissenters. I see it as two different situations. I don’t understand why Lumpkins gets a pass from you?

    For the record though, once Lumpkins was brought into the conversation at Voices, I didn’t have a problem discussing him. William thought Lumpkins should have been left out of the conversation; that’s when I pointed out that David shouldn’t have brought Lumpkins up. Once he was brought up though, he was in the conversation, and I had no problem discussing him.

    You, on the other hand, refuse to discuss Lumpkins, or answer why you’re fine with him silencing dissenters, but you’re against Voices for silencing dissenters (even though I don’t think they are). Why does Lumpkins get a “pass” from you?

    • Jared,

      I understand you see these as two different situations. I am not giving Peter a pass. I will say this as diplomatically as I can. Peter has never personally given me a reason to question his judgment or his fairness. I know that is not the case with you. You and some others will probably never understand why I wrote the post. That’s okay. This is not about Peter. But, when long-time contributors to a group blog are treated as if they were just some “drive-by” commenters, then I am not going to give that a pass. When rules are applied in a clearly inconsistent and absurd way, I am not going to give that a pass. If I never am able to convince you that I had legitimate reasons for writing this post, I’m okay with that. There are no hard feelings. We all have perspectives, experiences, and voices that we bring into the discussion. I appreciate you and what you bring to the table, even when we don’t always agree. But, as I have told you before, I think we would find ourselves in agreement on much, much more than we would disagree on. Hope you have a great day and God bless,

      Howell

      • Jared, I commented on this over at Peter’s blog because Peter brought my name up about “proof”. I have been reading Peter off and on since the whole BI to Caner blog debacle.

        My understand of his blog comment moderation is that it is been Setzer like since I have been reading there. I have never had a comment posted then deleted. However, I have had several comments that were never posted.

        That has probably been wise on his part since deleting after they are posted for anything less than profanity, vulgarity or legal implications is not wise in an aggregator venue like Voices.

        The way Peter does it, he does not need to explain himself each time because it is his policy which is under comment rules. It is HIS living room. He shares the house with no one else. And he can decide who gets in.

        Trust me, I have not been happy when he did not post my comments but I know where I am and respect that. Voices has been all over the map for a quite a while. It has been a lot like dealing with an inconsistent parent. Am I in trouble today for what I was not in trouble for yesterday? Why? It is confusing and arbitrary.

        • Lydia: “Voices has been all over the map for a quite a while. It has been a lot like dealing with an inconsistent parent. Am I in trouble today for what I was not in trouble for yesterday? Why? It is confusing and arbitrary.”

          Your analogy of dealing with an inconsistent parent is right on the money. I liked Dave–but he has even admitted he’s unable to be consistent in moderating…which is almost laughable considering all the talk of my comment not being consistent with my character. Gotta laugh. selahV

  23. Lydia, Howell: For future reference, how shall we determine whether you are wrong or right about Voices? As with Rick’s recent post, everytime a non-Calvinist, or name change opponent (or whatever) posts at Voices, will we not see the same reaction? That these are just the Voices version of affirmative action? What will convince people that it isn’t association with Peter (I presume) that is the kiss of death at Voices? Doesn’t Lydia (lmalone?) and David Worley have such an association? And while I don’t know that they have never had a comment deleted, they freely and prolifically comment at Voices. Likewise David Brumbelow.

    I could be wrong in my defense. I will admit it if I am. But (serious question) what will constitute evidence that you might be wrong? Thanks

    • Bill,

      Thanks for the question. To be frank, I think that evidence will be hard to quantify. Let me give you two analogies that speak to me (they may speak to others as well, but this is my own personal take). Every news outlet or blog has a perspective. For some, that perspective is fairly clear. For others, less so. CNN, despite a few conservatives as contributors, is seen as leaning left. MSNBC, with even fewer conservatives and more overtly left-leaning contributors, is seen as farther left. Fox News, with a few liberals, is seen as either leaning right or far right (depending on who you talk to.) No one that I know would say that Fox News is leaning to the left in its news or opinion. Some might argue that it’s down-the-middle (i.e., “fair and balanced”).

      SBC Voices, despite the plural use of “voices” in the name, has a perspective. Most (not all) contributors and commenters, at least as far as I can tell, have a perspective that could be described as Reformed and pro-GCR — not that there’s anything wrong with that :-) I knew when I first started commenting at Voices (probably in the late summer of 2010 in the wake of the GCR passage) that I was a minority voice. Not a problem. I knew when I was asked to contribute posts that I would be writing from a minority perspective in terms of commenters and other contributors. The editor of Voices knew that as well. Again, not a problem.

      I was welome to submit posts and no one told me what I could or could not write about. I am certainly grateful for that. To this day, I am “welcome” to submit posts and to make comments at Voices. And, now my second analogy to help you see where I and others are at the moment regarding our voices being heard at SBC Voices. Let’s say you invited me into your home every week and you showed hospitality to me and the other invited guests by not only telling us we were welcome but, also offering us food and drink (non-alcoholic, of course ;-) ) and great company and pleasant surroundings, including a nice pool in the backyard to use at our leisure. One day, when I was a guest in your home, you offered everyone else a cold soda with ice, but you ran out of ice by the time it got to me. Not a problem, that happens. The next week, you still welcomed me into your home, but this time, insteading of running out of ice, you ran out of sodas before you got to me. Well, I’m a little miffed, particularly since I was the last served again and you ran out of soda, but I’m not going to let that be a distraction. Stuff happens and I don’t want to be paranoid about it. The following week, you welcome me into your home, but not only do I not have ice or a soda, I’m told that I need to stay inside while everyone else gets to use the pool. Now, I’m beginning to feel . . . ?

      I could go on, but maybe you get the point. This is not about Hariette or me being told explicitly that we are not “welcome” at Voices. No one has said that. But, actions still do speak louder than words. Actions that you and others will never know about. But, actions similar in nature to what Hariette and I experienced will be the only evidence that will be available. Sadly, most of that evidence will never be seen by you or anyone else. The “welcome mat” will still be at the front door of Voices for all to contribute and comment, irrespective of their opinions. The reality will be that many — most of whom you will never know because their circumstances were not as obvious as Hariette’s and mine — will simply choose to refrain from commenting or contributing at Voices. In essence, they will change the channel and stop watching.

      I had already made that determination prior to Tuesday, but when I began to understand what happened to Hariette, I knew that I could not simply fade away. I doubt that I will write about the policies at Voices in the future, although I reserve the right to do so if the circumstances warrant. I will just choose to make my voice heard on my own blog and at other places. That may not be what will satisfy you in terms of evidence, but it’s the best I can do at the moment. Thanks again for taking the time to interact here. Your voice and the voices of folks who both agree and disagree with my opinions and analysis are always welcomed here. God bless,

      Howell

  24. Hi Bill, Help me out here because I am not sure where you are coming from specifically:

    “For future reference, how shall we determine whether you are wrong or right about Voices?”

    Concerning? Moderation rules? Favortism? I am not sure even Howell and I see it the same way. I was not a contributer and receieved no emails about moderation. I have been deleted there quite a bit in the past and even recently…within the past few weeks. My view might be different than his in many respects. I am just seeing the same tactcs and strategies we used to use in manipulating communications for image purposes. I think Voices is popular and Dave got wined and dined by the big cheeses and responded to their affirmations and suggestions. I have seen it happen many times. (And my suspicion is tht they really thought doing this would aleviate some of the caustic YRR guys comments but then moderating brouhaha was overcorrected by Rick’s post. So what was the point of the moderating rules? Makes no sense)

    ” As with Rick’s recent post, everytime a non-Calvinist, or name change opponent (or whatever) posts at Voices, will we not see the same reaction?”

    What reactions? From the YRR guys comments? I am not sure what you are suggesting? Not to discuss things or what? Whose reactions?

    ” That these are just the Voices version of affirmative action?”

    I guess we see things differently. Dave came back from the wine and dine and the subsequent blog posts reflected that, in my opinion. Then he gives new moderation policies but I am not sure who HE THINKS was being UnChristian based on things I had read over there that were NOT deleted or even rebuked by blog moderators. Like calling Peter the anti Christ or one calling Jim G (an infrequent commenter) a liar in a discussion. It seems my definition of what we would call “UnChristian” is different from his so I am really confused all the way around.

    The last post by Rick Patrick even went against some of the new rules for commenting! I mean it is really confusing over there. Perhaps it really is a lot like government affirmative action programs, come to think of it! :o)

    ” What will convince people that it isn’t association with Peter (I presume) that is the kiss of death at Voices? Doesn’t Lydia (lmalone?) and David Worley have such an association?”

    I have never thought it was my association with Peter that got me deleted in the past. I had huge vitriolic debates with Peter, David, CB and others in the past over Caner and disagreed with thyem vehemetly for their support of Caner. I still disagree with it. Not sure what that has to do with anything, though. I do not get involved in ‘sides’ and stay there. I will never align myself with one movement or group of people. But when I see dots connecting, I mention them if I am allowed on blogs. I also try to bring some logic to the table. Yes, Driscoll DNA is all over Acts 29!!!

    My focus is the bigger picture of this push for authoritarian control over people which one needs to be a wolf or hirling in Christendom— who then makes merchandise of God’s people. (Must harder to do with congregational polity and lots of sunlight…the SBC way of the past)

    ” And while I don’t know that they have never had a comment deleted, they freely and prolifically comment at Voices. Likewise David Brumbelow.”

    So why the new rules? Who is “unChristian” over there and can Dave give us examples? From what I can tell over the last few years it is quite arbitrary and then once he institutes the new rules and he posts Rick’s article. Curious and confusing (Not to mention Setzer comments and tells Dave not to argue about the new rules on email. Asking questions is arguing? Who knows? Here we go again with the spiritual abuse tactics…control. It is all about controlling the venue and even if they do not abide by their own moderation rules many are walking on eggshells, anyway. I simply refuse to do it)

    “I could be wrong in my defense. I will admit it if I am. But (serious question) what will constitute evidence that you might be wrong? Thanks”

    You mean, what would constitute enough evidence “FOR YOU” that you could be wrong. For me, I lived this stuff for years, know the play book and drills all too well. It has always been frustrating that more people don’t see it as it is being played out before your eyes.

    Hint: Notice how now the idea is to suddenly separate Driscoll from Acts 29 as the influencer and role model for those guys. Did you hear that one at Voices in comments? With agreement of course! Any suggestion that is not the case at all? Of course! So, now we are to believe Driscoll had little influence on guys who joined up with Acts 29. Incredible. (they really do think we are this dumb. I promise you.) Never mind the fact we all know who have been around a while most guys got involved because they loved Driscoll’s style…move along, nothing to see here. And note, John Piper has taken down his “I love Mark Driscoll’s Theology vid that has been up for years. Is that one of his tenents of his new message of “Masculine Chrisitianity”? :o)

    You cannot make this stuff up. See how it works? We never learn from anything because most are protecting image and each other. That is simply all Voices is trying to do now that Setzer is behind the scenes. Of course they will throw those not supporting all things Mohler, Lifeway, etc…some bones and speak of unity all the while the hotheads are accusing them of hating change. Of course, they want the money to do it all with from the traditionalists. (wink)

    But I also realize that people have to know how it is played. You cannot convince them of it. Here is how we got by with it for so long in the mega world. We used to tell people to: Trust positive intentions. I hear some in the YRR use another variation, “Believe the Best”. (This made the questioners out to be sinners if they got suspicious of things and started asking inconvenient questions)

    I know when I hear that sort of thing now from leaders to eat with my back to the wall in restaurants, hide the silver and lock up the children.

    Besides, why would I trust positive intentions or believe the best when they tell us we are all still totally depraved?

    Bill, All you can do is make your own determinations. I have found it very rare for those who make their living in ministry to ever speak out against injustice concerning their colleagues or leaders. That makes Howell quite rare in my book even if he sees a different injustice than I do. Most look the other way because they either have ambitions or need to pay the mortgage. Others want to be just like the leaders and learn the tactics early on thinking it is normal Christianity.

    Transparancy and sunlight are the best disinfectents of all for all of it. We let the “little” things slide like sealing documents and before you know it, we are dealing with bigger and bolder things. Like trying to pretend Acts 29 does not have Driscoll DNA all over it.

  25. I just figured I would come back and add a couple more thoughts at the back end of the dialog after I had foot-in-mouth disease at the beginning of it.

    If there is some grand plan going on at SBC Voices, I have no idea what it is. I got involved in the site way back when Tony was still running the show. My first exposure to the site came from the March Madness thing and a link from the InternetMonk (that should date things just a bit). At some point, I asked about getting my blog listed in the listings and then at some point after that Tony allowed me to contribute a post or two. I kind of disappeared from the site when Matt took over, not because of any dispute or anything, I just didn’t have a lot of time and he seemed to have plenty of content. When Dave took over, he emailed everyone that had been given writing access at the site (or something like that I guess). I emailed him back and said that I would like to write again if they needed me. I just add that background info so you will understand where I am coming from.

    I have never been put through any sort of litmus test or asked my views and frankly I have probably got some of the more unusual opinions of all the folks who write there, just take a look back through my posts if you don’t believe me. I highly respect a lot of you that have been involved in this debate and discussion. I have always enjoyed Howell’s writing, even if I didn’t always agree in every area. His concerns about GCR were the subject of many discussions I have had here in the Dakotas and in hindsight it made me look smarter than I am because he was very prescient in his concerns. I have read Hariette’s stuff for years as well and have always enjoyed it. The fact that you two have these grave concerns gives me pause to say the least.

    The plain fact is that I don’t have a lot of beef in most of the “fighting issues” in SBC life. Here in ND, we are more concerned with keeping our churches healthy and alive than with whether or not we call it the SBC or the GBC. The GCR changes have given us enough headaches that we don’t want to deal with anymore. And even then, we are trying to take a positive attitude about the funding cuts by deciding to be less reliant on NAMB. So, the upshot is that I don’t deal in a lot of the controversial issues in SBC life and the changes (whatever they are) at SBC Voices may just be unnoticed for me. I can say that I haven’t seen any grand strategy unveiled in anything that has made it to my inbox.

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