Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Issue of Authority

There was an entry on another blog chastising the SBC reformers for not submitting to the authority of the SBC leaders and the boards of trustees.

I agree that the problem in the SBC may be rooted in rebellion and the refusal to yield to authority. I just think a lot of people do not understand lines of authority in our convention and in Baptist polity.

The final authority in the SBC is the convention in annual session. Last year, the convention adopted a motion which identified the Baptist Faith and Message as our common doctrinal statement. This motion was offered to counter the policies of the IMB Board of Trustees and other actions.

After the motion, several key leaders in the convention stood to say they would refuse to follow the intent of the motion. The IMB BoT has not submitted to the authority of the SBC. The rebellion I see is among the leaders of the SBC. They seem to believe they are not accountable to the convention or anyone in it.

But, the convention is not under the authority of Paige Patterson, Al Mohler, John Floyd or Tom Hatley. I have been told my many folks who know them that Patterson, Mohler and Floyd are fine men of God who deserve to be honored for their fidelity to the gospel. But that does not change my opinion that they have displayed hubris in dealing with the authority of the SBC over them.

There has been plenty of inflated rhetoric and sinful behavior on all sides of the issues of the SBC. But the key issue to me is authority. Will the leaders we have put in power be accountable to the SBC, or will they refuse to submit to the established authority of the convention in session.


Rex Ray said...

Preach on brother!

Wes Kenney said...


This is absurd. The motion simply does not do what it's proponents wish it to, and no one can argue with any credibility that the messengers intended to vote to limit the ability of trustees to make policy. Such a dangerous and silly limit would nearly obviate altogether any need for a trustee system.

Todd said...


If Wes is correct, then we do need to make some major overhauls to our ecclesial structures. For what we allege and what we practice are not in line. I am sure it is silly and dangerous to propose these two should agree, but what do I know. I voted for the measure under the pretext it would in fact give parameters to our Boards and Agencies rather than allow them to make decisions for me that move beyond what we say we agree to. Alas, I have no credibility to make such a claim. Consider my comment an exercise in futility.

Dave Miller said...


First, I wasn't there, so my opinions are based on what I read, both in Baptist Press and blog sites. My opinion may, in fact, be absurd.

However, was the Garner motion not specifically directed at the IMB BoT policies? Was it not specifically meant to be a corrective to those policies? Didn't the discussion leading up to the vote make it clear that the ability of BoT's to make doctrinal policies beyond the BF&M was exactly what is at stake?

It seems to me that those who oppose the application of the motion to the BoT polices are the ones who are calling it confusing. Both the motion itself and the discussion make that clear to me.

On a personal note, what I want to do is engage in discussion with those who holds positions opposite of mine. I appreciate you dropping by and giving a counterpoint to my point.

CB Scott said...


This post is not "absurd." It is the natural result of a fair thinking man and his response to what has been happening in the SBC of late.

There was confusion about the Garner motion and many knew there would be from the beginning.

It must be admitted also that the trustees of the IMB have created the most confusing arena of gibberish of any entity in a very long time. If trustee ignorance was gold the Lottie Moon offering would not be necessary. The IMB would be richer than Saudi "oil terrorists."

If it had not been for such silly and stupid trustees as what we now have so many of among our entities the Garner motion would never have had a birthing in the first place.

If anything the Garner Motion showed the foolishness of current trustees and their thinking they can run over the entirety of the SBC.

There is no need to change the trustee system. There is a great need to change some trustees. I listened to the Frank Cox interview on TODAY twice last night.

I support him, but he needs to be educated on trustee problems. He does not have a clue.

The Tom and Jerry Show does not need to go into "reruns."

I think highly of you Wes, but we can't have this thing both ways.

There are real problem with trustees letting their agency heads get the SBC in trouble. The Garner Motion made that obvious. Otherwise it would not have seen the light of day.