More of the Same – The Glimmer is Coming off the GCR

Seems like Southern Baptist state newsletters, er uh, newspapers like to be the center of attention. Last week the Baptist Messenger ran a note a graphic used in a previous issue of a “Proclamation on Morality” to be a “misrepresentation.” Talk about soft retraction.

If the shimmer comes off the Baptist Messenger with such an inaction, it pales when compared to the journalistic tit for tat offered sponsored by the Florida Baptist Witness. In an interview with mega church pastor and President of the SBC Johnny Hunt, James Smith Sr. offers a subtitle to the interview title derailing the entire piece.

Led to believe the GCR is about inspiring greater evangelism, putting more missionaries on the mission field, and planting more churches, the subtitle focuses attention not on Hunt’s personal gestures commensurate with the spirit of the GCR but instead comes off more as a public strong arm of Morris Chapman. In a case of, “What was he thinking?” Smith decides it more important to ask “where does Morris stand” than suggest others view Hunt’s decisions as the indicative mood of an SBC who found its glimmer of hope in the midst of decline in Louisville.

Read the posts. Many lauded and continue to laud the GCR vote as one for history, the record books, and the return of the SBC whose demise may have been greatly exaggerated it is hoped. Tactics like Smith’s, along with the words of Hunt, indicate the glimmer is already coming off the GCR. Seems we cannot abide success and positive moves without sniping along the way. These aren’t new tactics. These are the ones of days gone by – CR days gone by. Still ringing in my ears are the words, “But Todd, you don’t know what some of them have done to us.”

There is no place in a GCR for manipulative editorials. No place for Presidential sniping. No call for doing what we have always done. But, I guess now that the SBC is beyond 150 years old it is time to do as we do with traditional churches we believe cannot grow. Let’s throw it over and start something new. Denominational types have been telling faithful pastors that since they do not grow as fast as others, it is time for something better. What is good for the church is good for the denomination.

Whatever description we want to give the second generation CR group will not in any way change things if we do not see different tactics. The glimmer may not be gone, but the shine is sure coming off.

I have read, heard, and talked with folks who think Morris Chapman to have slipped in his leadership skill in the SBC. Calls for his resignation have come from varied places. The more we hear and read pieces like what Smith offers the more some of us are going to wonder if there is not something to Morris’ reticence to go along in the beginning. Could it be he noticed this was simply a re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? And, if it is discovered this is nothing more than a streamlining, read restructuring, then any bureaucracy that emerges will be insufficient. We will soon be asking, “Why would we throw good money after bad?”

My simple read of the Scriptures indicates what is prayed for is laborers – people. When we continue to make money the means to our demise we are simply asking the people of the SBC to fund a monumental bailout that will in the end not lead to lives lived in the way of Jesus drawing people to hope and faith in Jesus, the Christ.

I am still going to beat my drum. What we need is a Great Commandment Resurgence. Getting the Great Commission ahead of the Great Commandment misses the point of Jesus’ life. It is about our love for the other.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

4 comments on “More of the Same – The Glimmer is Coming off the GCR

  1. Just read the article… and I feel like it was responsible journalism, which is calling Chapman to public accountability among Baptists.

  2. This is so true. This is why I am on the fringe. This is straight out of the playbook of the old CR.

    I would hope that we could get others involved and force the conversation into a truly missional expression. As of now, all they are doing going for the money, as the large amount of the article speaks to.

    Who knows…maybe others will begin to speak out in different and a unique way!

  3. A college friend overseas left the following on FB –

    hey Todd, can you add some color to your post? By GCR do you mean Great Commission Resurgence, or what? Also, not sure what you mean about the glimmer and shimmer, can you clarify for those of us overseas and maybe a bit out of touch?

    Yes, I mean Great Commission Resuergence. The “glimmer” refers to the hoped for turn around in decline seen corrected in the GCR.

    Shimmer – an otherwise pristine image of the Baptist Messenger before a graphic artist and someone let go to print a fake document.

  4. Mat,
    Accountability runs both ways. If you are referring to the ever present Clark Logan issue, I wonder if you have ever been in a situation where there was 1)not a good employment fit, and 2)a job not well done. Neither of these require public disclosure nor the accusation of immoral or unethical behavior. Since we have neither public disclosure for personnel reasons and since 1 and 2 do not rise to the level of immoral or unethical why conclude mischief?

    Are we to conclude the mega church pastors with upwards of 100+ staff have never encountered the same? Did they run to the church with personnel matters? Likely some have been dismissed in those contexts with much less fanfare – but for the same reasons.

    You call it good journalism and accountability. Some will surely see it as continuing to stir what is not near the ordeal we wished it were. This then gives the impression the matter is less about Clark and more about Morris.

    And, if we are going to ask where Morris is on the GCR, the article noted the task force would have what it needed to conduct its business. If we are going to debate Morris’ report in Louisville, we will likely come down on the same side. I thought is could have been much better. He did come out and clarify what he meant. Some were satisfied. Others were not. But, as my friend David points out in a post of his own, Morris did not take to Tweeting and looking for papers in which to press his displeasure. Others have.

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