I have a difficult time with so-called “discernment bloggers.” As a person who leans toward being an encourager and who strives to believe the best about others, it’s hard to understand the intentions of people who make their primary, or secondary, calling to point out the shortcomings of others. The work itself is fraught with spiritual landmines.
While this practice can serve the body of Christ, I have found that some discerners, while highly critical of the SBC, are not members of a Southern Baptist church, do not contribute to the Cooperative Program and are not striving to partner with us to reach our communities, our states and the world for Christ. Most have probably never heard an IMB missionary report or attended a commissioning service for some of our bravest and brightest missionaries.
Some discernment bloggers only tell one side of the story, paint with broad strokes, do not practice 1 Corinthians love in believing the best about others and do not follow the admonition of Jesus in Matthew 18 by going to their brother or sister who has offended them before going to others.
They do, however, have something important to say. There are times when followers of Jesus do not like the style or way a message was delivered — but we still may need to hear his or her message.
Southern Baptists must be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. By that I mean, we must be able to defend the solid gospel work taking place in our convention against unfair and ungracious attacks, while at the same time leaning into the real issues that exist in our convention.
For example, last week I listened to a preacher indicate that the SBC cannot be redeemed and is under the judgment of God. He said that if you care about the truth, you must get out. Honestly, his comments felt a little dramatic and extreme. But at least one of the issues he cited was legitimate and deserved further conversation. I reached out to the national leader with the issues he raised and asked for clarification.
I heard back from the leader within 24 hours, and he addressed my questions in a satisfactory way. The reason I raise this matter is to say that every Southern Baptist has the same privilege that I have. We are a voluntary convention of churches, and our leaders are accountable to the people in the pews who pay our salaries. Here is how we can exercise our privilege as Southern Baptists.
- Be fair to other brothers and sisters, and don’t believe everything you read.
- When you read something that concerns you, reach out directly to the party in question to get their side of the story. If you do not know how to reach out, call me and I will help you.
- If you feel that you have not been adequately heard, then reach out to the trustees of that entity, agency, institution or convention. They exist to serve you.
- If you feel you have exhausted your efforts and real harm is being done to our cooperative work, then talk to others who can either validate or challenge your concerns. It may be that many people have the same concern, and that action needs to be taken.
Thank you for considering these thoughts. I am grateful to serve as your KBC executive director-treasurer and look forward daily to serving your church and its leaders.