The Chancellor, the President and the Southern Baptist Convention in California: Some Things Just Write Themselves
One of the constant refrains on Twitter in the months preceding the SBC’s arrival this month, and following the announcement that John MacArthur is slated to “headline” this event, was “Wait, John MacArthur is not Southern Baptist. Why is he speaking? This is weird”. Dear Twitter friend, you are not wrong. I cannot have much to say about this as I have never been a Southern Baptist; however, I am not ignorant to the tremendous influence they have had on Christianity and culture the world over. The emphasis on missions, the Gospel in those early decades is inspiring, so it is with great confusion and wonder as to how we got to where we are now. For all of us non-SBCers, we are merely spectators and supporters of the abused and discarded from this organization, the very apathy that seems to be on brand for other “conservative” partners.
No, John has never been “Southern Baptist”, but he could arguably be thought of as a de facto leader, an “influencer” if you will in the Southern Baptist Convention. His preaching schedule throughout the 90s, 00s was replete with Southern Baptist schools, seminaries and churches. Southern Baptist preachers would attend the Shepherds’ Conference, and the ill-fated Strange Fire conference as well would be eagerly attended by Southern Baptist faithful (though Erin Harding and friends probably wished they’d missed that one). Speak to any TheoBro, anyone with 1689 in their profile and they will defend the MacArthur brand as they would their own mother. MacArthur quotes are tweeted and retweeted and his influence transcends generations. Southern Baptists buy the books, the bibles, the Study guides and keep the machine purring like new. Until…
2020: And there were Heroes on Both Sides
The first case of the coronavirus was in February 2020 in Northern California, and by March it had spread throughout the state and by mid-March we were in a new, undiscovered world of “Lockdown”. This is how different things were, and brace yourself, TMU shut down its doors! We will not mention the fact that John MacArthur sent a letter to the students sent home to ask them to donate their room and board refund.
By August 2020, GCC was embroiled in two lawsuits, Trump sent in reinforcements in the form of…Jenna Ellis, and the situation was averted. It was “Mission Accomplished” as far as the leaders and attendees of GCC were concerned. No pandemic, no restrictions. No problems.
Then, there was a rift. A socio-political divide in homes, churches, denominations and, heaven help you if you were not on the right side of things. If you did not support the right candidate, health opinion, scientific theory, and the right rights, then you were a card carrying member of the “Woke” and not worth speaking to. They’ll march on without you. Pastors called out other pastors on Twitter, Christians blocked other Christians who did not take an equally hard-line position, and the rest of the world laughed as it burned all the same.
Enter the Ungodly Bloggers League (trademark pending).
Bingo Card: MacArthur Preaching at SBC event
It is of no surprise by anyone who has been paying attention that there is an abuse problem within and outside the SBC. Abuse and the subsequent cover-ups are sickening to learn of, and this transparency is necessary to bring about repentance, judgment and God’s mercy to the afflicted. We are laboring under the misapprehension that this is a megachurch problem only. The stories, many still to be told, that have come out of Grace Community Church should anger you. They should absolutely bother you, your conscience, and compel you to look further into the matter. Unfortunately, what you will find is silence.
I never believed that John MacArthur would have anything to say regarding the David Gray incident, but I did hope the church would at least reach out to Eileen, or at the least their PR firm. It’s what they’re paid the big bucks for. I guess when you have a church that loaned out their secretaries to a convicted child molestor while in prison, the expectation that some semblance of assistance would be given to the innocent wife and children as well was a foolish one. You know “Walk in Love”, yada yada.
So, yes…MacArthur, an abuse enabler and supporter, speaking at an event which precedes a larger organization, an Empire, who covers abuse is the most on brand thing I have heard this year.
Guess what though? And here’s something they don’t know.
It’s not about them. God stands with the abused sheep. And if you claim to be saved, then you do, too. Enough said.
Oh, and Biden said something about “popping” someone at the LA Harbor, and inflation.