"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Thou Shalt Not Blog"

Here Ye, Here Ye! Thou Bloggers Shall Cease Your Criticism, and Thou Shalt Repent!!

"[we] call upon bloggers to cease the critical second-guessing of these elected leaders, and be it further resolved that all Georgia Baptists respectfully request and expect that individuals who disrupt the felllowship through blogging repent and immediately cease the activity and no longer cause disharmony...." from the Georgia Baptist Convention resolution on blogging, passed November 2007.

"The [blogger] went down to Georgia, he was lookin' for a soul to steal, he was in a bind, 'cause he was way behind, and he was willin' to make a deal"...Charlie Daniels, 1979.

------

As the Ergun Caner scandal has unfolded over the past year, there is no question religious blogs played a pivitol role in getting the word out about the Caner deceptions. The blogs presented evidence, and allowed analysis and commentary by all on their blogs. Through video and audio clips, through parody and satire - by a Muslim in Europe, a female blogger in Oklahoma, a trespassed blogger in Jacksonville, and even a Calvinist professor and debater from California, and many others - the word got out about Caner.

But you have to at least give the Baptist leaders credit for having foresight: they saw the danger blogs presented to their grasp of power and their money faucet back in 2007 - even before that with Wade Burleson's blog, and they came out with this resolution. They realized blogs would be a source of information and an avenue of public discourse and debate amongst the brethren they couldn't control.

And that has created a mammoth problem - e.g., Ergun Caner.

This weekend I re-read the resolution against blogging that the Georgia Baptist State Convention passed in November 2007. I've printed the Georgia resolution at the bottom of this post. At the time of it's passage, the resolution got only scant mention in baptist news outlets (here and here). I gather they don't like critical blogs very much in Georgia - maybe Charlie Daniels' song should be changed: "The blogger went down to Georgia, he was lookin' for a soul to steal..."

Yep, SBC leaders - in Georgia and elsewhere - don't like critical bloggers. They refer to critical blogs as slander, personal attacks, divisive, destructive, and other such adjectives. And there is no question, they would love to exercise their power and influence to shut 'em down if they could, we have hard evidence of such.

So take a look at the Georgia Baptist resolution below, now 2 1/2 years later. I'll post some analysis and commentary on this resolution later. Would love to hear your thoughts on this resolution, and other attempts over the past 5 years in dealing with this problem of recalcitrant bloggers.

This resolution was so successful in stopping blogging, maybe one like it should be introduced at the SBC Annual Meeting this year!

---------------

RESOLUTION ON BLOGGING
submitted by Wayne Bray, pastor
Beulah Baptist Church, Douglasville
and William Harrell, pastor
Abilene Baptist Church, Martinez

WHEREAS the American people have the distinct privilege of freedom of speech as provided by our United States Constitution, and this resolution is not intended to limit that freedom of speech we all value so much; and

WHEREAS responsible blogging can be a means of encouragement of our people, but certain people use this tool for divisive and destructive rhetoric at the expense of peace among the Brethren; and

WHEREAS blogging is also being used by some as a tool for personal attacks among other Christian Brothers and Sisters, and this critical and divisive use promotes a negative view of the Southern Baptist Convention in the eyes of the society we are striving to reach with the Gospel (James 3:6, 14),

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the messengers of this convention oppose blogging when it is used to cause division and disharmony among the members of our Southern Baptist Family (Proverbs 6:16-19; 1 Cor 1:10); and since personal differences should not be dealt with in public view,

BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that all personal attacks should cease immediately (Proverbs 17:27-28; John 17:21-24); and

BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that we affirm the historical method of administering our agencies and institutions through elected boards of trustees, and we call upon bloggers to cease the critical second-guessing of these elected leaders; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all Georgia Baptists respectfully request and expect that individuals that disrupt the fellowship through blogging repent and immediately cease this activity and no longer cause disharmony for the advancement of their own personal opinions and agendas; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we set our eyes once again on the fields to which we are called to labor, refusing to dishonor God with activities that militate against harmony and good will.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is what it is. The Church leaders have gotten used to answering to no one, and the Georgia Resolution is an attempt to keep it that way. The Church is corrupt. They cannot answers the concerns and issues of the bloggers, or they will be exposed. Therefore, they can only attach the bloggers and resolve to put a stop to all critical blogging. They call it SIN! and the sheep agree.

The Devil went down to Georgia and he found no souls to steal. He was way behind, but he couldn't find any more souls left to steal. They were all sitting in the pews, being amused and being abused by the greedy pastors who had already made a deal.

Bennett Willis said...

The attempts to stop/control blogging and other means of Internet communications should be something that we learn from.

One of the things that have kept the Caner discussion so "lively and active" has been the "support" that he has been given. This support has inspired a significant amount of searching on the Internet and in other “archives.” This has aided in fully documenting a number of things that would have been ignored without this encouragement. Unfortunately for Dr. Caner, most of the searching has revealed more and more examples of conflicting statements.

As I recall, the Georgia effort was directed at someone who did not get a lot of attention and it helped “fix” that issue. I don’t remember the specific person (so the fix was not complete) but I’m sure someone will fill in the blank in a few comments.

Anyhow, if you have erred and the bloggers get after you, you should confess quickly. 

Johnny D. said...

Seems like a "no-brainer" to me. The resolution, once you cut through the big words says, "Blogging is good if we find the words in the blog make the SBC in general, and the SBC leadership in particular, look good. Blogging is bad if we find the words in the blog make the SBC leadership in particular, and the SBC in general, look bad."

Cousin Tom, let me put it this way - if you wrote boot-licking blogs extolling the virtues of all the trolls that run the SBC, you'd be an SBC "big-wheel" right about now. In fact, it's not too late. Simply "repent" and get on-board with the "team." You could start writing blogs about how great the leadership is, how you were all wrong, how you'd love to lick the old gum off the bottom of Brunson's heel, et-cetera. Why, in no time you'd be on the celebrity roll and gettin' invites to preach at conventions and church services. I can see the poster now. "Watchdog Blogger sees the light! Hear him speak at 11:00! Only $50 per person!"

Yeah, Cousin, you could parlay this repent thing into a little SBC kingdom for yourself. You and Brunson and Caner could be up on stage together high-fiving all the way to the collection plate counting room.

Mike DeLong said...

I'm sorry WD. I guess I would encourage readers to look carefully at the language cited in the articles you link and ask if/how it applies to the Caner situation.

Caner isn't an elected leader in the SBC, so that clause wouldn't apply to him.

And frankly, I'd encourage folks to consider focusing on facts rather than characterizations when examining the various Caner artifacts and steer clear of personal attacks. There's a big difference between saying on the one hand "in one place Caner says he was born in Istanbul, but in his books he says he was born in Stockholm," or "in various public appearances Caner suggests he was raised to be a violent extremist, but the timeline suggested by his mother's divorce decree and his yearbook photos make that hard to believe" and on the other hand saying things like "Caner is a Liar," "Caner isn't really a Christian," "Butch Caner eats babies," "Ergun Carpathia Lies Again," etc.

I'll agree that language saying "don't second-guess elected leadership" is weird given that there will be another election someday, but it's not applicable here. And there's a big difference between asking legitimate questions and personal attacks, and all sides in this discussion would do well to remember that difference.

BibleWheel said...

Reminds me of this hilarious spoof on Caner's famous quote (link):

"Last week I tweeted that when it comes to critics, you can’t shut them up, but you can shut them out .... Well – I guess YOU CAN SHUT THEM UP!! We are celebrating Chancellor Falwell’s legal victory in convincing youtube to take down videos about me that we didn’t like. BOOM! GONE! Love it!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Cousin Johnnie! Great to hear from you!

I'm working on some other posts about the Georgia Resolution...it really is comical when you examine what they are saying.

Their first statement about acknowledging the First Amendment rights we all enjoy...of course the speech that is to be most protected by the First Amendment is the very speech their resolution seeks to squelch through their grand and glorious proclamation: critical, harsh, controversial speech. If they had their way in govt matters, I would say the would make that kind of speech illegal, to criticize the "man of God"...when that is precisely the kind of speech the First Amendment should protect the most.

And of course the Baptist leaders love controversial and critical speech, like denouncing homosexuality, calling Catholics cult members, etc. They like THAT controversial speech, but critical speech directed toward them by bloggers in their own ranks - nope. You're attacking "God's man" and need to repent.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Mike - Caner's situation does apply to this resolution because the very men that catapulted him to SBC stardom have their reputations linked to Caners. I'm speaking of Vines, Patterson, and others. And Caner is a SBC man through and through, from his salvation to his education and his pastoral experience.

What I call truthful blogging about the deception of Caner regarding his testimony is what the SBC "boot lickers" (Johnnie D's words) are calling personal, vicious attacks. So their resolution, in my opinion, is geared toward any public criticism, true or not true. If it makes them look bad, then it's evil. They want criticism and debate on THEIR terms, and their terms don't include public discourse on blogs.

Oh well. Thank God for the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

WD - hope you had a good memorial day. What was it like seeing men and women honored for "defending the Constitution" when you had your Constitutional rights violated and the men that violated them are being portrayed as heroes?

I couldn's stop thinking of you and your wife as I saw policemen "thanked" for doing their jobs.

You are owed an apology sir. Keep blogging and suing until you get one.

Hoss

Thy Peace said...

I am sure everyone knows by now that the GBC anti-blogging resolution was aimed at Doug Pittman.

Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > A Southern Baptist Religious "State of Play" [APRIL 28, 2009].

"Whereas" posts related to FBC Jax ...

FBC Jax Votes on Blogger Resolution Brought By Trustees [FEBRUARY 25, 2009].

Concerned FBC Jax Members: July is "Independence from Mac Brunson" Month [JUNE 25, 2008].

Mike DeLong said...

WD --

I guess I'll have to disagree again. I tend to see the Liberty-SBC relationship as a marriage of convenience, unlike say the Baylor-SBC relationship or what-have-you. When Jerry Falwell took up with the SBC some Liberty-watchers expected that he was doing so to provide continuity of doctrinal leadership, stability, etc. after he died, but by the time he died it was clear that control of the school (and the church) would stay inside the Falwell family.

I guess if I wanted to measure the SBC influence on the seminary I'd probably look more at the number of graduates of SBC seminaries on the faculty there vs. graduates of other seminaries, rather than by looking at one or more high-profile hires.

And I have to reiterate what I said earlier: when bloggers engage in high rhetoric rather than focusing on facts that can be verified from multiple independent sources they play into the stereotype of bloggers as mudslingers or whatever. And who really wants to be accountable to a community of mudslingers?

I'm concerned that once the end of the month comes and the Godwin committee does whatever it's going to do that the interested blogging community will have substantiated Towns's original characterization and contributed on balance more heat than light to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/05/31/the-baptist-mafia-defined/#comment-4462

Looks like there is debate also on the Wartburg blog concerning this issue and others

Kirby said...

If I am not mistaken, these types of resolutions are written by the Executive Committee.

Who was the Chairman of the G B C Executive Committee approving these types of resolution?

Mike Everson

Who was Mike Everson? He was the Pastor Of Prays Mill whom the Blogger was exposing on his website.

What is Mike Everson doing now that The Georgia Baptist Convention rescued him from this blogger? 3 months later they hired him to....get this..........

Consult other Pastors in GA. He was rescued by Robert White and given a job in GA after the Church member exposed him.

WOW

Now I would love to see that website and all these issues Mike was involved in.

I know one of the issues was the Christian Index - ( the Propaganda Paper for the G B C lead by Gerald Harris and J. Robert White aka one of the G C R members) and its buddies, both of which are best friends with Mike Everson, lied about Mike Everson having 3 degrees in an article published by Gerald Harris concerning Everson's education and background when Doug exposed him as having NOT ONE DEGREE!

And he was using one of those Fake Doctor titles too until Everson was busted by Doug....

But I think what started the blogging was all the meanness, coverups, and deception Everson did while the Pastor at Prays Mill......

That resolution should definitely be scary to all Baptist who think this type of thing does not exist !

Arce said...

Blogs get read written when there is something to write about, namely something that will be inherently controversial, like a sinning pastor (biblical term: hypocrit) or a seminary professor given to extreme misrepresentations (common word: lying). Blogs that are of no interest do not get read and so are rarely written.

Rather than a resolution on blogging, what the GBC needed was a resolution on how to respond to sin in the pastorate or on the staff -- expose it, repent of it, and go (elsewhere) and sin no more.

Lydia said...

"One of the things that have kept the Caner discussion so "lively and active" has been the "support" that he has been given. This support has inspired a significant amount of searching on the Internet and in other “archives.” This has aided in fully documenting a number of things that would have been ignored without this encouragement. Unfortunately for Dr. Caner, most of the searching has revealed more and more examples of conflicting statements.
"

Excellent point!

But what will happen? It will come down to whose side one is on as most of these issues end up. Caner will be all over the place with paid speaking gigps and it will end up as an us vs. them issue once again. One side will censor and talk about how hateful the other side is. The other side will continue to point out the lies. And many people contract scandal fatigue. It happened with Clinton and he ended up riding it out.

Never mind about objective truth.

Doug said...

Yeah, the G B C blogging resolution was directed straight at me.

Did it bother me know, because I knew the TRUTH and it was then that I knew that TRUTH was effective in getting the message out.

Now I will post something I just posted elsewhere.....

.... and then just read and listen to what others say for awhile....
so this will be my last post for awhile unless I am requested to respond;

Here is just a little more additional info and what I heard from Mike Everson on a couple of occasions and I guess this say’s it all about how they use people within the church to fight their battles…..

From my website dougpittman.com in 2007;

“All I know is that if you ever say a negative word about Mike Everson you are labeled a “troublemaker” and they watch and “blacklist” you. As I look back and reflect and remember things told to me, I remember him saying to me once during his fight with one of the former member at Pray’s Mill ;
“ Doug, it is like this: remember…. the Chief used to always circle himself and get the Indians to fight his battles and if he got the best to protect him he would never have to fight, because they would fight for the chief to protect him to the bitter end … I have my deacons fight my battles for me.”

Get it, they use their DEACONS to fight their BATTLES!

This was told to me by a HUGE BAPTIST LEADER, It was from the Former Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Georgia Baptist Convention – 2nd in Command and leader of ALL ministers in GA…

This mentality should be alarming to us all!

Now that I look back on this statement from one of the men who WAS very highly respected within GA at that time, and I see clearly why Baptist are now in such a mess.

Yes, the Internet has and will continue to be THE tool to expose men such as Mike Everson and his disciples.

And one other footnote. Mike Everson would be or would have become the next PRESIDENT for the G B C if I had not exposed him…. Imagine that!

As I went through this and think about everyone else who has to follow my footsteps when exposing issues that need exposing, I think of this statement by Thomas Paine;

THE FOUNDATION: COURAGE

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” — Thomas Paine

I used his statement many times to help me get through some very rough – almost life threatening – situations.

I stated the following on my blog dougpittman.com when exposing Mike and others,

I will stand on my principles, character, dignity and integrity unto death. Will You?

“The Internet, the Great Equalizer”

Following Christ, Not Man
Doug Pittman

Tim Marsh said...

Dear Watchdog,

I can't imagine that you, BBC Open Forum, Wade Burleson and Debbie Kaufman receive pleasure from what you do. I am sure that there are things that you would rather do with your time.

And, I can see where these blogs do cause disruption in local church as well as denominational politics.

However, when spiritual leaders decided that it was OK to cover up deceit, abuse, embellishments, and gross financial gain for some "greater good" of the organization, then blogging becomes necessary to tell the truth.

Your blogging, along with others like you, reminds me of the tracts of Martin Luther which started the Reformation.

To SBC Leaders: End the corruption and maybe the blogging will end.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The Watchdog is called "indefatigable". I admit, I had to look up the word.

Bloggers Repent by Piety, Inc.

Former FBC Insider said...

FEAR.

This is what fear looks like in print.
If there was no arrogance, there wouldn't be the fear.

Pathetic.

Simpir said...

Watchdog has a lot of help so he can continue posting what he post.

Ideas abound!

WishIhadknown said...

What about in the case of a pastor who was not properly elected? Does this resolution apply?

WishIhadknown said...

The good ole Southern Baptist Convention, getting it wrong since 1845!

Anonymous said...

Baptists---even Georgia ones---vote with their feet as often as with their hands . . .

Thy Peace said...

WD, a minor correction. I believe James White [a Calvinist professor and debater] lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Anonymous said...

"Get it, they use their DEACONS to fight their BATTLES!"

In my former church, the pastor used staff members to fight his battles and cover his tracks.

Anonymous said...

In my former church, the pastor used staff members to fight his battles and cover his tracks.

June 1, 2010 9:19 PM

In my former mega church, the pastor was in a ivory tower and was protected from any fallout by the elders. They all acted like he knew nothing. He was lofty and pious. The evil stuff just happened all around him and he was always innocent. (But he knew everything) Image is everything.

stt said...

I'm working on some other posts about the Georgia Resolution...it really is comical when you examine what they are saying.

......it is vanity to argue with a cynical and devoted smart alec.

You teach so well.

debbiekaufman said...

The moral of resolutions like this is: Tell me I can't do something and I'll show you I can. :)

Anonymous said...

Bloggers uncover the most revealing video of Ergun Caner yet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFlqwOBxEQ0

Anonymous said...

Rather than a resolution on blogging, what the GBC needed was a resolution on how to respond to sin in the pastorate or on the staff.
___________________________________

Wow. What a simple truth. If the time and energy these defenseless pastors spend trying to defend themselves (or have others defend them) would be used on simply finding ways to be more open, more honest, less hypocritical, more loving, more kind...well then, the blogs would serve no purpose.

They just can't bring themselves to do it. Too much power, greed and arrogance and pride. And too many wealthy yes men being used as puppets.

Anonymous said...

To SBC Leaders: End the corruption and maybe the blogging will end.
___________________________________

Amen! Wouldn't it be great if Johnny Hunt or Paige Patterson or some other respected leader would tell these guys this! Instead, they all do just the opposite. They defeated the liberals with their grass roots takeover. Now the bloggers are doing it right back to them. And the bloggers will write their histories and legacy. Not good for Vines, Patterson, Gaines, Brunson, Liberty, et al.

Remember this you bullies...I have not yet begun to blog!

Dr Who said...

Resolution on Blogging by this bunch. Reminds me of some ghost of the Past. It reminds me of the
K K K movement and support from Baptist – Remember?

As I see this, it is obvious it was done to protect their buddy Mike Everson and his disciples.

When will these guys ever learn. When?

I thought the KKK and Baptist movement support stopped years ago. Maybe this is the new version of the KKK…exposed

Same message, different direction – using intimidation against members who oppose them. I Imagine the KKK membership in days gone by, would be proud very PROUD!

Wonder if Mike or those within the Baptist Mafia are the new…… Naaah ….well… hmmm don’t know -

but… it is an interesting question.

Anonymous said...

Hear Ye Hear Ye - I am praying that someone will invest considerable time, talent and money in not just blogs, but in web sites, print, and other media, to expose charlatans in the SBC. Not just their corrupt and abusive practices as exposed already but also their efforts to silence critics. Most people don't really care about what these abusive pastors do to their gullible sheep, but they do care when these guys use intimidation and violation of basic freedoms to try and silence critics.

Your little blog will be the least of their worries when someone fires up the media machine to expose their deeds. Their wallets and lifestyle and legacy will be severely threatened if that happens.

Or they can repent and apologize and humble themselves. A kind word would turn away wrath according to the Bible. They have consistently chose to escalate things rather than answer questions, so once your lawsuits are over, I hope more indefatigable and persistent questioners will begin.

Dr Who said...

Remember folks, Doug did not start his blog or exposing issues until this guy Mike Everson -aka Pastor - violated Biblical principles AND church by laws.

All Mike Everson was doing was bullying and got bullied right back.

Doug had been gone and has left the Church some 5 (FIVE) month earlier before Mike and his Demonic Discipled Deacons and Baptist Mafia cronies tried to remove him without ever contacting him. They never called him, emailed, phoned, went to see him at his home, No smoke signal - NOTHING!

And no one ever contacted him from the G B C either to discuss the situation.

Folks, this is disturbing. If it can happen to him, it could happen to us!

But I think the days of this type of bullying by the Baptist and others is over....

Otherwise - there could be another Doug or Tom to bust their hides!

As Doug's say's - the Internet is the Great Equalizer....

Thanks Doug....and Tom and others for taking a stand against these deceivers.

Anonymous said...

I remember back in King David's era that while he was walking some man hurled rocks and spoke harsly to him. David's men wanted to silence the man, however King David said leave him alone. No one knows when outspoken people may just have it right!!! But, some never learn from their mistakes and so it goes.

Anonymous said...

Pilate asked the most important question during his lifetime..."what is truth". Not only did he ask the question, he asked the author of truth Jesus the question. I'm afraid too many people are scared of the truth because it will show their real reason for behaving in such a manner. Just look at whats happening all around us. We need the internet because it does shine the light on darkness. If you haven't done wrong you can't be hurt by it. Your response to it is the answer and it should always be truth.

Anonymous said...

Harmony and good will always occurs when Christians are Christians and not just acting as Christians. It is encumbent on the congregation to look after their church and not leave it up to the pastor and a few elitest, selected men/women. The initial church had it right "they had all things in common". Whenever a small group takes over and is secretive at any venue...LOOK OUT!!!!

Anonymous said...

I had to comment on this one. I have not spent much time responding to things here WD but do check out what you are writing. But this one needed my input!

The SBC did NOT get their negative perception from bloggers. For at least 15 years more and more SBC churches are dropping the name "Baptist" from their signs BECUASE of an already existing negative perception. How did the perception come about? SBC Churches created themselves. How you might ask? By being more critical, judgemental, prideful, arrogant, unloving, etc. Now these adjectives apply to the WHOLE group, and not necessarily individual congregations within the group. There may be some BAD McDonald franchises, but overall, McDonalds has a good reputation. It is the opposite for the SBC. Bloggers are only identifying what has been true for a long time. Ask Andy Stanley. A reasons for NOT him NOT being a SBC church.

Curious said...

So did the G B C ever apologize?

CULTBUSTER said...

Anon you ask...

So did the G B C ever apologize?

Are you kidding? Georgia Baptist Convention or any of their Mafia members apologize? Admit they were wrong?

No way. Never.