"[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.