Conservative Baptist Bulletin | April 5, 2021

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How can two walk together unless they be agreed?”
Amos 3:3
Astutely, Amos recognized that if Israel does not walk in agreement with the Lord, they are going to be the recipients of God’s judgment (3:11).  In a desire for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) of churches to be walking in agreement with the Lord and with their entity, the North American Mission Board, the following bulletin encourages local churches humbly to ask several questions intended to bring about understanding and clarity.

Questions local churches might consider asking of the North American Mission Board

1 Timothy 2:12 | Article VI: The Church (BFM, 2000)
Recent reports exist of church plants that openly declare women pastors as part of their pastoral leadership. Southern Baptists have expressed biblical conviction about this issue through the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. We are grateful for the recent clarity offered by Danny De Armas, chairman of the NAMB board of trustees, as he communicated with Conservative Resurgence Voices, and we agree wholeheartedly with the withdrawal of endorsement and funding of those churches that persist with these practices as he indicated. We also appreciate the compassion and charity shown in helping those churches find the biblical grounds for their ecclesiology. However, some questions remain. 

  • The recent NAMB study mentioned in De Armas’ response indicated that six of the churches supported by NAMB were clearly not practicing the complementarian position articulated in the BF&M. According to the response, these churches “have been addressed.” But is the statement suggesting that no NAMB representatives knew about any female pastor positions in any of these churches? This is not merely “confusing to constituency churches,” and it is far more than an issue of semantics over titles. This is a violation of Scripture and Southern Baptists’ statement of faith, and it is concerning if such situations could arise and receive funding and endorsement without the awareness of NAMB.
  • If the alleged instances of women in pastoral positions were unknown to NAMB leadership, what corrections have been made among NAMB leadership, and what adjustments have been made to the assessment, training, coaching, and accountability processes to ensure Southern Baptists are funding church plants that operate in accord with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000?

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 | Wise Building

Echo Church in San Jose, Calif., is a congregation that partnered with NAMB as a church planting “hub.” This includes facilitating church planter assessments and offering a residency program for church planters. Reports have indicated that Echo Church includes female teaching pastors, and it has also been reported that the church openly acknowledged their promotion of alcoholic beverage consumption. 

  • Does NAMB consider Echo Church a “model” church for prospective or current Southern Baptist church planters?
  • If so, how can a church, which stands contrary to the Baptist Faith and Message regarding female teaching pastors, serve as an example and offer oversight for Southern Baptist church plants?

John 13:14 | Servant Leadership

Randy Adams and at least six state convention executives have alleged that Dr. Kevin Ezell and NAMB leadership has engaged in strong-arm tactics to leverage control of funds, state convention leadership positions, and church planting efforts in various states. 

  • Has NAMB tried leveraging control or attempted to leverage control over state conventions as is being alleged? 
  • How have the cooperative agreements been adjusted in the various states raising concerns?
  • Finally, what is NAMB doing currently to resolve the perception of this conflict between their organization and SBC state convention leadership? (Section 18, E, V & IX)

Temptations To Avoid

“May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you” (Psalm 25:21). 

As Spurgeon said,

“I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins, but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit; crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness and worldliness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment.”

The Conservative Baptist Network encourages churches to:

  • Pray for unity in our Convention. 
  • Make sure that transparency and accountability are part of your own church practices. 
  • Present this information to your church to bring clarity to some of the questions regarding the North American Mission Board. 
  • Support a candidate for President of the SBC that will appoint trustees to entity boards who will preserve, protect, and promote biblically-conservative Baptist distinctives, and improve transparency and accountability.
  • Plan on taking all of the possible messengers from your church to the SBC annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., to vote according to biblical convictions.
  • Join the Conservative Baptist Network, which is a grassroots movement of Southern Baptists who love our Convention and desire to see it strong and effective in ministry for Christ.

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