I first met Judge Paul Pressler in the mid 80's. I was his driver as he toured Oklahoma and spoke to several pastor groups in preparation for the Southern Baptist Convention. I was a young pastor, concerned with what I was hearing about the liberal drift of the SBC, and I was committed to do my part, however small, to right the ship.
I distinctly remember part of the standard talk given by Pressler to groups of pastors around the state centered on the tight control the liberals had over SBC agencies. I did not know at the time the intimate details of how boards and agencies were being controlled, but I took the word of this man, and frankly, to this day I believe the Judge was telling the truth. Listen to his description of how things were operating in the early 80's at SBC agencies . . .
"To me, the issue was . . . whether the system was closed to conservative leadership. Would membership on our boards be open to all so that discussions of policy could take place as individuals from different perspectives and with different concerns sat down together and worked out their differences? I realized how closed the liberal, "good ol' boy" system had been." (Page 128, "A Hill on Which To Die," Judge Paul Pressler)
Pressler goes on to say . . .
"The boards were tightly controlled and were not places of free exchange. The tight control of the system showed me that the liberals had a basic fear of the democratic process of Southern Baptists. I came to see each board as a unified force to direct policy and not, as I had hoped, a forum for the presentation and compromise of diverse viewpoints. The nature of the liberal control showed me that they were unwilling to be open" (Ibid, page 128).
There are some who will not like what I'm about to say. I am going to say it anyway.
I like Paul Pressler. He has always been very gracious and kind to me personally. I have admired him on several fronts, not the least of which is the love he expresses both verbally and in his actions for both his wife and children. I also admire his courage and his stand for the sake of principles.
Unfortunately, what Judge Pressler so eloquently expressed as the problems with "the good ol' boy system' of the liberals, may now be the problems of the "good ol' boy system" of another group.
We are all conservatives in the SBC (both the cessationists and the continualists). We are all evangelical(both Calvinists and non-Calvinists). We are all believers in the authority of the Scriptures (those who like the BFM 2000 and those who prefer more historical Baptist Confessions). We are all Great Commission Christians.
We are brothers and sisters who love Christ.
I have heard from a very reliable source that there will be another recommendation forthcoming in the next IMB trustee meeting to censure me --- again. Since nobody in trustee leadership has spoken to me after the recommendation for my removal was rescinded unanimously at the last meeting, I can only assume that some are upset with my blog --- again.
My wife will be with me in New Mexcio for the next trustee meeting. She is a little nervous and anxious about everything, but I have assured her that everything will be fine. I reiterate, I take seriously my charge by the SBC to fulfill my responsibilities as a trustee, working for the good of our convention and the IMB. I will serve the Lord and my fellow Southern Baptists with all my heart and soul. I like all my fellow trustees and enjoy their fellowship. I am hoping what I heard is just a rumor and without substance.
However, if it is true, and I am censured in May for expressing my concerns with the direction we are headed as a Convention, then my prayer is that the words of Judge Pressler will ring loud and clear in Greensboro . . .
"The nature of the liberal (fundamentalist?) control showed me that they were unwilling to be open."
May God help us to be kind and gracious to all our SBC brothers, but to be willing to pay the price to insure we have not substitute one form of control for another.
In His Grace,