For the nearly four years of posting on Grace and Truth to You, it has been my intent to never say anything publicly that has not already been said personally and privately to the people involved. Everything I write has my signature attached, and other than minor grammatical errors that have been caught after posting, there has never been one post materially altered or removed out of the 750 posts that are in the archives. It's easy to stand by what you write when you know that your name is attached to it.
However, it has been my experience that some of my questions, including those that pertain to SBC trustee fidicuary responsiblities, the rationale behind SBC leadership decisions (i.e. the firing of Sheri Klouda, the censorship of Dwight McKissic's SWBTS chapel message, the pushing of doctrinal policies that exceed the BFM, etc . . .), and the demands by some SBC leaders that all conform to their tertiary ideological beliefs, have often gone unanswered privately. This has not kept me from then asking those same questions publicly. Asking questions for all Southern Baptists to read, important queries from my perspective, is not a practice that is liked by some SBC leaders. In my opinion, the hard ball tactics used against me by IMB trustee leaders is evidence that some don't take kindly to questioning "those in authority."
One of the reasons I have not commented on blog sites like FBC Jacksonville Watchdog or New BBC Open Forum is because these SBC brothers and sisters in Christ do not sign their names to what they write. It has been proven by others, in my mind quite definitively, that anonymous writing is at times necessary and beneficial. One can't help, however, to admire Southern Baptists Tiffany Croft, who signs her name to everything she writes, in her attempt to get a Southern Baptist sexual predator, a former SBC leader, behind bars. Tiffany has been critical of the unwillingness of certain SBC leaders to deal with the Darrel Gilyard crimes, but she signs her name to every post.
Having been clear about my preferences that Southern Baptists write what needs to be said and sign one's name to what is written, it is still quite disturbing to me to read the unfolding saga at FBC Jacksonville, Florida. Local Jacksonville law enforcement officers, former Florida circuit court judges, and other members of FBC, all friends of the pastor, seemed to have used secular Florida authorities to unethically and possibly illegally obtain subpoenas to reveal the identity and other private information of the owners of the FBC Jacksonville Watchdog and New BBC Open Forum and Tiffany Croft's blogs.
A local Jacksonville reporter is doing some background for a story that the newspaper will be running about this in the near future. It seems that someone in the Jacksonville Police department suggested to the reporter that the subpoenas were issued because there may be some kind of ongoing federal investigation into these blogs. I was asked yesterday what I thought of such a statement from the local Jacksonville police officer. I responded with two words.
I've seen this kind of thing happen time and time again. Stupid decisions are made by certain leaders to try to "shut down" the person who is asking questions. Then, those same leaders go behind closed doors and allege the person asking questions is of corrupt character and if people really knew the whole story, then they would never doubt why "leadership" did what they did. In short, when leaders get "caught" using hard ball tactics to shut down dissent, they act as if things are really worse than they are - in order to cover themselves. I can assure you federal officials are more interested in terrorists seeking to destroy the United States than they are church members, annymous or not, who are asking questions that pertain to their pastor.
The sad part about the saga at FBC Jacksonville is that secular authorities have now been sucked into church politics. It seems to me that some people in the Jacksonville police department or court system could, at best, lose their jobs. At worst, there is the making of an enormous lawsuit for public officials abusing their authority to help friends. If you think public officials, particularly court judges and law enforcement officials, are beyond corruption, then you obviously haven't been following the the horrid story of the Pennsylvania judge who used his position for personal gain.
Whatever the case may be, and setting aside any problems within an SBC church that may be real or imagined, it is a sad day in America when the police and courts can be manipulated and used by a powerful church in the manner they seem to have been used in Jacksonville, Florida.
In His Grace,