Article III. Membership: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of missionary Baptist churches cooperating with the Convention as follows:I think I might propose a constitutional change to Article III at this year's Southern Baptist Convention that actually might be more appropriate in terms of the sins with which we as Southern Baptists struggle. It might go something like this:
1. One (1) messenger from each church which: (1) Is in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work. Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior. And, (2) Has been a bona fide contributor to the Convention's work during the fiscal year preceding.
Among those churches not in cooperation with the Convention are those which act to affirm, approve or endorse any of their pastors embellishing their educational accomplishments through the use of diploma mills and/or purchase of unaccredited theological degrees. Any SBC pastor that fraudulently uses the title "Dr." and any SBC church that approves and/or endorses such activity by any member of their pastoral staff will be deemed out of fellowship with the Southern Baptist Convention.When we passed resolutions condemning homosexuals--while at the same time boycotting Disney--I thought things were becoming strange in the SBC. But at the time, I couldn't quite put my finger on the problem. Now, I feel like I understand. We have allowed a culture to be created within our Convention where we deem certain sins "heinous" (homosexuality, abortion, imbibing alcohol, women preaching, etc...), while other sins, the ones with which we Southern Baptists struggle (lying, pride, selfish ambition, etc...), are either quietly ignored or explained away as "platform charisma," "bold leadership," or "powerful preaching."
A diploma mill, also known as a degree mill, is an organization which awards academic degrees and diplomas with very little or no academic study and without recognition by official accrediting bodies. Websters defines a diploma mill as "An institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or because of the lack of proper standards worthless." Such organizations are unaccredited, but they often claim accreditation by non-recognized/unapproved organizations set up for the purposes of providing a veneer of authenticity. Pastors who use fake degrees or "doctorates," and churches which care more that their pastors be called "Dr." than they are their pastors display character, have fallen into the kind of sins that negatively impact our Convention.
Remember Steven Flockhart? His resume contained not one, but two fake degrees. Yet, at the bottom of Flockhart's fraudulent resume, was this amazing statement:
"I have been accepted to Liberty University Seminary to begin working on a second Doctorate."Huh? Liberty, would you explain? How can a man with two fraudulent degrees be accepted into your seminary? Liberty first denied that Flockhart was a seminary student at Liberty, but then corrected their mistaken denial. The Palm Beach Post then questioned Liberty about the peculiar circumstances surrounding the admission of Flockhart into their seminary. An accredited theological school doesn't "admit" a new student until official "transcripts" from GAAP accredited schools have been filed for the applicant. According to reporter Jane Musgrave, Liberty gave this official response to her questions about Flockhart's admission to Liberty Seminary:
"The pastor is enrolled and has paid in advance,” said Ron Godwin, executive vice president and CEO of Liberty University. “I love those kind of students.”I've posted before about the connection between Flockhart and Liberty. Others have written about the tendency of SBC leaders to use fraudulent degrees. Certainly it has been easy for SBC pastors to embellish in order to be a mainstay on the Southern Baptist speaking circuit or to climb the Southern Baptist national and state leadership ladder. Southern Baptist pastors seem infatuated with the title "Dr," even to the extent of asking others to use it of them before they've earned it. Take a gander at the Pastors' Conference line-up. Does every single speaker really have an earned doctorate? It would be inappropriate for some to single out one man for questioning without the rest of us demanding that all be held accountable.
He said Flockhart did not turn up in university records because Caner apparently recruited him. A Turkish-born Muslim, Caner converted to evangelical Christianity, then set off a firestorm in 2002 by describing the prophet Mohammed as a pedophile possessed by demons.
“Dr. Caner has a wide outreach to church leaders all over the United States and, as president of the seminary, enrolls a number of pastors individually,” Godwin said.
It's time that we Southern Baptists quit pointing our finger at the sins of the world and for us to start getting serious about our own sins. The picture at the top of this post comes straight from the site of Cambridge Theological Seminary International, "the minister's best friend." Several SBC pastors claim "degrees" from this diploma mill. As long as churches and leaders of the SBC are more interested in condemning homosexuals than we are about truth and integrity in our leaders, we will never make an impact for Christ in this world. Would to God we debated our own sins of pride, lying, cheating, embellishing and selfish-ambition at this year's Convention and refrained from condemning homosexuals or talking about another boycott of Disney.
In His Grace,
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