Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bully Baptists vs. Broken Baptists

It's interesting to note how Jesus treated the people to whom He ministered.

He was always gracious, loving and merciful to the broken . . .

And tough as nails to the bullys.

Too often Jesus is pictured as a soft, effeminate leader who spoke quietly and moved about gingerly.

In reality the New Testament portrays Christ as a strong man who took a whip and singlehandly removed the money changers from the Temple courtyard. He never hesitated to take on the Pharisees of His day, and often placed his life in danger seeking to correct what had become religious bigotry and idolatry among the Jews.

The more remarkable aspect of Christ is that this tough, strong, powerful, and charismatic God/man could display such gentleness to the blind beggar, the woman at the well, the lepers and others of His day.

Why the difference in His treatment of people?

I propose Jesus was always soft and gentle to the broken and tough as nails to arrogant bullys who took advantage of their postion to intimidate people.

I recently came across an interesting site that talked about how a person should deal with bullys. The author states:

Bullying occurs in relationships where the balance of power is believed by both parties to be lopsided. When power is equally distributed bullying doesn't occur.

It is fear that keeps people stuck in untenable situations. Bullies act to intimidate. They nurture their advantage by undermining the confidence of the victim.

Often victims tell themselves that there are no acceptable alternatives available. They rule out obvious options while being unable to generate practical alternatives. Being the victim of a bully is an extremely damaging experience.

On the other hand, there are some fundamental truths operating that the victim can use to break the cycle of intimidation:

What we tolerate, we validate. If we allow ourselves to be bullied we are ultimately cooperating with our own abuse. It doesn't matter how much we seethe internally or complain to others, if we allow it to occur we are agreeing that the bullying is a part of this relationship.

More of the same leads to more of the same.Bullying will not end because the bully wakes up one day and decides to turn over a new leaf. Unless you act to break the pattern it will continue.

Bullies don't bully everyone . Bullys will only respect and understand strength and power, and cease their bullying when they know it has no effect.

Today I had interaction with a pastor in need of grace and mercy. Circumstances in his life are leading to a breaking.

Though his moral failure is all over the news in our state, he will only receive from me graciousness, mercy and forgiveness in the midst of his brokenness.

On the other hand, there may be some brethren who, if shown grace and mercy, will only enable them to continue bullying tactics.

The One who showed us both sides of His character should guide us in our understanding of when to use grace and compassion and when to stand with strength and power.

May He give us such wisdom.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Marty Duren said...

The key phrase for understanding our situation is that "the balance of power is believed by both parties to be lopsided." Bullys exploit that belief on the part of the weaker.

I don't believe the balance of "power" to be lopsided; one side hasn't mobilized yet, while the other side is running out of steam and doesn't know it yet. said...

Good point.

Clif Cummings said...

Througout this dialogue - or is it a blogalogue - the words of English philosopher Edmund Burke have kept coming to my mind. "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
Now don't misunderstand. I am not saying that those who voted for and support the IMB policy change are evil. However, I am convinced they are trying to push us down a very slippery slope!
If enough good men will rise up,show up and speak up the will and actions propegated by bullys will be of no effect.

Anonymous said...

For the last few years, I've heard ministry friends say that there would be some who make Calvinism the next battle in SBC life. I didn't want to believe them.

With optimism, I thought that the "battle over the Bible" had been dealt with and we could move on. The seminaries were all in solid footing, we could "press on..."

But now we are seeing it. I suppose I was naive, but it sure is disappointing. Here in my state at our last Pastor's Conference, every speaker was a dedicated a reformed theolog, Calvinist (which I am) The problem was that it was basically being forced.

Marty I hope you're right... "one side hasn't mobilized yet, while the other side is running out of steam and doesn't know it yet."

Unknown said...

Friedrich Nietzsche, who followed the philosophy of Schoepenhauer, and was himself an atheist, believed in no objective truth, no objective morality, therefore, no God and life has no meaning.

He philosophized there existed “The Superman” – a person unrestrained in his use of the will to power – i.e. trying to force your values on someone else. In turn, the superman is not going to allow someone else to force their values on him- he will force his values on them. He cares only for himself and his children (where the power is found in the community, and children are apart of the community). He believed the weak is always trying to control the strong, and good is the feeling one gets with an increase in power. This is very similar to the beliefs of the author you quoted, who also presupposes a motivation and intent of the heart.

Fortunately, the only superman in the Bible is Jesus Christ. Fortunately, the balance of power in the relationship between Him and I is wholly lopsided in His favor. But He is no bully, and the philosophical basis of the bully/bullied relationship posited in that quote is built on shifting sand(namely psychology and philosophy), as was the faith of Nietzsche. said...


Nice post.

I remind you the Apostle Paul quoted from pagan poets and those quotations became a part of the sacred text itself.

Isn't God amazing that He can use the Nietzsches of this world, even if they themselves never come to the excellent conclusion of your comment regarding Jesus Christ.

In His Grace,


Jason Sampler said...


Thank you for the kindness shown to this fellow minister. Some friends of mine and I have been praying for this situation, but you have the ability to minister personally to him. It is a grim reminder that sin is always crouching at our door, waiting to overtake us but that we must master it (Gen 4.7). None of us are beyond the reach of sin and moral failure, but neither are we beyond the reach of forgiveness and restoration.

R. L. Vaughn said...

I guess I am too much of a literalist sometimes. As I read through your blog, I was thinking about bullies and bullying, and not thinking about IMB problems.

What was running through my mind, though, was verses like Jesus saying to do good to them that to hate you, bless them that curse you, turn the other cheek, etc., and wondering how the conclusions from the other site fit into what Jesus told us to do.

Kevin Bussey said...


I agree. Jesus want's us broken and that is when He can use us. I love the quote from the Blackaby's in Spiritual Leadership, "God is not looking for people who are committed to Him, but people who are submitted to Him." When we are broken God can and will use us. The last 3+ years of my ministry have been nothing but brokeness. I don't believe I would be ready for my new ministry had I not been broken. Keep fighting the good fight! said...

Mr. Vaughn,

Sorry for the confusion.

I was not referring to enemies in this blog, but brothers.

Some brothers need the whip, other brothers need grace.

Neither are ememies.

And like Jesus using the whip on his Jewish brethren, it was always for their good, never His ego.

So . . . .

Sorry for the confusion.

In His Grace,

Anonymous said...

...there you stand indeed. How rare one has the chance to truely stand for something that is right. From a fellow Okie and former Southern Baptist, I am proud of you. You should receive a hero's welcome! Hang in there and you are in our prayers.

Unknown said...