Unity, Division, the Past, and the Future of the SBC

 

When we seek unity at the SBC, we often come at it from the wrong perspective.

  • We seek to downplay our differences, as if we all walk hand in hand, one in mind and spirit.
  • We seek to suppress the voices of dissent and keep them from speaking their minds.
  • We demand that those of different cultures and preferences conform to our ways.
  • We accuse those who challenge, question, or criticize of being divisive and of threatening unity.

This is a gross misunderstanding of biblical unity and actually tends to lead to greater anger and division. People feel bullied, pressured to stay silent, and convinced that the “powers” don’t care much what the “people” think.

Unity is hard to find in the SBC because it is hard to define. Our struggles for unity today are not new. They are the result of a trend that has been going on for longer than even an old codger like me has been alive.

 

Our History

During the CR there was a pointless argument over whether the unity of the SBC was based on our common theology or our common mission. Conservatives argued (rightly) that we were united by a common theological ground. We were people of the Book and the Blood. If we did not hold to a truthful word we would soon follow other denominations in compromising every fundamental gospel truth. Moderates argued (also rightly) that it was our mission for Christ that united us. They argued that it was the Cooperative Program and worldwide missions work that united us.

Yes, the Southern Baptist Convention historically was united by fundamental doctrine and cooperative mission, but our true unity was something less noble than that. Southern Baptists had an external, cultural unity that bound us together. We were a perfect fit for the Southern culture in the United States – white, morally and culturally conservative, and patriotic. We fit in perfectly – a little too perfectly I might argue – with the predominant culture of the mid-20th Century Deep South.

And there was a true Southern Baptist way of doing things. You could go from church to church to church but the culture of the church remained largely the same. We sang from the same Broadman Blue Baptist Hymnal, accompanied by a piano and an organ. The preacher opened his King James Bible and preached a three-point message with a powerful and emotive invitation. In Sunday School we used BSSB literature. We had Training Union and Sunday Evening services, RAs and GAs, Lottie and Annie didn’t need last names, and every week both the gift and the giver were blessed! A Southern Baptist church was a Southern Baptist church and we pretty much stayed in our own little world.

Our unity was theological and missiological, yes. But the primary ground of our unity was cultural. We dressed alike. We looked alike. We had our own lingo, our own literature, our own outlook on life.

And the changing world of the last 50 years blew that up completely. The SBC has now expanded to all 50 states and the walls, the separatistic walls have been torn down. We engaged with the broader evangelical world and suddenly Baptist churches were using Awana and other programs, experimenting with non-SBC literature, and…gasp…introducing guitars and drums into worship. Pastors began to lose their coats and ties and started serving coffee to congregants!

The biggest changes have come as we began to engage with minorities, especially African-American Baptists. We found that while we hold the gospel of Jesus Christ in common, there isn’t much else that we share. The culture that bound us together in the 50s and 60s is regarded as heinous by many in the minority community. They do not want to “rebuild America” into what it once was and do not long for the good old days as we do. They do not see politics as we see them, do not see culture as we see it, do not see many issues as we have seen them.

The cultural unity of the SBC of my youth is gone and we have struggled to find a new basis of unity. Some have tried to hold on to the trappings of the Southern Culture of a generation ago, but most of us have no desire to unite around that. The SBC now has a real cultural diversity. Attend three SBC churches and you are likely to find a wide range. In one you might hear echoes of the past as it does many things the way they were done years ago. In another you will wonder if you have wandered into an Assembly of God congregation, and in the third you may find yourself reading liturgy. The sermon you hear in an SBC church could be an old-fashioned three-pointer with a poem, an expositional treatment of the text, a theological lecture reminiscent of the Puritans, or a practical motivational speech designed to help you live a happy life. Some churches will have a ruling pastor, others will have deacons, and many now will have elders, ranging from ruling elders to elder leadership. And you will find every position on the soteriological spectrum, from 5-Point Calvinist to Traditionalist and myriad positions in between.  On eschatology, ecclesiology, and other topics you will find great variety.

The uniformity that marked churches 50 to 75 years ago is gone.

 

The Problem

Here are two facts.

1. Southern Baptists are deeply divided in every human way. 

We are racially divided and the more we reach out and open the doors to our minority brethren, the bigger than divide will be. Minorities often do not see the world as we do. For instance, in White SBC culture, abortion is the evil to end all evils. Many of our Black brethren, who also see abortion as evil, are not willing to place it as an evil greater in every way than racism. Let’s face it, trying to decide which is more evil – racism or abortion – is like trying to determine which team is more evil, the Red Sox or the Patriots. Evil is evil.

We are culturally divided. There is a culture in the North, and in the West, and in the Southwest, and in the Midwest, that just doesn’t mesh with the culture that the SBC prospered in 50 years ago. The cultural unity that bound our hearts in Christian love when we were a regional religious force in the 50s and 60s won’t get the job done now. I have been SBC since 9 months before I was born, but I don’t drink sweet tea and I don’t particularly like grits. Southern culture can no longer be the unifying force of the SBC. That doesn’t make Southern culture evil – no more so than northern culture or western culture or African culture or Asian culture. It just cannot be our binding force anymore.

Okay, let’s be honest about one thing. SEC football is evil. That needs to be said. But moving on…

We are theologically divided. No, people need to stop with the nonsense – call it what it is, LIES – about liberals and cultural Marxists. That ungodly junk needs to stop. But the SBC does have a wide range of views on a lot of topics. We span the continuum of soteriology from Five-Point Calvinist to all forms of Non-Calvinism including Traditionalists. We have just about every view on eschatology and varying positions on ecclesiology and all sorts of topics.

We are preferentially divided. Honestly, I think this is the biggest one. I wore a suit twice in the four days of the PC and the Annual Meeting this year and people acted like I was doing something strange. “Why the suit, Dave?” Well, to be like Bart, of course! But some wear suits, some don’t. Some like hymns, some like rock and roll church. Have you ever noticed that much of the angst surrounding “Calvinism” focuses on non-theological behavioral things?

 

2. The difference today is that we include people who differ in human ways. 

The SBC is different because it now includes people from outside of the dominant culture of 50s Deep South.

  • We include people from the Northeast, the Midwest, the West – all 50 states.
  • We include minorites – African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, people from all over the world.
  • We have older, traditional folks and younger more contemporary people who see things in very different lights.

We are divided because we are different.  Our unity was once easier because of our uniformity. Now, we are in no way uniform. We have to seek a new path to unity.

 

My Thesis

Permit me to state this plainly.

Division is natural for human beings. We are always divided. That is what we do. We will only be truly united if we accept our differences and unite around Christ and in Christ. 

 

The Way of the Flesh

Look at the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:20-21. There are all sorts of evil things listed there, but the bulk deal with the basic tendency of human beings to be angry, selfish, and divisive.

…hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy…

We are self-centered people who like us, our ways, our kind, our people, and have a natural tendency to divide from people who are different. Our inner selfishness leads to strife and jealousy, causes us to lose our cool with others, to operate out of selfish ambition, and to wind up in dissensions and factions.

And when we are Christians we call it righteous anger and discernment. I have watched as some of these discernment bloggers and tweeters have eviscerated others on the flimsiest of disagreements. They question the salvation of anyone who doesn’t agree. “He is unregenerated!” If you disagree with my view of complementarianism, you are a heretic, a threat to the church, and a danger! These people call themselves servants of God but let the works of the flesh run free. They act in selfishness, creating dissensions and factions, and call it “discernment” and claim they are seeking to protect the purity of the church.

The church-growth movement used to push the homogenous unit principle. Of course that worked. Southern Baptists loved being able to hang out with not only other Baptists but other Southerners. We like people who are like us. We are comfortable with people who see the world as we do. Engaging people who are different. who see the world in contradictory ways takes us out of our comfort zone.

The flesh pushes us to unite ONLY with those people who look like us, think like us, act like us, vote like us, sing like us, and have cultural preferences that match ours. But if we are comfortable with that, we are living in the flesh. That is not okay.

The Way of the Spirit

Observe the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

What is the primary work of the Spirit? To produce character qualities in us that fight against the natural tendency in us to be divisive and mean-spirited. Instead of seeking my own I act in love. Instead of being angry, I have the joy of the Spirit. Instead of seeking conflict with everyone who disagrees with me, I act in peace, being patient and kind to others no matter how they treat me. I am good and faithful no matter how everyone else behaves. I am gentle and self-controlled by God’s Spirit instead of lashing out. (Let me be clear – while I spoke here in the first person, this is not a testimony of how I always act, but how I SHOULD act if filled with the Spirit. Would that I always did!)

The work of the Spirit is to fight against the work of the flesh that makes me fight.

Because our homogenous cultural unity has blown apart it will take a work of the Spirit of God to unite the Southern Baptist Convention.

 

Conclusions

1. The SBC is always divided – and that is GOOD.

It is good for us to be a convention of different kinds of people with different kinds of views. As long as we unite around the gospel of Christ and the Baptist Faith and Message, we should be from all races, all places, and strata of society.

The more the merrier.

 

2. The question is not whether we are divided but whether we walk in the Spirit or in the flesh.

It is that simple. We are Black and White – and Asian and Hispanic and everything else. Male and Female. Calvinist and Traditionalist and everything in between. We are rich and poor. We are young and old. We are comtemporarian and traditional.

The question is whether we will walk in the flesh and anathematize those who disagree with us, treat the “other” as the enemy, and try to garner power and control for “me and mine.” Or will we walk in the Spirit and let love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and the rest govern the day? Are we going to withdraw into our schismatic corners or break down walls and find the way of the Spirit to walk together?

Unity is a work of the Spirit. It is not thinking alike. It is not looking alike. It is not having the same preferences.

 

3. Building Biblical Baptist (Brotherhood) Unity

I so wanted to use Brotherhood to preserve the alliteration, but we are talking about unity, so…

Our unity is not based on anything human, but on the work of God, the work of Christ, the work of the Spirit within us.

Biblical Baptist unity is:

  • Having the same experience in Christ – we have been bought by the blood of Christ!
  • Having the same convictions about God’s word – we confess the Baptist Faith and Message as our common ground. (There may be those who love Jesus and don’t agree with the BF&M. There are faithful Christians who are NOT Southern Baptist. But the BF&M is OUR confession.)
  • Having the same mission for Christ – we cooperate in obedience to the Great Commission.

Anything beyond that is human and divisive. You don’t have to hold to the same number of points of a theological system as I do or see eschatology through my lens. You don’t have to dress as I dress or worship as my church worships. You don’t have to vote as I vote or see the world as I see the world.

As long as you know Christ, share our common convictions, and partner together with us for the gospel, we can walk in unity. That is biblical Baptist unity.

May the SBC choose the way of the Spirit over the way of the flesh.

If I Were the Baptist Pope

 

I know, we don’t have a pope and I don’t want to be one. I’ll bet Steve Gaines aged 7 years just trying to run this thing the last couple of years and having papal powers over this bunch would be like trying to herd autonomous cats with soul competency. I have no authority but I do what I can. I “type a lot.” (A guy at the convention saw my name tag and said, “Are you the guy who types a lot?” I said I was. He looked at me and said, “I’ve been praying for you to get saved!”) Let me type-type-type out some of my thoughts about SBC 2018.

I came into the SBC Annual Meeting with much fear and trembling – the pre-convention hostility had me thinking this thing might look more like Wrestlemania than a gathering of Baptists. It didn’t turn out that way. We had lively debates and some pointed discussions but in the end, our votes gave evidence that we are not as divided as we might have thought. I am not sure anyone thought the presidential election would turn out with the kind of landslide majority that it did. Other votes that were expected to be contentious ended in 90% or greater majorities.

Obviously, if you were on the losing side of those votes your perspective might be a little different – that’s majority rule and the democratic process for you, I suppose.

But there were a few things that I would change if I were king, pope, or could get hold of Harry Potter’s wand and knew some of those spells. I remember “Avada Kedavra” but I really don’t want to use that on anyone in the SBC. Really. I don’t! Not even the guy who is praying for me to get saved.

Steve Gaines was a fair and able president. I would think that even those whose positions lost did not go away believing they’d been treated unfairly. I never voted for Gaines for president. I supported David Crosby then JD Greear in 2016 and in 2017 I was too tired to make an appearance and hoist a ballot after the PC. But Gaines handled himself well. The criticisms and suggestions I am about to make are not meant to be pointed at him, because in general, they are multi-year trends that came to a head this year.

1. If I were the Baptist Pope, I would remind people of exactly what the SBC Annual Meeting is. 

It is a 2-day business meeting – let’s not try to whitewash that. The business that we are there to do matters.

We have the Pastors’ Conference (great job, HB Charles) and SEND Conferences and ERLC conferences and all kinds of other get-togethers for Southern Baptists. The annual meeting is a business meeting. We are there to do the business of the SBC.

I suspect that falling numbers in recent years caused us to try to create interest in the Annual Meeting by putting other things into the schedule. Those other items we insert are interesting but they are extraneous to our purpose. I realize that what I am suggesting may not increase attendance but if someone wants to be entertained then the SBC Annual Meeting is likely not their cup o’ tea. You are there to work, not to be entertained.

If the idea of listening to entity reports, voting on the budget of the SBC, working through the EC recommendations, and dealing with resolutions is boring and unpalatable for you, then being a messenger to the Annual Meeting may not be your best choice.

Having said that, I say the following.

2. If I were the Baptist Pope, I’d do away with (or severely cut back on) panels, extra speakers, and other program fillers that distract from our business.

I agree in principle with the work of Dave Ramsey, but we devoted a LOT of floor time to enlisting people for his programs. A half-hour speech (or more) one day and a panel the next. There was a lot of time devoted to patriotism and to politics, with both the governor of Texas and the Vice President of the United States. These things took up a lot of our valuable time.  Every minute we devote to other stuff is time we don’t have for the stuff we came to do.

3. If I were the Baptist Pope, there would be MORE time for messenger input, motions, resolutions, and all of the stuff that makes our convention messy. 

Augie Boto said that we are the largest unscripted business meeting in the world. (I think I got that right.) And what we do can be awful messy. During the Patterson debate, there was one speech that people are still trying to figure out. Was this person for or against? Just killing time? Confused? People get up and say ugly things. Embarrassing things. Confusing things. They introduce motions we will never vote on and resolutions that will never see the light of day.

But that is what we are here for.

We are there to do business. Give messengers more time to speak. More time to debate. More time to challenge nominations. More time to ask questions. More time to offer amendments. I am not talking about unlimited time, but 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there would give people the sense that their voices had been heard.

4. If I were the Baptist Pope, there would be MORE time for the questioning of entity leaders. 

I was just unfriended and blocked by every entity leader with whom I am friends on Facebook or Twitter. They now officially hate me.

I was sitting just behind that Rager fellow (aptly named?) when he attacked Karen Swallow Prior and the ERLC in the dying moments of the last session on Wednesday. Dr. Moore gave a brilliant response. I wasn’t in the room, because my wife and I didn’t feel up to standing in line to go through security for the VP address, when the seminary reports were given. But I am told Dr. Bingham, the interim at SWBTS, answered some tough questions very well.

I understand that the Q&A is not the favorite moment of the year for entity heads, but it is a unique feature in Southern Baptist life. Our entity leaders stand and take questions from any messenger who goes to the mike.

And as much as they may hate me for even suggesting this, I think this benefits the entities and their leaders. They are generally brilliant at answering questions. Combative questioners often slink away with shoulders slumped after the answers they receive from the stage.

5. If I were Baptist Pope, the IMB commissioning service would be given the highest priority slot in the convention.

If this seems to contradict everything I have said, then I have not spoken clearly. The business of the SBC is missions. I love NAMB and Kevin Ezell, but in my mind, the work of the IMB is our highest priority as a denomination. The fact that we give 51% (approximately) of our national CP receipts to the IMB would indicate that the SBC agrees with that.

Is the Tuesday night slot considered a primetime slot? I don’t know. When the afternoon session runs as long as this year’s did and we have to wait an hour or more for a restaurant and the wait staff is overwhelmed, it is hard to get back to convention hall for all of the evening’s activities.

I don’t know exactly what slot to give it. Maybe we move the IMB commissioning to Tuesday, just after lunch and just before the elections. Spread out rest of the business. What a reminder that would be before we vote for president! This is why we are here. But the IMB commissioning service should be primetime, front and center!

6. If I were Baptist Pope, the entity reports would be highlighted.

Okay, let’s admit it. They are often boring. Oh, I remember a few that were riveting, but entity reports can be snoozefests. But remember why we are here. We vote the budget and we elect the trustees and they are telling us how they are doing. Perhaps we need to give the entity leaders some parameters so that they don’t just put a good face on things but tell us exactly how things are going.

The best entity report I’ve sat through in recent years was David Platt’s when he told us what a financial mess the IMB was in. He was both honest and forward-looking. That is the kind of report we should be getting. That is the kind of report we should be demanding. We should be asking penetrating questions to keep entity heads accountable. These should be more than just pep rallies, but real reports about what is happening at our entities.

7. If I were the Baptist Pope, the exhibitor’s hall and convention hall would have some new rules. 

Let’s get to the important stuff here.

  • If you are giving away t-shirts, for the love of all that is holy, realize that 3xl and 4xl are not rare requests in the SBC. People! I went to booth after booth on Monday and was told, “We are out of everything larger than a large.” It is anti-Baptist discrimination. We have potlucks and potlucks produce 3xl and up preachers. Ask Guidestone.
  • If you are giving away candy, at least 1/2 of your candy by weight and volume MUST be dark chocolate. I am tired of combing through all the Kit-Kats and Mr. Goodbars to find a few cherished dark chocolates.
  • Coffee is not meant to be served on ice. Whoever served coffee on ice should be sent a letter of reprimand and if it happens again, be banished.
  • This one is for the convention hall. The thermostat must be set above 27 degrees Fahrenheit. People, if I am cold, it is cold. If you can see icicles forming on people, adjust the thermostat.

Okay, numbers 1-6 may have been of slightly higher importance.

Honestly, I thought it was a pretty good convention. But I think we’d do better to give more time to business – that’s why we are there. Again, if you hate business meetings, you can hang out in the Exhibitors’ hall or tour the city. But when we gather, let’s not be ashamed of what we are – the largest Baptist business meeting on earth. It can be unsightly, unseemly, and ungainly, but in the end, we often get things right.

Let the SBC be the SBC.

 

Bart Barber’s Powerful Statement

Bart is hurting right now. Pray for him. He is a man who would have jumped in a fire for Dr. Paige Patterson and not only voted with the Executive Committee to fire him but stood to defend the action. If you had told Bart a year ago that he would do such a thing he would have declared it impossible.

His integrity drove him to do what his heart never would.

Here is Bart’s statement:

I am Bart Barber, messenger from First Baptist Church of Farmersville, TX. I am also a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In a few minutes, you’ll be voting on whether I continue in that capacity.

Some of you have been impatient about our work.

The Twitter account, “Church Curmudgeon,” said of us, “A thirteen-hour business meeting is the most Baptist way to come to half a conclusion.”

I rise today to tell you that if you have been impatient about our work, I, personally, am the one to blame. I am, I think, the last member of the Executive Committee to be convinced to take the action that we took on May 30. We faced many questions that are divisive in our culture and even within our convention. The basis of MY decision, however, arises out of something that I hope unites us all.

Last Fall our board initiated a review of the seminary’s financial condition. The chairman of the Business Administration Subcommittee of the board led that review. Shortly after the review began, Dr. Patterson began to question the legitimacy of that trustee’s eligibility to serve as a trustee and made efforts to have him removed.

In late April, after comments surfaced that Dr. Patterson had long ago made, board chairman Kevin Ueckert requested that Dr. Patterson obtain input from the chairman before making any reply. Dr. Patterson disregarded this request from the chairman of the board and issued a press release without the chairman’s input. That reply was damaging to the reputation of the seminary and was damaging to the reputation of Dr. Patterson—so much so that he himself had to issue a later apology.

As the aftermath of that first press release unfolded, Dr. Patterson refused to attend meeting after meeting of the Executive Committee, despite formal requests that he do so. I was the one on the Executive Committee saying, “Folks, we haven’t heard Dr. Patterson’s side of this story. We need to be cautious here. We need to take our time. We need to have all the facts before we do anything.” But Dr. Patterson refused to meet with us and refused to give us all of the facts.

Then, after that marathon meeting of May 22-23, Dr. Patterson became the President Emeritus of the seminary. The first thing that happened in his term as President Emeritus was this: His attorney sent an email questioning the legal validity of the full board’s decisions in the meeting of May 22-23. The basis of the claim was weak. I’ve no doubt that the action of the board would stand any challenge in the courts. But that fact notwithstanding, what is one of your seminaries to do with a President Emeritus who will work to undermine the legitimacy and validity of its board of trustees?

I am an old-time Baptist congregationalist. My church has business meetings every month because I want us to have business meetings every month. I believe in our polity. And it is a part of our polity that our entity heads do not get to remove trustees when they become an inconvenience to them, that entity heads have to answer to their boards both when they want to do so and when they don’t want to do so, that seminary employees have to abide by board decisions.

Paige Patterson is a human being made in the image of God. He is a man who has promoted some of the finest women scholars in our convention. He is a master exegete and the consummate preacher. Even today I’d vote for him for any of those things, and I’m thankful for the Conservative Resurgence and all that it accomplished. I was not out to get him; I was out to help him. But I cannot vote for him to occupy any monarchy. We are Baptists. We have no popes. We are all accountable to someone. Whatever divides us, I hope that we are all in agreement about that.

For my part, I’m accountable to you. I’m a tell-thepeople-and-trust-the-Lord Baptist. Whatever you decide, I will abide by it. It has been a great honor to serve you in this way. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me. I have tried to defend your rights at SWBTS. I would urge you as you vote to consider this: Please do not rob the trustees throughout our convention of their spine. They keep our entities accountable to you. Think of the precedent this will set if we start voting out trustees every time they face a difficult decision. Will any board have the courage to hold entity heads accountable again? And if they are unaccountable to their trustees, they are unaccountable to you. If you rob the trustees of their spine, you rob the messengers of their voice.

Our Work Is Not Done – Hatley Motion to Dismiss SWBTS Trustees at 2:45 – DEFEATED

My phone sometimes doesn’t post when it is supposed to. I hit publish…I thought.  I publish it now simply for the results.

 

This is how it is done. We approve the Trustees of our entities and we can remove them. That is why we are voting on Hatley’s motion to dismiss the trustees of the Executive committee of SWBTS at 2:45 PM.

The motion is in order.

It is also a horrible idea. One of the worst to come to the floor in recent memory.

Please show up to vote no. I assume a simple majority wins but this should be defeated by the kind of overwhelming majority that sends a message that the SBC does not support this kind of thing.

It is a bad idea.

1. It is a bad idea because it is a motion made from emotion.

People are angry about Dr. Patterson being fired and in that emotion they strike back. It is an emotional action, not a rational one.

2. It is a bad idea because it is an ignorant motion.

No, I am not calling Hatley stupid. I am saying that we don’t have the facts. In a 13-hour meeting there were reams of information brought to these trustees. They did not talk primarily about social media scandals. They talked about other things.

I do not know why they decided to fire Paige. You don’t. And Tom Hatley doesn’t. But in his ignorance and ours he is asking us to take extreme action.

3. It is a bad idea because it is nuclear.

In our ignorance of the facts we are being asked to take extreme measures against men and women who acted deliberately.

They took TIME to come to this decision. They went slow. They considered reams of information. Because Hatley doesn’t like the decision he is asking us to go nuclear on these people.

4. It is a bad idea because it sets an unhealthy precedent

Don’t like a trustee decision? Fire them.

This is SUCH a bad idea that for the good of the SBC you should oppose it even if you oppose the firing of Dr. Patterson.

5. It is a bad idea because it may affect accreditation.

An action like this could have consequences for the accreditation if SWBTS.

6. It is a bad idea because we would be dismissing trustees of integrity.

I know one trustee who is on the block. He has about as much integrity as any man I have known. We talk about a lot of stuff but he has not given me any insider info on what the trustees heard.

This is a man who would have jumped into a fire for Dr. Patterson and he became convinced by evidence (of which we are all ignorant) to fire him.

I trust this trustee.

7. This is a bad idea because if we blow up the “trust the trustees” system we will all live to regret it.

Every time a board votes against what I want, I go to the floor and seek their dismissal. That should only happen if there has been malfeasance, corruption, or something else shameful.

These honorable trustees are accused of no such thing.

This MUST be defeated. Soundly. There is no reason any Southern Baptist, even a strong Paige Patterson supporter, should want this can of worms opened.

Vote NO!

Thank you for voting NO.

Thank you Bart Barber for an dynamic speech that made a huge difference

The hall was full and there were only a few hundred yes votes. 98%-2% perhaps. 95-5?