Last week, I wrote about the questions and concerns Southern Baptists are having about the Executive Committee and encouraged them to contact them, sincerely expressing their thoughts, concerns, and questions in particular about the forced resignation of Clark Logan. Since last week, the link to the Executive Committee members has had nearly 250 click throughs, and some who wrote letters were kind enough to send me carbon copy.  The letters I read were thoughtful, careful, and respectful, and I appreciate those who took the time to write in such a praiseworthy manner.

Unfortunately, the Executive Committee has drafted a form letter with a generic response that I am posting in its entirety.  Read it, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Is the Executive Committee providing such a response for legal cover?  What are we to think when even their own members were unaware of what happened to Clark Logan?  Is this another disappointing move in the wrong direction in order to avoid being accountable, transparent, and forthright with Southern Baptists? Is this generic response indicative that the Executive Committee officers are listening to the voice of Southern Baptists and giving appropriate attention to such an important (and public) matter?

Dear __________:

Thank you for your email note to the Executive Committee.  The Southern Baptist Convention elects 83 godly men and women to serve on its Executive Committee.  This year, the men and women on this committee come from 34 states.  It is composed of 44 pastors and other church staff, including the President of the Convention, four associational directors of missions, five attorneys, and a host of other godly laymen and women.  The members of the Executive Committee establish policies and assign responsibilities to Executive Committee staff, including its President, Dr. Morris Chapman.

As Dr. Chapman noted in his response to an email inquiry from the Florida Baptist Witness on July 7, all personnel matters that affect the Executive Committee and/or its employees follow established policy.  The Executive Committee believes it is only fair to our employees and the right way to do business to keep employment matters private.

While we are glad to respond to this question, our primary mission is to tell the “Good News” about Jesus.  Scripture teaches that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day.  It is our hope and prayer that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul said it this way, “For by grace you are saved through faith.”  If you have already received Jesus Christ as your Lord, we rejoice with you.  If, however, you do not know Jesus, we invite you to receive Him by faith — to find His cleansing from sin and His transforming power in your life.  A hymn writer has said it well, “Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.”  How true!

Office of Convention Relations
Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN   37203
(615) 244-2355

While we are on the topic of listening to the voice of Southern Baptists, I want to juxtapose this response with that of Johnny Hunt, president of the SBC, regarding the makeup of the GCR Task Force.  I, along with others, expressed disappointment in the lack of diversity in the 18-member task force, and Johnny Hunt did an honorable thing considering and changing the composition of the task force by adding four new members (a woman, Hispanic, and representatives from western and northeast U.S.).  Hunt’s action reveals a leader who is not only in touch with the concerns of Southern Baptists but recognizes that he serves and represents their voice.

I think the kind of transparency, humility, and accountability in the leadership of Hunt compared to the inaction and unresponsiveness of the Executive Committee is quite telling. Perhaps the EC is hoping that prolonging any disclosure will alleviate the pressure as Southern Baptists will eventually forget about all that has transpired.  This scenario kind of reminds me of instances where necessary church discipline has been substituted for a probationary period as a means of punishment.  The appropriate action (redemptive accountability and gospel humility) inevitably gets replaced by perpetual inaction (delay and denial) with the hopes, after a period of time, becomes appropriate action. Silence is not the answer.

Southern Baptists have attempted to raise concerns, but the Executive Committee can offer nothing better than an impersonal, generic letter at this time.  If they don’t deem the voice of Southern Baptists worth hearing, then what recourse do we have? And where is Baptist Press in all of this?  Writing articles about American Idol going to church?