Monday, June 16, 2008

straight truth from a southern baptist mouth

i ran across the following quote by jimmy draper, former president of the southern baptist convention, on the missio dei blog.

“We have reached a place that our spiritual forefathers feared. We need to admit that the problem with America today is not the government or the politicians. It is not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or John McCain. It’s not the senators or representatives. The problem is not the educational system or the economy. It’s not the liberals or the abortionists. The problem lies with us.

We conservatives claim to have the truth and we think we are rich in spiritual position and power, but yet we are cold, complacent, impotent and unattractive, and irrelevant to the world.

I hate to say it, but we are not plateaued. We’re not even just declining. We’re in a free fall. You know why we don’t win the lost? Because we don’t like them. They are different from us. We don’t care for them. We have no real love for them.

People just don’t touch eternity when they are around us. We’re too self-absorbed.”

i don't know about you, but when i read this my mis-formed jaw about hit the floor. i expect this kind of commentary from the will campbells and agent bs of the world. not from a former sbc president.

ht: missio dei and steve k's google recommendations.


Agent B said...

Self-absorbed indeed.

I'm hearing a few higher-ups in conservative churches give similar rants, but thus far it's just lip service.

I have yet to see any cultural change from within. Maybe it just takes a lot of time.

kristi said...

it would be really great (shocking in fact) if, like agent b says, the SBC and other conservatives will actually get off their butts and put action to these words.

having grown up SB, i'm too cynical to think this is hopeful. but you never know...after all, it is better than the usual holier-than-thou rants.

g13 said...

maybe i'm a little too optimistic here, but the evangelical commitment to repentance as well as the movement's past history of missiological adaptation leads me to believe that such changes within the sbc and mainstream evangelicalism are indeed possible.

a year or so ago on the back page of christianity today, philip yancey affirmed, in an article focused on christian social action, that one of the reasons that he loves evangelicals is that "once you get them past condemnation you can get them to do anything." i think evangelical engagement in issues such as slavery, women's suffrage and (hopefully) contemporary human trafficking supports yancey's assertion.

of course, my belief in the evolutionary capabilities of evangelicalism could indeed be wrong. but i'll let history, rather than my own doubt, be the ultimate judge of such matters.

please note: this reflection is not intended as a condemnation of your doubt or cynicism. Lord knows i harbor enough misgivings of my own. i'm just doing my darndest to hope for the best here.

Anonymous said...


I heard a friend of mine a few years ago, who was in ministry but burned by the church (after all, we're great at shooting our wounded), was asked this question:

If you could give any advice to pastors these days, what would it be?

I'll never forget his response:

Peope are more important than your g**damned programs. (And I don't believe he was being blasphemous when he said it.)

That's where the self-absorption comes into effect.

Great citation, thanks for posting!

ER said...

This is the kind of awakening I have been praying and laboring for a long time. Great to hear. Shocked actually more than I realize right now. I have never really liked any SBC president. The whole idea gets me queasy. I agree with kristi and others who said that actions must flow from these words. But in many pockets the actions are starting to flow which is exciting to me. I refuse to surrender to the cynicism which I almost allowed to destroy my soul (this is not a jab at kristi just part of my deep struggle of faith over the last 22 years). God has consistently blessed me with brothers and sisters who aren't about the power game on either side...just trying to be faithful to loving God and loving others. Christ in them (and prayerfully me) is the hope that I walk in daily.
Thanks for the post.