Leadership secrecy is an ‘insult to Southern Baptists’
Norman Jameson, editor of North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder, gets right to the point:
Being a denominational journalist or any Baptist with a contrary opinion in the current era of Southern Baptist Convention upheaval sometimes feels a bit like a tick picker atop a rhino. It’s an important role, but the rhino is going to go where he will.
And nowadays, he gets there in secret.
His immediate concern is the closed-door session in which the SBC North American Mission Board on Sept. 14 “interviewed, discussed and voted on their new president behind closed doors.”
The 37-12 vote hiring Kevin Ezell for that job was ferreted out, but not announced.
As Jameson argues, secrecy is the longtime, continuously destructive rule at the Southern Baptist Convention.
- Ezell’s two predecessors were forced to resign in closed deliberations.
- An entire book, Misspending God’s money, deals with otherwise secret expenditures under former NAMB president Bob Reccord.
- Baptist Salaries, known and unknown deals with how little is known to the public about compensation to executives like Ezell.
- Great Commission Resergence Task Force meetings were closed and recordings of the deliberations sealed for 15 years.
- The powerful SBC Executive Committee meets primarily behind closed doors.
We agree with Jameson that the result is destructive:
Baptists want to believe in the work of our institutions. We want to continue supporting them. Closed doors indicate a lack of trust in us. It is hard to support an organization that doesn’t trust you.
Do Southern Baptists who refuse to put up with it have to leave the denomination?
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