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Don’t talk to writers from non-SBC publications?

North Carolina pastor Tim Rogers recently counseled fellow Southern Baptist Convention pastors to decline comment to non-SBC publications. He did so in he context of an internecine debate over an SBC-funded pastor’s conference. Rogers wrote:

Dr. Vance Pitman has responded to various questions and concerns raised by Southern Baptist Pastors regarding the upcoming Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference (SBPC) in Phoenix, Arizona. You can see various questions and concerns here here and here. The medium Brother Pitman chooses to give his response is the Associated Baptist Press (ABP), the news agency started by disgruntled former Southern Baptist because the Executive Committee (EC) terminated Baptist Press (BP) editors. This news agency is controlled and maintained by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) the group that would not affirm the inerrancy of Scripture and splintered from the Southern Baptist Convention to form their own Fellowship denomination. You can read the ABP article which contains Brother Pitman’s interview here.

Rogers goes on to give explicit advice about how SBC pastors should handle calls from reporters who do not work for SBC publications:

Once he found out the reporter was out side of the SBC the proper way to respond would have been to politely dismiss the call with a promise to get back.

Thus he advises putting non-SBC reporters off with a fib.

Odd. And the specific reporter to whom Pittman Rogers refers in this case is Norman Jameson, clearly identified at the conclusion of the ABP article as “former editor of the North Carolina Biblical Recorder.”

The North Carolina Biblical Recorder is a Southern Baptist newspaper, which like its peers is declining toward oblivion.

Srsly then. Doesn’t keeping debate “in the family” still mean keeping it quiet? Suppressing it. The way cults do.

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March 24, 2011 - Posted by | Publications, SBC | , , , , ,

3 Comments

  1. The noted Anthropologist Stanley Diamond said “Civilization is conquest abroad and repression at Home”. The whole world thinks like this. Let’s pray about it.

    Comment by informationforager | March 25, 2011

  2. Just noticed the pingback where you linked to my article. Allow me, if I may, to clarify something for your readers. Your title intimates that I am one that encourages others not to speak to anyone outside of the SBC for anything. However, that is not what I was trying to convey when I took our Brother to task for speaking with Associated Baptist Press. Associated Baptist Press, as you know, is not a “secular” agency. They are a religious agency reporting only on life in the Baptist world. As one reads your blockquote taken from my OP one will see how they were started. The point I was making was that ABP is not Southern Baptist and as such do not seek the best interest of the Southern Baptist Convention. They are striving to stir up controversy where there is none. This disagreement is between Southern Baptist and it should be responded to by Southern Baptist reporting outlets. As pastors we speak freely with every press both religious and secular. You also try to place the interviewer as one that is a SB. However, that is the point of the issue, he no longer serves a SB agency. As pastors, we grant interviews and do so on regular occasions, but on occasions when a disagreement is within a family we do not run outside of the family to voice our disagreements. Thus, the issue I wanted to present in my OP was we should keep our disagreements in the family.

    Blessings,
    Tim

    Comment by Tim Rogers | March 25, 2011

    • It may be true that Norman Jameson “no longer serves a SB agency,” but until recently he devoted his professional life to the service of Southern Baptist agencies and is still a Southern Baptist.
      To imply without proof that because he now carries out projects for the Associated Baptist Press he is “striving to stir up controversy where there is none” is, we feel, without merit.
      Moreover, the controversy in the case with which you dealt was real, as you documented, before Jameson wrote the ABP-published account. He didn’t stir it up. He enlightened the existing debate with additional information. Your argument was that the information should have been less broadly disseminated. You were arguing against free and open public debate in whatever forum presents itself for use.
      While attacking ABP, you nonetheless underlined your desire to suppress the debate itself when you wrote (bold face added):

      But, I must admit, I was very shocked and surprised to see his decision to publicly respond in the ABP venue. Every SB knows the CBF is quick to push a controversy in the SBC and desirous to see this spill out in national news mediums.

      Your advice to pastors on how to deal with writers from non-SBC publications when they call about SBC issues was exactly as we quoted it.

      Comment by baptistplanet | March 25, 2011


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