The SBC’s political problem isn’t Republican or Democrat, it is its own internal politics.
In the SBC we have been getting caught up and divided over American politics. We have been divided over immigration, social justice, Trump, Kavanaugh, and the list goes on.
However, a different kind of politics has been growing in the SBC. It is a politics of self-promotion, secrecy, and strategizing against each other as enemies.
Yet no one talks about this… or at least no one did.
At his farewell address last year, David Platt said this,
“I hate the politics of the SBC. And I don’t say that as an outsider. I say that as an insider these last four years. Some of the lowest points in my leadership have been when I found myself participating in them — jockeying for position, continual self-promotion, backroom deals followed by spin in the front room, strategizing like brothers are your enemy, feeling like others see you as their enemy … getting to the point where you wonder if you can trust anyone even as you start to wonder how trustworthy you’ve become,” David Platt at his Farewell Address to the IMB.
When Platt’s words were reposted, this is what the Baptist Press and many others put as their headline: “Platt’s IMB farewell: ‘Rise above’ SBC challenges”
Platt’s actual statement was, “Rise above it” and it was directly after talking about the horrible internal politics of the SBC and right before saying “I want to plead with you to refuse to play political games while 2.8 billion people have little to no access to the good news of God’s love.”
Almost everyone ignored the fact that we just had president of one of the largest entities in the SBC say, “I hate the politics of the SBC,” and “my lowest point was when I found myself participating in them.”
That is H U G E
David Platt was (and is) an extraordinarily popular author, successful pastor of a large church, and the President of the IMB.
His frank acknowledgement of SBC problems should have everyone in the SBC asking who (or what group of people) in the SBC could pressure David Platt into getting involved in, “jockeying for position, continual self-promotion, backroom deals followed by spin in the front room, strategizing like brothers are your enemy, feeling like others see you as their enemy”?
No one asked.
The SBC media outlets and opinion writers could not gloss over it fast enough.
With five major entities in the SBC that have lost leaders this year, Platt’s honest evaluation of the SBC should be towards the forefront of concerns, especially for Trustees and the Executive Committee.
We will be writing a series on Platt’s statements about the political culture in the SBC. This first part is focused on the possible person or group that could pressure a man such as David Platt.
Key things to keep in mind:
1. Whoever pressured him had to be at a similarly high level or higher.
a. Platt was the president of the IMB. He was not a mid-level employee. He was one of the highest-ranking positions in SBC life.
2. The political culture existed before David Platt got there, while David Platt was there, and he thought it would continue after him.
a. That is why he pointed it out and called for us to rise above it.
3. It is an SBC problem, not just a group.
a. We will be looking at NAMB. However, where we find this behavior in other sections of the SBC, we will point them out as we can.
There are a handful of individuals in the SBC that could make David Platt feel pressured to participate in that kind of politics. One that we have covered extensively is Kevin Ezell of the North American Mission Board, who we have detailed several of his actions that seem to fit at http://www.reformNAMBnow.org.
1. He is the head of one of the largest entities in the SBC.
2. He was there before David Platt was chosen. He was there the whole time Platt was serving. He is still there.
3. He has continual support from other long-time influencers in the SBC.