Yesterday, Dr. Tom Ascol shared that another editor of a SBC state paper (this time the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s Baptist and Reflector), took their editorial privileges to pronounce his woes against Calvinism. Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Baptist and Reflector, recent wrote an article called “Calvinists have no sense of urgency—Jesus did" in which he reveals a very popular and yet a-historical and unbiblical hit piece on Calvinism. Concerning such gross errors, Ascol comments, “His latest published editorial will leave many Southern Baptists seriously concerned about his ability to understand important theological discussions that are taking place among us.” What is all-the-more revealing about the such articles is not so much the “scurrilous misrepresentations” (as Ascol puts it), thought that is definitely there, but one cannot but begin to wonder how these people can get away saying what they are saying. I mean, come on, he is not blogging here. This is a state paper which is supposed to carry some degree of credibility (at least more than bloggers). Yet what we are finding more and more is that many of our state papers are producing more fictitious pieces than one would want to admit. But why is this happening?
One of my fears of the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC comes from its lack of ability to criticize itself. That is one of the reasons why I spoke out so publicly about the resolution debacle concerning alcohol and other matters in the SBC in the past. Bobby Welch can say what he wants in SBC Life as a “parting” word that is just inexcusable, and over the course of this past year, several instances like this show just why alternative forms of media and communication is necessary. While I have no problem pointing out the errors and bias of the Associated Baptist Press, I also want to hold the same level of criticism to our conservative papers as well. One of the best things our conservative leaders could do, whether they are Calvinist or Arminian, is to speak out when their conservative brothers publicly write things that are not scholarly, biblical, and truthful. It’s fine to hold a strong opinion and share it, but it is fair game when it is provided to the public. When such a piece as Mr. Wilkey’s goes unfettered by the leaders of the Conservative Resurgence, I simply have to question whether we have lost the ability to hold ourselves accountable to the same standards and Scripture that we place on others. The future of our convention lies not in the hands of “yes men” who emphasize appeasement over conviction but those who are not obligated to pay favors or practice selective silence when it most befits their cause. There is a greater cause to be had in our convention than our agendas—that is God’s truth. If we continue with the same ole same ole, we will find that our convention is littered with more kissing Judases than cross-bearing Christians. God forbid that we live to see that day.