Just about a year ago, Dr. Brad Whitt fired a shot heard in most sectors of the Southern Baptist Convention. Being a young South Carolina, Southern Baptist pastor, he just didn’t fit the mold of the young, restless, and reformed travelling around the country by the tens of thousands (literally) to hear all the cool, calm, Calvinist speakers at the latest Passion, T4G, TGC, SGM, YRR conferences >>>
In his piece “Young, Southern Baptist and…Irrelevant? ” a piece picked up by several state convention papers as well as Baptist Press, Whitt clearly indicated he sported a different brand than most pastors his age in the Southern Baptist Convention. He confessed:
As I travel around the SBC, I can see that I’m in the majority; nonetheless, I can’t get away from the overwhelming feeling that in our current denominational world, I am presented as the dinosaur — albeit only a 37-year-old one. It’s obvious when I see who is lifted up as the future of our convention — the hip and cool up-and-comers with whom I have little in common — that my breed is in danger of becoming extinct.
Even so, it was one of Whitt’s characteristic descriptors which drew blood from many of his young, restless, and reformed critics, spawning a war-dance which included several rebuttals put to print. What so infuriated Whitt’s generational peers? A passing but provocative description of what he perceived as a subtle but dangerously weakened ecclesiology within the young Calvinist community in the SBC. Hence, Whitt remarked:
Moreover, I have never wanted to be anything but a Southern Baptist. Being a Presbyterian has never appealed to me like it seems to some leaders in our convention and their protégés (emphasis added)
One would have thought Whitt questioned the Christian orthodoxy of Calvinist Baptists. Howls of protest echoed across the Southern Baptist prairie. Critics called on him to prove his slanderous caricature or pull it from the record.
Now, however, none other than Southern Baptists’ icon for the young, restless, and reformed, Al Mohler, appears to vindicate precisely what Brad Whitt suggested he perceived happening amongst the young, restless, and reformed in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Only recently Dr. Mohler spoke to the annual meeting of Baptist state convention editors held in Phoenix, Arizona, February 13-16th and revealed his startling concern about contemporary Southern Baptist ecclesiology:
I gave the order of the concerns that I mentioned here intentionally, because I do think that there is a creeping Presbyterianism amongst us. I do think there’s a creeping Episcopalianism amongst us. I think there is a creeping you could name it amongst us as we’re losing our polity in the midst of all kinds of missiological and other kinds of adaptations (p.42, emphasis added)1
The truth is, Whitt’s assertion is not even close to the intensity or explicitness Dr. Mohler’s observation indicates. In fact, given Mohler’s stern words, Brad Whitt can take it to the bank:
you just got vindicated, little brother...
And, vindication from the very community which raised its voices against you.
With that, I am…
1I’m working on uploading the transcript of the entire message to the editors annual meeting