Below is a response editor Kelly Boggs prepared in light of some of the unfounded criticism he received toward his editorial entitled "Situation at LC unfolds." Particularly, Joshua Breland, a Louisiana College graduate and now Caskey School of Divinity student, posted a rousing critique of Boggs' piece claiming it "misrepresents and misconstrues facts" surrounding the unfortunate turmoil taking place on the Baptist campus. Yet as I stated in a brief mention of Breland's criticism, the Caskey divinity student not only "misfires by offering not a single, legitimate complaint" against Boggs' editorial, but also demonstrates, in part, why young Calvinists like Breland remain rooted in the controversy over Calvinism in the SBC and will never become a viable part of the solution to the problem of Calvinism in the SBC unless they change both their attitude and approach toward those with whom they disagree.
In short, Breland's dubious, petty complaints that Boggs' editorial "misrepresents and misconstrues facts" add reluctance to take his otherwise lengthy rendition of the LC fiasco as hardly more than a zealous young student's impassioned, verbose but poorly constructed, lopsided opinion. It further makes one wonder what other criticisms Breland has repeatedly posted about the LC debacle are hopelessly tainted with soberless assertions or questionable conclusions.
The truth is, one will look long and hard to find a journalist or leader in the Southern Baptist Convention who is as open to dialog about what's actually going on--at least from his or her perspective--than Kelly Boggs. Read his open response to the criticism he received and see if you agree.
At the outset of the this response, let me say that I do not have the inclination nor the time to become involved in a point-counter point exchange on this or any other blog. I, like many of you, are extremely busy with professional and personal responsibilities. Hence, I am going to make my comments and allow any of you who so desire to contact me. I do not plan to return to play rhetorical ping-pong on a blog.
When it comes to responding to any type of criticism and questioning of motive/s, I learned long ago from very wise mentors that to respond in public fashion is usually not only fruitless, it is usually an exercise in futility. Why? Because to those who have already made up their minds no explanation will suffice. I will also predict that this very response will be critiqued as to its sincerity and motive. Sometimes you just can’t win.
One book in my library has some very wise words for responding to criticism, especially for those in the ministry. The book is titled “Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry” and was written by John MacArthur, Jr., prolific author and pastor of Grace Community Church located in Sun Valley, Ca., and The Master’s Seminary Faculty. While the book is a treasure trove of practical information, the counsel concerning criticism is found in a section titled “Answering Frequently Asked Questions.”
The question posed is: “Every church and its pastor his critics. How do you live with your critics?” The answer given by MacArthur begins on page 371 and is as follows:
“First of all, I check my life to see if the criticism is valid. If not, I affirm that I am privileged to render my service to the Lord, not men. I have to live in I Corinthians 4 where Paul said in effect, ‘It’s a small thing what men say of me.’ He was criticized mercilessly, particularly by the people in Corinth, yet he could respond by saying, ‘I don’t really care what they say about me. I do care what they say about my Lord and about His truth – but it’s a small thing what men say of me.’ He also affirmed that he was the chief sinner. I try to follow that pattern and say, ‘It really doesn’t matter what people think, and I’m certainly not worth defending. I may have been accused falsely of something, but there is certainly sin in my life somewhere that my accusers didn’t even know about.’
“We have to wait and let the Lord judge us. I have to be faithful to the Lord and not worry about reputation, and not take criticism personally – getting my ego involved. I have learned that whenever an unjust criticism comes, I thank the Lord for using it to humble and refine me. I commit myself to the faithful care of my Creator as Jesus committed Himself to His Father. Let God defend me if I am worthy of defending. I will defend the truth, I will defend Christ, I will defend the Bible, but I am not going to defend John MacArthur. Whenever someone criticizes me, I would rather just say, “Pray for me. Thank you for caring enough to share your concern. I want to be all that God wants me to be.”
The aforementioned are wise words from a seasoned minister who operates very much in the public eye.
I have longed believed the best way to handle disagreements, points of contentions, etc… is to do so person to person. I prefer to sit down and discuss a matter with someone. I will drive across the state to take someone to lunch for the purpose of discussing even the slightest difference. I think, no matter the outcome, it is time well invested.
Because I would rather speak to someone than play rhetorical tag on a blog, I invite any of you to call and discuss any of the issues related to the current situation at LC. I can’t promise lunch in every case, but I will listen to you and respond honestly. I am not saying you will like my explanations and I am not saying you will agree with me. However, we will have had the benefit of speaking to one another.
Before I give out my cell phone number, there a few conditions
- Our conversation is to be considered private. To me, off the record is off the record.
- I would ask that if you call, please do so after 7 a.m. and before 5 p.m. Also, please do not call on the weekend. Additionally, if you call between 7 a.m. and noon on Friday, please leave a message. I write with a noon deadline each Friday.
- Please no texting. While I text my family short notes, I find a conversation via text, at best, tedious
If you would like to call me, please do at: 3__-___-____1.
Have a grace-filled day.
How many times has an entity head, SBC leader, or journalist offered their private number for you to call them back and discuss the issue of concern?
For my money, if we had more openness like Boggs promotes, we'd experience but a fraction of the friction we now endure in the Southern Baptist Convention.
1I purposely blacked-out Boggs' number. If you'd like it, you may get it from Breland's post linked above