On Southern Baptist Blog Wars, Liberals & Fundamentalists
Last Tuesday (2/3/09), controversial Southern Baptist blogger Wade Burleson penned a post entitled “Forcibly Removing All The Tulips At SWBTS” which claimed that Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and architect of the Fundamentalist Takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, was planning to kick the seminary’s Calvinist professors to the curb under the guise of necessary cutbacks due to the sucky economy.
Almost immediately, a Calvinist professor (and Assistant Dean) at Southwestern screamed BS and called on Burleson “repent of your lies and slanders against Dr. Patterson and SWBTS.”
However, Burleson did not retract his story and followed-up with the post entitled “Forcibly Removing Tulips At SWBTS (Part II).”
In typical fundamentalist fashion, several of Burleson’s detractors threw up posts calling Burleson both a Liar and a….wait for it….Liberal. You knew that the L-bomb was gonna get lobbed.
Dr. Bart Barber, pastor of FBC Farmersville, Texas and the PraiseGodBarebones blog, described Burleson as “the wild-eyed liberal that he either always was or has recently become” in his February 4th post entitled The Log In The Eye of The SBC Tabloid Press.
Petey Lumpkins of the blog SBC Tomorrow followed Barber with a post entitled Wade Burleson: The Brightest Star Among The New Baptist Liberals.
Scott Gordon, a Missouri Baptist pastor who blogs at SBC Today, penned a post on his personal blog entitled If Not A Liberal…At Least A Liar.
Not surprisingly, fighting ensued in the blogosphere among conservative and fundamentalist Southern Baptists. Some were called Liars. Others were called Liberals.
The folks at the popular Independent Fundamental Southern Baptist blog SBC Today responded to all this drama with an interview from none other than Paige Patterson himself. One need only read through a dozen or so of the comments to see the severe man-crush that some of these Southern Baptist pastors have on Paige, Richard Land-style of course.
At the end of the day and presumably the end of this particular blog war in the Southern Baptist Blogosphere, the fine folks at SBC Today blocked all those living in the Enid, Oklahoma area (home of Wade Burleson) from accessing the SBC Today blog. Apparently, that’s how they do dat dere.
The SBC Today bloggers have also sworn off “any contact with or acknowledgment of Wade Burleson.” Meanwhile the tag line of SBC Today continues to read:
Restoring Unity Through Biblical Discipleship and Baptist Identity
Unity Through Exclusion. Yes, that’s the fundamentalist way….
Fundamentalists fighting is nothing new. But the fighting has reached a new level in the Southern Baptist blogosphere. All I know is that the old white guy-dominated Southern Baptist blogosphere can stir up more drama than a handful of teenage drama queens.
The resort to calling those with whom you have minor theological quibbles with a Liberal is O-L-D. Southern Baptist fundamentalists definitely have not abandoned this tactic. I’m just not convinced this tactic is all that effective anymore. Wade Burleson, a liberal? That might be hard to sell. Fundamentalists need to be creative with their labels. Mixing things up…a little creativity…that might help. Or perhaps their lack of creativity in this regard has something to do with that “intellectual sterility” indictment that evangelical historian Mark Noll hurled at fundamentalists over a decade ago. Just a thought.
Bloggin’ sure does bring out the best of Southern Baptists -that ole fundamentalist spirit.
So, back to my point from a week or so ago about the situation with FBC Decatur and the Georgia Baptist Convention: The problem is not denominations in a post-denominational world. The problem is fundamentalism. Fighting and using pejorative monikers is just how Fundamentalists express themselves. In the 21st century, they do this in the blogosphere. As the old saying goes, the only way to cooperate with a fundamentalist is to obey HIM. Organizational unity is highly unlikely as long as fundamentalists are in the fold.