The Southern Baptist Coalition’s annual meeting is June 11-12 this year. President J.D. Greear published a new book on June 1 in preparation for it. That’s how bad this is going to get… the President monetized his plan for the SBC’s recovery from Catholic-style sex abuse scandals by reducing the number of white men in the SBC to God-acceptable levels.
Southern Baptist President J.D. Greear: ‘There’s Only One Way That We Can See the Church Going Forward’
When Southern Baptists meet in Birmingham, Alabama June 11-12 for their annual meeting they’ll have no shortage of challenges.
The country’s largest Protestant denomination finds its membership dipping below 15 million for the first time in 30 years.
A Houston Chronicle investigative report on sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches has thrust its policies into the national spotlight and the denomination is also grappling with initiatives to combat racism and include women in more positions of church leadership while adhering to its traditional complementarian theology.
While damning, the investigative report itself is reluctant to mention homosexuality among the offending clergy. Although it recognizes that ‘some’ of the abuse victims are teenage boys.
CBN News spoke with Pastor J.D. Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), this week about his views on the meeting, and the future of Southern Baptists.
“There’s really only one way that we see the church going forward and it’s putting the Gospel above all and pushing evangelism as the task,” he said.
Using the Gospel as the power of God is the theme of his book I mentioned per the preview that Amazon kindly provided for free. I’m not giving him a cent; nothing in his book could damn him as much as his selling a “how to fix the Church” book two weeks before an annual summit on how to fix the SBC he presides over.
Let’s segue to this excerpt from the linked preview. I think it says everything that needs to be said. Emphases his.
Think about this: The gospel is the one thing in the New Testament, other than Jesus himself, that is referred to directly as the power of God.
Not contains the power of God.
Not channels the power of God.
The gospel is itself the raw, unstoppable, death-defeating power of God.
The apostle Paul explains in his letter to the Romans that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who would believe (Rom. 1:16).
Who needs Jesus when you have the Gospel?
He quoted the very verse I was going to use to undermine him. Thanks! As it says, the Gospel’s goal is our salvation. Here’s the situation, here’s Christ’s offer, you have until mortal death to accept or reject. In other words, the Gospel is not a source of power. We Christians have had the Gospel since 30AD. It has not prevented us from suffering every form of external persecution and internal conflict imaginable. Certainly, reminding people that Christ provided their salvation by crucifixion will do nothing to prevent a church split. It didn’t even stop Paul and Barnabas from splitting up in Acts.
But he only quoted the first half of Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Greear will be calling for more diversity in the name of unity later on, so let’s notice that God still treats Jews and Gentiles differently in the New Testament.
Greear will also be talking about the sex scandals so let me quote verse 17 while I’m at it. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Greear talks about the power of the Gospel but never the righteousness of God that is the very point of the Gospel. God hates, HATES evil and will not excuse the smallest lawbreaking. That’s why Christ had to die in the first place, because God has an eternal, burning hate for those who do evil.
What is faith? Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1. Greear will be talking about how to boost membership, keep kids safe and so on, but as you will see, his only use for God is as a tool. If you truly love God, if you have faith in Him, then you will not compromise even when your headcount shrinks. Because you know that something better and more permanent than the SBC is coming.
Enough seguing. I show you the money.
Greear literally practices what he preaches at Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina. Summit encourages its 11,000 attendees to simply evangelize one person – their “one” – and it seems to work. Under Greear’s leadership, Summit has planted 53 churches in the US and 245 overseas.
Putting the Gospel first is also the focus of Greear’s new book, Above All.
It’s a strategy he believes will inform and improve the way Southern Baptists view some of their thorniest issues, including abuse.
Greear makes the case that dealing with sexual abuse in the church is a Gospel issue. “What does it say about our Gospel when we refuse to either deal with or create the structures necessary to prevent preying on the vulnerable, to prevent abuse?” he asks.
What does it say about the righteousness of God when we don’t break the necks of child molesters? Screw your “creating structures”, screw your “prevent preying on the vulnerable” and screw your “prevent abuse”. PUNISH THE EVIL!
“Evil” is not a word Greear will be using today.
Greear thinks addressing abuse could impact church attendance. He says churches must deal with it if they want to encourage people to attend church and feel safe.
It’s an idea supported by recent Lifeway research, which showed that one in ten younger Protestants have left their church because they felt that sexual misconduct was not taken seriously.
Greear also maintains that believers shouldn’t be surprised to find abuse in their house of worship.
“Jesus told us that there would be shepherds that would come in and masquerade as being shepherds and end up abusing the sheep,” he said. “Of all people we should have known that this was a potential and that this would be a problem in the church.”
This… is… not… normal… for the Church, you… you… *spitting angry*
The Lifeway research shows that one in three Protestant church-goers believe that #churchtoo has only just begun and that more church abuse cases are looming on the horizon.
Greear says he welcomes the spotlight but admits he cringed just a few months ago when the Houston Chronicle published its series on abuse in Southern Baptist churches.
“When I first heard about the Houston Chronicle investigation, my gut response was to pray, ‘Lord, protect our reputation, help the Gospel not go backward. And help people not to skew the information.’ And it was one of those moments when I felt the Spirit of God say to me, ‘That’s not what I want you to be praying. I’ll guard your reputation. I want you to be willing to do whatever it takes to provide safety, a more safe environment for victims and the vulnerable.'”
That’s what Cultural Catholics do. They ask God to hide their leaders’ wickedness because it would “hurt the church’s reputation” if the truth leaked out. It is not an attitude to be tolerated in the Protestant world. We have no institutional reputation. The church across the street is as good as this one… maybe more so if the current pastor worries that much about his reputation.
Last summer, Greear appointed a task force on abuse to advise on sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other related topics.
If it’s Task Force Silent Justice then I’ll calm down. Otherwise, I smell a bureauc-rat.
In Birmingham, he’ll be advocating for a new “Credentials Committee” that would evaluate claims of church misconduct, including abuse.
The task force is also considering abuse training and curriculum and the possibility of a clergy sex offender database. Abuse advocates will rally in support of these measures on the first day of the meeting.
Because that worked so well for the Boy Scouts?
Rally organizer Ashley Easter says advocates are committed for the long haul. “We will not stop until the Southern Baptist Convention becomes a safe place for survivors of abuse, and as of now it is not a safe place,” she said.
Diversity and the SBC
Greear is also pushing for greater diversity in the SBC. He recently appointed 126 people to SBC committees and says almost half were people of color.
He points out that the diverse appointments are not for the purpose of a photo opportunity, but to reflect the SBC. People of color make up 20 percent of SBC membership and non-white pastors planted close to two-thirds of SBC churches last year.
“We need their perspective,” Greear said. “The US is changing and in order for us to effectively reach the next generation they’ve got wisdom that comes out of their community and their experience that we need to heed.”
Greear says he hopes that such appointments will also help with issues of abuse.
“I sometimes wonder if some of the problems we’re having dealing with sexual abuse and how we respond to it -would some of those crises have been avoided or at least mitigated if you had people around the seats, the seats of power, that knew what it was like to grow up marginalized or grow up silenced?” he said.
Greear is breathing lies like oxygen here. Growing up with a race card in your pocket does not give you special insight into justice. Except, of course… for Social Justice.
National Politics and the SBC
Last year, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the annual meeting. This year, no such high-profile political leader will speak.
When it comes to politics, Greear says he wants Southern Baptists to know that putting the Gospel first means they should be able to charitably disagree about their views.
“It’s ok for different Christians to come to different conclusions,” he said. “We can agree on the core issues: life, religious liberty, empowerment of the poor, the equality of races, the sanctity of marriage. We can agree on those things and even come to different conclusions about which particular candidate will be better for the country at this time.”
Oops, the mask slipped!
Greear argues that even Jesus’ disciples had different political beliefs but kept the Gospel as their first priority – and that made all the difference.
Actually no, because they thought Christ’s kingdom was going to be a physical one. Remember that documented time they squabbled over who would be at His right hand? Remember how Judas wigged out when Christ said the rulers of His Church were going to be the servants of the ordinary people?
Greear is so eager to bring the new, CORRECTLY COLORED people into the Southern Baptists that he’s forgotten his first duty is to the people already in it.
Lest you think this is only one article, let’s go to an inaugural interview.
A Conversation with J. D. Greear, the New President of the Southern Baptist Convention
By Justin Taylor, 12 June 2018
This afternoon the Southern Baptist Convention—the largest Protestant body in the United States and the largest Baptist denomination in the world—elected 45-year-old pastor J. D. Greear as its 62nd president, the youngest man to hold the office in 38 years.
Greear did his PhD in theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (where he also teaches), writing on the correlation between presentations of the gospel in the early church and the theology of Islam. He has a heart for Muslims to come and know the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, having lived and served among Muslims.
The article gave some background info. The above paragraph is the only relevant bit. Researching the correlations between Christianity and Islam is a very disturbing topic for a modern young theologian. The facts are this: Mohammed tried to create a Jewish cult, was rebuffed, tried to create a Christian cult, was rebuffed, embraced highway robbery to pay his bills and upon achieving material success, invented a Judeo-Christ-like cult that outlasted him.
God and Allah have nothing in common because God is real and Allah is a lie.
What is the biggest need of the hour in the SBC?
Re-establishing the gospel above all else as the foundation of our unity and focus of our mission.
The apostle Paul said that the gospel is “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). If we are going to move forward in unity, we have got to keep the gospel at the center of all we do. The gospel must be greater than our programs, greater than our political agendas, and greater than any petty difference that threatens to divide us.
Unity is a globalist priority, not a Christian priority. We are unified only in the sense of following Christ.
We also need a shift in our culture. Our mission and our doctrine are rock solid. But recent events have shown that our culture has grown too comfortable with power and the dangers that power brings. We need to move forward on our knees—demonstrating confession, encouraging transparency, and modeling humility. God has been chastening the SBC, and that process is painful. But I believe that God is cleaning house in order to purify us for greater effectiveness for his mission.
Notice his “solution” doesn’t match his “problem”. I agree the Church is way too comfortable with the world but the solution to that is being different from the world, not being humble about being the same as unbelievers. We could start with an old Church practice called “no women in authority over men”. That’s way counter-cultural.
Obviously the question of how churches should handle cases of abuse has been much discussed in recent days. How would you like to see churches deal with abuse going forward?
It is a tragedy when anyone endures abuse.
Sexual abuse of children is a crime against God and man, and the best argument for a hanging party that America has ever had.
It is particularly tragic how common it is today, and it is a scandal that abuse has often flourished in church environments. The church should be a place where the abused and the vulnerable find a safe haven. At the Summit, we are doing everything we can to ensure that both our culture and our processes really do protect the vulnerable.
The church should be a place where the wicked fear to tread, where they glance at the bloodsoaked Crosses on the wall and wonder how long until they’re found out and take their turn. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
This includes recognizing the difference between what is only immoral and what is both immoral and illegal. Jesus forgives both, but God gives primary jurisdiction over what is immoral to the church (Matthew 18) and jurisdiction over what is illegal to the state (Romans 13). We honor God and his Word when we recognize this and bring the appropriate authorities in, without apology and without delay.
God gave the duty of punishing evil to the State. He did not give them the job of defining what evil is. The Church’s role in America is to remind people what God says evil is.
I’m still waiting for Greear to use the word “evil”.
Physical or sexual abuse can never be tolerated, minimized, hidden, or “handled internally.” Those in leadership who turn a blind eye toward abuse are complicit with it and must be held accountable. The women in our churches deserve better.
The women in your church deserve to die childless and unloved. They are Jezebels, witches, cam-girls, priestesses, whores and… I repeat myself.
Are there ways in which you think the SBC needs to rethink the way in which women are utilized in gospel ministry?
The recent focus on raising up women in ministry has been a good one, and one that we in the complementarian camp should welcome. I affirm, without reservation, the complementarian view of gender found in Scripture—that women are equal in essence, equal in value, and equal in spiritual giftings, while not being equivalent to men. Women and men are created differently and serve distinct roles in the family and in the church, where (for instance) only men can serve in the office of pastor. Complementarianism is not a box to be checked, but a beautiful truth to be celebrated.
But this complementarian position should not lead us, as it has led some, to stifle the leadership possibilities and ministry avenues for women. The rich teaching of Scripture about the complementary roles of women and men has never meant, “All women everywhere should submit to men everywhere.” Nor does Scripture anywhere imply that women cannot exercise robust spiritual and leadership gifts in the church.
Sometimes, in our rightful espousal of complementarianism, we in the SBC have failed to create the same pathways into ministry for women that we have for men. This was true at the church that I pastor: it was easy for men to get trained and step into leadership, but not women. Our ministry team was very, very male-heavy, as we tended to consider only men even for positions of leadership that really did not require occupation by an ordained pastor/elder.
Why might God have forbidden women from ordination as Church Pastor specifically yet be willing for women to rule over men in any other context? This isn’t even lip service to Scripture.
I hope to see complementarians recognize that far from preventing women from exercising our gifts, our theology propels us to equip, encourage, and empower women to unleash their gifts for the church.
I know one of the things that drives you is the conviction that theology and mission should be deeply grounded in the gospel. Can you explain what you mean?
God has raised up many to remind us that the gospel is not simply the “entry rite” into Christianity, but the fountain of our growth and focus of our mission.
The gospel is the good news that Jesus died in our place to restore us to God, and offers us abundant life in him through his resurrection. It needs to be declared to every person on earth. Jesus summarized his mission as “seeking and saving the lost,” and said he had more joy over finding the one sinner who repents than anything happening in the 99 who were already his.
The gospel should saturate every stage of the Christian life. The gospel that saves the sinner also makes the saint come alive. We grow in Christ not by going beyond the gospel, but deeper into it. Or, as a friend of mine says, “The fire to do in the Christian life comes from being soaked in the fuel of what has been done.”
My Christian fire comes from hatred at what you entryists and Children of the Devil have been doing to my people: my fellow Christians, my fellow Americans, my fellow whites, my fellow men. And if you think my hate is terrible–when all it does is this tiny blog–wait until you find out that God is real, knows everything you did and it’s possible to die a second time.
That’s the Gospel, right there. God HATES evil. In fact, there would be no need for Christ’s salvation if God was the forgiving type of deity. You are “forgiven” only in the sense that God butchered Christ instead of you for your crimes… literally in stead, meaning, in the place, of you.
How do you see the relationship between grace and truth?
No relationship. They’re two different topics. Why do you ask?
The apostle John summarized Jesus’s ministry in one phrase: “full of grace and truth” (John 1:17). To minister to our culture like Jesus, we must aim for that same balance.
Truth without grace is fundamentalism; grace without truth is liberalism.
The combination of grace and truth made Jesus irresistibly attractive to people of all kinds, and will make us so as well. Of course, Jesus also made people so mad that some wanted to kill him. When we carry ourselves with grace and truth, we will find our culture reacting to us like they reacted to Jesus.
On the surface, this looks like just another Tradcon contradicting himself. But it could also be a ploy to seek unity with Calvinists, since Irresistable Grace is a doctrine unique to them.
Practically speaking, this means our preaching of the gospel must be accompanied by acts of extravagant gospel generosity. As Francis Schaeffer explained, love on display in the church is God’s final apologetic to the world.
Can you tell us what you guys have done at The Summit Church [his megachurch prior to SBC Presidency] to increase ethnic diversity and why this is so important to you?
Our efforts at The Summit Church along this line are guided by the plumb line, “The church should reflect the diversity of its community and declare the diversity of the kingdom.” Unity across race and ethnicity is one of the hallmarks of the gospel, a sign to the world that the gospel has real power (Ephesians 2).
Again, unity is a globalist priority, not a Christian priority. Anybody who thinks the Church should be racially integrated had better be spending his weekends boycotting that Asian/black/Spanish church down the street (take your pick, I would avoid the Filipinos) for their racism and non-welcoming of whites. And nobody in North America is doing that.
Furthermore, our unity is to be a sign, preview, and firstfruits of the coming kingdom, in which every tribe, tongue, language, and nation will gather around Christ’s throne in all their resplendent cultural distinctives (Rev. 5).
Per Revelation, it will first be Satan’s throne.
Our journey toward this goal hasn’t been easy—true diversification never is. But we’ve learned that diversity isn’t a niche “project” for a select few; rather, it is an essential part of discipleship, and the responsibility of every follower of Jesus.
More lies. Remember God still considers Jews and Gentiles different?
For those of us in the majority culture, this process has begun with a posture of listening, not talking. The definition of a blind spot, after all, is a weakness that we don’t know that we have. Historically, the most insidious blind spots result from positions of privilege and power. If we are serious about discovering these blind spots, it means committing ourselves to uncomfortable conversations where we seek more to understand that we do to be understood.
Not only will we find the experience of listening uncomfortable, we will also likely find that some of the changes necessary to reflect the diversity of the body of Christ are uncomfortable, too. If we want the SBC to be a homogenous, conservative, white Anglo-Saxon movement, then cultural hegemony is fine. But if we want to reach the diversity of communities throughout the United States, then we better get ready to see our cultural and leadership structures change.
The term highlighted above are as typical of Social Justice as Irresistable Grace is of Calvinism. Greear is an SJW.
God has, by his grace, given us real progress in this area. Nearly 20 percent of our church attenders are non-white (up from less than 5 percent less than a decade ago). At least a third of our campus pastors and worship leaders are non-white. Our church still has a long way to go, but we are proof that moving toward diversity is possible.
At least Greear isn’t a racist. /facepalm
How could you see this playing out in the wider SBC?
For the SBC, the road forward may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. More than 21 percent of Southern Baptists are non-white. Let that sink in—and praise God for it!
He didn’t answer the question. Inquiring minds want to know, is he going to banish current white members or place a moratorium on new white membership? And how is he going to keep a straight face about this on Judgment Day?
“Did you feed my sheep?”
“Only the niggers. Reward, please!”
The numbers, in fact, align rather closely to the national census statistics.
The U.S. population is
16% Latino, and
The number of Southern Baptists in these demographics is similar:
7.4% African American,
6.7% Latino, and
A quick glance reveals that while we aren’t perfectly reflecting our nation, we’re in the ballpark. And we’re much closer than the mainline denominations, which are nearly all white. We are, contrary to many expectations, a rather diverse convention.
The real work for us going forward is to bring our leadership into alignment with where our people are. Nearly a fifth of our churchgoers are black, Latino, or Asian, but our leadership still falls far short of that mark. The leaders are there, and we all stand to benefit from the treasures they bring the convention. But we’ve got to give them the platform to do it.
Remember when Saint Peter banned Greek Christians from Church leadership because God’s people had become less than 70% Hasidic Jewish? Me neither.
So, what is God’s quota for white regular Church attenders? 50%? 30%? No more than 10% of any official Church function can be cracker?
Why is “missions” so important for Southern Baptists, and [what] are your hopes for the future of mission and the SBC?
Missions is at the heart of who we are because it is first at the heart of God.
Not an answer.
One of the key truths we repeat often at the Summit is that sending capacity in the local church is more important than seating capacity. All of Jesus’s promises about the greatness of the church are not about a large group of people gathering to bask in the anointing on one leader but multiple leaders being raised up and sent out in the power of the Spirit. Our God is a sending God. He sent his best into the world to save us. Jesus is referred to as “sent” 44 times in the New Testament. After his resurrection, Jesus passed his identity on to his disciples: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). To follow Jesus is to be sent and to devote yourself to sending.
Not an answer.
We also know that the reason God blesses a people is to make them a blessing to the nations. The basis of the psalmist’s prayer for revival in Psalm 67 is that God would use his people to make his salvation known among all nations. God never pours his Spirit into people to make them into gospel reservoirs; he turns his people into rivers that flood the nations. If we want the awakening of the Spirit, we have to be devoted to the nations (John 12:26).
Greear lied in that last sentence. John 12:25-26 (for context): Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. That’s the exact opposite of “we have to be devoted to the nations [world] if we want the awakening of the Spirit.”
I truly believe that the greatest movement of God in the SBC lies not in our past, but in our future. Throughout Scripture, we see that “past graces” are evidences that God wants to bestow future graces. There can be no doubt that the SBC experienced some unusual grace in the Conservative Resurgence. Why would the Holy Spirit have done that if it were not to give us an unprecedented effectiveness among the nations? God does what he does not to preserve institutions, but for the sake of the Great Commission. It’s all about the Great Commission. That means the best days of the SBC are ahead us. They have to be! There are still more than 6,000 unreached people groups in the world, and history cannot end until they have been given a gospel witness. It is our moment to expect great things of God, and then attempt great things for God.
News flash: the Great Commission is finished. The Gospel has been preached to every corner of the planet, in every language, and the Internet you’re using right now is the final proof.
I have no idea where he’s finding “6,000 unreached people groups”. Probably those Stone Age tribes in rain forests being kept ignorant of the outside world by host governments to serve as living museums. And I doubt there’s even 6k of those left.
Is Greear sending people to those six thousand groups specifically, or just wherever they can gin up some headcount and revenue?
What would it look like if every Southern Baptist church committed to help in the planting or revitalizing of just one domestic church next year? And what if every one of our churches got involved reaching one unreached or underserved people group overseas? Truly, the gates of hell would not stand a chance.
And Greear would be hailed as a great leader because the big wooden church boxes are full of dupes. Remember, God only look at the numbers, not the heart!
How can we pray for you personally in the days and weeks and months ahead?
I am first a husband and father, and second a local church pastor. These have been and will remain my primary assignments.
If Christ is not a man’s top priority, over even family, then there are serious problems. Matthew 10:36-37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Please pray that God gives all of us—my family, our church, and the denomination—grace for the future.
Pray that my kids grow up to love Jesus and the sheep.
Pray for wisdom for me. Even those of us appointed to be shepherds are still sheep, which means we need to lean on him to make our paths straight and not trust in our ability to understand. We need to cast ourselves on the mercy of the One who laid down his life for us and promised the success of the church in every generation, world without end (Eph. 3:20-21).
I pray for your salvation, Greear, that one day you will realize that Christianity is not a fairy tale Convergeable to the needs of your One World Government. I pray that one day you realize you are betraying your own people for the approval of outsiders. I pray the SBC recognizes you for the SJW termite you are and kicks you out. Your eternal punishment would be the less for their doing so.
The chin is interesting. It’s triangular, which is…
A quick comment on my readings. One of the reasons I like the Western school of physiognomy over others is redundancy. There tend to be several features indicating general topics like intelligence, impulsiveness, extroversion and so on. If you have a feature that I’m frequently negative about, don’t take it personally. There’s often more to it than I’m saying at any one time.
Here, for example, I’ve noted that many SJWs have triangular face shapes and in particular, narrow chins. This is not to suggest that all narrow-chinned people are SJWs. The one group is a subset of the other group. Narrow-chinned people also tend to be intelligent and bookish because narrow chins are associated with lower testosterone in adolescence, and physically weaker men naturally compensate with building up their intellect. I thank God that my company’s network admin isn’t Thor the bodybuilder.
Similarly, crows-feet indicate marital or sexual stress, not specifically, for example, pedo tendencies. I have to look for other indicators to confirm, which is why I have templates like pedoface. Also, you get wrinkled all over as you age so if you’re seventy and wondering about your crows-feet, no need for that.
I try to only read people in their prime, in good light with good detail, correcting for context. That can be difficult when picture selection is limited.
So, his face/jaw/chin is what I would expect for an SJW, not that most clergy today are much different. But the chin also seems prominent, which is an uncommon correlation.
Yes, that seems to be the case. That kind of chin likes conflict but this is not confirmed by, for example, angled (“dramatic”) eyebrows or a sharp, downward-pointed nose. Concentration lines on the forehead for intelligence but upper eyelids are visible so socially oriented. Consistent with being a priest, which has both ideas and people to master.
I would find those eyes suspicious except he’s both smiling and probably staring into bright light. More important is his teeth. Every pic I’ve found of him smiling shows him baring the upper gum. That indicates he believes he’s very popular.
So, a typical clergy type except with a lot of ego. He probably hasn’t sold his soul, he’s simply been raised to the modern zeitgeist with no spiritual awakening to counter it.
Perhaps God will hear my prayer and wake him up. We’ll know it if he get the Paige Patterson treatment.