“I hope my brothers will reconsider their strategy for communicating our deeply held Southern Baptist conviction that the Bible is our sole foundation and authority for all of life and faith” says Danny Akin, president of the [Converged] Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina.
Start by watching the trailer. Sorry I can’t embed it but I’ll add some choice quotes. This be YUUUGE, mon:
“I see Godless ideologies that have spread over Western Civilization over the last several decades with a vengeance… to tell us what we are supposed to be seeing.”
“Many of these ideologies have been snuggled into the Church in the Trojan Horse of Social Justice.”
“So, if we can take a clear passage of Scripture, that says ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority’, when we’re finished with it, it now says ‘I do permit a woman in some cases’… then there’s no stopping, nowhere you can’t go.”
“This insidious stuff, inside our church… uses our guilt and shame against us, to get us to do self-destructive things.”
“It’s at this point that I think we’re being played.” -Tom Ascol
YES! OMIGAWD, YES! Coming from the mouths of elders, babe.
About that Trailer
By Tom Ascol, 29 July 2019
On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, we released a trailer to a film we are working on called, By What Standard? God’s World…God’s Rules. It appears that more than a few people watched it, or at least heard about it enough to comment on it. The trailer is 4 minutes long and is designed to encourage people to see the film when it is released. Some people appreciated the trailer. Some were intrigued, and some were—to put it mildly—not pleased. The uproar about the trailer further confirms how important this project is.
I’ve received many texts, messages & phone calls from people wanting to engage me about or inform me of responses to the trailer. I have not seen all of them, much less been able to respond to all of them, but I was grateful to have a few, brotherly exchanges with several, including some who were concerned by the trailer. Two of those conversations were with Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, both of whom have been interviewed for the film. I greatly appreciate their willingness to talk to me directly.
Dr. Akin texted his disappointment with the trailer, asking that his interview not be used in the full cinedoc. I called him and we had a cordial, pointed conversation. I offered to interview him again, giving him opportunity to pushback, criticize or say anything he wanted. He appreciated the offer but later texted to say he still wanted to disassociate from the project.
Dr. Mohler called me to express his concern. I was surprised since his previous response to the trailer (when I sent it to him 8 days earlier) had been a simple expression of looking forward to seeing the whole film. He told me that he would be issuing a statement about it later that day.
In Mohler’s defense, 15 July appears to have been his marriage’s 30th anniversary.
[Mohler on his Twitter, 23 July]: “Yes, folks, I have now seen the @FoundersMin video trailer and I am alarmed at how some respected SBC leaders are represented. Southern Baptists expect and deserve a respectful and honest exchange of ideas. I am convinced we are all capable of this.”
The first that I heard concern expressed by Dr. Jason Allen, President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was in a tweet [calling it clickbait]. The same is true for Dr. Adam Greenway, the new President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:
“Re: the @FoundersMin trailer—@tomascol asked me to join other seminary leaders I respect like @albertmohler @DannyAkin in being interviewed on the SBC Conservative Resurgence’s legacy. I will not, however, be part of any agenda seeking to divide Southern Baptists unnecessarily.”
Greenway thought he was spiking the football on Patterson’s corpse, instead he discovered there remain Bible-Thumpers in the SBC!
Some other men have also asked that their interviews not be used, including Mark Dever
and Jonathan Leeman.
I’ll come back to these two.
Others have been pressured to withdraw. We will, of course, honor these requests.
Sigh. You don’t expose evil by allowing evil to cover up once it realizes it’s about to be exposed. Please start playing to win.
In fact, out of fairness to them, we are willing to release complete, unedited footage of their interviews apart from the cinedoc. That will allow them (and others) to consider their words with the assurance that they have not been edited in ways in which they do not approve.
Oh! Maybe I spoke too soon. Maybe.
Some have accused us of misrepresenting the words spoken by certain people who appear in the trailer. We do not believe we misrepresented anyone’s words. I have two encouragements to anyone concerned that we have misrepresented them or taken them out of context: 1) Go listen to the full, unedited, interviews that are available online here, here and here; 2) Remember that this is merely a trailer—there is not time for presentation of the full context to every clip. We love our brothers and sisters in the SBC and rejoice that we can discuss and debate critical matters of Christian doctrine and practice.
Some expressed concerns about a 1-2 second clip of Rachael Denhollander, accusing us of presenting her as demonic. Certainly, no one at Founders Ministries believes that and we did not foresee people taking it that way. That was not our intention and, admittedly, not our wisest editing moment. We regret the pain and confusion we caused by this unwise alignment of image and idea. We have removed the clip and have reached out to her and to her husband, Jacob. We are grateful for so many of Mrs. Denhollander’s efforts to serve victims of abuse.
Tom is making a dangerous mistake: allowing Denhollander authority for no reason than to show sympathy. That is not merit and it doesn’t change the problem of a woman in senior leadership.
Her rapist, Larry Nassar, will be eligible for parole twenty years after the Sun burns out so the matter is closed. Today, Rachel can either live a sheltered life under her husband’s protection or she can be expected to take as much criticism and hostility as a man. Not both. No more “I get to be leader because I’m a victim”. That is Social Justice thinking.
I suppose at this point I should reiterate the concerns that have given rise to this project. Founders Ministries has always been about contending for the gospel and working for healthy churches. Foundational to that work is a full commitment to the authority and sufficiency of the written Word of God. We fear that such commitment is wavering among some evangelical and, more particularly, Southern Baptist, churches and entities.
The one thing that can make a Cuck Christian find his spine: you aren’t using the Bible correctly!
If you have never watched The Battle for the Minds, a 1997 PBS documentary, made available online by “Baptizing Feminism” earlier this year, please do so post haste. Consider carefully this posted description of that film:
The documentary focuses on the early days of the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence where women suddenly could no longer be preachers, and emphases was placed [sic] on women’s need to submit to their husbands….
Battle for the Minds profiles key leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, most still leaders in SBC today.
That explains why all these big-name anti-Pattersons were initially willing to be interviewed, if Tom likened this new documentary to a favorable old one.
In part, our in-progress documentary, Baptizing Feminism, explores Christian feminist activists on the front lines challenging some of the same leaders featured in Battle for the Minds, and the male-headship theologies they believe contribute to the culture of abuse, sexism and abuse cover-ups in SBC churches and related networks.
The postmodern, deconstructionist worldview (which Josh Harris recently invoked as an explanation for why he walked away from biblical Christianity) has given rise to godless ideologies like radical feminism, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality. These ideologies are being smuggled into conservative Christian churches and entities (see Resolution 9 from SBC19) often by well-meaning but misguided teachers.
NO! NO! NO! FUCK, NO! THEY ARE NOT WELL-MEANING! THEY ARE NOT MISGUIDED! THEY HATE GOD AND LOVE TO SPREAD LIES IN HIS NAME! If female clergy aren’t proof enough then look at recent attempts to decriminalize sodomy in the Church. God put the death penalty on sodomy yet these people claim one can praise Jesus while packing the fudge, a TOTAL and BLATANT violation of God making us male and female.
If they are not identified and repudiated, they will have disastrous consequences for the spread of the gospel and the faith of millions of people.
You ain’t wrong there. Tom, you’re going in the right direction, but you don’t truly understand what’s going on, which is why you were unprepared for the shock of early criticism.
These ideologies are not merely opposed but are actually antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Where the gospel unites people of all races, sexes and nationalities in gratitude for grace, these alien frameworks intentionally divide, rejecting mercy in favor of endless recrimination and resentment.
Some have claimed that the trailer shows a disregard for those who have suffered sexual abuse. That is not what we wished to communicate at all. We grieve the very real oppression, and abuse that occurs far too often in our day. We are thankful that this evil is being exposed. It needs to be faithfully and biblically confronted and addressed by pastors. Indeed, most of our board members have extensive experience in counseling individuals and churches that have been devastated by sexual abuse. We don’t just tweet about it. We also try to help churches serve survivors of abuse.
We know that many people—including some friends—find our present stand divisive, and we are genuinely sorrowful for that.
That was not what Christ did. When He saw people choosing to abandon Him because they didn’t like His teachings, He shrugged and asked the Twelve if they wanted to go, too.
Pragmatically, it is not possible to find unity even with fellow believers, let alone with people who push subversive dogmas and false teachings.
But we have taken this stand to avoid, not to encourage, a far greater division that will surely be the inevitable result of the spread of what can only be called a false gospel.
Someone suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that the trailer created such a stir that there is no need to release the film. If “creating a stir” were our goal, then I would agree. But the purpose of this project is not simply to make noise. It is to educate believers and alert them to serious threats coming into Christian churches today—threats that, if left unaddressed, will undermine commitment to the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word.
We have enough education. Education is not the problem. Unpunished rebellion is the problem.
It is obvious that faithful brothers and sisters can and do disagree on the issues involved. Some who agree on the issues disagree on the strategies for addressing them. I have friends in both categories who disagree with me. But I must respectfully disagree with those who say we are “stirring up division” by addressing these issues. Southern Baptists are already discussing these issues, and have been for some time. We do them a great disservice by pretending they are not, or that they do not deserve this discussion.
Props to Tom, he’s learning to Never Apologize.
Finally, my hope and prayer are that this film will bring desperately needed attention to teachings and practices that need to be reevaluated in the light of God’s Word. He has spoken. We live under the authority of His Word. It is imperative that we take Him at His Word and trust Him to guide us in His ways as we joyfully and confidently submit ourselves to it.
Tom, the Bible has no authority. Zero. It’s just a book. Scratches on parchment. A collection of ideas. It is an incredibly valuable book but it is not our leader. It does not cast out the false shepherd. It does not discipline us. It does not regulate our behavior.
Let me show you what I mean.
Those two guys I pictured above? Dever and Leeman? They run a heavily monetized ministry called 9Marks, which promotes “Biblical” methodologies in organized Church operations. These are the 9Marks:
1. Expositional preaching
2. Biblical theology
3. Biblical understanding of the Gospel
4. Biblical understanding of conversion
5. Biblical understanding of evangelism
6. Biblical understanding of membership
7. Biblical church discipline
8. Promotion of Christian discipleship and growth
9. Biblical understanding of church leadership
Sounds very Biblical, yes? But there’s no mention of God in that. The Wikipedia entry continues:
Dever has written about the adjective “biblical”: “I try to use ‘biblical’ as an adjective. And I do so not to say less than ‘Reformed’ to my Arminian friend, but to say more. I do so to get in what they perceive to be their territory. If I say that our position is ‘Reformed,’ Arminian or Wesleyan friends can simply dismiss me, thinking that I’m on the other side in an ancient battle, and am about to do no more than rehearse old disagreements. But if I call freshly on that which claims the allegiance of all evangelical parties—the Bible—and I work from there, I require their attention. [From his book “9 Marks of a Healthy Church”]
To Mark Dever, “Biblical” does not mean “pertaining to God’s Word”. “Biblical” means “I tricked you into taking me seriously”. “MY theology, MY understanding of the Gospel, but first, I want to make you uncertain about your own beliefs.”
These are the people who are abandoning your project, Tom. The children of the Devil Himself, who is real and not merely the villain of a really good book. Do not consider them peers. Do not seek unity with them. Do not assume they are disagreeing with you in good faith. Praise God, thump the Bible and denounce the Social Justice that has overtaken the SBC!
People will buy tickets to a show like that.