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SBC President:  For Christ’s Sake, Stop!

From USAToday: "For Christ's sake, stop!" declared the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Frank Page, pleading for civility in the Baptist blogosphere. Episcopalians and Anglicans duel incessantly over their faith and future in the Anglican Communion. Catholics focus on every topic from liturgy to law to spirituality. These are faith bloggers - uncountable voices who contest, confess and consider religious beliefs, doctrines and denominational politics in their posts. Although every faith has its bloggers, U.S. Christians may be among the most vociferous of the watchdogs, philosophers and ecclesiastical groupies...

"You can change minds and form hearts. You can bring to light the best humanity of the Church, which rarely gets covered - the people who get up every morning and give the best of themselves because they believe,” says Rocco Palmo, 24, of Philadelphia. His blog, Whispers in the Loggia, covers the U.S. Catholic church and Vatican minutiae, down to the lace on the pope’s vestments.

“Everything, even the lace on top, has a meaning. Everything is a signal on where things are going.” says Palmo, whose posts are hot with Vatican-istas from California to Rome.

Other sites are more inclined to give their opponents hell.

Southern Baptist leader Frank Page discovered this when bloggers, notably at, boosted his campaign for presidency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination in 2006.

Within a year, Page soured on the blogs’ incendiary approach to issues of church governance and religious expressions.

Page fretted in a Baptist Press column that battling bloggers frighten off “lost souls and new believers.” He wrote, “Lost people are seeing the deep division and sometimes hatred that is flowing forth among churches and among those who are involved in convention discussions. For Christ’s sake, stop!”

But the Rev. Ben Cole of SBCOutpost is unrepentant. An assistant pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., he says SBCOutpost is a “dissident blog” that’s “very intentionally harsh and provocative.”

In August, a counter-blog called SBCToday, edited by four pastors including the Rev. Wes Kenney, 36, of Trinity Baptist Church in Valliant, Okla., sprang up. He describes it as “less bitter than Outpost,” and more focused on how the distinct theology of Southern Baptists can be lived out in modern times.

More here at

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This post has been viewed 713 times and was added on November 28, 2007 by Todd Rhoades.
Filed under: Leadership Issues  Leadership Development  
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  There are 3 Comments:
  • Posted by

    I think it’s very sad to see.  It’s just too easy to zap off a blog with no accountability.  Though I wouldnt’ want to see that taken away from us either.

    It’s not that I think leadership is above criticism.  But we’ve seen it here enough.

    I will say that there are some truly wonderful things happening through blogs and on the net.

    For me, I’m a moderator on a pastor’s wive’s discussion board, and that group of women have gotten me through many a week.
    They also pray for each other and we’ve seen the answers.  One brought me to tears this morning.

    I think it’s just another way for the wackos and critical spirits to do what they do well.
    And it’s not unlike what has always been in the church.  These are the dogs that are among us, that seek to devour one another.  Just in a new and easier way.

  • Posted by Randy Ehle

    Unfortunately, the blogosphere will not just dissipate like fog in the morning sun.  We can rail against it, ignore it, or harness it; I would lean toward the latter.  The challenge for Christian leaders is how to teach effectively and convincingly - and biblically - about the power of the internet for both good and evil. There is plenty of scriptural basis for these kinds of messages - James, Ephesians 4, even Genesis (maybe the internet is the 21st century “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”!). 

    “Just say no!” may have been a pithy motto for Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug crusade, but it is a theologically shallow response to most of life’s problems; maybe Frank Page doesn’t understand that pat answers and pithy mottos don’t do much.  (Yes, I know Jesus told the adulteress to “go and sin no more” - but that followed on the heels of a more poignant interaction that left an indelible mark on all present.)

  • Posted by Danny Daniels

    I am having update withdrawal. I check MMI every day.

    Todd, you have got us hooked. I look forward to “Mondays” for the latest “insights”.

    Keep ‘em coming.

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