How blogs are giving denominational leaders nightmares

I’ve been following Wade Burleson’s blog with interest for some time now. He is a Southern Baptist pastor who serves as a trustee on the SB’s International Mission Boards, one of the largest missionary organizations in the world. He began blogging about his experiences and his concern there appeared to be a lot of abuse of power in the Southern Baptist Convention hierarchy. He has come under fire and taken a lot of heat for his blog, which sincerely seeks to shed light, not malign individuals.

What is occurring now among varying levels of Southern Baptist Convention leadership, both within state conventions and the national one, is rather disheartening. Rank and file Southern Baptists for so long have just assumed that their convention is being led by men who sincerely seek to be obedient to scripture. I still believe that is true for most. However, there are still those at great levels of influence who use their own agendas and opinions to isolate, condemn, undermine, and prevent open dialogue, dissent, and honest questions.

The blogging world gives such autocrats nightmares. It reaches the masses like no other form of communication prior to our era. No longer does one have to go through a means of a publisher to disseminate his findings or thoughts. Leaders who don’t appreciate input or counsel but would rather choose to have everyone march in lock step with them, are terrified by the mobilization of individual churches and believers that is occurring through the blogosphere.

Granted, blogs are also a way for anyone to shoot off at the mouth, make irrational and unsubstantiated claims, and malign others. Bloggers desperately need to commit themselves to being ethical and fair, and to avoid personal attacks. (A great set of suggested ethical guidelines is here).

I have a great respect for Southern Baptists. I am deeply indebted to them for my own heritage, discipleship, and friendships. I would simply encourage them, however, to be informed, to think for themselves, and to hold their leaders and convention accountable to pursuing Christlikeness and the building of God’s kingdom rather than their own.

On this day...


  1. K.T. says:
    I could definitely learn something from this blog myself.I wont say any of my claims in previous blogs were unsubstantiated per se,but definitely irrational and unethical,you have definitely given me something to think about both inside and outside of context.:):)
  2. Elton says:
    Sadly, most church organizations have become the beauracratic nightmares that most business/management books have been trying to steer corporate America away from for years. Beauracracies take on a life of their own, and serve to perpetuate the status quo. Spiritual leadership doesn’t look anything like a beauracracy. Beauracratic leaders derive their leadership from their position or title, and will try to quiet anyone who has a differing view to preserve the beauracracy that has given them power. Spiritual leaders derive their leadership from relationships and trust, and therefore can have an honest dialogue with those they are leading who disagree with their viewpoints.
  3. Jeff says:
    KT, that’s what helps us all grow in this fairly new blogging medium. It’s waaay too easy to manipulate truth when we don’t hold ourselves accountable to truthfulness and kindness.

    Elton… deep stuff. Very profound. You have an amazing way of saying in a few sentences what I would have rambled on and on about. Thanks for summarizing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge