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This past week, the Houston Chronicle published a three-part series on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.
In response, you asked: “Pastors, where were you? When we were pleading for you to speak up against your peers or the leaders your support props up, where were you?”
Tears - Pain - Question - Pastors - Peers
This. So many tears, so much pain, over this question. Pastors, where were you? When we were pleading for you to speak up against your peers or the leaders your support props up, where were you?
I want (and need) to answer your question.
Years - Years - Years - Church - Heart-breaking
Ten years ago, I was 32 years old, almost three years into pastoring my second church. We were recovering from some heart-breaking and regrettable division while walking into new conflicts. I was in the throes of life-paralyzing depression, not knowing how to handle what was happening.
My heart and mind were (as they so often are now) a jumble of conflicting desires and aspirations. On the one hand, I sincerely desired to glorify God, preach the Gospel, and shepherd a healthy church. On the other hand, my heart nurtured ambitions of personal glory, wishing to be known for my preaching and be influential within reformed evangelical circles. To go back and separate my decisions—the righteous from the unrighteous—is like trying to untie the Gordian Knot. That can only be remedied by the sword of the Gospel.
Pastors - Theologians - Tribe - Struggle - Pastoring
I idolized pastors and theologians within my tribe (a struggle that long-preceded pastoring). I had attended the inaugural Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference in 2006 (and every conference afterward until 2018). To me, these men (including CJ) represented the pinnacle of evangelical leadership, the ultimate “inner ring.” What they said was received with little discrimination on my part. Their recommendations—whether of books, doctrine, practice or people—carried great weight.
I found my way into networks and friendships within these...
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