The SBC Isn’t Drifting, It’s Being Steered: A Sober-Minded Response to Emotional Sabotage

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Joe Rigney has written a most timely and needed book: Leadership and Emotional Sabotage: Resisting the Anxiety That Will Wreck Your Family, Destroy Your Church, and Ruin the World. In this short, precise, and punchy offering, Rigney provides a sort of prescription regarding his diagnosis of “untethered empathy”(see here and here) and its awful effects on broader culture and evangelicalism.

My conclusion upon reading this book? Buy a handful of copies, keep one for yourself, and give the others to those in your immediate circle. We live in a rather unserious and incoherent world, and the sober-minded, glad-hearted, Christ-settled posture Rigney calls us to is just what the Good Doctor ordered for the fever of anxiety gripping our age.

In this article, I will take Rigney’s insights and apply them directly to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Rigney is self-admittedly building off the work of Edwin Friedman,[1] and highlights his five features of cultural breakdown. I will demonstrate how there is evidence of each of these features present in current SBC debates (particularly as it relates to our response to abuse and female pastors), and then offer a path forward for a sober-minded, stable, and ready response (and not reaction!) in Indianapolis at the SBC annual meeting this June. The value of Rigney’s work is that it helps readers like me, who may be mystified as to why professing conservative and complementarian influences in the SBC take a “complementarianism for me but not for thee” approach to adopting the Law Amendment. In other words, Rigney diagnoses the cultural pathologies which undergird a resistance to a robust confessionalism, namely, the effeminacy of untethered empathy.

1. Edwin Friedman was an ordained Jewish Rabbi and family therapist, who offered profound common grace insights. In Rigney’s words, “His theology and anthropology are lacking in some significant ways…As a result, readers have to wade through piles of dodgy theology and evolutionary gobbledygook in order to get to the good stuff…This book is my attempt to do justice to Friedman’s insights while grounding them in the Scriptures, and extending and applying them in the home, the church, and the world” (4–5).

The last couple of years, conservatives within the SBC have (rightly) warned of a “liberal drift.” But the big takeaway from Rigney’s book as I think about my denomination is that it is more accurate to say we in the SBC are being emotionally steered. Drift is a passive term that removes culpability or at least blames the leftward movement on passivity at the helm. It is more accurate to say that the SBC has allowed those who hate her to take the helm indirectly by emotional blackmail through God’s people tasked with leading the denomination. For more on this, see Mark Coppenger’s offering to this month’s Christ Over All theme.

How to Respond to Empathetic Drunkards

Rigney puts his finger on one of the more troubling trends within evangelicalism today. And that is how the world relies on professing Christians to get drunk on worldiness’s disordered passions and as a result, pressure fellow believers to pursue worldly ends (41–43). The world, the flesh, and the Devil are counting on Christians to forsake sober-mindedness, and this unholy trinity can then use these Christians to manipulate other believers. (On this point, Rigney’s exposition of Galatians 2 and Paul’s confrontation of Peter is brilliant, 81–84.)

What is true of groups can also play out on the individual level. Someone who is a conduit of emotions often becomes even more self-righteous than the original emoter. To give an example: Pastor Billy kindly exhorts one of his church members, Sally, to not lead a women’s Bible study using a prosperity preacher’s curriculum. Sally weeps profusely to another member, Larry, about pastor Billy’s “heavy-handedness” and “doctrinal hair-splitting.” Larry gets angry and resolves to publicly confront his pastor—all the while not realizing that he has been emotionally steered into the role of a lackey for worldliness. Rigney explains the dynamics at play in the parable, “Sometimes one person’s sadness elicits sadness in others. But other times, sadness in one person may draw out anger in another (either at them or at the third party who is responsible for their pain) . . . Untethered empathy puts other people’s passions in the driver’s seat” (43).

Rigney unpacks the two ways in which the world will attempt to steer believers through name-calling: “ugly labels for true things, and ugly labels for false things” (40). The former tactic is whenever the world labels Christians “bigoted” for something along the lines of affirming there are two genders, believing 2+2=4, or daring to suggest God calls men to be the head of the church and home.

The latter tactic is when the world calls believers an ugly term, “Misrepresenting our beliefs and then slap[ping] an ugly label on their misrepresentation” (41). This latter category is particularly significant, because by it the world exploits the (good) Christian desire to shine bright for the gospel. After all, it may seem kind of hard to shine bright when your reputation is tarnished. However, here we must remember that “the Pharisees called Jesus a drunkard and a glutton (which he wasn’t)” (41). The world (and worldly “Christians”) rely heavily on the notion that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”—believing that controversy surrounding an individual always points to that individual’s sin. But Christians can take heart, there was a lot of smoke around Christ, and He has overcome the world. The source of the smoke around His ministry was from the pit of hell, not Him, and so Rigney calls us to ensure that (like Jesus) we live above reproach, rendering such slander baseless (1 Pet. 3:16; 4:4). I think this concept is worth the price of Rigney’s book, because this is precisely how the SBC has been steered in dangerous doctrinal and cultural directions over the last decade or so. Rigney rightly calls for Christians to not be moved by ugly labels, but stabilized by God’s word.

It is significant to note how those who get drunk on other’s passions claim the moral high ground as they revile others. Oftentimes, those emotionally steering the SBC are fully convinced they are playing the role of hero, when in reality they are recklessly pressuring or endangering the entire denomination by projecting the guilt of one or some onto the whole body. Unsurprisingly, this tactic also carries with it the added benefit of raising their own stock as an “ally” in the eyes of the world’s disordered notion of justice. After all, “the world is watching” (if you ask empathetic drunkards in our midst). Instead, I would encourage myself and fellow SBC messengers to live coram deo—before the face of God. God is watching, and we ought prostrate ourselves before Him rather than preen before the world (Isa. 8:12–13).

So, what are Christians to do when emotional drunkards weaponize empathy to steer us? Rigney answers with the following strategy: (1) Take responsibility for your emotions. (2) Grow in self-awareness, and pay attention to what particular passions manipulate you. (3) Calibrate your standards by the word of God. (4) Increase your own tolerance for emotional pain and distress. (5) Be willing to be called ugly names. (6) Ensure the slanders are actually false. (7) Do not repay slander for slander. (8) Root all resistance to emotional sabotage in a sincere desire to please God (46–50).

Emotional Sabotage and the SBC

With the basic thesis of Rigney’s book in place, I will now turn to specific ways the SBC is being emotionally steered, and how we ought to respond in keeping with Rigney’s strategy above. As I mentioned earlier, I will do this in conjunction with Friedman’s five features of cultural breakdown Rigney cites. Features one and two (Reactivity and Herding) will be used to analyze how the SBC has reacted to sexual abuse, while three through five (Blame-Displacement, Quick-fix mentality, and Failure of nerve) provide moral clarity for dealing with the issue of female pastors and the proposed Law Amendment.

The SBC and Abuse

Friedman’s first two features of cultural breakdown (highlighted by Rigney) are as follows:

(1) Reactivity: “An unending cycle of intense reactions of each member to events and to one another . . . Whether over-reactive and hysterical or passive-aggressive and checked-out, the common thread is that passions of the members govern and dictate both the mood of the body and its direction” (19).

(2) Herding: “A process where togetherness triumphs over individuality and everyone adapts to the least mature members of the community…The goal becomes ‘peace’ at all costs, otherwise known as appeasement . . . leaders . . . are expected to take responsibility not only for their own actions, but for the (re)actions of others. Disruptions by the immature will be accommodated; anyone who seeks to take a stand will be characterized as cruel, heartless, insensitive, unfeeling, uncooperative, selfish, and cold” (19–20).

These features of chronic anxiety are best seen in the SBC reaction to abuse. Regarding Reactivity, Mark Coppenger says the hard but necessary truth regarding the unfounded inflation of abuse cases in the SBC being wielded to move the convention to overreaction against our own polity. He writes, “We’ve been assured that the list [of sexual abusers] ‘only scratches the surface’ or is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ . . . What we ‘extremists’ [an ugly label for false things] are saying is that the problem is not so great as to [emotionally] sabotage our polity, expose ourselves gratuitously to litigation, and divert untold millions of missions/ministry dollars in search of a cure for our dubious affliction.” We are being manipulated to believe there is a full-blown systemic abuse crisis in SBC churches, and this trojan horse has and is being used to emotionally steer some to act against SBC polity without warrant.

As Josh Abbotoy and Jon Whitehead point out, “[P]olitical operatives and demagogues are trying to steer the Convention away from Baptist solutions.” This is a prime example of what Rigney exposes when he says, “The world frequently counts on this (good) Christian impulse in order to steer Christians by means of other Christians . . . Such pressure is frequently harder to resist, since it comes, not from the unbelieving world directly, but from the world through God’s people” (41). Whitehead shows receipts for how this is currently happening in the SBC, citing a noted advocate and SBC critic who says, “If the SBC winds up needing to sell nearly all its assets for the sake of providing reparations and restitution to those it has so grievously harmed, then this would be for the good.”

Southern Baptist pastor Heath Lambert has written a tremendously insightful series of essays entitled “Four Facts about Sexual Abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.” Each essay is worth reading (which is why I share each of them below). As one reads through them, it becomes apparent that the kind of sobriety Lambert displays is precisely what Rigney calls us to. Lambert is clear-headed, stable, and ready to act, able to separate friend from foe and to respond to this difficult topic with the kind of joy that flows from someone who is approved before the Lord.

Seriously, take a few minutes to look through each of his essays.

  1. Abuse Is a Real Problem, but Is Not What We Were Told
  2. Not Everyone Offering Help Is Our Friend
  3. The Southern Baptist Convention Is a Powerful Force for Good
  4. We Must Have Solutions That Understand the Way Our Convention Works.

The responses to Lambert’s essays on X only illustrate the type of baseless charges that will be thrown at those who take a stand against appeasement. Just as Rigney reminds us when he speaks of Herding above: “anyone who seeks to take a stand will be characterized as cruel, heartless, insensitive, unfeeling, uncooperative, selfish, and cold.”

In the last essay, Lambert provides a clarion call to messengers heading into Indy:

It is important to know that the difference between the acceptance or rejection of any proposal has nothing to do with anyone’s commitment to ending abuse. The only people who like abuse are abusers. The difference between a proposal’s acceptance or rejection is how faithfully the proposal honors our cooperative partnership in the convention.

Rather than be steered by those who believe it would be good for the SBC to die, buried under a burden of “reparations and restitutions” contrary to Baptist polity, the path forward for Southern Baptists is to hate abuse and love the SBC (see Lambert’s second essay). Messengers just need to know and expect that a love for the SBC and the conviction that it is a force for good will be given the ugly label of “abuse-enablement.” And these messengers need to be OK with this type of slander (Matt. 5:1–12). The world wants to steer the SBC off a cliff, and both well-meaning reactors and political operatives in the SBC (if given the helm) would readily do so “in Jesus name.”

When easily steered fellow believers in the SBC inevitably attempt to apply such pressure in “the room” come June, rank and file members of the SBC need to be prepared to respond to such emotional manipulation with poise and moral clarity.

The SBC and the Law Amendment

Friedman’s third through fifth features of cultural breakdown (highlighted by Rigney) are as follows:

(3) Blame Displacement: “An emotional state in which members of the community focus on forces that have victimized them rather than taking responsibility for their own being and destiny . . . This often takes the form of scapegoating. Typically this means exaggerating the influence and impact of one person at the expense of another. One person’s contribution to the situation is blown out of proportion; the other’s is minimized or down-played” (20).

(4) Quick-fix mentality: A desire for symptom relief rather than fundamental change, flowing from a low threshold for pain. Broken institutions frequently choose long-term chronic pain rather than short-term acute pain that would actually address the issue (20).

(5) Failure of Nerve: “A lack of mature, decisive leadership. This problem both stems from and contributes to the first four. Leaders are bombarded with interest groups and agitators, and thus are constantly taken off mission. An empathetic paralysis sets in as everybody seeks to appease the most reactive members. The most motivated members of a community grow discouraged and exhausted by never-ending drama . . . Eventually leaders check out or burn-out, and the community drifts along, tossed about by the passions of its members” (21).

I cannot think of a better way to describe precisely what is happening in the SBC right now than this fifth feature. SBC Leaders are being bombarded with interest groups and agitators, constantly having to put out fires that are many miles away from the heart of the SBC mission. Some within the SBC are getting drunk off others passions, the institution, like parents who have unruly and energetic children, is then tempted to just appease. Friedman’s fourth and fifth features wisely draw out how the very thing good members in such institutions want—mission realignment—will never be had with quick-fixes and appeasement. If an institution’s reflex is to appease the loudest and least mature in the room, then the standards of cooperation will morph to whatever the manipulators in its midst cry loudest for. Not only is this an abdication of leadership (or failure of nerve as Rigney would call it), but it is devastating for the home and church, and it will render the SBC impotent if allowed to continue.

One way to address a key issue in the SBC that will potentially require short-term acute pain is adopting the Law Amendment officially in June. I am assuming readers of this essay are familiar with the content and arguments surrounding this amendment. It is sufficient for the purposes of this essay to remind the reader that the Law Amendment passed overwhelmingly in June of 2023 in New Orleans and needs to pass again this summer 2024 in Indy to become a bylaw, granting the Credentials Committee the clarity they have asked for regarding what a pastor is.[2]

2. The Credential Committee is a very important standing committee in the SBC that rules on which churches are in friendly cooperation with the Convention (only after receiving a report that a church does not have a faith and practice that closely adheres to the Baptist Faith & Message [2000]). At the SBC Annual meeting in 2022 in Anaheim (CA), the Credentials Committee asked the messengers to approve a study committee to define what a pastor is. The credentials committee did not have agreement on whether “pastor” refers to any kind of pastor (as the term has been understood), or if it only refers to “senior pastor.” The creation of this study committee was soundly voted down by the messengers.

Simply put, the main reason(s) why the SBC needs to adopt the Law Amendment is it both reaffirms the Bible (1 Tim. 2:12–14) and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (Article six) and clarifies for the Credentials Committee what churches are in “friendly cooperation” with the SBC, namely, those who “Affirm, appoint, or employ only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.” The Amendment allows for the SBC to decisively deal with what has become somewhat of an epidemic in the denomination, despite previously being assured that female pastors were not a significant issue. Moreover, last June, the SBC overwhelmingly voted out Saddleback (formerly led by Rick Warren) and Fern Creek due to their endorsement and ordination of female pastors, while at the same time supporting the Law Amendment, sending a clear message as to where the messengers stand on this matter.

As Albert Mohler has pointed out:

If [the Law] Amendment were to fail, I don’t think the issue [of female pastors] would go away at all, it would continue. Then every single year there will be some call to take action on this and clarify it. I don’t see that as healthy for the convention . . . the confusion is fairly recent and it is somewhat abstract. The concrete reality is that Southern Baptists believe the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. Once you get past the senior pastor or preaching elder, how does that apply? The fact is, if you want to argue about this at every SBC meeting ad infinitum, leave that an open question. It is not going to help Southern Baptists. This is where the vast majority of Southern Baptists are. One of the reasons you adopt a bylaw is so that you don’t have to deal with this every year as if it’s an open question.

Notice the logic of Mohler’s argument. It is the antidote to chronic anxiety as expressed in feature four. Friedman/Rigney point out: “Broken institutions frequently choose long-term chronic pain rather than short-term acute pain that would actually address the issue” (20). This short-sightedness is exposed in the illogic recently expressed by one influential opponent of the Amendment: “The Law Amendment is UNDERSTANDABLE, but UNNECESSARY, UNCLEAR, and potentially the UNRAVELING of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

What is being argued here is precisely the opposite of what Mohler states. Both men seem to have the same desire to prevent the SBC being exhausted through never-ending drama. But where Mohler sees doctrinal precision and confessional subscription as the solution, the opposition fears the short-term pain of some churches/missionaries voluntarily leaving the SBC as too great to bear. This is where Friedman’s analysis is needed. If we fail to define “pastor” and “friendly cooperation” (and let’s be honest, this functionally allows for churches with female pastors), it will only lead to further doctrinal and denominational decline.

In response to the opposition’s All CAPS alliteration above, Denny Burk contends: “It’s incoherent to argue on the one hand that we need a cooperation group because the Constitution isn’t clear while arguing on that other hand that we don’t need the Law amendment because the Constitution is already sufficiently clear.” In fact, Rigney replied to Burk’s post by adding, “We must distinguish: it is *logically* incoherent to argue that way, but it is *ideologically* coherent if you are looking for any means available to tolerate women pastors.” Indeed, the illogicality of the opposition to the Law Amendment is symptomatic of the chronic anxiety plaguing the SBC. Rather than arguing on principle, the opposition consistently resorts to emotional blackmail.

Two examples of this come to mind. The first was from the platform in New Orleans in 2023 whenever the “sermon”delivered prior to voting on the Law Amendment stated the “division” was unnecessary and implied its supporters were keyboard warriors who ignore Ephesians 4:30–31. This is a prime example of what is mentioned in feature three above, that “one person’s contribution to the situation is blown out of proportion.” Rather than name names or give specific examples, the speaker gave the impression the SBC is being victimized by an army of social media influencers. Those of us who were unfortunate enough to have to sit under the grandstanding were told, “No more amendments. No more disfellowshipping.” And this was just prior to the SBC voting out Saddleback and Fern Creek! Thankfully, this emotional sabotage from behind the bully pulpit was wildly unsuccessful as messengers overwhelmingly raised their ballots both in favor of both the Law Amendment and to disfellowship two prominent churches with female pastors. And I would bet that many who voted for both are not keyboard warriors who “post more than they pray,” but are faithful members of SBC churches.

The second example comes from another prominent opponent of the Amendment who claims, “Many of our sisters are deeply discouraged in this conversation . . . And before any of us dismiss their fears and concerns with defensiveness or argue why they shouldn’t feel this way, we should make sure we actually spend time talking to women who serve in our churches and entities, to learn why it is that many of them do.” Notice how this argument is framed: to disagree is to dismiss the fears of our sisters. This gets to the heart of one of Rigney’s contentions regarding untethered empathy, and that is how “the same impulse that leads a woman to move toward the hurting with comfort and welcome becomes a major liability when it comes to guarding the doctrine and worship of the church.”

Shane Morris has recently further pulled on this thread and insightfully explains,

We guys, it seems, must fight a stiff gravitational pull toward depravity and dereliction, while women spontaneously know and do what’s right—to such a degree that their emotions alone are a barometer of male godliness.

We must not miss how much of this canonizing of female feelings comes from males, often in mixed company. Here we step into delicate territory, because I truly believe that much of what we call “white knighting” [jumping in to defend a woman even if she is in the wrong] is well-intentioned, albeit naïve. From the moment we can speak, Christian men are socialized to put women first, to give up our seats for them, to open doors for them, not to belch or pass gas in front of them, and never, ever to hit them. All of this is quite right. But when combined with post-industrial pieties about how women domesticate men these deferent customs can morph into a pseudo-chivalry that treats every distressed woman as a damsel in need of saving. Naturally, since dragons are in short supply, other men usually furnish the foe to be vanquished.

The earlier comment against the Law Amendment, that our sisters are “deeply discouraged” and therefore we must not “dismiss them in our defensiveness” is a prime example of “white-knighting” in a pseudo-chivalrous manner. It makes it seem like anyone who supports the Law Amendment necessarily is not listening to women (because apparently only dismissive/defensive men are behind the Amendment), and it assumes the fears of some women ought to be the barometer for the SBC. But we must also take note of the one-way tolerance empathy/effeminacy has for those to its left, while “punching right.” The same man who professes to be complementarian is “horrified” at the thought of the SBC Credentials Committee making an inquiry to see if a church is operating outside the BF&M. After calling for us to “listen” to women functioning with pastoral titles, he ends his argument against those of us who want more confessionalism, not less, by insinuating that those who “feel right” about passing the Law Amendment—over 80% of the messengers represented in New Orleans in 2023—are the ones who should not be in the SBC! He writes, “I’d suggest that for those to whom it does feel right, perhaps they are the ones who aren’t ‘closely identified’ with us.”

I know this may sound crazy, but what if “many of our sisters” who are fearful and discouraged most need the men around them to act like men, and to act decisively and courageously according to a man’s God-given nature? What if the effeminate and untethered empathy of some women swings the door open for dangerous enemies and doctrine to harm the church and home (Gen. 3:1–6; 2 Tim. 3:6)? What if the SBC’s greatest need is definable doctrinal boundaries, and not an ever expanding tent? After all, as Colin Smothers rightly reminds us, we are not a freelance club. What if the very notion of a “broad tent”co-op—predicated on confessional minimalism/reductionism—is actually a coup contrary to the historic Baptist principles of associationalism, as Caleb Morell ably demonstrates.

Such “what ifs” may come across as tone deaf in our effeminate age, but that is precisely why Rigney’s book/principles need to be heeded and applied by the SBC. The only reason it may feel wrong to say such things is because our culture calibrates us to react to masculine logic, problem-fixing, and decisiveness as toxic. But since the SBC is a complementarian denomination, the question for us moving forward, to borrow from Rigney, is whether we are going to be an ideological complementarian denomination or a natural complementarian denomination. He explains that there is a one way ticket if we go the merely ideological route: “Stop 1: ‘I’m Not That Kind of Complementarian.’ Stop 2: ‘I’m Neither Complementarian Nor Egalitarian.’ Stop 3: ‘I’m Egalitarian.’ Stop 4: ‘Sodomy Is Cool.’” What is the difference between an ideological/thin complementarian and an egalitarian? About five to ten years.

Natural complementarianism, on the other hand, readily affirms Scripture and Nature, believing male leadership/headship is not merely a product of Bible verses, as though Scripture speaks such concepts into existence ex nihilo. Rather, the Bible ratifies God’s design/reality. Furthermore, the kind of complementarianism that is not a way station for egalitarianism is the kind that is convinced the barometer for godly leadership in a church and denomination is masculine. Put differently, the SBC will only be as healthy and as strong as our churches, and churches will only be as strong and as healthy as their pastors and polity. And if we are to take the BF&M seriously, which I pray we do and will, then that means Southern Baptist churches and the SBC must be steered by godly men at the helm, who are not emotionally steered by untethered empathy.

The Law Amendment puts before the SBC the opportunity (for men and women alike as messengers) to “act like men.” What do I mean by this? Kevin DeYoung’s essay on 1 Corinthians 16:13 provides a helpful two-part answer. (1) “Paul says ‘act like men,’ not because women should not also be brave, but because there is something particularly unmanly about shrinking back and shirking one’s duty out of fear.” (2) “‘Act like men’ is not only a call to manly bravery (instead of effeminacy), it is a call to adult behavior (instead of immaturity). This is an important point, lest we think masculinity entails rash bravado.”

Steven Wedgeworth adds insight to this line of thought, arguing,

Effeminacy is a soft and indulgent character trait. Manliness is a courage that holds strong under pressure. To be clear, effeminacy is not the same as femininity. And if a woman commits the sin of effeminacy, it is not because she is being overly feminine. Rather, she is abusing or distorting femininity in a way that creates vice.

Significantly, this means that what Rigney, DeYoung, and Wedgeworth (and I) are not suggesting is that femininity is a threat to the church and home. Godly femininity is beautiful and worthy of praise, for it complements godly masculinity unto the flourishing of the church, home, and society. The culturally acceptable sin to denounce in our day is “toxic masculinity,” but the pernicious threat so often unchecked is effeminacy (toxic femininity). We must recognize that both feminine and masculine vices compete with godly masculinity and femininity. Furthermore, a clear sign that effeminacy has become the barometer is when basic confessional reaffirmation is being smeared as defensive, dismissive, and divisive. It is this unchecked effeminacy that is swinging the door wide open for doctrinal deviance and institutional decline. It is incredibly contagious and when left uncured will lead to the decadence and eventual destruction of the community it infects. And just as Paul calls the church to “man up” in 1 Corinthians 16:13, the church is likewise not to be soft and indulgent—men and women alike. The “untethered empathy” of which Rigney speaks is the result of effeminate men and women growing in influence, and attempting to get an entire institution (like the SBC) drunk on disordered passions.

Conclusion

How does the Law Amendment give the SBC an opportunity to sober up and man up? The goddess of our age is beckoning us to open the door for all manner of vices. In the name of affirmation, empathy, and toleration of churches with female pastors, we are being manipulated to believe decisive, clear, courageous, and mature reaffirmation of the Baptist Faith & Message is “dismissive” of women. Adopting the Amendment in June 2024 allows Southern Baptists to address the theological, anthropological, and ecclesiological problem of female pastors decisively, for the good of all in our denomination. In short, the Amendment reaffirms that SBC churches will have sober men at the steering wheel, as God has designed.

If you are a messenger in the SBC, what should you do in the face of emotional sabotage? Get Rigney’s book. Read it. Go to Indy in June, and when you get there, raise your yellow ballot high in support of the Law Amendment. Medusa is a terrible gatekeeper, and an even worse pastor, so may we celebrate God’s good design for his church, and only be in friendly cooperation with those who do the same. Let us not choose long-term pain and unending confusion because of a misguided fear regarding biblical, Baptist, and manly clarity over the office of pastor. Let us be sober-minded, stable, and ready to adopt the Law Amendment in June.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author

  • Michael Carlino

    Michael Carlino is a PhD student in Systematic Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Lancaster Bible College and SBTS. He currently serves as the Operations Director for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and as the Student Associate for the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at SBTS. He has written several published articles and reviews, including If Christ Is Not Savior, He Cannot Be Liberator: A Response to Ibram Kendi. He is a member of Kenwood Baptist Church at Victory Memorial and serves as one of the youth group leaders.

Michael Carlino

Michael Carlino

Michael Carlino is a PhD student in Systematic Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Lancaster Bible College and SBTS. He currently serves as the Operations Director for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and as the Student Associate for the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at SBTS. He has written several published articles and reviews, including If Christ Is Not Savior, He Cannot Be Liberator: A Response to Ibram Kendi. He is a member of Kenwood Baptist Church at Victory Memorial and serves as one of the youth group leaders.