Today the New Orleans Baptist Association published an important article signed by 7 New Orleans area pastors and the Executive Director of the NOBA. The post calls for unity and an end to the divisiveness that’s been shown by Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) leadership and the state Baptist newspaper, the Baptist Message. I’m tremendously grateful for these eight leaders and their willingness to speak out publicly about their concern for Louisiana Baptists.
I’ve watched the Louisiana Baptist Convention from a distance for several years now, and with great concern for what I see as damage being done to cooperative SBC work and the reputation of Christ among Southern Baptists. The article lays out some specific concerns, and I won’t rehash them here, but they are concerns I’ve held for a long time and think they are valid and need to be addressed. Calling attention to the situation in Louisiana is the right thing to do.
Here is one of the key sections in the NOBA post:
Because unity is highly valued among our churches, we are troubled by the critical editorials in our state Baptist paper against SBC agency heads David Platt and Russell Moore. This combative tenor is not new in our state. Within the past few years, Louisiana College was often in the news with stories about professors who were ‘let go’ because they were Reformed-leaning.
A few in our state have developed a reputation for being inhospitable toward Reformed pastors, professors, and denominational leaders, with assertions that they are prepared to split our Convention over this issue.
Do we want our Convention split in two? Do we want to continue to read editorials in our state Baptist paper critical of SBC agency presidents? Do we want unity or division?
Leaders lead. What kind of qualities do we want our leaders to demonstrate?
Jack Hunter, NOBA Executive Director, Fred Luter, and David Crosby are (to me) the most well known names to sign the document. A former SBC President and someone who ran for SBC President this year, both of whom are highly regarded by virtually all corners of SBC life. The entire list is:
Jack Hunter, Executive Director, New Orleans Baptist Association
Fred Luter, Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
David Crosby, Pastor, First Baptist Church of New Orleans
Mike Miller, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Kenner
Geovanny Gomez, Pastor, La Viña Spanish Baptist Church
Page Brooks, Pastor, Canal Street Church
Chad Gilbert, Pastor, Edgewater Baptist Church
Larry Johnson, Pastor, Crossroads Community Church
Indeed, leaders lead. And this is the kind of leadership that’s been long needed in Louisiana. It’s my belief and hope that these names represent many others who share the same concerns. May God bless these brothers and their efforts at seeing positive change in LBC life.