…just get out of pastoral ministry if you’ve messed up your life and aren’t above reproach. I’m about 48% in favor of having a guild for Southern Baptist clergy that has the authority to deny credentials to rascals, scoundrels, Elmer Gantry types, and criminals; to incompetent hucksters, church-wreckers, and money-grubbers; and to just plain ecclesiastical imbeciles who have absolutely no business inflicting their so-called ministry on a Southern Baptist or any other congregation of the followers of Jesus Christ.
The devil is in the details, though. The chances of any SBC board, group, or individual putting an official stamp of approval or disapproval on individual SBC clergy is somewhere between zero and none. And, yeah, I know that there is no such thing as an “SBC minister” anyway. When I think of some of the DOMs/AMs/AMSs, some of the state convention church relations people, some of the oligarchs who like to give thumbs up or down on individual clergy, I’d almost rather fall into the devil’s hands instead.
Ordination is the most meaningless of things in SBC life. It’s an unbridled scandal and no one can do a doggone thing about it. Some churches would ordain a ham sandwich. Ordination revocations are as scarce as tithers.
Clergy who abuse children should be in jail and if jail is not an option, certainly out of the ministry, permanently. But, who will inform the ignorant or idiotic church that calls a child abuser? No one has to in SBC life. If there is a way that our “system,” and we don’t have a system so much as historic polity that isn’t going to change, is broken it is where miscreants can move to another church or state.
Clergy who are abusers of women should be out of the ministry, probably permanently. Spiritual abuse is a slippery concept and sometimes defies any concrete definition but I know it when I see it.
So, who should attempt to inform a local church that their minister or prospective minister has disqualified themselves for the Christian ministry? Whomever has the facts and feels compelled to act, I suppose. In many cases, I’d love to ruin the man’s ministry. Easy to do some chest-thumping here but thank God for any who value the fellowship of clergy enough to act to force some back to selling shoes or cars.
Stray questions along these lines:
- Should ordinating churches be contacted when someone they have ordained, set apart, has failed?
- Should seminaries award degrees conditionally, that is, subject to revocation in some cases?
- Should DOM/AM/AMSs be more aggressive in this regard?
- Should the SBC Executive Committee have an independent review board who receives reports and assesses these things?
- Should the three levels of SBC life be more aggressive in excluding churches?
- Is there a basis for any level of SBC life to formally disassociate themselves from any individual clergy, for cause?