SBC Voices has discussed Kevin Ezell in great detail. Perhaps ad nauseum. The last thing we need is one more opinion. But that has never stopped me before. As I have responded to comments today, I decided I want to sum up my perspective, for what it is worth.
I make you one promise: this is the LAST Ezell-related post for a while (unless I change my mind, of course).
We seem to fall into about 3 general categories in our attitudes toward him.
- Ezellanators: People who think he hung the moon, walks on water and heals the sick with his hands.
- Ezellahaters: People who think he may just be the Antichrist, or at least works closely with him.
- Ezelloderates: That’s me. Negatives and positives. Not yet sure how he is going to do. Not willing to recommend him for sainthood at this point, but also not interested in joining the tar and feather brigade. (Tim R, please forgive me for using a variant of the “m word” here.)
Here are some realities and opinions:
1) Kevin Ezell is the President of NAMB. Duh!
But it is six months later and we are still talking about the election process, and how he got elected when he disregarded NAMB in his pastoring days. I don’t know. I’m not a trustee. I understand that there was a lot of division among NAMB trustees about his election, but he was elected. We can complain all day that he should not have been elected, but until he resigns or retires, he is in the Oval Office (well…).
There is a time for certain discussions and a time for them to be over. Let’s put that one to bed. Unless someone plans to make a move to seek his ouster, the discussions of his right to be president are pretty pointless. He is president.
2) NAMB was a mess!
I was shocked in the Mohler interview at the blistering critique Ezell gave of NAMB. Essentially, he said it has never been much but a failure. Certainly, in my ministry, I’ve never been tremendously impressed with the HMB or NAMB.
It might be shocking, but it is a pretty honest evaluation. NAMB has been the SBC’s dysfunctional relative since I can remember.
3) Major surgery is violent.
Think of what a surgeon does when he operates. It is bloody, violent and painful. As Howell has pointed out in his article, Ezell has performed some major surgery. He has not come in gently but forcefully.
Whether this was a good idea or not depends. Do you agree that NAMB was seriously ill and needed radical surgery? Then Ezell’s approach does not seem so shocking.
4) Only time will tell.
Is Ezell leading NAMB in the right direction? Time will tell. Until then, its a lot of speculation. That is where I think we have a genuine role to play. What should NAMB do? Which direction should it take? These are all valid points of discussion.
5) We all need Ezell to succeed.
It is not in any of our best interests for Ezell to fail. I have to admit that when his name is mentioned, I don’t exactly get warm fuzzy feelings in my heart. But whether you are a Ezellanator or a Ezellahater can we agree that we need him to succeed, to do a good job and to make some sense of the mess that is NAMB?
6) Mindless and petty criticism is unhelpful.
If Ezell said that water is wet, I think there are a few folks who would find a reason to criticize that statement. We who are not full fledged members of the Ezell fan club must make sure that our critiques are helpful and focused.
7) Mindless and petty criticism of those who criticize Ezell is also unhelpful
Some of the most pointed and personal criticism I have received since I’ve been editing this blog has come from supporters of Ezell. My motives and basic Christian integrity have been questioned because I stated an opinion that Ezell blew it in his early days. I’ve been accused by a NAMB employee of behaving in an unchristian manner, harboring a grudge, and being petty and vindictive.
Maybe he was right. But I do not believe that it is a sin to question the actions of Kevin Ezell at NAMB. In a non-technical sense, he works for all of us. The attempt to intimidate those who ask questions of Kevin Ezell was his first and biggest mistake. Those who continue to try to intimidate those who question him add to the problem instead of solving it.
8.) We need to look to the future, not just at the past.
As I said before, it is what it is. Ezell is the president. NAMB needs to get fixed. The bad first impression he left on many of us cannot be undone. But we can look to the future, not dwell on the past. We can support the CP and Annie and pray for Ezell and NAMB and work hard in missions. We can seek a positive future for NAMB and the SBC.
9) Disregarding CP and Annie is no way to “punish” Ezell
I read one blogger (not on this site) who suggested that his church would not emphasize Annie as much because Ezell is NAMB president. What a tragedy that would be.
Ezell regrets his lack of support for SBC missions. Let’s not multiply that regret.
10) I don’t have a point 10, but I didn’t want to stop at 9.
To the Golden Age!
I think that Ezell surprised many of us with his comments that NAMB had never had a golden age, never “won a conference championship.” I have to admit that I am not an expert in Home Missions history, but the judgment surprised me a little bit.
Brent Hobbs made a very optimistic statement on one of the other Ezell posts, predicting that in a few years we will all be big fans of Kevin Ezell and will see what a great job he has done. Can we all agree on this, at least. We HOPE that Brent is right! We want to believe that NAMB’s best days (and the best days of the SBC) still lie ahead. Again, time will tell.
But here’s to the future Golden Age of NAMB!