One week ago I wrote my first draft of this article, then I didn’t post it because I realized I was angry and my words were not appropriate nor were they even coherent due to my frustration. Thus, I have waited until today when the hard copy of the article to which I was responding arrived at our church office (and I am in better control of my faculties ). Also, I had another title for this article but some dear friends suggested I should soften it a bit. So this is me not being angry or incendiary…
The Baptist Message’s “Investigation”
Last week the Baptist Message (BM), the state newspaper of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, published an article with the title “SBTS, elders rule among Greear’s Nominees.” This “investigative journalism” sought to establish that the current President of the SBC has colluded with or bowed to the wishes of the SBC Illuminati housed at our seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (to be fair, these are all my words not theirs… but the shoe fits) to fill his required appointments with Southern alumni and people from Calvinistic churches.
Now, keep in mind, Dr. Greear is a two-time alum of SouthEASTERN Baptist Theological Seminary NOT Southern and that he is on record as NOT being a 5-point Calvinist so the impetus for this article is laughable at the outset. Further, if you know anything about graduates from our seminaries you will know that we are staunch defenders of the greatest of all seminaries… the one WE went to. HAIL NOBTS.
Evidence of Bias and Imbalance
This complete lack of journalistic integrity caused me to do some thinking. Now, this is not the first time the BM exposed their underside. On numerous occasions I have had personal problems with the integrity issues of the BM and leaders in the LBC. There have been not a few digital letters keyed over the negative approach used by leadership in Louisiana to employ power plays and control the narrative of information circulated (note here, here, here, here, here, here, and I could list a bunch more but you get the drift). I must admit I generally only skim the paper and more often than not, flush the BM upon its arrival. However, upon seeing this article I realized I hadn’t noticed many BM articles published about SBC life in quite some time. So I did my own investigative inquiry.
Since January 1st of 2019 (and as of March 8th) the BM has published a total of 63 news stories from the “US and International” category on their web page. All of the SBC related stories happening in the life of the convention are included in this particular category. In other words, the actions and appointment of the convention president, stories related to entity openings and fillings, stories about the larger work of the SBC, stories related to the sex abuse issues raised by the Houston Chronicle articles, and reposts of Baptist Press articles are found in this “US and International” category.
Interestingly, of those 63 stories only five (5) are stories reported to Louisiana Baptists about happenings around the Southern Baptist Convention. That’s right I said FIVE. Keep in mind, this is during the same time span when the folks at SBC This Week suggested something along the lines of February being one of the most busy news months in recent SBC history.
Granted, when you compare the 5 BM articles with what we produce here at SBC Voices, it is not too surprising that our numbers and their’s don’t match up. SBC life is what we are about. We have many articles from dozens of people over the same time span and most all of them are specifically about the goings on in the SBC. So, I get it. Maybe 5 stories is on par with our Baptist state papers for articles related to the SBC? Right?
Wrong. I spent some time looking around other state paper websites and low and behold, one of the larger and more widely read state papers, The Biblical Recorder of North Carolina, for instance, had around 80 such stories related to the SBC during this same time span. 80! Of course, many of those articles are reposts of Baptist Press (BP) articles, as I suppose it ought to be, but clearly a well rounded and full expression of Baptist life from our national entities is being conveyed to North Carolina Baptists and their churches. I wish we had that.
What IS the BM Reporting?
Just for kicks and giggles I walked through all 63 stories from the “US and International” link on the Baptist Message website and outlined a taxonomy of 6 overarching categories into which I have placed the stories from the Baptist Message. I originally listed the titles of all 63 stories and placed them in their appropriate taxonomy below. However, the inclusion of all those entries were distracting and not germane to my point so I have removed them (I’m happy to send a list of the stories to anyone who’d like a copy). All the stories came from the “US and International” link and were from January 1-March 8.
P.S. The Baptist Message appears to have such a fixation on US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that I was able to give her a category of her own. In fact, there are more stories about her than about the SBC. Clearly, this young woman’s cheese is not squarely on her cracker, but I’m not sure why the apparent obsession and inclusion of these articles in the LBC paper. It appears to me that most of the material comes from Fox News, so… maybe that’s the reason?
US government – 25 stories
International Interest – 14 stories
US government (Ocasio-Cortez) – 9 stories
Other Interesting (or unusual) US stories – 7 stories
SBC issues- 5 stories
Football – 3 stories
So What about the SBC?
A look at the content of the BM stories on the SBC will surprise no one. They are, for the most part, critical, condescending and completely transparent to anyone who has been paying any attention to SBC/LBC politics over the last few years. What follows are the links to the 5 SBC stories and just a few of my own notes on what we see there.
- SBTS, elders rule among Greear’s nominees
- The most recent article.
- A complete hack job covering a non-existent conspiracy suggesting that Al Mohler and Southern Seminary are the Baptist Illuminati and are secretly running the SBC.
- With all that is going on in the SBC today that could and likely should be investigated and reported, THIS is what they spend time investigating? It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
- This is why the paper is not only NOT respected, but regularly mocked. Literally, people are calling me from around the SBC and laughing.
- SBC bylaws workgroup releases sexual abuse response
- This article has been removed from the site when I went back to examine it for the this article I am currently writing.
- Received the “Not found, error 404” message. So, I’m not sure what is going on here.
- Not sure why the removal but maybe it has something to do with egg on face after the admission and apology of a Georgia Pastor and a statement from the Ex Dir of the GBC.
- SBTS’ Greenway to lead SWBTS
- More than a third of this article was about Greenway being from SBTS.
Seriously, I’m not kidding. Look it up. Heck, its in the title.
- Point of personal privilege. This was a great hire by SW and I pray the best for Dr. Greeway and our school in Fort Worth.
- More than a third of this article was about Greenway being from SBTS.
- Greear calls for cover-up probe, 2 SBC entity heads fess up
- 2/5 of the article was about three entity heads “fessing up” or being under suspicion for missteps. Do you see the conspiracy trend here.
- The Houston-Chronicle (HC) mention was just a passing note.
- Not one time since the HC expose was published did the BM do any investigative stories or follow-up on what had been reported by the HC. Our own BP story didn’t even get a hyper-link.
- The article did name the 4 men from Louisiana who were mentioned in the HC. So, I suppose that’s something.
- BGR accepted as associate member of Sphere.
- All I can say to that is Yay for the BGR. It’s a great ministry.
- This is also the only story that was totally positive, without proporting a conspiracy or casting aspersions.
Honestly, if there is any evidence of ANY conspiracy it is clearly and evidently one being perpetrated by the Baptist Message. There is so much more to say, individuals to call to account, questions that should be asked of the trustees of the BM, but I’ve already spent too much time on this. Further, for how my words are so often summarily dismissed by the LBC at large, I ought to know better than to spend any time on this stuff. However, I couldn’t let another embarrassing article go by without commenting on it.
There needs to be some changes. The Baptist Message of Louisiana is the laughingstock of state convention papers and it doesn’t need to be this way.