I had a fairly horrendous typo in this article – basically substituted abusers for the abused in a sentence. Changed the meaning badly. Hopefully you didn’t see it or just saw what I meant to say. Thanks to the friend who pointed it out.
I was watching the Executive Committee meeting yesterday when in the middle of the confusing debate, Ronnie Floyd stood up and sought to get the trustees to vote down all the amendments that had been offered and go with the original motion to let the officers and staff hammer out an agreement on dealing with the task force. During his impassioned plea to the trustees, he made this claim, “I have prayed and fasted about this.”
His appeal to the trustees was not based on Scripture. He did not claim biblical or legal wisdom. He claimed divine imprimatur because he had fasted and prayed. This is a common tactic from Ronnie. He has spiritual insight based on his prayer and fasting. We should listen to him because he heard from God after praying and fasting. It is a form of spiritual bullying – asking people to substitute his discernment for theirs because of his special insight.
I was glad that the trustees ignored Ronnie’s attempt and voted to approve one of the amendments. Though it was not the one I would have liked (Jared Wellman’s) it made it clear to Ronnie that he would not be able to dodge the waiver issue completely. There seems to be a commitment in a significant number of the trustees to come to an agreement with Guidepost and the Task Force and comply with the messengers. I saw something different than many did. I think within a week, there may be a waiver and a contract. I hope so.
His “I prayed and fasted” ploy reminds me of a biblical story in Joshua 7. After their defeat at Ai, Joshua led the people of God to “fast and pray” – well, something like that.
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening, as did the elders of Israel; they all put dust on their heads. Joshua 7:6
What a spiritual man, leading all of Israel to publicly flail before God and call on him for help. What a display of passion and a desire for revival and victory, right? Joshua clearly understood that “now is the time to lead.”
The response from God was surprising.
Stand up! Why have you fallen facedown? 11 Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put those things with their own belongings. 12 This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs and run from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from among you what is set apart.
13 Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves for tomorrow, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are things that are set apart among you, Israel. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart. Joshua 7:10-13
Get up off your faces! Stop praying and get right. God did not want showy times of prayer; he wanted hearts of repentance and a willingness to deal with issues that were causing his disciplinary judgment on the nation.
An Appeal to Ronnie Floyd
Ronnie Floyd, we have sinned against God corporately and no amount of tearing our clothes and pouring ashes on our heads will accomplish anything until we deal with the sin that keeps God’s blessing from us.
- I have heard the stories of MANY of those who have been abused in SBC churches and it is disgusting, despicable. We have to hear them.
- I have been told stories of those who sought to help survivors and were bullied, threatened, and attacked because they “threatened” the institutions and entities. How can a convention that protects abusers but punishes those who protect the abused expect the blessing of God?
- Worst of all, the SBC, especially some people in the EC – both staff and certain trustees – has worked to protect the denomination, not the survivors. Stop praying for revival until we correct this evil!
- There are credible accusations about your dealings with Jennifer Lyell that are disturbing. If what she says is true,(if half of what she says is true) you are derelict in your duties as president of the EC. We need a full accounting.
- Stories about the actions of previous EC staff are rampant and disturbing. These must be fully brought into the light.The time to hide things in dark denominational closets is past.
We cannot just “fast and pray” and move on. We have to haul Achan out and stone that man until he is dead. No, of course, I am not advocating that we perform either capital or corporal punishment on anyone. I am saying that your calls to prayer and revival mean NOTHING until we deal with the sin in the camp. There must be true repentance over our mishandling of abuse and genuine steps to correct the problem. (And no, I am not calling Ronnie Floyd Achan or advocating he be stoned, even metaphorically – Achan is a metaphor for our hiding of sin.)
- We must not be led by our lawyers, but by God’s word. Please, sir, support the waiver of immunity instead of seeking to undermine it. Is there risk? Perhaps, I don’t know. Doing what is right is sometimes risky.
- We must allow the survivors to have a voice. We cannot move forward by sweeping them under the rug and pretending they do not exist. Please, stop trying to push them aside so we can move ahead. We have to deal with this.
- We must repent of our sin. Open the EC’s doors and closets and let every dark thing be exposed. Will that be hard? Yes, sir, it will. It will not be nearly as bad s this death by a million cuts that is coming as a result of resisting the SATF and Guidepost. Joy comes in the morning. The night of repentance may be ugly, but it is the only way through this.
- We must cooperate fully with the Task Force and Guidepost, as the messengers voted.
No amount of renting our garments will get us through this. People have been hurt. Real people. Real hurt. This requires real repentance and real actions. Pious platitudes and spiritual bullying will not work.
It is time to take Achan outside the camp and pick up some stones. Now is the time…