What did the trustees know and when did they know it?
A church with a woman as a teaching pastor linked to the North American Mission Board’s church planting efforts in California is on “the cutting edge of culture,” according to a NAMB church planting strategist.
In a blurb included on the Frontline Coaching website a church planting strategist for NAMB said, “Andy, Filipe, and the Echo team have done an incredible job of impacting a whole region by starting a church where most dare not venture. Their strategic insights reflect the cutting edge of culture.”
Here is a screenshot of the endorsement and a link to the website.
The church earning praise is Echo Church of San Jose, California and the wife of the lead pastor is listed as a Teaching Pastor. Social media posts often promote her sermons as shown in the example below.
And they promote other sermons by other pastors including this sermon preached by a woman at the Freemont campus.
Clearly, this church is on the cutting edge of culture.
However, it is an egalitarian culture that elevates women into preaching roles specifically prohibited by Scripture, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet,” (I Timothy 2:12), and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
The NAMB strategist who said the church is on the cutting edge of culture is Linda Bergquist. Bergquist is well respected among Southern Baptists—including some who laud her salvation story and church planting expertise.
Bergquist is an important thinker within NAMB and was one of the framers of Ed Stetzer’s 2011 Missional Manifesto. According to BP in 2011, “Among the other framers of the Missional Manifesto were Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Dan Kimball, teaching pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C.; Linda Bergquist, mission strategist in San Francisco with the North American Mission Board; and Philip Nation, ministry development director with LifeWay Research.”
For conservatives, inclusion among Woke icons like Keller, Greear and Stetzer will generate alarm.
Bergquist also blogs for Stetzer’s Send Institute website. One blog is on diversity and its role in church planting, which seems important given NAMB’s emphasis on planting churches in expensive big cities. According to the blog, “Most have formulated a significant theology of place, and choose dense urban areas where their roles become pastors to the community and not just pastors to the people who attend their churches. Together, all kinds of people work together to make a difference in their neighborhoods and local communities. This type of diversity is grounded and interwoven with the theology of place–the neighborhood and community. Diversity is reflected in visible leadership roles as well as every day decision making.”
All of this prompts a few simple questions.
How much is the culture influencing NAMB church plants?
Is diversity a primary goal? If so, what type of diversity among leadership is desired? Racial? Gender?
Does NAMB want its plants to be biblical in its view of women pastors or on the cutting edge of culture?
And most importantly of all, What did the NAMB trustees know and when did they know it?
Pro Tip: Next time NAMB trustees you might want to muzzle Danny de Armas instead of letting him release a statement saying the trustees know everything going on and even initiated much of it at NAMB. Now, you guys own everything Kevin Ezell does.
Be honest, how do you feel about that right now?
Answer that question again in a few weeks.