Resolutions are worthless as statements of what the SBC believes; however, they do provide a glimpse into what SBC Elites believe.

Does anyone believe that Resolution 9 represented the will of Southern Baptists? Of course not! The overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists voted for Donald Trump and reject Racial Identity Politics as sinful.

So, why then did Resolution 9 pass? Because SBC Elites wanted it to pass.

The Southern Baptist Convention is not as it claims to be a deliberative assembly. It rubberstamps already made decisions. It is dominated by its oligarchy.

Robert Michels explored this problem in Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie (A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracies). The book was written in 1911 and translated into English in 1915. Michels claimed that any organization no matter how democratic its organization becomes an oligarchy (his Iron Law of Oligarchy) because leaders always have a monopoly on power. You can read it online here. James Burnham analyzes Michels’ work in several chapters of his book The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom.

Michels writes, “Here, as elsewhere, the saying is true that no undertaking can succeed without leaders, without managers. In parallelism with the corresponding phenomena in industrial and commercial life, it is evident that with the growth of working-class [or any other] organization there must be an accompanying growth in the value, the importance, and the authority of the leaders.”

And the authority is based on their indispensability. For the SBC, the individual churches and messengers would be incapable of running seminaries, administering investment or retirement funds and managing a vast bureaucracy of missionaries and church planters.

As Burnahm observes, “Genuine indispensability is the strongest lever whereby the position of the leadership is consolidated, whereby the leaders control and are not controlled by the mass.”[1]

But, there is something more. There is a strong psychological hold—almost cult like—that follows SBC leaders. It is often best described by fanboys on message boards always defending Russell Moore or Al Mohler or any SBC leader targeted for criticism. However, this psychological hold is not only felt in the SBC.

Burnham explains, “More fundamental than the right to office is the psychological need felt by the masses for leadership. This sentiment is a compound of numerous elements. Except in most unusual dramatic circumstances, and seldom even then, the bulk of the membership of any large organization is passive with respect to the organizational activities. Only a small percentage of a union’s membership comes regularly to meetings. A still smaller part of the membership of a political party provides the active party workers: consider how difficult it is to get 20,000 party members from among New York City’s millions to a Democratic or Republican campaign meeting—and attendance at a meeting is a minor enough activity. In a referendum, only a minority bothers to mail back the ballots. Unless voting is compulsory, only a fraction of the voting population can even be got to the polls. How much smaller is the fraction that participates in the constant, active, decisive work of the organization.”[2]

Michels puts a finer point on it. He writes, “Though it grumbles occasionally, the majority is really delighted to find persons who will take the trouble to look after its affairs. In the mass, and even in the organized mass of the labor parties, there is an immense need for direction and guidance. This need is accompanied by a genuine cult for the leaders, who are regarded as heroes.”

These heroes of the SBC rank-and-file oversee hundreds of millions of dollars. They control who gets funding for church plants (giving the Elite power to shape the SBC’s demographics). They control who gets hundreds of dollars of gift cards (defended as improving morale). They control the Resolutions Committee, the order of business and almost always win every vote put before the floor.

So, how did Resolution 9 pass? Because the SBC Elites wanted it to pass. And this says a great deal about the true goals and beliefs of the SBC leadership.

The Resolutions Committee is empowered by the SBC Elites and composed of those in the Elite class. The Convention rubberstamps the work of the Committee.

This rubberstamp function of an assembly was noted by Michels and Burnham’s analysis. This is why as Burnham explains union bosses have huge salaries—and we might also say, why SBC Entity heads draw six-figure salaries while the average Southern Baptist pastor earns considerably less.

Remember, conservatives offered an amendment to Resolution 9 that would have made it mostly acceptable. The Resolutions Committee refused to accept it as a “friendly amendment,” and insisted on the radical wording that roiled the SBC.

The only way to stop Resolution 9 would have been for an SBC Elite of substantial influence to come forward and lead the opposition. It would’ve taken Al Mohler to stop Resolution 9. Instead of coming to the microphone to lead the opposition, Mohler sat back and allowed others like Tom Buck and Tom Ascol to make the case against Resolution 9.

What can we infer from this? Either Mohler wanted Resolution 9 to pass or Mohler was unwilling to stand against the resolution fearing the reaction of Secular Elites to a conservative position.

Either makes a strong argument against Al Mohler for SBC President.

However, Mohler is not the only person responsible for Resolution 9. The entire Southern Baptist Convention Elite is responsible for it.

And that means it is time to not only repeal and replace Resolution 9 but also time to replace the SBC leadership.

Otherwise, you will get more of the same Racial Identity Politics and Leftward Drift. Change must start in Nashville or it will not happen.

[1] Burnham, p. 154.

[2] Burnham, p. 151-152.

2 thoughts on “The Southern Baptist Convention and Resolutions”

  1. I agree with all said here and concur absolutely. One problem for the majority of us is being able to stay connected and in the know as to what is really going on. Example: although I listen to Mohler’s “The Briefing” daily and “Thinking In Public” occasionally, his deafening silence regarding the biggest issues (CRT, intersectionality, social “justice” and so on) seems unconscionable. So I will not be voting for him at the SBC Convention in June. And it will not be JD Greear, Russell or Beth Moore either! But we have no idea who we should be supporting(?) How can we get/ stay more plugged in?

  2. The argument that the ecclesiastical frame work of the SBC is to big to fail may be true in a business sense however, I think we need to frame the argument as to whether we need them at all. Do we need missionaries who we don’t know what doctrine they are preaching to the lost world? Do we need retirement systems that while they give men future security, also make them compromise the message to keep them in place? Most of all do we need seminaries who are run by men with Doctor in front of there name, but teach heresies that lead the flock into hell? We certainly do not need an erlc that is nothing but a democratic party platform. Do we need to plead to the flock for money to run the cooperative program, that has hundreds of millions of dollars that is use to corrupt the entire process? I think we need to look at the entire structure and find a better way to use the considerable resources of the collective southern Baptist flock.

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