Supporters of a constitutional amendment to ban women pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) thought SBC President Bart Barber pledged to bring the amendment to a vote of messengers at the SBC’s Annual Meeting. However, it appears Barber has flipflopped on that pledge and for good measure insulted a Southern Baptist asking him about it on Twitter.
Sam Webb asked SBC President Bart Barber, “Does your promise apply to *this* question (Saddleback) or to *the* question (Const Amnd)? Because having the messengers express their will on *the* question will directly address *this* question.”
Barber responded, “The underlying and precipitating question—boundaries about gender roles and positions of service in the SBC.”
The generated a few additional messages seeking clarification with Barber obfuscating and earning a reply, “I’m confused, Bart. The article below about *the amendment* says you are committed to letting ‘these questions’ come before the messengers, that you will ‘protect the messengers’ rights to discuss and decide these questions.”
Bart responded with his usual cornpone passive-aggressive style, “I’m sorry that you are confused.”
Not content with one insult, Bart responded with an even stronger insult.
“’With regard to current conversations within the SBC regarding women serving as pastors’ I was pretty clear about what “these questions” refer to, for any honest reader,” Barber said.
Any honest reader?
Well, most people who read the article thought Barber pledged to bring the amendment to the messengers for a vote. In fact, in a statement we quoted last week, the amendment’s author Michael Law said, “All that 2,100 Southern Baptist pastors are asking, is that we bring our Convention’s conduct in line with our Convention’s Statement of Faith…Dr. Barber and Dr. Wellman, I am asking you to keep your promise that this amendment would come before messengers in New Orleans.”
The promise Law cited was a statement published by Baptist Press: Barber, Wellman issue statement on proposed constitutional amendment. Here is what they promised:
“Both of us have the responsibility to protect the messengers’ rights, answer the messengers’ questions and implement the messengers’ instructions,” reads the statement issued Wednesday (Nov. 2).
“We affirm our polity. Although we did not reach a moment in Anaheim where the messengers were able to vote on these questions, as far as it lies within our authority to do so, we are committed to letting these questions come before the messengers at our 2023 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. We plan to protect the messengers’ rights to discuss and decide these questions. This is how we resolve conflict and answer questions; we trust this process to give us the clarity we need.
“We affirm our statement of faith. We believe that the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. These words represent our own individual doctrinal convictions. More importantly, these words represent the sentiments of the messenger body in their past decisions. As we discharge our own duties, we will do so in ways that implement these past decisions that the messengers have given to us.”
And not content with insulting a Southern Baptist who took a Baptist Press report at face value, Barber then insulted Baptist Press blaming their reporters and editors for the confusion.
“As is often the case, it’s important to note that although I authored the statement, I did not author the surrounding article nor the headline,” Barber said.
Which prompted someone to wonder, “So, Bart saw it, but didn’t ask BP to issue a clarification at the time? BP is not editorially independent, and this was a prepared statement.”
Good question to ponder as it throws a spotlight on Bart Barber’s character—or lack thereof.