Josh Buice

Dear SBC, the Answer to the Sex Abuse Crisis Is Not Pragmatism

This report contains real stories of real women who were abused or assaulted. It’s tragic. It’s painful to read. However, the real answer is found in the pages of Scripture and does not require the implementation of new methods, programs, or policies. Women and girls within local churches need to know that men, pastors, and the church as a whole is committed to obeying the Scriptures which address matters of abuse, sin, assaults, and sexual misconduct.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a barrage of news stories emerge within the Southern Baptist Convention that point to sex scandals, misconduct, and abuse. In 2019, the Houston Chronicle report rocked the SBC world. It revealed 700 cases that spans over a 20 year period.
Although I am no longer a pastor of a church within the SBC, I speak as a pastor who spent many years in the SBC and feels the tension growing rapidly. In short, the criticism I provide in this article comes from a heart of concern.
The 2021 SBC messengers approved to allocate funds from the Cooperative Program for a large scale investigation into the allegations and claims of sex abuse cases. Guideposts was hired as an independent investigative firm, and the SBC is prepared to use up to $4 million dollars on this entire investigation. This is the largest of such investigations in the history of the SBC.
On Sunday, May 22, 2022, the report from Guideposts was published and made available to the world. Needless to say, it was a lengthy detailed bombshell report containing harmful stories of abuse victims and accusations against public figures and well known pastors within the SBC. Since the report was published, there have been many different responses. Obviously, pastors and leaders within the SBC are trying to process this news just a few weeks prior to a decisive presidential election in Anaheim, California.
At this crisis moment, the SBC can make the right choices to move in the direction of biblical sufficiency or the Convention can choose to walk down the pathway of pragmatism. That one decision could change the future of the SBC.
The SBC and Pragmatism
The SBC has a long historical commitment to pragmatism. Not only is the SBC the largest Protestant denomination in the United States with some 47,000 churches, it’s also the most pragmatic denomination. In 1954, the SBC adopted a growth campaign under the slogan ‘Million More in 54’ and the results were extremely harmful. The idea was to grow the SBC by one million members, but the tactics were program driven and pragmatic which led to false conversions. That’s why the SBC witnessed an overflow of unconverted church members rebaptized through the years following that explosive era of church growth models.
Pragmatism is the philosophy that encourages people to make decisions based on whatever will give them positive results. In other words, if it works—do it. Pragmatism originated in 1870s and continues to be a popular means of evaluation and assessment. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that – very broadly – understands knowing the world as inseparable from agency within it. This general idea has attracted a remarkably rich and at times contrary range of interpretations, including: that all philosophical concepts should be tested via scientific experimentation, that a claim is true if and only if it is useful.
Like anabolic steroids offer instant muscular growth to athletes, pragmatism offers church growth success at a much faster rate than a model that is centered upon the Bible alone. Once leaders taste this instant success, they become slaves to it. Rather than focusing on the Scriptures, they begin looking outside of Scripture to arrange their worship services in ways that will attract people to their local church—regardless of what the Bible says.
In 2010, Andy Stanley was invited to address the pastors during the annual Pastors’ Conference of the SBC. Andy Stanley told the story of Chick-fil-A, which originated south of Atlanta. As Stanley tells the story of Chick-fil-A leaders who were trying to figure out how Chick-fil-A could grow faster, he explains how company founder Truett Cathy pounded on the table and said, “I am sick and tired of listening to you talk about how we can get bigger. If we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger.” The entire session was devoted to how pastors could learn from corporate America in making their churches better which would result in the community responding to make their churches bigger.
I recall being there in that session and looking around at a room filled with SBC pastors. What those men needed at that hour was more Scripture and less talk of corporate America. Yet, at every turn the SBC continues to turn to feed pastors pragmatism while promising them good results. It’s put on display and platformed at the SBC Pastors’ Conference and modeled through SBC leadership, Convention programs, and resolutions.
In the wake of the Houston Chronicle report, Beth Moore entered the conversation with an argument that women needed more women in places of leadership so that they could find help in moments of crisis. Moore spoke in Dallas at the ERLC’s Caring Well conference:
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Gender Identity and Christian Discipleship

As parents, we are called to engage, instruct, and disciple our children for the glory of God. As we continue to watch the darkness spread across our land, we must be gaining resources, tools, and ultimately taking responsibility to educate our children through a proper biblical worldview.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere over the last couple of years, you’ve witnessed a drastic increase in the LGBTQA+ agenda in our nation. This agenda is well funded and far more organized than you might want to believe. While the stories of transgender athletes dominating women’s sports is concerning, you must know that this agenda transcends beyond swimming and track & field competitions. It involves a well organized political indoctrination campaign. In short, it’s called—discipleship.
A number of Disney employees are protesting what’s been called Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The employees are protesting as Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to sign the “Parental Rights in Education” bill into law in the state of Florida. This controversy has sparked much attention. What’s the issue? The bill will restrict K-3 grade students from being instructed or influenced by gender identity curriculum in the classroom. Once again, it points to the obvious reality that the LGBTQA+ agenda is using the classroom to make disciples, and this decision doesn’t fit within their deconstructive framework.
Ground Zero
The public school system and university campus have become ground zero for LGBTQA+ grooming. It’s called discipleship. Parents, if you don’t make disciples in your home with a biblical worldview, the enemy will gladly provide a worldly substitute. Such substitutes are offered by friendly and often very knowledgeable teachers and professors who engage in grooming activities to lead struggling children or teens into embracing a LGBTQA+ lifestyle.
The grooming starts early with children. For instance, one controversial activity that has become popular in many cities across our nation is “Drag Queen Reading Day.” This is an event sponsored by local libraries where transgender men who are obviously pretending to be women are given a public platform and access to children in a way that seems fun and interactive for children, but it’s extremely powerful.
Children will respond to the drag queen like you might expect them respond to a fun character at Disney World. They enjoy the costume and the fun stories. However, the transgender man is dressed up in a glitter covered costume with loads of makeup and eyelash extensions as an ambassador to deliver a message. The message is about gender fluidity. The goal is to make disciples and allies in local communities in order to normalize transgender and homosexual behavior in the eyes of little children and their parents. Remember the word of the year for 2021 for Dictionary.com? It was allyship.
Prior to their first day of kindergarten, little children are attending these powerful experiences in local libraries and this prepares their mind and heart to receive the more extensive grooming instruction as they enter the local school system.
The Wave of LGBTQA+ Studies
There has been a steady agenda to impact students through curricula within the local school system and university campus for decades. Back in 2008, a lesbian student at a high school in Vallejo, California filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accusing the school district of discrimination. The settlement involved the introduction of films that were assigned to students as a homework assignment that depicted homosexual families. This assignment was issued as early as elementary school.
The agenda has picked up speed in recent years. An article published by Time Magazine back in 2014 was titled, “It’s Time to Write LGBT History into the Textbooks.” The social justice agenda has dramatically intensified the homosexual agenda in the sphere of education. For instance, back in 2016, California became the first state to add the LGBTQA+ agenda into the public school curriculum.  After the new law passed and the new framework was adopted into the school system, it was highly praised by the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson who called it “a big win.” He stated the following:
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The Blessings of a Confession of Faith

When it comes to the local church, a confession of faith serves as a transparent advertisement as to where the church stands on important theological matters and can be extremely helpful for potential new members in the community. When people are looking for a church home, it’s important to define the church’s position on key issues of the faith and a robust theological confession can do this with a great deal of precision. A confession communicates to the community: “Here is where we stand!”

For centuries, God’s people have been using creeds and confessions in order to identify where they stand on critical issues of the faith. We can likewise see confessions in Scripture. We find in the Scriptures forms of early church confessions of faith. For instance, in Paul’s words to Timothy, we find an example of this in 1 Timothy 3:16:
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
 He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
As was common in the early church, they organized the confession and arranged it into a hymn to be sung in worship. Yet, like all theologically sound hymns of the faith, the song is more than a superficial song. It’s a concise theological confession of truth about God and to be confessed for his glory.
Through the years, some groups have created intentionally broad confessions of faith in order to keep the line of divisions to a minimum and to maintain a big tent approach to their associations. Yet, in doing so, it’s almost inevitable that the group or denomination at some point takes a leftward turn due to a lack of theological conviction.
Still others err by rejecting the spirit of confessionalism by claiming “No Creed but Christ.” This group fails to see this is a creedal statement (yet very shallow), and they too find themselves with no anchor in swift cultural waters that eventually sweep them away.
Confessions and creeds, while not bulletproof, can be extremely beneficial when used properly in the life of a Christian home, denomination, or organization.
Fortress Wall for Protection
If you’ve ever had the privilege to visit a castle, the fortress wall can be quite impressive. The purpose of the fortress wall with it’s robust width and impressive height is to serve as a frontline defense strategy against enemies. There are always other weapons on the inside of the castle, but the fortress wall serves as a first line of defense against those who might come along and try to overtake the castle. The reason why many castles around the world today are merely partially standing buildings surrounded by piles of rocks is indicative of the fact that their wall was weak and the enemy prevailed.
In a similar way, a theological confession serves that same purpose as it provides a frontline defense against heretical statements, ideologies, and agendas that often plague God’s people. Flowing out of the Reformation are different streams where we have different confessions. Historically, we see the Augsburg Confession, Belgic Confession, Westminster Confession, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith to name a few. Alongside the confessions, church history has provided us with important theological statements that respond to theological error. We can point to the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed as examples. In addition to creeds and confessions, we likewise have the catechisms that provide more light and clarity on theological distinctions and definitions.
When it comes to the gospel or doctrines like the Trinity which is at the very heart of Christianity, almost everyone agrees that confessions function as a defense against cultural attacks that seek to pervert the teachings of Scripture. However, as we have witnessed through the years, there are many entry points into the church where heresy can arise and lead people astray.
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Why We Are No Longer an SBC Church: A Statement by Josh Buice

This downgrade involves compromise on theological levels such as complementarianism (roles of men and women in the church), ecclesiology (the office and function of elder), and most important of all is the gospel (the social justice movement has replaced theology with victimology—resulting in the rise of a new religion). For that reason, our church which is 180 years old and predates the SBC by three years, has determined by a 100% congregational vote led by the elders who voted in a 100% eldership vote to lead the church away from the SBC due to such compromise. The SBC has failed. The leaders have compromised. 

One of the great joys of my life has been serving as the pastor of three different churches that have been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. I currently serve the church where my wife and I grew up as children on the west side of Atlanta—Pray’s Mill Baptist Church. Although our church is 180 years old and predates the SBC, our congregation has maintained a longtime affiliation within the SBC. However, in recent days we came to the conclusion that there was no profitable path forward for us within the SBC and we made the decision to officially separate.
Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of transition and change within the Southern Baptist Convention. That’s a nice way of describing the devious deconstruction plan that has been at work for many years behind the scenes. Along the way, we have witnessed scandals, controversies, and division. It is not my desire in this article to add fuel to the fire, however, as a lifelong SBC member and pastor I believe it’s necessary to provide a reason for our church’s decision to officially separate from the SBC effective on January 1st, 2022.
The Commendable
What I will say in this article should not be seen as a denial of the fact that there are many good and gifted professors who are serving in the SBC entities and doing a good job of training men for the pulpit and church planting. When I look back on my time at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I am grateful for many of the professors who invested in me and helped prepare me for the work of gospel ministry.
Alongside professors are many good pastors and local churches who have been healthy and profitable in supporting Christian education and church planting for many years within this network that we know as the SBC. Therefore, we can be thankful for these gifted individuals and churches who have sacrificed much to accomplish much for the glory of God.
But, all is not well within evangelicalism and that also includes the SBC. In recent years, we’ve witnessed quite a transformation take place within the once beloved SBC that has necessitated separation for what I believe is far more than preference matters.
The Downgrade
Over the past decade or more, things began to shift with the SBC leadership that moved the once theologically conservative denomination in a leftward direction. The biggest catalyst to this leftward movement undoubtedly was the acceptance of the social justice agenda which has resulted in the greatest downgrade in our modern era of church history. Any denial of this downgrade is simply a refusal to report the facts about where the SBC is today, where the SBC was yesterday, and where the SBC is moving tomorrow.
While this shift did not take place overnight, it began to pick up the pace drastically over the last 4-5 years. Back in 2018, I was part of a group who assembled in Dallas, Texas for a meeting regarding the problems of social justice. As we assembled, I was concerned but hopeful. Little did I know that our meeting and subsequent Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel would not only serve as a means of confirming what was already in motion beneath the radar, but it would expose many people and institutions within the SBC and their involvement in this devious movement.
Sadly, the top tier SBC leaders continue to double down on their positions. They have sought to deflect charges of theological capitulation and rigorously work to protect their positions through cultural virtue signals and theological word salads.
During this downgrade we have witnessed once trusted voices and institutions accept the ideologies of the social justice movement and platform notable voices within their hallways, classrooms, and conference circuits. They came together under the banner of the gospel only to embrace a social justice gospel that resulted in confusion, division, and in some cases—a complete derailing altogether. This must not be overlooked. If left unchecked, the social justice agenda will leave an indelible mark upon preachers who will be sent out into local churches to serve as pastor.
The SBC once fought a war on the inerrancy of Scripture during what has become known as the “Conservative Resurgence.” After claiming a victory over the “Battle for the Bible” the SBC has moved into a new era where this once theologically conservative denomination has adopted the controversial “Resolution 9” at the 2019 SBC in Birmingham. How could the SBC who openly champions inerrancy at the same time adopt a resolution stating that we need to employ Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I) as “analytical tools” for gospel ministry? This was done, in all reality, without much public debate and through sly political schemes.
Moving beyond the 2019 SBC, after a break in 2020 due to COVID-19, the SBC reconvened in Nashville in the summer of 2021 to discuss business and make decisions as a group of churches. During the meeting, there were multiple attempts from the floor to call upon the SBC to openly renounce the teachings of CRT/I. At each juncture, all of these attempts were rejected and generic language was adopted in place of specific language that openly rejected CRT/I.
One must ask the honest question as to why there was such an open refusal from the SBC leaders at this point? In the past, the SBC openly challenged Disney and eventually boycotted Disney in 1997. One must ask why the SBC was willing to boycott the gospel according to Disney but failed to boycott the gospel according to social justice?
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Why Is the Organ Relevant for Major League Baseball and Irrelevant for Local Churches?

If relevance is based on cultural trends rather than congregational engagement—it’s easy to see how the organ can get pushed out the back door. However, if relevance is based on congregational engagement—the organ will beat out all other instrumental choices hands down.

Recently, my children and I watched the Atlanta Braves take on the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series. As committed Braves fans, we’ve waited a very long time (predating my children’s birth) for the Braves to make it back to the fall Classic.
As we’ve watched the games each evening, one thing that I’ve noticed is something that transcends baseball. It has to do with music. Specifically, it has to do with the use of the organ as a ballpark staple. The Braves, along with a number of other MLB teams, have a staff organist who sits in a room high above the field and plays an organ during the game. And the organ is used for far more than “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
The instrument was first introduced into professional baseball back on April 26, 1941. A pipe organ was installed behind the grandstand at Wrigley Field, and during the game organ music echoed out across a baseball stadium for the first time. Soon the trend of a ballpark organist was one of the game’s most recognized players.
Matthew Kaminski (@BravesOrganist) who plays the organ for the Atlanta Braves selects pieces of music intentionally designed to keep the fans engaged in what’s happening on the field. During the fourth game of the 2021 World Series, Kaminski began playing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” as Luis Garcia came to the plate.
What’s the reason? It’s connected to the fact that the Astros’ starting pitcher has a very unique windup in his approach to the plate as a pitcher. It looks like he’s rocking a baby in a cradle-like position with his hands. So, this prompted Kaminski to call attention to that reality by using music which caught the attention of many fans—in person and on television.
Beyond the noticeable eclectic style of some organists who play for MLB teams, the real question is why does Major League Baseball view the organ as relevant while many local churches continue to view the organ as irrelevant? After nearly 80 years, more than 50% of MLB teams have a live organist at the ballpark and a good percentage of the other teams pipe in organ music through prerecorded musical pieces. Why has the organ fallen on hard times within the church?
The Organ Is Better Than the Band
In recent months, we have purchased and installed a new organ in our local church’s worship auditorium. In fact, I would urge you (if you’re a pastor) and your local church to do the same. You ask, what’s the big deal about an organ? The fact is, the organ as a single instrument is far superior than the modern praise band.
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Making Honey and Naming Names

While we live in an age where men lack backbone and are often times unwilling to do the unpopular thing, it’s quite refreshing to see men like Voddie Baucham spend time dealing with the issues and pointing out the errors of men and organizations that were once trusted and respected. 

At the recent 2021 G3 Conference, a copy of World Magazine was placed on every single chair in the main session room for each attendee. This is something that has repeated every year since about 2018. However, this year proved to be unique as the selected publication (9-11-21) included a review of Voddie Baucham’s book Fault Lines by Marvin Olasky. Although short and somewhat complementary, Olasky took a swipe at Baucham’s book by writing the following:
What’s not helpful is Baucham’s dismissal of theologically sound Christians, including individuals and groups like Tim Keller, the Gospel Coalition, and Mark Dever/9Marks. We can make more honey if we go beyond buzzwords. Let’s spin the latter-day followers of Marx, Darwin, and the Black Panthers. Let’s ally with those who also emphasize the Bible rather than racial division. Let’s agree that black lives matter but oppose the BLM industrial complex. [1]
This caught the attention of many G3 attendees who asked me for a response. Obviously, I wasn’t aware of the review of Baucham’s book in this edition of World Magazine prior to it showing up at the conference. While I agree that we can have differences of opinion on various matters within evangelicalism and sometimes a friendly critique is helpful, I want to push back on this critique, point out the flaws of Olasky’s review, and substantiate how Baucham defends the faith and calls out names in a biblically consistent manner.
The Biblical Pattern of “Naming Names”
All throughout the Scripture, we see a pattern of naming names in various contexts. This practice is used to warn the faithful about deceitful schemes, devilish doctrines, and divisive people. When we read the New Testament, we find that Jesus called out the names of the Pharisees and Herod (subsequently calling out the Herodians) in Mark 8:14–21. Jesus was issuing a warning to his disciples regarding their false teaching and sinful practices.
Jesus warned the church at Ephesus of the Nicolaitans. He demanded those who hold to their teachings to repent or suffer the wrath of God (Rev 2:6; 15–16). Once again, we see that Jesus calls out names and warns his church of devilish schemes.
We must recall that Jesus was mistaken for John the Baptist, who also named names. In his public preaching ministry, John the Baptist called out Herod for committing adultery with his brother’s wife. It’s apparent that John the Baptist was a judgment preacher—warning people of their sin and impending doom (Luke 3:19).
Paul also named names of divisive people in his letters—including both enemies of the cross to avoid and brothers and sisters who need to be corrected in love. In his second letter to Timothy (2 Tim 4:14), Paul writes the following:
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
It’s apparent that Paul wanted Timothy to know of this evil man and how he had greatly opposed the work of the gospel—bringing injury to Paul.
Paul warned Timothy of two men who had made shipwreck of their faith and gone as far as blaspheming God. Paul writes the following in 1 Timothy 1:20: “Among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Paul was not pulling punches when it came to those who attacked the gospel or divided God’s church.
In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul named two women, Euodia and Syntyche, who had apparently been the cause of the division in the church. Much of what Paul labors to correct in his letter to the church was caused by their division. In this case, Paul calls the names of sisters in the Lord who needed to be corrected.
Paul likewise rebuked the church at Corinth (see 1 Cor. 5) by pointing an intense spotlight upon an unnamed man who had been committing adultery with his father’s wife. Perhaps Paul didn’t know the exact name of the man, but the entire church did know his name. Paul rebuked the church and called for them to act swiftly in church discipline.
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