Two Rivers is the home church for many of the people who work at Southern Baptist headquarters in Nashville. This means that Jerry Sutton is the pastor to people who do the day-to-day decision-making of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Spend a little time on the TwoRiversInfo.org site and you’ll get some idea of why this is a “denomination in decline” and why it is so rife with problems.
Here’s what those 71 church-members wanted: Accountability and transparency. Imagine that.
Last week, pastor Sutton sent out a letter to the flock, urging that the behavior of these 71 truth-seekers was “not consistent with the Word of God” and that they must apologize for their actions in order to remain in the fold.
This is the sort of example set by the pastor who shepherds the decision-makers of this denomination. See the problem?
Back when all this got started, Two Rivers’ executive pastor Scott Hutchings responded by accusing these people of “causing division” within the church body.
“There has to be submission and authority,” he insisted.
So the battle lines were drawn: Submission & authority vs. Accountability & transparency.
I know which side I’m pulling for.
The same battle lines are at the root of the Southern Baptist clergy sex abuse scandal. And I’ve seen up-close what the lack of accountability and transparency does in that arena. It’s pretty ugly.
Meanwhile, back at Two Rivers, the renegades aren’t apologizing. They’re busy sifting through thousands of financial records that were recently found in a dumpster behind the church. The renegades believe they’re records that church leaders never wanted the members to see.
“Denomination in decline”? Maybe it’s already in the dumpster.