Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More For the Pastor's Wives

2nd Pastors’ Wives Sessionto spread ‘Contagious Joy’
By Staff
GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--“Contagious Joy” is the theme for the secondannual Pastors’ Wives Session of the Southern Baptist Convention’sPastors’ Conference in Greensboro, N.C., and the program features severalnoted pastors’ wives sharing ways God has given them joy in their lifeexperiences.

The session, which is Monday, June 12, from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m., is freeof charge and no registration is necessary.

Doors open at 8 a.m. at the War Memorial Auditorium, adjacent to the Greensboro Coliseum.

“Contagious Joy” is based on 1 Peter 1:8, which says in part, “... you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible full of glory.” Donna Gaines, wife of Steve Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church inCordova, Tenn., said the session is designed to address some of the needsindicated on a survey that last year’s participants completed.
“Sometimes the circumstances of our lives and the trials we encounter candampen our joy,” Gaines, the meeting’s organizer, said.

Speakers will include Anita Renfroe, a regular humorist at “Women ofFaith” conferences, who will speak on having joy in worship and laughter;Liz Traylor, wife of Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church inPensacola, Fla., speaking on joy in darkness; Jeana Floyd, wife of Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., speaking onjoy in healing; Carol Ann Draper, wife of James T. Draper Jr., retired president of LifeWay Christian Resources, speaking on joy in learningfrom the past; Ginger Spradlin, wife of Roger Spradlin, co-pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., speaking on joy in ministering outside the Bible Belt; Elizabeth Luter, wife of Fred Luter,pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, speaking on joy in restoration; and Teresa Brown, wife of Joe Brown, pastor of HickoryGrove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., speaking on joy in peace.

A panel discussion will address “Hot Topics in the Ministry.”

In addition to Gaines, Traylor, Floyd and Draper, other women serving onthe ministry’s board include Susie Hawkins of Dallas; Diane Nix of Tulsa,Okla.; Barbara O’Chester of Austin, Texas; Joyce Rogers of Memphis,Tenn.; and Janet Wicker of Naples, Fla.--30--


Now, this is actually much better than Dorothy Patterson's programming contribution. It does actually, from the look of it actually address some real issues.

However, notice the laundry list of pastors and their wives. Each and every one of these churches on this list well known large SBC churches. For example, Joe Brown is pastor of HGBC in Charlotte, the largest SBC church in the state of NC. Steve Gaines is pastor at Bellevue Church in Memphis/Cordova, TN. He is Dr. Adrian Rogers' successor. Fred Luter will be preaching at the Convention itself. I believe Sister Hawkins is O.S. Hawkins wife. Brother Hawkins is past pastor of FBC Dallas, where W.A. Criswell served until his retirement and passing, the church where Paige Patterson served at the start of the Conservative Resurgence.

The problem I have here isn't the content, rather it is who is planning the content and executing it. This is the same small circle of leaders of statistics obsessed churches run by "the Good Ol' Boy" network in the SBC. Would it really hurt the SBC to actually plan a Convention event that doesn't come with the marks of this body of persons? It only lends credibility to the notion that power is being increasingly restricted to a few insiders. The majority of SBC churches are small. Let's let the pastors' wives from these small churches contribute to these events in each phase. Let them feel a sense ownership for the programming at the Convention. Otherwise, it begins to look like the Plantation owners' wives are having a nice program for the share-croppers' wives.

I know some of these pastors. Brother Ronnie Floyd is a fine man who does some good work in Arkansas. Brother Traylor is prominent in the FL Convention and on the Pastor's Conference circuit. My home church is one of the large churches in the SBC. I interned under one of the leaders in the SBC many years ago, so I'm not speaking as one who doesn't know the system or admire these ministries in some fashion. I give credit where it is due. By the same token, you can bet your bottom dollar that if I asked just about any of these men where they stand on the doctrines of grace, I'd hear an anti-Calvinist rant. Steve Gaines has given one from his pulpit in the past year. Brother Brown hosts a Bailey Smith Conference at his church every year when he can, and James P. Boyce would not be made welcome, nor would John Broadus. You's all the same people...every year...patting themselves on the back...again.

This does not help, when the younger leaders in the SBC are feeling more and more disenfranchised and are wondering if there isn't an implicit class system at work in the Convention.


  1. Can you tell me anything about Pastor Brown of Hickory Grove? I have met him on a few occasions. Does he really engage in "anti-Calvinist rants" like Steve Gaines does? I am concerned as I have family involved there.

    Anything you can share would be most appreciated. If you'd like I can give my email address in case you feel it is too sensitive to speak in public.

    Thank you.

  2. Joe is a good guy, but Joe is also one to preach an evangelistic sermon nearly every time he preaches. He tends to teach more on Sunday nights. Personally, unless his preaching has improved, I find his preaching shallow. He's a great evangelistic preacher, but his a shallow exegete. I attended HGBC when I lived in Charlotte and when I was in undergraduate school, and my standard of comparison is my home church. He's a nice guy, but he's no Calvinist. He's in with the Bailey Smith crowd; that crowd makes it no secret that they dislike Calvinism. That is also the "Good Old Boy" Club of the SBC, and runs with Hunt and the others. This is no secret.

    I'd add that anti-Calvinists in Charlotte have to keep it to themselves, so I suspect Brother Joe knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em on that one. Charlotte is home to an RTS campus for one thing, and the city was founded by Presbyterians. There are lots of evangelical Presbyterians there, who don't coddle well to anti-Calvinism. In addition, there are some RB churches cropping up, including one in Matthews which helped plant my church. I've not heard any complaints about Joe and Calvinism, but I know that he's no Calvinist. I think he's smart enough not to poison the well. If he was to do that, I suspect, the folks at Gordon-Conwell seminary and RTS, as well as the Presbyterian and RB churches which surround HGBC would be most unhappy.

    My home church is Calvary Baptist in Winston-Salem from the time Mark Corts was there. They are the next largest SBC church in NC, and completely unlike HGBC. CBC under Dr. Corts was oriented around expository preaching and teaching every Sunday. Under Al Gilbert, things have changed, as Al isn't as charismatic a personality as Mark was. Al, however, is more prone to stay out of politics than even Mark was. He came to CBC from the SBC IMB, where he was Dr. Rankin's assistant. He's discussed election once from his pulpit, and his comment led me to believe his leans toward Calvinism, as his comment was to the effect, "Everybody gets upset when we talk about election because of the people that don't get elected, as if they deserve to be elected." He also has a fairly good sized Calvinist group in his church, and he's conscious of this and does not wish to lose them. I am aware of some who have left CBC recently, because of problems the other side of the aisle was making in Sunday School classes (in fact 2 of them are in my church).

    Joe's staff ranges from the mild-mannered to the "Good Ol' Boy" type. Allan Blume left for Mt. Vernon church in Boone many years ago. Allan is much more mild mannered and generally more teaching oriented. I think Allan is fair with the issues as well, and I know of one Founders pastor in High Point whose home church is Allan's church.