I grew up in Baptist churches…and watched them split. We went to a string of churches on four consecutive Sundays where the pastor resigned while we were there. This is pretty typical, and has been so for a long time. The issues may have been politics, divorce, smoking, church funds, the pastor’s wife, pants on women, sports on Sunday, you name it, but what it usually came down to was a control-freak pastor who couldn’t see past his own nose, and it sounds like East Waynesville Baptist got themselves a real winner last October.
I don’t know much about this church, but there are hundreds of dysfunctional churches just like it out there, and in the independent tradition of Baptists, the usual solution is to leave and start up a new one. In this case, it’s too bad the folks who were willing to fight against the pastor couldn’t get enough folks on their side to run him out of town. Sounds like the pastor was stacking the deck by running off old members and recruiting new ones. Now the church should experience the consequence of losing that tax-exempt status. Congratulations, young’un (the pastor’s 31), you’re killing your first church. 🙁
(BTW, just to cover it here, anyone who has read this blog for long knows I’m not a big fan of culture war rhetoric. So, it’s irritating to see folks who should be primarily appalled by this pastor and church’s actions settling for saying “Well, that’s just the kind of theocracy we’re becoming,” quoting Niemöller, and referencing The Handmaid’s Tale. Niemöller’s quote isn’t an incantation against evil, it’s a warning about inaction, so you’d figure the amount of time taken to quoting it as a dire warning of general direction would be better serving some sort of specific action against the specific wrong. In this case, why not try these suggestions?)
Link courtesy of EdCone.com
Update: Well, the pastor’s gone. And he and his supporters still don’t seem to get that it wasn’t about the Bible, it was about telling people who to vote for. Does he not understand he was in the Appalachians?
BTW, quote from a supporter: “I have never bowed down to Chan. I’ve only bowed down to the Lord.”
One hopes. 🙂