Randy Adams announced his candidacy for President of the Southern Baptist Convention back in January up against Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the most powerful man in the SBC. Adams is running on seven planks. And since the time of his announcement, I have reported on him speaking to other issues, such as remote voting in the SBC. In recent weeks Randy Adams published a more detailed analysis of the problems within the Southern Baptist Convention’s missions programs. I had planned on waiting until part three was published before responding to his ideas in addition to my own investigation into church plants. See this graph used by Randy Adams below:
As you can see, there are a plethora of questions or concerns that arise from viewing this data. The answer to these questions is likely very bad. Church plants are down. Church plant costs have risen astronomically. The North American Mission Board, NAMB, is one of the parties overseeing these expenditures. And from a business perspective, these numbers reflect poorly on NAMB. In recent weeks, NAMB has been promoting spontaneous baptism, possibly in response to the unfavorable metrics.
Randy Adams cordially calls out these problems advocating that the SBC should instead cooperate with the state and local conventions more. A basic tenet of his solution is the direct correlation between missionaries and baptisms. The more missionaries we send out, the more people will come to Christ. This positive relationship makes a lot of sense as we are currently seeing fewer missionaries and church plants and fewer baptisms. The shadiness, dare I say corruption, comes from the fact that church plant costs have risen considerably. Adams does not appear to launch any accusations of corruption, but what he advocates would effectively phase out NAMB in favor of utilizing the state and local conventions. It’s the equivalent of the federal government returning power to the states.
How does NAMB respond to this criticisms? Part two of Adams’ series was published on March 5th. On March 9th, Randy Adams, who is Executive Director and Treasurer of the Northwest Baptist Convention(NWBC), was informed, that the North American Mission Board will end their joint cooperation efforts and all funding would cease in September 2021. Furthermore, NAMB informed NWBC that they would plan on sending their own staff in the northwest for missions. Essentially, NAMB announced it would plant churches in the northwest that will not cooperate with the state convention. Randy Adams also made note that the NWBC was experiencing success with regards to the same metrics provided in the Great Commissions Report (see above)
There are two ways to look at this. Both are bad and they are not mutually exclusive.
One, Kevin Ezell of the North American Mission Board is unhappy with the criticisms articulated by Randy Adams. If this is the case, this is thin-skinned petty politics, defunding those who seek to improve the system. It is always a bad sign when trusted institutions reject transparency.
Alternatively this could be a matter of what goes on behind closed doors in smoked filled rooms. Randy Adams is running against Al Mohler for President of the SBC. Al Mohler and Kevin Ezell are very well acquainted. Al Mohler is the establishment candidate while Randy Adams is the grassroots candidate. This very well could be an establishment move to punish for trying to challenge Al Mohler. Now it’s important to note that there is no evidence of Mohler ordering a “code red” to cut funding to NWBC, nor does there need to be for this to be a valid scenario since Kevin Ezell was a senior pastor to Mohler, so it is conceivable that he would act alone on this manner. This could be Ezell’s sole initiative.
Either way, his decision is in poor taste done for undoubtedly unbiblical reasons. The timing leaves little wiggle room for coincidence. I’ve been writing a lot about the elitism of Big Eva, yet this instance stands out for the pettiness of elitism is at the expense of the Great Commission.