Earlier this week it came to the attention of many that the North American Mission Board had assisted a the founding of an egalitarian church, a church that would be in violation of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. This church was also affiliated with nonbaptist organizations, most notably the interdenominational Association of Related Churches, which does not beleieve in complementarianism.
Kevin Ezell’s leadership has been called into question by many, such as Randy Adams. The decline in churches planted paired with an increase in the church planting budget invites greater scrutiny on each church NAMB is planting. The 531% cost per church plant increase means that Southern Baptists are financially more involved in church plant. Yet there appears to be a lack of oversight on the church plants and their doctrinal alignment. Southern Baptists were left wondering whether 1Name Church was an oversight or a pattern.
The answer may likely be the latter. A more established church, Echo.Church, has been operating as an egalitarian body for years. And this church does not fly below the SBC radar. Capstone Report notes that its lead pastor, Andy Woods, has been prominently featured by NAMB both on their website and in their magazine in the past.
If the North American Missions Board will plant churches that are in violation of the Baptist Faith and Message, they are knowingly breaching the trust Baptists have placed in Cooperative Programs. If the convention is headed for divorce, the Cooperative Program and its missions is the kids that the “marriage” is sticking around for.
This is not to advise churches to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, as there is hope for a second resurgence. However, the notion that Cooperative Program money cannot be better entrusted elsewhere is without merit at this point.
Kevin Ezell can claim his support for complementarianism, but the mounting evidence is starting to show that he is functionally egalitarian.