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Hello, and welcome to The Christian Perspective. I'm excited about today's show because one of my oldest friends is here with me today, and it's his first time joining us on The Christian Perspective. It's going to be a great show. You're going to want to call your friends, tell them to sign up, and tune in right now on your favorite radio station. And then later today, this will be released as a podcast format later today.
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That's citizensforamericafoundation.com, where you can sign up to get email updates, and we do not blow up your email inbox, but we'll keep you informed of what's going on. We have an events page. We just had a great tour to Washington, D.C. I'm taking another group in September. We'd love to have you join us, where you can learn about the true Christian heritage of our country and our founding fathers.
And then this December, on December 26, we're taking a 10-day trip to Israel to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, purposely scheduled where you spend Christmas Day with your family, and then giving a Christmas gift to your family to go on a trip to Israel to learn about the great things in Israel and all that Jesus, I tell you, just transformed my life when I went there to see where Jesus did the things and lived his life that we read about in the Bible each and every day. And I also want to thank Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary. If you're looking for a place to grow in your faith, to learn more about God's word and other subjects as well, you can learn more about the College of Mid-America and Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary at mabts.edu.
That's mabts.edu. Well, today, as I mentioned, I've got a great friend coming on today. His name is Pastor Matt Bassford. Pastor Bassford is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Bristol, Florida.
That's not Bristol, Tennessee, where they do the races, which is close to where I live in Bristol, Florida, the panhandle of Florida. And I asked Pastor Matt to come on with us today because, you know, we've done a few shows over the last month about the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Anaheim, California that took place a couple of weeks ago. And Pastor Matt and his wife were in attendance at the meeting.
They were there as what we call messengers, representing messengers from their church at First Baptist Bristol. But a lot's going on in the Southern Baptist Convention. I know many of our listeners are Southern Baptists. And even if you aren't, you should be concerned about what's going on in the Southern Baptist Convention, because not only the Southern Baptist Convention represents a little more than 11 percent of all churches in the country today, but the six seminaries, which are training schools for pastors that are sponsored and paid for by the Southern Baptist Convention, train more than a third of all pastors across the world today.
So we want to know what's happening in that convention, even if you're not a Southern Baptist because your pastor may have attended one of the great seminaries and institutions of higher education that is paid for and sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention. Well, Pastor Matt, thank you so much for joining me on The Christian Perspective today. Oh, I'm so proud to be here, Chris. It's a great honor to be on a great show that has the values that many of us subscribe to and American Christianity and otherwise. Thank you so much for having me. Well, I'm honored you'd be here. And I shared with you before we went on air. Please forgive me. I'm about to lose my voice. I've got a little bit of I'm going to say it's a summer cold. I'm not going to say it's the other C word that everybody's afraid of.
It's funny, Pastor Matt. Now you got a grocery store or something. And if you just sneeze, and I'm very allergic to perfume. So if some woman who walks by who's got a strong perfume on, it makes me sneeze. And people look at you like you've got the blood these days.
Oh yeah, they're trying to fascinate them. Yeah, it's crazy how it is today when just a few years ago, people got gold and it was just something that happened. But anyway, hey, I have just loved you for so many years. Years ago, we were both at the same church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. You were a minister of music at that time.
And you just had a young family. We got to know you. And over the years, we've become very close friends. And I respect you so much. And thank you for your friendship and someone that I can call and pray for me anytime that I need it. But I'd like for our listeners to have the opportunity before we jump into all this Southern Baptist Convention mouse. Let our listeners know a little bit about you and go ahead and feel free to brag about your children and your wonderful granddaughter. You're so kind to say that.
Yeah, there were a lot of Cuban sandwiches at Gus's restaurant in Fort Walton Beach back in the day, for sure. I miss those days, Chris. We had a good time together. Yeah, I was born into a Christian family. I guess I could say even though it's not really Baptist polity, I was born a Baptist. My dad was a Southern Baptist minister on staff at several churches growing up. So I basically cut my teeth on the old 1963 Southern Baptist hymnal sitting on the front pew when my mom played the piano. And I mean, the earliest memories I have was being a churchman and being part of a church and growing up in the nursery with Miss Pittman whipping me when I wouldn't act right and all the good stuff that comes with growing up in a church background. And our family was a staunch Christian family. I'm one of five brothers.
I'm the middle of five. And so, I mean, church was always part of my life. In fact, if I was ever sick on a Sunday morning or couldn't attend church, maybe we were on vacation, there was a weird feeling when I wasn't in church.
And maybe you've experienced that before, but that's part of our life. It was as much part of our life and we were always Southern Baptist. So I've been a Southern Baptist and my mother led me to the Lord when I was nine years old. And I was baptized in First Baptist Church, Graceville, Florida in 1980 as a nine-year-old little boy and followed him. And later on when I was a late teenager, I was attending a Southern Baptist camp and the Lord laid on my heart that called me to vocational ministry. And I didn't know what that meant at the time. I do remember the old preacher that was preaching on serendipity at that meeting. Still love that old man. I think he's gone on to be with the Lord, but I knew then that it was time to turn my life over to him and whatever he wanted.
That's what I was going to do. And I can still remember the pool of tears at my feet as I gave up on my dreams, a lot of dreams that I had, but I really wasn't giving up on them. It just shifted to something even more important than my dreams. So I ran from it for a little while even after that and got married.
I was working in our family business and my father started and doing well and finished my bachelor's degree and business administration. And then a little church and a dear friend of mine asked me to help out with music there in my hometown. And I did. And that sort of led the way into going back into what I had originally intended to do and what Lord intended for me to do. And so I served a series of churches.
I did earn my Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Center, a seminary over a series of years. I did it the hard way while serving churches full time. And then in 2000, the Lord laid on my heart to transition from being a minister of music and senior adult to being a senior pastor. And so I let the church that we were members of together know that that's what the Lord was leading me to do.
And they responded very well to that. It was about six months before the Lord opened up a door in Little Rock, Arkansas, for me to pastor a church. And the church that we were together in was just so supportive. The pastor and the staff and membership, they just loved on my family. And then I was called in early 2001 to move to Arkansas, where I pastored two different churches in the Little Rock metropolitan area and really kind of cut my teeth, if you will, as a pastor. And then after that time there, I came back closer to my family.
My parents were aging and it was practical. And the Lord opened up a wonderful church in Hartford, Alabama. And I pastored there for five and a half years. And then I moved and I've been at my present church here at First Baptist Bristol, Florida, for a little over seven years as a senior pastor.
And the Lord, through the trials, we've had several trials, not with church folks, but with just natural stuff. One being Hurricane Michael, which basically destroyed our area. And I had to lead our church through many of our people were homeless after the storm. I lead our church through that crisis. And then on the heels of that, a year or so later, the greatest catastrophe that hit the modern church and the COVID-19 pandemic. And we were hit pretty hard in our local area. We had some situations where a lot of people got sick.
We had some people pass away from the COVID-19 virus. And if you had told me before that happened that you would go months without meeting together in person as a church, I would have laughed you out of the room. I mean, I've been a Southern Baptist a long time.
That's not something we would ever consider doing, but we did. And so, you know, there's been there's challenges, but it's been rewarding. And I love being a Southern Baptist pastor. When I became a pastor, I began attending Southern Baptist Convention.
My first one was in 2001 in New Orleans. And I've been to the last 23, I believe, 22 or 23 Southern Baptist Conventions all over our great country, kind of culminating this year in Anaheim. I'm married. You sound like an old man there. I just want to interrupt you when you talk about how many years. Yeah, you better not stop without talking about your beautiful wife, Jennifer.
Go ahead. I've been married to the beautiful Jennifer Tomerlin-Bastford for 30 years last May 23rd. We have a beautiful family.
We have two grown children and two, one in high school and one in middle school. So we have two separate families. And I have the love of my life, my five-year-old granddaughter. I did not know that you could love a human being quite the way that I love her. She is just, she is a papa's girl. She loves her papa and her mimi. And we just, we are enjoying this time with a five-year-old granddaughter. We're hoping that our other grown, grown son will eventually find somebody and give us more grandchildren because I don't know how it could get any better, but it has to.
The more, the better I would think. I love my family, committed to my family. They're a blessing from the Lord. Well, and I've known all your kids and your family.
You've got such a wonderful family and y'all are tight knit and love each other. And God's blessed you with a great church that loves you. Folks, we're talking to Pastor Matt Bastford.
He's the pastor of First Baptist Crystal in Florida. And we're going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back, we're going to talk a little bit about what happened at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Anaheim just a couple of weeks ago.
Stick around and be right back. This show is brought to you by Generous Joe's, the coffee company with the Christian perspective. This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for, a coffee company that gives back to causes you care about.
Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus and see the Bible come to life. This December, join nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes, on a life-changing trip to Israel. It's one of the world's oldest and most fascinating travel destinations, luring the faithful from all over the world for thousands of years. Visit Jerusalem's religious quarters and explore Christianity's most treasured religious sites like the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Via Dolorosa. Walk with Chris through the winding alleyways of Nazareth's old city and visit ancient Bethlehem, the place of our Savior's birth. Float in the Dead Sea, visit the Sea of Galilee and the Jewish fortress of Masada. See firsthand where the events of the Bible took place, touring Israel with Dr. Chris Hughes is a travel odyssey like no other.
Visit citizensforamericafoundation.com and get ready for an unforgettable trip and memories that will last a lifetime. Do you desire to build family relationships that stand the test of time? Does creating a godly family seem like a daunting challenge?
You're not alone. I'm Connie Albers, author of Parenting Beyond the Rules and host of Equipped to Be. As a mother of five, I understand your struggles. For 35 years, I have been helping families just like yours build lasting relationships.
I'd like to invite you to tune in to Equipped to Be and visit ConnieAlbers.com where I share useful tips and proven strategies to help you navigate the seasons of motherhood, faith and life with confidence and joy. History was made on today's date. Stay tuned for an American Minute with Bill Federer. The Constitutional Convention was in a heated deadlock over how both large and small states could be represented equally. Some delegates gave up hope. Then on this day, June 28, 1787, the 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin spoke. And shortly after, the U.S. Constitution became a reality. As recorded by James Madison, Franklin stated, In the contest with Great Britain we had daily prayer in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard and graciously answered. And now have we forgotten that powerful friend or do we imagine we no longer need his assistance? This has been an American Minute with Bill Federer.
For a free transcript, call American Minute at 1-888-USA-WORD. Welcome back to Christian Perspective. I'm Chris Hughes. My guest today is Pastor Matt Bassford. Pastor Matt is the pastor of First Baptist in Bristol, Florida. Pastor, I want to pick on you just for a minute. I think you said her name was Ms. Pittman when you were talking about growing up as a little boy in Sunday school and she would give you whoopings in church.
That probably scares people to death today, but that's where we grew up, you know, in northwest Florida. You did something wrong. You got us spanking at school. You got us spanking in Sunday school. And I don't know about you, Matt, but if I got us spanking at school or Sunday school, I really dreaded going home because then my mom would get ahold of me.
And then when daddy got home, I got it again. We got worn out in those days. Chris, I'll tell you what, it was one of the defining marks of my childhood was that my family and church family, they really followed the Lord's teaching about spare the rod and spoil the child. And we weren't abused. We weren't beaten. I said a whooping and that's got a connotation.
You could say a spanking, a pretty good spanking. But Ms. Pittman, she was, she was something that she was a hard woman. And when I didn't, something wasn't going my way, I would actually could turn on my vomiting just as a kind of like a three or four year old kid. And I was going to try to pull that on her and throw up on her. And she said, you throw up on me, your butt is going to be hurting. Oh, that's funny. I know that church where you said we were members together was thinking about the church in Fort Walton beach, Florida. Um, I'm sorry, I'm going down memory lane instead of what we're supposed to be talking about. But I remember one, one Sunday night we were sitting, uh, were you looking to, if you look at the stage, we're to the left and both of my kids were misbehaving and they were little and I warned him, I warned him, I warned him. Finally, I snatched him up. And I don't know if you were there that night.
I carried him out back and, uh, to the bathroom out back and my daughter screaming the whole time. Don't spank me, Danny. Don't spank me. Those days are kind of long gone in churches today.
People don't spank anymore, but I also wanted to comment. You said, um, how you went to camp and, and, uh, and God just, um, put a burden on your heart to, to go into full-time Christian ministry and, and those of you who are listening, I just want to encourage you, uh, if you can at some point during your children or grandchildren's life, at least one summer, you should try to let them go to Christian camp. They, they can be a life changing experience. I mean, don't, don't go to just some, any old camp. You need to be a Bible believing Bible preaching camp. And that's one thing pastor Matt, the Florida Baptist convention and where I live, North Carolina Baptist convention. I've done a great job of providing a biblical Christian camps for kids to attend over the summer. And so many kids get saved at camp, but also, um, many, many make a decision to go in full-time Christian ministry and it happens at camps. So, uh, thank you for your testimony about camp and how, how God used you there. I'll tell you one more quick fact before we get into, I actually met my wife at that camp. Um, uh, we started dating after that and I actually, after I was a pastor many years later, was invited back to be the camp pastor at that same Florida Baptist camp. That's pretty neat. Yes, sir.
Yes, sir. I got blessed in many ways. Well, I know y'all recently went to Anaheim and, and, um, so I might have you give, I'll give a little bit of background, but maybe you can give a more for those of you who may not be Southern Baptist or maybe you're Southern Baptist and you don't know what it means. Um, Southern Baptist churches are not like, uh, and this is not a criticism of the Catholic church, but the Catholic church and even the Methodist church serve under a hierarchy of leadership and a Southern Baptist churches don't serve under any other organization. Every Southern Baptist church is what they call independent and autonomous, meaning that the, the governance of the church, hopefully within the guidelines of God's word, it was within that local congregation. Um, other organizations send the missionaries around the world and, and our independent Baptist brothers and sisters, I have a great missionary network, but one thing that distinguishes them, uh, pastor Matt from us is that their missionaries have to come back and ask for money on a regular basis. But, um, what Southern Baptist did, and this is really a, one of the main distinctions between Southern Baptist and other denominations, if you will, is Southern Baptist come together under something that's called the cooperative program, meaning we give a portion of our ties that come to Southern Baptist churches to the Southern Baptist convention that has a multitude of organizations within them. But the two biggest being what's called the North American mission board, which plants or starts new churches and sends missionaries across North America and the, uh, international mission board. I am B is what we call it in house in the Southern Baptist convention where we send missionaries and they're basically employees of the Southern Baptist convention, and they don't have to go off the mission field to ask for money, uh, all the time. Like some other missionaries have to do.
They are, they're funded through this cooperative giving called the cooperative program. The two main offerings are the Annie Armstrong offering. If you've heard of that in your church and the Lottie moon offering. So is that kind of a good summary, pastor madam of what's how Southern Baptist differ, uh, and how they come together?
I'd like to add a little bit to that. Uh, you can get, give, gave a great thumbnail, uh, sketch of what it is and you are absolutely right. Um, the Southern Baptist convention, and I describe it as an upside down triangle, say the Catholic church, the Presbyterian church, the United Methodist church, uh, all a lot of mainline denominations is like a right side up, uh, where the power is at the top with very few people, uh, that's at the national office. And it goes down like a pyramid to a larger number of churches at the bottom. And it's a power down. We are actually an inverted pyramid as Southern Baptist, where the power is where all the people, all the churches that the central office of Southern Baptist convention is not in Nashville, Tennessee.
It's in Peoria, Illinois, and, uh, uh, Houston, Texas and, uh, San Diego, California and Bristol, Florida. We are the home office of the Southern Baptist convention, the local churches. And they told us that this would never work. Uh, when Southern Baptist formed in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, they said, you can't operate a denomination like that there.
Uh, everybody will go their own way and it'll never work. Well, the Lord blessed that. And then in 1925, several visionary leaders, uh, decided that under the, I think under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to begin what you call the cooperative program. And it's really, it's really threefold. One fold is like you said, uh, each church is kind of like a tithe of the church to mission work.
It's not exactly because it's not a set number for you to be in good standing with the convention. Each church is autonomous and decide what percentage of their normal gifts they give to send to the cooperative program. And that by far is the biggest funding mechanism of the Southern Baptist convention and our missionary effort, the cooperative program.
It is, there's actually a book and I would recommend your readers. I don't even know if they can find it that it's even in print anymore, but Dr. Chuck Kelly, who was a long time, uh, president of new Orleans Baptist seminary wrote a book called one sacred effort that outlines the history behind how the cooperative program came, came about in the Southern Baptist convention. And then to augment that you do have the anti Armstrong Easter offering and the Lottie moon Christmas offering, which 100% of that money goes directly to missionaries in the field.
None of it is administrative costs. It is penny for penny, dollar for dollar that those two offerings, uh, also bolster missionaries around the world. We have something like 3,800 international missionaries, and I'm not sure how many, uh, North American missionaries we have. I think more than that, I need to get that book. I had not heard of that book. One sacred effort. You said that's by Dr. Chuck Kelly, right?
Yes, sir. It's a great book. It lines out of how the Southern Baptist convention started its mission work. As you said, east churches is independent, but they come together to meet usually once a year. I think during the pandemic, I think they didn't meet one time, but usually they meet every year where they come together and, and they meet different places around the country and, and people can represent, um, well, represent is not really a good word, I guess, but each church has a right to send what's called messengers. And what I didn't realize until just this year, even though I've been a messenger for nowhere near as many times as you passed from that, but I always thought you kind of represented the viewpoints of your church.
You know, you're kind of like being elected to the legislature, you know, your shirt sent you and you voted, and that's not how it is. You're supposed to vote, how the Holy Spirit moves within your own conscious, but, um, churches send what's called messengers. And the most that any church can send is 12 messengers.
This also, uh, was news to me that a lot of churches don't understand. A lot of people don't send messengers because they think, well, you know, we're just a small country church. The best from that is, you know, most of our churches in the Southern Baptist convention have less than less than 200 members. And I think, I think it's more than 60% of the pastors or what they call bivocational, meaning, you know, their church can't pay them enough on their own. So they work another job, but a lot of those small churches don't always send messengers because they think, well, we can't, uh, you know, have a say in the, in the business dealings of the Southern Baptist convention because, uh, you know, mega churches are going to control it. But the beauty of the way this was designed is a church that literally has 20 people can have 12 messengers on the formula they've got set up. So a church of 15 to 20 people can have the exact same voting strength as a mega church, uh, when they go to the Southern Baptist convention. Did you know about that?
Oh, of course I did. The Baptist polity that's, that's the pick and it's based off of something that was, was, has always been a part of Southern Baptist life, but it was clarified in 1988 with resolution number five of 1988 Southern Baptist convention on the priesthood of the believer in that. That's why you're not a, you're not a representative of your church because we believe a Southern Baptist and many other Christian denominations to believe that each individual is a priest, each Bible believing, uh, spirit and Christ saved Christian is, is a priest and, uh, has that agency to be able to hear from the Holy Spirit and, and vote their conscience.
So yes, and, and it does, uh, you know, the, the formula is based on how much your church has given to cooperative program efforts as how many messengers you have. I've, I've never been a bivocational pastor. Uh, I've been very fortunate in my career to always be fully supported by the churches that I've served. But I know many Southern Baptist pastors who are, and I, they're my heroes, man. You know, they're just faithful in a small church where they're at and they do their best every week and they have to split their time between the responsibilities of the church because there is no such thing as a part-time pastor.
Yeah. It's a full-time job because there's always a funeral or someone sick or a wedding and, and, and just serving preparation alone if you do it right. Uh, is, I mean, I think a lot of people don't think about the time when many people are scared of public speaking and you might not ever give one speech in their entire life. And a pastor has got to prepare, you know, if you're an old school Baptist church, you know, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and it's gotta be fresh material all the time.
And that takes a lot of study and preparation, uh, if you do it right. Well, this year, the, the, uh, annual meeting pastor Matt was in Anaheim, California, which was a little bit controversial because people think Southern Baptist, you know, weren't you in the South. So we got to take a commercial break and come back. I want to talk about how did you enjoy Anaheim and, and, uh, what were some of the issues that you dealt with going out to California.
So folks stick around and be right back. The United States of America has a strong Christian heritage, but most Americans don't know the truly important role that God in the Bible played in the founding of this great nation. This June joined nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the citizens for America foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes for four amazing days in our nation's capital with Chris you'll embark on a journey of discovering the hidden secrets of Washington, DC and rediscover much of America's forgotten Christian heritage. Your tour will include an up close and personal look at the nation's establishment and how it's evolved over the centuries. Learn about the government and the men who helped forge this new kind of Republic.
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I'm Chris Hughes. My guest today is Pastor Matt Bassford and we were talking about the Southern Baptist convention annual meeting that just a couple of weeks ago was held in Anaheim, California. Pastor Matt, I kind of chuckled as people were talking about it's going to be in California and not going to have a good turnout but I think there were more than 9,000 people I believe were close to that that turned out just as messengers not counting others. Did you ever hear a final count of how many people showed up? Well the only thing that really count as the messengers but they can get a pretty accurate estimate and I think there was about 12 to 13,000 people who made the trek to Southern California. Wow that's incredible considering how far away it is because in the past you know the Southern Baptist convention was thought of as you know just in the south but really that's not the case.
The denomination of the churches have grown across the country and across the world. I think your wife Jennifer got to go with you. Did y'all have a good time out there?
Over the 20 years how did this one compare to the other conventions you've attended? Well typically speaking she does not go with me to conventions it's not her that's not her wheelhouse but because it was in there Southern California and we decided to kind of extend it a couple days and make it kind of a vacation for she and I after the fact she did go with me. You know I enjoyed it being out there honestly you know being from Florida it's a long way to California but most of the time when I go to a convention unless it's you know within six or seven hours of driving distance like New Orleans will be next week next year I will drive to it but typically speaking you get on an airplane and if you get on an airplane you can go to Indianapolis or Baltimore or St. Louis or California it's not much difference to traveling the big difference is is how expensive everything is in California. Yeah that shocked me I mean as you know I like to eat I'm a fat boy and boy food was expensive out there and you know the time difference about the time I don't know about you and Jennifer but about the time I got used to the time difference it was time to come home and for me it was through a three hour time difference so. Me too and honestly we came back got back late Friday night and Saturday I preached Sunday and we started Vacation Bible School Monday and I am dragging Chris.
I bet you are worn out. I know it has nothing to do with that well yeah I know I assume you and Jennifer got to do some fun things while you're there I got a kick out of seeing people post pictures of the beach and then I think about where you're from the panhandle of Florida has got the most beautiful beaches in the world but people a lot of people are excited to go see the Pacific Ocean while they were out there. We've been to California before and seen the Pacific Ocean we did we got in Saturday evening drove up to Newport Beach and up the Pacific Coast Highway up to Santa Barbara and it's a different beach for sure than here in the home of the world's most beautiful beaches here in the panhandle of Florida but then after the convention was over on Thursday we took a long day and drove up Sequoia National Park and saw those amazing creation of the Lord of those Sequoia trees and those mountains.
Your tonsils get sunburned. I saw pictures of you I bet you could come up with some pretty good sermons on those trees if you wanted to you might think about that. I know you shared about being a pastor and how God led you what's your background in Southern Baptist Convention life? My background you know again as I shared earlier I've been a messenger to the last at least 20 Southern Baptist Conventions I voted on a lot of different things now there's the theoretical as we talked about with no church can dominate the vote of the Southern Baptist Convention but there's also the practical aspect of the Southern Baptist Convention when you get 10,000 people in a room there's just not enough time to debate things the way you would in a normal church business meeting there's not I mean it would be impractical to impossible to have a full-on debate so a lot of things are decided before they get there by leadership it's just and you almost have to trust the leadership to bring the things whether it be the committee on committees whether it be the resolution committee the sexual abuse task force committee typically speaking in Southern Baptist life that's what what they bring to the floor is going to pass I've actually never seen in 20 years a recommendation from a committee of the Southern Baptist Convention fail on the floor well so we sort of did we sort of did with the credentials committee and Saddleback Church issue and I'm sure you're going to talk about that in a few moments we they withdrew their motion that they made on the floor because of significant opposition to it yeah we'll we're going to jump into that because a lot of people probably don't know what we're talking about so we'll talk about that in a second but kind of leading up to that pastor Matt you've seen a lot I did not realize that that it pretty much always passed but I guess that makes sense because a lot of people I kind of got to see the convention from a different side this point this year of the inner workings that going go on and you're right I mean you don't just show up and have you know 12 to 20,000 people depending on where you are what year and it not be very organized and there are committees that meet all throughout the year and really at the most you might have two full days of business and really it's really maybe just one and a half because pretty much after the presidential elections a lot of people start checking out you know and not participating as much but there are resolutions and there's business that is presented at these meetings in the last two years it seems like it's gotten a little more heated you were at Nashville last year have you ever seen any two conventions kind of like what happened at Nashville and Anaheim and maybe talk a little bit about the politics of what's going on I have not seen anything like Nashville last year with just 15,000 plus messengers not counting you know the guests there's 20,000 people in the hall that holds about 12,000 comfortably and honestly the battles weren't fought that much at this convention the battles were fought last year in Nashville and we're gonna talk about those I'm sure as we go on in the program but the level of and I don't want to say vitriol Chris in the politics of the Southern Baptist Convention but it has definitely ramped up and I think there's some reasons for that and I have my opinions but you know how opinions are but it is definitely not the same as it used to be the closest I ever saw was in 2000 in Orlando and I got to view the inner workings of it myself in that year because I was actually doing a doctoral seminar that was based around the Southern Baptist Convention and so I attended every meeting every committee meeting plenary session of the of the executive committee as part of that class we were invited it was about 20 of us that was doing that doctoral class and and that was the year Bryant Wright was elected and he was a somebody nobody knew it was the Great Commission resurgence was was what was really on the agenda and it it got contentious then but I haven't seen any that that can come close to what we've seen the last two years Chris and the politics anytime you get that many Baptists you get a thousand Baptists you got 1200 opinions and out of that there are going to be political things that that come about you know life is politics getting saved is political you know it depends on who you know right that's pretty good it does you mentioned the sexual abuse tax task force report so a lot of our listeners may not know what you're talking about and that kind of really geared up in Nashville and then came to ahead if you will in Anaheim this year can you explain what the sexual abuse task force report is what brought it about and then talk about their two recommendations they made in Anaheim this year yes sir after the after the well starting about 10 years ago out of the woodwork if you want to call it that and but they were there were some who had grown up in Southern Baptist life who had been in Southern Baptist churches who began to make claims and I think credible claims that they were abused by ministers sexually abused by ministers in Southern Baptist churches it is something that has gone on throughout the life of any denomination including Southern Baptists that there are some deviants out there that use their position that the they say the Lord's put them in I'm not sure Lord's ever put somebody in a position to be able to sexually abuse somebody but the power if you will the influence the there's a lot of different ways to put it but they used that sacred position that the Lord put them in for their own selfish gains to sexually abuse some children some adults some teenagers and so it was a problem and how big a problem is debatable how big you know if you look at the numbers is it an epidemic in Southern Baptist churches I don't think that it is I don't think that it's anywhere close to an epidemic and we we both saw our brother from Tennessee and I can't remember his name and I wish I could who who really broke down the numbers of 28 million Southern Baptists in the span that they were investigating and we're looking at a relatively few cases of that so they came out of they came out they were they were led out by some of the younger leaders and in the convention who stood by them put their arm around them and and I'd like to pause just a minute and say I know of no Southern Baptist is in favor of sexual abuse in our churches now some the ones that were doing it were obviously in favor of abuse because they perpetrated it on their victims but no right thinking no good church member good church leader is in favor of sexual abuse within church and I hate that sometimes it's couch that if you don't fall completely into line with the narrative of that it's an epidemic in Southern Baptist life that you're put into the camp that you're just wanting to hide it well that's not the case at all Chris in fact it's the opposite I think we need to rightly state what the problem is and not use hyperbole as some have tried to do and I don't want to question their motives I don't know what their motives are but some have have turned it into hyperbole and turned it into a crisis that just hasn't existed I think they have made it more and I tell you part of what scares me about that Pastor Matt is some of the people on the other side and again we cannot belittle sexual abuse it is something that is taking place but part of the way that it's been framed I think is to make it almost like the Catholic Church in that I don't think all churches can be thrown together as a bundle because we're not one entity like the Catholic Church or the United Methodist Church each of our churches are independent and autonomous and and I know some of the concern has been well you know the way that some of this report may may be presented or may be taken by courts is that if one one pastor like you know if one pastor in one state does something then then could your church in Bristol Florida you know be held liable for the actions of a pastor somewhere else so it's really a scary thing of what's going on it's scary to think that men of God you know and and women too would be involved in such a terrible travesty of sexual abuse and I think it was shocking so just what was it maybe May when the report was issued Pastor Matt when a lot of people were named pardon May 20 so there were over I think there were over 400 people I think were named in it if I remember correctly and some of them were some pretty high profile names that shocked people when it came out and yes well that's one in particular that we're not going to mention but that really shocked people and I think that I think that part of that whether you know it was a broad sweeping investigation it it investigated from 2000 to 2021 so we're looking at a 21 year span that they were charged to investigate out of that there were about 600 names many of them were generated by the investigation by the Houston Chronicle in 2017 and and I think they the guidepost solutions piggybacked off of that list that was published by the Houston Chronicle and it that is a broad span of years to look at again one case of sexual abuse in the church is too many but we all know that there's a sinful nature in human beings that there is that is going to happen no matter what denomination you're in and I think the the fears of some that my church could be sued for something someone did in Tennessee or or Arkansas or Texas I think that's a little miss found because that's not the way our legal system works and I think there is a shield for the local church based on our polity of local church autonomy autonomy what I don't think the shield is is I think that there were some members of the executive committee and the staff of the executive committee who who tried to I think I think in their hearts they were trying to protect the convention and protect the work of our missionaries around the world but I think they did it the wrong way I think they they covered up things that they really should have just been far more transparent about and I think that was a lot of what the sexual abuse task force was all about was more transparency but I think they went a little too far because they left the impression that there's pastors who will get in trouble in one with sexual abuse in one church and travel to another church and and and they won't know about it and this that and the other when I think that the numbers are so small that that's that's not something that's just happening every single day every single every single week every single year within our convention but I think that's the way it was framed Chris and I think that's one of the problems coming out of the sexual abuse task force yeah I agree let's take a quick commercial break if you don't mind and we'll come back I want to jump into patients of what the task force made and then if we have time we'll cover that battle back issue so stick around be right back a brand is a design name symbol or any other feature that sets an organization or individual apart bringing that brand to life can be difficult but digs design is 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coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about do you desire to build family relationships that stand the test of time does creating a godly family seem like a daunting challenge you're not alone i'm connie yaupers author of parenting beyond the rules and host of equipped to be as a mother of five i understand your struggles for 35 years i have been helping families just like yours build lasting relationships i'd like to invite you to tune in to equipped to be and visit connieaupers.com where i share useful tips and proven strategies to help you navigate the seasons of motherhood faith and life with confidence and joy the united states of america has a strong christian heritage but most americans don't know the truly important role that god in the bible played in the founding of this great nation this jew joined nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the citizens for america foundation dr chris hughes for four amazing days in our nation's capital with chris you'll embark on a journey of discovering the hidden secrets of washington dc and rediscover much of america's forgotten christian heritage your tour will include an up close and personal look at the nation's establishment and how it's evolved over the centuries learn about the government and the men who helped forge this new kind of republic one that acknowledged the creator from its very inception know the truth about the creation of the united states of america about the faith of the founding fathers and how christian principles were used to establish this form of government visit citizens for america foundation.com today and secure your spot to join chris hughes in washington dc this june welcome back to christian perspective i'm chris hughes my guest today is pastor matt bassford i'm really grateful um i've just i've kind of been deep in thought with what he's been talking about because so much is going on within the southern babish convention and we're talking about the meeting that was held in anahim california a couple of weeks ago and pastor matt what were the recommendations because that really was one of the biggest issues that was going to be discussed was the recommendations of the sexual abuse task force what were their two recommendations and what happened with those recommendations okay well they made several guidelines but they were not official recommendations they were just sort of guidelines but the two official recommendations was was that the executive committee maintain a database of credibly accused it could be ministers it could just be volunteers within southern baptist churches as they find out about them to maintain a database that's maintained by the executive committee and by the way both of the recommendations were overwhelmingly approved by the messengers at the southern baptist convention and i'm reminded of a story and i know i'm getting off but i think it's this story is germane i preached my 99 year old grandfather's funeral standing in a graveyard outside a little country church that he was a member of for 60 years and i remember hearing the story they had a baptist business meeting one sunday night and they voted 23 to 22 in that business meeting to build a new church well my grandfather was against it he said we got our church is fine we don't need to build it but the church voted by one vote to do it and in the next morning he was out there laying out the foundation for the new church because even though he was against it it's what the church voted to do and i feel that was the same way on a broader perspective with the southern baptist convention i may not necessarily like the two recommendations that were made but our convention has spoken and i'm gonna i'm gonna support our convention but the first one was to maintain that database which i think in essence is okay i think the biggest problem was more toward the second part of the recommendation and the criteria for becoming on that list as being credibly accused well we have seen whether it be a supreme court justice whether it be a school teacher whether it be i'm not sure that's the standard for publicly naming someone on a on a database that we need to be using credible credible accusation because as you know we we live in a country that's due process and you're presumed innocent until proven guilty and that's not the that's not the standard for this database and if someone gets on this database it's going to destroy their life and it may just be off of of an accusation and so i think we need to be very careful with that yeah yeah that was something that um that really concerned me is you know i could accuse anybody of anything and i don't know the term credible accusation you know they didn't really define what that meant well that was a big issue that came up and and we don't have a whole lot of time left but i do want to cover so but you did point out that the recommendations did pass overwhelmingly and um and and it should be noted that the southern madness convention does take the issue of social abuse seriously and and as they should i don't think anybody was trying to to skirt around that issue it's a very difficult issue at this time before i get into the saddleback thing do you think there's another big concern right now within the convention is that there's couldn't be a drift to the left socially do you think that's going to be an issue in the coming years i think that there is a little bit of a drift to the left socially but i think it's being couched as being a drift to the left theologically and and that is that's just not accurate we do we do not have a a drift to the left uh theologically in the southern babish convention all of the candidates for president and i know that you the candidates you endorsed did not win but all of the candidates that were were up for the president of the southern babish convention are theologically conservative men i they they believe that the bible's the inspired inherent word of god they believe um that it is our base for what we should do as um both individual churches and southern babish convention and all of those men i count as brothers in christ um but but socially i think we do have a little drift to the left in the southern babish convention and you know we have a big tent there's a lot of different ways to look at politics there's a lot of different ways to look at um social issues and still be a good christian and i agree pastor man i don't think you know it's kind of like primaries and election process uh just because you vote for somebody or support somebody doesn't mean you necessarily don't like the other you just like that one better at the particular time and i've not heard any uh bad or certainly any ungodly things about any of the other men that ran and um and our new president i've only heard great things about bar barber who's going to be uh the president of our convention um so i think we're probably going to have to have you back another time to talk about that saddleback issue but um i know that you you spoken very highly about our new president can you just you know like in a minute or so let our folks know who our new president is if you know any information about him and let him know that the good choice that he is well bar barber is is a good man i don't know him personally um he is actually typically speaking the president of southern badger's convention is either has been in the past either a pastor of a mega church or a leader of one of our institutions like a seminary for practical matters because it is expensive for personally expensive for a president of the convention to be president for two years there's travel that's not covered by the convention and most of the time the mega church pastors churches will help undergird that bar barber is not the pastor of a mega church he's the pastor of a mid-size it's not a small church but it's a mid-size under under a thousand people in his church in texas and i think that was something that was kind of attractive to a lot of messengers at the convention because many of them are at small to medium-sized churches and um he just he just there was a groundswell for somebody that wasn't the old establishment elite to lead the convention the next two years well i know that um everybody listen hopefully we join me in praying for for our new president praying for the convention because there's a lot going on we run out of time pastor matt and uh forgive the the snafus of my cold i'm having a hard time breathing today and talking but i'm glad you came on because i wanted to show people i mean i know i i talk a lot about this other madness convention i want us to say stay socially conservative and and and i'm praying that that's going to happen and and i'm looking forward to the opportunities we have in the coming year we've come off a good convention and looking forward to encouraging everybody to attend uh in new orleans next year so pastor matt thank you for being with us today i sure appreciate you thank you for having me it's a great honor to be on your show sir and i appreciate the work that you are doing both in this this podcast this radio uh broadcast and the work you do through all your foundation i'm proud to be your friend sir god bless your brother folks listen here on your favorite radio station each and every day this show will be released as a podcast later today uh if you want to share with your friends in the church some things that happened at anahive and said about this convention i think pastor matt gave us great overview so share it with your friends now let's go and talk the culture for jesus thank you for listening the christian perspective with chris hughes learn more about impacting the culture for jesus visit citizens for america foundation dot com this is the truth network
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-29 04:56:14 / 2023-03-29 05:18:21 / 22