Steve Gaines is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Steve Gaines is featured as a speaker at Southern Baptist events. Steve Gaines is the pastor of thousands of people at Bellevue Baptist Church. He matters, a lot.
That’s why Pulpit & Pen published a critical article about his statement on prayer today. He tweeted out the following:
This statement is plainly unsupportable by scripture. It’s just absurd. Ask your pastor (don’t tell him who said it) if it’s true. It’s not. It’s a ridiculous statement. That’s not a rare thing for tweets. Thousands of asinine, ridiculous things are tweeted every day by thousands of people. What makes this one different? Steve Gaines is the leader of the United States’ largest Protestant denomination. He influences thousands of Christians. He is (again) the pastor of thousands and he is making claims about what God will do that aren’t true. Do y’all get that? He’s telling things, to thousands of people, about God that are obviously untrue…and people put him in charge of the Southern Baptist Convention and a gigantic church in Memphis. Hundreds of pastors traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to vote to elect Steve Gaines Southern Baptist President this summer. He doesn’t even understand prayer…prayer. The irony of what he told the Louisiana Baptists Message during an interview about being SBC President is tragic:
“Prayer is the key to the Christian life. God blesses our lives and ministries in proportion to our prayers. While I do think most all Southern Baptists believe in the need for prayer, I am convinced that most Southern Baptists, as well as most Christians in general, do not pray as we should.”
If prayer is important, and it is, why do Southern Baptists have this man as President? And do you know what? The President before him, Ronnie Floyd, was, in my opinion, worse than Gaines. Steve Gaines teaches his interns in a document about “casting vision” that the Lord “spoke” to him and his wife through Judges 6 and John 20:31, respectively, about coming to Bellvue.
No God didn’t. Judges 6 is about Gideon in persecution in ancient Israel. It is not about Steve Gaines accepting a pastorate thousands of years later in Memphis. This man shouldn’t have interns. He shouldn’t have a pulpit. He shouldn’t have a presidency. He’s just making stuff up.
But he lives in the United States, a land where one can become President of the country, in part, by tweeting out just whatever comes to mind. Steve Gaines has gotten very far, way too far. It’s not “just a tweet” y’all. It’s a patently false statement whether its 140 characters or 1,400,000.
No one should show up to Bellevue Baptist Church Sunday to hear this man preach…but they will. None should re-elect him to be SBC President…but they probably will. Southern Baptists, our convention has a problem and you are right in the middle of it. Steve Gaines isn’t atypical of our leadership, he’s normative. It’s got to stop.
What are you going to do? I promise you that you should pray. But don’t stop there. Take the obvious step and remove Steve Gaines and those like him from all positions of influence and power. They don’t deserve to be there.
Let me cast a vision of my own: “When Steve Gaines tweets out false things about God, he doesn’t do so as the country’s most prominent Baptist.”
Listen, I get that this post isn’t “winsome” (Steve Gaines is winsome, how’s that working out for biblical truth?). I’m hoping that you, reader, will be the one in one hundred people who reads this, stops, thinks, considers the direction of the SBC, and tries to change it. What’s being done is not working (unless you are Steve Gaines’ banker). Baptisms are down, church rolls are shrinking, and people are still trying to “vision cast” like Steve Gaines and company. I’m hoping that you, reader, will be the one in a hundred people who decides not to go to your monstrous decisionist quasi-charismatic mega-church this Sunday and find somewhere where God’s word is truly, simply proclaimed. I’m hoping that you, reader, will tell your pastor that he doesn’t have to be like Steve Gaines or Ronnie Floyd to be successful. I hope that everybody will read John 3:16, the clear promise from God for those who believe, and stop looking for new, fake promises from God that simply haven’t been given to us.
How can you look for more promises from a God who has already sent his Son to pay in blood to make you an heir according to the promise given to Abraham? How can you sit for one more minute under the influence of Steve Gaines?
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church of which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
My husband and I were appalled that Steve Gaines was elected president of the SBC. We attended Bellevue for a short time a few years ago. Pastor Gaines uses Bible verses out of context, is an arrogant man, and promoted the book “The Circlemaker” from the pulpit. In the Bellevue bookstore on a display of his favorite books was “90 Minutes in Heaven”. One of his wife’s favorites was “A Thousand Gifts”. We attempted to address some of these issues but we were “dismissed”. It comes as no surprise that Gaines would tweet such an erroneous statement.