This is exactly the problem. Restoration has to do with Mr. McLaurin's walk - not his position in the SBC or any other ministry goals. He has already decided and probably been advised that he just needs a "season" where he behaves like a good little boy, accountability, and he can have his toys back - restoration. No, no, a thousand times no. Mark Driscoll's season lasted about a year after being kicked out of Mars Hill and stealing $200,000 in tithe monies to game the NY Times Bestseller List. Ted Haggard was back in the saddle pretty soon after decades of sexual trysts with a male prostitute while doing crystal meth. Even the disgraced James MacDonald was welcomed back in his new ministry efforts even though his former church said he was disqualified. Now he has been arrested and charged with assaulting a 59-year-old woman because of a fender bender. His defense is he must have blacked out. Somehow, I am doubting his story. The larger point here is the hubris to include the sneaky motivation for McLaurin is "restoration." So, the president of the SBC lied prolifically on his resume and got busted for it. Suddenly he has a "come to Jesus" moment and apologizes and falls on the forgiveness sword but reveals he is only doing this so that he can eventually get back to work after this non-descript, "season." Ugh. This is modern churchianity at its worst. Do you think this hypocrisy is lost on the unsaved? It is not even moral, let alone biblical.
Of course, they are all saying we forgive you Willie but there is still one facet of this left unspoken of. The story says he lied on his most recent resume but also that he served the previous 15 years on the Tennessee Baptist Missions Board (TBMB) and then joined the SBC Executive Committee in 2020, almost four years ago. The questions that need answering is why it was only caught now? I must assume that his resume always had these lies otherwise fudging the new one would make little sense. So how did someone get on the TBMB, and stay for 15 years without a vetting of their credentials? How did someone get appointed to the SBC Executive Committee in 2020 without a similar credentials review? If this was the policy of the SBC and TBMB, maybe it is time they review all of their folks and see if we have anyone else who may need to come to Jesus, literally and figuratively. Bottom line is I hope that Willie McLaurin is truly repentant. Not for my sake but for his. I also hope the SBC does not follow through on restoring someone to a trust position that has already disqualified themselves from being trustworthy. The key verse comes from the pastoral qualifications from Paul to Timothy. Certainly, we could have just reiterated the lead qualification, which is the person must be above reproach, which Willie McLaurin no longer is and perhaps never should have been considered such. If the above questions get answered maybe, we will find someone else who built a very respectable ministerial record and career on deception and carnality and yes that should matter to us. One reason it should matter to us is the key verse. There is simply no way that outsiders would ever consider McLaurin to be well thought of. Maybe in a few decades but not after the purpose driven equivalent of a "season." He should stay active in his local church and follow the leadership of his pastor like any other sheep. His ministerial career however should be over. Time to get a real job like the other sheep do and work on his walk with God. That should be paramount and that is what the church should be seeking to restore.
Reverend Anthony Wade - August 21, 2023