Concerning Pastor Les Puryear as an expected nominee to the SBC presidency

The fourth interview by SBC Today of one who has said he will allow himself to be nominated for the presidency of the SBC was with Pastor Les Puryear, who is familiar to some in the blogosphere. (The interview can be heard HERE.)

What impressed me most about this interview was that Puryear addressed the apparent lack of compassion demonstrated by the average churchgoer in regards to those without Christ. SBF readers will also be interested in the fact that Puryear self-identifies as a Calvinist.

Some concerns I had regarding statements made by Puryear:

  1. He seemed to take a rather maximal view in regards to the proper function of the Baptist Faith and Message; rather than taking a minimal view (i.e., that those hired by the leaders of Southern Baptist entities must hold to at least the doctrines taught in the BF&M, which is my view), Puryear seemed to be of the opinion that questioning a potential employee’s beliefs in any area beyond the BF&M is inappropriate.
  2. He seemed to view compatibilism as reserving the role of senior pastor for men, but his answer to this question did not seem to reflect the extent of 1 Timothy 2:12- that a woman not teach or exercise authority over a man in a church setting.
  3. Apparently Puryear has criticized public statements made by Pastor Johnny Hunt in regards to Calvinism. But in this interview, Puryear says that his problem with Hunt’s statements was that they were openly critical of other Southern Baptists’ soteriology. But the problem that we at SBF have in regards to Pastor Hunt’s statements is not that they were public, but that we believe them to be incorrect. I don’t think that a pastor, if concerned about a particular doctrinal stance of others within the Convention, should be encouraged to sweep such a concern under the rug; in fact, he has the responsibility to voice such a concern, then others can respond and hopefully everyone involved can come to greater understanding. This, for me, is a case of “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll die for your right to say it.”
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2 Comments on “Concerning Pastor Les Puryear as an expected nominee to the SBC presidency”

  1. Chris Says:

    Some additional concerns I have include his attempt to distance himself from the comments on that blog a year or two ago about being somewhere between Baptist and Presbyterian. As a former Presbyterian who just recently came to Baptist convictions and someone who has grappled with these issues for years, I can appreciate feeling that way. But IMO his BP interview just made things worse. He couldn’t have served up a bigger softball to the Caners and those of their persuasion with his statement that he was more in agreement with Presbyterians on some things. (Why couldn’t he have said that he was in agreement with those who founded the SBC?) What I found especially troubling, especially with his comments about having studied the issue, is his suggestion that Presbyterians believe in regenerate church membership. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth since the Presbyterian system is predicated on infant church membership and they often ridicule the very idea of regenerate church membership.

  2. Darrin Says:

    “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll die for your right to say it.” Though I expect we would die only for the opportunity for truth to be spoken, not for liberty in general. The accompanying opportunity for error to be propagated is a negative side effect due to the human condition.


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