BP Needs Reform

No, we’re not talking about British Petroleum. It’s the other BP—Baptist Press. In an editorial for the Florida Baptist Witness, state paper editors Jim Smith, Marty King and Gary Ledbetter argue that the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention is biased. They write,

“Concern about Baptist Press has arisen among some Southern Baptists… over its perceived lopsided coverage of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force…

“The evidence of BP’s bias against GCR is so obvious as to not require an exhaustive listing of the facts. This should suffice: over just a three-day period, BP ran four opinion pieces by Chapman totaling more than 18,000 words opposing various aspects of the GCRTF report and offering his own alternative set of recommendations. Chapman used Baptist Press for this purpose even though the EC has a separate communications office which promotes the entity’s positions.”

To remedy this situation, the three authors intend to offer a motion at the SBC next week so that Baptist Press might become its own entity with its own board directly accountable to the SBC. This move would take BP out from under the control of the Executive Committee and its president. Here is how the motion reads:

That the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention study establishing Baptist Press as an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, with a board of directors elected by the Southern Baptist Convention and supported with currently allocated funds for Baptist Press within the Executive Committee budget.

This is a bold proposal and worthy of serious consideration by every Southern Baptist who has been disappointed by BP’s lopsided coverage of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report. Read the rest here.


  • Donald Johnson

    As far as I can tell, the current leaders of SBC are trying their best to set up a Magisterium, piece by piece, such that dissent is suppressed.

    This would shock historic Baptists.

  • mike

    there MUST be room for dissenting voices in SBC life. i haven’t really heard any SBC big wigs in favor of the GCRTF genuinely acknowledge dissenting voices and specific criticisms and questions. they usually rephrase the questions in good, straw man fashion before answering them.

  • Dan

    I like the idea. But what if the president/editor of the new entity has strong opinions about some particular issue? Wouldn’t we be back in the same situation again?

    Maybe the suggestion of doing away with BP altogether is a good one. That way we would have room for a variety of viewpoints in the form of state papers.

  • Brent Hobbs

    If Morris Chapman was continuing on as EC president, then then motion would be absolutely necessary.

    Without him being there, the problem MIGHT resolve itself. But there’s no question in my mind that BP now sees itself as a public relations rather than a news organization.

    To me the question is which of the two options will yield a better product for Baptist Press… still under EC oversight with new EC leadership, or a separate BP altogether? I can’t answer the question, but it is a good one to ask.

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