Paul Pressler's Vain Attempt to Establish His Own Legacy

By David Flick
David Flick recently resigned under pressure from his position as Director of Missions of Grady Association.  Pressures arose after area pastors received anonymous letters making allegations that he holds ďuntenableĒ doctrinal beliefs.

Paul Presslerís autobiography, A Hill On Which To Die, has been sent to some 40,000 Southern Baptist pastors and leaders around the country.  Someone is spending some big bucks to help Pressler gain further notoriety.  I think Pressler is vainly attempting to establish his own his legacy. He sees himself as a savior of a denomination.

Throughout the book, braggadocios and self-glorifying language abounds as he attempts to build himself into a hero.  No stone is left unturned to delineate his close relationship with powerful people in high places both in denominational and secular political life.  There are few books in print where the author makes so many self-honoring and personal-glorifying statements about himself.

Much of the book is a feeble attempt to portray Southern Baptists as having been on a slippery slope toward utter liberalism prior to his taking the helm.  Pressler is the ultimate spin-meister of Southern Baptist Fundamentalism.  His understanding of traditional Southern Baptists is hopelessly skewed.  His idea that the Southern Baptist convention was on the slippery slope toward liberalism is a myth.  However, if a lie is told as truth long enough, multitudes of people will believe the myth to be true.

Pressler thinks that anyone who disagrees with himself, W. A. Criswell, Paige Patterson, along with a few others, is liberal beyond hope.  Consequently, the thrust of the book is to vilify anyone and everyone who disagreed with the Fundamentalist takeover movement.  Actually, those who disagree with Fundamentalist Southern Baptists are perceived to the very enemies of God himself, not to mention enemies of the denomination.

The method Pressler used to vilify the so-called liberals among Southern Baptists was to cast doubt in the reader's mind by demeaning and destroying the credibility of people who held views different from his own.  Pressler is particularly fond of vilifying a small number seminary professors and presidents.  The number of those whom he considered to be totally liberal was conspicuously small in the scheme of things. Nonetheless, this made no difference to him.

Anyone who knows Baptist theology will quickly recognize that the Judge pontificates in realms where he has neither training nor understanding.  He talks a great game to those who have little theological understanding.  His ability as a fundamentalist spin-meister is incredible.  His ability to pull the wool over gullible Southern Baptists is astonishing.  His ability to gather and motivate gullible people into action is beyond amazing.  Once he gathered his posse and joined with his lieutenants, it was down hill from there.  Pressler never considered dying on a hill.  His primary goal was to take the hill for his own and push everyone else off.

One statement in the book stands out as particularly arrogant and offensive to me.  In Chapter 17 "In the Thick of Battle" Pressler wrote, "These events were in God hands, and we realized that He would fight the battle His way and not ours." (p. 114)

What message is the Judge attempting to convey here?  For starters, the message is that Godís agenda is fighting denominational battles.  Another part of the message is that God uses his power to subdivide Baptists into pods of good and evil.  Of course, fighting battles requires that someone have enemies.  Since God fights battles to subdivide Baptists, the Fundamentalists think they are the good pod. Moderate Baptists, by default, are the evil pod.  Moderate Baptists become the enemies of God and of all Fundamentalist Baptists.  They are seen as being in league with Satan himself.  Hence, they must to be vilified, demonized, and excluded from fellowship and cooperation in Baptist life.  Fundamentalists, by their very nature, need enemies to function in life.

When the Judge credits God as being the instigator of the battle to takeover the SBC, he claims God perpetrated the divisions within our ranks.  How arrogant and vain can one man be?  How arrogant and vain can the Fundamentalist Southern Baptists be?

Apparently, Pressler does not understand the principles governing relationships among Christians.  Perhaps he ripped out the page in his Bible which contains the following admonition: ďAs a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called.Ē Eph. 4:1-4 [NKJV]

Bible believing Baptists recognize that Godís agenda is not to subdivide Baptists into good and bad groups.  God is a God of love, not hate.  He doesnít bless one group of Baptists while simultaneously hating another group.  The notion that any group of Baptists possesses an exclusive corner on Godís truth and blessings is absurd.  It is preposterous to credit God with a deceitful, mean-spirited activity which, in reality, was born in the heart of Pressler himself.  Yet Paul Pressler does just this in his book.  He presents himself as one smelling like rose.  In my opinion, with apologies to W. A. Criswell, the smell is more like that of a skunk.

 

 

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