A member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) top administrative body apologized for an “inappropriate” tweet after criticism of it and another post swirled this week.
Guy Fredrick, an SBC Executive Committee member from the Minnesota-Wisconsin region, on Thursday acknowledged a tweet was “demeaning and inappropriate for one bearing the name of Christ.”
“I have sought the Lord, praying for forgiveness and repentance,” he continued. “Further, my response too was ungodly, and I ask forgiveness in accordance with biblical practice.”
“I am not the man portrayed in the tweet stream,” he added.
Fredrick is a pastor in Wisconsin and associational mission strategist with the Bay Lakes Baptist Association. He wrote he had shared the situation with his church. He declined further comment when The Roys Report (TRR) reached out.
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He didn’t specify the offensive tweet in his apology. But advocates for reform within the SBC had called him out over a recent one about whether a public figure was sexually desirable. He also faced criticism over a year-and-a-half-old Facebook post equating workplace sexual coercion with workplace vaccination policies.
Fredrick had initially responded on Wednesday by saying a Twitter account calling him out habitually tried to “destroy people you do not like.” He also asserted his posts were taken out of context and said he was “a man from a different generation” who still understands “the concept of humor.”
But other Executive Committee members, and SBC pastors who said they were around Fredrick’s age, disagreed.
“There is never a proper context to objectify another person,” Executive Committee Chairman Jared Wellman wrote on Twitter.
An SBC pastor in Jacksonville, Florida, said the “different generation” reasoning was “garbage.”
We are about the same age so let me say that is garbage. You should be ashamed and you should be either disciplined by your church and/or removed from ministry. The fact that you push back means I’d fire you.
— Troy Dixon (@dixontroy) February 2, 2023
At least two other SBC pastors called on Fredrick to step down from the Executive Committee, too.
Pastor and Southern Seminary professor David Prince said Fredrick’s comments were “sexually crude” and “wicked.” Matt Crawford, a Tennessee pastor, agreed, adding Fredrick’s behavior was “unbecoming of anyone in ministry.”
David is right. It is time for Guy Fredrick to resign from the @SBCExecComm. His public behavior is unbecoming of anyone in ministry. https://t.co/QZvTkovIkT
— Matt Crawford (@matcrawford) February 2, 2023
On Thursday before Fredrick’s apology statement, Mike Keahbone said the Executive Committee was aware of Fredrick’s posts and was “walking through the Biblical process of confronting a brother.” Keahbone had personally asked Fredrick to remove the posts, he said.
Keahbone is an Executive Committee member and vice chairman of the SBC’s Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force addressing sexual abuse issues. He noted that the SBC’s messengers, or delegates from SBC member churches, have to vote on removing Executive Committee members at the SBC annual meeting. But the Executive Committee could censure a member or reprimand an inappropriate action before then, he explained.
“There is no debate: the comments by our member were awful and will not be tolerated,” Keahbone wrote.
It’s unclear whether the Executive Committee will censure or reprimand Fredrick after his apology. TRR asked Keahbone but did not immediately hear back.
Executive Committee members are nominated for up to two four-year terms and voted in during the SBC’s annual meetings. Fredrick’s first term ends with the next annual meeting in June.
The Executive Committee administers the SBC’s business matters. Among other duties, it has the final say about whether a church is disfellowshipped, or kicked out of the SBC.
In 2020 and 2021, the Executive Committee disfellowshipped two churches with sex offenders as pastors; one church whose pastor had confessed to statutory rape; and two churches that affirmed homosexuality.
The Credentials Committee recommends churches for the Executive Committee to disfellowship. That committee is reportedly inquiring into at least two churches that have recently platformed former SBC president Johnny Hunt, who’s accused of sexual assault.
Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.
19 thoughts on “SBC Leader Apologizes After Criticism of ‘Inappropriate’ Posts”
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure … has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.
It’s easy, Guy. Repent & Resign.
Every time a read an article like this (basically every day anymore it seems), I really want to comment because I’m so floored and offended by fellow Christ followers who behave so very badly.
But then I really can find no words, yet the Spirit just groans within me.
So, yeah, this is basically a non-comment, but I guess I just want to be among the body who just has to say how much I hate this stuff.
Kathy Kiran, thank you for writing those words. I think you speak for many of us.
“I am not the man portrayed in the tweet stream”
That is factually, and biblically false. A pastor that claims this has not repented.
Agreed. It’s amazing how often Twitter reveals the true character of a person.
While I can’t say I haven’t had similar thoughts about attractive women over the last four decades (I doubt any straight male can), I do know I have never expressed such a crude opinion of a woman’s physical attractiveness in public, either online or even to a group of close friends in a private conversation, not as a Christian, and not even as an atheist.
It’s one thing to have unbidden thoughts, it’s another entirely to think it’s okay to say such things in public and then to actually pull the trigger and do it, no matter the “context.” Blaming “poor impulse control” is a common excuse, but it doesn’t work in contexts like this.
Kathy, yes….yours is actually not a non-comment at all. You’re hitting the nail on the head. Why is it that we see pastors, church members who, if asked, would likely report they are following Christ but then later we see situations like this? After observing others, including observing myself as well, I notice how easy it is pull away from the path a bit and how quickly there is evidence that I have. My theory is that we suspect that we can handle our enemy ok or, more likely, we forget that he’s even there at all AND is WAY smarter than us. So, before we know it we are harboring feelings of hate for someone, making a comment we shouldn’t make, and we’ve moving headlong onto the wrong path…and it’s soooo easy to do. But, ask some Christians if getting off the path is so horrible and you might here, “It’s not so bad, it’s just a small situation.” At that point, our enemy is already in the driver’s seat. Guard yourselves, Christians. Be very leery of social media, television, etc and how it seems to grab you. It sounds a bit paranoid, I understand…but your enemy is everywhere…and he already has one big advantage…our hearts, mine especially, are just itching to be wicked.
While I would agree that life is tempting, as the scriptures say, I have a simpler explanation: this Guy is a malignant narcissist who slipped and let the real image slip through. A jerk who would not know the real Jesus from a demon he stumbled across. A snake as Jesus and John the Baptist referred to them. There are a bunch of them and they are looking for positions with money and power. No surprise that you find them in such positions. A good reason to not ever create any big organizations and then slap a word “Christian” on them which in reality they are anything but…
“…I have a simpler explanation: this Guy is a malignant narcissist…”
Or, he could be a sinner no better or worse than you and me at our very worst, and just as much in need of a savior.
There’s a lot of talk these days about personality disorders being at the root of all kinds of misconduct among church leaders (and other public figures), and I have no doubt that these conditions, which exist, can play a roll. But to offer this as the default explanation every time a leader misbehaves or abuses power or otherwise causes a scandal does two problematic things: 1) it dehumanizes the bad actor by removing their agency, and 2) it implies (perhaps unintentionally) that you and I and other normal people are incapable of similar misbehavior.
Of course, the standard for church leaders is supposed to be higher, and Fredrick’s conduct is objectively unbecoming to the point of disqualification. That’s the real problem Fredrick poses. He could solve this problem by resigning as the first step in a genuine path of repentance. Or, his church/denomination, if it was functioning properly, would do it for him.
As for large institutions with labels, I think I see the problems you indicate as regards scale. But humans are social beings and Christianity is a pretty big, messy, and diverse movement, so, sooner or later, large institutions (and labels) are inevitable, for better and worse. That’s just reality, this side of heaven.
So Ralph, how does what you have written intersect with: Gal 6:1 “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted”?
When 2 Timothy 4:2 just isn’t enough.
How any pastor could share a meme like the one mentioned and then hit “Send” is beyond my comprehension. What I wonder is that if this man is willing to publicly share memes like this what does he think/say in private conversation?
1 Timothy 3:7 (ESV): “…Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”
He’s just another typical evangelical hypocrite. He gets caught and throws out a few sentences full of sanctimonious language, and the cycle then repeats.
While not condoning the vulgar example in the vax meme at all, I understand and can sympathize with the sentiment. Forcing people to choose between taking an experimental shot or being fired is, in fact, coercion.
IMO Fredrick thought this would land differently. And I understand why, given how Christians have laughed, defended, cheered, retweeted and shared equally vulgar comments, posts and jokes about anyone and anything deemed liberal, leftist, or progressive (including AOC) in the last few years.
So I think his apology is rooted in shock that he’s actually being told this is not ok.
Unfortunately, it shouldn’t take a bad reaction from the crowd for a believer to know when something is wrong.
Yes, he may have been under the impression that evangelicals are now ok with “locker talk.” Some people can get away with anything, others can’t.
IF GOD FOGIVES HIM-WHY SHOULD WE NOT FOGIVE HIM?
…well, we can and should forgive him. that does not translate to not holding him accountable. i see this all the time in the form of…”let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” i saw the same thing in commentary when Ravi Zacharias got caught out. Many cited “all the good he had done” as a basis for “not casting stones.” etc. either accountability exists or it does not. if you think he should not be held accountable, say so. if you are referring to some other aspect of relationship unrelated to accountability, clarify it. Sadly, in my view none of this behavior will change until the worship center seats are empty. That door by which everyone entered swings the other way as well. Pew sitters….own yourself!!! Act!!!
“In the case of Fredrick, his views are on full display on both his Twitter account and Facebook page, which are full of anti-vaccine, anti-Democrat, anti-‘woke’ and white supremacist content.”
If the above quotation is indeed true – especially the information about “white supremacist content” – then further reporting on Mr. Fredrick’s patterns of public behavior seems warranted, especially since it seems to go well beyond “locker room talk.” Thank you.
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