David Platt gave us a glimpse into the Closed Door behaviors of some SBC leaders. Who was he talking about? He didn’t name names, but it is likely that NAMB President Kevin Ezell was one of the leaders he was referring to. More on that later.
3 Persons: Public, Closed Door, Secret
Pastor Clayton Cloer noted in a 2018 sermon that everyone has 3 persons inside them: public, private (closed door) and secret. Public persons do not always match their closed door person or their secret person. Often we are shocked when the discovery of secret sins comes to light in public ways. Look at the sad public disgraces over personal closed door behaviors with Bill Cosby, Enron, Michigan State, Wells Fargo, the Today Show with Matt Lauer, the Lance Armstrong doping case or Penn State.
Closed Door Damages and Hurts
Sadly and similarly, the Closed Door person and the Secret person inside of Christian leaders do not always match their public images and behaviors. For example, the closed door behaviors of a few Catholic priests caused enormous hurt/damage to persons, public grief and outrage, and disrepute to His church. But Catholics are not alone in these human struggles. In fact, Southern Baptists have lamented several of their own recent public failings: our SBC Executive Director, South Carolina Associate Executive Director, and several beloved SBC seminary professors. Local churches and communities are not immune either. But likely, these failures in their Closed Door and/or Secret lives are not limited to just these leaders.
It is imperative that we demand of our leaders that their Public, Closed Door and Secret lives match; in other words, integrity. This surely must apply to our SBC national entity leaders.
NAMB President and the PAR Principle
The NAMB President is widely visible and publicly known, but like everyone, has a public person, closed door person, and secret person. The question is: Which Kevin Ezell(s) do you know? Why does this matter? Because no one other than Kevin Ezell, as the President of NAMB, has been entrusted with such enormous power and money to do good or do evil before God and man. That’s why it matters. Only Kevin has been entrusted with providing leadership of the nation’s largest North American missions agency. Only Kevin has been entrusted with over $335 million in net assets, and with the task of assisting over 47,500 churches evangelize two nations. As such the PAR leadership principle is at work: Ezell has high Privilege, which demands high Accountability, to match his high Responsibility.
Dangers of Duplicity
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Prov. 11:3 Duplicity and pride not only bring destruction to the individual, but the consequences and casualty count includes other people far beyond the duplicitous person. At NAMB, several men likely have compromising regrets over what they have done in the names of protecting NAMB and Ezell: Ferrer, Christopherson, Davis, Ebert, Murphree and others. It stands to reason then that if the duplicitous person leads a national entity, individuals in the organization and the organization itself suffers. Most importantly, the name of Christ and His bride suffers. Like Nehemiah said of Hanani, leaders must be “men of integrity and fear God more than most people do.”
The Biblical Standard: Above Reproach
“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered, or a drunkard, or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” Titus 1:7-8
Paul instructed Timothy and Titus, along with the church at Philippi that a requirement for leadership is to be above reproach. That includes being “above reproach” in the Public person, the Closed Door person and Secret person. Then the question becomes, does the NAMB President meet these requirements for leadership? What if that closed door person, is given to public and secret threats (even to journalists), lies and deceptions, ignoring basic Biblical commands and entity governing documents, and doing so to damage and hurt other people in order to get what he wants? Paul has something to say about that (Eph. 5:11).
David Platt Told Us About Closed Door Behaviors
Let’s consider the last formal words of former IMB President David Platt and consider what he could have been communicating to us is denoted in (parentheses)
“I hate the politics of the SBC (I saw people behaving in disturbing and seriously wrong ways that bothered me). And I don’t say that as an outsider. I say that as an insider (I was there representing Southern Baptists and drawing my salary from SBC mission dollars) these last four years. Some of the lowest points in my leadership have been when I found myself participating in them (maybe I joined in the sin while I was there) — jockeying for position (envy and greedy for gain), continual self-promotion (selfish ambition), backroom deals (scheming behind Closed Door) followed by spin in the front room (planned deception), strategizing like brothers are your enemy (selfishly warring against fellow servants), feeling like others see you as their enemy (I lost credibility with people over our behaviors) … getting to the point where you wonder if you can trust anyone even as you start to wonder how trustworthy you’ve become (damaging our cooperative mission by reducing the essentials of trust, goodwill and the favor of God),” Platt said.
Unleashed Disorder and Evil Behaviors
James gave warnings to be heeded. 14”But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:14-16 In other words, James was saying that all manner of fleshly and demonic evil is released when there is envy and selfish ambition.
Alongside unnamed others, I have and continue to suffer real and significant damages at the hands of the NAMB President. He knows it, I know it and a few others know it. I sought first to gain Biblical restitution privately, then with a few, then publicly, and now by the civil courts because of the silence, denials, and deception of NAMB leaders. So I have investigated, listened to reports and documented in preparing for my legal case. For I, who Ezell who is reported to have referred as a “gnat” in a live video staff meeting, now face Goliath: the wealth of NAMB; the enormous legal firm of NAMB; the print and social media PR machinery of NAMB; the deception and cover-up of NAMB leaders and others; ongoing legal delay and deception tactics to run me out of time, will and money; a poorly informed NAMB Trustee board; a President with a bully pulpit and who has the presumption of innocence; and a legal system with its own set of rules, timetables, and challenges.
Kevin Ezell: Public and Closed Door
I learned from personal experience, the testimony of others, and available records that the closed door, and likely secret person, of NAMB President Kevin Ezell is radically different from the public blue sweater vest wearing Kevin. The public Kevin is smiling, affable, and generous to friends and his protectors with the mission money of all Southern Baptists. Perhaps you have received NAMB swag and only experienced the public Kevin. If so, you understandably would have a positive perspective.
However, I and others have seen the real Kevin Ezell at work behind closed doors. David Platt said he saw it. The facts can be distorted and people fooled, but the facts before a Holy God of Truth will not be moved. Truth sets us free, but only if we seek it, and not ignore it or cover it up.
Religious Politicians Remain Silent – Righteous Leaders Act
Isaiah warned Hezekiah of all the destruction coming to his children and possessions (Isa. 39), yet Hezekiah responded with “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.” Don’t miss the application… Hezekiah went on his merry way after he learned the destruction would not impact him PERSONALLY. Yet Paul instructs Christians to “not look to your own interest, but to the interest of others.” In light of that, Southern Baptists need watchmen on the walls and leaders who look to the interest of others, of His Kingdom and the mission of the SBC, not just their own interests and agendas like religious politicians.
- Will the NAMB Trustees act to require Ezell to give an account or remain passively ignorant, steadfast in denials, and justify countless pieces of evidence about the Closed Door leadership of our NAMB President?
- Will the State Executive Directors and Associational leaders rise up or is silence allow people to continue to be hurt and the SBC cooperative spirit and mission to be destroyed on their watch?
- Will the SBC Executive Committee speak and act in the ways available to them in matters of partnership, budget recommendations, and legal challenges to the SBC or will they stand in silence and passivity to preserve the peace and say, “there is not much we can do,” while the integrity, cooperative relationships and governing documents of the SBC are challenged by NAMB’s leaders and attorneys?
- Will those who have benefited from special favors, jobs, income, houses, and the like from our SBC mission dollars entrusted to Ezell speak and rise up as courageous righteous leaders to demand reform, or passively remain silent?
Stand in the light of truth and fear not! Please join me in praying for the Spirit of God to move, a few righteous men to rise up with spiritual courage, and His people to respond to His hand.
Article outline and video: Did NAMB and BCMD Leaders Mislead a Federal Judge? with supporting court filed documents.
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