LOUISVILLE—Kentucky Baptist leader Paul Chitwood didn’t mince words when he called a recent Associated Baptist Press article “ludicrous and highly offensive” for drawing similarities between Southern Baptists and Boko Haram, the militant terrorist group that kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls last month.
Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, aimed his criticisms at a column written by Mike Greer, a retired pastor and missionary living in Frankfort, who compared Southern Baptists to “one of the most brutal, murdersome terror cells in the world.”
“Mike Greer has taken bitterness and vitriol to a new, insulting low,” Chitwood said on his blog, www.paulchitwood.com.
Greer spoke in the May 15 opinion piece about what he called an uncomfortable truth.
“Boko Haram and Southern Baptists have some things in common,” Greer wrote. “Both are seeking to counteract or derail what is perceived by them to be a demonic movement of Western liberalism that is relentlessly egalitarian in its agenda. Both are on a mission designed to rescue their respective societies from a perceived depravity and warn of the consequential destruction by a wrathful God. Both male-dominated groups have made the status and role of women the vanguard issue in their wars with the cultures they deem to be depraved and corrupt. Both believe their cause is a righteous one.”
Greer writes that it was the recent kidnapping of the girls by the Nigerian terrorist group that sparked his comparison. He said “Southern Baptists are drawing from the same well” when it comes to views about women’s roles in the family, at church and in ministry. The difference between Southern Baptists and Boko Haram, he said, is “a matter of degree.”
“This is so offensive I cannot believe (Associated Baptist Press) would be so irresponsible to run it,” tweeted Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort.
Chitwood noted that many of the Nigerians brutalized by Boko Haram are Christians whose beliefs mirror those of Southern Baptists.
“As preposterous as Greer’s accusations seem to me, I cannot even imagine how they would fall upon the ears of Nigerian believers who are complementarians and are spending their days and nights weeping and praying for their captive daughters,” Chitwood said. “We have been called upon to love even to the point of sacrificing our own lives. A jihad of love is a far cry from the horrific malice that terrorizes African children.