Cody Libolt is Communications Manager for the tabloid journalism website Pulpit & Pen. Thus, what Libolt says is certainly representative of what the aforementioned ‘discernment ministry’ believes. Recently, Libolt took to Twitter and criticized Founders Ministries for publishing a five-part series that attempts to offer a careful critique of Revoice theology. Readers might ask themselves why Libolt would take issue with a series addressing Revoice. After all, Libolt bills himself as a conservative on such issues.
Cody Libolt’s Offense at Opposition to Abuse
When Libolt tweeted out his criticism of Founders, he did so upon the basis of a tweet expressing the need to stand strong against abuse by empathizing with the experiences of abuse survivors, and by using one’s power to make sure abuse does not occur. Here’s the tweet in question:
We notice two things:
First, Libolt is sarcastically referring to the author of the series as “a gem.” In other words, he is so upset by the selection of the author that he is willing to go out of his way and tweet sarcasm at Founders.
Second, the basis for Libolt’s sarcastic comment is something in what he quote-tweeted. What upsets Libolt so much in the original tweet that he sees the need to sarcastically mock the author of the tweet as a “gem”? What makes him so mad that he feels the urge to publicly chastise Founders Ministries for a post series critiquing Revoice?
Well, to be fair, Libolt’s basis for criticism does not appear to be grounded in disagreement over Revoice itself. Rather, Libolt’s tweet seems to indicate that he takes umbrage over opposition to abuse. The only difficulty here is that such a sentiment is actually far worse than if he had disagreed with the content of the series written on Revoice.
As it stands, Libolt’s sarcastic comment targets the entirety of the tweet he quoted. As such, Libolt’s tweet means that he is against empathizing with abuse survivors, against using one’s power to make sure abuse does not happen again, and against the trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is a perfectly fair reading of Libolt’s tweet, because the basis of his criticism is, apart from any qualification on his part, the entirety of the quoted tweet.
Cody Libolt’s Support for Paige Patterson
Thankfully, Libolt did later qualify his careless statement:
So, what Libolt was really saying (even though this could not be clearly discerned from his initial tweet) is that he is opposed to the termination of Paige Patterson at SWBTS. Apparently he was also trying to say that Founders is “inept.” Oh, and something about a “vicious man,” as though Libolt does not help to head up one of the most wicked websites in the world which specializes in slandering Christian brothers and sisters on an almost daily basis. Libolt tries to establish his standing as the true victim here after taking an unwarranted shot at a conservative Christian, but only digs himself a deeper hole in doing so.
According to Libolt, he actually meant to complain to Founders for asking someone to blog when that someone does not wholeheartedly support Paige Patterson. So we should ask ourselves what all the fuss is about. What is so great about Patterson that Libolt would be willing to walk over abuse survivors in order to defend him?
Of course, plenty of conservatives understand the significance of the role Patterson played in the Conservative Resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention, including the trustees at SBC seminaries. But that doesn’t mean the man is sinless. And if the CR was worth the fight, its principles will stand quite apart from its personalities, both good and bad. More importantly, Libolt has no trouble at all throwing plenty of other theological conservatives under the bus, including R. Albert Mohler, Jr., whom Libolt contends is a liberal (I know), Founders Ministries, which Libolt berates for “ineptitude,” and plenty other theologically conservative individuals, institutions, and ministries as well.
So, if it’s not Patterson’s theological conservatism that prevents him from being scorned by P&P, a group that has also taken issue with non-SBC conservatives like James R. White and Rosaria Butterfield, then what is it Libolt finds so likeable in Patterson? Perhaps it’s Patterson’s soteriology, but P&P is supposedly led by Calvinists, and Patterson is certainly not that. Maybe it’s his ecclesiology, but there again, probably not. What would lead Libolt to rush to the defense of Patterson, along with SBC Traditionalists like Peter Lumpkins and Tim Rogers, who were also involved in the defense of Ergun Caner?
More importantly, why is Libolt expressing his disdain for opposition to abuse, even in his later qualification?
Cody Libolt’s Conspiracy Theory
Libolt claims that he is not complaining about opposition to abuse. Presumably, he wants to affirm that effort, at least, in general. The problem is that when it comes to standing strong against specific instances of abuse – you know, like, when abuse actually happens – Libolt balks. Libolt has demonstrated that he’s ready and willing to walk over abuse survivors in order to defend Patterson. Libolt’s opposition to seminary trustees only makes sense in light of his total disregard for victims like Jane Doe at SWBTS, who has sued Patterson, and Megan Lively at SEBTS, who says eight others have approached her about the same sort of problem. We can say this without even getting into the hurt and havoc wreaked through Patterson’s support of abusive ‘pastor’ Darrell Gilyard, or his many other apparent shortcomings in terms of making sexually inappropriate jokes, providing dangerous advice to abuse victims in his care, palling around with Judge Paul Pressler, and numerous other difficulties people have cited with regard to Patterson’s messing with money and other SBC entities. By the way, Patterson is no spring chicken, and SWBTS was not doing well under his leadership. But according to Libolt, who pretends to be ‘discerning,’ all of this evidence is just smoke and mirrors.
For Libolt, these complaints – from multiple, independent witnesses, spread out across the globe – are all part of a grand conspiracy that involves finding multiple women from different parts of the country who lied about being raped and having it covered over by Patterson. Seminary trustees stemming from the Conservative Resurgence of the SBC went so ‘woke’ they thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and professionally edit decades old videos of Patterson protecting an abusive and promiscuous ‘pastor,’ insert creepy jokes into his sermon recordings, and pressure Patterson to persist in his belief that telling a domestic abuse victim to hang out with her husband was the right thing to do in that situation. Oh, and apparently the conspirators also managed to persuade SBC messengers in Dallas to support this grand conspiracy. To be a ‘polemicist’ who supposedly cares so much about ‘reason’ and ‘evidence,’ Cody Libolt is apparently incredibly bad at using them.
Libolt has shown his true colors when it comes to abuse and its cover up. He doesn’t take them seriously. Not only does he get his feelings hurt when somebody highlights his horrible views on abuse cover up, he responds by being a tattletale, first to Founders, and then to J. D. Hall. Hall attempted to distract everyone from the fact that his Communications Manager is works against abuse victims, but that didn’t work out too well, as this post, and this post, demonstrate. In any event, Libolt continues to play the victim.
Now, this would be laughable, were it not for the fact that this is exactly how abusers and bullies react to push back. Rather than owning up to the fact that he has slandered entire SBC seminaries and countless abuse survivors who have spoken up about Patterson, Libolt plays the part of the victim on behalf of P&P and demands an apology. He apparently thinks this is all about him.