What Hath Levi’s To Do With Blackshear?

In his Facebook post, Mike Stone seemed to be throwing his power around in much the same way that a CEO of a certain blue jean manufacturer might. He seemed to be making threats just like a secularist politician who feels that their power and authority might have been questioned by some peon who works as a volunteer in their campaign headquarters.

Introduction

On February 14th, Jennifer Sey announced that she had left her job as the Brand President at Levi’s, and after turning down a $1 million severance package that included her signing a NDA, she told her story.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Sey publicly brought into question whether or not the schools should be shut down, and the woke mob that ran Levi’s didn’t take too kindly to that.

Things changed when Covid hit. Early on in the pandemic, I publicly questioned whether schools had to be shut down. This didn’t seem at all controversial to me. I felt—and still do—that the draconian policies would cause the most harm to those least at risk, and the burden would fall heaviest on disadvantaged kids in public schools, who need the safety and routine of school the most.

I wrote op-eds, appeared on local news shows, attended meetings with the mayor’s office, organized rallies and pleaded on social media to get the schools open. I was condemned for speaking out. This time, I was called a racist—a strange accusation given that I have two black sons—a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

In the summer of 2020, I finally got the call. “You know when you speak, you speak on behalf of the company,” our head of corporate communications told me, urging me to pipe down.

Jennifer Sey

Pipe down she did not. The Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Levi’s requested that she do an “apology tour.” She was told that she “was not a friend of the Black community at Levi’s.” She was told to say that she was “an imperfect ally.” Naturally, she refused.

Later Sey was promised that she was in line to be the next CEO of Levi’s. All she had to do was shut her trap and fall in line, (and again, she did not.) Eventually things came to a head when she was told that by her CEO that it was “untenable” for her to stay employed with the company. So, she left, and she made it clear to public as to why she left.

Now, after reading all of this you might ask yourself…

What Hath Levi’s to do with Blackshear?

Mike Stone, the sorest loser of the 2021 SBC Presidential election, has taken to Facebook to share his opinions on the latest appointment to the Supreme Court.

It might be helpful for me to state first that I am also not thrilled about the idea that our newest supreme court justice believes that you have to be a straight up biologist to know what a woman is. I’m in agreement with Mike Stone that this is nothing to celebrate, and I’m in agreement with Douglas Wilson when he says of our newest Supreme Court Justice:

Jackson either does not know what a woman is, and is unsuitable for this high judicial office for the same reason that the homeless guy who lives in a cardboard box down by the river under a bridge is unsuitable, or she knows quite well what a woman is, and won’t say because she is too cowardly or too ambitious to offend the college of cardinals who have a choke hold on the Church of Flattening Everything. In other words, she is either demented herself, or is being held in thrall by those who are demented.

Douglas Wilson, So I’m No Biologist Either…

Now that I’ve made clear where I stand (as if my regulars don’t already know), I would like to point some things that bother me about what Mike Stone said in his post.

Hang On, We’re Getting There…

The last part of Stone’s post says:

…if one of our church’s employees found some reason to celebrate and appreciate this confirmation, I’d fire them on the spot. If for no other reason, for insulting me and our church family by thinking such an asanine position would be tolerated at our church.

Mike Stone

What Does This Say About Stone’s Desire (or Lack Thereof) to Pastor the People Who Serve Under Him?

In the same way that the CEO of Levi’s sought to get rid of an employee who didn’t conform to the hivemind, Mike Stone also seeks to rid the staff of his church of anyone who has a differing opinion.

I can already two responses being tapped out on the keyboards of armchair pastors and theologians everywhere so let me address those before moving on:

“Logan, don’t you realize that there are right and wrong opinions?”

Yes, I do, and I understand the need to be in unity on whether we can define what a woman is. I also understand the disjointedness that can occur within a local body if two of the pastors are in disagreement about issues such as this, but why jump straight to firing? If you’re a Senior Pastor and you feel that a staff pastor serving underneath has an unbiblical opinion that is harmful to the integrity of the church, why not treat them like a brother in Christ and try the Matthew 18 approach?

It’s probably Mike Stone doesn’t know how to treat brothers in Christ as such. That was evident after he lost the 2021 SBC presidential election and took his frustrations out on Russell Moore by filing a lawsuit against Moore by claiming that Moore had defamed his character thus costing him the election. Roughly two months later the lawsuit was withdrawn. According to The Tennesean,

Stone commented on the decision in statement that his attorney sent in an email.

“My attorneys have, at my request, moved to voluntarily withdraw the lawsuit I had filed against Russell Moore,” Stone said. “I believe that based on current circumstances the better path for my family, my church, and our convention at this time is to leave the matter in the hands of our Lord.”

Southern Baptist pastor Mike Stone drops lawsuit against Russell Moore

It’s not clear as to the exact reason that Stone dropped the lawsuit, but it probably didn’t help that the Religion News Service found a sermon preached by Mike Stone where he said,

Let’s say somebody defames your character with unfounded gossip. The legal thing to do and I’m not just talking about a lawsuit, I mean the understandable natural thing to do might be to defend your name. The godly thing might be let it go.

Mike Stone, Stop Airing Your Dirty Laundry, Part 1

The second objection I might hear is, “Logan, a large Baptist church and a corporation like Levi’s is not the same. This is apples and oranges.”

My point exactly. In his Facebook post, Mike Stone seemed to be throwing his power around in much the same way that a CEO of a certain blue jean manufacturer might. He seemed to be making threats just like a secularist politician who feels that their power and authority might have been questioned by some peon who works as a volunteer in their campaign headquarters.

What Does This Say About Stone’s View of Grace?

I asked about Matthew 18 earlier, and I think that’s a legitimate question. Church discipline is meant to restore a fallen sinner to fellowship within the local body of Christ. Paul laid out the process of discipline in 1 Corinthians 5 when he addresses the issue of a man sleep with his stepmother.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! … In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 5:1, 4-5, NKJV

Later in 2 Corinthians 2, Paul will instruct that man should be restored and forgiven showing that the church discipline had its intended affect.

But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.

2 Corinthians 2:5-8, NKJV

If Mike Stone is not willing to pastorally walk with someone who has a damaging opinion, then that means one of two things:

Having a damaging opinion is an unforgivable sin so heinous that it cannot even be repented of through church discipline.

OR

Mike Stone can’t be bothered with extending the grace of pastoral care and discipline to those who serve under him.

Both of those are terrible conclusions, but one of them has to be true if Stone feels that the best thing to do is fire someone on the spot for celebrating the apppointment of the new Supreme Court justice.

In Conclusion

If Mike Stone had left the pulpit in exchange for the world of politics like Mike Huckabee did so many moons ago, then I may have scoffed and moved on, but the fact that Mike Stone serves as a senior pastor of a significantly sized church, and has a notable voice in the world of American Christendom means that I’m not going to quietly stay in my lane. I’m going to say something because the world is watching and people need to understand that Mike Stone does not accurately represent a Christian worldview.

There Is A River: One of Spurgeon’s Gems in the Treasury of David

River

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.”
– Psalm 46:4, NKJV

The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon is laced with many a gem. The following is once such a gem in commentary over the 46th psalm.

There is a river. Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilising, full, and never failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. This is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore. It is no boisterous ocean, but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it follows its serene course without disturbance. Happy are they who know from their own experience that there is such a river of God. The streams whereof in their various influences, for they are many, shall make glad the city of God, by assuring the citizens that Zion’s Lord will unfailingly supply all their needs. The streams are not transient like Cherith, nor muddy like the Nile, nor furious like Kishon, nor treacherous like Job’s deceitful brooks, neither are their waters “naught” like those of Jericho, they are clear, cool, fresh, abundant, and gladdening. The great fear of an Eastern city in time of war was lest the water supply should be cut off during a siege; if that were secured the city could hold out against attacks for an indefinite period. In this verse, Jerusalem, which represents the church of God, is described as well supplied with water, to set forth the fact that in seasons of trial all sufficient grace will be given to enable us to endure unto the end. The church is like a well ordered city, surrounded with mighty walls of truth and justice, garrisoned by omnipotence, fairly built and adorned by infinite wisdom: its burgesses the saints enjoy high privileges; they trade with far off lands, they live in the smile of the King; and as a great river is the very making and mainstay of a town, so is the broad river of everlasting love, and grace their joy and bliss. The church is peculiarly the City of God, of his designing, building, election, purchasing and indwelling. It is dedicated to his praise, and glorified by his presence. The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. This was the peculiar glory of Jerusalem, that the Lord within her walls had a place where he peculiarly revealed himself, and this is the choice privilege of the saints, concerning which we may cry with wonder, “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” To be a temple for the Holy Ghost is the delightful portion of each saint, to be the living temple for the Lord our God is also the high honour of the church in her corporate capacity. Our God is here called by a worthy title, indicating his power, majesty, sublimity, and excellency; and it is worthy of note that under this character he dwells in the church. We have not a great God in nature, and a little God in grace; no, the church contains as clear and convincing a revelation of God as the works of nature, and even more amazing in the excellent glory which shines between the cherubim overshadowing that mercy seat which is the centre and gathering place of the people of the living God. To have the Most High dwelling within her members, is to make the church on earth like the church in heaven.

Here we see that the city of God is Christ’s Church, and the river of God is God’s Spirit. The Spirit gladdens the Church just as the river gladdens the city.