My denomination has made the news again, this time over ideology. Prestonwood Baptist Church in Houston, TX informed the world that they would hold their Cooperative Program giving in escrow after evaluating decisions made by the SBC’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission (ERLC). Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood, former SBC president, and current member of Trumps’ Evangelical Advisory Board, believed that Moore’s comments about Trump during the primaries, where he called into questions his character and actions, were “disrespectful” to evangelicals who voted for Trump.
In social media, we definitely see a line of demarcation that usually (but not always) goes along generational lines. Ad hominems abound, and truly this is a harrowing time in the life of Southern Baptists. Clearly, Russell Moore is tracking a very different direction than his predecessor of 25 years, Richard Land. Moore (with whom I attended seminary) took a track of being very much against the Republican nominee, something Southern Baptists were not used to seeing.
We Southern Baptists remember when we battled over the authority and inerrancy of the Scriptures. This did not happen just to win a battle, but this happened over conviction to the truth of God’s Word.
Southern Baptists cannot forget this conviction, for it still applies today. No, Southern Baptist leaders don’t have a seat at the political and cultural table like they did in the 1970s and 1980s. But we have the Bible–the Book we fought long and hard to restore to its rightful place.
And now younger Southern Baptists are reading that Bible. And rather than seeing how Christians will be loved, they will be hated. Rather than have prestige, they see they will be persecuted. Rather than money driving agendas, the moral principles of Scripture drive agendas–more than that, the gospel of Jesus drives all.
While I refuse to get into particulars, we must remember: never allow politics or power or prestige or any person determine policy in my beloved Convention. Only the Person and principles of Jesus Christ as outlined in His Word must steer this ship. That’s what we fought for! And that’s what we must continue to fight for.