SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION LOSES FUNDING OVER N.J. MOSQUE BUILDING SUPPORT~RUSSELL MOORE’S LEFTIST LEANINGS
SEE OUR PREVIOUS POST:
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
great harm as a result of our Lord’s gospel diminishing his business. I
urge you brother to aid him by making offerings and gestures of good
will for the peace of Ephesus and the cooperation between the pagan
deity of Artemis and the church of Christ there. Surely there is no
reason they ought suffer in the worship of their idols while you
continue the good work of the faith of Christ. See that your
support to him is made known.” Paul to Timothy … via the SBC IMB &
Remember how Paul encouraged his young protege Timothy to show
tolerance in the wake of the outbreak of riots in Ephesus demanding
religious liberty for the artisans of the temple of Artemis? Remember
how he sought to persuade the church to take up a collection to help
offset Alexander the coppersmith’s financial loss as a result of the
spread of the Gospel there? Do you remember that? No? Neither do I.
Because it didn’t happen. But, according to a couple of agencies in
the Southern Baptist Convention, maybe such a show of ecumenical support
should have happened because that exactly what they did some two
We reported last year
about the alliance of the SBC’s International Mission Board (IMB) and
its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in their joint
support for a mosque building effort in New Jersey. Both agencies
signed on to an amicus brief to support the Islamic Society of Basking
Ridge New Jersey in its lawsuit seeking a redress for city zoning
ordinances that denied building permits for its planned construction of a
new mosque in the town.
Through these agencies, the Southern Baptist Convention officially
supported the Muslims in their mosque-building effort. But some
individual Southern Baptists standing in pulpits and sitting in pews did
not necessarily so agree.
The ERLC’s president Russell Moore doubled down with sarcastic snarkiness to a question posed at the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting
by the pastor of a cooperating SBC church about just how his agency
could justify its support. Moore’s response exalted that particular
idol of the ERLC – religious liberty – and indicated that among the many
challenging issues facing the agency, of the many things that require
concerted, focused thoughtfulness, the question to support the mosque
building effort was not among them. It was a no-brainer.
“You know sometimes we have to deal with questions that
are really complicated and we have to spend a lot of time thinking them
through and not sure what the final result was going to be. Sometimes we
have really hard decisions to make. This isn’t one of those things.”
By December 2016, the mosque won as a federal judge weighed in on the
dispute, landing on the side of religious liberty for the mosque. That
brought the issue to a close … for the Muslims. But for Southern
Baptists, the eagerness of their Cooperative Program-funded agencies to
support what many Southern Baptists recognize as the face of evil on the
planet, the problem hasn’t gone away. Much like evil itself, the
repercussions from SBC support of mosque-building is still very much
Earlier this month, a trustee of the IMB resigned
in protest to that agency’s participation in the mosque-building
effort. The trustee, Dean Haun, is pastor of First Baptist Church of
Morristown, Tennessee. He also happens to be a former president of the
Tennessee Baptist Convention.
As he posed his concern to the Baptist and Reflector,
Haun makes an astute point, one that seems to have bypassed the IMB and
the ERLC, as evidenced at least by Moore’s smug, rather pompous remarks
to the legitimate query of another pastor at the recent convention.
“When I look at our IMB mission and purpose statements, I cannot see how this action meshes with them … If we defend the rights of people to construct places of false worship are we not helping them speed down the highway to hell?…I
want no part in supporting a false religion even if it is in the name
of religious freedom…Our Baptist institutions’ names will be on this
brief setting legal precedence and supporting the right of mosques to be
built all over our nation for years to come.” (Source)
Apparently, Haun hasn’t received a viable, Biblically responsible answer to his query.
As reported in the Christian Post, Haun and his 2,000 member church have taken the next step to hopefully make their point. The church voted … unanimously
… to withhold its contributions to the Cooperative Program. This
effectively prevents funds collected through their offering plates to
make their way to support an IMB and ERLC that seem to exhibit more
allegiance to religious liberty than they do to the exclusivity of
Haun’s church gives about 11% per year to the program. Their annual
Lottie Moon Christmas offering in 2016 exceeded $150,000 to the SBC
cooperative missions effort. Last year the church gave “around a half
million dollars” in missions funding. Though the church will still
continue to financially support the state convention in it’s Tennessee
missions efforts, the funding that would have gone to the Cooperative
Program is being escrowed.
So, in light of the IMB and ERLC’s bold stand with Muslims, at least
one pastor and one church are making their own bold stand … against
their own denomination. They are standing boldly for the exclusivity of
the Gospel message for which Southern Baptists have – perhaps until the
IMB/ERLC mosque-building effort – always been known.
Yet, for the IMB and the ERLC and much of the SBC, “American”
Christianity is the theology hurled from pulpits, absorbed in pews, and
serves often to drive the agenda of CP-funded agencies. Religious
liberty is the preeminent “spiritual” gift the false god of that false
faith can offer, and the SBC seems all too eager to bend a knee to it.
It’s unlikely that Haun’s stand alone will prompt the behemoth SBC to
realize it’s error and repent, but Haun and his church should be
applauded for their stand. While the SBC seems decidedly unconcerned
about the sovereignty of God, the exaltation and exclusivity of Christ,
and the need to “contend for the faith,” at least one church seems to
unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or
what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
Scriptural commands like Paul’s have become, in the SBC, more like
Scriptural suggestions. As evidenced by the IMB and ERLC in this case,
apostolic orders, given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are
heeded about as much a smoke detector in a burning building. Scripture
is visibly ignored.
But since these agencies will disregard Scripture, perhaps Haun and
his church are doing the most obvious thing – taking away the money.
After all, it was the threat of financial loss to the temple of Artemis
that prompted those riots in Ephesus. (Acts 19:21-41)
It’s just a shame that, had the Apostle Paul been facing his Ephesian
uproar in our day, the SBC would’ve signed the amicus brief right along
with Alexander the coppersmith … and defended the action with the claim
of “soul freedom for everyone.”
As Paul actually wrote to Timothy, “Alexander the coppersmith did me
great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.” (2 Timothy 4:14)
Should the IMB, the ERLC, and the SBC fail to repent of their clear
violation of the Lord’s command, they can, like Alexander, be sure that
“the Lord will repay.”
Unlike the Muslims who benefited from the ecumenical spirit of
religious liberty-worshipping SBC agencies, and who ultimately won by
the intercession of a federal judge, for those within the SBC, like Haun
and his church, who staunchly disagree with this egregious SBC
behavior, there is no federal judge to intervene. At some point, though,
it will be the Supreme and Sovereign Judge who does.
Still, that this ever happened, there’s one verse – knowingly misapplied – that comes to mind … “Jesus wept.”
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Nathan Leamer of the R Street Institute. Since being crowned head of
the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in 2013, Dr. Moore
has been no stranger to controversy, much of which he brings upon
himself. His tendency has been to pervert the classic Christian world
view and mix it with language which panders to the left while he openly
admonished evangelicals to disengage the culture war as we entered the
most hostile attacks in the nation’s history.
This may actually be a careful strategy that resembles the “tactics
“of Moore’s most popular target and the source of his current troubles,
President elect Donald Trump. Trump skillfully uses controversy to grab
headlines and kept himself and his campaign on the front page. Trump is a
thick skinned veteran of the New York gossip columns. Trump, therefore,
plays the media as one adept with his NYC and DC survival skills. Moore
may miss the goal and lack the skills to pull this off.
Dr. Moore began his reign by providing us a taste of both his
winsomeness and new tone for the ERLC and evangelicals’ cultural
engagement. But today for Moore, the thought of a Trump presidency seems
to have caused the evaporation of his winsome veneer exposing a
“Prophet of Shame.” “After Trump’s unexpected win, Moore’s pandering to
the political Left seems to have gone into hyper-drive. Moore wants
Christians who have supported Trump to hide their faces. Yet Trump’s
clarity is appealing while Moore’s shame and double speak is divisive.
Christian radio host Janet Mefferd pointed out that Trump inherited many
evangelicals later in the campaign, and he was not their first choice.
But Moore seems determined to let the facts escape him. Others in the
SBC and conservative Evangelical circles echo the same “Blame Game”
toward evangelicals who supported Trump’s campaign .Ed Stetzer implies
that electing Trump has created a climate of racism for which white
evangelicals must explain themselves to Christians of Color ”So, what is really going on? What are the fault lines Moore and others are missing?
Here Are a Few:
1. Moore is attempting to rebrand the ERLC and the evangelical tone.
He is speaking mostly to next generation of believers whom the Southern
Baptist Convention fears losing – people like Nathan Leamer. Moore
critics are not, as Leamer suggests “a small but vocal minority. They
are the people who pay Moore’s salary and fund his organization. Former
Senator Mike Huckabee points out that Baptist are “paying Moore to
insult them.” Moore is failing because he is trying to pour new wine
into old wine skins- (Mark 2:22
). Both the young and old may be alienated in the end. Dr. Moore, why
not start a new organization (wine skin) with the purpose of rebranding
the conversation rather than confusing the present one and furthering
the age divide?
2. Moore is the crown prince of evangelical contradiction.
He welcomes confusing partners like LGBTQ activist who want to redefine
marriage while he ignores, shuns, and shames seasoned conservatives who
understand that the LGBTQ debate is merely a tool that uses the LGBT
community so that progressives can redefine sexual norms and even
personhood. After more than three years in Washington, D.C. does Dr.
Moore understand this yet? Progressives USE minorities. They do not help
3. Russell Moore misidentifies his victims. When
Moore insults the “Christian Right,” he is actually speaking of the
Conservative Christian who craves clarity and conviction on Faith
Values. He attacks these voters as if they were the machinery behind the
conservative political movement. When Christian voters allow this
misidentification and assault, they are thus stigmatized by the press,
progressives, and the new brand of social justice Christian voter. The
fact is most conservatives’ theology tends to be more compatible with
social policy than is the brand of Moore and his followers. Doesn’t
Russell Moore need to get his labels right before applying them?
4. Moore is attempting to build the ERLCs new foundation on the shifting sands of culture.
It is not possible to maintain real integrity to our espoused
theological conservatism and yet be socially pondering if not outright
grasping every progressive object floating on the surface of the current
cultural floodtide. Moore, if not confused himself does allow his
language to confuse others. Moore embraces immigration policies, for
example, that favor the lefts ideology as if he does not know of George
Soros existence or has never heard of open borders. In short Moore
quickly adopts talking points loaded with activist policy and expects
his base to follow while he espouses faithfulness to Biblical values
wrapped in this new terminology. Is this fair to expect thinking people
to follow along?
This article first appeared in BarbWire, written by Thomas Littleton. To read more, click here.