Prestonwood Baptist standing up to Southern Baptist elites; Russell Moore receives dreaded vote of confidence
The time for deference is over. The time for action is now. The Southern Baptist Convention is beset by a ruling class of men like Dr. Russell Moore, Dr. David Platt and Dr. Kevin Ezell who are trying to turn the conservative, pro-life, pro-family SBC into an autocratic, progressive, liberal social justice warrior organization that enables the enemies of Christ and attacks your conservative values. It must stop. Thanks to the brave leadership at churches like Prestonwood Baptist Church and its pastor former SBC president Jack Graham, we have a chance to stop the madness and return the SBC to its conservative roots.
Prestonwood Baptist Church announced that it would hold in escrow about $1 million of funding paid to the Southern Baptist Convention through the Cooperative Program—the shared funding mechanism that supports everything from mission work to seminaries to paying Russell Moore’s salary to insult conservative, Republican Southern Baptist voters. The reason for escrowing the funds is that Prestonwood is alarmed at the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention.
According to Will Hall’s report, “Mike Buster, executive pastor for the Plano, Texas, church, provided a statement to the Baptist Message explaining that the action had been taken because of ‘various significant positions taken by the leadership of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission that do not reflect the beliefs and values of many in the Southern Baptist Convention” and that it is a temporary move “until a decision can be made on current and future funding.’”
Clearly, the Southern Baptist Convention’s denominational insiders are in crisis mode. Earlier this week before the Prestonwood decision was announced, SBC President Steve Gaines gave beleaguered ERLC president Russell Moore the dreaded vote of confidence. “I hope the kind of talk we have been hearing is not the direction in which we are going. I hope Russell will remain in his position and that we have reconciliation with a lot of people,” SBC President Steve Gaines said in a report published by Baptist Press.
Ouch. That sounds an awful lot like an athletic director exasperated with the incompetence of his football coach.
And Russell Moore is about as popular and feckless as Mike Shula at Alabama right before his termination.
However, this is about more than Russell Moore. They are doing strange things in the Southern Baptist Convention. NAMB’s president used money as a lever to force the termination of a state DOM, and the IMB chief decided to aid the enemies of Christ by helping spread Islam in the US and used IMB resources to further that aim by using IMB lawyers to join an amicus brief in favor of building a mosque. Platt apologized for being divisive and promised to never do this again; however, it raises serious concerns about the festering problem of liberal progressive values spreading throughout our top leadership. If you doubt Dr. Platt is succumbing to liberal thinking, then check out his sad theology regarding refugees.
There is a growing autocracy, and there is a growing group of voices trying to legitimize the centralization of power and entitlement of these progressives. One blog decries Prestonwood’s action as an attack on cooperative work and the entire Cooperative Program. However, this type of thinking seems to view CP giving by a local church as an entitlement. Yet, our denominational insiders are not entitled to their salaries or our support if they stray so far outside our expectations. And to put Cooperative Program giving into perspective, it didn’t mean the end of cooperative work when Dr. Platt’s church in Birmingham showed a total lack of commitment to the cooperative program. Why is it such a big deal when a local, autonomous church decides paying a liberal progressive’s salary is not helpful to the cause of Christ nor the church in America?
This is a stewardship issue. It is neither right nor wise for a person or church to support a theology or practice that stands against its views. Bluntly, Dr. Moore has a childish view of moral reasoning regarding presidential elections and a progressive view of church-state relations based on moral communitarianism. Neither of these views match the political theology of your typical Southern Baptist—who view these issues more like Mike Huckabee or Todd Starnes rather than Russell Moore.
The only threat to the Cooperative Program are the denominational elites who hide behind the enabling trustees and refuse to reform. Change is coming whether Southern Baptist insiders, experts and elites like it or not.
Well done Prestonwood. There will be many, many more like you unless the elite heed the voices crying out in the wilderness of flyover country.