Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas and a prominent evangelical commentator on Fox News, Dr. Robert Jeffress said his church stopped funding the ERLC. Jeffress told One News Now that his church wanted to be good stewards.
“There are some agencies like the ERLC that we no longer fund, and we’re putting money into the things that we feel good about,” Jeffress told One News Now. “We’re not mad at anybody … but we feel like we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources God has given us.”
Last year, Jeffress pointed out that American evangelical churches are in what he called a post-denominational era. Jeffress said:
“I think we are living in a post-denominational age, and I think whether it is Southern Baptist or any other mainline denominations, I don’t think people relate any more to large masses of ecclesiastical bureaucracies. I think it is kind of like Tip O’Neil said one time, ‘All politics are local,’ and I think that is true about the church as well. I know our members are concerned about First Baptist Church Dallas and what we are doing to change the world for the better by introducing people to faith in Christ and I don’t know anybody under the age of 70 who cares about what is happening in the denomination.”
This is a time that very few people in the local church feel connected to the Southern Baptist Convention (or really any denomination.) The local church and its missions are the focus. This is no doubt expansive for large churches that can fund local, regional and international missions of their own. However, it has significant ramifications for smaller churches who benefit from a cooperative model.
Yet, the smaller churches have a limited ability to influence the Southern Baptist Convention. Attending the Annual Meeting is expensive. As SBC Presidential candidate Randy Adams pointed out today on Twitter, something like only eight percent of Southern Baptist churches send messengers to the meeting.
In his experience, that’s because the cost of attendance is too high.
It costs so to attend the annual meeting that small church pastors often can’t afford to attend. We need remote access voting. Only 8 percent of churches send messengers.
— Randy Adams (@ERandyAdams1) February 22, 2020
Voting reform is a non-starter with the Status Quo crowd in the SBC. The present method rewards the celebrity driven culture that turns out fanboys and denominational employees. These are groups all dedicated to preserving the powers that be.
Reform requires a significant and increased level of participation from rank-and-file, Baptists in the pew.
But, for small churches that burden is too heavy. And larger churches find members don’t seem interested in it.
That makes the cooperation between smaller and larger churches through groups like the Conservative Baptist Network a crucial element in holding the denominational elites accountable.
Of course, the Elites don’t like that.
Their anger proves the rightness of the investigation.
And, we already know one megachurch is making sure it isn’t paying for Russell Moore to insult us Southern Baptists.
Well done, Dr. Jeffress.