Ronnie Floyd repudiates Russell Moore’s amicus brief, yet the ERLC remains silent after its lies were exposed.
Fallout over the false amicus brief filed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention continued as Southern Baptists condemned the false claims advanced by the ERLC on behalf of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) against Will McRaney.
SBC Executive Committee CEO Ronnie Floyd repudiated a key claim in the ERLC brief. In a statement published by Baptist Press, Floyd said, “There is no ‘hierarchy’ in any form or fashion in Southern Baptist polity. While each body is equal and autonomous, they serve the churches and operate with mutual respect for one another for the sake of cooperating together to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole world.”
Let’s make this crystal clear. Contrary to the ERLC’s claim, neither NAMB nor the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCMD) are churches and neither has any rights over the other. The BCMD formed in 1836, the SBC formed in 1845 and NAMB was created in 1997. Therefore, it is impossible for BCMD to have been formed to support a purpose of NAMB and there are no ties on governance.
And the ERLC remains silent.
So far, it has not apologized to Will McRaney or corrected its lies filed with the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Last night we asked McRaney if the ERLC had contacted him. Sadly, he has heard nothing from the SBC Elites.
“What began with personal offenses of Dr. Ezell against me and the BCMD, now includes Ezell’s deception with the courts and has progressed to Dr. Moore’s blatant and shameful defrauding 17 federal high court justices, the SBC, and all 50,000 SBC partnering churches, 1,100 Associations and 42 State Conventions, in addition to their damaging lies against me in the courts,” McRaney said in a statement to the Capstone Report. “A personal apology and biblical restitution would have been in order by Ezell, but now Russell Moore owes not only an apology to me, which he has not given, but he owes all SBC entities and partnering churches, Associations, and State Conventions, and the public an apology and retraction of his efforts to deceive the courts.”
According to one news outlet, they tried multiple times to contact Russell Moore—but never heard from the ERLC chief. According to the report, “The Baptist and Reflector tried to reach Moore twice. ERLC eventually sent the B&R the same response that Wussow issued through Baptist Press.”
Despite repeated requests by Southern Baptist news outlets, the ERLC’s only comment was a lame and obviously false excuse sent in a statement from Travis Wussow. That statement appeared to place blame on the Thomas More Society lawyers who drafted the brief and the ERLC advanced an excuse of it not spotting the error because of the short time available in drafting the amicus brief.
This is obviously a lie.
“Any notion by Moore in previous statements to TN Exec. Dr. Randy Davis regarding their deception occurring because of being rushed is absurd and further deception,” McRaney told the Capstone Report. “The full purpose of the brief was to support NAMB’s false claims to the courts that NAMB has ‘absolute rights’ and ‘absolute privileges’ and is a ‘Supporting Organization’ to any state convention. NAMB/Ezell just chose other words for hierarchy to deceive the judges, AND it almost worked. Legal precedent in the courts was almost changed on lies and SBC and it partners would have been deeply damaged. I believe that in other organizations, both Moore and Ezell would be relieved of their duties as leaders for their publicly filing lies with the courts.”
But, just as concerning is the fact the ERLC appeared to place blame on the Thomas More Society lawyers who drafted the brief.
The Thomas More Society is a group of outstanding lawyers. They have done amazing work for religious liberty. They’ve defended John MacArthur. And, they’ve defended Catholic priests. So, when Baptist Press prints that the Thomas More Society wrote the brief and the ERLC only joined it—you see the groundwork for an excuse. The ERLC is shifting blame.
We reached out to the lawyer via email who drafted the brief to ask if the ERLC had contacted the legal team to make changes or inform the court of the material errors. We did not hear back as of press time.
However, the ERLC should not be allowed to place blame on the fine lawyers who work for Thomas More. The ERLC should know and be able to explain Southern Baptist polity and not then blame non-Southern Baptist lawyers for its own folly.
And this isn’t the only excuse the ERLC is providing.
Also, note the duplicity from the ERLC. They claim one minute the government can involve itself in church business and in the next claim immunity from government intrusion.
The ERLC justified its filing the amicus brief “because of the underlying principle that courts have no jurisdiction over churches,” ERLC vice president for public policy and general counsel Travis Wussow said in a statement published by Baptist Press.
However, the ERLC has repeatedly claimed that government does have jurisdiction to close churches because of COVID-19. None less than Russell Moore said so. He wrote on March 20, 2020, “As most churches are now not gathering on Sundays for the time being, some are asking if these sorts of health mandates are a violation of religious liberty. The short answer is ‘no.’”
So, which is it ERLC? Does the government have jurisdiction over churches or not? How many lies are you going to tell? Do your lies honor Jesus and advance His kingdom?
Also, amicus briefs seem to be a problem for the SBC. An amicus brief in support of a mosque caused problems for the ERLC and the International Mission Board (IMB) in 2016.
These continued lies and continued errors show the need for leadership changes throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.
It is time for real conservative leadership.
It is time for precision instead of the bumbling feckless progressives leading the SBC into ruin.
Be ready for Nashville.