Hundreds of churches withhold SBC funding over progressive ERLC policy stances; more will follow report finds.
Russell Moore and his leftist ERLC pose a systemic risk to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Russell Moore and his progressive politics are destroying the Southern Baptist Convention. That is the entire point of a bombshell report on problems caused by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). The report by a special committee of the Executive Committee found hundreds of churches giving millions of dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention already withhold funds or plan to withhold funds over the liberal-progressive politics promoted by Russell Moore and his ERLC. As we have repeatedly warned over the last few years here and here and here that progressive politics destroy churches.
Also, the report verifies our earlier reports on churches leaving the SBC over Russell Moore’s liberal politics. These are no longer anecdotes. These are facts. Hard facts with a price tag in the millions.
The facts in the report should scare anyone who depends on the Cooperative Program for their pay. It details hundreds of churches are in open rebellion. And the numbers are growing as more and more become aware of Russell Moore’s pro-Democratic politics. The unanimous report documented hundreds of churches across the SBC angered by the progressive political opinions of Russell Moore.
Specifically, the report found: “One state convention reported that more than 250 churches are considering withholding or negatively designating funds or have already done so. This number represents a significant percentage of the churches currently in friendly cooperation with that state convention. Some churches are considering a complete withdrawal from the SBC because of the belief that the national convention is moving in a liberal direction. The ERLC is listed as one of those concerns. The state convention reported that serious concerns about the ERLC exist with 10 of the top 30 CP-giving churches, potentially impacting a total of $2,448,000 from those 10 churches alone.”
And that state was not alone. The report found, “Another state convention verified that $1,147,000 has been withheld due to the ERLC. Based on communications with other churches considering the same approach, the state executive estimated that $1,500,000 of Cooperative Program giving is in jeopardy in the state.”
And the report continued, “Another state reported that 94 churches have either decreased or completely eliminated Cooperative Program support this year at a total budget cost of approximately $500,000. Based on actual conversations with these pastors, the state executive estimated that 50% have done so because of a ‘lack of confidence in many national SBC issues.’ These issues included but were not limited to the ERLC.”
And there is more: “Another executive director reported that 46 churches have withdrawn from the state/national conventions, ‘due to what they perceive as an undesirable direction/action of the ERLC.’ In addition to the departure of these churches, the state verified over $217,000 annually in reduced giving through the Cooperative Program. Further, the state executive was recently contacted by one of the state’s largest churches to ask how to negatively designate its $300,000 annual Cooperative Program gifts because of its concerns with the ERLC.”
And the Leftward Drift of the SBC worries some churches. The report explained, “Another state executive confirmed a $345,000 annual impact from churches currently withholding or considering escrowing Cooperative Program funds because of ‘a perceived leftward or liberal drift generally,’ which includes concerns related to the ERLC.”
Escrowing might be how some churches handle Russell Moore’s liberal politics. But not all. Many are outright leaving: “When asked about churches escrowing funds due to the ERLC, another state executive responded, ’Few of our churches have talked about escrowing CP funds in the future. They have mostly threatened to reduce or cease CP giving soon, or indicated that they have started doing so already. At least a couple of churches this year have withdrawn from affiliation with our state convention and the SBC over issues primarily related to the ERLC.’”
And Russell Moore’s liberal ERLC continues to spark protests from conservatives to the Executive Committee. “We were also informed of a high volume of recent calls and emails received by the Executive Committee office. These communications expressed frustration with the ERLC and indicated possible changes in Cooperative Program support.”
Safe to say, it is clear to anyone unbiased—the chickens have come home to roost. Russell Moore’s liberal policy preferences are destroying the Southern Baptist Convention.
The ERLC Study Task Force included Mike Stone (former chairman of the Executive Committee and current candidate for SBC President), Rolland Slade (current chairman of the Executive Committee), Hoyt Savage, Ron Hale, Mike Lawson, Monte Shinkle, and Cheryl Samples.
The committee should be praised for its excellent work highlighting the systemic risk to the SBC’s future posed by Russell Moore and the reckless ERLC.
The report will make Russell Moore’s liberal politics a central issue in the 2021 SBC Presidential race. As of now, Conservative Mike Stone, reform-minded Randy Adams appear to demand change from the SBC establishment. Stone led the report exposing the high cost of Russell Moore’s pro-Democratic Party politics.
If you care about the Southern Baptist Convention—you should show up in Nashville and vote for change.