It is about more than Moore

Mohler Southern Baptist Convention
Kevin Ezell, Russell Moore & Daniel Akin.

Forget the politics, can Russell Moore get away with his lies to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals?

SBC troubles can be traced to one city, one seminary, one church.

A decade the locust hath eaten for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Forget for a moment that Russell Moore is the darling of Woke Christians or that he is a Never-Trumper. Let us put aside the political tribalism or the possible harm to the Cooperative Program and instead focus on one glaring problem raised in the ERLC Study Committee Report. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention lied to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to the Christian Post, “The report states that even though this description of SBC polity was ‘grossly erroneous’ as noted by SBC lawyers, and Moore was aware of this, he allowed the brief to be filed anyway. It was only after outcry about the brief that the ERLC released a statement apologizing and clarifying the error.”

Aware and allowed it to be filed anyway?

Yikes.

That is serious. It prompts a very important question: What did Russell Moore know and when did he know it?

Did he actually review the brief before it was filed? If not, why not? If so, how could he allow the damaging lie to proceed?

The lie damaged Will McRaney’s efforts to seek justice in a lawsuit against the SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB).

The lie damaged the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, the lie could have placed the entire future of the SBC into jeopardy by opening it up to years of litigation over sex abuse claims. Claims that would be asserted because the ERLC falsely said the SBC was a hierarchical system.

And it is worth quoting the ERLC Study Committee report, “The blatant error in view was known by the ERLC before it was filed. But an obvious decision was made to file the brief anyway.”

And, while the damage may be contained, SBC lawyers warn, “We may not at this point know all the legal significance of the amici curiae (friends of the court) brief as it relates to the work of Southern Baptists.”

Filing the brief with known falsehoods raises ethical questions. It also raises competence questions.

Would a secular leader be tolerated who placed an entire business in jeopardy?

No. The board of directors of Apple or Boeing or IBM would terminate any employee who risked the entire business.

How did the ERLC and its trustees respond when caught in the lie? Circled the wagons. Then arrogantly acted like it did nothing wrong—until the outcry demanded a response.

“The task force is grateful for the apology but expresses great concern that it appears to have taken substantial effort on the part of this task force and other leaders to elicit such a response,” the report said.

This illustrates the entire failure of the SBC trustee system. The Trustees of the ERLC act like they work for Dr. Moore—and are defending Dr. Moore’s incompetence and ethical failings instead of doing their fiduciary duty to the people of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Shouldn’t the Southern Baptist Convention have higher standards than secular business?

Let’s be clear, Russell Moore lied to protect a friend and a corrupt system.

Russell Moore worked at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and developed close ties with NAMB chief Kevin Ezell. At the time, Ezell and Moore were both at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville.

According to Baptist News Global, “North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell also has ties to the seminary. For 15 years he was pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, where both Moore and seminary President Albert Mohler are members. Moore has a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Before entering the ministry he was an aide to U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) He is an ordained Baptist minister and was preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville from 2008 until 2012.”

What is the reason for so many people associated with Highview Baptist Church attaining positions of power in the SBC? Is it an association with Al Mohler?

Mohler is on record previously defending Russell Moore. When Dr. Moore was under fire following the 2016 Presidential Election, Dr. Mohler vouched for Dr. Moore and said, “I know his heart.”

Does Dr. Mohler maintain that support for Dr. Moore?

Does Al Mohler still know Russell Moore’s heart?

How does Al Mohler feel about the ERLC’s false amicus brief?

How does Al Mohler feel about Kevin Ezell’s reckless and allegedly bad conduct at NAMB?

Ignore the political criticisms of Russell Moore. Ignore the internal SBC politics. Ask yourself: should the Southern Baptist Convention employ a man who oversees an organization that knowingly filed a false brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals? Also, should the moral standards of honesty apply to the ERLC chief in the same way we would apply to a pastor?

Russell Moore must go. His actions are disqualifying. And so far, he has not contacted Will McRaney to apologize, repent and repair the damages arising out of the sinful lie.

Dr. Moore’s lie in the brief to protect a good friend and the incompetence of filing the brief demand action.

Can anyone honestly disagree?

If you think a man who knowingly lied to a court should continue to run the ERLC—what is wrong with your moral compass?

Perhaps the power politics centered on Al Mohler’s seminary and church is part of the reason the SBC suffered a decade of decline. By all metrics, the SBC is in serious decline. Can the wickedness of its leaders be part of it?

Is this why the SBC’s last decade could be called years the locust hath eaten?