Dr. Russell Fuller says Ed Litton does not know ‘what the role of a minister is or what a preacher of the Gospel is supposed to do.’

Dr. Russell Fuller says he rose to make a motion to refer Ed Litton and Redemption Church to the Credentials Committee as not in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Former Professor of Old Testament at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) Russell Fuller said that the Southern Baptist Convention should investigate Ed Litton and his Redemption Church as not being in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Fuller said co-preaching a sermon is a violation of the Bible and the Baptist Faith & Message.

“I was getting up to make a motion that Ed Litton should be investigated, and his church should be investigated because he and his wife would preach sermons together,” Dr. Fuller said on Conversations that Matter podcast. “I think that is not consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message.”

Unfortunately, Dr. Fuller was not recognized from the floor to make his motion. Video evidence of the co-preaching is available online with at least five weeks of sermons co-preached by Ed Litton and his wife.

Dr. Fuller’s said he rose at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting to bring a motion or point of order to the assembly that would refer to the Credential’s Committee the fact that Ed Litton and his church should be barred from the SBC.

Dr. Fuller said he does not believe Litton and Redemption Church are properly cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention because of the blatant violation of the Bible and the Baptist Faith & Message.

Dr. Fuller said, “I read some of his justifications for having his wife co-preaching with him, and what he said is, ‘Look I was preaching about marriage. I was preaching about the family and I don’t have all the answers. And so, I wanted my wife to help me.’ Well as human beings none of us have all the answers to any issue. That clearly shows that Ed Litton doesn’t understand what a minister is and what a preacher of the Gospel is supposed to do. Whether it’s marriage the family or any other topic, It’s not what does Ed Litton and his wife think or Russell Fuller thinks or anyone else, it is what does the Bible teach. What is God’s Word on this issue.”

What does the Baptist Faith & Message Allow?

An important element of this discussion about what the Baptist Faith & Message allows was discussed by one of the architects of the BF&M 2000, Dr. Al Mohler. Dr. Mohler said in 2020 that women are barred from not only the title of the office of pastor but also the function. According to Dr. Mohler, one cannot separate the function of preaching from the office.

According to Dr. Al Mohler, “Southern Baptists have stated confessionally that we are complementarian in the home and in the Church. We don’t mention all the Church offices, but the office of pastor is really clear,” he explained. “In Baptist life, we’ve understood from the beginning that ‘function’ and ‘office’ are the same thing.

“I’ll just state emphatically,” he continued. “I believe that consistency with the Baptist Faith & Message means that someone who is understood to be ‘preaching’ and fulfilling that preaching task on Sunday morning where … someone holding the teaching office would be fulfilling that task … I think it would violate the Baptist Faith & Message in letter and in spirit for a woman to do that.”

SBC Bylaws allow for the Credentials Committee to handle these types of violations of the BF&M.

According to SBC Bylaw 8 C 2: “When, during an annual meeting, an issue arises whether a church is in cooperation with the Convention, the Credentials Committee shall consider the matter and review any information available to it. The committee shall either: (a) consider the question in the manner described in section (3)a below and, when prepared, recommend any action to the Executive Committee, in which case messengers from the church shall be seated pending any action by the Executive Committee; or (b) at the earliest opportunity, recommend to the Convention whether the church should be considered a cooperating church. The Convention shall immediately consider the committee’s recommendation. One representative of the church under consideration and one representative of the Credentials Committee shall be permitted to speak to the question, subject to the normal rules of debate. When debate is concluded, the Convention may decide whether the church is a cooperating church or refer the matter to the Executive Committee for further review and a decision. Unless the Convention decides that the church is not a cooperating church, messengers from the church shall be registered and seated in accordance with the Convention’s rules.”