Russell Moore’s back-door press release of June 2, 2021, was filled with mischaracterizations of who Southern Baptists are. The release of the letter is clearly an attempt to influence the upcoming presidential election in the SBC. And I think Southern Baptists can see this letter for exactly what it is.
The accusation that a special 2020 ERLC Task Force was a unilateral action on my part is blatantly and provably false. This attack is a deflection from the fact that Russell’s leadership of the ERLC has been an ongoing source of division and distraction for Southern Baptists.
His sharp accusations against the SBC and its leadership were supposedly made in private correspondence in February of 2020. It seems odd that the author of “The Courage to Stand” would sit silently on such troubling accusations for 16 months and longer.
His letter contains numerous misrepresentations of me and of the leadership of our beloved Convention. More broadly, it illustrates that he holds a markedly different view of the Southern Baptist Convention than the one held by the overwhelming majority of our 14 million members who have generously paid his salary.
His view is apparently of an SBC leadership filled with “white nationalists and white supremacists.” His view is of an SBC leadership that contains “neoconfederate activities” and “raw racist sentiment.” That is not the SBC that I know.
He sees an SBC where national leaders employ “psychological terror” against him to prevent him from speaking the truth about sexual abuse and racism. In my entire service at the Executive Committee and as a pastor, I have never heard a single Southern Baptist leader be angry over opposition to sexual abuse or racism. That is not the SBC that I know.
Today, at our 47,000 churches, devoted Southern Baptists are preparing for Vacation Bible School, children’s camps, student mission trips, and more. That’s the SBC that I know.
The real Southern Baptist Convention is looking for more effective ways to reach anyone and everyone with the gospel of Christ. And we will gather in Nashville, TN, June 15-16 to discuss our mission. That’s the SBC that I know.
I regret that Russell’s service as president of one of our agencies has led him to such a disillusioned opinion of who we are. My prayer is that his new place of service outside the SBC will lead him to a better and more peaceful place personally and professionally.