First, a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the history.
Back during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Southern Baptist Convention was controlled by liberals. With all the social turmoil that was occurring at that time, the convention’s leadership was more similar to liberal mainline Protestantism than they were to biblical Christianity.
But then, conservative churches and pastors in response to this liberal leadership became active and took over the denomination around 1979. This was referred to as the “Conservative Resurgence”. Top leaders of the Conservative Resurgence included men like Adrian Rogers and Charles Stanley.
In response to conservatives taking control, a large number of liberal churches left the convention and formed a new denomination called the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). This group is much less rigorous with regard to adhering to biblical teachings. It tends to be more affirming of the LGBT crowd, for instance.
Conservatives controlled the convention until roughly a decade ago, but then it turned.
There was an incident this week, however, that was absolutely stunning with its implications.
Recall that we had posted here Monday about the release of part of the Nashville Christian school shooter’s manifesto. The release revealed that the transgender killer was motivated, at least in part, by hatred of Christians and of white people.
Brent Leatherwood is a parent of some children at that school who survived that day. He also happens to be one of the key leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. He leads the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. This is the part of the Convention that acts as our lobbyist– advocating with legislators and other policy-makers in Washington, DC regarding matters of importance to Southern Baptists.
Mr. Leatherwood in the wake of the school shootings began to advocate for gun control. But on Monday, he held a press conference intensely criticizing the release of the shooter’s writings. He referred to the person who released it as a “viper” and called for the arrest of this person. He further called for that person’s repentance.
Here is the video from his press conference:
Note the overwrought presentation, the pained expressions and emotional hand-wringing. And yet it is difficult to identify a major offense that justified this kind of presentation. He does not make a compelling case that this part of the manifesto should have been kept under wraps– but he stridently demands this outcome. Remain mindful that the shootings took place eight months ago.
It is very interesting that Leatherwood has taken precisely the same position on this issue as the profoundly awful Merrick Garland– i.e., Joe Biden’s Attorney General who controls the activities of the FBI on this matter.
The Conservative Baptist Network responded to Leatherwood’s press conference by raising a series of questions. If you read and study the questions, you will understand the level of folly in Leatherwood’s presentation.
Mr. Leatherwood held the press conference at Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville. I find this to be very interesting because that particular church is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship church– i.e., a liberal church.
In fact, it was reported back during August that a new interim CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee had been named. This person’s name is Jonathan Howe. It turns out Howe’s wife is a minister at that same Woodmont Baptist where Leatherwood held his press conference– a CBF church where Howe himself also attends.
So you have the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee and the leader of its Ethics and Liberty Commission in close relationship with a CBF church.
Howe and Leatherwood are two manifestations of the recent liberal/ moderate leadership of the Convention that has included JD Greear of Durham, North Carolina. But it increasingly is beginning to appear that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has taken over the Southern Baptist Convention– in spirit if not in physical reality.