A Letter to the ERLC

January 29, 2016

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

***Editor’s Note:  If you would like to contact the ERLC and voice your concerns you can email their Chief of Staff, Dr. Daniel Patterson, at dpatterson@erlc.com. (Despite being trapped by a blizzard in Washington after the Evangelicals For Life Conference, Dr. Patterson was gracious to respond promptly and professionally to this letter, agreeing to share it with both Dr. Moore and the ERLC Board Chairman. Such receptiveness on his part is deeply appreciated.)

January 22, 2016

Dr. Daniel Patterson, Chief of Staff
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Dear Dr. Patterson,

Historically, my understanding is that the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has not campaigned for or against any specific candidate by name. Given that Southern Baptists support a variety of candidates from a variety of parties, this makes perfect sense. In fact, the usual approach has been to publish Voter Guides listing various candidates and their publicly stated positions on the issues. In this manner, everyone can decide for themselves for whom they will vote, with the ERLC providing helpful information.

When Dr. Moore joined others recently by contributing to a National Review issue entitled, “Against Trump,” he crossed a line. No longer content to discuss the issues, Dr. Moore joined with others in discussing a specific political personality, and in making a clear campaign endorsement AGAINST voting for Donald Trump. As I have written before, specific negative endorsements run the risk of violating legal requirements. http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/is-the-erlc-breaking-the-rules/

The paragraph that concerns me most is this one: Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

I am not a lawyer, but it is difficult for me to parse information contained under the heading “Against Trump” as anything other than political campaigning against a specific candidate.

Apart from that legal question, I do not believe it is wise for the President of the ERLC to single out one candidate from one party and target him with 99% of his criticism. If Dr. Moore were to criticize the other candidates from both parties in a relatively equal manner, I might still prefer for him to stick to the issues, but at least he could avoid the charge of displaying such overwhelming bias.

I feel compelled to point out that Trump is not my preferred candidate in the primary race. It would be a mistake to mischaracterize me as one who is merely “stumping for Trump.” I think we must recognize, however, that many Southern Baptists do support Trump. I doubt they appreciate a portion of their offering plate money paying for an organization that has become a de facto Political Action Committee publishing information to the detriment of the candidate for whom they are prayerfully considering casting their ballot. Southern Baptists should not have to pay, through their offering plate contributions, for campaign PR opposing their candidate.

Please help me forward these concerns to the Chairman of the ERLC Trustee Board. I may not always agree with Dr. Moore on everything, but it seems to me this is a much larger issue than mere disagreement. When it comes to political races, does the ERLC speak to issues only? Or does the ERLC also endorse candidates—either by speaking positively or negatively about them? Once we move from policies to personalities, in my view, we have become a Political Action Committee. That’s not what I want, and I don’t think it is what Southern Baptists want either.

Blessings,

Dr. Rick Patrick, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Sylacauga, Alabama

***Editor’s Note:  If you would like to contact the ERLC and voice your concerns you can email their Chief of Staff at dpatterson@erlc.com

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Scott Shaver

Exactly right Rick. Wouldn’t hold my breath for a response.

ERLC in effect has become a low-budget PAC with a hip-shooter at the helm. Its EMBARRASSING. I don’t think letting these guys set up an office in Israel is a good idea.

Next thing you know, ERLC will be finding ways to call the rest of us less-than-Christian for not agreeing with Moore that the best flavored tootsie-roll pops are orange.

    Scott Shaver

    It’s all fun and games and bobble-head weirdness until a bunch of preachers go to jail for violation and manipulation of their 501C3 status.

    Maybe a few fines or a revoked tax status will temper the righteous indignation of Moore and his sycopants like Dave Miller.

Mary

The trustees of the ERLC are not going to hold Moore accountable for anything anytime soon. If you really want to make Moore accountable you would go to CNN and point out that Moore doesn’t actually speak for the SBC as a whole but strictly for himself alone – the world doesn’t get that there isn’t supposed to be a top down structure in the SBC with Moore close to the top declaring what Southern Baptists as whole think or what is an “official” position by Southern Baptist. CNN et al thinks Moore speaks for Southern Baptist. If the media were to get wind that there are Southern Baptists who do not side with Moore or the other SBC elite and are getting tired of Moore pretending he’s the “voice” of the whole denomination they would probably be interested in covering that story and Moore would be forced to admit publically that he actually isn’t voicing an “official” SBC opinion since that’s not how the SBC is organized. Most people in the media don’t get that SBC isn’t like the Catholic church with a top down structure.

John Boyer

My problem with this letter is that Rev. Dr. Patrick assumes that the entirety of the ERLC supports his statement about Mr. Trump. Just like Mr. Cathy, late CEO of Chick-Fil-A, spoke for himself when he commented on traditional family but not for his company, there is no evidence within his NRO article that Dr. Moore spoke for ERLC, only himself.

    Lydia

    “My problem with this letter is that Rev. Dr. Patrick assumes that the entirety of the ERLC supports his statement about Mr. Trump.

    This is strange. What constitutes the ” entirety ” of the ELRC? Um, Moore would not have a national media presence without the ELRC. So then he is USING his position to promote his personal views. Not well done. Very tacky.

    Rick Patrick

    Hi John,
    Thanks for engaging. And yes, not only do I assume that in this piece Dr. Moore is speaking for the entire ERLC (and the entire SBC) but so does our culture at large when he is identified by his position and his authorship rather than as a private citizen.

    If Dr. Moore intended to speak only as a private citizen, and not as a spokesperson for Southern Baptists, a disclaimer like this one used by Dr. Richard Land a few years ago could have sufficed: “Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece from Dr. Richard Land is written from his perspective as a private citizen with decades of experience as a Christian leader and in public policy. Though Dr. Land is executive editor of The Christian Post and president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, his endorsement is solely his own, and not on behalf of either organization, and represents a break from his 24-year-old tradition of not endorsing presidential candidates.”

    Instead, the National Review piece offers this byline: “Russell Moore is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the author of Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel.”

    Scott Shaver

    I share Rick’s “assumption” John Boyer.

    Everything I’ve seen written lately is firmly affixed to the moniker SBC-ERLC “head”. We’re not to assume that his staff (hands and feet) are not publicly supportive of his PAC-like political pontifications despite printed evidence to the contrary?

    Your genuinely under the impression these folks surround themselves with independent thinkers? Doesn’t pass the sniff test.

norm

Moore’s predecessor, Dr. Richard Land, would often say that he did not “speak for” Southern Baptists, but “spoke to” Southern Baptists within the purview of his SBC program assignment. As far as accountability from trustees (good point, Mary), don’t expect any IRS accountability, either, as long as Moore is dissing the candidates that those now in political and legislative power want dissed.
The SBC needs revival. No sense asking God to heal our land until we ourselves are healed.

    Mary

    I don’t know about the IRS but the point is that someone needs to go public about the fact that Moore’s rantings are purely his own. The general public including the mainstream media does not get it that Moore isn’t actually speaking on behalf of the SBC but is only an employee beholden to churches and many of those churches are asleep at the wheel. I suspect this is a story that would be of interest to many people.

      Lydia

      Comment on every site that allows comments. Moore is desperate for them to believe he influences SBC voters.

        Mary

        I can’t remember where I read it this morning but there is a serious disconnect between pew sitters and even their own pastors in how people are voting. People are tired of being treated like imbeciles, racists, Islamphobics, homophobics yada yada when they’re having trouble making ends meet while being told they are “privleged”

          Lydia

          “I can’t remember where I read it this morning but there is a serious disconnect between pew sitters and even their own pastors in how people are voting. People are tired of being treated like imbeciles, racists, Islamphobics, homophobics yada yada when they’re having trouble making ends meet while being told they are “privleged””

          Whatever happened to judging an individual by the content of their character, not their skin color. This focus on ‘groups’ (the collective within the collective) instead of individual behavior and character is going to be this country’s doom. .

            Mary

            http://bit.ly/1Kgdy4E

            The tribes are all starting to turn on each other. That link is about militent atheist being disinvited to a some conference because feminists went nuts because he retweeted a parody video of another atheist mocking feminists and Islamists. When you divide everybody up so much eventually you get the circular firing squad.

            I love Bernie Sanders! Not that I’d ever vote for the guy but I respect the fact that he has never shied away from his radical views. If anybody knows anything about ol’ Bernie it’s that he is an ol’ hippy who was a big participant in the civil rights marches back in the day. So poor ol’ Bernie just cannot seem to get why the BLM people went after him or how on earth a Hil surrogate (David Brock) could accuse him of not caring about black people. If there’s a racist and misogynist running for Dems it’s Hilary not Bernie but poor Bernie – the tribes are getting into the circle with the loaded rifles. Tribal politics is only getting worse. There just isn’t enough “free” stuff for everyone.

              Lydia

              There is definitely some amusing but deadly thinking out there. My liberal and even conservative friends are all defending Islam and now I seem to be the only feminist left. After all, Islam is HORRIBLE for women. Right? Gee, they forgot that part. Did you see the Wheaton prof don the Hijab to stand in solidarity with her Muslim neighbors? Solidarity with what? Why not just be a good neighbor without all the empty gestures. I loved the Wapo article by moderate Muslim women begging non Muslim women to stop with the empty hijab wearing gestures explaining what the Hijab really means in Arabic. It is demeaning to women.

              We are not talking about “thinkers” anymore. We are talking bandwagon people. Group think is alive and well.

              Note, it is always about “groups”. Once we erase the individual and only see “groups”,, we are doomed.

    Max

    Norm wrote “The SBC needs revival. No sense asking God to heal our land until we ourselves are healed.”

    AMEN!! Unfortunately, the American church (including SBC) seems satisfied to live without revival. How else could you explain the apathy and prayerlessness in our churches, while America descends further into moral chaos. Revival begins at the house of God … but, so does judgment.

Dwight McKissic

Rick,

Thank God for the prophetic & powerful voice of Russell Moore regarding racism & a strip joint owner running for POTUS. If the SBC is not in favor of the ERLC President standing against a casino wining race bailing, disabled person insulting, megleomniac,running for President, then there’s something drastically wrong with the SBC.

    Lydia

    Moore did not seem to be bothered working at a place that has a college named after a pro chattle slavery founder, Boyce. Named as recently as what? 1994? Before his media gig, his big issue was Patriarchy. But that does not play well in the media. ;o)

    So, as far as real issue convictions….who knows?

    Scott Shaver

    Dwight:

    Russell Moore’s “voice on racism” seems to resonate everywhere but home. Slave owners and proponents Boyce and Broadus are still namesakes and adorning the campus of Southern Seminary. The rest of us out here in fly-over country are taking down flags and removing names. Why can’t they practice what they preach to everybody else on racism. See any blacks at the ERLC Dwight?

    As for “standing against” a “casino-winning-race-baiting-diabled person insulting, meglomaniac”….why can’t he do the same for indicted harborers of criminal sexual abusers?

    You’re right…..there’s something drastically wrong with the SBC.

      Lydia

      “As for “standing against” a “casino-winning-race-baiting-diabled person insulting, meglomaniac”….why can’t he do the same for indicted harborers of criminal sexual abusers?”

      At least he is not a community organizer in Chicago. :o). At least he believes in free enterprise. Our current guy doesn’t.

        Mary

        I’ve said it before here, but idiots who wrote posts such as “I Thank God for Mark Driscoll” or such nonsense need to seriously shut up about Trump’s alledged misogyny. You could go on and on about the hypocrisy of these people going after Trump when you’ve got this history of elites in the SBC supporting people like Mahaney and Driscoll.

        One wonders why Moore has nothing to say about Hil’s declaration that she’s going to do away with the Hyde amendment or the DNC basically declaring that all “health care” decisions are between a woman and her doctor which means if a woman can find a doctor willing to abort her baby up to the moment it takes a breath they are hunky dory with that.

        People are really naive if they think Moore is going after Trump for “moral” reasons. If Trump were out of the way he’d go after Cruz because it’s all about the establishment – not casinos or racism or other shiney objects.

    Mary

    It’s comments like this that are actually driving the Trump phenonmem. No matter what the topic of discussion there will be those who call people racist, and declare that they have something “drastically wrong with them” People are getting fed up with every single discussion devolving into “you are a horrible person and you’re not even a Christian.”

      Mary

      Here’s a couple of good articles:
      http://politi.co/1QLwV79
      http://washex.am/1PZcGOy

        Lydia

        Mary, That Politico article is spot on!

        “Just just because Trump is an imperfect candidate doesn’t mean his candidacy can’t be instructive. Trump could teach Republicans in Washington a lot if only they stopped posturing long enough to watch carefully. ”

        Read more: http://politi.co/1JNqHSR

        This is it. The “conservative” candidates are missing the whole point. Why? Because they are in the bubble and the bubble is good for them. I feel the same way about Mitch McConnell. He simply gave away his leadership moment because he did not want to risk his position. Now the IRS is demanding I prove I bought health insurance on my taxes. They are a bunch of cowards and parasites. They don’t get it as they are the ones promoting Trump!

          Mary

          A lot of people are missing a whole lot of things. People don’t understand that the masses have been trained to close their ears when “racism” or whatever “phobia” gets thrown into the conversation. But a lot more people are waking up to the fact that no matter what you do now you are some kinda “phobic” or “racists” “nativist” whatever. Lawrence O Donnell went on a rant one time suggesting that talking about Obama’s frequent golf games is actually a “dog whistle” because Tiger Woods is a black golfer who is an admitted “sex addict” so therefore talking about Obama’s golf games was actually a way to suggest Obama was some scary sex crazed lazy black man. Meanwhile Chris Matthews talks about the “two Cuban guys” and wonders whether Ted Cruz is really hispanic since he’s only half Cuban (not sure what that makes Obama)

          We have insurance through my hubby’s work – it gets more expensive and covers less every year. I have a child with a chronic condition – we just paid off medical bills from 2014 and now will start paying 2015 and my poor boy’s already sick this year again. But somehow my family was supposed to be getting health care savings? Obamacare shows the Dems political philosophy – pull down the middle class so they have less and make more and more people dependent on Government.

    Rick Patrick

    Dwight,
    Thank you for engaging. Brother, in reading your remarks, I feel misunderstood. Let me attempt to clarify my position. I believe the SBC has given Dr. Moore and the ERLC the responsibility of pointing out the evils of racism, strip joints, casinos, race baiting, bullying persons with disabilities and even selfish pride. I do not believe the SBC has given Dr. Moore and the ERLC the responsibility of moving from the issues to the candidates by making specific endorsements—especially not in an official capacity while speaking for Southern Baptists. I simply believe we are better off following our traditional pattern of talking about the issues themselves—and letting Southern Baptists connect the dots and vote according to their values and consciences. If we believe in the priesthood of all believers, we should trust that God’s Holy Spirit will direct Southern Baptists as they prayerfully make their decisions. The ERLC should make Voter Guides available, but should not make political endorsements.

    Andrew Barker

    Dwight: As an interested observer, before you slag off Presidential hopefuls because of their conduct, you need to address the behaviour of those who’ve already held that office. Some would be tempted to deduce that the office has already been damaged to such an extent that the morality of those who come afterwards is of little consequence. In addition, I think the point being made here is that the SBC should not be expressing a preference for any particular candidate in the first place. What shows there’s something drastically wrong in the management of the SBC is that Moore believes he can use his position to influence voters!

    norm

    Dwight:
    Your obfuscations do nothing to alleviate Moore’s mishandling of his responsibilities that jeopardizes the ERLC’s tax-exempt status.

    Debbie Kaufman

    Amen Dwight!

      Lydia

      Debbie is on record declaring that ALL white people are racist whether they know it or not. Somehow this passes for logic and intelligence in some SBC circles. Sounds more like statements people made in the re-education camps via the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China. But that sort of thing is popular these days in America. I would prefer we see people as individuals first. But that seems to be asking too much. Fascism is making a comeback.

        Mary

        Many people are missing the historical connections. A lot of people like Debbie are burdened with white liberal guilt that forces are able to manipulate for whatever purpose. I think a big explanation for the “mood” in country right now is that deep down a lot of people know that this isn’t right – no matter what you say or do you are somehow a bad person these days – and that explains the rise of Trump/Sanders.

          Scott Shaver

          That’s another good thing about my “moderate” baptist view of “inerrancy”. It makes me IMMUNE to white guilt.

          Let’s see if I can summarize to this point….”Traditionalists” and “Neo Cals” would “agree on inerrancy”.

          My question about the operational dynamic of this alliance on “inerrancy” begs the question of how Neo-Cals and Trads end up with two different views of God despite their “inerrant” union. One God as revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ and a second more deterministic brand of God who seems consistent in character with personalities from the ancient Greek pantheon?

          Guess that’s just part of the divine mystery/enigma? Moderate Baptists do well to avoid this “briar patch”.

        Scott Shaver

        Perhaps as part of the Mao-like “re-education” Lydia, shouldn’t you ladies be wearing hajibs to show your solidarity with the maligned and demonized?

    Rick Patrick

    Dwight and Debbie,
    Perhaps if I come at this another way, it will be clearer. Suppose instead of going after Trump, Moore had written dozens of articles attacking Hillary Clinton for her support of Planned Parenthood, abortion on demand, the treasonous act of calling the Benghazi raid a video controversy, her support of Gay Marriage, and the obstruction of justice committed by “losing” all those emails. If Moore had written an article claiming that any Christian who voted for Clinton would have to repudiate everything they believe in, and if he published his negative endorsement under the heading, “Against Clinton,” but with no disclaimer indicating this was a personal endorsement, would you be fine with that?

    Assuming, for the sake of consistency, that you would indeed be fine with that, I think we need to see it…and fast. I would prefer no political endorsements on either side, but if we are going to do them on one side, then fairness dictates that we do them on the other side as well.

Debora

I’m SO thankful for this site!! Sometimes for me anyway, easy to feel I’m the only one who’s sensed all is not right with ERLC. Of course, I know better! When I read your responses, allows me to know I’m not having vain imaginations. Truly, since Russell Moore took his position in the ERLC, I’ve felt troubled in my spirit. Over time, the feeling has worsened. Yes, Norm, the SBC needs revival. Thankfully the Pres. of the SBC, will have a term that ends. Let us pray earnestly that God will provide a man who’ll stand strong, no compromise,.
Mary, what you say re: going to CNN…Amen, as well as ALL the other “venues” where he’s either on TV, Radio, streaming video, whatever. It’s gone on too long!! None of us is above reproach, including Moore or Mohler. Scott, as always your comments are ON Point. Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness.

I’d like to direct you all to 2 pertinent web sites. The first is one, I know God led me too. There’s a “lead section,” that has become quite lengthy with articles re: SBC & ERLC. These articles have been posted on credible web sites. The second e-mail is one I discovered on Laodician and thankful I did! This is an Editorial written by the Editor of The Message, News Journal for Baptists of Louisiana…it is long, scathing, detailed re: Moore’s actions in the ERLC. Was taken back initially by the total boldness! It’s apparent he’s done his homework and research…no backing down! I’ve read 3 times, will read again. E-mailed Mr. Hall re: his boldness and directness re: what we’re presently dealing with! Imagine he’ll receive LOT of e-mails and calls. Was written 1/28. He doesn’t leave many stones un-turned. This will be read by MANY, as now promoted on the Internet. Thanks for listening. Wouldn’t recommend, if didn’t know of what I speak. http://laodiceanreport.com/ http://baptistmessage.com/editorial-does-the-erlc-represent-the-sbc/

Seth

At what point do you exclude the ERLC from giving?

    Scott Shaver

    Seth, I would imagine as soon as you/me/we decide personally to draw the purse strings shut.

    Rick Patrick

    I am hearing rumblings, in other quarters, but I am not quite ready to defund the institution—just because I disagree with the current President on a few matters. Still, I think it is always appropriate to ask if we want to continue funding an organization. Years ago, when it became too liberal for Southern Baptists to embrace, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs was defunded, so there is clearly precedence for taking such an action. Perhaps you consider excluding the ERLC more and more seriously the longer they ignore your concerns. There is growing discontent.

      Scott Shaver

      Speaking of BJCPA and ERLC…..what are the differences between the two these days?

Greg Roberts

Thank you Dr. Patrick for raising this issue. Here is the editorial that was referred to in an earlier post.
http://bit.ly/1Vwc5YG

    Rick Patrick

    Thank you, Greg, for engaging here, and for linking to Dr. Will Hall’s excellent article. Dr. Hall has already granted us permission to reprint his piece, and it is scheduled to post here on Monday. We believe it deserves wide circulation. As one friend of mine described it, it is a “must read.”

Rick Patrick

Friends,
A little housekeeping announcement directed at no one in particular but everyone in general. Whenever you link to another article or website, please consider using Bitly to shorten your URL. You simply copy the URL, navigate to https://bitly.com/, paste it in the box, and watch as it reduces your link by 80% or more. Copy the new link and insert it in your comment. It’s quick, easy and more professional looking. The problem with those longer links is that when they appear in the comment roll to the right, they bleed off the page and mess up our format. Thanks!

    Mary

    That would be me. Sorry, never did know about Bitly, so thanks.

Debora

That would be me too. Didn’t know about Bitly…good for future reference.

Dr. Patrick, wonderful! that Dr. Hall’s editorial will be published here. Yes, certainly needs to be read by many! Have been greatly enlightened and informed today by all the sound dialogue. The church needs discernment today, more than ever! We need to be in one accord. I see the fellowship on this forum. God has His ways of bringing His people together.

Amen Max re: judgement beginning at the House of God. Yes, God is a God of love. But, people forget He’s also a God of wrath and judgement. May He have mercy on us in this untoward, lawless, rebellious, perverted generation. God’s plans will not be thwarted. The day of Divine Reckoning will come, in His Sovereign time table.

Debora

Just saying…in my comments, I addressed you Max, by mistake. So, Norm I AMEN your comment, as saw error when re-read what I’d posted..

William Thornton

Not to disparage my friend Rick’s OP, but a much better, far more comprehensive treatment of the matter is found at: http://bit.ly/1OWvbW4

This is the sort of product Baptist moderates are producing these days, which makes some wonder if we SBCers are missing something. Rick, BTW, has had several of his comments touted by the moderate Baptist media. What is the baptist world coming to these days?

    Rick Patrick

    William,
    The Kaylor piece is a well written defense of Russell Moore’s biased political activism, but to compare Kaylor’s treatment to mine is apples and oranges, for the articles are very different. His story is more analogous to the editorial by Will Hall linked above. It is obviously more comprehensive by design. Mine is the in the form of an actual, specific letter asking the ERLC to address the issues and not the candidates.

    Regarding the IRS regulation, even Kaylor admits: “Moore’s anti-Trump rhetoric clearly fits that broader definition – though it would not necessarily be an IRS violation as long as Moore engages in the activity on his own and not through the ERLC.” If Moore wants to claim that all of his “Against Trump” statements are being made as a private citizen, then he needs to do a much better job of getting that disclaimer out there in his articles and interviews. The one time Dr. Land ever made a political endorsement, he wrote a crystal clear disclaimer on the front end. I think Moore’s Rubio endorsement is patently clear to all. It is at least time for Dr. Moore to hit the disclaimer button a little bit harder. My preference, however, is for him to revert back to Dr. Land’s 24-year tradition of not endorsing anyone. Just publish the Voter Guides and let Southern Baptists decide.

    I hope your second paragraph is not insinuating some sort of Moderate leaning on my part. That would be like calling me a Calvinist! Anyone who knows me would not entertain such a thought for a second. I will admit that between Traditionalists, Calvinists and Moderates, there appear to be certain topics in which the alliances form separately from one another. For example, on the matter of inerrancy, Traditionalists and Calvinists are in agreement, while on the matter of Calvinism, obviously, Traditionalists and Moderates are in agreement.

    I think we can all agree with your final question—although for very different reasons.

      William Thornton

      Rick, you are completely missing this. Perhaps I am unclear. Kaylor’s piece shows how RM is endorsing or near-endorsing, favoring or not favoring, candidates. His tour-de-force report on Moore (and Land’s) political activities and statements are exactly what you are addressing. He neither defends nor advocates anything.

      And you have some comments picked up by Bob Allen because you are strictly SBC and you write things that are newsworthy to moderates and others who read BNG. I’m not insinuating anything. If what you say resonates with Baptist moderates that’s no slam on you, certainly not in regard to denominational political activity.

Scott Shaver

Spoken like a true shill William Thornton.

Moore maybe “uncommitted” to vote for anybody (I don’t believe that), He is certainly COMMITTED, however, to telling evangelicals WHO THEY SHOULD NOT vote for along with castigation of their faith where there’s any disagreement with Him.

As for “Ethics Daily”…..just because the publication runs regularly doesn’t mean it always represents clarity in ethical thought or behavior.

Would not want to “disparage” your comments…….but sell it to the Air Force as far as the substance of this article being “much better” and “far more comprehensive”. Such is in the discernment of the reader.

    Scott Shaver

    By the way William….I consider myself a “moderate” (non-Fundamentalist) “baptist.”

    What makes you think that your particular “category” of “baptist” has a corner on truth. At least these “moderate” publications aren’t afraid to address facts. Where’s Baptist Press on all this?

    The wizard of Oz difference between guys like Rick and guys like you is COURAGE.

      Scott Shaver

      This is for Rick Patrick.

      For you to assume that labeling fellow believers as “Moderates”, “Traditionalists” and “Calvinists” does also by default reflect their positions and convictions on scripture (i.e. “inerrancy”) is dirt-dumb. You should have learned better than that through the CR debacle. If not, you certainly should be aware of the fallacy of such an insinuation in the 20 year aftermath of the so-called “conservative resurgence”.

      “Traditionalist” is a label only recently devised by YOU if I’m not mistaken.

      As long as so-called “Calvinists” can intimidate “Traditionalists” by the fear of being associated with “Moderates” (who according to Rick and others are “soft” on innerrancy) the game of ignorance continues until there’s nothing left but angry fragments.

      Expected a little better rational thinking from you at this point Rick.

        Scott Shaver

        My apology in advance to Rick for the “dirt-dumb” comment.

        Sensitive point with me. My belief in the “inerrancy” of Scripture provides me with, among other benefits, an immunity to the extra-biblical templates of hyper-calvinism.

        It also, at this stage of my life, moves me beyond the temporal fear of suspicion from the self-righteous or the need to worry any longer (despite differences of perspective) about WHICH CHRISTIAN BELIEVES THE BIBLE HARDEST. There is no standard of measurement except the all-consuming presence of GOD.

        We don’t have full access to that kind of audience with HIM yet.

          Rick Patrick

          No apology necessary. I appreciate those who express their opinions with deep passion. And I admit that while there were certainly liberals during the Conservative Resurgence days who disaffirmed inerrancy, a problem I believe needed to be addressed, there were many others who may have been lumped in with that camp that did not truly deserve the label.

        Rick Patrick

        Scott,
        I apologize for my dirt-dumbness. It’s early on a Saturday morning and I don’t get halfway smart until around 10:30. While you and I disagree about the Conservative Resurgence, we still agree on today’s controversies relative to Calvinism, the ERLC, current SBC leadership, etc. I do recognize the existence of at least these three camps in Southern Baptist life today.

        Regarding the Traditionalist label, I believe we can credit a couple of Moderates for that in a book they wrote all the way back in the year 2000—the very year that the Acts 29 Network was formed. Here is the basis for the term: http://bit.ly/1P3IIJo.

        If nothing else, our minor spat here regarding Conservative Resurgence issues should at least indicate to William that guilt by association tactics will not work, for it is perfectly reasonable for Southern Baptist Traditionalists to side with the Calvinists on the Conservative Resurgence and with the Moderates on the Young, Restless Reformed Movement.

        I look forward to the caffeine-induced return of my rationality in just a few more hours.

          Scott Shaver

          My Problem as Well Bro. Rick.

          I’m going to turn on coffee pot right now.

            Scott Shaver

            This is coming from the perspective of past non-fan of Jerry Falwell.

            While sipping my coffee I watched a replay of an interview with his son (current Provost/President) at Liberty University, off one of the major news outlets. If interested, nobody should have a hard time finding the interview online. As I listened to Falwell’s explanation for having Trump speak in tandem with his recall of the history of how Liberty survived and thrived through an integrated approach at engaging both “culture” and “finances/business”, I was amazed at how savy, sharp and intelligently Christian this guy sounds.

            The model they’ve employed at their school has obviously paid great dividends and provided enlarged opportunities for them to expand their “mission”.

            If you want to see an institution that, despite my past predjudice, is modeling HOW TO ENGAGE THE CULTURE AND REMAIN DISTINCTLY CHRISTIAN, don’t look at the ERLC.

            Take a look at Liberty.

      William Thornton

      I put an Ethics Daily article link up, say it does a better job of doing what Rick is attempting to do…and you get this out of it? I point out that Bob Allen finds my SBC colleague’s comments newsworthy and you end up here? You are missing a few things, Scott. I’ve touted Bob Allen’s stuff on Associated Baptist Press (and now BNG) for years and have said that if Southern Baptists want to be informed they cannot rely on in-house organs and Baptist Press.

      …but don’t let that slow you down, bro.

        Scott Shaver

        Bob Allen name-dropping and the estimation of others about what is “news-worthy” is humorous, Will, in this age of agenda-driven spin and hype. You’re correct, that’s exactly what I “get out of it” and you can rest assured it will not “slow me down”. This little excursion into the world of conflicting SBC opinions and perspectives has been thirty years in the making for me.

        But don’t let that discourage you from continuing to lob up these sycophant soft-balls for batting practice, William. Appreciate the exercise.

Lydia

William, I think the confusion is you are very good at attempting to appear neutral while spinning different positions from various sides but when it comes to convictions you come off, over time, as playing games. I realize that is popular in some circles and some may even view it as some sort of neutrality.

It is a perception issue, right or wrong.

Mary

So, question…. would the people who are ranting against those who are willing to vote for Trump – those people who are calling people immoral and probably not even a Christian. Would they feel the same way about the African American community who vote overwhelmingly Dem – these Dems who boo God and want abortion on demand to the point of first breath and for the government to pay for it. Isn’t there a soft racism at play here – for instance SBC Pravda would never dare post about how the black community as a whole are immoral for voting for Obama et al would they? Why do some people get a pass for “immoral” votes? Would Russell Moore be a “prophetic” voice if he pointed out the African American community has consistently supported the “immoral” candidates?

    Scott Shaver

    Pardon the satire Mary, but this is AMERICA where logic is trumped by political correctness and race-baiting and baptist “prophets” are tempered by both. :0

      Mary

      I was thinking more along the lines of consistency. If there’s all this hand wringing now about who people may or may not vote for then when we get to the general election we should hear much from Russell Moore et al about how evil and unchristian it is to vote for Dems and if those people were really consistent they would be writing up volumes about “how on earth can the African American community as whole abandon any pretense of Christianity and vote their race over their commitment to Christ.” All things being equal, ya know?

        Scott Shaver

        Wonder if Dr. Moore had any problem voting Democrat when he worked for one?

Lydia

Mary, Obama could not have won twice without white votes. I, as a woman, could not have voted unless MEN had voted to ratify the 19th Amendment. Oh, the irony.
One can dream folks will wake up and focus on issues and policy in a serious way but class war, race and the collective are more influential and play on the shallowest of emotions. Individual responsibility is dead.

Kevin Boling

In addition to direct negative statements about Trump (and Cruz), Dr. Moore has been virtually stumping for Rubio.

Outside Observer

Has everyone forgotten that all this got started with Trump’s position on Syrian refugees? On that problem, Moore correctly realized that the Sermon on the Mount applies. Moore may have slightly overreacted with his NR piece. That’s hardly significant in the context of thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people. We must follow the scriptures and Baptist doctrine and minister to these people the best we can.

    Scott Shaver

    Outside Observer:

    You mean the kind of Sermon on the Mount activity going on with refugees and women in the public squares of Germany and elsewhere?

    We’re not the ones these folks are running away from and bet a dollar to a doughnut not all are “displaced”. Some of them could be “dispatched”. Just saying.

Herb Miller

Thank you Dr. Patrick for your well thought out letter. I have been a Southern Baptist for 60 years, and I don’t think I ever agree with Moore of the ERLC. I wish we had Richard Lamb back, or at least some one that had Mr. Lamb’s integrity.

Moore of the ERLC has never spoken for me. I disagree with him in almost everything he stands for.

Here is another article that is a little more in depth on this issue: http://baptistmessage.com/editorial-does-the-erlc-represent-the-sbc/

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