American Family Association founder Donald Wildmon and several prominent Christian broadcasters, concerned that National Religious Broadcasters would step back from conservative politics, sparked a controversy that ended with the resignation of NRB's president, Wayne Pederson. The ugly flap exposed rifts in philosophy about the influential association's direction.

Pederson assumed the NRB presidency on January 1. The controversy began soon after the January 5 Minneapolis Star Tribune quoted Pederson as saying that NRB should emphasize gospel ministry. "We get associated with the far Christian right and marginalized," he said. The association planned to install him at its annual convention in Nashville on February 16. Instead, the NRB board accepted his resignation.

"In this case, we had a very capable man who very quickly, with this article, stepped on one of the landmines," executive committee member Jerry Rose told Christianity Today after the NRB annual meeting. "I don't feel that people asked enough questions, but their concern was valid."

Glenn Plummer, chairman of the NRB board and CEO of the organization, and Michael Glenn, executive vice president, will lead the organization while the executive committee searches for a new leader. Pederson had served in several NRB positions during the past 25 years. The NRB chose him as president last year after Brandt Gustavson's death from pancreatic cancer.

Calls for Resignation

Wildmon was the first to call for Pederson to resign. Author Tim LaHaye suggested that board members "reappraise" whether Pederson should remain in the position.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson held a conference call on January 24 with other well-known broadcasters. During the call, according to Plummer, ...

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