Quick to Listen/Episode 47 |44min

What Message Is Jack Graham Sending to Russell Moore and Southern Baptists?

Ed Stetzer discusses the tensions of denominational giving, who speaks for the SBC, and the impact of the 2016 election.
What Message Is Jack Graham Sending to Russell Moore and Southern Baptists?

Last week, two-time Southern Baptist Convention president Jack Graham announced that his church would withhold its donation to the denomination’s Cooperative Program (CP).

Southern Baptist churches decide individually whether to donate a percentage of their tithe to a common pot which funds state conventions, national denominational agencies, seminaries, and church planting and missions entities like the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.

Less than two percent of the Cooperative Program’s budget funds the Southern Baptist national public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, led by Russell Moore.

But the 2016 election demonstrated that Graham and Moore were on separate political pages.

In an interview earlier this month, Graham noted an “uneasiness” among church leaders about the “disconnect between some of our denominational leaders and our churches.”

While initially a critic of Donald Trump, Graham later joined Trump’s list of faith advisors and penned several editorials explaining his support.

Moore, on the other hand, consistently spoke out against Trump and at one point criticized his Religious Right supporters as defined by “the doctrinally vacuous resentment over a lost regime of nominal, cultural ‘Christian America.’”

These critiques didn’t sit well with Graham.

“There was a disrespectfulness towards Southern Baptists and other evangelical leaders, past and present,” Graham told The Wall Street Journal in an article about SBC pushback to Moore from December.

But Graham insists that he’s “not angry at the SBC, and neither are our people.”

“I’m not working to start ...

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