Richard Land, the outspoken president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), announced today that he will retire in October 2013 after 25 years of service.
Baptist Press, which announced the news, noted that Land, 65, "led the transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics entity during the denomination's conservative resurgence." Land served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for most of the past decade, and was named one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals by Time Magazine in 2005.
However, Land's retirement from the ERLC will not mean a retirement from his high-profile role in the culture wars. "When God called me into the ministry a half century ago, the burden He placed on my heart was for America," wrote Land in his retirement announcement. "That call and that burning burden are still there. I believe the 'culture war' is a titanic struggle for our nation's soul and as a minister of Christ's Gospel, I have no right to retire from that struggle."
Land recently lost his radio show over racially charged comments and plagiarism regarding the Trayvon Martin case. His high profile as the outspoken go-to SBC source for journalists led observers to disagree this summer on how much clout Fred Luter, installed as the denomination's first black president, would really have.
Land has appeared quite frequently in CT, including recently on whether it is biblical to be pro-life and support the death penalty, as well as whether the same-sex marriage debate has helped pro-life advocacy.