Among the SBC Voices writers and editors, I believe I am the only one who does not know Ed Litton personally. I’ve never met him. I did not attend any of his pre-convention meet-and-greets. Until about a year ago, he was someone that I had never heard of. After reflection, he got my vote for SBC president because I thought he was the right guy for the task and because I thought he had the right message for our times.
I still believe those two thing are true.
All SBCers who eat and drink SBC politics are fully informed, some fully and sinfully engaged, about the news that Litton preached a series on Romans similar to one preached last year by JD Greear. Critics call it rank plagiarism. Supporters point out that Litton and Greear talked about the matter, that Litton apologized for “not mentioning J.D.’s generosity and ownership of these points. I should have given him credit as I shared these insights.”
To be candid, Litton does what I would have expected him to do: talk to the person involved and state what he did that was wrong.
Litton critics have done and are doing what I would have expected them to do: react viciously, selectively point fingers, and use the matter as long as it seems to work in their favor.
Litton has since removed all of his online sermons, presumed by critics to be an admission of guilt. Presuming guilt, presumably, is a Christ-like thing to do only if replicating secular politics as blood sport is the seriously misguided goal.
Baptist Press article covers the matter and includes Litton’s church statement, “By the action of the leadership at Redemption Church we have taken down sermon series prior to 2020 because people were going through sermons in an attempt to discredit and malign our pastor,” the statement from the elders said. “It is our highest priority to care for and shepherd our church.”
Litton said, “With [Greear’s] permission, I borrowed some of his insights and those three closing points.”
Greear said, “I told him that whatever bullets of mine worked in his gun, to use them.”
End of story?
Nope. That is an acutely forlorn hope in today’s hypersensitive SBC climate.
I look for people to scrutinize Mike Stone’s online sermons (he has several hundred available). I don’t know Stone, didn’t vote for Stone, wouldn’t vote for Stone but he is a very good preacher. I’m not interested in anyone’s analysis of his sermon material.
The presidential election was hotly contested, mainly by third party supporters of the three main candidates (Randy Adams was never a serious threat to be elected). The election was close. Some disgruntled Stone supporters and some folks who will spend every effort to destroy Litton because that is how they work.
I had hope for better things. Mohler made a gracious concession. Perhaps Stone, a man of many words himself, would prove to be gracious in the current matter.
If this is the SBC we want, we can have it. I don’t want it. My hope is that Ed Litton as president can move the SBC in a small way towards love, kindness, forgiveness, and comity.
As are all articles that appear with my name, this is my opinion only.
I used to preach a little Spuregonology and Adrianology back in the day. I’ve repented of the former but will not apolologize for the latter.
The best sermon books I ever had were the free books Paul Powell, then head of what’s known as Guidestone, would give away at the conventions. His clear, simple, direct outlines fit well with how I preach. I admit to copying to a degree his sermon series. You verse-by-verse guys may do what you wish. I like v-b-v on some Bible books but did a lot of topical series. It took be a long time for me to recognize that those who shout the loudest about “expository” preaching through books of the Bible were really topical preachers who used books and texts as pegs for their topics.