Yesterday, the Executive Committee’s ERLC task force released their report. You can find the Baptist Press story here. The task force was formed at the February 2020 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. The rationale given at the time was anecdotal concerns related to churches withholding Cooperative Program dollars because of disagreement with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
I will begin by saying that I am thankful they released the report prior to the EC’s meeting later this month. Too often over the last couple of years the EC has acted in secret, hiding behind closed doors in executive session. This report is available for every Southern Baptist to read prior to full EC consideration of it. That is a good thing.
As for the report itself, I have a lot of problems with it. I’ll focus here on the most significant. The report lists ten concerns from state executive directors that they say they regularly hear from pastors. The problem I have with this list of grievances is that they are listed “without commentary.” Giving the task force the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume that in their minds they thought this would make them appear more neutral. Instead, their failure to address each concern leaves Southern Baptists who read this report wondering whether there is any validity to these concerns.
Is the ERLC really receiving funding from George Soros? Of course not! Baptist Press has already addressed that lie back in January 2020 (before this task force was even created). But instead of addressing each concern and seeking either to set the record straight or amplify the concern, the task force report actually references one of the tabloid rags that is responsible for spreading the lie in the first place.
If the task force really wanted to serve Southern Baptists by getting to the bottom of concerns regarding the ERLC, they should have gathered all of the concerns and then addressed each of them one by one. Instead, they produced an 11-page document that really accomplishes nothing other than restating what we already knew: there are some Southern Baptists with concerns related to the ERLC.
There’s really only one thing left for the full EC to do when this report is presented to them at their upcoming meeting. The full EC should reject it outright. Regardless of whether or not you think this task force was necessary in the first place, the task force failed to do the one thing they were commissioned to do: get to the bottom of concerns related to the ERLC.