Yesterday, a letter from Dr. Russell Moore to the trustees of the ERLC was leaked. In it, he explains his reasons for leaving the ERLC (and now, the SBC). He realized that his enemies at the Executive Committee were seeking to make him live in “psychological terror” and he was not willing to do that anymore. He recounted the years of abuse of power by leaders at the EC. The full text of the article can be read here.
In the article, Dr. Moore said something that infuriated many people. I will copy that paragraph in full
Another SBC leader used constant pressure against me in protest of our hiring of Dan Darling and Trillia Newbell, in 2013. At the time, this was, he said, because they did not have adequate Southern Baptist backgrounds. When I answered his concerns to his face, he said, “I was really just concerned about that black girl, whether she’s an egalitarian.” When I asked what possibly could lead him to think that a woman who has written complementarian articles for complementarian websites was an “egalitarian,” he responded: “A lot of those black girls are.” This same leader also let me have it when I said that white Christians should join our black Christian brothers and sisters in lamenting when young black men are shot, and that the moments of Ferguson and Eric Garner and the Emmanuel AME Church murders should motivate the church to address these questions with the gospel embodied in reconciled churches bearing one another’s burdens, that only those with guns would prevent black people from burning down all of our cities.
This “SBC leader” protested the hiring of “black girl” because of a racial stereotype he made that “a lot of those black girls are (egalitarian).” He opposed the idea of identifying with the pain of black Christians and seeking to identify them. He constantly pressured Dr. Moore on such issues. I expressed my desire to know what SBC leader would do such a thing and was told last night who that leader was. The information was out there pretty quickly, but we have a policy here not to break news unless we get it firsthand or from the source. It has finally broken.
In another article from RNS, the identity of the person making these comments was revealed to be Paige Patterson, the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the founders and driving forces of the Conservative Baptist Network.
This was confirmed by Philip Bethancourt.
“It was Paige Patterson,” Phillip Bethancourt, the pastor of Central Church in College Station, Texas, and former vice president of the ERLC, told RNS. Bethancourt said he and other staffers heard about the comments critical of Newbell and Dan Darling, another former ERLC staffer, right after Moore spoke with Patterson. Patterson, a longtime Baptist leader, and former SBC president, was fired as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2018 for mishandling allegations of sexual abuse.
It is amazing to me that people still defend this man. What has come out about his behavior in the last three years is awful. We cannot seek the blessings of God while continuing to look the other way when leaders behave like this.