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ERLC strives to do their work ‘with hope’ Leatherwood says

Baptist Press

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – During his address to messengers at the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting, Brent Leatherwood, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the entity strives to shine the light of Christ in the realm of public policy. 

“This is my third address that I’ve had the privilege of making before you at one of these gatherings,” Leatherwood said during the afternoon session on Wednesday (June 12). “In each of those previous moments that we’ve been together, I recall with fondness what it revealed: The strength of our voice as a Convention.”

“A strength that stems from the unceasing cooperation of our churches, and a cooperation that ensures the hope of the Gospel may be brought to the uttermost ends of the earth, which includes the public square. And I don’t say that lightly.” 

Leatherwood pointed to the ever-present darkness and division present in the public square as evidence of a deep need for a unified Southern Baptist voice. 

“One only needs to read the newspaper, turn on the television, open social media to see the vitriol, the despair and the conspiracies as proof that the light of the world is needed as much in the public arena as it is on the international mission field.

“And these gatherings demonstrate how deeply we understand that. They consistently show how unified this far-reaching and diverse collection of churches is about the essentials, be it theology, or for our purposes, public policy.”

Leatherwood went on to list several areas the ERLC has fought for Southern Baptist convictions in the public square in recent years:

Leatherwood emphasized the work of the ERLC is not just rooted in the Convention, but is responsive to the Convention.

Other work of the entity mentioned by Leatherwood includes:

  • Pro-life advocacy including the Psalm 139 Project
  • Supporting critical legislation regarding Taiwan and Ukraine
  • Drafting an Evangelical Statement of Support for Israel
  • Releasing their first ever State Policy Agenda 
  • Engaging state conventions by providing resources regarding the upcoming presidential election
  • Filing a record number of public comments speaking against actions of the Biden administration 
  • Fighting antisemitism around the country 
  • Continuing to help address the issue of sexual abuse in the Convention.

Concluding his remarks, Leatherwood told the story of a Jewish couple who called him in tears to thank him for the work of the ERLC, saying it gave them hope.

“In all this work, in all that we strive to do, we do so without malice or despair, but instead with hope,” he said.

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

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