By / Dec 2

Within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), resolutions have traditionally been defined as an expression of opinion or concern, as compared to a motion, which calls for action. A resolution is not used to direct an entity of the denomination to specific action other than to communicate the opinion or concern expressed. Each year, resolutions are passed during the annual meetings of the state conventions.

Highlighted below are some examples of resolutions on ERLC related issues from the 2022 conventions:

Alabama Baptist Convention

Resolution No. 1: On Appreciation for the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 15-16, 2022, offer thanks and praise to God for turning hearts on the issue of protecting innocent human life.

Resolution No. 3: On Calling for Repeal of Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Alabama

RESOLVED, That each city and county in the state of Alabama refuse to pass resolutions permitting the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries within their jurisdictions and to otherwise close such dispensaries that may have been opened while the Act is in effect.

Resolution No. 4: In Support of the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act

RESOLVED, That appropriate and wise medical, psychological, and spiritual counsel be determined to protect minors from improper and unnecessary life-changing medical procedures and to provide support for them, their parents, and their families.

Resolution No. 5: On Reaffirmation of Christian Parenting for All Children

RESOLVED, That Alabama Baptist churches teach sound Biblical values as God’s pattern for family life, marriage, and parenting; and that each church provide a spiritually-nourishing environment for every family and diligently commit to equipping parents to support and empower their children to fulfill their God-given potential.

Resolution No. 6: On Appreciation to the Sexual Abuse Task Force

RESOLVED, That we commend Alabama Baptist entities and local churches as they protect the vulnerable by making sure their facilities are safe spaces for all as we seek to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Arkansas Baptist State Convention

Resolution No. 3: On Opposing the Potential Harmful Effects of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Resolved, that we the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Arkansas, October 25-26, 2022, implore Arkansas voters to cast their votes against Issue 4, the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment.

Resolution No. 4: On Supporting the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment

Resolved, that we implore all Arkansans to support Issue 3, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment, and, if able, cast their votes for its passage, sensing that it is the right thing to do and now is the time to do it. 

Missouri Baptist Convention

Resolution No. 4: On the Overturning of Roe V. Wade

RESOLVED, that we commend the recent decision of the Supreme Court and the work of Missouri lawmakers regarding abortion, and we thank God for granting them wisdom;

Resolution No. 5: On Puberty Suppression and the Gift of Gender

RESOLVED, that the messengers of the Missouri Baptist Convention meeting in St. Charles, Missouri, October 25, 2022 oppose the use of puberty blockers for children experiencing childhood gender nonconformity;

Resolution No. 6: On Gambling

RESOLVED, that we encourage the churches and associations cooperating with the Missouri Baptist Convention to engage in vigorous programs of education for adults, teenagers, and children about the moral tragedies wrought by legalized gambling; 

Resolution No. 7: On Recreational Marijuana and Missouri Amendment 3

RESOLVED, that we oppose any activity that would render our neighbors and ourselves enslaved to any chemical dependency, contrary to the healing and renewing will of the Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 6:12);

Resolution No. 8: On Proclaiming Biblical Morality 

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention meeting in St. Charles, Missouri, October 25, 2022, call upon our Pastors to raise the standard of Godly morality lived out in their personal lives to serve as an example;

Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma

Resolution No. 4: On Religious Liberty, Forced Conversion, and the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

We lament the degradation and dehumanization, which included forced removal of children from their families, forced child labor, removal of their tribal identity, confinement, flogging, withholding food, whipping, slapping, and cuffing, as well as discouraging or preventing the use of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian languages, religions, and cultural practices. We declare the atrocities done against these people in the name of religious “conversions” as reprehensible, betraying the Great Commission.

Resolution No. 5:  Against Recreational Marijuana

We believe that states should protect their people from the proliferation of recreational marijuana. Legalizing addictive drugs for recreational use leaves neighborhoods, families, and schools vulnerable for exploitation. We pray that Oklahoma will maintain legal barriers between these substances and the communities they devastate, and that the church will work with Christ-centered ministries to reach people who are impacted by addiction.

Resolution No. 6: On the Overturn of Roe v. Wade and Supporting Pregnancy Resource Centers

We remain fully committed to this shared effort, to honor the image of God in the preborn, their mothers and fathers, and the uniquely challenging circumstances they face. We pledge to support this gospel ministry with prayer, volunteer work, and financial resources.

South Carolina Baptist Convention

On the Use of Preferred Gender Pronouns 

RESOLVED, that we encourage all South Carolina Baptists to resist speaking falsely and giving credence to the philosophies of the LGBTQ+ movement by adopting preferred pronouns that do not refer to a person’s created sex and biological makeup;

Encouraging the South Carolina Legislature to Pass a Law Protecting Minors by Prohibiting Transgender Surgery, Puberty Blockers, and Cross-Hormone Therapies

RESOLVED, we strongly encourage the South Carolina Legislature to draft and pass a law that will prohibit children under the age of 18 from obtaining transgender surgery, receiving puberty-blocking medication, or being subjected to cross-hormone treatment;

Exhorting Affiliated South Carolina Baptist Convention Churches to Develop Biblical Definitions and Policies to Confront Sexual Abuse

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the South Carolina Baptist Convention meeting in Irmo, South Carolina, on November 14–15, 2022, exhort churches and their leaders to recognize the potential effect sexual abuse can have on individuals and their congregations; to develop biblical definitions of sexual abuse; and to develop and/or strengthen policies and procedures to acknowledge, prevent, report, and facilitate healing from the effects of sexual abuse in their congregations consistent with Holy Scripture and applicable law.

Strengthening And Clarifying Laws Concerning Pastors And Churches Regarding Sexual Abuse

RESOLVED, we encourage South Carolina lawmakers to remove barriers to the free flow of information between churches and other entities about employees and volunteers and, in so doing, empower churches to prevent sexual abuse;  

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC)

Resolution 3: On Gambling

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, meeting November 14–15, 2022, in Corpus Christi, Texas, declare our opposition to any further legalization, government facilitation, or expansion of any type of gambling including land-based casinos, riverboat casinos, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, instant racing, electronic versions of raffles, bingo, lottery scratch tickets, Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), expanded lotteries and Keno; phone and computer-based wagering; and the expanded use of gambling technologies in Texas; 

Resolution 4: On Biblical Gender & Sexuality

RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention exhort our members and leaders to not accept any type of false doctrine or deceptive application related to gender identity and sexuality rather than what is stated clearly in Genesis 1:27 (“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”), affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Article IV, “The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation,” and demonstrate this truth by teaching our children to honor God with their bodies; 

Resolution 5: On Celebration of the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

RESOLVED, we encourage all Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to take up the responsibility of both the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel by teaching the grace, forgiveness, and hope of Christ and by continuing steadfast in our commitment to pursue pure and undefiled religion prayerfully, financially, and practically in prenatal and postnatal care through pregnancy resource centers, counseling, fostering, adoption, and other available means.

By / Nov 21

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of traveling to multiple state conventions as they hosted their annual meetings. To say it was a joy to be with our SBC pastors and leaders in person is an understatement. There is something to be said about being in the same room with these brothers and sisters with whom we’ve linked arms for the purpose of the Great Commission. 

Two months ago, the trustees of our entity turned over the reins to me as president of the ERLC. Since that time, I have been busy calling and connecting with pastors from all across the country to––first and foremost––listen to their ideas, challenges, and experiences. In doing so, I believe this foundational work ensures that the ERLC will be able to keep speaking from our churches, just as it has since its inception. The ERLC is an institution that dates back over a century, and it belongs to Baptists––the pastor, the minister, and the individual in the pew who faithfully and sacrificially gives to the Cooperative Program. 

But this heart isn’t unique to me. It comes directly from our mission statement. The ERLC exists to speak with and assist our churches in understanding the moral demands of the gospel and, at the same time, to speak from our churches about the pressing policy issues that we all face in the public square. This includes issues such as the dignity of life, religious freedom, protection of conscience rights, the sanctity of marriage as God has defined it, and the defense of human dignity. This ensures that, even as we work alongside a number of partners and peers in our work, we’ll continue speaking with a thoroughly Baptist voice about the issues important to the SBC.

What matters most

As we reconstitute and rebuild this team, I know that if my vision for the ERLC is not aligned with what our churches actually need right now, it won’t work. So as new staff members are brought aboard, new initiatives are designed, and new resources are created, know that each of these steps are undertaken so our entity is fashioned in such a way as to address the feedback we are receiving from our churches.

One thing that will not change is our ministry assignment; one that we are privileged to carry out. This specific task has been given to us by our convention, so that means where our churches have spoken, this Commission will also speak without wavering. This is vital because a deep, abiding, and consistent voice of moral clarity is needed in the confusing times we find ourselves in. That’s what will set us apart. While there are other organizations in this space with competing motivations, this ministry will be firmly rooted in Scripture and guided by our Baptist Faith and Message.

What’s next

It’s natural to wonder: What will this new version of the ERLC look like, and what comes next? There will be many updates to come on that front. I’m eager to tell our churches more in the weeks and months ahead. The best way to stay informed is by joining us at ERLC.com/updates. 

Signing up for email updates allows you to hear directly from us about our work and ways we are serving you on the issues that matter most to Southern Baptists. You’ll learn about our advocacy in our nation’s capital, exciting new partnerships with our state conventions, and the ways we are working across the SBC with our sister entities.

As we move forward in this next chapter, know that our churches are first in our hearts and at the top of our minds. We are taking each next step with a Mark 10:44 mindset: to be a servant of all. I cannot wait to hear from you and be alongside you as we take the gospel to a chaotic public square that is in desperate need of the hope and peace that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

By / Nov 8

The following article is adapted from remarks made by ERLC President Brent Leatherwood to Michigan Baptists.

In my recent conversations, I’ve detected quite a bit of fear. Outside the walls of our churches, fear is rampant. It often comes out as fear of the unknown, fear of the results of the election, or, as another put it, fear of what “they” may do to us. For the most part, it’s causing people to respond in one of two ways: either despondency and pulling back from the world, or seething with anger and deploying the language of warfare and conquest. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is seeping into our churches. I have been told this by pastors and ministers in numerous conversations I have had over the last six weeks.

There is no doubt we live in a challenging and confusing moment, and we should be clear-eyed about the challenges we face. But allow me to offer a gentle reminder of Paul’s reassuring words to Timothy: “. . . for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Spirit-led courage, unceasing love, and humble self-control are qualities that stand in complete opposition to the times in which we find ourselves. And they are qualities Christians should exude at all times, whether we are going to another country, planting a church in a new context, or entering a chaotic public square.

Life in the public square

The public square is where the ERLC operates on a daily basis and where Southern Baptists have spoken for over a century. It is vital that we continue to do so by serving and responding to the needs of our churches while continuing to build on the legacy of those who came before us. The best way to do that is through partnership, or, to use that rich Baptist term: cooperation. When we cooperate in our missional work, I truly believe there is no better gospel force on the planet than our convention of churches. And given the state of our public square, it is crucial that we see it as a mission field that is in dire need of those who are cooperating together for the sake of the gospel.

Last summer, we witnessed the most significant victory in the history of the pro-life movement with the Dobbs decision that overtuned Roe v. Wade. Abortion, as an issue, can now be directly dealt with at the state level. A number of states, overnight and in the ensuing weeks, shifted to a legal posture that respects life, defends preborn lives, and serves mothers. But we must acknowledge some have taken the opposite path. A path where more lives are lost and more mothers are allowed to be targeted and preyed upon by the abortion industry. At the same time, not every state has settled this question. 

To find an example, all one has to do is look at a state like Michigan.There, the question of abortion rights is being placed before voters on Election Day. 

Proposition 3 seeks to amend the state constitution to create a right to abortion, prohibiting the state legislature from regulating the procedure before viability. This law could take the state well beyond even the disastrous Roe framework. I encourage Christians in Michigan, and throughout the U.S., to be people of life who speak into this moment (and others like these) clearly and convictionally. Those who live in Michigan should vote against this diabolical measure and instead work to institute a culture of life with policies and leaders that protect both mother and child. The right to an abortion in Roe was wrong in 1973, and Proposition 3’s anchoring of a right to abortion in the state constitution is wrong in 2022.  

Because this issue has long been important to our churches, we have many stories to share about ways lives have been saved and mothers have been protected. As Tim Patterson, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, wrote in August, “Keep telling the story and living the life. It has and does make a difference.” That’s why the ERLC wants to come alongside ourBaptist brothers and sisters in Michigan—and members of SBC churches across the nation—as you proclaim the dignity of preborn lives, inviting you to our pro-life conferences and gatherings, and why we want to continue placing life-saving ultrasound machines in centers that will directly confront Planned Parenthood and the lies they tell vulnerable mothers and scared fathers.

Other important issues in the public square 

The same is true for other issues important to our Baptist family that are within our ministry assignment. We want to continue being the foremost Baptist voice on religious liberty, which, in a legal sense, is on its strongest footing ever right now. Yet, we know the challenges to that standing are growing. So we must safeguard this liberty––which is our first freedom, our essential liberty.

The same goes for our human dignity issues like pursuing real, Ephesians-like racial unity and continuing to advocate before the state for laws that help families flourish. And of course, it is imperative we cooperate on an issue like combatting sexual abuse. This terrible scourge has been with us for far too long, and I am encouraged that our convention of churches has resoundingly said, “No more.” At the ERLC, we are proud to be partnering with our new SBC president, Dr. Bart Barber, and the new Implementation Task Force that is turning recommendations into action to serve you and your churches and to make sure they are safe from abuse and safe for survivors.

It is clear that there is urgent work to be done. Work that is not for the timid or fearful. And it is work that can be accomplished through our Southern Baptist cooperation. As we at the ERLC come alongside to assist you, your church, and your convention, it will allow us to speak more adeptly from our churches into the public square––a chaotic, messy, noisy public square that is in desperate need of the hope and peace that can only come from hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

By / Oct 28

In this episode, Brent and Lindsay discuss the U.K.’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak. They also talk about Putin’s threat of a radioactive bomb, the Refugee Resettlement Program, and the importance of SBC local associations. 

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  • Dobbs Resource Page | The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities. To get more resources on this case, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Sexual Ethics Resource Page | Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of entertainment and messages that challenge the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics? It often feels like we’re walking through uncharted terrority. But no matter what we face in our ever-shifting culture, God’s design for human sexuality has never changed. The ERLC’s new sexual ethics resource page is full of helpful articles, videos, and explainers that will equip you to navigate these important issues with truth and grace. Get these free resources at ERLC.com/sexualethics.
By / Oct 28

The months of October and November are the time when most of the SBC state conventions hold their annual meetings. Here is what you should know about these state-level groups that assist local Southern Baptist Convention churches in fulfilling the Great Commission.

What are SBC state conventions?

State conventions are voluntary networks of local SBC churches within a particular state or geographic region. The state convention is distinct from both the local Southern Baptist associations within the various states and from the national SBC and its entities (such as IMB or ERLC).

As with local SBC churches, SBC state conventions are autonomous organizations.  Any work they may choose to do together is based solely on having a cooperative relationship and working voluntarily together in a particular ministry or project. Churches cooperate with their state convention by giving to the Cooperative Program (CP) and by participating in the leadership and ministries of the state convention.

How many state conventions are there?

There are currently 41 state conventions throughout the United States (though not all refer to themselves as a “convention”). Eight conventions are composed of more than one state (North Dakota and South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska, Maryland and Delaware, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and South Jersey, Utah and Idaho, Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, and part of Idaho, and New England, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). Two states—Texas and Virginia—have two state conventions. Puerto Rico is the only U.S. territory to have a state convention.

Are all local SBC churches a part of a state convention?

More than 99% of churches that cooperate with the SBC also maintain a cooperative relationship with a state or regional Baptist convention. Due to the long-established practice of cooperation with state Baptist conventions and local associations, the SBC encourages such multi-level cooperation (local, state, and national) and does not encourage churches to practice national-only cooperation.

Each local church is autonomous, though, and can choose to not be a part of a state convention. 

How are state conventions funded?

The primary means by which cooperating churches fund SBC missions and ministry entities is through a plan of giving called the Cooperative Program (CP). The “cooperative” of CP refers to the interdependent relationships between the local church, the state Baptist convention, and the SBC.

Individuals provide tithes and offerings to their local church, and the participating churches forward a portion of their undesignated funds to their state convention. During the annual meeting of each state convention, messengers from local churches across the state decide what percentage of Cooperative Program gifts contributed by local congregations stays within the state to support local missions and ministries, and what percentage is to be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention for North American and international missions. 

At the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, messengers from across the country decide how the gifts received from the states will be distributed among SBC entities. 

How much funding do the state conventions pass along to the SBC?

Each state determines for themselves how much of the giving by local churches will be used for in-state ministries and how much will be forwarded to the SBC. Some states, such as Alabama and Florida, forward about half of the CP funds they collect to the SBC. Currently, Iowa (55.7%) and Texas (55.2%) are the state conventions that forward the highest percentage to the SBC.

From 1930 to 2020, Southern Baptists have given $19,998,788,139 to the CP, with 37.67% of that total staying with the states and 62.33% being forwarded to the SBC. Since 2016, the average percentage given to the SBC has been above 41%.  

Do state conventions hold annual meetings and pass resolutions?

Each state holds its own annual meeting. As the South Carolina Baptist Convention says, “The Annual Meeting is a great place to build relationships, be encouraged, and learn from others around the state. It’s also where we elect officers and committees, pass the annual budget, and make plans for the coming year.”

Another activity that occurs at state conventions is the passage of resolutions. Within the SBC, resolutions have traditionally been defined as an expression of opinion or concern, as compared to a motion, which calls for action. A resolution is not used to direct an entity of the denomination to specific action other than to communicate the opinion or concern expressed. Each year, resolutions are passed during the annual meetings of the state conventions just as they are at the national annual meeting.

How do state conventions differ from associations?

Associations are voluntary networks of local SBC churches that join together for a particular mission. For example, the Heart of Texas Baptist Network is a group of 60 churches in central Texas. The network joins together for such functions as maintaining a missionary-in-residence house that is available to vocational missionaries who are returning to the U.S. for furlough and partnering with the Southern Wisconsin Baptist Association to support church plants in Wisconsin. 

The conventions serve many of the same functions as associations, but on a larger geographic level. In some states, the associations voluntarily align themselves with state conventions, representing the state convention at the local level.

How are state conventions involved in disaster relief?

The beginning of Southern Baptists involvement in disaster relief is traced back to 1968, when a group of Texas Baptists assisted victims of Hurricane Beulah in 1968. At that time the Brotherhood Commission, along with state Baptist Brotherhood leadership, took the lead in organizing Southern Baptists to respond to disasters by creating the coordinating agency for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) and hiring the first national disaster relief director. 

The turning point for SBDR came in 1989 when Southern Baptists responded to Hurricane Hugo. Since that time, Southern Baptists have grown to become the third largest disaster relief organization in the country, behind only the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts are divided among the state conventions and have nearly 70,000 trained volunteers.

By / Oct 27

Throughout October and November, SBC state conventions will be gathering for their annual meetings. However, many Southern Baptists might be unfamiliar with their state conventions or only have a limited knowledge of what they do. Seth Brown, the director of convention relations at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, answer questions below about these entities and shines a light on the value of cooperation throughout the SBC. 

Lindsay Nicolet: What is the role of state conventions within the Southern Baptist Convention? 

Seth Brown: The 41 state and regional conventions across the United States have a primary purpose, and that is to serve local congregations. We connect churches to the relationships, resources, and services they need. A key part of that effort is participation with our national family of churches and entities through our unified giving channel, the Cooperative Program.

LN: How does your state convention specifically carry out its mission? 

SB: N.C. Baptists are a movement of churches on mission together. We are fueled by local churches and focused on local churches. Everything we do is geared toward serving congregations with an emphasis on helping them work together to make disciples of all nations.

We have staff deployed from the mountains to the coast to ensure churches are getting what they need when they need it. Other staff members serve in specialist roles to assist churches when they have specific needs. Our camps and conference centers provide beautiful spaces for rest and renewal. Plus, we have the privilege of training the next generation of faithful pastors, ministers, and missionaries through Fruitland Baptist Bible College.

LN: How can churches best utilize and partner with their state convention? 

SB: We have around 2,800 churches actively engaged with us, but there are many churches that miss out on what their state convention offers. We find that some church leaders are simply not aware of all the resources and services available to them. The best first step for a church to receive more value from their state convention is to ask about all the cooperative ministries they operate and resources they provide. Our N.C. Baptist staff is eager to help churches find what they need to support their local ministries.

In addition, I highly encourage more people to get involved with their state convention. Attend the annual meeting. Sign up for events. Recommend someone or make yourself available to serve on boards and committees. Ask lots of questions.

LN: How do state conventions relate to the national entities (NAMB, IMB, ERLC, seminaries, etc.)?

SB: We consider the national entities of the Southern Baptist Convention to be close partners in ministry. Each of our organizations is self-governing (or autonomous), so we don’t answer to them, and they don’t answer to us. But our relationship is one of support, trust, and a common vision to help churches take the gospel to the nations. 

N.C. Baptists deeply value our SBC partners and pray for those relationships to continue deepening through the years. 

We couldn’t be more proud of the many N.C. Baptist missionaries serving with the International Mission Board. In 2023, we’re launching a new prayer emphasis called “Praying for the Nations” that will highlight missionaries from our state. N.C. Baptists recently launched a groundbreaking church planting partnership with the North American Mission Board called “SendNC.” We are grateful for our six mission-focused and doctrinally faithful seminaries across the nation, including our beloved Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. And, last but not least, we stand for life alongside the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission through a partnership with Psalm 139, an effort that has allowed us to help place ultrasound machines in strategic pregnancy centers.

Our partnerships run deep, and we believe that springs from the spirit of cooperation and unity embraced by our congregations.

LN: What are some particular opportunities and challenges unique to state conventions related to the SBC? 

SB: Baptists at every level are facing opportunities and challenges that represent two sides of the same coin: unity and division. Our society has been marked by polarization and fracturing for some time now. Christians have a plethora of wonderful opportunities to display the kind of gospel unity that transcends social, ethnic, and political boundaries. 

Like all generations, we have the opportunity to speak the gospel anew to a rapidly changing world. I pray that state conventions can do our part to equip and assist Baptists along the way.

LN: How can state conventions be effective in shaping the public square within their region?

SB: As statewide or regional networks of churches, conventions can help bring a great deal of unity around cultural issues and public policy. In addition, they normally have close relationships with local associations as well, so they are well-suited to understand cultural issues from the ground level all the way up to state capitols. Ideally state conventions are able to work alongside both churches and associations to engage the public square with uniquely Christian character and values. 

By / Oct 14

In this episode, Brent and Lindsay discuss the 60 Minutes segment with SBC President Bart Barber, what a jury ordered Alex Jones to pay the families of Sandy Hook victims, and the ERLC’s comments about the new Veterans Affairs abortion rule. They also talk about resources for pastors that enable them to respond bibically and wisely to gender and sexuality issues. 

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  • Dobbs Resource Page | The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities. To get more resources on this case, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Sexual Ethics Resource Page | Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of entertainment and messages that challenge the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics? It often feels like we’re walking through uncharted terrority. But no matter what we face in our ever-shifting culture, God’s design for human sexuality has never changed. The ERLC’s new sexual ethics resource page is full of helpful articles, videos, and explainers that will equip you to navigate these important issues with truth and grace. Get these free resources at ERLC.com/sexualethics.
By / Sep 30

In this episode, Brent and Lindsay discuss the devastation in Southwest Florida caused by Hurricane Ian and Southern Baptist’s disaster relief mobilization. They also talk about the need in Puerto Rico, the Jones Act waiver, and the Baptist cooperation that helped make that happen. 

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  • Dobbs Resource Page | The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities. To get more resources on this case, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Sexual Ethics Resource Page | Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of entertainment and messages that challenge the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics? It often feels like we’re walking through uncharted terrority. But no matter what we face in our ever-shifting culture, God’s design for human sexuality has never changed. The ERLC’s new sexual ethics resource page is full of helpful articles, videos, and explainers that will equip you to navigate these important issues with truth and grace. Get these free resources at ERLC.com/sexualethics.
By / Sep 13

Brent Leatherwood has been elected to fill the role as the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission by the organization’s trustees. 

The ERLC board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Leatherwood during its first session on Sept. 13. Leatherwood, 41, has served as the organization’s acting president since September 2021, following the departure of Russell Moore. The vote occurred during the trustee’s annual meeting, Sept. 12-14, in Nashville, Tenn. 

“It has been both my joy and privilege as the current chair of the ERLC board of trustees to work directly with Brent Leatherwood in his interim capacity as acting president,” said Lori Bova, of Hobbs, N.M. “Under his leadership, the staff has not missed a beat in producing timely, quality resources for our churches. He is a tireless servant with a passion to serve Southern Baptists and to steward well the ministry assignment of the ERLC.”

Prior to serving as acting president, Leatherwood held the role of chief of staff at the ERLC, as well as the entity’s director of strategic partnerships. Leatherwood has an extensive background in public service and electoral politics, serving as the executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party and as director of communications and policy strategy in the Tennessee General Assembly. He also previously served on Capitol Hill as a senior staffer for a member of Congress.

The ERLC trustee presidential search committee, chaired by Todd Howard of Pine Bluff, Ark., recommended Leatherwood to the full board after a 14-month search process.

Howard likened the ERLC search committee process to 1 Samuel 16. “Initially, the committee had a great pool of candidates and thought the next president of the ERLC could be among them. However, as the committee began the process of interviews, doors started closing. We found ourselves asking, ‘Are these all your sons?’ 

“Leatherwood was recommended to us from a variety of sources and became the top candidate by virtue of his leading well through the various challenges facing the commission during the interim season. He has intangible leadership qualities that we could not ignore. After a final round of interviews with Leatherwood, the committee, for the first time in this process, voted unanimously in favor of recommending him to the full board of trustees as the next president of the ERLC.” 

Leatherwood is a dedicated member of The Church of Avenue South in Nashville, Tenn., where he has served as a deacon since 2014. He is married to Meredith, and they have three children. 

“True leadership begins as service,” said Leatherwood. “That has been the heart I have brought each day to the ERLC these past 12 months. And it is that same heart I will continue to bring as this new chapter begins. I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve this historic institution as its next president. 

“Rooted in Scripture and guided by the Baptist Faith and Message, this team will remain fervently committed to carrying out our ministry assignment—faithfully serving our churches and growing our convictional presence in the public square on behalf of our convention. That means speaking with biblical clarity about the issues that matter to Baptists: the inherent value of life, religious liberty at home and abroad, human dignity and the flourishing of families. 

“We have made it a priority to come alongside and equip our churches, partner with our state conventions, and support our sister SBC entities. This Commission will continue to do so in this new season because we know the Southern Baptist Convention is stronger when we are cooperating on mission together.”

Prior to Leatherwood’s appointment as ERLC president, Russell Moore served as president from 2013-2021 and Richard Land served from 1988-2013. All three men were appointed to the presidency at age 41.

__________

Brent Leatherwood was endorsed by a variety of SBC and state leaders. Their statements are below. 

“I believe Brent Leatherwood will serve Southern Baptists well in this strategic position. He is a gifted and godly man with firm biblical and baptistic convictions.” 

Daniel Akin 
President 
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“It is my privilege to recommend Brent Leatherwood to you as the next president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Brent has the spiritual grounding, experience, and skill set necessary to lead the ERLC at this unique time in our Convention’s and nation’s history. As I have observed, Brent has a strong faith, knowledge of Scripture, and an unbounding love for Jesus. These are critical tenets for anyone who leads one of our Southern Baptist entities.” 

Kevin Ezell 
President 
North American Mission Board 

“Brent Leatherwood strikes me as the sort of man who loves Southern Baptists—who we have been, are, and hope to become. Such a man as that can rise as a statesman to speak for Southern Baptists. Such a man can also come alongside Southern Baptists and gently speak to us as a brother.” 

Bart Barber 
Pastor, FBC Farmersville, TX 
President, Southern Baptist Convention

“I consider it a privilege and an honor to endorse Brent Leatherwood’s nomination as president of the ERLC. Brent has led wisely and courageously as the interim president during what can only be described as a tumultuous and strident period in our nation and our convention. Southern Baptists and America both desperately need the information, inspiration, and guidance the ERLC can provide under Brent Leatherwood’s leadership.” 

Richard Land 
President Emeritus 
ERLC

“The National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention (NAAF) wishes to express our strong support of Mr. Brent Leatherwood’s candidacy for President of the ERLC. Brent is a proven leader and trusted partner. His commitment to Gospel-centered public policy is seasoned by his sensitivity to the nuanced lived experiences of our diverse Southern Baptist (SBC) family.” 

Rev. Frank Williams
President
National African American Fellowship, SBC 
and
Rev. Dennis Mitchell
Executive Director,
National African American Fellowship, SBC

“Tennessee has a long history of faithful men and women who love their neighbors through service in the political arena. Believers must view engagement in government as the opportunity that it is. I can think of no one better than Brent Leatherwood to be the next President of the ERLC, leading Southern Baptists as they strive to represent Jesus through faithful and humble engagement in the public square.” 

Bill Lee
50th Governor of Tennessee

__________

To request an interview with Brent Leatherwood, contact Elizabeth Bristow by email at [email protected] or call 202-547-0209.

By / Sep 13

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 13, 2022—Brent Leatherwood has been elected to fill the role as the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission by the organization’s trustees. 

The ERLC board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Leatherwood during its first session on Sept. 13. Leatherwood, 41, has served as the organization’s acting president since September 2021, following the departure of Russell Moore. The vote occurred during the trustee’s annual meeting, Sept. 12-14, in Nashville, Tenn. 

“It has been both my joy and privilege as the current chair of the ERLC board of trustees to work directly with Brent Leatherwood in his interim capacity as acting president,” said Lori Bova, of Hobbs, N.M. “Under his leadership, the staff has not missed a beat in producing timely, quality resources for our churches. He is a tireless servant with a passion to serve Southern Baptists and to steward well the ministry assignment of the ERLC.”

Prior to serving as acting president, Leatherwood held the role of chief of staff at the ERLC, as well as the entity’s director of strategic partnerships. Leatherwood has an extensive background in public service and electoral politics, serving as the executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party and as director of communications and policy strategy in the Tennessee General Assembly. He also previously served on Capitol Hill as a senior staffer for a member of Congress.

The ERLC trustee presidential search committee, chaired by Todd Howard of Pine Bluff, Ark., recommended Leatherwood to the full board after a 14-month search process.

Howard likened the ERLC search committee process to 1 Samuel 16. “Initially, the committee had a great pool of candidates and thought the next president of the ERLC could be among them. However, as the committee began the process of interviews, doors started closing. We found ourselves asking, ‘Are these all your sons?’ 

“Leatherwood was recommended to us from a variety of sources and became the top candidate by virtue of his leading well through the various challenges facing the commission during the interim season. He has intangible leadership qualities that we could not ignore. After a final round of interviews with Leatherwood, the committee, for the first time in this process, voted unanimously in favor of recommending him to the full board of trustees as the next president of the ERLC.” 

Leatherwood is a dedicated member of The Church of Avenue South in Nashville, Tenn., where he has served as a deacon since 2014. He is married to Meredith, and they have three children. 

“True leadership begins as service,” said Leatherwood. “That has been the heart I have brought each day to the ERLC these past 12 months. And it is that same heart I will continue to bring as this new chapter begins. I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve this historic institution as its next president. 

“Rooted in Scripture and guided by the Baptist Faith and Message, this team will remain fervently committed to carrying out our ministry assignment—faithfully serving our churches and growing our convictional presence in the public square on behalf of our convention. That means speaking with biblical clarity about the issues that matter to Baptists: the inherent value of life, religious liberty at home and abroad, human dignity and the flourishing of families. 

“We have made it a priority to come alongside and equip our churches, partner with our state conventions, and support our sister SBC entities. This Commission will continue to do so in this new season because we know the Southern Baptist Convention is stronger when we are cooperating on mission together.”

Prior to Leatherwood’s appointment as ERLC president, Russell Moore served as president from 2013-2021 and Richard Land served from 1988-2013. All three men were appointed to the presidency at age 41.

__________

Brent Leatherwood was endorsed by a variety of SBC and state leaders. Their statements are below. 

“I believe Brent Leatherwood will serve Southern Baptists well in this strategic position. He is a gifted and godly man with firm biblical and baptistic convictions.” 

Daniel Akin 
President 
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“It is my privilege to recommend Brent Leatherwood to you as the next president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Brent has the spiritual grounding, experience, and skill set necessary to lead the ERLC at this unique time in our Convention’s and nation’s history. As I have observed, Brent has a strong faith, knowledge of Scripture, and an unbounding love for Jesus. These are critical tenets for anyone who leads one of our Southern Baptist entities.” 

Kevin Ezell 
President 
North American Mission Board 

“Brent Leatherwood strikes me as the sort of man who loves Southern Baptists—who we have been, are, and hope to become. Such a man as that can rise as a statesman to speak for Southern Baptists. Such a man can also come alongside Southern Baptists and gently speak to us as a brother.” 

Bart Barber 
Pastor, FBC Farmersville, TX 
President, Southern Baptist Convention

“I consider it a privilege and an honor to endorse Brent Leatherwood’s nomination as president of the ERLC. Brent has led wisely and courageously as the interim president during what can only be described as a tumultuous and strident period in our nation and our convention. Southern Baptists and America both desperately need the information, inspiration, and guidance the ERLC can provide under Brent Leatherwood’s leadership.” 

Richard Land 
President Emeritus 
ERLC

“The National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention (NAAF) wishes to express our strong support of Mr. Brent Leatherwood’s candidacy for President of the ERLC. Brent is a proven leader and trusted partner. His commitment to Gospel-centered public policy is seasoned by his sensitivity to the nuanced lived experiences of our diverse Southern Baptist (SBC) family.” 

Rev. Frank Williams
President
National African American Fellowship, SBC 
and
Rev. Dennis Mitchell
Executive Director,
National African American Fellowship, SBC

“Tennessee has a long history of faithful men and women who love their neighbors through service in the political arena. Believers must view engagement in government as the opportunity that it is. I can think of no one better than Brent Leatherwood to be the next President of the ERLC, leading Southern Baptists as they strive to represent Jesus through faithful and humble engagement in the public square.” 

Bill Lee
50th Governor of Tennessee

__________

To request an interview with Brent Leatherwood, contact Elizabeth Bristow by email at [email protected] or call 202-547-0209.