Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s agency.
A Dallas-area megachurch has decided to escrow Cooperative Program funds temporarily in order to evaluate future support of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) causes.
At issue are what the congregation calls “various significant positions taken by the leadership of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission that do not reflect the beliefs and values of many in the Southern Baptist Convention,” according to a statement the church released to Louisiana's Baptist Message newsjournal. [Within the denomination, individual churches give to the Cooperative Program each year as a way of funding state conventions and the SBC’s agencies and seminaries.]
Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, will escrow what would amount to $1 million annually, the Message reported Thursday.
In a text to Baptist Press, Message editor Will Hall noted he had queried Prestonwood about its giving to SBC causes after pastor Jack Graham was interviewed in December by The Wall Street Journal. Graham told the WSJ the church was “considering making major changes in our support of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
At issue, Graham said in the interview, was alleged “disrespectfulness” by ERLC President Russell Moore toward evangelical supporters of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Moore, who publicly opposed Trump during the primary and general election cycles, said in a December blog post he never intended to criticize all evangelicals who supported Trump.
Graham is a member of Trump's evangelical executive advisory board.
Some Southern Baptists also have criticized the ERLC for joining a friend of the court brief last May in support of a New Jersey Islamic society's right to build a …