Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s ERLC.
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 and Religious Liberty Commission [ERLC] 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.
Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, will escrow what would amount to $1 million annually, the Message reported Thursday.
[Editor’s note: Within the SBC, individual churches give to the Cooperative Program each year as a way of funding state conventions and denominational agencies and seminaries. Prestonwood, one of the biggest churches in the SBC, gave $500,000 to the Cooperative Program in 2015. The state convention splits the funding with the SBC, with 45 percent staying in Texas and 55 percent going to national ministry and missions.]
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 (WSJ). Graham told the newspaper that 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 …