‘Our Lord is not awake.’ Southern Baptists Fight Over Their Future
Evangelical Christians were regularly present at Trump’s White House. They laid hands on the president as they prayed for him, stood at his shoulder as he signed executive orders, and saw the rationale for their support in his anti-abortion policies and conservative judicial appointments.
Today, the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest and most influential evangelical denomination, is at war over which direction it will take after the Trump presidency.
One faction argues that the SBC should withdraw from its role in electoral politics in order to broaden its reach and reverse a 15-year decline in membership. Another faction says the denomination has drifted to the left, and the way to retain and attract members is to re-engage with its conservative roots and stay politically engaged. Each party accuses the other of deviating from the main mission of the SBC.
Internal cracks exploded in public view when Russell Moore, the leading lobbyist for the SBC in Washington and a frequent critic of Donald Trump, unexpectedly announced his resignation in May. Last week, letters he wrote criticizing other senior SBC officials for their handling of allegations of sexual abuse and racial attitudes became public.
Mr. Moore’s sudden departure comes as the group’s chairman, JD Greear, ends his term this month, leaving two of the denomination’s most important positions, which help define evangelism, open at once.