I wish to remain respectful in this post, but my anger has been turned up a notch or two after reading about Prestonwood Baptist Church’s decision to withhold cooperative program funds from our convention because, in my opinion, Dr. Russell Moore did not enthusiastically support Donald Trump for President. The article can be found here: Prestonwood Article
The PR professionals at Prestonwood can create dozens of professional statements, but the core of this decision seems to be vengeance for ill advised comments about Trump voters. Yes, Dr. Moore did make regrettable comments about those voters and has since apologized for said comments. That apology can be read here: Dr. Moore’s Apology. This apology should have been sufficient. We are a body of believers who preach grace and forgiveness, but when it comes time to practicing what we preach in public, we often fail.
Dr. Graham says they are not trying to start a movement to get someone fired. Dr. Moore will probably not be fired. It takes quite a bit of maneuvering to get an entity head fired, but one million dollars certainly could affect the salary or salaries of people who had nothing to do with this dispute. I’m sure Prestonwood’s leadership has thought through that possible side effect.
There are two facts we can be sure of even in the midst of a disgraceful display by one of our flagship churches.
First, God does not need Prestonwood Baptist Church or its one million dollars to continue to work through the Southern Baptist Convention. God does not need one particular church or one particular Christian to accomplish His will. He will continue working in the lives of His people and in the midst of His congregations. We would all do well to remember that, whether we pastor a church of 41,000 members or a church of 25 members.
Second, my dad always told me that most church conflicts, at their root, are about money. This convention conflict is no different. Does anyone think there would be a news story if Prestonwood were withholding 100 dollars? Or 1000 dollars? Does anyone think Prestonwood would be withholding money if they only had a few thousand dollars? Their money is their leverage.
This conflict is unnecessary and a bad witness to the lost world around us. There will be consequences, but as in most conflicts, the ones who have to suffer those consequences will be the ones who had the least to do with the conflict. I wonder if the side effects are worth the results Prestonwood Baptist hopes to achieve through their actions.
My thoughts are my thoughts, but I’m certainly open to some discussion. If you have thoughts, please comment below. Also, a more detailed opinion can be found here SBC Voices Post