The newly-elected Southern Baptist Convention president, Ed Litton, has been embroiled in an existential battle for his career and position as the top leader of the denomination after it was discovered that he had been plagiarising sermons from his immediate predecessor, JD Greear, for years.
In a recent op-ed, I argued that Ed Litton is disqualified from the pastorate–and that his plagiarism was merely a symptom of the bigger issue, which is a lack of moral standards among the leadership in Evangelicalism. Not only is Ed Litton not being held accountable by his church–who are also involved in the scandal–but the denomination’s top leaders have been silent.
Nonetheless, pressure is mounting to force Litton to resign his position.
In the latest discovery of plagiarism, Ed Litton lifted a 1992 sermon from Tim Keller on marriage and, once again, repeated not just the points, but used much of the same language to draw his illustrations, jokes, and experiences while presenting them to his congregation as his own. This was discovered and first reported by Capstone Report, a friendly ministry that also does excellent investigative journalism for the Church.
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One of the most telling pieces in this latest sermon was a joke about marriage being like a “three-year contract” with an “option” for “three more years.” As transcribed by Capstone, it went like this:
Tim Keller: “Some people say it’s time to have a renewable contract as you get married for three years and you have an option for three more. You’ve heard that. Now that might be interesting but that’s not a marriage.”
Ed Litton: “We are now hearing it suggested that what marriage needs now to be defined as is a three-year contract with a three-year option. In other words, a three-year contract with a three-year option for good behavior. That’s not biblical marriage.”