Over a month after he was elected as the new Southern Baptist Convention president, Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama is facing increasing pressure to resign his post as he has been exposed as a serial plagiarist. It has been documented that, for at least the last seven years, Ed Litton has been plagiarizing large parts of his immediate predecessor, JD Greear’s sermons including the points, illustrations, jokes, and even his Greear’s mistakes.
After it was first demonstrated that Litton had plagiarized JD Greear’s sermon on Romans 1–including Greear’s line that the Bible merely “whispers” about homosexuality–both Greear and Litton released a statement defending against the accusations and contending that Litton had permission to “borrow” points and illustrations from that sermon. However, both failed to acknowledge the extent of the plagiarism and anyone reading their statements of defense would be led to believe that it was merely a one-time oversight.
It is now undeniable–Ed Litton is clearly disqualified from leading the Southern Baptist Convention and, most likely, from the pastorate altogether.
Within the last two weeks, a petition began making rounds calling on Ed Litton to resign the presidency. Now, the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) released a statement calling Ed Litton’s behavior “sinful” and insisting that he resign.
“This sinful behavior,” the statement reads, “and the lack of forthrightness when exposed is inconsistent with the character and integrity Southern Baptists rightfully expect from their president”
The statement expresses further concern for the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention’s refusal to address the “irrefutable pattern of plagiarism.”
“Further eroding the testimony of the SBC to a watching world is the way some SBC leaders have excused and even minimized this troubling behavior,” the statement continues. “Scripture says acquitting the guilty (Prov. 17:15) and calling evil “good” (Isaiah 5:20) are wrong. Deceitful behavior on the part of a pastor is doubly egregious as those holding this office are called to be “able to teach,” and to “study to show yourself approved.” Plagiarism is a violation of the 8th and 9th commandments, and Scripture warns that men leading Christ’s local churches will be judged with even greater strictness (James 3:1).”
The statement expresses sadness that personal conversations with Ed Litton have not led to acknowledge his sin and to repent.
The statement concludes, “
As further evidence of what appears to be serial plagiarism continues to surface in at least six videos from a variety of named sources, the Conservative Baptist Network calls on the leaders of the SBC to address this matter promptly and biblically. For the sake of the gospel, it is best for President Litton to step down from office and focus on his personal spiritual development with his local church.”
“The testimony of Southern Baptists and of the gospel is at stake.”
You can read the statement in its entirety at this link and watch our mini-documentary on the scandal below.