We’ve watched over the last several years as the Southern Baptist Convention has devolved from a conservative denomination built on the foundation of a solid confession rooted in Scripture to what it is now: largely a denomination defined by its social justice activism throughout a large portion of its churches and almost all of its entities. Several conservative pastors have led their churches out of the denomination serving to mainly leave the SBC to the wolves.
Josh Buice, who has become a prominent conservative voice against the social justice movement in the denomination over the last few years wasn’t always as anti-woke as he is today. However, due to the unrelenting pressure of smaller blogs and other less prominent conservative voices, many, including Buice, eventually joined the movement. Buice, one of the founders of the G3 Conference, has now led his church out of the SBC.
In a statement on G3 Ministries website, Buice writes that his departure “should not be seen as a denial of the fact that there are many good and gifted professors who are serving in the SBC entities and doing a good job of training men for the pulpit and church planting.” However, he continues “In recent years, we’ve witnessed quite a transformation take place within the once beloved SBC that has necessitated separation for what I believe is far more than preference matters.”
Social justice has now become the mainstream movement in the Southern Baptist Convention that many are repulsed by. Buice continues,
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“Over the past decade or more, things began to shift with the SBC leadership that moved the once theologically conservative denomination in a leftward direction. The biggest catalyst to this leftward movement undoubtedly was the acceptance of the social justice agenda which has resulted in the greatest downgrade in our modern era of church history. Any denial of this downgrade is simply a refusal to report the facts about where the SBC is today, where the SBC was yesterday, and where the SBC is moving tomorrow.”
In 2021, the Southern Baptist Convention elected Ed Litton to the presidency. Shortly after his election, Reformation Charlotte broke the story that Litton had borrowed one of his predecessor, JD Greear’s lines from a Romans 1 sermon stating that the Bible only “whispers about homosexuality.” Shortly after that, a flood-storm of videos from various blogs began to expose how Litton had not only been plagiarizing hundreds of Greear’s sermons for years but sermons from others including Tim Keller, as well.
The Southern Baptist Convention never addressed this; in fact, instead, most SBC leaders ran, and continue to run, cover for him. All in the name of “social justice.”
According to Buice, this was his “final straw.” He writes,
As I attended what would be my final SBC in Nashville in 2021, the final straw was apparent through the election of Ed Litton as the president of the SBC. To watch leaders of SBC seminaries like Danny Akin take to Twitter to encourage the messengers of the SBC churches to vote for Ed Litton in the runoff was quite revealing. Danny Akin is entrusted with millions of SBC dollars to train pastors for the pulpit and he sent the signal that Ed Litton is a proper example for SBC pastors and future pastors to follow.
Following the SBC annual meeting in June of 2021, the plagiarism scandal (which is being referenced as “Sermon Gate”) surfaced which further exposed the failures of Ed Litton’s pulpit practices. Rather than calling for his resignation, the 11th Commandment of the SBC appears to be in full force as the SBC elites not only enable his capitulation, but they celebrate him as a faithful leader. This was put on vivid display as Adam Greenway, who serves as the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, extended an invitation to Ed Litton to address the student body. Rather than preaching, they held a Q&A session where Greenway asked Litton to respond to allegations of plagiarism and then accepted his answer and applauded him.
As the pulpit goes, so goes the church. This was the final straw for me and for our local church. We refuse to be associated with a group of churches that elect and support leaders who will not be held accountable for sin.
It’s unsurprising that Buice left the denomination. It’s well known that he’s been considering this for quite some time, but he was holding out hope that something might soon change. It didn’t–and it likely never will barring a divine intervention. But we must understand that while Christ died for the Church, He did not die for the Southern Baptist Convention. Our priorities must be on what God has ordained for the Church–and if the Southern Baptist Convention ceases to be useful for the Kingdom, it must be let go. It is quite likely that Buice’s departure will soon see a mass exodus of people following him out.