The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention has found unlikely allies in its legal battle against Will McRaney. Catholics, Mormons, and Seventh Day Adventists have rallied to NAMB’s side, a move that raises serious questions about the integrity and doctrinal purity of the Southern Baptist leadership.
Will McRaney’s ordeal began with his dismissal from his position as the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in 2015, a decision he attributes to NAMB’s undue influence and interference. McRaney’s subsequent legal battle against NAMB has been a David versus Goliath fight, pitting his commitment to Baptist principles against a powerful entity as corrupt as it is.
The case, which hinges on allegations of defamation and interference by NAMB, was dismissed by a federal judge, citing the First Amendment. This decision, however, is deeply flawed. It overlooks the crux of the matter—NAMB’s overreach and violation of Baptist principles of autonomy and local church governance.
McRaney has appealed the case which challenges the application of the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine and argues for the merits of his claims to be considered outside the scope of internal church governance. This ongoing legal battle has seen several twists and turns, with the case being dismissed, then appealed, and now potentially heading for another round in the appeals process. And this is where the unrelenting support from the coalition of rogue SBC entities such as the ERLC and their compromised leaders comes into play.
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What is most alarming in this saga, however, is NAMB’s alliance with false religions that hold beliefs fundamentally at odds not just with Southern Baptists, but with biblical Christianity altogether. The involvement of Catholics, Mormons, and Seventh-Day Adventists in supporting NAMB is not just a weird intervention into benign political discourse—it is a betrayal of Baptist distinctives. This interdenominational alliance, formed under the guise of defending religious liberty, actually undermines the very principles that Baptists hold to on local church autonomy.
Kevin Ezell, as the leader of NAMB, embodies a troubling paradox in this unfolding drama. His readiness to align with organizations whose beliefs contradict not only Baptist doctrines, but core biblical tenets placing them outside the bounds of Christianity altogether, is a deliberate act that serves to bolster the personal benefit of Ezell and his friends. This alliance, far from being a noble stand for religious liberty, is a calculated move by NAMB to fortify its influence and muzzle those who dare to challenge its authority.
Compounding this issue is the involvement of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a move that can only be described as disingenuous, the ERLC, led by its former president Russell Moore, filed an amicus brief that falsely portrayed the Southern Baptist Convention as having a hierarchical structure. This deception tactic was a strategic ploy that distorts the very essence of Baptist governance. Baptists have historically championed the autonomy of the local church, rejecting any form of hierarchical control that undermines the independence of each congregation. By suggesting a hierarchical structure, the ERLC was not just lying to the court, it is betraying a core Baptist principle.
This false portrayal by the ERLC serves NAMB’s interests by implying that NAMB’s actions were within the bounds of an authoritative structure, thus justifying its interference in local church matters. However, this narrative is fundamentally flawed. The Southern Baptist Convention, by its very nature, is a cooperative fellowship of autonomous churches, not a top-down hierarchical organization. Each church is self-governing, free from external control, and this autonomy is a hallmark of Baptist identity.
According to reports, the ERLC was prepared to join this coalition of bad actors that included the LDS Church and others but backed out when McRaney’s legal team objected to the move. The case against McRaney is a continuing struggle for the soul of the Southern Baptist Convention and the process has exposed time and time again a leadership that is willing to compromise core beliefs for the sake of expediency. The involvement of these false religions in this case is not a show of ecumenical strength but a sign of theological compromise.