Yesterday, Russell Moore, who serves as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission met with the CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, Frank Page after more than 100 churches threaten to pull their funding from the denomination.
Many of them disagreed with Moore’s various social and political stands which included speaking out against comments made by then-candidate Donald Trump, defending refugee resettlement and supporting the rights of American Muslim communities. He’s also been a vocal advocate for racial injustice.
According to The Washington Post, who spoke with Page before the meeting, he “indicated that he would not rule out the possibility that he could ask Moore to resign.” Page has since disputed that Moore was ever going to be fired.
However, the meeting seemed to go in a positive direction. In a joint statement, they said,
We met as colleagues committed to the same priorities of proclaiming the Gospel to every man, woman, boy and girl while also addressing biblical and Gospel issues on a wide range of topics to a culture that seems to have lost its way — issues ranging from religious liberty and racial reconciliation to Kingdom diversity and the sanctity of human life from the womb to the grave.
We deepened our friendship and developed mutual understanding on ways we believe will move us forward as a network of churches. We fully support one another and look forward to working together on behalf of Southern Baptists in the years to come. We will collaborate on developing future steps to deepen connections with all Southern Baptists as we work together to advance the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Page told The Baptist Press that the intention of the meeting from the beginning was “to find bridge-building solutions to an unnecessary divide that has been created across the landscape of our Southern Baptist network of churches.” He also said he doesn’t have the authority to fire Moore because he doesn’t oversee him directly, and that finding a path to reconciliation with the SBC churches was always its goal.
But, prior to the meeting, Page was quoted in The Post saying, “If the meeting doesn’t go well, I’m fully prepared to ask him for a change in his status.”
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.