May 4, 2017
Dr. Russell Moore & ERLC Board of Trustees
901 Commerce Street, Suite 550
Nashville, TN 37203
Dear Dr. Moore and Trustees:
A motion was made at the 2016 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting to ask the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board to “study the recent actions of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission with regard to issues of concern to Louisiana Baptists.” The Convention referred the matter to the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board. As the leaders of the Executive Board prepared to address this matter, Dr. Moore was kind enough to arrange a meeting with Executive Director, Dr. David Hankins, Executive Board President, Dr. Eddie Wren and Louisiana Baptist Convention President, Dr. Gevan Spinney. This meeting was very helpful, though not conclusive, in our process.
As the leaders continued to study the matter, Dr. Moore and the ERLC leadership released the statement entitled “Seeking Unity in the Southern Baptist Convention” on March 20, 2017. This statement was key in helping the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board arrive at a proper response to the referred motion referenced above.
We want to commend Dr. Moore for plainly confessing his failings that had resulted in the serious breach of fellowship we were observing in our Southern Baptist family. Although the statement did not address all the various particular complaints people had lodged, we believe it has encouraged folks to look for positive, rather than punitive, ways to work with the ERLC going forward. We want to encourage Dr. Moore, as he deals with the many serious and complex issues that face our people in the moral and social concerns arena, to listen carefully and respectfully to Southern Baptists even as we listen to him. We hope that we will be able to forge consensus among Southern Baptists as we attempt to bear witness in cultural conflicts. We encourage the ERLC to tread carefully in those matters where our people have genuine differences of opinion.
We also want to thank Dr. Moore for his leadership and contribution on important matters such as the sanctity of human life, the biblical view of marriage and sexuality, and racial justice. These years have seen an ominous rise in malicious anti-Christian sentiment in our nation. Southern Baptists are most encouraged when they are confident their ERLC is vigorously representing their cherished spiritual convictions in the public square.
For our part, we pledge to pray for our Lord to make the ERLC “strong and courageous.” Neither will we leave it to our agency to fight the battles alone but will engage the task as the church of the Lord. Furthermore, we will encourage our people to be thoughtful in their judgments, forbearing in their disagreements, and generous in their continued financial support for all our convention work.
Thank you for listening to us and serving us.
Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention