ERLC Trustee Justin Sampler Claims Widespread Abuse Cover-Up is Implausible; Implies Fellow Trustees Are “Lying”


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Justin Sampler, pastor of First Baptist Church, Inola, Oklahoma and doctoral student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves as a trustee for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The ERLC is in hot water after bombshell reports from SBC-related news outlets like the Capstone Report ( and the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector ( highlighted a letter from an ERLC whistleblower.

That letter, written by ERLC trustee and lawyer, Jonathan Whitehead, provides evidence that the board officers of the ERLC covered up information pertaining to an investigation of the SBC Executive Committee. (

In response to these well-reasoned revelations, ERLC trustee Sampler makes the shocking suggestion that widespread cover-up is implausible. (

Wait. What?

If cover-up is implausible, ( then why are former ERLC president Russell D. Moore and the SBC wringing their hands and spending millions to investigate the Executive Committee for alleged cover-up? Moore and his fellow hang-wringers obviously don’t think cover-up is implausible when it comes to the EC.  So shouldn’t Sampler say it’s more likely Moore is lying?

Or, to borrow a term, is it more plausible a double standard is in play with Sampler’s tweets? Or even something more disturbing?

Notice Sampler passively-aggressively claims Whitehead is “unlike” the other ERLC trustees, and implies he’s “lying.” (

Lying about what? Again – because this is crucial to the dispute: lying about what?  Even if Whitehead were mistaken in his inferences, the information is all here to support his claims. Sampler acts like someone credibly accused of abuse cover-up.

Here are the facts:

1. Moore addressed a letter to the Board of Trustees of the ERLC in February of 2020, making accusations against the SBC EC.

2. Moore addressed another letter to SBC President JD Greear in May of 2021, referencing his earlier letter and specifying it was directed to his “board officers.”

Here we come to an unavoidable choice between two alternatives:

Did Sampler receive the letter in February 2020?

If no, then Sampler should not slander other trustees who claim this letter was hidden from them by the board officers. (

If so, then Sampler helped hide alleged evidence of abuse cover-up for over a year.

Either way, it now appears the ERLC should be investigated for potential cover-up based on the testimony of its own trustees.

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