Tennessee Baptists, meeting in their state’s Annual Meeting, passed a resolution condemning plagiarism.
From The Tennessean:
The Tennessee Baptist Convention, the state-level convention of Southern Baptists, held its annual meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Brentwood. The convention messengers — voting delegates from local churches — overwhelmingly voted for the plagiarism resolution. Resolutions act as collective statements of belief.
The plagiarism resolution the Tennessee Baptist Convention messengers passed Wednesday was about Litton, though not by name. Shawn Allred, a pastor of First Baptist Church in Kenton, submitted the resolution…
Don Edwards, a messenger from Sunbright, took direct aim at the SBC president.
“One who is openly unrepentant of the sin of documented plagiarism serves as our national Southern Baptist convention president,” Edwards said during Wednesday’s session.
Officials presiding over the debate cut Edwards off, instructing him to refrain from personal attacks. But Edwards continued and called on Litton to “to repent and to resign his leadership position.”
This resolution comes in light of controversy created by current Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton’s pattern of plagiarizing sermons from J.D. Greear and Tim Keller.
The move by Tennessee Baptists is an encouragement not only to those who wish to see a return to integrity in the pulpit among Southern Baptists but echoes previous acts of leadership coming from Tennessee Baptists after failures at the preceding National Annual Meeting. Southern Baptists national leadership has responded to Litton’s controversy on a spectrum from awkward silence to bizarre support. Tennessee Baptists have again led where others have chosen not to.
The move also demonstrates that Tennessee Baptists acquit themselves better at the state level than at the national. Remember that it was Grant Gaines, son of Bellevue Baptist’s Steve Gaines’ (the pastor of a historic TBC church currently facing a horrifying sex abuse allegation) and Tennessee pastor himself, who led the movement against the Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. The younger Gaines was among a group of pastors, some prominent among Baptists in Tennessee, who issued a letter (which appropriated Tennessee Baptist Convention branding) aimed at intimidating the SBC’s Executive Committee into complying with the demands from Gaines’ faction. These efforts have led to (1) an Executive Committee with so many vacancies it cannot act in meaningful fashion as well as (2) the exposure of the SBC to tremendous risk and perhaps ruin.
Thankfully Tennessee Baptist Pastors, gathering in annual meeting as the Tennessee Baptist Convention, see more clearly than the self-appointed collective sending letters on pretend TBC letterhead.
Congratulations and thanks to Shawn Allred, Don Edwards, and the other Tennessee Baptists who are yet again showing the way forward in Southern Baptist life on an issue in dire need of leadership.