SBC’s Page, Moore find ‘mutual understanding’ amid rising concern

SBC’s Page, Moore find ‘mutual understanding’ amid rising concern

Editor’s Note — This story was compiled March 17 and more news surfaced after the press deadline. To read about the updated information, click here.

The story has built steadily since the 2016 election season when Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) President Russell Moore challenged then-candidate Donald Trump’s moral aptitude to be president of the United States.

A variety of reactions and discussions among Southern Baptists have built one on top of the other culminating in a March 13 “bridge-building” session between Moore and Frank Page.

Page, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC), has no authority over Moore but Page is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the convention in between the annual meetings.

He said his goal with the private meeting was “to find bridge-building solutions to an unnecessary divide that has been created across the landscape of our Southern Baptist network of churches.”

Moore reports to ERLC’s 35-member board of trustees and has the board’s full support, according to board chairman Ken Barbic. “Russell Moore is a gospel-centered, faithful and prophetic voice for Southern Baptists,” he told The Washington Post.

The meeting between Page and Moore came less than a month after the EC launched a study of churches’ escrowing Cooperative Program (CP) money and two months after Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, announced it would escrow CP funds over “various significant positions taken by the leadership of” ERLC. The EC has received reports of similar actions by other churches.

Churches have expressed concern about alleged disrespectfulness by Moore toward evangelical supporters of President Trump and about a friend of the court brief signed by ERLC in support of a New Jersey Islamic society’s right to build a mosque.

Following their two-hour meeting at the SBC Building in Nashville, Page and Moore said in a joint statement, “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.

“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 and Moore stated. (TAB, BP, RNS)