Elon Musk isn’t the only former PayPal employee who has big plans for Mars. Former SBC executive committee member Rod D. Martin expressed over the weekend that he wants to be the first to plant a Baptist church on Mars.
Apart from his involvement with the SBC, Martin is known for being part of the pre-IPO startup team for PayPal and describes himself as “a technology entrepreneur, futurist, hedge fund manager, thought leader and activist.”
Martin’s comments came in the context of a Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) panel discussion hosted by Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) on Friday, November 19. The conversation also included SBC First Vice President Lee Brand, president of Founders Ministries Tom Ascol, Executive Director-Treasurer of Northwest Baptist Convention Randy Adams, former Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) professor Russell Fuller, and SBC pastor Allen Nelson.
“I want to build the first church on Mars. I want to build it. I want it to be a Baptist church. I’m thinking of calling it ‘The Cathedral of Saint Paul Pressler.’ I might get Paige Patterson to be the first bishop,” Martin said with a smile. “We’ll see, you know.”
Paige Patterson is the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who was later fired amid accusations that he mishandled sexual abuse allegations at the school. Paul Pressler is a retired justice of the Texas 14th Circuit Court of Appeals who was accused of sexual misconduct in 2018. Patterson was also accused of helping cover up the abuse in Pressler’s case. Both men were key figures in the SBC’s “conservative resurgence,” which began in the late 1960s.
Despite the allegations against them, both Pressler and Patterson remain highly admired among many within the SBC, including some within the CBN, which was founded in 2020 and sees itself as theologically and ideologically aligned with conservative resurgence values.
MABTS and the CBN became the subject of controversy last week when the CBN promoted the screening of the film “Enemies Within the Church,” which was hosted on the campus of MABTS on Saturday, November 20. Claiming that many influential Christian institutions have been infiltrated by Marxists seeking to bring down Western civilization, the film specifically singled out SBTS (where Fuller formerly worked) and SWBTS (where Patterson formerly served as president).
Martin has been supportive of the film’s screening at MABTS, and the CBN defended its position to promote the film. On Saturday, Martin tweeted a brief review of “Enemies Within the Church,” saying, “I do not endorse the film, but I do think it is a useful analytical tool for understanding what’s happening in the American church.”