The Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) released a statement Wednesday night (Nov. 23) blasting Dr. James Merritt’s endorsement of his son’s recent sermon. Jonathan Merritt identifies as a homosexual. Merritt is a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastor and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) visiting professor.
Merritt, who is also lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia, and former SBC President (2000-2002), shared a message with a link on his Twitter account earlier this week (Nov. 22) saying, “Good Shepherd New York • 11.21.21 https://youtu.be/JtZla6bnxn8 via @YouTube I don’t agree with my loved son @JonathanMerritt on everything to be sure. But I encourage you to listen to his message on Mark 13. It is both brilliant and faithful to the gospel and the coming of Jesus!”
CBN wrote on its Twitter page, “Promoting homosexual preachers is not loving, biblical, or Baptist,” then provided a link to the full statement.
Who Is Jonathan Merritt?
Jonathan is an award-winning contributor for The Atlantic, author, speaker, and holds a Master of Divinity from SEBTS. On his birthday this year (Aug. 4), Jonathan described himself on his Instagram page as, “a gay man, beloved by God, who has endured the worst the world could throw at him and fought his way to health and wholeness.”
His post recalled a day in 2012 when someone publicly outed his sexual orientation, calling it “painful” and a “betray[al].” Jonathan shared that the trauma resulted in a “boatload of therapy” just to be able to “love the delightful human that God made when God made me.”
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According to his post, this is the first time he’s written about his “identity” online because of trauma that left him “bruised and untrusting.” He added that he is “dead dog afraid” to be vulnerable to the public.
Jonathan wrote: “This disconnect between my private and public life has felt unnecessary and unsustainable. I don’t want to live fearful of the opinions of strangers or the venom of bigots.” Wanting to enter the second half of his life with more “authenticity, alignment, and integrity than I exhibited in the first half,” Jonathan said he wants to make clear he’s a gay man who’s beloved by God.