Dr. James Merritt responded to backlash from SBCers regarding his post sharing his son’s sermon. His response said: “Regardless of who preaches Jesus or speaks truth I rejoice when they do because I love Jesus and truth. I can approve a message even when I have disagreements with the messenger. I agree with Paul: love rejoices with the truth. And that is the truth.”
James later posted, “Sodomy is a sin. I disagree with anyone who says it’s not. But not all gays are practicing. I also disagree with people who think they’re courageous because they call out one sin but if a POTUS is guilty of sexual sin they keep their mouth shut. It’s called cowardly hypocrisy.”
The CBN’s Statement
Later that day the CBN, which is a “partnership of Southern Baptists where all generations are encouraged, equipped, and empowered to bring positive, biblical solutions that strengthen the SBC in an effort to fulfill the Great Commission and influence culture,” called out Jonathan’s father for promoting his sermon.
“Scripture is clear that homosexuality is a grave sin (1 Cor. 6:9-10, Rom. 1:24-28), and that sin separates mankind from God (Isaiah 59:2, Rom. 6:23),” CBN’s statement reads. The statement went on to state concern that an SBC pastor and SBC seminary employee was promoting the sermon, saying, “To present to Southern Baptists a man living in unrepentant sin as someone to whom they should listen for a sermon that is ‘faithful to the gospel,’ as the elder Merritt tweeted, is wholly illogical and demonstrably dangerous. For one who is employed by a Southern Baptist seminary receiving Cooperative Program tithe dollars to promote an unrepentant sinner—no matter whose son he is—as a trustworthy preaching source is a betrayal of trusting Southern Baptists.”
The CBN then called on SEBTS’ board of Trustees and its president, Danny Akin, to “give sincere attention to this grievous situation,” because it goes against the SBC’s “commitment to Scripture as inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative and opposes the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.”
The statement asked Southern Baptists to pray for the Merritt family, specifically that Jonathan would repent, citing 2 Corinthians 7:10.
“Some have accused the Conservative Baptist Network of being divisive for suggesting certain SBC leaders have departed from their biblical beliefs,” the CBN wrote. “The unbiblical and divisive promotion of Jonathan Merritt by the most recent chairman of the SBC Committee on Resolutions demonstrates the need for the Network all too clearly. And, as in the case of President Ed Litton’s blatant, serial plagiarism of sermons and even personal experiences, many Convention leaders stand united in silence when the offender is one of their friends.”