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Motions To Abolish the ERLC and To Censure Al Mohler, Ben Mandrell, and Bart Barber Fail at Annual Meeting

Albert Mohler Ben Mandrell Brent Leatherwood SBC Motions
(L) Albert Mohler (M) Ben Mandrell (R) Brent Leatherwood at the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting. Photo credit: ChurchLeaders

Motions to abolish the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and to censure Albert Mohler, Ben Mandrell, and Bart Barber overwhelmingly failed during the morning session of Wednesday’s annual meeting.

Motion To Censure Albert Mohler, Ben Mandrell, and Bart Barber

“I move that the messengers censure Albert Mohler, Ben Mandrell, and Bart Barber for their roles in approving an amicus brief in the state of Kentucky that prevented an abuse survivor from having her day in court,” proposed Louis Cook, a bi-vocational pastor of Oak City Baptist Church.

ChurchLeaders previously reported that the amicus brief in question was filed on a case that no has connection to the SBC, the Executive Committee (EC), Lifeway Christian Resources, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS).

Cook said that Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, and Barber, the SBC president concluding his term, were in “direct opposition to the expressed will of the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention through multiple resolutions passed regarding sexual abuse.”

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Before the motion went to vote, standing at a microphone on the floor of the convention hall, both Mohler and Mandrell defended themselves and encouraged messengers not to vote in favor of the proposed motion.

Referring to Lifeway’s booth at the SBC annual meeting’s expo hall, Mandrell said, “I first want to say that the gentleman who made the motion. I have been in the Lifeway village for three days. He has never come to speak to me.”

Mandrell added, “I worry about a convention where people can come to microphones and not be asked: ‘Have you made an attempt to have a conversation with the person with whom you’re speaking to?’”

Mandrell explained that he didn’t make the decision alone, but that there are 46 other Lifeway board trustees who backed his amicus brief signature. “So if I’m on the censure, I would move that you expand it to include me and all 46 trustees that work together to make these decisions,” he said.

Mandrell said that he was also concerned about a “future where Christian lawyers are viewed suspiciously as if they didn’t go to law school and have expert opinions and wish they can help their institutions move forward without unnecessary litigation.”

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Praising Lifeway’s lawyers as “good” and “godly” people, Mandrell said, “They are not trying to cover [up] any evil. They’re trying to keep Lifeway free and clear of any litigation to which it should not be involved.”