One of the most obvious scams in Big Eva is the establishment of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a parachurch organization operating within the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. Within the Cooperative Program, the North American Mission Board is perhaps the largest scam in terms of scale and corruption. However the most obvious scam is Russell Moore and the ERLC.
So, what constitutes a scam ministry. After all with the North American Mission Board, the issue that was notable on paper that they were receiving a lot more funds over the course of a decade and church plants declined. A deeper dive into that demonstrates that there is little accountability over the churches they do plant and that these church plants are taking money with no intention of adhering to Baptist doctrine. And then there are the shady property investments. NAMB is bamboozling people into thinking that their giving is contributing to the Great Commission, when the organization might as well be the Baptist version of the Clinton Foundation.
The ERLC is a much simpler organization. Meant to be a political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the ERLC operates as little more than a blog. According to the SBC Ministry Report, the finances of the ERLC are as follows:
The overwhelming majority of their budget is spent on salaries and benefits. The finances of the ERLC do not paint a favorable picture. Certain non-profit organizations are rather personnel intensive. A church plant for instance would certainly be personnel intensive. However, the point of an organization being personnel intensive is that having salaried employees frees them up more to deliver desired results. So what desired results did the ERLC deliver? According to their letter, not much.
The biggest political issue in 2020 was the lockdowns, and the ERLC boasts about their ability to lobby Congress for church inclusion in PPP loans which the ERLC partook. Aside from helping churches receive money for shutting down, the ERLC describes piggybacking off of other organizations’ lawsuits.
On the issue of abortion, they announced that their Psalm 139 Project was able to acquire 10 ultrasounds. In my assessment, this was the most indisputable accomplishment of the ERLC. It’s worth noting that while ultrasounds are too expensive for regular people to purchase when expecting, they aren’t that expensive as far as medical devices go. Everything else either would have been accomplished without them or did not help the Great Commission.
Southern Baptists give the ERLC over $3 million and the results are beyond underwhelming. Not only did Russell Moore lack the courage to stand on salient issues in uncertain times, but the ERLC’s silence did considerable damage in spreading a yellowbellied mentality among Southern Baptists.
But Russell Moore is making out big in this scam. He gets a nice salary, book deals and endorsements, and speaking gigs all while producing infinitesimal results.