The newly elected Southern Baptist president has been engulfed in the sermongate scandal after it was exposed that he was delivering the sermons of the outgoing SBC president, JD Greear. In the latest damage control, Vice President of the SBC Executive Committee, Jonathan Howe, gave Ed Litton a soft-ball interview to justify plagiarizing numerous sermons. In his podcast, SBCThisWeek, Howe begins cordially and then gives Ed Litton free reign to reiterate his previously released statement. The first actual question, according to the transcript, he asks regarding the scandal is what Ed Litton’s team looks like.
Ed Litton paints a romantic picture of discipleship which certainly contrasts the understanding, noted SBC whistleblower Bobby Lopez has that the sermon “writing” team was likened to a college professor taking credit for grad students writing a research paper. Ed Litton describes the process as effective, but it’s hard to imagine how expedient sermon writing by committee can possibly be.
Ed Litton then makes a bizarre analogy in which he states that a diamond miner who uncovered a diamond holds up the diamond, not the tools used to recover the diamond, crediting a seminary professor. As pointed out on social media in response to this metaphor, Ed Litton is the guy who had a is showing a diamond he did not mine. Moreover, JD Greear’s sermons should not be compared to diamonds.
The first mildly challenging statement comes when Jonathan Howe asks about the perceived discrepancy about Litton’s prior statement on the matter and his church scrubbing the sermons, claiming, according to Howe, the elders did not want Ed Litton “unfairly maligned” online.
And so to protect the church and the wellbeing of the church and their pastor, they said, ‘We’re pulling these down.’ But what they left was the last 18 months, which is all of all of 2020’s sermons and all 2021 sermons.Ed Litton
Here Ed Litton lies about what sermons were left up. Nothing over 11 months old was left up, not 18 months which would include many of the sermons in question. Jonathan Howe refuses to call Ed Litton on this. Instead, he shifts the conversation off the subject and gives Ed Litton a chance to frame himself as a victim of online attacks motivated by secular politics.
This was never a serious interview, and Jonathan Howe demonstrated a Sean Hannity level of shilling. The idea of plagiarizing sermons as a sin was never addressed. Obvious lies were never called out. This was a hack job by those in SBC elite circles (this is especially true given that Baptist Press touted the interview) to defend one of their own disciples.