Late last week, James Merritt endorsed the preaching of his homosexual son, Jonathan Merritt, at a mainline church in New York. The preaching that James Merritt called “brilliant and faithful to the gospel and the second coming” was trite, new-age, and contained a false gospel. Ultimately it was announced , on Twitter, that James Merritt has pre-emptively resigned from joining the staff at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Today my dear friend @drjamesmerritt asked me to allow him to decline serving as a visiting professor @SEBTS, not wanting to be a distraction to the school. I have honored his request. His integrity, character & love for the gospel is a model for us all. A great man & friend!— Daniel Akin (@DannyAkin) November 29, 2021
James Merritt caught a lot of flak for endorsing a homosexual’s sermon, and rightfully so. Twitter is not real life, and that was evident giving Merritt’s action despite the fact that his initial tweet wasn’t even ratio’d. So real pressure caused this decision and not the Twitter mob.
Big Eva circled the wagons for James Merritt, as evident by Danny Akin’s tweet. So it should be noted that this is not a sign that the SBC is in better shape or that SEBTS can be salvaged. Neither are true.
However, it does prove the effectiveness of online discernment ministries. Ministries like Protestia, Reformation Charlotte, Capstone Report, Conversations That Matter, and Evangelical Dark Web all reported on this story. The first three have reported a story on James Merritt allegedly assaulting a staff member and telling racist jokes. It’s true these are allegations that need more substantiation, but with Southern Baptist logic, jokes are a greater sin at the moment.
So James Merritt is out at SEBTS while JD Greear is still in. This is nonetheless a tactical victory. James Merritt was an effective enforcer for the liberals of the Southern Baptist Convention. He commanded the resolutions committee and mostly achieved the desired outcome. James Merritt being kneecapped by scandal is a tactical win as it takes an effective tool for Satan out of play for the time being. It demonstrates the effectiveness and necessity of ministries like this which are capable of generating and mobilizing believers.