Yesterday we reported on Brent Leatherwood of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention lobbying Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee to pass gun control legislation in the form of red flag laws. On this story things have heated up as the Tennessee Mission Board and a local Southern Baptist megachurch have teamed up with Brent Leatherwood in a follow-up letter urging gun control legislation. In a letter penned by Randy Davis, President of the Tennessee Mission Board, Davis rehashes the same points that Leatherwood did:
As the president of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, the head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a group of concerned Middle Tennessee pastors, we are writing to help articulate the perspective of our churches. In Tennessee, upward of 20 percent of the populace identifies as Southern Baptist. The members of these churches who gather weekly across the state care deeply about life and the protection of all people made in the image of God. They believe in protecting innocent children from violence and struggling people from self-harm.
Thus, we are writing to urge you to act to support Governor Bill Lee’s proposal to strengthen our state’s order of protection laws to protect the broader population from those who are a danger to themselves or others. His framework is a thoughtful approach to ensure we protect the constitutional rights of citizens while also helping to protect potential victims from dangerous individuals. Allowing law enforcement to work with loved ones in order to lead a process that involves full due process in the judicial system, this will ensure individuals who could cause great harm are temporarily kept from accessing weapons, protecting them and others from potential tragedy.
It’s worth noting that “order of protection” is a euphemism for red flag laws, which have not been shown to reduce violent crime. But red flag laws do pose a risk of court ruling that offensive memes on the internet are the basis for removing guns from private possession.
NEW letter from those 16 faith leaders and pastors, including @LeatherwoodERLC, @randycdavistbc, @mikeglenn, @Rgallaty, @natoparker, @drronnyraines, @brandtwaggoner, @PreacherClay, @DarrenWhitehead and others who I had trouble finding on Twitter (please tag if I missed). pic.twitter.com/q2p9yIbg4q— Liam Adams (@liamsadams) April 19, 2023
The key signatories are Randy Davis, Brent Leatherwood, and Mike Glenn. Whereas Randy Davis has the most institutional position as a Southern Baptist, Mike Glenn is a multicampus megachurch pastor who is quite liberal. Many of the signers are pastors at his church campuses. This is quite a convenient way to patch up the numbers, as red flag laws are not a policy Southern Baptists are inclined to support.
Exposing Brentwood Baptist Church
Mike Glenn’s church, Brentwood Baptist Church, has nine locations with various naming conventions across middle Tennessee. It feature women operating as pastors (though without the title.) For the record, women operating as youth pastors but called “Next Gen Ministers” is not biblical.
As it would turn out, the faith statement of Brentwood Baptist Church is not exceedingly unorthodox, given its context. Their faith statement is the Baptist Faith and Message 1963 which is inferior to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and not very good for its time. With the existence of the updated faith statement, the rejection of upgrading to a vastly superior statement from the 1963 would appear to be the result of this church being egalitarian and wanting to come across as inoffensive as the BFM2000 is a lot tighter on hot button issues within the church and without. As the BFM2000 has been out for 23 years, to not have updated the church’s faith statement for the digital age was a deliberate decision to reject the improvements made in the BFM2000. Consider these major differences and why a church wouldn’t upgrade.
- “There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.” is added to Article 4 of the BFM2000 and is not replaced with anything.
- “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” is added to Article 6.
- “The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations.” is added to Article 11.
- “Racism” and “all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography” are added to Article 15.
- Pro-life messaging, ” We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.” is is added to Article 15
- On marriage, “reveal the union between Christ and His church” is added to the reasons for marriage in Article 18.
On the surface their faith statement seems orthodox but the choice to regress to the BFM1963 is deliberate when its outgoing senor pastor, Mike Glenn has ties to Big Eva in Tennessee and has created franchise churches in the last several years. The BFM1963 is not a good faith statement as is compares to other Baptist confessions of faith that predate it. But it should come as no shock that a church with females pastors would not publicly adhere to the BFM2000, nor is it surprising that they would publicly advocate for gun control.