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Brentwood Baptist Church

Brentwood Baptist Church: Liberalism and CRT Exposed

It is no coincidence that Brentwood Baptist Church, a Tennessee SBC megachurch so happens to be both egalitarian and liberal. Lobbying for gun restrictions and red flag laws is the latest iteration in a longstanding incremental liberal trend. The growth of Nashville, both in size and prominence, has elevated the status of Brentwood church, who boast nine locations in the surrounding metropolitan area. Brentwood operates on an annual budget of nearly $30 million.

Egalitarianism Summarized

While they might not title their female staffers as “pastors” they instead title them as “ministers” which is a semantic workaround while they employ much of the same function. It is also worth noting that these women, particularly if they are younger, might go on to become “pastors” at future churches and this staff position will serve as a resume builder, as was evident in some of the churches the SBC recently disfellowshipped. The function of women holding authority over teenaged males or young adult males, which many churches call “youth” is technically exercising authority over men.

Another example of improper church polity is the “Board of Trustees” model of organizational structure. This is entirely a manmade hierarchy designed for nonprofits, but it is improper for a church to adopt such a structure, and even more so when women are on such boards and committees. This would essentially make them elders in function, as they are overseeing the resources and executive decisions of a church.

Presently, Brentwood has two women on this board: Leilani Boulware and Donna Keel. The latter was also included on their Senior Pastor Search Team to replace Mike Glenn, which ultimately promoted one of their pastors to the role. Other women in this committee included Betty Wiseman and Donna Taylor. Though this is unlikely unique to Brentwood, the question must be posited: is it a violation of Scripture for women to be tasked with elevating elders? A minimalist interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 would restrict women from speaking in regard to the prophetic gifts mentioned in Chapter 14 of the epistle, meaning women were not to interpret the prophecy, only men. The elevation of elders should likewise be restricted to men who are themselves qualified to be elders or deacons as is described in 1 Timothy and Titus.

The overuse of committees and the multi-campus franchise model of Christ’s Church is unbiblical church polity.

Mike Glenn’s Third Wayism

Mike Glenn is more or less a proponent of the Third Way, which ultimately soft-peddles liberalism in the church. Mike Glenn was one of the signatories on the gun control letter to Governor Bill Lee. Though not a nationally known pastor, Glenn had prominence within Southern Baptist circles and Big Eva, and has influence within the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (the state convention). His columns are published at Jesus Creed, a blog hosted by Christianity Today, and Brentwood has featured the likes of Russell Moore speaking at their locations.

Within his own blogposts, Mike Glenn writes much like a Gospel Coalition author, filling up a page with benign truisms that are unimpactful and trite. In the aftermath of Roe v Wade being overturned, Glenn wrote the following:

What has happened in the overturning of Roe is that the pro-choice world has called our bluff. We have often been criticized for caring for children until they were born. Once they were born, we are no longer concerned about how they do. We, politically anyway, don’t support the welfare programs designed to help mothers and children. While this response may be overstated, this ruling gives the church an opportunity to do what the church has always done best: care for widows and orphans.

If the church is indeed pro-life, it must mean more than simply being anti-abortion. The church that is pro-life will now have to be engaged in every moment of that child’s life, the family’s life, and their community’s life to make sure the message of life’s sacred value is both heard and backed up with concrete action. A pro-life church will need to do more than protest abortion.

Glenn adopts the left’s strawman accusation of the Church regarding abortion, acting as if the Church was not already involved in countless pro-life ministries, like pregnancy centers, before and after the SCOTUS ruling. A number of these facilities have been vandalized so it is quite evident there were plenty of boots on the ground. Moreover, since a significant percentage of abortions are repeat customers (37.9% in Tennessee per 2018 data), being anti-abortion is the cornerstone of being pro-life. The obvious comment that not supporting welfare initiatives is not “pro-life” is a liberal tactic to bash the pro-life activists as callous and apathetic to the lives they seek to save. If everything is a life issue, then nothing is.

Branch Covidianism

Branch Covidianism became the largest religion in America, infiltrating the church and causing her to declare Caesar as head. Mike Glenn was no exception. Brentwood Baptist Church sinfully closed its church multiple times during Covid, even shutting down before Christmas of 2020 and reopening in January of 2021

Mike Glenn Covid Tweet

October of 2021 was after the Biden Regime announced its employer vaccine mandate. Though he does not say it, the “expense of our freedoms” he is alluding to is probably Covid related. What other freedom could he possibly be referencing more than that of freedom from medical experimentation? Secondly, he conflates the second table of the Ten Commandments with either getting a vaccine or otherwise “sacrificing” in a way that is incongruous to the law. This is a horrendous tweet even if it is unrelated to Covid as he is conflating the summation of the law with sacrificing “freedoms.”

And Mike Glenn took the jab which he called a miracle. It can be reasonably surmised that he endorsed this poison to his congregation like he did via Twitter. As an aside, he was already diagnosed with Covid in January of 2021, meaning he had natural immunity yet got jabbed anyway.

Mike Glenn Covid Vaccine Tweet

In the push to return to normalcy, Mike Glenn published his “The State of Our Church” video on October 1, 2021 in which he stated the following:

One of the things that we’re finding out coming out of Covid is a lot of you like the online service and it won’t be soon if ever that some of you come back for a live worship service. It just works for you and your family. Some of you are newlyweds and you get up and cuddle on the couch and you watch the service together. Some of you are empty nesters and you get up, you have your coffee, sit on the couch together and watch the service. You’re still in your small groups. You’re still involved in a missions project. You’re doing a lot of things and you consider yourself a fully engaged member of Brentwood Baptist Church. You’re just not here on Sunday. That’s a new reality that we’re trying to figure out what to do with.

Rather than rebuke those who have forsaken the fellowship of the saints (Hebrews 10:25), Mike Glenn affirms those who refuse to gather for in person worship simply because they have a preference to watch online. What he is describing is not people being sick and staying home, but people being lazy and desiring comfort. Watching a service online is not worship. Instead of challenging his congregants, he placated their behavior as the “new normal.”

Critical Race Theory

In response to the martyrdom of George Floyd, Brentwood Baptist Church platformed its “racial reconciliation” project, which was ongoing in the years prior to June of 2020 and chaired by Coach Clayton.

The WHY Statement of the 2020 Racial Unity Strategy

As our world grapples with racial discord, it’s the church that must be set apart as an example of biblical unity. We love Jesus, His mission, and His church. We celebrate all that God has done, is doing, and will do in and through all the campuses and congregations of Brentwood Baptist. We also recognize the need and opportunity to grow in our understanding and practice of unity and reconciliation. We acknowledge that ultimate reconciliation is only available to all people through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Thus, we work for people to be reconciled to each other so that they may be reconciled to God. We wish for our orthopraxy to match our orthodoxy; we wish for our behavior to fully match our beliefs. Matthew 22:36-40; Matthew 28:18–20; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 5:17–21; Galatians 3:28, 6:2; Ephesians 4:1–6; Revelation 7:1-17; Revelation 21:1-27.

This basic call for unity is then paired with a seven-day prayer guide, which soft peddles the grievances of Black Lives Matter as legitimate issues of injustice. It subtly infuses the cultural Marxist notions of systemic oppression as legitimate injustices that require Christian prayer.

Day 5

ROMANS 12:14-19

As Christians, we must stand with those who weep and mourn. Even though they may have a completely different set of circumstances in life, we’re to be humble and empathetic to their pain. Pray that you will embody God’s grace toward those who are grieving injustice and the violence from it.

The average law-abiding black person has nothing in common with George Floyd or Jacob Blake. That people felt an emotional attachment to career criminals on the basis of skin color is on them, and racial idolatry should be condemned.

Day 6

PSALM 5

People are looking for refuge. In the face of anger and violence, they need a place where they can turn for grace and comfort. The psalmist cries out to God for a place to hide. But, it’s also a cry for God to strike down those who do evil. As you pray today for the oppressed to have peace, pray also for God to stop those who do evil.

Within a CRT lens, the oppressed are the racial minorities and disparities are defined as injustice. Just as Brentwood capitulated to the world on Covid, they did so again following the death of George Floyd. During their video, “A Racial Reconciliation Conversation with Coach Clayton,” it is Mike Glenn who instructs his congregants, who are mostly white by his own admission that they needed to befriend a black person and “take them out to lunch.” This instruction is rather dehumanizing of black people and treats them as “projects” rather than normal people.

Your campus pastor will help you contextualize that [interaction], but the big thing is to understand that when you see another person, what we’re looking for is not the color of the skin but the presence of the Imago Dei in that person’s life, and what that person can bring to me, to us, that they know about God that we don’t know. There is something about all of us when we’re together that makes the presence and reality and the depth of God known in a way that no one else can do. The world doesn’t know anything about that. That’s why it’s imperative that the church teach them we are serious about racial reconciliation we’re serious about the gospel of Jesus Christ and we want you to find your place.

Mike Glenn is speaking Standpoint Epistemology in reference to knowing God, that one cannot understand God, or learns specific “depths” through diversity. There is something to be said that “where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” implies spiritual growth through numbers, but this does not necessitate racial diversity. It could be three white people, three black people, or three Hispanics, so long as they are gathering in The Lord, He is there, and it is worship. Instead, Glenn is suggesting that believers require members of other races present to understand the character of God. This is entirely untrue.

To top off their Racial Unity project, they have additional reading materials written by Critical Race Theorists and liberals.

Resources

• 7 IMPORTANT REASONS WHY RACIAL RECONCILIATION MATTERS by Fady Al-Hagal, Brentwood Baptist Internationals’ Minister

• Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

• Woke Church by Eric Mason

• The Gospel and Race by Russell Moore

• Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper

• Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

• “The Jacksonville Statement” 

https://brentwoodbaptist.com/articles/true-hospitality/

Racial Unity presentation by Alan Cross

Note: We list these resources to provide a range of perspectives; not all resources are explicitly faith-based.

Though “White Fragility” is absent, obvious race baiters like Eric Mason’s Woke Church are being recommended as reading material for Brentwood congregants. Alan Cross is a white neoconservative pastor from Petaluma Valley Baptist Church who has written for the Bulwark. In his presentation, he mentioned going to a mosque to for a vigil in solidarity with the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand. He also touted immigration as a positive for American Christianity.

Promotion of False Teachers

Brentwood has what is called “Approved Discipleship Resources” which was uploaded in 2021 and contains a list of questionable teachers and outright false teachers. This includes material by Kevin DeYoung (the most featured author), Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, Andy Stanley’s Deep and Wide, Russell Moore’s Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, David Platt’s Radical, and works by Tim Keller. It is not surprising that they feature Big Eva giants like Tim Keller or an influential book like David Platt’s Radical, but Francis Chan and Andy Stanley for leadership materials is overtly bad. Even lessor known materials on their list include Side B affirming Phillip Yancey, who appears to have been an influence to Stanley, and Elevation Church (Furtick) female “pastor” Lysa Terkeurst.

Jay Strother

Replacing Mike Glenn as Senior Pastor is Jay Strother, who previously pastored at their Station Hill location. On April 30th and May 7th, congregants will vote to affirm a resolution to promote Strother to Senior Pastor.

Jay Strother is listed on the ERLC’s Leadership Network. This affiliation with the ERLC thereby would impute the other baggage of ERLC onto Strother by mere association. The ERLC is and always has been liberal despite being the political wing of the otherwise conservative SBC. Already, Brentwood has lobbied for gun control with the ERLC and doubtless Strother was involved. This effort included Randy Davis of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

Jay Strother

Conclusion

Brentwood Baptist Church is an influential megachurch in the growing Nashville Metropolitan region and their influence is expounded upon by the state convention. In many ways, Brentwood is similar to David Platt’s McLean Bible Church, albeit with more competence and less controversy. Like McLean, Brentwood operates The Engage Church Network, which is their church planting outreach ministry for Middle Tennessee. When liberal churches plant new churches, they export their theologies and partner with like-minded pastors to lead these new church plants. This occurred with McLean Bible Church, NAMB, and ACTS29. By operating a network, it gives them outstretched theological influence over the region’s church planting activities, which likely could involve NAMB given that they are an official SBC church.

The overall danger of Brentwood is subtle compared to overt bad or false churches, which is why they are comparable to a McLean, where the liberal push is soft, relative to a Saddleback or a FBC Orlando. As recent years have proven, they have followed the prevailing culture rather than been a light amidst darkness.

To quote Mike Glenn“While the pandemic didn’t break anything, it certainly revealed what was already broken.” Much was revealed about Brentwood because of Covid. 

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