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Former SBC President Resigns from Teaching Role at Seminary after Sharing Sermon by Gay Son

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for ChristianHeadlines.com | Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Former SBC President Resigns from Teaching Role at Seminary after Sharing Sermon by Gay Son

Former SBC President Resigns from Teaching Role at Seminary after Sharing Sermon by Gay Son

Pastor James Merritt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, resigned from his position as a visiting professor at Southeastern Baptist Seminary last week after coming under fire for sharing a sermon by his son, who is openly gay.

According to the Roys Report, the news of Merritt’s resignation was first announced by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin on Twitter.

“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,” Akin tweeted last Monday. “I have honored his request. His integrity, character & love for the gospel is a model for us all.”

Merritt, who leads Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia, had shared a sermon by his son, Jonathan Merritt. The younger Merrit, an author, journalist, popular speaker, and a graduate of Southeastern Seminary, announced on Instagram in August that he is gay.

“I don’t agree with my loved son @JonathanMerritt on everything to be sure,” James Merritt tweeted on November 22. “But I encourage you to listen to his message on Mark 13. It is both brilliant and faithful to the gospel and the coming of Jesus!”

The tweet sparked massive criticism online, including from the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN).

“Scripture is clear that homosexuality is a grave sin (1 Cor. 6:9-10, Rom. 1:24-28), and that sin separates mankind from God (Isaiah 59:2, Rom. 6:23). To present to Southern Baptists a man living in unrepentant sin as someone to whom they should listen for a sermon that is “faithful to the gospel,” as the elder Merritt tweeted, is wholly illogical and demonstrably dangerous,” the Conservative Baptist Network said in a statement.

“For one who is employed by a Southern Baptist seminary receiving Cooperative Program tithe dollars to promote an unrepentant sinner—no matter whose son he is—as a trustworthy preaching source is a betrayal of trusting Southern Baptists,” the statement added.

In response to the backlash, James Merritt continued to defend his son.

“Regardless of who preaches Jesus or speaks truth I rejoice when they do because I love Jesus and truth,” the elder Merritt wrote. “I can approve a message even when I have disagreements with the messenger ...”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Merritt issued a response to CBN’s statement after his father resigned.

“Christianity is not for the faint of heart, folks. Jesus asks us to love all—even fundamentalists who rage at the mere thought of the Other. Praying for the CBN that they would come to know the God whose name is Love. Mt 5:44”, he tweeted.

On Monday, James Merritt seemed to take a shot at his critics in a series of tweets.

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is a stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1-2 If you fear God exclusively you don’t have to fear unjust criticism, outright lies, or hypocritical judgmentalism of Pharisaical bullies,” his first post reads.

“There are two words that are sweet to my ear these days and both start with the letter ‘M.’ As a golfer you like the word ‘Mulligan.’ As one on Twitter You really like the word ‘mute,’” Merritt added.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brian A. Jackson

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

Former SBC President Resigns from Teaching Role at Seminary after Sharing Sermon by Gay Son