Whistleblower challenges SBC leaders’ response to Russell Moore letters By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter
Executive Committee searching for firm to conduct independent review
GNN Note – We will be reporting from the SBC Meeting this coming week. /END
Days after Southern Baptist Convention leaders Mike Stone and Ronnie Floyd challenged claims by the former leader of the denomination’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore, that they mishandled a “crisis of sexual abuse” in the convention, a Texas pastor has come forward with evidence that he claims supports Moore’s claims.
Phillip Bethancourt, the lead pastor of Central Church in College Station, Texas, who at the time was an ERLC staffer, said he felt “compelled” to “become a Southern Baptist whistleblower” in a letter to Stone and Floyd published publicly on Thursday.
Floyd, who is president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, said he did not “have the same recollection” of accounts presented by Moore of the SBC’s mishandling of sexual abuse allegations lodged against SBC churches.
Stone, a former chairman of the Executive Committee who is now an SBC presidential nominee, was accused of trying to “delay the formation of a credentials committee to assess churches reported to be mishandling sexual abuse.” But he dismissed the claims as “scandalous,” “unscriptural,” “ungodly” and “outrageous.” He also noted that he is a survivor of sexual abuse himself.
In his Thursday letter, however, Bethancourt suggested the SBC leaders were not being truthful.
“I am writing to you in regard to your public responses to the recently publicized letters from Russell Moore. Ronnie, you said you ‘do not have the same recollection’ of the events. Mike, your video called Moore’s claims ‘absolutely slanderous,’ ‘ungodly,’ and an ‘outrageous lie,’” the Texas pastor began. “I cannot remain quiet in light of your responses, so I am compelled to do something no one would want to do–become a Southern Baptist whistleblower.”
He continued: “Wouldn’t the best way to get to the truth be to hear the two of you in your own words? Your own words actually corroborate the claims in Russell Moore’s letters–the same claims you now suggest are false. I believe that when Southern Baptists hear you in your own words, they will be wise enough to recognize the truth.”