This confused thinking became front and center in the Southern Baptist Convention with the election in June 2018 of J.D. Greear as president. (He was reelected to a second term in 2019 and this was extended until 2021 due to Covid lockdowns.) In 2014, in a message before the ERLC [Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission] National Conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage,” Greear said, “We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexual morality … I am not saying that we would ever compromise our position or fail to state it, just that even when they disagree with it, we do not cut them off, we draw them close. We say yes, this issue is important. I cannot compromise, but I love you more than I love being right. In the cross of Jesus Christ, he shows us the right way to relate to the gay and the lesbian community—clarity about God’s righteousness, compassion that would give up its own life to draw them close.” Greear’s position is incredibly misguided and unbiblical, though it is presented in a semblance of truth. It is certain that Jesus Christ loved sinners and died for sinners with a desire that sinners draw near to Him, but Jesus calls sinners to repentance and there is no “drawing close” to God without repentance. Twice in the same sermon Christ said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Christ directly and plainly exposed the sin of the woman at the well, and she repented and drew close to God in salvation (John 4). On the other hand, Jesus exposed the sin of the rich young ruler, and he did not repent and as a result did not draw close to God (Mark 10:17-23). Greear says, “We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexual morality,” and, “I love you more than I love being right.” But the Bible says we should love God’s Word and hate every false way (Psalm 119:128). The Bible says we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Jesus was a friend of sinners, but He preached repentance to sinners and warned them in no uncertain terms of eternal hellfire (e.g., Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5). Christ never modified or softened or shortened His message in any way whatsoever in order to “draw them close.”
The fundamental problem in the Southern Baptist Convention is that it is composed of churches that do not have a zeal to obey God’s Word and are thus spiritually powerless. Having grown up in Southern Baptist churches and having wide experience of them for 70 years, it is clear to me that the average SBC congregation is a mixed multitude of saved and lost and is spiritually lukewarm at the very best. The pastor is a hireling, not a prophet, and his greatest fear is offending some lukewarm member of his congregation. Serious intercessory prayer and fasting are nearly unknown. Separation from the world is considered legalism. Life-changing conversions are as rare as hen’s teeth. Consider the statistics for 2013: A full 60% of SBC churches baptized zero youth between ages of 12-17 and 80% baptized zero or just one young adult ages 18-29. But there was an explosion in the baptisms of “five and under” (Annual Church Profile, 2013). That is Baptist infant baptism, and it is the sign of a dead denomination! And a large percentage of independent Baptists today are no different in spiritual character than Southern Baptists. I am so thankful that I personally know of churches that are different in spiritual character than what I have described and that do know and experience the resurrection power of God in regenerating power and life-changing holiness and biblical separation, but they are rare.
Greear said in sermon about homosexuality, Jan. 27, 2019, that “the Bible appears to whisper when it comes to sexual sin compared to it shouts about materialism and religious pride.” He was quoting from female preacher Jen Wilkin whom he praised as one of his church’s favorite Bible teachers. But we wouldn’t call God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah a whisper! In preaching from Romans 1, Greear tried to make the sin of homosexuality equal to sins mentions in verses 29-31, but Paul himself, in this very context, labeled homosexuality a special sin that is the product of God giving men over “to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.” Paul called homosexuality “vile affections,” “against nature,” “a reprobate mind” (Ro. 1:26-28).
Greear called on Christians to stand up for homosexual rights. The following is excerpted from “SBC Prez,” ReformationCharlotte.org, Jan. 31, 2019: “The current Southern Baptist President, J.D. Greear, is proving himself to be unfit for the position he holds in America’s largest Protestant denomination. Over the last few years, the SBC has taken a sharp turn toward political as well as theological liberalism while pushing a social justice agenda. Reformation Charlotte reported earlier today that Greear, during an eisegesis of Romans 1, compared homosexuality to ‘greed’ and ‘boasting,’ even stating that most of these sins are ‘more egregious in the eyes of God’ than homosexuality. Of course, this is foolish, as homosexuality is the one sin that caused God to wipe ... cities off the face of the earth. It is, according to the text he clumsily referenced, the sin that God gives people over to because of their other sins. It is actually the wrath and judgment of God being poured out on a people to be given over to depraved minds and dishonorable passions. It has now come to light that not only has Greear misrepresented the Scriptures regarding the sin of homosexuality, he has also called on Christians to stand up for the rights of LGBT people. ... The ‘rights’ that LGBT people are fighting for are, for example, the right to use the public restroom of whatever gender they choose to identify as on any given day. The right to get married and practice sodomy in the apartment next door. The right to get married in your conservative church. The right to be fully embraced as an active, affirmed, and participating member of your church. And the right to propagandize you and your children with their vile affections that God has given them over to...”
On Feb. 25, 2021, Greear tweeted, “Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Take up my teachings and follow me. Or, ‘Take up my moral code.’ He says, ‘Take up my cross.’” This is further heresy from an ignorant man who has no business in the pastorate. Note the following words from Christ Himself: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Joh. 14:15). “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (Joh. 14:21). “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (Joh. 14:23-24). “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love” (Joh. 15:10). “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you: (Joh. 15:14). “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Mt. 28:18-20).
For more about the Southern Baptist Convention today see our report “Why I Am Not a Southern Baptist” -
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