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I don't do this lightly. I also know that if you looked hard enough you would find many things about me as a man that would cause some to want me to resign from the things I do. So, please know that I am not approaching this as a hypocrite, a superior man, or a moralizer....NO! Not at all. We are ALL sinners and we ALL have our demonstrable faults.
But to be the CEO, the Head "Pastor" of the largest Protestant Christian Denomination requires a lot out of a man. And Ed Litton has demonstrated that he doesn't have what it takes.
First of all, I don't know Ed Litton personally. Never met the man. But I have tried to practice Mathhew 18 and the Biblical instructions on a brother of offense. I've written him, twice, with NO return answer of any kind, not even an acknowledgement that I wrote (Was the SAME with J.D. Greear, the past president that I also had many, many problems with!). Let me explain why I have asked Dr. Litton to resign as President of the SBC.
He has been "caught" in a pretty stout plagiarism scandal. What that means is that he has copied other men's sermons, word for word in many instances, and preached them as his own.
Now, let me hasten to say that I would be lying if I said that I had never done that. When I was younger and looking to learn how to preach, I on occasion took a message preached by Dr. Adrian Rogers and used his thoughts and sometimes even his outline for one of my messages. God eventually convicted me about this, so much so that when I finally had a chance to meet Dr. Rogers I asked for a private meeting. He granted me a few minutes in his study at the old Bellevue location in downtown Memphis. I sheepishly confessed that I had taken a couple of his message ideas and preached them myself. He laughed and said, "All is forgiven my friend! Listen, if I have any bullets that will fit your gun, SHOOT THEM!"
So, I stopped doing that. But EVERY PREACHER that has preached for more than 5 minutes, has learned from others, used ideas, illustrations, etc and fashioned them into his own messages from time to time. That doesn't make it right! It is NOT wrong or immoral to learn from others and even to use some of the ideas and concepts that they have used and preach them in your own messages. It IS wrong, however, to take a man's sermon and re-preach it word for word. It is also wrong to use the words of another man and not to give him credit for the work and thought that he had put in to the sermon effort himself. There are books and books that share other's illustrations. But it is wrong to use an illustration that belongs to another man's sermon and re-preach it as if it were your own life experience!
This is the problem with Dr. Litton. He has taken many (We don't know exactly how many because his ministry took down over 120 sermons from online, so we can't examine them) sermons of Dr. J. D. Greear and re-preached them. He has re-preached them in many instances, WORD FOR WORD. And the worst offense was he took some of J.D.'s personal illustration stories and retold them as if they were his own personal life experiences! He has also failed to give J.D. any credit for any of the material he used.
But J.D. is not the only person Dr. Litton copied. He has copied at least three others. There are those folks online who are really nifty at taking the two preachers and putting the copied portions of the sermons side by side so that there is NO QUESTION that Dr. Litton has committed these offenses!
I am far more forgiving of Dr. Litton for his violations of sermon copying than most others would be. The problem that I have is how he has handled the scandal since it came to light.
First of all, he denied that he had copied anyone. Then the video comparisons came out. No denying this, Ed! Then he brushed it off as, 'well, yes I may have taken an outline or two of Dr. Greear's and expanded on them and preached them as my own'! He was, after all, only using the other guy's sermons as "COMMENTARY" help him study for his own messages. Honestly, that's what he has said in his last statement of personal defense for all of this! The problem is all of those many video comparisons! You cannot deny what is seen on video! He got caught red handed and all he has been able to do is to whitewash it with excuses! At one point, he even tried to blame his "preaching team"! Yeah, the man has a "team" of 11 others who meet with him every week and help him develop his messages. He once said that he actually spends hours and hours putting his own messages together! I honestly don't know how he does that when he has a team of 11 others doing it for him, and apparently, according to him, they just copied other preacher's messages!
When his church was asked why they took down over 100 sermon video's of their pastor, they first responded that they were doing website maintenance! (Yeah, right!). Then, they openly admitted, "We didn't want our pastor to keep being embarrassed by all of these comparison videos!"
My problem with Dr. Litton is if he doesn't have the spiritual weight to honestly accept his own undeniable violations of the long accepted rules of plagiarism violations, if he won't, I mean, WON'T repent, then he doesn't have the right to be the leader of the pastors and churches of the Southern Baptist Convention!
He will not respond to his critics. In fact, he publicly denigrates those who have criticized him for these violations. He has called them names. He has accused them of being "unnamed internet trolls". This is not only incorrect, it's just plain wrong! A man who is wanting to lead the Southern Baptist Convention of Churches and he can't even admit that he was CAUGHT redhanded doing what men have had to leave the ministry for in the past? Are you kidding me? What kind of lower standard have we sunk to if this is where we put the bar for the SBC President?
Well, I have figured it out, so let me tell you why he won't accept his failure and resign the Presidency.
He will NOT ever resign for this one reason alone: If he were to resign, the person that would move into the office of President is the man who is the First Vice President of the SBC, and that is Lee Brand, Jr.
Lee is a black man (not an issue at all, just an FYI), who is an administrator leader of the Seminary in Memphis. Lee is an awesome Brother in Christ! He is a great preacher, a man of integrity. He would make a wonderful President of the SBC. And in this day of everyone worrying about being called "racist", this would go a long way to prove that the SBC is NOT! But, here is the REAL problem. He is a member of the Conservative Baptist Network and one of the Conservative candidates that ran in this past summer's SBC elections. DR. LITTON WILL NEVER RESIGN BECAUSE HE AND THE POWERS THAT BE IN THE SBC WILL NEVER ALLOW A CONSERVATIVE BAPTIST NETWORK MEMBER MOVE INTO THE PRESIDENCY!
That's the whole reason for the completely immoral and unBiblical response of Ed Litton to his scandal.
There are other things that I could lay at his feet as well. His church website listed their belief in the Godhead, the Trinity as the completely unBiblical, heretical view called the fragmented view. That was caught before he was voted and on at the Convention in June and the church rushed to change their website within 20 minutes of the voting! His sermons, that were the same sermons J.D.Greear preached on homosexuality, they were just awful! They both preached such ridiculous statements as, "Homosexuality won't send you to hell because heterosexuality won't send you to heaven....", and "God's Word only whispers about sexual sin...."! He also allowed his wife to "co-preach" sermons with him (about 12 so far that we can find) when the Baptist Faith and Message clearly states that we don't allow for women preachers! I mean, how are you the President of the Southern Baptist Convention when you violate the terms of the Baptist Faith and Message?
Listen, Ed Litton might be a fine brother. But he was without question the WRONG BROTHER to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention and that's why I, without hesitancy, have called for his immediate resignation!
Sin and Death
Romans 3:23; 6:23b
Separated from God
Grace Not Works
Ephesians 2:8, 9
Turn to God and Believe
Call upon the Name of the Lord