Dr. Alex McFarland says he has the experience and the vision to take charge of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention – and as he told American Family Radio recently, he's willing to work for free.
"I'm entirely serious, guys. I would love to serve the denomination that brought me to salvation," he added.
McFarland first made his offer several weeks ago – and he finds the encouragement he's getting gratifying. "I've probably heard from a hundred pastors who have reached out and said, 'Oh my goodness, I hope it happens. What may I do to help?" he shared.
But McFarland says he's still waiting to hear from anyone who can actually hire him. "I've heard from journalists. I've heard from pastors," he added. "The people I haven't heard from are the gatekeepers who could begin to act on something like this."
A vision for the ERLC
According to its website, the ERLC exists to "assist the churches by helping them understand the moral demands of the gospel, apply Christian principles to moral and social problems and questions of public policy, and to promote religious liberty in cooperation with the churches and other Southern Baptist entities."
McFarland has laid out his vision for the ERLC. "It really ought to be a think-tank that is consistently proclaiming a biblical analysis of culture and current events," he stated while on the radio.
"And the ERLC would be equipping Southern Baptists – and really, believers at large – to see the world through the lens of scripture, to land on a biblically informed position, and to inspire people to live and think biblically."
Until just a few weeks ago, the ERLC was headed by Russell Moore, who had been criticized of late for leading and directing the group in a fashion that, according to task force report, was "a substantial impediment to the growth of the Cooperative Program." The Cooperative Program is a plan of financial giving through SBC churches to support state convention, missions, and ministries. Moore had also come under criticism for his vocal opposition to Donald Trump's candidacy in 2016 and Trump's subsequent presidency.
McFarland stated earlier that should he be tapped to replace Moore as head of the ERLC, the group's new mission will be "to observe and analyze the overlap of faith and culture, to comment … from a biblical worldview, and to equip the saved and ultimately contribute to the evangelism of the lost."
Moore, who led the ERLC for eight years, has since moved on to take a job as "public theologian" at Christianity Today. Janet Mefferd, a radio talk-show host based in Texas, says that's a good place for Moore "because clearly his politics are more in line with the liberals over there than they are with most of the SBC."