Pastor Nathaniel Jolly of Homer Reformed Baptist Church in Homer, Alaska, says the Southern Baptist Convention is "a ship [that] is sinking, unrepairable, and it's time for us to get off." The SBC, he says in the July 21 tweeted letter, "seems to value the applause of men over that of God," is "beholden to the world rather than the Word," hinders his church's witness, and is a threat to his flock.
Biblical apologist Dr. Alex McFarland agrees that the denomination has become too culturally relevant for its own good. "When the hierarchy decides to improve itself out of business, this is what happens," he explains. "People [are] patient – but then the time comes when they decide to pull away."
In an earlier interview with AFN, McFarland alluded to a "woke" leadership in many of the SBC's agencies and seminaries as "more concerned with being in conformity to the culture than in conformity to scripture."
And the apologist admitted he is pessimistic about the future of the denomination. "It is ego and politics and posturing that has rendered the SBC all but irrelevant," McFarland stated last month. "It's not dead, but now it terminal."
Expecting a trend
In his letter, Pastor Jolly admits he was appalled at what he saw at the annual SBC convention in Anaheim in June: "Certain presidential candidates were treated with unwarranted suspicion. Conservative survivors [of abuse] were shut off from the mic while a megachurch pastor who ordains women as pastors was given free reign [sic] on the floor."
He also writes that the SBC promotes Critical Race Theory; and in at least one instance has turned a blind eye to homosexuality and abortion within its walls.
"These are hell-born teachings that bring death upon those who believe them," Jolly writes. "As their under-shepherd, I cannot in good conscience expose my dear and precious flock to these godless ideologies."
McFarland suggests Homer Reformed Baptist cannot be the only church leaving.
"For every church that does express their grief in leaving and writes a letter, there are probably ten times that many that don't write a letter," he offers. "They just quietly withdraw their financial support and the sending of messengers and their participation."
Having spoken with literally thousands of SBC pastors, McFarland reports none of them has ever told him they give to the SBC's Cooperative Program out of concern for the environment or a desire to participate in social justice. The CP is a program focusing on financial stewardship and missions support.
AFN reached out to Pastor Jolly, but he did not respond.