Jerry Falwell Jr. Claims There is a ‘Deep State Regime’ Within the SBC Led by Russell Moore in Cryptic Tweet

Southern Baptists are responding to the idea of a “deep state” within their denomination amid comments from Jerry Falwell Jr. and the recent removal of stained glass windows from a SBC seminary.

Crystallizing this notion was a Monday tweet from Liberty University President Falwell Jr. where he said that his friend Jerry Vines, who is both a former SBC president and former pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida had told him that Adam Greenway, the new president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is not a part of a “deep state regime” within SBC ranks. This “regime” is supposedly led by Russell Moore, the current president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Convention, the SBC’s policy arm.

Greenway was nominated to serve as the new president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in February.

Those who do believe that such an operation exists within the SBC say that Moore and like-minded Southern Baptists are leading denomination in a more progressive direction theologically, one that many parishioners do not support and say is a departure from their values.

Falwell’s tweet came on the heels of his remarks at Liberty University’s baccalaureate service Friday in which he praised Vines, the baccalaureate speaker, for his role in what is known as the “conservative resurgence” in previous decades, when theological conservatives wrested control of key denomination agencies and seminaries.

Vines was instrumental in returning the SBC to “to more accurately reflect the values of most Southern Baptist members,” Falwell said.

Falwell added: “[U]nfortunately, a new generation has taken the Convention away from those values in many ways.”

Falwell’s church, Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, gained a place in Southern Baptist life when it became a part of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and gave to the mission causes of the state convention and the national convention before the 1998 SBC annual meeting in Salt Lake City, according to a bio of Jerry Falwell Sr. in Christian Index. Falwell and several of his members attended the 1998 Utah convention and voted as messengers. Before that, Falwell and Thomas Road were independent Baptist.

In the lead-up to its annual meeting in Dallas last year, the denomination endured somewhat of a crisis as numerous reports emerged regarding SBC leaders mishandling instances of sexual misconduct in churches and affiliated institutions. Old audio footage resurfaced of an interview where former SWBTS president Paige Patterson offered what many saw as dangerous advice to a woman who was being abused by her husband. Patterson was eventually ousted from his post at SWBTS and the seminary ultimately removed stained glass windows of key SBC figures in the conservative resurgence from their premises.

The windows were reportedly paid for with donations and Falwell Jr. wanted two of them back — Falwell Sr. and Vines.

The Capstone Report, a conservative Southern Baptist site that believes the SBC is trending liberal and needs to be preserved, is vocally backing Falwell. CR writers insisted Monday that Falwell’s deep state comment was said in jest but “it does have some truth in it.” They argued that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler’s “disciples” now lead SBC entities and that a number of appointments have been made to key SBC entities that promote “Woke Theology.”

According to Liberty University, “Falwell demanded that SWBTS return the money donated for the windows and sent a plane to Fort Worth, Texas, this week to retrieve them.”

The Falwell Sr. and Vines stained glass windows will be displayed in the Jerry Falwell Museum on Liberty’s campus.

Among the other windows, Paige Patterson and his wife Dorothy are depicted, as are California megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren, former SBC presidents W.A. Criswell, Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, Ed Young and Ronnie Floyd, who has been recently elected to serve as the new SBC executive committee president.

Meanwhile, Relevant magazine noted Tuesday the tense intra-denominational dynamics and events in recent years that have contributed to the ongoing divide within the SBC, particularly Moore’s comments in opposition to then-candidate Donald Trump in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter