The head of Founders Ministries has responded to the backlash he received after the organization released a controversial trailer last week for its upcoming documentary that was highly critical of the social justice push within the Southern Baptist Convention and evangelical churches.
Tim Ascol, president of the Reformed Baptist organization and a Florida pastor, issued a lengthy statement this week expressing “regret” for the “pain and confusion” caused by the release of a nearly four-minute trailer for the organization’s upcoming documentary “By What Standard?”
As the “cinedoc” seeks to expose a “postmodern, deconstructionist worldview” that has “given rise to godless ideologies” such as radical feminism, critical race theory, and intersectionality, the film is supposed to feature commentaries from several prominent leaders within the SBC.
Several SBC leaders interviewed for the film have since asked to no longer be associated with the project and that their interviews not be used after the trailer seemed to condemn prominent Southern Baptist figures, including Russell Moore, James Merritt, Matt Chandler, Beth Moore, and Dwight McKissic.
To some critics, the trailer came off as downplaying concerns related to sex abuse in the church.
“Some have claimed that the trailer shows a disregard for those who have suffered sexual abuse. That is not what we wished to communicate at all,” Ascol wrote in his statement. “We grieve the very real oppression and abuse that occurs far too often in our day. We are thankful that this evil is being exposed. It needs to be faithfully and biblically confronted and addressed by pastors.”
Ascol also said that some have accused Founders of presenting Rachel Denhollander, an abuse survivor who has frequently expressed concerns about sexual abuse cover-up in churches, as “demonic.”
“Certainly, no one at Founders Ministries believes that and we did not foresee people taking it that way. That was not our intention and, admittedly, not our wisest editing moment,” Ascol contended of a one-to-two-second scene in the trailer showing Denhollander. “We regret the pain and confusion we caused by this unwise alignment of image and idea. We have removed the clip and have reached out to her and to her husband, Jacob. We are grateful for so many of Mrs. Denhollander’s efforts to serve victims of abuse.”
According to Ascol, the trailer was designed to encourage people to see the film when it is released. But Ascol said he received many messages and phone calls from people wanting to express their concerns about the trailer.
Ascol said he had direct conversations with Danny Akin, president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith