SBC Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone has named the six members of a study task force that was authorized at their February meeting to study the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Joining the chairman on the task force are Ron Hale, Jackson, Tenn.; Mike Lawson, Sherman, Texas; Cheryl Samples, Dallas, Ga.; Hoyt Savage, Las Vegas, Nev.; Monte Shinkle, Jefferson City, Mo.; Rolland Slade, senior pastor, Meridian Baptist, El Cajon, Calif.
The appointment of the task force comes after Executive Committee members voted to address concerns that have been expressed both publicly and privately to various members of the Executive Committee and other Southern Baptists regarding how the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s actions in relation to its ministry statements are affecting the convention and its relationships with local churches, local associations, and state conventions.
Board chairman David Prince, and the ERLC trustee officers responded in an open letter to Stone and EC members, calling the task force “unwarranted, divisive, and disrespectful.”
Stone and EC officers responded, saying: “When we continue to hear a growing number of reports that churches are either planning to decrease or withhold Cooperative Program gifts and are given specific reasons that relate to a Southern Baptist entity, we have a responsibility that we are granted under the bylaws of the SBC to consider those reports.”
The motion passed by the EC calls for a report at or before the September 2020 EC meeting in Nashville.