NASHVILLE (BP) – The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will maintain the same aim in its work while the search is underway for a new leader, acting president Daniel Patterson said.
Acknowledging it is “a time of change” at the ERLC, Patterson said in written comments Friday (June 4), “[T]he primary thing remains the same: Our commission is relentless in our focus on the Great Commission. So whether it’s standing for life, advocating for religious freedom, engaging in courts and Congress, or equipping the church, we’ll continue to serve Southern Baptists by speaking from our churches into the public square for the sake of the Gospel.
“It’s a privilege to do so with the convictional and Christ-like team we have at the ERLC.”
Patterson’s remarks came after the ERLC’s presidential post became vacant June 1, when Russell Moore’s resignation became effective. Moore, who served eight years as president, announced his departure May 18 to become public theologian for Christianity Today and lead the evangelical magazine’s new Public Theology Project. Additionally, Immanuel Church in Nashville announced June 1 that Moore would become a minister in residence with the non-denominational congregation.
David Prince, chairman of the ERLC’s trustees, echoed Patterson’s comments.
The ERLC’s record during the last eight years “speaks for itself,” Prince said in a written statement. “Much of that was due to the leadership of Russell Moore, but, as our trustees recently discussed, it is also a credit to the talented staff serving Southern Baptists at the commission.
“I have no doubt, during this interim period under Dr. Patterson, the ERLC will continue to equip the church, apply the moral demands of the Gospel to issues in the public square and promote religious liberty and human dignity in ways that Baptists have come to expect.”
Prince, pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., said, “As trustees, we have a significant task in front of us to find the next leader of the ERLC who can continue this track record of excellence, but I am confident the Lord is already moving to identify that person for us in the months ahead.”
A presidential search committee from the ERLC trustees has not been named, but recent efforts to find SBC entity leaders have succeeded within a year.
The ERLC trustees elected Moore as president in March 2013, nearly eight months after Richard Land announced his retirement to complete 25 years in the post. A review provided to Baptist Press of transitions at six SBC entities since 2018 showed those searches for and elections of new presidents required from eight months to a year.