A Tennessee pastor says he was "blindsided" by a Southern Baptist agency's involvement in a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the building of mosque in New Jersey.
Pastor Dean Huan of First Baptist Church in Morristown stepped down from his position with the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board in November after six years of service because he felt they had come to an impasse. He told Baptist Press it "was one of the most heart-wrenching decisions" he's ever had to make in his ministry.
Huan explains he found out in June 2016 that the IMB, along with the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, signed the amicus brief supporting the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge in its lawsuit against a New Jersey township that refused its application to build a mosque.
"I wasn't informed and I kind of got blindsided by it," Huan states.
The pastor says IMB president David Platt explained to him it was done for reasons of religious freedom. But Huan viewed it differently and tells OneNewsNow that his resignation was a matter of conviction.
"I told them that I understood the religious liberty implications [and] that we all want religious liberty, but that I really felt it was an unholy alliance between light and darkness – that scripture in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 forbids us to do," he adds.
In fact, the pastor argues the brief supports Muslims in an effort to construct a house of false worship.
Huan also wonders what this action has to do with IMB's mission of reaching the world for Christ. "If you read our mission and purpose statement on one side and then what we did on signing this brief, it just doesn't make any sense because it has nothing to do with our mission and purpose," he contends.
Huan's stance may have had some impact. Platt, the IMB president, has since released a statement revising the board's process for submitting friend of the court briefs: "As a result of discussions among IMB trustees and staff over recent months, we have revised our processes for our legal department filing any future amicus briefs. IMB leaders are committed in the days ahead to speak only into situations that are directly tied to our mission."
Dr. Russell Moore, who heads up the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has also come under fire in recent weeks for supporting construction of the New Jersey mosque while remaining silent on controversial action against Israel by the United Nations Security Council – action the U.S. could have halted with its veto power on the Council.