An awkward exchange on the floor of the annual convention – combined with some behind-the-scenes maneuvering – has a Christian talk-show host concerned that the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention might not be as theologically sound as was thought.
Al Mohler, president of the flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was taking questions at the SBC's annual convention Wednesday morning when he was asked a very specific theological question:
Questioner: "Does Southern Seminary teach that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are 'parts' of God? The reason why I ask that is because when I went on Ed Litton's website for his church, that is in the first paragraph on the doctrine of God – and he got two degrees from Southern Seminary."
Litton, a pastor from Alabama, had been elected president of the SBC the day before. Mohler sidestepped the question and said he was certain Litton was theologically sound. Talk-host Janet Mefferd decided to check.
"As soon as that questioner asked that question, I went to the Redemption Church website, Ed Litton's page – and sure enough, it said: 'These three are co-equal parts of one God,'" she tells One News Now.
According to Mefferd, that a heresy known as "Partialism" – and "that's not orthodox," she adds.
She explains, however, that when she returned to the site moments later, the wording had been cleaned up. "Now when you go to the website, it says … 'He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.'"
Mefferd, who opposed Litton becoming president of the denomination, contends the switch deserves a closer look – and an answer from the new SBC president.
"It seems to me that Southern Baptists need to ask Ed Litton, 'Did you take that down at that moment because you no longer believe it? Or did you take it down to hide the fact that that's what your church believes?"
Writing about her discovery, the talk-show host points out that the leaders of the SBC have been reassuring Southern Baptists for a long time they believe in biblical inerrancy. "Now might be a good time for the SBC sheep to put that claim to the test," she urges.