July 20, 2021
Recent weeks have brought to light evidence of repeated plagiarism of multiple sources on the part of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Ed Litton. This sinful behavior and the lack of forthrightness when exposed is inconsistent with the character and integrity Southern Baptists rightfully expect from their president (Ex. 20:15, Prov. 28:6, 1 Tim. 3:2).
Compounding the concern surrounding President Litton’s irrefutable pattern of plagiarism is the silence of nearly all SBC leaders. Further eroding the testimony of the SBC to a watching world is the way some SBC leaders have excused and even minimized this troubling behavior. Scripture says acquitting the guilty (Prov. 17:15) and calling evil “good” (Isaiah 5:20) are wrong. Deceitful behavior on the part of a pastor is doubly egregious as those holding this office are called to be “able to teach,” and to “study to show yourself approved.” Plagiarism is a violation of the 8th and 9th commandments, and Scripture warns that men leading Christ’s local churches will be judged with even greater strictness (James 3:1).
The Conservative Baptist Network delayed commenting on this matter publicly in the hope that personal conversations and counsel with President Litton would lead him to acknowledge his error and repent (James 1:19, Gal. 6:1). Sadly, this has not occurred. As further evidence of what appears to be serial plagiarism continues to surface in at least six videos from a variety of named sources, the Conservative Baptist Network calls on the leaders of the SBC to address this matter promptly and biblically. For the sake of the gospel, it is best for President Litton to step down from office and focus on his personal spiritual development with his local church.
The testimony of Southern Baptists and of the gospel is at stake.
The Conservative Baptist Network is a broad-based grassroots movement of Southern Baptists of all generations who are committed to the sufficiency of Scripture for all facets of life and application. Its 54-member Steering Council includes pastors and laypeople from across America, including well-known figures such as former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, author and speaker Carol Swain, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, past SBC President Charles Stanley, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Vice President Tom Phillips, and immediate past SBC Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone. The Steering Council can be found online at ConservativeBaptistNetwork.com.