Reformation Charlotte broke the story earlier this week that former Southern Baptist president and current Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor, James Merritt, endorsed the preaching of his openly gay son, Jonathan. Since then, there have been calls from numerous concerned Southern Baptists–both lay and leaders–calling on James to retract his endorsement and calling on those who employ him in conservative Christian institutions to take action against him.
So far, the effort has proven futile. So futile, in fact, that James Merritt has now doubled down on endorsing his son by watering down his son’s homosexuality and ramping up the attacks on Donald Trump and his supporters. Classic deflection.
Disclaimer: I do not know who runs the “Woke TGC” Twitter account and I offer no endorsement of it. However, he did pose a valid question asking if Merritt now believes that “sodomy” is merely a disagreement–or rather, a rhetorical assertion. Merritt responded by deflecting from his son’s total embrace of the homosexual lifestyle and, instead, making accusations against Trump supporters.
First off, Donald Trump is not a preacher; and nobody–not a single person who is criticizing James Merritt–would say they believed Donald Trump to be “faithful to the gospel.” That statement would be blasphemous just as Merritt’s statement is blasphemous. James Merritt is a dishonest man and he knows it.
But Merritt is not only dishonest about Trump supporters; he’s also dishonest about his son. I don’t know–nor do I care–what his son Jonathan does in the bedroom. Thinking about it is gross. I also doubt James knows this. But James implies in this tweet that his son is “not practicing.” We disagree:
Jonathan Merritt, when he came out of the closet a while back, we reported his words verbatim:
“Some of you may not know this part of my story. I have learned to live authentically in my personal life, sharing with friends the fullness of who I am. But the experience of being outed left me bruised and untrusting and dead dog afraid to offer these vulnerable parts of myself for public consumption and critique. So, I haven’t really written about my identity online.”
He went on:
“So today, I’m raising a glass to my full and complete self—a gay man, beloved by God, who has endured the worst the world could throw at him and fought his way to health and wholeness.”
So for those who want to jump and defend James Merritt, let the reader understand that regardless of what he says, Jonathan is indeed a practicing homosexual. Whether or not he’s involved in same-sex intercourse at this given time is not of my concern–at least one alleged former lover has claimed that they have. What is of our concern is that he’s openly admitted that he’s a homosexual and yet, despite that, claims that he’s still “beloved by God.”