pastor's statement

Pastor's Statement by Ed Litton

Yesterday, some questions arose about a sermon I delivered in January 2020 on Romans 1, addressing the sin of homosexuality. Specifically, there were concerns about similarities with a sermon delivered by J.D. Greear a year earlier. 

Like thousands of other Southern Baptist pastors, I labor every week, preparing to stand in front of the congregation God has called me to serve. In preparation for our series on Romans, I used several resources to help me think through how to structure the series and how best to communicate the profound truths we encounter in these passages.

We employ a preaching team approach at Redemption Church that is comprised of eight men from our staff/congregation who meet weekly to discuss study insights, outlines, and approaches to the text. This sermon prep process includes working in the languages, consulting commentaries and books, and listening to strong communicators. In that process, I learned about my friend J.D. Greear’s messages on Romans and discovered what he had recently preached resonated with the direction God was leading me and our preaching team. We often consulted his manuscripts along with other resources as we prepared.

I found that J.D. Greear’s message on Romans 1 was insightful, particularly his three points of application. With his permission, I borrowed some of his insights and those three closing points. The story of Paul David Tripp was from his devotional New Morning Mercies on January 22nd. His story took place in India. 

Our team also, with his permission, used The Summit Church’s chapter and verse breakdown of Romans as we mapped out our entire series. Out of a commitment to full transparency, I have gone back through all the 46 sermons in this series. I have located in some places similar illustrations, quotes, or points of application. One shares the same title, and one has a similar outline. 

I hold to the same study process on each sermon. As any pastor who preaches regularly knows, we often rely on scholars and fellow pastors to help us think and communicate more clearly with the goal of faithfully preaching the truths of Scripture to our congregations. But I am sorry for not mentioning J.D.’s generosity and ownership of these points. I should have given him credit as I shared these insights. 

I felt it important to address this in order to provide the truth and to take responsibility for places where I should have been more careful.

I am committed to being a man of integrity and humility. I will not waiver from that as I lead Redemption Church to be Christ-followers and the SBC to unite around her mission.

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